Saturday, May 31, 2014


What scares you? As a child, my mother was afraid of a red, yellow and black quilt her grandmother made! She cried if it was put over her. We don't have the quilt anymore or even a photo so I don't know if her tastes would have changed when she got older.

While I've never been afraid of a quilt, I secretly used to think some were ugly... like spiderweb quilts. The last few years, however, my opinion changed drastically. Now I love their strong designs and colorations. Sujata Shah's Ferris Wheel and this one by Krista Withers are among the quilts that changed my mind brought me to my senses. Although they have very different feels, both always make me smile. The colored backgrounds add so much more to the design than muslin ever did.

A few months ago I decided to start with a 'vintage' Alexander Henry from 1998. You know, that piece you always liked but never used. I put most of it on the back of a quilt last year determined to clear out my stash. Now I wish I had more. Isn't that always the way?

The multi-color floral seemed to give me loads of color choices for the star background. So I cut several different fabrics. They looked good on the design board.

My starting fabric is the top right.
Then I sewed strips into triangles for the webs and... they don't make me happy. At first I thought I'd included too many darks so I made triangles with whites. I don't like them any better.
Spiderweb quilt blocks made of strings on blue, green, orange background stars.
Spiderweb blocks
Fortunately photos are helping me. The top left star is too dark. Ok, it's not quite as dark as it appears here but it is several shades darker than the others. Although the values are good, the bottom right star is too busy. I like the lighter, more solid fabrics better because the webs don't get lost. I'm not sure if I want an analogous color scheme like green and blue or want to expand to the oranges and yellows also.

Fret not; enjoy the day.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Progress, Graduation and Pilgrim & Roy

Step by step and oh, so slowly work continues on my Trip Around the Block. Here's a closeup of the border.
Orange peel free-motion quilting design on white background
Background quilting in progress on the border.
Free-motion quilting is a boon for those who hate to mark. It takes so much time and I personally can't see the markings unless they are very dark (and then they are hard to take out.) But I had this "brilliant" idea that marking guidepoints would be quick and easy. Wrong-o. Tracing the entire design might have been easier. Does anyone have advice?

Last week I flew across the country for a graduation. A beautifully sunny day for the ceremony. As always, the candidates and their families are proud, happy, hopeful and relieved. With 60 colleges in Boston alone, clusters of joyful families crowded every street, park and restaurant.
Boston University 2014 graduation
Of course, I had to take in the Pilgrim and Roy exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Quilts and Color compares the vibrancy of Amish, Mennonite and others from the 1850s to 1920s with Op Artists of the mid 20th century. Of the many outstanding quilts, this strongly graphic design was our favorite. It was especially enjoyable to discuss the patterns, fabric choices and quilting designs with my daughter. Part of another quilt sparked an idea we plan to pursue soon. Isn't that the joy of sharing!
Yellow, green and red sunbursts alternate with appliqued navy designs.
Touching Sunbursts quilt 1854, Pilgrim and Roy collection
Best serendipitous find? Grey's Fabric and Notions. Owner Sarah Grey also carries loads of indie patterns. We chatted with her for half an hour about her classes and patterns.
Grey's Fabrics and Notions
 We chose these ocean-themed pieces to make pillows. Love the whales!
Hearty Good Wishes by Janet Clare for Moda
Home in time for Memorial Day. God bless the men and women who've given their all for our freedoms.

Fret not; enjoy the day.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Peanuts, Poppies and Shasta Daisies

Another wonderful week, another delightful trip... but very little quilting time. This time we visited the lovely town of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Two famous sons left sites for townsfolk and visitors.

Luther Burbank moved here in the 1870s. He was one of the world's most successful horticulturists creating hundreds of fruits, potatoes and flowers. His modest clapboard home surrounded by an acre of gardens is a city park and National Horticultural Historic Landmark. And what lovely gardens! Very home-like and informal. Something seems to always be blooming.

I never knew he developed shastas nor did I realize how many varieties there are. These are the flowers that bordered our front garden when I was a child and they may just be my favorite flowers.

Shasta daisies, Luther Burbank gardens, Santa Rosa CA.
Shasta daisies
 Some other garden beds include glorious yellow, orange and red poppies.
Several varieties of poppies
The rose garden included this unusual variety of purple-pink rose called Blueberry Hill. (I found my thrill...)
Blueberry Hill roses, Luther Burbank gardens, Santa Rosa CA
Blueberry Hill roses
Almost 100 years later Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts with Snoopy and Charlie Brown, moved here. He built the Redwood Empire ice rink near his studio and later an eponymous museum next to it. Spend the day ice skating, lunching at the Warm Puppy Cafe and touring the intimate museum.
This ice arena, in the form of a Swiss chalet with white stucco walls, brown wooden shutters and window boxes, was built by Charles Schulz in 1969.
Redwood Empire Ice Arena
My husband was happy we came home in time to enjoy the Star Wars series on DVDs. May the 4th be with you!

Fret not; enjoy the day.