Friday, May 29, 2015

More of Mother Nature's Motifs

We have just returned from another junket across the country to MN and WI to honor our grandson who was awarded Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts.  We visited two of our daughters as well.  As we drove I was once again reminded of my quilting passion as the scenery stretched before us.  We drove on a sashing of highway between patchwork fields of spring green, fallow tan, and plowed brown embellished with wheat rolls and black cattle.  Neon furrows followed natural contours like echo quilting around appliqué, seeming to move and change with the perspective of our progress.  Curving waterways in the rectangular blocks added interest and contrast.

We stopped for a day in Rapid City, SD, and drove through Badlands National Park east and then turned around and did it again west.  It is an amazing place featuring sharp peaks, deep gullies, grasslands, bison, bighorn sheep and much more.  One thing we thankfully didn't see were rattlesnakes, except on the many warning signs.  Since I haven't been able to sew for this month of travel, I could only think about it.  Below are some photos that remind me of things I do when I make quilts.

Mud cracks

Popcorn soil on the rocks

Mc Tavishing - sort of

Variety of textures
Edging of white clay washed off the rocks above
Jelly roll stripes
I never would have seen this interesting formation if
it hadn't been darker than the light shale around it.
Borders are important (Bighorn sheep)
OT - Who doesn't love a baby?  They are standing way up high on a very, very steep slope.  At one point the lamb was jumping and playing!  BTW the sheep are losing their winter coats.  That's why they look so scruffy.  The collar on the ewe's neck is placed by the National Park Service to keep tabs on the animals.
Bighorn ewe and lamb

Sew happy stitches this week.  Try some from Mother Nature's album.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Travels and Quilting

I have been almost all the way across the width of Beautiful America in the last two weeks to celebrate the graduation of two grandchildren, one from Florida State U and the other from Washington State U.  We had such a good time with them and their families.

I find that my interest in quilting has influenced my way of looking at the world.  As we drove those many miles I kept picking out patterns and designs that might have a place in quilting as well as colors created by nature that would look nice in a quilt palette.  I keep a lot of ideas on Pinterest, but there are a ton more in the world around us.

Check out the carpets and upholstery of the places you visit.  People look askance at me as I walk into hotels, theaters, and restaurants and start taking pictures of the carpet.  Some floor coverings are truly beautiful.  This restaurant upholstery has some lovely colors as well as designs.

Upholstery in an Indian restaurant.
Other places from which I draw inspiration are gates and fences.  They come in grids, diamonds, wrought iron curls and scrolls, split rail (interesting triangles), pickets, etc.  Driving across the country I saw lots of variety.

How about a bas relief from Pompeii?  Cobblestones, bricks and walls often provide inspiration.  
Bas Relief from a bathouse in Pompeii, Italy

Cobblestones laid in patterns.  Wall of design.  These also from Pompeii.

I love wind turbines.  They are HUGE as I discovered when we passed a single wing on an elongated semi-truck.  When you look at the standing turbine it is hard to fathom how big they really are.  In some places large forests of turbines sprouted from the flat prairies.  I find them calming in their slow, productive rotation.  One morning they stood tall and white against the pink rising sun anchored in a soft cushion of light ground fog.  So pretty.  Do they relate to quilts?  I don't know, but they are in my mind so may appear in a design somewhere, sometime.  No photos because we always saw them from the Interstate - not a good place to stop.

In a forest of deciduous trees I see stippling in the leaves.  How about making the stipple in the shapes of leaves?  Must try that.  

Leaf Stippling

Long leaf pines remind me of the tight, straight lines that I often use around feathers in my quilting.  The infant trees look like a clump of grass among the tall, straight trunks of older members of their kind.

Long leaf pines
While in Florida we visited Leon Sinks Geological Area, Tallahassee.  Hidden in the beautiful forest were many sinkholes, some dry and some with water.  The most beautiful was so quiet and pretty, and it had circles repeated all over the water surface from tiny fish and insects.  The colors would also make a gorgeous quilt.

Finally, I found McTavishing in the clouds.  They can be a constant source of inspiration and are always changing.

A cloud for McTavishing.

I also noticed along the road huge billboards advertising quilt stores.  We have come a long way in recent years ladies and gents.  I waved to the Handi-Quilter truck as it rumbled by.

Happy stitching this week.