A Thanksgiving tribute to Nancy Zieman

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you are sharing the day with family and friends delighting in good food and fellowship. I have much for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving, including the recent birth of my twin grandchildren! I also greatly appreciate the friendships I have made through quilting and traveling to share that passion throughout the United States and beyond.

Last week, we said farewell to Nancy Zieman who passed away after a battle with cancer. She was such an inspiration to so many people and she will be greatly missed. Thank you Nancy for your wonderful contribution to the quilting and sewing world. Sewing with Nancy was the longest running sewing and quilting TV program ever, with over 30 years of programming in which Nancy taught numerous techniques and invited other teachers to share and participate. I had the privilege to be interviewed about the Mongolian Quilting Center twice for Nancy’s Corner and to do a two part series with her on my Bargello Quilts with a Twist technique, and so I appeared in four Sewing with Nancy programs. The photo was taken during our recording of the Bargello Quilts with a Twist programs. Nancy had friendly and comfortable manner which came across in her TV teaching and endeared her to her large audience and devoted followers. She immediately made me feel at ease in the TV studio. She was also extremely professional and thorough in her approach. It was a pleasure to work with her and a great experience. The company that she founded, Nancy’s Notions, lives on and is a great resource for sewing and quilting supplies.

For a wonderful YouTube tribute to Nancy, click here.

Quilter’s Store, Sedona, AZ

In October, I traveled to Arizona to teach at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild. I stayed an extra day and two guild members took me to Sedona, where we had an incredible hike to the Devil’s Arch. It was my first time to Sedona and I was blown away by the spectacular scenery and rock formations. There’s always time to squeeze in a visit to the local quilt store, in this case the Quilter’s Store. They are easy to find on State Route 89A not far from the town center.

I was tickled by this skeleton sitting outside the store with phone in hand and sign saying “Waiting for wife”! This shop is well endowed with 3,000 bolts of fabrics including around 700 batiks. They have plenty of patterns, books and notions as well providing opportunities for quilting classes.

There are several rooms featuring sample quilts and a variety of products. I was amused by the snake made from Arizona Diamondbacks, (a baseball team), fabric.

They have an excellent selection of southwestern themed fabrics and several of the new laser printed fabrics that are really colorful.

There is a gallery next door to the shop which is open for limited hours. Ask at the shop and you may be able to go in there. Local textile artists are featured and it is well worth a visit.

A Work in Progress

My current major quilting project is a commissioned bed-quilt. My client is reasonably local, so we have met several times. I have been to her house to get a feel for the ambiance and her color pallet and she visited me to look at my quilts and tell me what she liked. She wants something traditional and geometrical in purple, magenta, orange and turquoise, and was drawn to my Feathered Star quilts. We decided on a large 28″ Radiant Feathered Star for the center of the quilt with a 9″ compass in the middle.

I fussy-cut the Paula Nadelstern fabric for the star arms. As shown in the photo on the right, the triangles making the feathers are foundation paper pieced and are in a color gradation of oranges. Next, I made four 16″ diamond star blocks, strip-pieced with fussy-cut center diamonds from the same Paula Nadelstern fabric.

I’m now working on four compass blocks and have completed two of them. These are 14″ compasses with 32 points. For these, I am using Robin Long’s strip-piecing method and special ruler. Her technique is really slick and very accurate. It took me about eight hours to make this compass including hand-appliqueing the center circle. Check out Robin’s website. Once all the compasses are finished, I will work out how to put it all together and will be adding smaller Ohio Star blocks between these compass and diamond star blocks. The finished quilt will be in the 80-85″ square size range. In two or three months, I hope I’ll be posting a picture of it!

 

 

Happy Hallowe’en!

Earlier in the month, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. This wonderful Hallowe’en quilt was shown at Show and Tell after my lecture. Princess Kat-Rina was designed and pieced by Betty Foley of Prescott. This gaudy witch-princess rescues cats. I like her stripy green leggings and floral accents. All the Stack ‘N Whack blocks in the borders are made from cat fabric. What fun!

Notice how the centers of all the blocks are pumpkins. The orange dot fabric makes a great frame around the pictorial center, separating it from the border blocks. I also really like the orange and black striped binding. This is an entertaining and decorative piece, guaranteed to bring a smile. Thank you, Betty, for allowing me to share your creative art.

ClothPlus Quilt Shop, Prescott Valley, AZ

Earlier this month, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. After my workshop in Prescott Valley, we visited the ClothPlus Quilt Shop, at 6497 E Copper Hill Drive.  From the outside, this place doesn’t look much, but inside this industrial space there’s a great variety of fabrics and plenty of interest. I picked up a couple of nice turquoise fabrics for my current project. There is a large collection of batiks, some wonderful Southwestern fabrics and other theme fabrics.  As well as an abundance of quilting fabrics and notions, they carry home decorating, auto, marine, and RV upholstery and outdoor fabrics. Here’s a visual tour. It’s worth stopping by if you are in the vicinity.

 

Antique hexagon quilt at Lanhydrock House in UK

I saw this stunning hexagon quilt on display at a National Trust property, Lanhydrock House, in Cornwall, UK when I was there at the end of July. The house was built in the early 1700’s and then renovated in Victorian times after a bad fire. The quilt was on the bed in the nanny’s room. My guess is that it dates from the late 1800’s, judging by the Turkey red and the patterned fabrics. On the detailed shot you can see some embroidered crowns on some of the blue hexagons, so perhaps it is from even earlier. If any of you readers can date it more accurately, please write me a reply.

