Often people comment that they could never make a quilt from one of their travel inspirations because they don’t have the skill to do so.
Well, I am here to tell you that these quilts don’t have to be complicated….they can be super easy and yet still serve as a reminder of the good times.
Back before I started the “Bridge of River Kew” quilt, I posted the inspiration and told the story of my fun day at Kew Gardens in London. You can check out the post and read the story here.
One of the many photos that I took that day was of this gorgeous flower….
Just after we returned from the trip I was involved in a monthly quilt-a-long and one of the prompts was to print a photo on fabric and use 1.5 inch squares of other fabrics to highlight and frame the photo. The entire quilt was only 12 inches square.
I cropped the photo to approximately 4 x 5.5 inches, added a 1/4 inch border around each side to make it 4.5 x 6 inches (finished size), and then surrounded it with fabrics that matched the colors in the photo.
This was the final result…..
It was super simple…..super fast….and yet it still brings a smile to my face as I remember a sweet day in Kew Gardens!!!
So, get out there and start quilting your memories!!!
Back in 2008, Michael and I made our first foray to India, spending most of our time in the city of Bangalore. This was still early on in our travel career and I was not super comfortable traveling around by myself, but one of the days I screwed up my courage and headed to a local Fine Arts Gallery. I went back and read my entries for that day and loved the memory……
Sukumar had told me of a Fine Arts Gallery that was fairly close to the Institute and I had been able to find it on a map that Paul Billy had given me, so I ventured outside of the main gate and hailed an Auto (Rickshaw). It did not seem encouraging that it took four drivers to figure out where I wanted to go even though I was pointing to it on a map!!! They finally agreed and I set off with one of the drivers. Since I wasn’t really sure that he knew where he was going, I watched closely on the map. He stopped a couple of blocks short of my destination but I gratefully alighted on the sidewalk. We were in front of a fancy hotel, so I asked the guard where the Gallery was and he pointed me off down the street. As I was walking past, another Auto-driver offered to take me, but I told him that I needed the exercise…..he laughed. When I finally got there, the same driver was waiting for me and pointed me to the entrance!!!!
The gallery is part of the College of Fine Arts. I spent a few minutes in the store which sells not only the student’s art, but that of the professors as well. I came close to buying a painting, but was concerned about how to get it back to the US. (NOTE…..if this had been today I DEFINITELY would have bought the painting and worried later about how to get it home)!! I paid for my entrance to the gallery….just 10 rupees (2.5 cents)!!!!!
As I walked up the stairs, a woman met me and showed me into a gallery. As I entered the darkened gallery, she turned on the lights and fans and stood with me while I looked. This first gallery was filled with paintings that had extremely bright colors. I finally found a plaque that said that the pictures were painted with tempera paint.
As I left the gallery, the lights and fans were turned off, and I was shown into another gallery where the lights and fans were turned on again. This continued all throughout the galleries and I came to enjoy the company of my “minder”, even though she spoke very little English. As I entered the topmost gallery, the floor was covered with a thick bamboo carpeting, and my hostess was laying down on the floor. She started to stand up hastily as I approached, but I motioned for her to stay put. She said thank you and that she had a “bad back”. I told her that I understood perfectly and that I might well join her on the floor. As I finished the final gallery, she looked at me and said “Last”…..my signal to leave!!!
As I left the gallery, I noticed some more art that was in a garden area just to one side. Since I did not see a “No-Photo” sign, I took a few pictures of the outside art. My favorite piece was mounted in a tree. It was a series of giant ants made from wire and plastic wrap that culminated in a large “nest” high up in the tree. There were even some ants at the base of the tree, fighting to be the next to climb up. It was very entertaining!!!!!….
As I walked around the campus a bit I noticed a young woman sitting at the base of a Banyon tree and was greatly moved by the image.
After this SUPER long introduction, this is my “Almost Wordless Wednesday” offering!!!
Now let’s finish the story of the outing…..
As I left the compound, I spoke with an Auto driver who informed me that would not take me back to the Institute, because he would not be able to pick up a fare inside and would have to come back empty. Another older driver came up and said that he would gladly take me. He was wonderful and talked to me about the area that we were driving in. He pointed out some of the houses and said that this was a very rich area, but that most of Bangalore was not the same. I told him that we had been living in Bonasvati and he seemed relieved that I didn’t think that Bangalore was filled with rich people. I told him that he could drop me at the front gate, but he insisted on driving me to the door of the guest house, yet another example of the friendliness of the Indian people!!
