Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trillium and Ginkgo Leaves

It seems to take forever to finish a quilt these days. This new one is called Trillium Landscape. It is small just 26 x 26 inches. I had to put it aside for awhile as I worked on some other things, so it has been in the works for months.

This is the third quilt that I have used the idea of setting my subject into another shape--a ginkgo leaf! This will make its debut at the LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum in LaConner, WA in October.
A closeup of Trillium Landscape

The trillium and leaves are heavily machine embroidered. I chose to use a curved and spiral combination of patterns as a contrast to the petal shape.
I love this little bud that rests on the right side of the ginkgo leaf.  You can also see the embroidery in the ginkgo leaf behind it.  My choice is always to use variegated thread. I try to have every variegated rayon or polyester thread in my studio.  I love the way it shines, this enhances the stitching. If you choose the correct needles for the free-motion work, you will have success with your embroidery.  Try using the new titanium topstitch needles.
This is a closeup of my signature on the front of the quilt. It needs to be there, but I try to choose a color or placement for it, so it doesn't draw the eye away from the subject.
Sometimes I like to repeat shapes from the subject in the quilting. You can see I've added a quilted leaf in the middle of the two embroidered leaves. Quilting should add surface interest to the quilt, but not be a distraction. For me it has to be fun, so I enjoy the process of quilting.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Writing a New Book and a Vacation from Quilting

If you live in the US you've lived through this heat wave!

It's too hot to work outside in the garden so I decided to stay inside and finish up a book that I've been working on for the last year or so.  This isn't a quilting book, it's another in my series on my family history.

Last summer I found the letters that my grandfather wrote his sweetheart while he was in the army in 1916-1918. After reading through most of the 65 letters, I decided to transcribe them and put them in book form for my family.  At the end of each letter he continually asked her to come and visit him at the base; which she eventually did on August 3, 1918.  They married on August 15 several weeks later.
Book cover with some of the letters

When I was typing up the letters, I was totally absorbed into their story. Imagine my grandparents as young and in love!  It was hard to stop working on them.  The bonus is that grandpa sent her postcards, comics, newspaper articles, bulletins etc., and most of these things were still in the envelopes!  Grandma kept these letters and many others in a cedar chest.  When she died in the 70's her son kept them; then last summer they found their way to the cottage in Winona Lake.  I just couldn't leave them alone. That's when this book got it's start.

I titled the book, "Dear Grace"  I put as many letters into the text that would fit in 60 pages.  I inserted as many pictures of the things that grandpa sent her. I'm very proud of the book, and hope my cousins enjoy it as much as I did. This is a precious treasure which I will share with all of Grace and Harry's grandchildren.
Here is Grace and Harry in 1916, early in their relationship

I took the completed file to Office Depot where Angie and David worked a whole day laminating the covers, printed the body of the book, and binding them with a small black spiral.  The book looks great and with care should last a generation or two. Only 15 relatives will own one.

This morning I took all the books to the post office and mailed them off.  You know, I am really sad that this project has come to an end.  For me it was a chance to step back in time and get to know my grandparents as young adults.  I learned a lot.  I'm not sure what I will tackle next.  Nothing will be quite as personal and magical as this project.

Even quilters need a hobby!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

National Pecan Pie Day and Other Things

Today I heard on the radio, it was National Pecan Pie Day , I cannot let this day pass without making a comment or two.  My mother was a top notch classical pianist,  not the best cook in the world!  Several times she made a pecan pie for a Thanksgiving dinner. It was really yummy, even though it wasn't chocolate!  So celebrate this day by having a small slice of pecan pie and a cup of tea.  Close your eyes and remember all the good times that accompanied that pie.  I'm so sorry that I don't have a piece of pie pictured on a quilt to show you; or to eat on this special day.
This new birdhouse decorates the counter in my kitchen!

This past weekend I had another book signing at Winona Lake IN.  I am done having book signings as they are lots of work, for the number of books sold. This event was in conjunction with my cousin's Vintage Cottage Antique & Collectable sale.  Wow, the people really turned out. My cousin Janet sold all kinds of stuff; from an old dining room table and chairs to a designer sweater.  Looking at all the great collectables was fascinating. I did purchase a birdhouse, that I now have in my kitchen, made by Bob Shull a Warsaw area woodworker.

This summer, it seems like I've been doing lots of gardening.  The geraniums on my deck are spectacular this year.  Every summer about the Fourth of July they are loaded with blooms. This year is no different.
Here's my container garden on the deck.  I love the sundial/birdbath nestled in the center of the flower pots.

After many weeks of no sewing, I have finally returned to my sewing machine. It feels good!  I'm quilting a small wallhanging for my upcoming solo exhibit at the LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum in WA.  You'll have to wait to see a photo of it.

I hope you are having an interesting summer.