Traveling in Mongolia

I have recently returned from a three week trip to Mongolia to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mongolian Quilting Center. We spent a week traveling in remote Eastern Mongolia before assisting with preparations and hosting the second International Mongolian Quilt Show in Ulaanbaatar. More on the show in later blogs. Now I’ll share some photo highlights from our travels in the area around the birth place of Chinggis Khaan. I traveled with Vicki Schmall and John and Nancy Watts, all from Portland, OR. Selenge Tserendash was our guide and we had a Mongolian driver.

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We spent our first night in the ger (Mongolian yurt) at a nature reserve where we saw wild sheep and very rare White-naped Cranes. For much of our journey we enjoyed beautiful carpets of wild flowers and an abundance of butterflies. This year there was an unusually high rainfall and the flowers were exceptional. The increased moisture also made our travels challenging and we got stuck in the mud twice. On several occasions we had to get out of the van and wade through boggy areas on foot.

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Here’s our van after we got out of the first spot where we had to spend over two hours digging and searching around for branches to put down to improve our traction. Fortunately, the threatening rain cloud veered away just before reaching us. The other view shows the lush countryside around the Onon river valley. We ate our picnic lunch on this knoll with this spectacular view.

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Here is a deer stone, a sacred standing stone carved hundreds of years ago and thought to be important in ancient Shamanistic rituals. This is a particularly fine example. The little ferry boat was quite an adventure and a huge contrast to the enormous Washington State boats that cross the Puget Sound. We crossed the River Onon in our van on this ferry which just took one vehicle at a time. This crossing saved us 40 kilometers of driving which doesn’t sound like much but our average speed in this area was only about 20 km per hour! Here we are with the Buddhist monk who gave us a tour of this remote monastery. It took us four hours to drive the last 30 km to get there, but it was a wonderful place.

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Foot Pedal Get-A-Grip

I recently discovered a useful new gadget when I was teaching at Quilt Revolution in Gig Harbor. It’s a very simple idea – a wooden tile with plush ultra-suede like fabric on either side. Put this under the foot pedal of your sewing machine to stop the pedal from scooting away from you. I wish I’d had this for the last 13 years in my studio with a wood floor. I now have carpet, but will still use this.

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Martelli’s manufacture this product and it retails for $14.99 in the stores.

Lecture and stay in Mukilteo, WA

In June, I had an enjoyable trip to the small town of Mukilteo, WA, just across the Puget Sound and a little to the north to lecture for the Lighthouse Quilters. Mukilteo is well known for its lighthouse in a beautiful park which attracts many visitors. It is right next to the ferry terminal for the ferries to Whidbey Island. Just up the road is the enormous Boeing plant of great economic importance in our area.

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The Lighthouse Quilters is a small group of about 35. The picture was taken during show and tell. My lecture was Creative Quilting with Kids. I’m not often asked to do this talk and it was fun to pull out several quilts made by children during my years of doing projects in Bainbridge Island elementary schools. The tree quilt in the background was made at Blakely Elementary by first grade students and is featured on the cover of my book, Creative Quilting with Kids.

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I was fortunate to stay overnight in Mukilteo at the home of Ann Lindquist and she gave me permission to share her beautiful quilts. The bed in which I slept was covered with a colorful vibrant quilt. Here’s Ann with a quilt she recently finished. I love the striking spiral design created by the placement of the dark and light values in this monochromatic piece.

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These two quilts were hanging in Ann’s dining room. I was particularly drawn to the Snail’s Trail quilt made using a wonderful variety of blues and limy greens. The smaller scale blocks in the border really add to this quilt and make the perfect frame around the larger center blocks. Thank you Ann, for a warm welcome and a delightful stay.




Northern California Inspirations at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Continuing from the last blog on my visit to the San Jose museum, here’s a small sampling from another exhibit entitled North California Inspirations. The exhibit reflected the visions of twenty Northern California textile artists inspired and influenced by the diverse and visually rich region where they live. Here are four of the quilts that particularly resonated with me.

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Urban Reflections by Ann Sanderson is on the left. Ann hand-dyes her own fabric and likes collecting just the right fabrics to express her ideas. The piece seemed to shimmer and I could see the lights reflecting on a wet surface. On the right, Turbulence by Pat Durban. This mosaic of fabric is covered with tulle overlay and embellished with rocks from the beach, beads, and tiny marbles. One of Pat’s favorite places is Agate Beach in Northern California, where the waves crash against the rocks. She likes to capture this mood in her work.

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The three dimensional effect of Morning Mist, San Joaquin Valley by Sue Siefkin was stunning and Sue’s quilt really captured the atmosphere perfectly. She used hand-dyed and commercial fabrics, and textile paint to create this raw edge, fused collage. Breeze II by Jenny K. Lyon was beautifully composed and executed to create the feeling of the gentle motion of the grass. Jenny used cotton and silk thread for the machine quilting on cotton sateen.