Saturday, December 31, 2016

Giving Away Quilts

 Happily I've found homes for these two quilts.  I enjoy making quilts but I also am very happy when I can give them to someone who will enjoy having them.  I also enjoy making more space in my closets (top shelves) and under beds so that I can store more quilts as I make them.

The top quilt is made from a design by Karen Griska (see side bar) who wrote a book about using selvages and has authors The Selvage Blog. I very much enjoyed making this quilt but had not seen it for a year or two  when I began sorting quilts last week. I gave it to a long time friend (basically my daughter Rachel's friend) Paloma who had just had a birthday.

The second quilt, a classic snowball block surrounded by bright two inch squares was from a Swap-bots swap.  I made squares for swappers and they sent me squares and then I added a few more to make the quilt as large as I wanted it to be. This quilt I gave to Cheryl who is my daughter Leslie's "near-sister" as they decided a couple of days ago. They were best friends all through grade and high school but have gone separate ways and very rarely see one another. I had not seen Cheryl, as she said "for decades." I had been sorting and feeling overwhelmed with quilts I've made, inspired by first one magazine article or another, so I was happily inspired to give Cheryl a bright and cheerful quilt like the  "snowball among  jewels" as I named it. Obviously both of these are essentially scrap quilts -- I truly enjoy scrap quilts, the great variety of patterns and colors are a pleasure to put together. I always think that scrap quilts are metaphors for crowds of people and for civilization. Individuals harmoniously together within a context. 

Oh my, I love making quilts. I love the colors and designs and seeing how they go together. I don't love the actual quilting really and do very basic machine quilting.  (I also don't like a lot of the currently very popular long arm complicated quilting patterns over-laying the block designs). 

Currently I have three completed tops to be sandwiched and quilted. One will be finished soon, the other two may take longer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

First Day of Winter

At 6:00 the local newscaster said, "Winter began 21 minutes ago." I listen to these newscasts just before I get out of bed especially for pieces of information like that. I will forget where there was an auto accident and what some town's selectmen decided. But I want to know that winter just started. A few minutes later the other newscaster will tell me the weather (changable but okay through Christmas) the temperature in Boston and three or four other towns on the Cape and finally, "outside our backdoor" --  36 -- which might as well be my backdoor as the broadcasting studio is only about six blocks  away.

The 80+ little woman (with fanastic posture and great energy) who calls her class "Yoga"doesn't teach much yoga and always tells us about the moon phases and season changes. So this morning she told us that in Chinese medicine the emphasis moves from stomach and gut to kidney and liver and that our bodies will want more sleep than previously. The latter seems Darwinian and obivous -we want to conserve our energy and heat even though we are not a hibernating species. Actually I truly enjoy  sleeping -- usually a simple 8 hours but I am aware of enjoying the coziness of lying in bed when the clock radio comes on, snuggling under the covers and against the pillow. But I do not stay in bed, I'm ready to get up. 

So the majority of the class was spent doing a series of qi gong movements which are meditative and peaceful, very little foot movement, mostly arms making graceul gestures repeatedly. This is very much like the tai chi chih that I've had a few lessons in - the major difference being that the tai chi chih emphasises shifting weight from foot to foot while doing the hand gestures which are very similar. It's all from Chinese practices.  We Americans cannot just leave good enough alone, we put our stamp on the Asian exercises thinking it's more appropriate for us. Maybe it is but I doubt it. I look at all those variations of yoga that have popped up all over the US, some even espoused by Indian gurus (they are nto averse to a money making idea). 

The movements are paired with breathing -- obviously an important factor. At the end of  today's class we did some  alternate nostril breathing,which I learned long ago to call pranayama -- a "powerful"breathing exercise -- when done under the direction of a well versed, traditional yoga master.  Peaceful when done as we did, at the end of an hour.

