Solar Eclipse Day!

Corona II: Solar Eclipse by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Port Townsend, WA was named one of the 100 Best American Quilts of the 20th Century. I had the good fortune to see this amazing quilt in a display at Houston in which those top quilts were featured and again in Paducah. The rich colors and composition are fantastic. It is now center stage at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY,  which is located in the path of totality for the national solar eclipse. At 1:22PM tomorrow, August 21st, Paducah will experience over two minutes of darkness in the middle of the day as the shadow of the moon passes across the sun.

Here in Western Washington, we will have 92% of totality around 10 a.m. I’m planning on observing it from the top of a mountain ridge in the Olympic Mountains and have my viewing glasses ready to go. Wherever you are, I hope that if you are experiencing this natural wonder, you will wear safety glasses to view it and enjoy it. If you aren’t in the appropriate geographical zone, you can at least appreciate Caryl’s spectacular quilt!

Summer colors

I’ve just returned home after a vacation in Italy and UK. In Italy, where the weather was sunny every day, the colors were so rich and vibrant with heavy saturation. In Tuscany we stopped by this beautiful field of sunflowers to take photos. I love the yellow against the the blue-blue sky and the way the sun shines through the upper petals of the flowers.

I stayed with friends in Northwestern Italy in the Piedmont area. We visited the nearest market town, Aqui Terme, and enjoyed the abundance in the local farmers’ market. The produce was so fresh and delicious. These colorful peppers are very inviting and when looking at the composition of the photo, I like the contrast of the striped coverings over the stalls.

In the UK, the hydrangeas were in full bloom and spectacular in the West Country. This one was at my niece’s farm in Dorset. Look at all the different shades in a continuum from blue to pink.

As a quilter, I feel inspired by array of natural colors in these flowers and vegetables, and I’m sure that this adds to the store on which I draw when designing my quilts.

AQS Quilt Show Des Moines (5)

These Double Wedding Ring quilts were exhibited in the judged AQS show at Des Moines. I was drawn to the unusual use of color in these two quilts and to how the changing background colors and the placement of different values refresh this traditional pattern.

Double Wedding Ring 2016, 88″ x 88″, made by Susan Haslett-Schoflield of Canton, MI. From a distance what strikes me is the color transition across the quilt and how the white ovals between the arcs of the Double Wedding Ring stand out. The arcs themselves, recede into the background, but the dark arc intersections are much more distinctive. Closer up, the subtle shades in the arcs are visible.

From This Day Forward, 102″ x 102″, was made by Carol Duffy and Sara Velder of Plymouth, MA. Their design source was Wedding Star by Judy and Bradley Niemeyer. The use of gradual value changes in the arcs against the medallion-style arrangement of background colors is stunning. I love the addition of purple points in the large background pieces in the center of each block, giving a diagonal effect radiating out from the center of the quilt. The wide purple border is a great backdrop for the beautiful center field.

One of the aspects that I love about quilting, is how even the simplest of quilting patterns may be presented in so many different ways just by changing the colors and the value placement.

Colorful Rugs in Oaxaca

Continuing the theme of vibrant colors in Mexico, here are some examples of the many beautiful woven rugs. The colors are often rich and heavily saturated. The Zapotec people use natural dyes including plants, minerals and insects. Inspiration comes from their colorful surroundings of lush vegetation, exotic flowering plants, birds, majestic mountains and local folk-law. Like pieced quilts, geometric shapes are repeated to produce wonderful patterns. The scenes with popular themes such as the tree of life filled with birds remind me of applique. In all forms of art, the color wheel works!

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Colorful Oaxaca

I’ve just returned from an amazing two weeks in Oaxaca and the surrounding countryside in southern Mexico. We began the trip with a couple of days in the city of Oaxaca, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s easy to walk around the heart of the city and my room mate and I explored the streets near our hotel on our before breakfast walks. My immediate impression coming from the grey of a Pacific Northwest winter, was the vibrancy of color everywhere.The buildings are in good shape and many are freshly painted in gorgeous hues and bright combinations. Here’s a sampling.

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I’m sure at some subliminal level my exposure to these delights will influence and inspire my quilt making in the future. Enjoy these pictures. Don’t the rugs look fantastic against the bright blue walls!

Awesome light-sensitive thread

In my last blog, I wrote about my tour of the Superior Threads HQ in St. George, Utah. During our visit, Bob and Ricci showed us their amazing light sensitive thread. Indoors, the thread appears white.

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When you go outside in the natural light, it becomes colored before your very eyes. The coloration appeared in seconds in the bright sunshine of Southern Utah. Apparently this is very popular for embroidery on wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses. The dresses look the color of the fabric during an indoor ceremony and then the thread color appears for the outdoor photographs. Pretty awesome! There could be possibilities for indoor/outdoor lap quilts!

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Quilting with Yellow

The sun was shining when I was out walking this morning and I saw these beautiful daffodils – a true sign that Spring is springing in time for the first official day of Spring tomorrow. The yellow was brilliant and so pretty. I began thinking about the way I use yellow in my quilts.

daffodilsA small amount of yellow goes a long way. Yellow can be a real eye-catcher or zinger, and a little bit can really add some punch to a design. In larger quantities, it may quickly become dominant and overpowering. Try to audition your fabrics to get a feel for how much yellow looks right. I like to use yellow in a triad combination with the other two primary colors, red and blue, as in the example below. This quilt, Deck of Pansies, is one of my Bargello Quilt with a Twist quilts with the 16-piece Bargello blocks arranged in the Card Trick layout. You can see how the yellow circles pop in the corners and the yellow pansies in the center help to define the overlapping Card Trick pattern. The yellow pansy fabric is repeated in the border and adds a nice frame to the piece.

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Yellow works well with purple too, it being complementary to purple on the color-wheel. I also enjoy making quilts from black and white fabrics with a dash of yellow and red. This combination can be stunning. I encourage you to give it a go!