Wednesday, 19 May 2010

On grandma's garden quilts

I don't make quilts. In fact, I have this idea (that I really, really don't like) that quilting is for old ladies with cats (I garden, cook, watch documentaries on the telly and I love cats, who am I kidding, I'm not old but I am an old lady, only very unvoluntarily without a cat, due to lack of space).

Since I bought patterns from Vogue recently (that I have planned to show you all when I find the time!), I occasionally get newsletters from McCalls. Today I got one about quilt-patterns (initial reaction: boooring).

But oh, gosh, I'm in love....

It's called Grandmother's Flower Garden (no QS1551 if anyone's interested), which seems to be a classic theme for quilts, though most are not as lovely and arty as this one.

I'd love one in a summerhouse with light white linen curtains that flow in the breeze from the open windows... (how romantic would that be?).

As I googled grandma's flower garden-quilts I stumbled across this page, with artistic quilts.

They have a very modern approach to quilting, many use photographs that they manipulate heavily in Photoshop before transferring them to the material before quilting. And it seems like they use a lot of "freestyle" techniques. Quite interesting and very inspiring.

Just look at this dandelion-quilt! Image from here.

Or this one... summer! Childhood memories!

I can almost feel a warm summer breeze on my skin when I look at it.

Read more here.

Makes me totally want to take up making quilts...

These tea-cups are quite lovely too. I'd love something like this on my wall at home, it's so beautiful with all the different shades of blue.

Blogged here.

Or these lanterns. I love, love, love lanterns.. I used to have a red one just like these, that I bought in Japan. I wonder where it is now...

This quilt is blogged about here.

This lily is from an exhibition called Exteme Quilts. Blogged about here. Very elegant, I'd love to know how it's made. There is some info in the link above, but for a quilt novice like myself it's a bit like Greek...

 This quilt by Noriko Endo was Best in Show at something called Quilt National in 2007. It reminds me of the azalea-branch that has found its way into our magnolia at home...

I know I got stuck looking at pictures of Japanese quilts in someones open picasa-album from quilting exhibitions in Tokyo for hours a while ago, they were fascinatingly beautiful... (Noriko Endo is Japanese).

To return to the beginning, here's another quilt by Noriko Endo, a traditional grandother's garden-quilt. It won a honorable mention at an international quilt festival in houston, read more about it here.

For some really awsome, inspiring quilts, both taditional in traditional style, traditional in modern style and some very un-traditional, google Tokyo International Quilt Show. Or just click here, I searched Flicker for you. Loads and loads of images... (once again: I love the internet!).

I should be retired! I'd be very busy making things if I was...!

Looking at quilts, admiring their beauty and the skill and labour needed to make them makes me wonder why they aren't more appreciated than they are. It's kind of typical that traditional "female" art is not regarded as "real" art. Really annoying if you ask me, it's a whole lot more difficult to paint with fabric than paint. I'm sure if men made quilts they would be considered an especially high form of art.

Some day the world might wake up and see some things a bit differently, with less prejudice... I hope!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Spring spirits!

No, I haven't died, nor disappeared or abandoned the blogosphere.

I have been busy doing spring-tasks:  

♣ Gone skiing in Åre the last weekend of april/first of may (surreal), it felt like a must to say goodbye to winter and greet spring welcome properly (and I just had to ski once more before summer).

♣ Gotten back full access of my much missed balcony (or terrace as some call it). Brought my stored furniture from a basement store-room and my pots (the ones I could actually carry, the prettiest ones were too heavy so my tulips are now for everyone's pleasure) from the courtyard. Oiled the furniture (in linseed oil + terpentine, the best way to tend for wood I think, and it smells lovely once it's dried a bit!), pruned the plants.

♣ Bought new, big insulated pots with a simple irrigation system for my "new" balcony (no more messy jungle, I want a pretty jungle with happy plants).Bought soil (so far 100 liters, but I will need another 100 I'm afraid... heavy stuff!)

♣ Taken care of the courtyard, including moving all the spring bulbs that I accidently planted on top of each other (not very nice, I'm glad they are mobile) last autumn.

♣ Had a fair share of battles with the architectural antiquaries we hired to help us with our balcony railings. They were supposed to help us improve the attachments for us to get a building permit but have written a report where they want us to change all of it. To something we don't want, that is less pretty than the railings we've already installed around the courtyard. Which means the block will look really weird and ... fragmented. Not well composed. I do like well composed things and places...

I try to focus on my pretty flowers instead (the bulbs I planted in december are all in bloom now, I'm delighted and go for even more rounds than usual, I'm sure the neighbours think I'm really crazy by now. But it's worth it, they fill me up with joy).

A magnolia tree (Magnolia kobus) a couple of weeks ago, buds just breaking.

A branch of a purple azalea has found its way into the treetop.
Another magnolia (also M. kobus).

You can see the balcony railings that the architectural antiquaries dislike to the extent of trying to make us choose different ones for the street facades on the left... 

... I think they're quite pretty and suitable for the buildings. So do my neighbours.

(The architectural antiquaries should know that I'm really, really stubborn).

These are a few of the december-bulbs, it seems like they all survived winter! They are even more in bloom now than in the picture, it's actually quite hysterical; magnolias, cherries, daffodils, tulips, grape hyacints and garden hyacinths are in bloom at the very same time... like an ancient image of paradise.

Hopefully I'll have some time for sewing/photographing projects soon!
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