It’s Fall Y’all!!

I LOVE summer!!

There…..I said it!!

I know that many of you are shaking your heads and wondering exactly what is wrong with me, but I adore the sunshine, the blue skies, and even the heat.

And this summer has been excellent. I have had time to do things I wanted to do….. quilting, painting, playing with new techniques, reading on the deck, and even the occasional (okay…. often) nap after lunch.

But, now it is September and it is time to turn my thoughts to Autumn…..

The first step was to redecorate my house…..

That task was accomplished, and now it is time to do some planning for the next few months.

Happily, there are a lot of fun things to look forward to….

  • Judging quilts at the Georgia National Fair
  • 5-Day guild retreat
  • 3-Day Modern Quilt Guild online conference
  • 5 days at the International Quilt Festival in Houston
  • Making a baby quilt for my first grandchild!!

Okay….maybe the Autumn won’t be so bad after all!!

Falling Leaves & Flying Geese

Michael and I have been fortunate to live several places in this world.   We grew up in Abilene, Texas, a flat, mostly treeless area in the center of the great state.

We then moved to Lubbock, Texas to attend Texas Tech University.   Lubbock is located at the base of the Texas panhandle in the “High Plains” area.  There were not many trees there either.

In 1981, we left Texas and moved to Canberra, Australia where Michael studied for his PhD.   While a truly magical place, the trees were almost entirely Eucalyptus.

Do you see a pattern to this history???

When we returned to the US, we lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 18 months where most of the trees in our neighborhood were tall, tall pines.

As a result of my geographic history, I had never seen a true Autumn where the Deciduous leaves would turn gorgeous colors and then float gently to the ground.  This phenomenon is what caught my eye in the Autumn of 1996. 

We were living in Athens, Georgia and I had just begun an exercise regime that had me walking 7 days a week.  As the days grew shorter, I started to notice the beautiful colors of the leaves and then watch as they twisted and turned their way to the ground. The change in the color of the sky as winter approached was also noticeable.

These ruminations were the basis for my quilt “Falling Leaves and Flying Geese”

What I envisioned was a quilt where the summer sky and green leaves appeared in the top left….

….. and the winter “white” sky with brown, dead leaves were in the bottom right corner……

Since I was still relatively new to my quilting career, I was so excited to think about designing this quilt from scratch and then actually making it happen.

The first step was to get a piece of scrap flannel and draw out a grid of 2 inch squares and start filing them in with gradations of blue scraps.   I didn’t have a huge stash so quickly ran out of fabrics, but it was a case of “Quilters to the Rescue”!!   I sent out the call to my quilting bee and everyone showed up to my house with scraps in tow!!  We all had so much fun picking out the colors and placing and RE-placing them on the board so that the gradation was PERFECT!!

With the background planned, it was time to decide on the leaves.   I found a pattern that I liked but it had stationary stems and this quilt needed movement so I decided to applique a curved stem on each one.

I was especially proud of this leaf since I allowed the stem to break into the border.

Another natural sign of Autumn had also stood out to me as I walked…..the honking of geese as they traveled thru the sky.   I decided that the quilt would be bordered with flying geese, some in groups…..

some by themselves and a few that were invisible (ie….only quilted and not pieced)……

Once the top was put together it was time to think about quilting.   I knew that it needed motion so finally decided to just do a few simple lines to imitate the wind as it chased the leaves across the yards…..

Back then I only used monofilament thread to free motion quilt and really like that the quilting disappears!!

This quilt hangs in our home every September and is my harbinger of Autumn!!

And…voila it’s Autumn….

… least INSIDE our house….the temperature outside is still well entrenched in the 90’s!!! And when I say voila….I really mean 7 hours of hard labor on this Labor Day Monday!!!

I have posted before (and this post talks about hanging my quilts) about my enjoyment of changing our decorating every season and Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. Even if I don’t start out super excited about “decorating day”, pulling out all of the artwork helps to get me in the mood……

I particularly enjoy the items that we have brought from various countries, including these fun items from Columbia…..

One of the favorite parts of decorating is hanging the “quilt of the month”…..

….and this one holds special significance for me!!!

I was born and raised in West Texas where “Autumn” lasts for about 3 days….ie the leaves go from green to brown with no intervening colors. Then we lived in Canberra Australia which had mostly Eucalyptus trees which were evergreens. Then came a short stint in Baton Rouge, Louisiana which had a proliferation of Pine trees….ie a storm of pine straw but no leaves.

Then we moved to Athens, Georgia where there is a good mixture of Pines and deciduous trees. A couple of years into our stay, I made an important decision to start eating better, lose weight and get active. The activity that I chose was walking and boy did I walk!!!

I started this new regime in September and as I walked, I was enamored with the leaves as they floated and spun to the ground around me. This idea for this quilt was hatched during one of those walks and I couldn’t wait to get started on it!!

As the idea grew, I decided to start in one corner with green leaves and a summer blue sky and have both the leaves and the sky change colors as they transitioned to dead leaves and a thin winter sky. I enjoyed working thru my scraps to come up with the needed fabrics and several quilting friends donated from their stash as well.

To finish the piece, I couldn’t get away from Geese flying South for winter. The geese thin as they go around the quilt and there are even some hidden ones quilted into the left hand border…..

I tried to mimic the swirling wind in the quilting…..

I love this quilt for so many reasons….. it was one of the first quilts that I designed myself and also it was the first quilt in my monthly quilt series!!

When I see it, I am reminded to look forward to cooler temperatures and the upcoming joys of Autumn!

Falling Leaves & Flying Geese

P4211084 (2)

This is the quilt that I use in my entry way during the month of September.  As with most quilts, there is a story behind it…….

Back in 1992, my youngest child started to school.  I celebrated by starting into a weight loss program that put a lot of focus on exercise….especially walking.  I was fairly new to the state of Georgia and not used to the beautiful autumn foliage display.  As I walked, I began watching the leaves fall and became enamored with the way they swirled and swooped to the ground.

At this point in my quilting career, I had mostly worked from patterns and had not done much that was designed “from my mind”.  The leaves were made first with the colors moving from the green of summer to the brown dead leaves of dead winter.  I also decided that I wanted the background sky to flow from the dark blue of summer to white wintery sky.

I cut out lots of 2 inch squares of blue and then started placing them on a flannel board on which I had drawn a 2 inch grid.  The morning that I started placing blues was also the meeting of the quilting bee at my house, so I enlisted the others to help me set the sky in place.  We all had so much fun arranging and re-arranging them.

As for the borders, I started with the idea of placing flying geese all the way around the piece, but realized that I didn’t want to make that many of them, so started looking for ways to group them.  I ended up being really pleased with the final arrangement and even quilted a few “ghost” geese in the blank border.

As I looked at the completed top, I realized that it didn’t have the movement that I wanted, so I added the leaf stems and allowed them to provide the “swirl”.  Even more movement was added with the “windswept” quilting.

In the final analysis, I really liked the quilt and it was a wonderful step into the world of designing quilts.

So, it’s September……..bring on the leaves!!!!!