So winter is here.  I'll definitely get my sleep. I'll learn more of the new version of tai chi and am enjoying a week of relative quiet before next week becomes a time of much family busy-ness.  And I have both quilting and writing projects to  work on.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Work to do

I just put this together this morning.  It will not be quilted for a while but I hope I can do it before February 1st.  Yesterday I finished the fall semestet at the Academy for Lifelong Learning.  The next semester (spring which makes me smile as I look out the window at our first snowfall of the winter) begins Feb.1. Meanwhile I have many things I hope to do with quilting high on the to-do list. I finished this quilt top this morning. I think it has a very "modern" look but actually it was designed in 1945, by Laura Wheeler and printed in several newspapers.  It was revived with a paper piecing pattern by Jean Nolte for Fons and Porter's Fat Quarters magazine and printed several months ago.  I love paper piecing and I love quilts where I can use my extensive scrap fabric collection so I have enjoyed making this very much. 

Here are four other quilts I've made in the last eight or twelve months lying on top of the asterisk quilt. They all need quilting. I began hand tieing the checkerboard quilt last winter but have less than a quarter of it done. The strip quilt in the middle is from a design by Karen Griska of The Selvage Blog (see sidebar). It has been sandwiched with batting and a back. I will quilt it probably before the asterisk one, some kind of very, very simple quilting.

The two quilts behind were made just to use up scraps, the one with pink stripping was to use up floral pieces that I don't think I'll use any other way. and the other quilt, a log cabin variation was because I had a collection of pinwheels and wanted to use more scraps.  I really, really adore scrap piecing.  Some things become uninteresting once sewn together and that is the case with the last two.  I may give them away as is and hope they'll find a home that will quilt them.

This final quilt is small, 30x30 and obviously not quilted yet.  This is called "Variations on an Amish theme" and is my contribution to the Uncommon Threads group's challenge for doing something that mixes modern and traditional. So the middle square (a starbusrst, paper pieced, designed by Carol Doak) is all the well known Amish colors.  The rest is "modern" with fabrics in modern prints. The colors are not quite true in the photo. I loved sifting through scraps to find the various fabrics. I will begin quilting this later today or maybe tomorrow. (I really have to write some Christmas cards).  Of the many things I've been doing with scraps this gives me the most pleasure. I like making smallish quilts. I do not like quilting -- especially the busy, busy kind of quilting that is currently so much in fashion (due to long arm machines that make the quilting so much faster and fancier).  I do not have a long am and am sure I never will want one.

How much can I do by February 1?  I'm afraid it won't be all.  Oh, and I have another scrap quilt started ... of course ....

Friday, December 16, 2016


Each year now Christmas sneaks up on me.  I really thought about it yesterday afternoon driving home around sunset on Rte. 6A, the beautiful, winding, two-lane old Cape road where the towns have agreed that only white lights will be used for Christmas decoration.   They were on, just white lights, at least candle light in most homes' windows and many trees, porches and so on outlined in white.  It was lovely.  I know from past years that it is lovely in the snow also.  Happily, in my opinion, we have no snow yet.  Although today we're experiencing a shocking drop in temperature, down to about 7 degrees with a wind chill of about -8.  But it is supposed to be short lived with perhaps snow tonight but then warming and soon turning to rain.  A strange, uncomfortable blip. 

Returned, we drove down Hyannis Main Street through the shopping center. There the lights were meant to attract attention, many colors, and simply MANY lights of all sorts.  Fine, 'tis the season. Although I have yet to do much about it. Maybe this afternoon I'll write a few cards.  As we discussed, fewer and fewer people are sending cards. Mostly they are members of my generation who still have the habit of once-a-year reaching out to former neighbors, former college classmates, etc, with little letters of facts about the family.  We don't know one another's grandchildren but the fact that they are getting educated, getting married, having their own children is a comfort. This is what happens -- or is "supposed to happen."  In our vastly changing world this Christmas contact remains a steadying comfort.  I have received a few of those cards already and I will post a few before the weekend is over.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Challenges, after about forty years

This is my most recent "art quilt" aside from the cow on the previous post.  I consider the cow fairly traditional as it's all squares. And I followed a photo I had. This (click on image to enlarge) is called "They Shall Inherit..." It's an exaggerated looked at a world where  there are no people. The buildings (these are all NYC landmarks - from a printed panel) remain but dinosaur-size insects of all colors have taken over. I think of it as the way an infestation of cockroaches suddenly appear and scuttle for cover when a kitchen light has been turned on. 

