Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunny Florida!

The kitties and dh and I arrived at Ft. Myers Beach for a visit yesterday. The weather is wonderful and the condo we are in is even nicer than previous years. We have a big screened in porch where George and his brother can watch all the birds and I can watch the canal doings as well.
For some reason, they have put a boom extending out over the canal this year, ostensibly to keep some of the floating debris from making its way down the canal. The birds LOVE it and so first thing there was this little snowy egret.

I could easily stay here forever!!! Of course my walking is severely limited because of my stupid foot but I get out as much as I can! Today was busy doing shopping and putting away as we were pooped after driving all day yesterday. So picture taking was limited but I really wanted to try out the new camera down here.
This was the same egret but I noticed his almost perfect reflection as well. There was a nice breeze but evidently not where he was sitting.

Of course the Great Egret had to come visiting as well.
There were lots of pelicans and a Little Blue Heron visiting as well this morning. I just love these big beautiful birds.
Our drive down was on a different route than usual and we saw two sandhill cranes as well as an American Bald Eagle very close up. Warren doesn't stop so no pictures though. The eagle flew up from the side of the road just as we were driving by and he was BIG.
Well, a "cold" front is supposed to come through tomorrow and drop our temps to a freezing 72 degrees. Br........

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Trip to the Secret Beach

This was taken from my porch looking down on the empty lot across the street where two ibis had decided to come for their Friday brunch! Didn't have to leave home for these!

Well, it isn't the season to see any significant bird life on the secret beach but I made a trip down there anyway the other day at low tide. I just love seeing the waves breaking on the seaweed covered sandstone which is strewn over the beach. It is a very strange sight on these normally just sandy beaches. There were only the usual sanderlings and a few ruddy turnstones though but I managed to take 100 pictures anyway. It is just too easy with this new camera!!

You can see a couple of ruddy turnstones with the more common sanderlings which are about the same size. The ruddy turnstones have bright orange legs and black bibs.

I like the texture of the rocks and seaweed here.

I have finally hunkered down and done some sewing as well putting together a pile of about 30 nine-patches which will translate into 120 9 in 4 patches. These blocks will all be used to make "comfort quilts" for our quilt club. Even after making all these blocks, I can just barely see the piles of squares getting smaller. The sad part is that I actually went to JoAnns today and bought some cottons solids for the block centers as I actually was out of the ones I had cut from the scraps. So sad when you don't have your stash there from which to draw!

Stay tuned! My next post will be from Ft. Myers Beach where I will be for a short time enjoying even warmer weather and visiting with family and friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Do I Ever Get Anything Done Here?

This time for the short trip south I didn't pack a lot of projects to do as I had the sneaking suspicion a lot wouldn't get done but figured some would! Wrong... How can you sit inside when it is sunny and 70 out? Well, you can't.. It's like my various trips to London when I swore I would visit the British Museum on a rainy day. Four trips and no rain so finally had to go on a sunny day (we did have rain later that week though).

These are the brightly blooming roses in front of the beach house!

At least I have taken the sewing machine out of the closet and set it up hoping to inspire some work at night at least. Nothing spectacular is up for creation anyway -- just using some of the strips and squares I diligently cut over the past couple of weeks, getting rid of some of "too little for projects or for selling but too big for giveaway" fabric I had. It has its own built in pallette as they were leftovers from former projects, the Dear Jane's of my past as well as the "I Spy" quilts.

But most of the time I sit and read or walk along the beach trying to catch a peak at a new bird. Same old willets though!

This is the most common gull down here -- the relatively large ring billed gull. There are a lot of laughing gulls as well as tons of pelicans!

There were these two cute little girls feeding the flock of ring billed gulls on the beach today.

Of course, still taking pictures from the third floor of the house. This is a gulf fritillary I presume -- I have seen lots of these, buckeyes and the sulphurs.

This is one of the buckeyes. The flowers next door had almost died out in September when we were here. Everything is blooming now!