At last I am returning to the Travel Quilt series. I was enjoying writing about them and then hit one that needed to be photographed before I could write about it and that just shut me down…..I couldn’t get motivated to photograph it!!! Does that ever happen to you….something so small just shuts you down???
Anyway…. the next quilt was from a fun day in 2007 in the Yorkshire Dales of England.
But, that is the end, let’s start at the beginning…..
When we lived in Australia in the early 1980’s, we became enamored with the James Herriott series, “All Creatures Great and Small” We watched the TV shows, we read the books, and we dreamed of the day that we would visit the glorious Yorkshire Dales.
That day arrived while we were on a two month trip to England where Michael was a Visiting Research Fellow at Merton College at Oxford University. He worked most days while we were there and this side trip was his reward for the hard work!!
We arrived at our Bed and Breakfast and started talking to the proprietors. When they found out that we enjoyed hiking, they suggested that we take a hike around the dales the next day, following a 10 mile trail!!
We had a marvelous day as we hiked up the hills……
crossed over the stiles……
lunched at a local pub……
passed farm after farm…..
got lost numerous times
We arrived back at the Bed and Breakfast tired but with memories of the wonderful sights of the day…..
Now let’s get to the quilt……
I wanted to make a quilt for Michael that would remind him of our wonderful day of hiking. I started by playing with two pieces of fabric that I had purchased on the trip…..
…..and then discovered that they were part of a collection …..
I picked photos that I loved from the hike and searched for quilt blocks with names that spoke to the day as well…..
Then I started playing on the design wall, using photocopies to help me determine the size and placement of the various elements……
And came up with this quilt……
It was fun to include road signs and Farm Names as part of the quilt…..
We still talk about this wonderful day in the Yorkshire Dales and long to return sometime to do a LONGER hike….one where you hike from Pub to Pub and your luggage is transported and waiting for you when you arrive. Doesn’t that sound like fun!!!!
When I moved into my “new and improved” studio last March, I searched thru all of the boxes and bins and pulled out ALL of my scraps, dumping them into a large basket. As the year progressed, I continued adding bits and pieces from the projects that I worked on. At the start of December, the bin was overflowing…..
I started to work thru it a number of times but just couldn’t get motivated because I knew that it would take a LONG time to do!! Finally, I pulled out the fabrics and sorted them by color…..sort of……
The next step was to iron each color and group into three stacks….the bits, the chunks and the hunks!!
Bits are the pieces that can only be cut into small squares….1.5, 2.0, 2.5 or 3.5 inch.
Chunks are pieces that can be larger squares……5+ inch.
Hunks are longer pieces that can be cut into strips…. 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 inch.
Once I had everything ironed, I started cutting the two smaller groups….orange and yellow/gold…..
It was a good start, but then the holiday s came and I didn’t get back to this particular project!!! The ironed fabrics were carefully laid back into the basket…..
If nothing else, it looked a lot better!!
Last week I decided that I wanted to start the new year with this basket completely cleaned out so I made this task a priority and, although I didn’t quite make it by the 1st, I did get it finished on the 2nd!!!…..
Doesn’t that look great……
As I was cutting, I started wondering exactly WHY I was doing this but remembered someone saying that you pay the same for the scraps as you do for the yardage. That spurred me on!! But also the thought of having all of this cut and ready to use just makes me happy!!
The question now is whether I can set a schedule and clean it out every few months rather than waiting 2+ years!!! As with all things…..time will tell!!!
Back in the 1980’s Michael and I spent 6 years in Canberra Australia and loved every minute of the time!!
We were particularly enamored with the birds and horrified our Aussie neighbors by chasing a Sulfur-Crested-Cockatoo all around the neighborhood trying to get a good photo. We then learned that it had a nest in the tree in our back yard!!!
In 2008 we returned to the Sunburnt country to visit with friends and for Michael to do some work. Fortunately, some of the visiting took place on a sailboat in the Whitsunday Islands!!! Many mornings we had visits from a series of Cockatoo’s who were waiting for the proverbial cracker!!
I attempted to shade the sun with my hand but I am extremely glad that my efforts failed!!