I like this idea but am not entirely happy with how it turned out. I have a poorly developed artistic sense. It's all in my head and very hard for me to realize in fabric.

I went to a meeting of the Uncommon Threads group this week and, once again, am deeply humbled by the creativity o the others. We are making a group quilt for the guild raffle next summer and each had a section to do. I did my section at the last minute -- a design and method that is deceptively simple using a wonderful fabric pallette that we chose as a group. I am okay with my contribution. I was told approximately what to do and did it. The challenge of the group is to be truly creative in design and execution - that's where I  stumble.

Three others had begun on the next challenge that I had only thought about: combine "art" quilt elements with traditional elements. Two had completed pieces that were stunning in color and fabric choice and delightful to look at. A third had begun sewing a brave hodgepodge of fabrics together to be the basis for a design she had on paper. I had nothing.  Not even an idea.  Happily that was a kick in the pants and, as so often happens, about 4:00 a.m. I was awake and an idea came to me. I am so curious about it, I hope to start on it later today.  Ideas come, carrying them out -- ah, that's the rub.

I had had these bugs in mind for a long time, had saved a page from some magazine with similar bugs in black and white so I knew I could give them antennae and the right number of legs and use interesting fabrics.  When I remembered the NYC fabric it was an easy step to cut it apart so the firey sky would surround and show through.  Now we will see what I can do with my new idea.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Look Carefully, you'll see, (I hope) a cow

Well, a little bit like the Pony-in-there-somewhere joke,  with all those squares, if you look long enough you'll see a cow in there somewhere.  What I need is someone to hold the quilt up so I can get a good straight-on photo and then I think the cow would be obviously. I like sublty but this is just too much and the poor dear Bossy seems to have mostly misplaced her legs. Live and learn -- although, as old as I am, you'd think I'd have learned a lot more by now.  Guess not.  It enticed me and I had to do it.

For almost mid-November the weather was surprisingly nice. One must take advantage of days like this, so I walked around Hathaway's pond (photo at the end) and took pictures of the many autumn colors. Autumn here isn't usually so grandly colored.  Everything seems to have changed all in sync so the woods are full of all the mellow colors-- not the really bright ones except for occasional "burning bushes" in lawns which really are ablaze. Whereas spring tends to have the excitement of anticipation, autumn suggests meditation, not necessarily gloomy. It's a time of fulfillment and satisfaction. Those golds and reds were hiding in the leaves all the time but only now are revealing their hidden beauty.  Think on it!  Think about older people, the ones who really come into their own in their 60s and 70s and 80s -- yes they do.  I know many of them, I'm one of them. It's wonderful glowing golden or rosy against the brown background of all the younger people who are trying to "fit in." And drying up as they do it. Many don't even know that a nice hard frost, a change in their life, will reveal new excitements.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Going through files, looking under the beds

A call for star quilts to be hung in our local Tumbleweeds Fabric store in January meant to inspire other Bayberry Quilters to make star quilts for next August's show had me pulling bags of quilt down from upper shelves of closets and out from under beds. I wanted to find this one which dates back to about 12 or 14 years. I don't think it's what is in mind really, as it's got 900 pieces and took a large part of a year. But I was challenged by the pattern in a magazine and set to work. I exhibited it in the Empire Quilt Guild (NYC) show in, I think 2004. 

I resurrected several other star quilts. Much as I love the log cabin pattern and have made quite a few, I believe I've made more stars than anything else.  I will send photos of  simpler quilts to the woman collecting them.  But, frankly, I'd love to see this on a wall again.  Quite a few others came to light -- oh, my!  I have more than I should. a great many are wall quilts, not bed size, so they are not candidates for charity needs.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Muted beauty

I'm mining older photos because I didn't get out and do the photography I thought I might today. Yesterday and today are spectacular. It seems all the trees that could change color waited for some signal so they could all synchronize their costume changes.  This photo isn't really appropriate but I was thinking all day of walking around this pond. I actually didn't do it because I was seaching for the right backing fabric for a quilt (as if I don't have many choices in my stash -- but a coupon was burning a hole in my pocketbook).

