Sunday, September 29, 2013

Time to Sew!

I changed the center setting triangles from the light aqua to make the center medallion more coherent. I made the last block in the series, a Dresden fan, with a light background - at the top center. The bottom center block, which you can't see in the photo, also has a light background. There are two or three blocks that I will also remake to provide more contrast with the background fabrics. They are all in the upper right quadrant, so I have begun sewing the rows together diagonally from the left center to bottom right. An now, of course, I can see that I have sewn one of the half square triangle blocks in wrong. See the bottom of the photo? Grrr. I will fix it tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I Need a Bigger Design Wall

I am making progress with laying out Grandmother's Choice after a serious afternoon of fabric buying. As usual, I bought too much fabric because I was too lazy to take out the calculator or sketch things out at the store. Another problem has reared its head - not enough design wall!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fooling Around

I have taken out my Grandmother's Choice blocks, cleared the design wall, and begun the laborious task of figuring out how to set them. I have decided on an on-point setting and here is the first very rough stab at figuring things out. I messed around in EQ to try and get some idea of where I was heading. The setting squares will be half and quarter square triangle blocks, shaded in rows of color radiating out from the center. The colors are obviously going to be different than the schematic below, but the diagram does keep me on track figuring out how much of each patch I need for each row.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Puzzler Block

This is the third block in a series that I am working along with my small quilting group. I especially like it when seen with the other two that are also completed.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


After a long stretch away from your own bed, it is always wonderful to get back home. I was not able to do much of anything related to quilting while I was away. There was a small shop in Heidelberg that sold Pfaff sewing machines and fabric, including some for quilting. I was able to buy several fat quarters of beautiful Japanese taupe fabrics. This is an expensive hobby if you are not in the United States. Each fat quarter cost 5 Euros and with the Euro equivalent to 1.36 dollars, each one cost a whopping $6.80. I also splurged and bought a pair of Italian shoes that were marked down to 99 Euros. They are completely comfortable and will look very nice with tailored wool slacks for autumn wear.

There was plenty of quilt inspiration, however. In the Altes Museum you only had to look down to see intricate mosaic tile floors.


In the Pergamon Museum, you find the walls of the fabled city of Babylon. Who knew they still existed?  Here is the gate as you entered the city. It is probably 20 meters high. It's composed of glazed tiles. I saw this 20 years ago and it is as incredible today as the first time I laid eyes on it.

This is a portion of one of the walls.

From the gate, you would have walked down a long street lined on either side by bas relief animal figures, also made from glazed tiles. The tiles are textured to indicate the animals' manes, fur, and other features.

This is a glazed tile prayer niche from a mosque. Each smaller niche is patterned in a different motif from the others. All the tiny tiles were hand cut and pieced into the whole. The imam would have faced the niche when praying and the acoustics were such that he could then be heard throughout the mosque by the praying faithful.

In Dahlem, a suburb of Berlin, we visited the third largest botanical garden in the world. Kew Gardens in London and the botanical gardens in Montreal hold spots one and two, sizewise. The dahlias were in full bloom and here is one lovely in my favorite orange color.

Here is another dahlia with peculiar curled petals. We saw several of this variety in various colors. The garden is very naturalistic in the presentation of the plants. There were literally thousands of plant markers tucked in next to the specimens which made it easy to identify something if you were interested. The plant markers were always in Latin, that is, they showed the correct botanical names of the plants.

Even the trash receptacles had Latin names, which I found very clever.

I came home with a bad cold so I am taking it easy. Sleeping a lot and only very slowly getting the suitcase unpacked, laundry done, etc.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Burg Frankenstein

I attended a wedding at Burg Frankenstein, near the town of Bensheim, Germany, on Saturday. The sign above reads "Please do not disturb, we are marrying!" The tiny chapel holds 40 and dates to the Middle Ages.  

Here is a photo of the altar, prepared for the wedding.

This is one of the old grave sites at the back of the church.
Sorry about the quality of the photos, but I do not have access to my normal software which can correct for lighting issues.

The outside of the castle, showing the defense tower.

The bride arrived in this 50s era pink Cadillac, driven by a man channeling Elvis.

The outside of the chapel.

Leaving the premises with a look up to the castle ruins. The red and blue sign means "No Parking" (Parken Verboten).

Today I took the streetcar to Weinheim, a 45 minute trip north from Heidelberg, to a botanical garden pretty much unknown except to the locals. It was fantastic and I have SO many photos from this afternoon, but knowing that most folks do not go gaga over rudbeckia, cosmos, hakonechloa, and other botanical oddities, I will refrain from posting them. 

A quick thundershower had us running for cover to a cafe in the Marktplatz where we waited out the storm over cappucinos and pflaumkuchen (plum cake with streusel topping). I exercised restrain in not ordering the cake "mit Schlag", that is to say, I didn't get it with whipped cream.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I have arrived safe and sound in Heidelberg. The first photo is from the backside of  the Heilig Geist (Holy Ghost) church in the main square of the Old City. The second is the Jesuit Church a couple of blocks away.
A typical window with flower box. The sign reads "Lovers, please kiss here."
Yes, there was a fabric purchase at the local patchwork store where they also sold my favorite brand of sewing machine.
Shopping in the outdoor market in the afternoon was next. Here they are selling fresh "hot from the oven" breads.
Cheese heaven. Enough said.
Gorgeous fresh flowers. Tomorrow we leave for Bensheim and a wedding. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Basket #5

Another basket done in the Glorious Basket series. Not a lot of quilting going on here as I prepare for a trip. I also bought a Nook for the trip and have found it to be a serious time waster. Once I get it configured the way I want it and learn about all its features, though, maybe that will change. Unfortunately I have discovered Words with Friends. Ay, yi, yi, as Desi used to say. In any event I can stay in touch, post to this blog, read books, do crosswords, and keep up with world events with this new tool. So as not to neglect sewing while away, I have made a small sewing kit to take along, following this tutorial: