Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bon Jour from Paris

After the third week here I have finally made it to an internet cafe to post. Can't do any pictures though because I don't have facilities for that. We are having a pleasant and rather uneventful stay (knock on wood). We're in the same place as last year and so everything seems much more familiar. My French is very little better, but it helps to know the ropes, so to speak. As far as quilty stuff, I have been to the Bon Marche fabric and sewing section, a true paradise, but of course everything is literally twice the price of the US, so I bought only the spool of silk thread I needed. Also have been to Le Vouvray, a quilt shop, but only looked. Went to an actual quilt show, apparently the equivalent of a local guild show. The fabrics used were interesting, not all cotton, some silkies, and the patterns were not like American ones. (I will post when I get home.) Workmanship is not up to our standards though.

Will be home on June 10--will be glad to be home, although it is wonderful here, never a dull moment.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I'm packing to go to Paris! It's exciting, although right now I'm tired. We will be there four weeks. My husband does some research with a professor at the University of Paris and we stay in a flat belonging to the university and available to their visitors at a very low (Paris standards) cost. It's basic, to say the least, but in the middle of the St. Germaine de Pres area on the left bank and walking distance from most big attractions. Besides the wonderful museums, the neighborhood is full of boutiques and art galleries and other beautiful shops. Window shopping is a real treat--and with prices what they are, window shopping is it!

Deb asked if I was going to buy fabric. "Le patchwork" seems to be of interest to a fair number of people there. I did find two quilt shops, one very near where we stay. You would think that clerks in these stores might speak English, but they don't, so shopping was interesting. I'm sure I'll find something, but I still have last year's purchases unused, and since fabric is about double the price here, I will try to use control! The fabric I bought last year was a very French looking blue provencal floral with a package of 25 cm. squares in coordinating fabrics. The shop sample showed the coordinates made into flying geese in a strippy set with strips of the blue between them and in the border. It was pretty, but not very inspiring, and waiting for inspiratation is ONE reason I haven't done anything with them yet. Interestingly, the Brentano's English bookstore had a larger selection of American quilt books than many bookstores do here. They also stock the French magazine Quilt Mania (which is beginning an American edition), and Japanese quilt magazines. So that may be a possible purchase. I have my circles to applique so that provides the quilting fix.

In case anyone is wondering, my French is very minimal, although I can read it! But we managed before and will again, I guess. This will be our last time for this trip, so I hope to make the most of it. If I can get a crack at my husband's computer for long enough I will try to post. Otherwise, a bientot, mes amies!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I made fabric postcard/Mother's Day cards for my mother and sister. As I was cutting out the little flowers to fuse into the basket for my mom, it occurred to me how like grade school the idea of a cut-and-paste flowered card was. I probably wouldn't have used that funky striped border in grade school however. The "Big Feeling" card for my sister has nothing to do with Mother's Day actually. It's just a private joke with us. We both hate that old-fashioned phrase used to describe confident people. We heard it frequently from our elders as we were growing up. We also agree that it was often used as a putdown of any woman who dared to express herself with any certainty. So--"Big Feeling" is a good thing to be! When I saw the women on this fabric, I had to make the card.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Here's my tentative final arrangement of blocks. I do have one that I have to resew to get this arrangement (center on left hand side) but then I can pack them to work on while I'm gone. This went much faster than I anticipated. I'm really happy with the results, although I know it's not going to be everybody's cup of tea!

Friday, May 05, 2006


I can see why this is called Circle Play. It's great fun, and I'm beginning to get excited about the finished product. I intend to make it three rows of five blocks plus borders and use it as a wall piece above our bed.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I have finally begun to work with the fabrics I bought in Australia almost three years ago. By a great coincidence there was a big quilt show in Melbourne the day we were there and I not only saw quilts, I was able to buy fabric!

I wanted to use some sort of circle pattern to echo all the circles and dots on Aboriginal designs, and at first thought I would do some version of Drunkard's Path. But when I saw Reynola Pakusich' book Circle Play I thought that would be a good use for the fabric. She uses circles of the focus fabric(s) appliqued to backgrounds made out of half-square or quarter-square triangles. The idea is to echo the lines and colors of the focus fabric in the background blocks, and create an attractive "value flow" of lights and darks across the quilt. Her examples are stunning. It remains to be seen how mine will turn out. These are very difficult fabrics to work with because the colors are unusual, even garish, and the whole effect is very busy. Putting them together with backgrounds that won't make the busy-ness overwhelming is going to be challenging.

Here are my circles and the few blocks I've made so far. It's too early to see how this will work. I have actually done a few more blocks since taking the pictures, and the effect does improve with more blocks. I would like to get the whole layout finalized before we leave for France in two weeks so that I could do the handwork while we're gone. But that may not be possible because it would be a mistake to rush this step, and a little time to cool is probably a good idea.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I came back from Paducah on Friday, but I haven't really felt like posting about it. I'm not sure why. It wasn't a bad experience; I loved many of the quilts, some of the vendors, and the town itself is wonderful. But maybe it was just that seeing two large overcrowded quilt shows in three weeks had caused me to OD on the whole experience. I hate crowds, and the AQS show is certainly crowded (and this was on what should have been the slow days)!

A few things that stand out for me are the wall quilts in general, (and the winners in particular), the beautiful quilting on the antique quilts in the Rotary club show at the civic center, the bargain room at Hancocks of Paducah, and the beautiful old houses and art galleries. The wall quilts are more innovative than the full size quilts and so I found them more interesting. On the other hand, the quality of those old hand made quilts is so outstanding that I almost find myself agreeing with my mother that things have gone downhill since the old days! And, in spite of my lack of interest in most of the vendors, it was great fun to paw through tables stacked high with one-yard cuts of fabric at half price. I was impressed with Hancocks in general, in fact. For an extremely busy store, they are very efficient, which I can't say about some of the other places. The town itself is beautiful with old houses, many of which have been restored, and many more with work in progress. Thursday was a perfect day, and the areas away from the show were peaceful and beautiful, making doing the art quilt gallery walk a pleasant change of pace. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of any of these things. The quilts are off limits for photographing or posting, and I didn't think about taking pictures of the Hancocks scene.

Amy posted a link to the American Quilter site to see the winners, and here it is again. Thanks, Amy.