I don't remember ever seeing such unbroken aisles of color as I did yesterday and today driving the familiar roads I travel often.  The colors are not as brilliant as they sometimes are but they are blended expertly as only Mother Nature can. Only the evergreens are still green. We had a chilly couple of rainy days and apparently a night when the temperature dropped below freezing and that did it.  Every year is different.  This is a subtly wonderful one.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

In October orange is THE color -- here on Cape Cod we get more yellow and orange than red, except for the wonderful flame bushes (they probably have a more proper name but flame is just what they look like).  How can you not love looking at the trees in fall?  At the moment I'm planning a drive along lovely, two-lane, old stage coach road, Rte. 6A.  I love it all times of year, spring is a great joy. Autumn, like today will be wonderful even though the sky is gray and rain has fallen and more is expected. 

I'm on my way to see a Metropolitan Opera simulcast of Don Giovanni. A glorious feast of music  for a gray day.  Some think it's the greatest opera of all.  I don't think that although it is among the ones I've seen most often. We are tremendously lucky to have an idiosyncratic little movie theatre that shows these simulcasts as well as ones from the National Theatre of London and from the Bolshoi Ballet. The interior has a barrel ceiling painted by Rockwell Kent showing young, sexy Greek gods and goddess among stars.  And it has chairs with white slip covers instead of movie seats.  The pitch of the floor is not quite as good as one wishes. I'm going early enough to get a seat from which I can expect a good view.  Although it's not a sunny day as one might wish, it's a "my cup runneth over" kind of day. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Trouble in "Paradise"

For some reason apparently known only to the evil genies that control blogspot, the activity choices I usually find at the top of my blog disappeared and I could not find a way to add posts until this morning. I finally had a  small brainstorm -- we older people who did not grow up with computers are truly babes lost in a dark and tangled forest when it comes to how computer programs work-- I speak for myelf.

I have been quite busy quilting and in the case of the two photos here, being grateful to the Uncommon Threads group for including me in a very nice, and sizable show, along with another group called Fiber Frenzy (not quilters but people who do a variety of other kinds of fiber art) ). The show will run all of October at what is called the Brewster Ladies' Library in the town of Brewster. I have four  small quilts in the show.  In the top photo the snow scene and the electric chair are mine and the big quilt is Robin Mcguire's.

In the lower photo my little Puddle Jumper quilt (with poem on the side)  and the autumn leaf self-portrait are mine. The other  pieces are other kinds of fiber art.  (Both these photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)  I have exhibited quilts (larger ones in most cases) in big guild shows and been happy about that, but usually felt lost among more striking and often much more traditional works. This is a near perfect size venue -- a big meeting room in a sizable and very attractive library.  The variety of fiber pieces is truly a showcase of craft, abstract designs, pictorial ones and use of a wide variety of materials. The show was thoughtfully and artistically hung by a couple of member of my quite group.  The opening reception last Sunday was very well attended.  Some pieces are for sale,  perhaps not quite half.

I hope I can continue to find the method of posting because I have a number of other photos I want to share.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Annual International Quilt Show

This amazing thread painted quilt was BEST OF SHOW, at the Mancusco World Quilt New England  show at Manchester, New Hampshire which Rachel and I attended Thursday. The title is "Three Watchers. The quilter from South Africa is Kathryn Hamer Fox. The photo color is a little faded compared to the actual quilt.  It was about 4x6 foot.  We thought it was stunning.

We always go to that show because the  international quilts chosen are often wonderful. Most are not traditional, and most are art quilts of very, very high craftsmanship.

Ms. Fox also did a Rhino quilt  called "Once There Were" Click the photos to see it entirely.

As you can see in both, the backgrounds are various fabrics.  She underlay her thread painting with fabric also. I would love to have a photo catalog of the international entries in the show but no such exists and I've found that photographing more than the most memorable is pointless. Not that there weren't many excellent quilts by American quilters.

Mancuso is a large organization that mounts this international show in about a dozen venues around the USA each year.  In the Radison in Manchester there are two quite large exhibition rooms and they fill both,  (that includes a great many venders). Various area quilt guilds are invited to show special groups and there are always several special exhibitions on themes. We did not take time to look at venders and we missed some of the American exhibits because our time was limited.

Two especially noticable quilts, one from Israel and one from South Africa used a online program where a photo can be pixelated and printed out as a pattern for making a quilt. The result is a little like the paintings of Chuck Close. The one from Israel was of Leonardo's David (just his head). As we were watching it a woman showed us that if we look at it on the Iphone screen, we could see the  picture much more clearly than when standing 3 feet away. This was very true of the David (below) which was done in  one inch fabric squares and even more so with a Mandella portrait that was done inch and a half squares.  I photographed only David. Going through the program I cannot figure out what this was named and therefore can't list the artist's name.  If you click on any of these photos they will enlarge somewhat.  This was a magnificent quilt show and it was well attended. I wish more people understood that such shows are ART EXHIBITS to a very large extent. And quilting all around the world has moved from utility to self-expression on a very high level.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

My favorite quilt

This quilt by Robin Mcguire, entitled "Migrants" is my favorite from the Bayberry Quilt show that was taken down yesterday.  The photo doesn't really show that the black lines you see in the foreground is a plastic strip tied and clipped so that it mimics barbed wire. Before the show I knew this was going to be my favorite, because Robin is a very talented artist who is in the Uncommon Threads art quilt group that I am priviledged to belong to.  I think it was the only overtly political statement in the show.

The show was quite successful, financially, I suspect (because it was very well attended Thursday and Friday although not so much so yesterday (another perfect beach day). There were some 300 quilts -- a few antique, about 1/3 full bed size (between king and double width) and the others were smaller -- a slightly surprising majority of smaller quilts, mostly meant to be wall quilts.  There were some spectacular traditional quilts and many more modern and nontraditional quilts. The workmanship was high quality, the use of color outstanding.  It was a delight to walk through ... more than once.

I'll post a few other quilts in a few days.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Only some summer flowers

The whole of Cape Cod seems to be covered with flowers -- roses, hydrangas predominate, but day lilies (and other lilies -- the buttery yellow ones especially) are everywhere. So are roses of Sharon and various varieties of daisies, plus sunflowers and much more.

The new header is my revived hanging plant on my patio which I think is called a draconia (I may be wrong).  For Mother's Day 2015 I was given two of these lush plants which I had not seen before but which were suddenly in everyone's hanging pots and baskets. They had dozens of flowers when bought (mid-May) and they continued flowering until frost was near.  Then my daughter took them to winter on her sun porch (where a 5-year old geranium is still putting forth blossoms having been rescued the same way.) The draconia returned, sans flower in June, grew healthily but without flowers until last week. Now the heartier of the two has several flowers and the second has one flower with buds promising more. This is not the kind of abundance they first exhibited but I'm happy with their hot pink boldness among the very healthy greenery and have been giving them drinks of water laced with Flower-Miracle Gro.  I have no green thumb but I have a certain respect for late bloomers who do the best they can.  I haven't seen many other draconia this year although they seemed to have been everywhere last year.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Just a glance

Now and then something catches the eye, often I say "I wish I had my camera."  I did have my camera a couple of days ago when I looked at the window shade  as I got up and saw this graceful shadow of a fast-growing branch of the forsythia just outside my bedroom widow.

I immediately thought that if I wanted I could use it as part of a quilt  design ... I don't know if I will, but I'll print it and add it to my somewhat unruly stack of ideas. I go through the stack now and then but rarely use those saved ideas.  For me the momentary impulse is more consuming that something I thought would be a good idea ... still I think would be a good idea but... but there are a lot of ideas and only so much time.  This I know: I'll never run out of ideas. 

I'm afraid I absolutely cannot understand people who don't see good ideas for designs, for quilts, for paintings, for short stories all around themselves.  In fact, I don't really understand people who keep scrap books of drawings and so on. I guess I don't even understand Pinterest ... But then I'm a different generation. I didn't grow up with constant visual input from TV and then from the Internet. Why should that make a difference?  I don't really know, maybe it doesn't. Maybe it's just that we are all different  and react to the world around us differently .  Viva la difference!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Little flowers

I couldn't resist taking these two pictures of tiny, tiny flowers (weeds?!) growing in the very dry lawn. The pictures are very nearly actual size. 