Someone spent hundreds of hours piecing this beautiful quilt and planned the pattern of the colors of hexagons carefully. I love the arrangement of the concentric rings of hexagons with the defining red rows. Even the areas between the red hexagon outlines are well planned in regular patterns with symmetrical spacing of the colors. This is a magnificent quilt.

Inspiring Architecture in Milan, Italy

In July, I spent time in Italy in the Piedmont area with friends who recently moved there from the US and we went to Tuscany together. My last night in Italy was spent at a B & B close to the airport, then I had a morning to explore Milan before flying to the UK. I caught an early bus into the city center of Milan and spent three and a half hours at the Duomo (Gothic cathedral), the Galleria and the Teatro alla Scala. What I saw was fantastic and very inspiring. The sheer scale of the Duomo was so impressing and it was majestic with its towering turrets, magnificent stone carvings and windows. The combination of angular shapes and smooth curves was fascinating, and I felt awed by the grandeur of it all. I’m sure that experiencing something like this influences me when I am designing quilts, even if it’s in a very subtle way.

I climbed up to the roof top for amazing views of the skinny turrets, flying buttresses and the surrounding city.

The Galleria was spectacular too with the arches, domed ceiling, decorated floors and fancy stores such as Gucci and Prada.

 

 

 

Cowslip Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (5)

I’m continuing from a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about the exhibition of quilts in the barn at Cowslip Workshops, near Launceston in Cornwall, UK. Quilters were invited to participate in a challenge themed around a view through a window. This beautiful Celtic Cross quilt, View from my Window, with a background of the Cornish coast was made by my quilting friend from Cornwall, Lesley Coles.

Lesley writes, “Many of my quilts are inspired by Cornwall and the sea I can see through my window. I look over St. Austell Bay and The Gribben headland with the day mark to warn miners of the rocks below. The Celtic Cross, central to this window, represents my faith which is central to my life. The cross was inspired by the stained-glass window at St. Uny Church, Lelant.” I love the stained glass effect with all the different “stone” fabrics in the cross and the pastoral marine scene behind. This is a stunning quilt.

Here is another window quilt made by a local group, the Trevithick Quilters. Cornwall Through the Window of Time is made of 12 blocks pieced and hand appliqued by members of the group. Others in the group assembled and quilted this interesting quilt depicting a variety of local Cornish scenes. The detailed shot shows the remains of an old tin mine on Bodmin Moor.

 

 

Infinity Mirrors art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum

I was fortunate to attend an extraordinary art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in early September. This was hugely popular and my first attempt to get in failed after I queued for two and a half hours and it was sold out. On my second attempt, I went with a friend who had a membership for two at the museum and we were fast tracked to the ticket booth and given a time to attend later in the day. The exhibit, with works dating from 1965-2017, Infinity Mirrors, by Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist, was unlike anything I’d seen before. There were six small rooms to enter, just two people at a time, for 20-30 seconds. In these rooms were objects, for example yellow pumpkins with black spots, pink balls with black spots, colored lights, and a series of mirrors to make the objects or lights repeat themselves giving the illusion of infinitely. It was amazing and mind-boggling. The first picture shows my favorite, the Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever. There were two peep-holes to look into the room and the lights constantly changed colors. The center mirror shows my hands holding my cell phone to take the picture.

Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots was multiple pink balls covered in black dots. The picture on the left shows the outside and the one on the right, is inside the largest ball with the mirrors and infinity effect.

Yayoi Kusama is indeed obsessed by dots. Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, consists of  white stuffed fabric tubers covered in red dots. The other picture shows me in The Obliteration Room, an interactive environment where everyone was given three colored dots to stick anywhere in this room that was originally totally white. Since I attended the exhibit close to its closing after it had been running for three months, it was hard to find a space that was still white and not covered in colored dots.

Here are a couple of shots of sculptures by this incredible artist. Notice the use of dots again!

The next pictures are snaps I took during a video of the artist talking about her work. I love what she says: “I take each day as a test for how much I can contribute to society and increase peace and love around the world” and “I’m always thinking about how I can make something that people will enjoy and be moved by.” I found this exhibit so inspiring and creative. The bold use of dots, bright colors and lights, and the illusion of space generated by the use of the mirrors were fantastic.

 

Cowslip Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (4)

I’m continuing from last week when I wrote about the exhibition of quilts in the barn at Cowslip Workshops, near Launceston in Cornwall, UK. The featured quilt today warrants a blog on its own so that you can enjoy the detailed photographs of this stunning piece. Quilters were invited to participate in a challenge themed around a view through a window. Kay Vanstowe depicted her own house and garden with colorful flowers and figures in the window observing the view. This quilt, (actually a pair of quilts), is entitled Raffi and his Grandad Looking Through the Window at Coombe: The Effects of Light On and Through Windows.

Kay writes, “I was inspired by this picture of Raffi looking out of the bedroom window. I also wanted to use this lovely piece of Liberty print material (The Garden Flowers) which I bought in Liberty’s, London a few years ago. I was also intrigued by the way the light had different effects on the various windows and glass door and I have tried to replicate this.” Check out the detailed shots to see the intricacies and how the quilting helps to pop highlight all the beautiful floors. I love the blackbird and birdhouse too! This is a charming work of art.