Quilts and Color at the MFA Boston- go, go now!

Finally! After a crazy week following my office’s annual fundraiser dinner, I took a week of from work- a week that had been scheduled BEFORE I took this job, and a week I was lucky enough to keep even after the job switch… Then I got back to work, with probably the most on my plate that I had seen since I started the job, and had to get it all done by Friday, 4/11- because my office is completely shut down for Passover. Why do you care about all this detail? You don’t- but it is my excuse for not getting these photos posted faster. Now that I have 7 work days off, I am working on my sewing room change up AND finally delivering promised blog content…

Our trip back home to Boston was amazing. We saw old friends (and their kids!), and lots of family, and many of our favorite places. But one of the biggest highlights of the trip for me was a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, to see the brand spanking new Quilts and Color exhibit. (As an aside, the main reason I picked my undergrad college was to be nearly next door to the MFA, I love it that much…) (Another aside, the flags in the photo are a half mast in honor of the two Boston firefighters who were killed in that horrible fire shortly before our visit back…)

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We were very lucky- the exhibit actually opened the day AFTER we flew home, but my MIL is a member, which meant we got in a week early (and for free)!

The exhibit is from the collection of a pair of collectors- Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy, who sought out antique quilts that spoke about color in unique ways. Rather than being divided by time period or style, the quilts are arranged and display by use of color. That alone was fantastic- a different approach to looking at quilts. Each section had a fabulous intro, as well as a piece of corresponding modern art.

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It’s always wonderful to see quilts appreciated as “real” art, not described as folk art or craft. Not that those things are bad at all, but those words lead to assumptions by viewers. Seeing all these quilts, made by women both known and named, and anonymous, hung on the walls of a respected museum and treated the same as a Vermeer or a Picasso, changes the conversation in a wonderful way. Quilts as art, carefully thought out and created art… not news to us, but still news to some.

The exhibit contained quilts ranging from Baltimore Albums full of exquisite appliqué to a full range of log cabins and from hexies to economy blocks and so much more. The fabric choices were deliberate, and fashionable, and also sometimes astonishingly hard to work with- sateen, anyone? Most were quilted with painstaking detail, but a few were tied. Each quilt was chosen and curated with extreme care, as each is a stellar example of one of the many design and color principles highlighted by the exhibit.

I purchased the use of the interactive guide, and I highly recommend it. Not only is it an audio guide, it actually has images and video as well. It walks you in great detail through either 16 or 18 (I forget…) of the 50+ quilts. The info contained is well worth the $5! (Though I’m going to give a shout out to the Denver Art Museum, and the fact that their special exhibit tickets have included the audio guides at no extra cost for quite some time…)

I’m going to put a sampling of photos from the exhibit below, without many words. If you want to see ALL the many many photos I took, click here to visit them on Flickr. Also, please be kind about photo quality- it was amazing that we were allowed to photograph ANYTHING in the exhibit, but of course, flash was forbidden. So some are blurry or grainy… but still full of beauty!

And now, without further ado, the photos…
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(The other awesome thing? Since we went on Thursday afternoon, a few days before the exhibit was open to the general public, it was nearly empty. We got as close as we could to all these masterpieces, and it was wonderful. I did get so caught up in one quilt that as I backed up to take in the entire piece, I walked smack into another museum visitor. He was very understanding…)

And of course, no museum trip is complete without a stop in the gift shop, just ask my kids. But this was the most amazing exhibit shop ever!

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It was kind of like they raided my real bookshelf, along with my fantasy bookshelf, to get this amazing selection of offerings. Rachel- you’re there!  And so many more authors I love, some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet. So many books on those shelves that have inspired me…

All in all, the exhibit is amazing and a must-see for any quilter or quilt lover. If you are in or near Boston, it is worth the price of admission- plus an interactive guide!

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Filed under Quilts, Travel

Tula Tuesday: Blocks 25 and 26

It’s Tuesday and once again that means it’s Tuladay. Make any City Sampler blocks recently? Link up below. (BTW, because I’m on wordpress and not self hosted, you have to click the button below to get to the linkup. Ugh, I know…)

 

I’ve started the great sewing room move, and as you might guess, it’s taking longer than expected. The playroom was in worse shape than I realized. The cleanup phase is still going on, but, on the bright side, my living room is full of toys the kids agreed can go. The other bright side is that since we didn’t dismantle the current sewing area yet, I kept to my Tula schedule with blocks 25 and 26.

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In 25 I finally busted out some adorable skull fabric that’s been in my stash for ages. The colors are a perfect match for this project.

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Honestly, this is not my fave block so far. Out of 100, there have to be some that just don’t do it for you. And 25 is one of those for me…

In 26, I went back to my feature fabric, along with lovely blues and greys…

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More than 25% of the way to my goal! Whoo!