The top picture is a lovely star shaped "flower" with very minute little purple flowers nestled in the grass around. Anyone who is really a gardener or botanist can tell that the top (white) flower is actually the dried remnant of a dandelion.  I thought it was very pretty,

And here is a dandelion in flower, familiar to all of us, but very small (same size as it's mate (brother, cousin?) in the top picture. They were within inches of one another.

I have noticed these and other very small flowers in my badly cared for lawn (it's only mowed by a lawn care company) which needs grass planted at whatever the appropriate time is.  It needs to be watered but we are approaching drought conditions and many Cape communities have banned grass watering. Hyannis has not done so yet, I think they are remiss in that area.  Looking out my window or sitting on my little patio beside a lush lawn is a pretty thing to do .... but I'm glad it isn't being watered. 

Monday, July 04, 2016

A young celebrant this July 4th

Little Silas is almost for months old, but you can see he is already patriotic and happily celebrating the red, white and blue, even waving a flag.

His mama is my granddaugher Cori who likes taking photos of the children (he has three older siblings). She also makes baby shoes and sells them on Etsy, his elfin footwear is an example.

When I saw him this afternoon at a family cookout he was still wearing the shorts but not the drapery.  I think he was also more wide awake and happier early in the morning.

Here on Cape Cod we are enjoying perfect holiday weather, a cloudless sky, a nice breeze most of the day. A delicious family cookout and tonight, when (his mama hopes) Silas will be soundly asleep, a fireworks display.

We are by no means alone; it look as if every driveway in town has several extra cars parked in it; I  suspect the population of our little peninsula has double in the last couple of days.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rose everywhere

The season  marches along predictably.  The summer solstice is upon us and the spring flowers are gone. In the past two week roses have burst into bloom all over town. These are along a fence of a home -- one of many, many.  They are fragrant!  Which is somewhat remarkable today. But I literally "smelled the roses" as I stooped to get a nice close photo.  The rhododendruns are still out but beginning to fade.  The kousa dogwoods which are so abundant you'd think they were native to the area (they're Asian) are magnificent tall towers of white blooms.  On the beaches the rosa rugosas are in full bloom, pink, red and white -- they too are fragrant, being wild and natural. Soon the hydrangeas will add blue and purple and fuschia to the mix.  This is a very, very beautiful place!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Blue Log Cabin Quilt

I love log cabin quilts.  I love blue.  I have a big stash of blue scraps -- well, now I have a somewhat smaller stash of blue scraps.  Sometimes I have an impulse to make a specific quilt and just do it. That's what happened here.  It's throw size.  I used up nearly all the lighter blues and did not want to purchase more because I wanted it to be entirely a scrap quilt.  So it's not as large as I might have made. Both color and traditional pattern make me happy

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Laura Wasilowski,

Laura Wasilowski is a well known quilter whose bright compositions are mostly fused, not appliqued.  She was today's speaker at the Bayberry Quilt Guild's final meeting of the season.  Although most of her luggage didn't arrived in Providence, R.I., when she and her husband landed yesterday, and hasn't caught up with them yet, she had her computer with a well arranged slide show and she had her very funny stand-up comic routine. 

Speakers usually tell us about their methods or their quilting history, show us some of their work (which she could have done had it arrived) but most speakers don't have the sense of humor and the prepared material to do a half hour or more of really very funny talking about her self and her quilting -- throwing in quite a few songs about everything from adopting her husband's Polish name to her mythological Chicago School of Fusing.  She is a sponatneous artist, she dies all her own fabric and thread and simply gets an idea and begins cutting up fabric that has been fused.  She keeps the trimmed scraps and incorporates them in future work.

It was a complete surprise to most of us that we would be so entertained and laugh so much -- we loved it. I wish all the speakers had her poise --  it's impossible to wish for her sense of humor because that is a totally personal trait.  And her delivery was perfect.  She will not fade in my memory as so many other speakers   already have.

