Kodiak Bears!

I’ve just returned from a teaching trip to Alaska and had the good fortune to spend time on Kodiak Island with the Kodiak Bear Paw Quilters. We had three days of workshops and then I stayed an additional three days to explore the area. I went on a trip of a life time, bear watching. We flew in a float plane for an hour to a remote area on the Fraser River near a fish ladder where we could observe Kodiak bears fishing for salmon. We saw five bears. The 900 lb mama with two second summer cubs were the most photogenic. This was an incredible experience! Despite the mist and rain, we had excellent views. The bears crossed the river and came up on the trail very close to us. Our pilot was not concerned and reassured us that these bears are well fed on salmon and salmon berries and were not interested in us!

The following day, I had dinner at the Old River Inn and spied this bear quilt on the wall. There was no label on the back and the restaurant staff did not know the maker of the quilt. It’s a pretty good representation, even down to the massive claws!

Inspiration from a Navajo Rug

In May, I taught in Santa Rosa at two quilt guilds and stayed in the lovely home of quilter Janet Tonkin. Several years ago, Janet purchased a Navajo hand woven rug at the Hurbell Trading Post in Ganado, AZ. The 20″ x 30″ rug was woven on a loom by Lenora Davis and the style is Two Grey Hills. Janet has it displayed on a wall in her home. This rug inspired her to design a quilt using the rug pattern as a guide. She was able to break the pattern down into squares and rectangles to piece this beautiful replica. Here are the quilt and rug side-by-side.

As you can see, Janet added red to her quilt and used grey tones rather than the browner tones in the rug. The quilt is about twice the size of the rug. Janet has it folded over the back of a grey couch in her living room where it is a pleasing addition to the decor and can be used as a large lap-quilt on cold evenings.

Southern Region Forest Service quilt celebrating 100 years

On my recent trip to the Asheville area to teach at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, I stayed an extra three days to explore the area. I headed southwest to the Pisgah National Forest and saw this beautiful hand appliqued and hand quilted quilt hanging at one of the park information centers.

As you can see from the legends in the borders, the quilt was made in 2005 to celebrate 100 years of service caring for the land in the Southern Region. Each of the southern states from the east coast to as far west as Texas provided quilt blocks representing their area. Here are some detailed shots. There is a map showing the states which are part of this Southern Region, and on the right, a block from the Interagency Wildland Firefighters and Support group depicting Smokey the Bear.

Here the blocks from the Cherokee National Forest and the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The block for North Carolina depicts a hiker silhouetted with a waterfall behind. The picture on the right is of Looking Glass Falls which is just a few miles down the road from the Center where the quilt is hanging. The waterfalls were spectacular and very swollen. The locals enthused that they had never seen so much water gushing. The area had over 20″ of rain in a two week period just before I arrived. I was blessed with three clear sunny days to explore the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway and experience the glorious natural beauty there.

 

March for Our Lives, Seattle

On Saturday, 24th March, I participated in the March for Our Lives in Seattle. I applaud the young people taking a stand for the implementation of common-sense gun regulations and wanted to show my support for this cause. The march was peaceful and there was a feeling of optimism and hope that this is a beginning for positive change. Several of our St. Barnabas Church parishioners participated along with other members of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia including the Bishop. Here I am marching with our church banner, one of my rare applique quilts, made in 2000.

The banner was much admired during the march. This is one of the more challenging quilts that I’ve made.. The Island, church, shield and lettering are done using a combination of hand, machine and fusible applique. The ferry boat was pieced and then the whole thing appliqued onto the background. We have a beautiful red brick church and I expressed my idea of our community extending beyond the parish by quilting lines radiating out from the lit up windows. The blue u-shaped piece in the border was cut from a large piece of fabric so that it could be made from just one piece. The quilt was machine quilted on my domestic machine. It has a split hanging sleeve on the back to accommodate the banner poles.

I spent several weeks working every day on this banner just after my father passed away in the spring of 2000, and the experience was very soothing. I donated it to my church in his memory. He was an Anglican priest and a Canon of Newcastle Cathedral, (U.K.), and this seemed a fitting tribute to his ministry and my fond memories.

 

Quilt Artist, Kathleen Bond, Prescott, AZ (2)

In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. Last week, I posted pictures of two of her quilts and this week I am presenting another three.