This is a Ruddy Turnstone in his winter plummage. He kind of looks like a pigeon. I hadn 't seen one of these down on our section of the beach before.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall Migration -- GVQC Retreat

What more fitting tribute to autumn than visiting the outlet of the Irondequoit Bay into Lake Ontario where the wild domestic geese are congregating and hopefully migrating to warmer climates. There were no Canada Geese there but were lots of these domestic geese with their bright orange feet. They look like they would make a very nice Thanksgiving dinner!
Coming home late in the afternoon, the setting sun lit up this last maple and the cool air encouraged lots of contrails in the bright blue sky. Of course I think of Marcia and her Jet Trails series!
Roz and Janet do a great job organizing our now annual Fall Migration at a local banquet facility where we socialize, quilt and eat! This year's focus was using those jelly rolls that are so popular . These rolls usually consist of 40 fairly well matched strips 2 1/2 inches wide by the width of the fabric. The two quilts that we had today were called "hugs" and "kisses". The first one is the "hugs" quilt designed by Roz. Both of these quilts are made with a three piece strip set of light/dark/light. This one is made by making squares, cutting on the diagonal and piecing back together.

This is Janet's "kisses" quilt which comes from the same strip set as above. Her squares though are cut twice diagonally and repieced. It is really very simple but does take some careful sewing. As usual, her colors are wonderful using mostly repro fabrics.

Many of us were working on our own projects. Here, Pat is working on a Christmas top, by making squares an then cutting then diagonally and re-piecing.

Judy is working away on the kisses quilt with beautiful blue and purple batiks as the "dark".

Another quilter is also working on a different color combination. You can see the blocks in various phases in this picture.

Hope brought in these beautiful blocks that she had done and we may see these as a future fall migration project. She saw the blocks and then drafted them in EQ. They were really nice and easy to put together as well!! Very gentle curves.
Claire was working on a top she started in a Mary Mashuta workshop on working with stripes. This is a good example of a scrap quilt that you need to see altogether to really appreciate. So many people get discouraged with scrap quilts in the early stages as nothing seems to go together but if you work big enough, it will work -- you just have to trust the process.

You may remember this block from an earlier blog. Jeanne Simpson was using it for one of her retreats where she introduces simple blocks so that people an construct whole quilts during the brief stay. I have been cutting up leftovers from various projects into piles of squares and strips for some time now. These fabrics are all leftovers from my 289 block Dear Jane sampler that I did several years ago and because of that all the prints are fairly small (the blocks are only 4 1/2 inches square). I have decided that I am just going to make a ton of these blocks and then mix them up to make some halfway decent looking comfort quilts. I will have to add in some large prints to make them more interesting though. This is just plain boring!! I tend to work in very high contrast and I think a few more lower contrast blocks and some big prints would help it a lot! The block is so easy though. I have dubbed it "disappearing four patch" as you start by making a four patch. You then take your ruler and make four cuts in your four patch -- each cut an equal amount from the center lines. This leaves you with four squares, a little four patch in the middle and four segments with two rectangles. You just turn the rectangles around and reassemble as a nine patch! A lot of people have been making the "disappearing nine patch" which is very similar.

Friday, November 12, 2010

GVQC - November Meeting Part 2 - Chris Wickert

This is one of my favorites of Chris's quilts. It is the first one she made out of dupioni silk. The center is from a book but the wavy lines out are Chris's design.

Our speaker yesterday was our own Chris Wickert! As I mentioned, she is one of the most prolific quilters I have met and her quilts are all of the highest quality workmanship! Chris shared her journey from all types of needlework into quilting over the past 20-30 years! The quilt to the left is her very first quilt. It is actually machine quilted and it looked pretty good since at the time she didn't even know to baste the layers together!! I had never seen her do quilting on a machine so this was a surprise. Pretty nice first quilt!!

This is actually her second quilt and you can certainly see the forward progress as she hand quilted this one and thus began a love affair with hand quilting. Unbelievably she quilts with no hoop!! She starts in the middle after heavily basting and just quilts out to the edges!