Monday, May 16, 2016

An experiment in flower making

This is a detail of a small quilt of branches of a spring flowering tree. I had magnolias in mind but they're looking a bit more cherry blossom-y.

The method was :  I layered four pieces of fabric. The top is the green hand dyed background of the design. Underneath is ivory, light pink and deeper pink. I added the branches which are zigzag stitched on.  The I snipped into all three fabrics so I had six sections which I turned back and ironed -- that is tricky because they don't want to be ironed.  Then I filled the empty middle space with a knot of a strip of one, and sometimes two, of the pinks.  The knots seems to be a tightly furled bud with petals opening around it.  I tacked the end of the knoted pieces in back so they would not slip around.

I used a picture from a book of Japanese arts for the placement of twigs and flowers, but I'm not very happy with my choice.  Nevertheless, it's a few limbs.  I will include the full picture of this little quilt, which I have finished with a pillow case style backing and a narrow band of hot pink piping at the edge. I think of this as mainly an experiment.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Waiting for Spring to Spring Forth

No, the hydrangias, as in the new header photo, are not out yet -- the rhododendrons and azeleas aren't either.  Every season here has a different rhythm. It's definitely spring but the forsythia didn't open until near the end of April instead of early on as they usually do.  A chill, sometimes very cold (even snowy) wind slowed their opening. That same kind of chill in the air has had them clinging, now a tired old gold instead of the original gay, sweet yellow, the leaves are timidly trying to emerge.  The rhododendrons hesitate with tightly furled buds, not ready to open at all.  Some azeleas, if they have been planted in reasonably sheltered spots where they get whatever sun the stingy sky has offered have opened but cling in a bewildered, slump-shouldered way.  The daffodils and narcissus have opened and seem to stand around bewildered that time, for them is standing still. 

Meanwhile rain has fallen every day for a week. The pundits say there's a "low pressure system" stuck above Cape Cod.  I  look out my window now at fog; it is soft and a bit romantic but I am terribly tired of it. Spring is late; we had only two days when people thought it had arrived.  I watch people and see many have pulled out their flipflops. How cold their toes look. Here men of all ages seem to think wearing shorts is a delight, they look silly with their bony knees, hair legs above their socks and sneakers or other shoes.  I remember my fashionable earlier days with short skirts and panty hosed legs and being very, very chilly in such weather.  I don't do that any more.  I haven't even pulled out the short sleeved tee shirts -- or the flip flops. Maybe sometime next week ... if the weather changes.  In former years there have been wonderful April days when  I walked on my favorite beach, bare foot, along the tide line enjoying the coolness of the water around my ankles. I have not even been to the beach -- the wind has been forbidding.

But "true" spring will come. The rosa rugosa will bloom, the  plovers and terns will nest, and I will be able to go to the beach, find a quiet spot and do the tai chi easy which involves a period of deeply breathing that air off the water and contemplating the blue of the water and sky and perhaps some fluffy cumulus clouds drifting by, utterly peaceful, with no intent of spilling more rain.

Friday, May 06, 2016

A little spring inspired art quilt

A challenge to make a mini art quilt on a spring theme had me digging in the drawer with antique handkerchiefs. What's springier than all thost little bunches of flowers?  So I affixed it to a quilted background with the border of sheer purple ribbon and the collection of mismatched tiny white buttons  then added to the center a fancy-cut violet plant (or maybe it's a primrose) from a piece of decorator fabric, fused it on. Added a couple of butterflies and then a circle of narrow white lace to frame the plant.  I was delighted that I'd recently been given the siver-tone buttons that are in the four corners of the ribbon. They are embossed with a lovely two flower design which can be seen if you click the image to enlarge it.  This quilt is 12x12.

Now I am gathering ideas for a "tea party" mini art quilt for the same group.  Plus I have another art quilt challenge to work on and three different ideas about how to go about it.  Challenges are always fun for me.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Leni Wiener, textile artist

 These two pictures should be side by side, but it seems blogspot won't allow it.  The upperleft is called "Concerned" and the lower one is call "Hitting Bottom". They are from an amazing work of art by Leni Weiner, a textile artist from New York City who gave two wonderful talks at the Bayberry Guild this past week. 