This Serptentine 1930’s Fans quilt was made from blocks that Kathleen purchased at a Guild rummage sale. She assembled them in this striking layout and filled in the white spaces with beautiful quilting using her long-arm quilting machine. Of course, the person putting the blocks in the sale loved the finished quilt and regretted parting with them!

Pretty Rosettes, is Kathleen’s original design. The nine sunflower blocks were hand-pieced and appliqued. Once again, Kathleen has used an eclectic selection of fabrics to create this beautiful quilt. Surprisingly, the wide striped sashing and wide borders work well to display the attractive blocks.

Going Away Eagles, is a quilt made from eagle blocks appliqued by Kathleen’s friends and given to her when she moved from Colorado to Arizona. The fabric in the border is Colorado toile depicting historical Colorado scenes. I love the triangles separating the eagles in the center from the border and adding more contrast to the piece to make it alive and to highlight the toile fabric.

Kathleen’s quilts are inspiring. As well as making a strong initial visual impact, they display her attention to detail as well as fine workmanship. It was a delight to stay with her and to be privy to her work.

Quilt Artist Kathleen Bond, Prescott, AZ

In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. My next couple of blogs will feature some of her work.

This hexagon quilt was one of my favorites. It was hanging wrapped around a curved wall in the Kathleen’s hallway. Large print fabrics are featured in windows created by English paper-pieced hexagons with rows of diamonds in between. The pattern is 13 Panel Hexagon Quilt, designed by Brigitte Giblin.

Kathleen made this gorgeous applique bed-quilt using a pattern by Jan Patek. She calls the quilt, Cowboy Christmas because many of the fabrics included are cowboy themed. It’s a little hard to see this, but there are fabrics with cowboys on horse back, horse shoes, cowboy hats and boots and more. This quilt is stunning from a distance and so interesting close up to see the variety of fabrics used and what is hiding in there.

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!

 

 

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.

Awesome Elephant Quilt

My good friend and long-arm machine quilter, Wanda Rains, recently completed this delightful elephant quilt. This appliqué pattern is by Edyta Sitar, Laundry Basket Quilts. Wanda hand-appliquéd the elephants and just for fun, turned one elephant facing the opposite way from all of the others.

Check out these detailed shots of some of the elephants. I love Wanda’s choice of fabrics and all the elephants have eyes. The checked corners in the blocks and border and the dark sashing strips make a pleasing setting for this herd.

 

 

Quilt: Serenade for Anne and Denise

I’ve recently completed a quilt that I’ve been working on for a few months, just in time to take it to Italy to give as a gift for dear friends who moved there in April. I’m so excited about going to visit them and the quilt is a surprise. By the time this blog posts, I will be in Italy. This busy design includes very personalized fabric choices. Anne is an accomplished musician and Denise is an electrical engineer. There’s beer for Denise and prosecco for Anne. The grand pianos and piano keys are a major feature along with the flowers for these avid gardeners.

The large flowers are the new ones in Italy, (Anne and Denise and the flowers they will plant) and the small classical flowers are the Italian ones. Here’s a closer shot for more details. They love cats and have one which traveled with them from US to Italy. After completing the quilt, I realized that I omitted any reference to their sporting allegiances, so I added the Seattle Mariners compass, appliqued on and visible close to the center of this picture. The Seattle Seahawks label appears on the back of the quilt (see below).

In this picture it is a little easier to see the three different blocks in the quilt: Snowball, Jacob’s Ladder and Shoo-fly. The detailed shots below show the corner blocks in which I used technology fabric for Denise. Denise generously gave many hours of her time to completing all kinds of technical projects at our church, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. She made tremendous improvements to the lighting, so the fabric with light bulbs seemed most appropriate. The shots also nicely illustrate the grand pianos. One of my students brought some of this grand piano fabric to my Bargello Quilts with a Twist workshop and fussy-cut the pianos for her blocks. They looked great and I loved the fabric, so I found it on-line and ordered it for this quilt.

I long-arm machine quilted the quilt with the help of my good friend Wanda Rains, using her long-arm machine. Wanda helped me with the set-up on the machine and advancing the quilt after each pass of stitching. I quilted in a watery meander pattern. The back of the quilt is yellow and sunny; sunshine and water to nurture these new flowers in Italy.