Here’s hoping your tula week was wonderful, too…

tula blocks 1 thru 25 tula blocks 26

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL

Sunday Stash: All Tula All The Time

This lovely fabric became mine right before we left on vacation…

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A bundle of lovely, lovely Tula Pinks. From top to bottom: Acacia Raccoon in Blueberry, Salt Water Sea Debris in Aqua, Fox Field Pony Play in Dusk, Fox Field Happy Dot, and Fox Field Foxtrot (my favorite fabric in years and years…)

I dithered around when Quilt Home was having their Tula sale, and by the time I decided to place an order, half the fabrics I wanted were sold out. Bad for me, better for my budget. The top 4 fabrics came from Quilt Home, and the bottom, the fabulous amazing signature Fox Field Foxtrot print, came from a local store.

And I only got one yard of it.

Because I hadn’t been into this shop in ages- they carry delicious modern fabrics by all the designers I love, but I remembered them as a bit pricey. And I remembered right- $12.99 a yard for the Tula! Ouch. They had the whole line, but I couldn’t afford any more at the moment! Sigh.

Meanwhile, I have this excellent pile of Tulas to go into many projects, but especially my City Sampler blocks.

Hope you had a wonderful stash week! Linking up with Sunday Stash.

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Filed under Stash Enhancement, Sunday Stash

Wordless Wednesday*: One Day at the MFA

One Day at the MFA

 

*more and better photos and a write up of the Quilts and Color exhibit coming soon, I promise!

 

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Filed under Travel, Wordless Wednesday

Tula Tuesday: Blocks 21 through 24

First off, let me apologize for missing last week’s Tula Tuesday. I had blocks 21 and 22 done, and I even got them photographed right before we left for the airport, BUT… we were so crazy busy on our vacation that the few bits of downtime we had, I was too tired to type a post!

So this week I’m home, and I’m all kinds of exhausted, but at least it’s a happy exhausted. Oh, Boston, I love you so much. I miss you so much. We moved away 14 years ago, but every time I go back, I feel at home within 15 minutes. We had a wonderful week, saw family and friends, and hit so many museums and historical sights. I’ve got loads of photos to show you… but that’s for later. Today is for Tula!

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Blocks 21 and 22 (top) were all about the purple.

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Block 21 may be the simplest one in the entire book. I’ll get back to you on that after 76 more blocks ;-)

IMG_6529 IMG_6546Block 22 is all Tula fabric- and I finally got a chance to use some of my squirrels from the Birds and the Bees. I love love love those squirrels!

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Block 23 allowed me to bust out my brand new Tula Fox Field print. This may be my favorite fabric of all time, and I only have a yard of it. Ack! The colors were made for me, and the animals are awesome. (I meant to show you this stuff in a Sunday Stash, but that aforementioned vacation got in the way.)

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Block 24 wasn’t as successful as I planned- it looked way cooler in my head. I still like it, it just isn’t what I imagined… I have the stripy Tula print used in the block- I used it in 22- and also 15- and so I did’t want to use it again. But man, does it look cool in the original…

So here’s my progress to date:

blocks 1 thru 24

By next week, I’ll need to start a new collage!

What about you? Any new Tula blocks in your world? If so, link up below!

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL

A Lovely Year of Finishes: April Goal

I’m setting a modest goal for myself for April’s Lovely Year of Finishes challenge.

I missed the first 7 days of the month, in terms of sewing and blogging, due to a wonderful vacation*… No complaints at all here, but, that’s 25% of the month! Also,  I have some big big plans for the middle of the month: setting up my new sewing room. There’s IKEA furniture to be assembled, and walls to be painted, and STUFF to be moved. Who knows if I’ll get any sewing done at all…

So, without further ado, my realistic if not exciting goal for April 2014 is to finish the Modern Cross top that I finally returned to last month…

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One half of the king sized quilt is together already, one is on my design wall.

By the end of April, it will be one complete quilt top, darn it, and I will have a shiny new sewing room in which to plot the rest of my year’s finishes…

Linking up just under the wire for this month…

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* tune in later this week to be wowed by posts about that wonderful vacation… or, you know, don’t ;-)

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Filed under Modern Cross, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes

Wordless Wednesday: the New England Aquarium…

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Filed under Travel, Wordless Wednesday

Meow Mix, Top Done!

For the month of March, I set myself a goal of finishing all 25 Catvent kitty blocks for the Lovely Year of Finishes. (I’m #134 at the March kickoff linkup…) I admit I got distracted by my Modern Cross, but not so distracted that I missed making my goal.

The blocks went together very quickly, and often, the most difficult part was picking fabrics. I made the blocks nearly entirely from my scrap bins, with some very kind help from Cindy over at SeeLifeMarvels. Cindy sent me a wonderful pack of orange scraps to help bolster the weakest part of my stash…

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As soon as Cindy’s package arrived, I got to work on my orange kitties.

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I’m so happy with them! One of the brides-to-be receiving this quilt loves skulls, so sneaking in that fabric in one ear was just perfect! Also, not sure if you can see, but the orange-y yellow kitty right below? It has a teacup puppy, in a teacup, on its face. I found some of that wonderful old Heather Ross fabrics in my scraps. A kitty with a puppy on its face makes me smile!