Leni began as a traditional quilt artist and also a professional photographer. Then she honed her skills and  gradually cut away all the surroundings until she is, in this newest (I think) work showing only people sitting on a bench. They are in ones and twos and the whole secret is their body language -- you don't even see the bench except it is shownce without people siting on it. These are all real people although often devoid of distinguishing facial feature and often in clothing that is different colors than in the original photos Leni took (over a long periods of time. (There are about fifty individuals. As you can see, this is quilting, it is textile art. On her web site she has the set of people, which, on sides she showed when she gave a talk, was displayed in an art gallery in Taiwan. And will be shown elsewhere.

I was so fascinated by Leni's bio that I went to both the evening and day meeting of the guild (which I've never done before) and I'm glad I did. It's been a long time since a billiant art quilter, turned pure artist,has caught my attention. She gave an outline of her personal progression from traditional quilt, to portrait quilts (has written a book that I own) and along her journey to these very pure statements about people where one doesn't even need to see the bench to understand what they are doing and grasp the message from their body language alone. She spoke also of technique and of her understanding of using hue as the secret to good portraits. 

In short, I was blown away by this woman's brilliance. She hopes to publish a book of the bench sitters and if she does I certainly want a copy. I wish I could see the set "for real."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Black and White and Many Colors Too

I love making reversible quilts.  This is my boldest one so far.  The "front"is entirely made of black and white prints in a Greek key or squared spiral pattern. And the back has an accent print -- a print i bought as a remnant and, because it is so exuberant, I thought I'd never find a way to use it. But here it is. It's essentially black and white with bits of all those other colors among the elongated bubble black and white designs.  It was fun to make both sides. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter scene quilt

This winter scene was inspired by a cover of a New Yorker magazine from last winter.  The challenge from the Uncommon Threads group was to do something with the surface of the quilt. In this case it's quilted in wavy lines for snow -- nothing unusual. And then wisps of stretched out batting has been added for snow, in this photo it's most visible along the left side but there is more that didn't come out cearly in this photo.  And I used cotton for the snow on the trees. I'm still "playing" with the snow on the trees, pulling off overages and  considering where to stick on a bit more.   

For me the diminishing trees were a challenge. I had to make the most distant ones first and the continue overlapping the limbs and changing the color of the trunks and branches.  The people and dogs are a fairly straightforward copy. I actually fell in love with the dogs.  They all have their own personalities and purposes as they walk.  I take a little pride in adding the man's red jacket.  

I finished it yesterday and hung it in the dining area, taking down the autumn leaves quilt.  I'm thinking that now I have autumn and winter, I should do summer and spring.  I know what I will do for summer (a reprise of the yoga on the beach quilt but smaller) and I have a nebulous idea of what I'd like to do for spring.  .... But right now I've got a list of projects to work on and won't begin either in the near future. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Quilts that are not quilts

Doesn't this have a quilty look?  This wooden structure wraps half way around the tree and has a bench on the inside.  It's an ideal place for a person to sit and meditate/contemplate, or for two or a few people to have a quiet conversation.  This is a fairly new addition at Heritage Plantation in Sandwish, Massachusetts. As you can tell from the green leaves in back the photo was taken before autumn came. Heritage is a large botanical garden, very beautiful all year long but spectacular in the spring.  It has a wonderful little museum with changing exhibits, a collectible car museum, a couple of very old buildings, and various sections, some almost hidden. A wonderful place to explore.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New quilt top done

I think this will go to the "wounded warrior" project the Bayberry Guild has ongoing.  Quilts are given to vets at Memorial Day.  The pattern is from Quilters Newsletter, a twist pattern that fascinated me. It turned out to be red white and blue because I bought -- for fifty cents -- a bag of precut fabrics with quite a lot of navy and red fabrics cut into 3 inch wide strips. These are not commerical "jelly roll" matched fabrics in rolls but were cut by the woman having the yard sale for some project she had decided she would never get around to. 

Of course now it needs to be quilted and that is always a road block to finishing as I don't enjoy quilting but eventually it will happen. Maybe even before time to turn the quilt in to the group for this year's give away ... or maybe it's a year down the road.