Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Season's Greetings

This humble little tree is lighting our home with birds, nests, and crystal, tempting Oliver and bringing Christmas joy and peace.  It has been put away for several years, but Oliver is now mature and only gently touches the crystal ornaments and watches them move and reflect the lights, and he doesn't seem to notice the birds perched here and there or some of the fallen nests from storms brought in to save and treasure.  Perhaps if the birds actually moved he would start stalking them!

We've had snow, mountains of it, and frigid temps, but are happy to be snug and warm inside.  I've been cleaning, decorating, and baking just a few big yummy oatmeal cookies.  I have long since stopped doing anything fancy, and keep it simple and delicious.  

Below is another look at my Delectable Mountains wall quilt, showing some of the quilting and the richness of the colors.  I like the heavy old rose sateen as a background color, but the fabric weight was a bit much for the lightweight piecing fabrics.  The large triangles are a rich mud color hand dyed sateen so there was quite a bit of weight in the piecing junctions. 

I quilted the backgrounds with gold silk thread (not metallic) and that added an overlay of rich color to offset the cool rose in the fabric.....I like it!  I did do a sample with matching rose thread and it sort of died and looked flat and lifeless.  There is nothing, repeat, nothing like quilting a sample with your choices before beginning on the actual quilt.  It has saved me from making major mistakes so many times.

Oliver is helping me with all this exciting activity, and his favorite new thing is my lovely Polar Bear snow globe, a mother and two cubs.  

I've always loved snow globes but never found one that was just right.  This one jumped into my line of sight recently while I was shopping for something entirely different (probably something way too practical to recall), and it enchanted me.  I didn't realize until I had it a few days and tipped it over to read about it that it had a key on the bottom, which I turned and now can hear Silent Night tinkling away as the bears sit in a whirlwind of snow. 

At first Oliver watched the bears, then checked out the snow when I shook it, and finally the music, and now simply sits and watches, enjoying it.  He is a gentleman of a cat.

Thank you all so very much for the incredible comments on my last post; they warm my heart and make me realize anew how special an experience I had as a quilt teacher.  

May your holidays be happy and bright, the New Year everything you wish it to be.  Peace,

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Winter's Silence

It is that time of year again, when the darkness of winter nears, the silence is all around.  Oliver waits at the windows for birds, and the festive lights of houses begin to glimmer and celebrate the holiday season.  Flocks of huge wild turkeys visit at least once a week, and the heavy feeling in the air means snow is on the way.

It has been a long time since I visited this blog; my days have been filled with things other than quilting, but recently my interest in it was nudged just a bit by several things.  In June I was asked to appear on a new Wisconsin Public Television program, "Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin."  Nancy Zieman of "Sewing with Nancy" hosted it, and she also invited me to be a guest on her program in the Nancy's Corner segment, below.

After the taping the crew gathered around me to look closely at my quilt and ask me excited questions.  It was so fabulous to see these young people so amazed with quilting, so interested in everything!  Plus, it was a joy to work once again with Nancy.  Our conversation takes place in her Sewing With Nancy program "Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts with Julie Hendricksen."  It has aired recently and will re-run nationally for three years.

The quilt I was holding is "Delectable Mountains," below.  Quilted with YLI Sparkle thread (silk and metallic), it still gives me shivers when I remember how difficult it was to do, how it was tossed onto the UFO pile for a long time, then I persevered and finished it, only to have the hand dyed mud color bleed in the center of the quilt, ugh.  In the interview Nancy mentioned my use of color, especially my term for dull fabrics (below in the large triangles) that I called "mud."  

It never made it to the auction, I made a different and better quilt with the challenge fabrics.  I had this poor little quilt hanging with the back showing for a long time, and finally tried it with the front to the front, and can look at it without reliving the agony of piecing and quilting it.  The monstrously thick seam joins with very heavy sateen caused some minor breakage in my presser foot assembly, springs flying or dropping every now and then, repair shop needed.'s probably good for the soul to have to suffer through a project every now and then!

It also took me awhile to brace myself and watch the television shows I was in.  I was afraid I had said "ummmm" too much, or started every sentence with the usual Wisconsin "yah".....but no, all was well, and the editing took care of my wandering thoughts.  It was not easy "talking quilts" again after several years of retirement, but I found it all came back quickly and easily.  

This led to trying some quilting and I have to say even though my sewing room was a storage room and had boxes and stuff piled everywhere, I found my machine, and can still quilt well, and it felt good and looked beautiful.  Now I have to consider what I want to make, some small project that will let me experience that lovely contentment and joy that machine quilting can give. 

I'm teaching quilting to a great-niece, such a delight, and Oliver has had near escapes and great cat adventures, plus I'm still going through years of accumulated quilt things.  I found a fun article I wrote on color for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine a long time ago, and will share that with you soon, especially since Nancy Zieman brought up the whole MUD thing!

I think of so many of you often, the quilters, the classes and things that happened, the travel and the places quilting took me.  Going through my years of memorabilia has brought back so many lovely memories.   Stay warm, and more soon,

Keep quilting!  Your work gets better every day,