I moved on to red/pink/purple next, and this was the most stressful part. I had a horrible time making the red to pink transition.

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I really wasn’t happy with that iteration. I liked the kitties individually, but, the two in the top right corner seemed too similar. I was tired, so I went to bed, but when I approached it after work the next day, with fresher eyes, I found a solution.

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SO much happier with that version! And, I got to make another funny kitty- the top left cat? Has flamingos on her face… (And, I plan to piece the “rejected” cat into the back of the quilt, maybe using her as part of the label, so all will be well there, too.)

Looking at my wild and crazy cats brings me to a point I’ve been mulling over lately. I was chatting via email with Cath at WombatQuilts who, btw makes the most gorgeous blocks and you should go visit her right now if you haven’t already. She was complimenting my fabric choices, and I was wondering if my love of prints and busy-ness means I am not a true modern quilter. I know that there many different ways to define modern quilting, but when I look around the blogosphere, I get confused. I don’t identify as a traditional quilter- that just feels like a bad fit to me. At the same time, I make quilts from patterns, and am very uncomfortable with improv or creating my own designs. That does feel VERY traditional to me. And then back to my fabric choices. I don’t like “traditional” fabrics, and  I do love loads of contemporary designers. But I also love using massive amounts of color and pattern- I’m terrible at minimal or low-key. These kitties contain everything from solids to Kaffe shot cottons, from batiks to novelty prints and from contemporary designers to random 10 year old scraps.  I think there’s even one piece of 30s repro.

So where do I fit? Do you struggle with these definitions at all?

Phew. All that deep stuff aside, look what I did!

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That’s right- I finished not just the blocks but the entire quilt top with 48 hours to spare. (I realize the month isn’t yet over BUT we head out on vacation at noon Saturday…) I even got it done before the sun set, so I could get a few photos before I totally lost the natural light. Of course, I didn’t realize how wrinkled the right side was until AFTER I took the photos. Oops. But the top IS done.

Now I can head out on my trip with a clear quilty conscience… Everything think warm, not snowy thoughts for us in Boston next week! (Also, there’s a quilt exhibit opening at the MFA while we’re there, AND the To Boston With Love flags with also be on display… so, hooray- for me at least, the kids are not so thrilled.) Hope you all did well with your own March goals. See you soon :-)

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Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Meow Mix, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes

Halfway There…

(Random aside- anyone else around my age now humming Livin’ On A Prayer? Take my hand, we’ll make it, I swear…)

Apologies for the ear worm, but hey, I am officially halfway done piecing my long-neglected Modern Cross quilt top! Thank you all for your supportive comments last week- it’s good to know that others have let projects, um, marinate, for prolonged periods…

This weekend, I sat down and made the final five green blocks.

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No more trimming!! Whoo!!

This quilt is going to be king (!) sized, and so only half of it can fit on my design wall at once.

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And even getting that half up there required some very hard work and precarious step ladder balancing. What you see above is half #2. It’s on hold for the moment while I work on Meow Mix, since finishing all the kitties was my March goal for the Year of Lovely Finishes. But before I put it on hold, I got the entire first half pieced together!

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(Ignore the surly faced helper- she actually wasn’t cranky at all, she was taking her role as holder very very seriously.)

This thing is HUGE. I’m going to have to send it out to be quilted, budget be damned. I can’t imagine that I could handle it at home. But all I want are simple straight lines. I have a fun finishing touch planned- I have tons of blue, green, and purple buttons (bought on a very lucky trip to Tuesday Morning) and each cross is getting a button in the center. So cute! (I hope!) Ask me if I still feel that way AFTER I sew on #100.

Something fascinating about having worked on this over 3 years is seeing my fabric tastes change. Today me might never have used some of the fabrics picked out by 2011 me, but I’m glad that I did. Some of my older choices are busier than what I might pick currently, but they are very, very ME. I love seeing them all together…  Do you find that your fabric tastes has changed drastically over the years?

Next week, we’ll be in Boston for spring break. Hopefully their latest snow will have melted. What this means is that Modern Cross will be put on hold for one more week, but I do plan to finish piecing it ASAP, probably in the week between out trip and the big sewing room move

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Be Social.

 

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Filed under Modern Cross, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Tula Tuesday: Blocks 19 and 20

I made my March goal! I finished ten more blocks for a total of 20!

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Only 80 to go ;-)

Block #19 features a green Joel Dewberry woodgrain from my stash, and a Tula Parisville, also from stash…

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At first I was worried that the textures of the fabrics were too busy to work together, but, I like them.

Block #20 is Tula and AMH…

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And just now, looking at these blocks in the post, I realized that the one in the book that is pink, I made green, and the one that is green, I made pink. Silly coincidences like that always amuse me to no end…

Two months and twenty blocks down- that feels very, very good. I’m still really enjoying this project!

blocks 1 thru 20

Did you work on any City Sampler blocks recently? If so, link up with Tula Tuesday below.

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