Can you believe this was done as a commission! A friend asked her to do a quilt for her son's wedding. This is a king sized quilt and is exquisite. A month before the wedding, it was called off but the woman gave the quilt to her son anyway who moved to Montana. A few years later a box arrived at Chris's house with the quilt in it saying he loved the quilt but it didn't fit his house so he was giving it back. Chris currently has this quilt on her bed!

Finally Chris decided she needed to take a beginning quilting class from Susie Payne. Half the quilters in Rochester got their beginnings and drive from taking one of Susie's classes (I took two as did Chris). She shared that she was so apprehensive before taking the course that she made all the blocks in Susie's book before the class began!

Chris uses many commercially available patterns as the starting point for many of her quilts but adds her touches as well as fabulous fabric choices. She gives credit in her presentations to the source of her designs and shares how she has changed them.

This is a familiar Piece 'O Cake design but somehow in Chris's hands, it looks so much better!

This was totally Chris's design inspired by Paula Naderstern's wonderful quilts and techniques. It was one of several quilts that had been made to be contributed to charitable auctions. They always bring high dollars!

One of her many smaller tops.

Chris has in the past few years developed a love for working with silk dupioni and this is one of her creations made entirely in silk. Alternate blocks are appliqued. Double click on any of these quilts to get a better view of them. I was about 40 feet away and used a telephoto for all these pictures with a high ISO setting so I didn't have to use a flash.

This was from a Sally Collins workshop. Chris had very unexpected and severe medical problems at the time she was working on this quilt and could not use her stairs at all and therefore could not get to her sewing machine or cutting board or her stash. With help from friends, she got the fabric picked out and cut and she totally hand pieced and hand quilted this masterpiece during her recovery. She is totally back to her old self now but it was scary to see her thin and in a wheelchair wasting away. She doesn't think she will hand piece another quilt though!

Another of her beautiful quilts. Wonderful fabric choices and workmanship!

This is another of her silk dupioni appliqued quilts!

I know I have seen many other quilts by Chris (and I haven't shown all she showed today even). We can only hope that we will see her quilting for another 25 years (at least)!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GVQC - November Meeting Part 1

These art quilts were all done in a workshop held by Rosalie Dace after our September meeting. The two photos below are closeups of these quilts.

There have not been a lot of quilts for show and tell the last few meetings I have gone to but people certainly made up for it today!! There were lots and lots of quilts to admire as well as a trunk show by one of our very prolific and talented members -- Chris Wickert. What a surprise it was to see so many quilts that I had either never seen or that I had seen so long ago, I didn't remember them. Chris is one of the most prolific quilters I have met and her quilts are exquisitely done -- wonderful workmanship in piecing, applique and hand quilting.

Carolyn is another long time quilter who for many years did all the quilt appraisals in the area and has led several significant quilting projects. She shared two quilts that she had worked on for schools today. Chris Wickert also shared a couple of the quilts made for schools. Unfortunately, because of fire codes, they can no longer have them on the walls -- how sad as I am sure they were really enjoyed.

Mary Lou did this next series of three quilt tops. She is known for her exquisite applique and quilting .

We finally had a new member come in to day from California who was male. We have had at least one male member before but he was not an active quilter. Mike is a very active quilter and said he had been doing this for 40 years. He moved here from California and we certainly welcome him to GVQC! This and the next quilt were his and you can see him pictured with his quilt below.

These three ladies all showed small quilts they had done in a threadpainting class taught by RAFA member Anne Fischer. Anne is a master at machine thread painting as are several others in our group.

This is a closeup of the middle quilt above. Double click to see a detail of the stitching.

Ruth Ohol is another of our incredibly talented and very busy ladies. Above is a closeup of the quilt shown below so that you can see the beautiful machine quilting that she is known for!!

This is RAFA member Nancy who is wearing a new vest that she BOUGHT on her recent trip to Japan. Nancy makes a lot of quilted clothing but you wouldn't believe the construction of this vest. It is a rectangle with two round holes that are bound that the arms go through. That is it.... She took it off to show us. It looked just perfect on Nancy.

Nancy also bought a quilt! It was completely hand done and she was fascinated by the use of the cathedral window pattern to make this two sided quilt. This is the front and the picture below is the back.