Wooly news from Linda and her stitch group!

Linda decided she wanted to do 48 of the blocks from the Applique Delights book in wool. She thought her stitch group would have a lot of fun doing them together. The girls met and loved the idea!

For those of you who haven’t seen this book, Applique Delights has 100 different block designs that range from classic to whimsical. The patterns are 5″ x 5″, but you can enlarge them to any size—there is a handy chart in the book. The original book is out of print but you can get it as an ebook or as a print-on-demand book. AND these blocks are great in wool!

Each stitch group member selected the blocks she wanted to do. Linda provided the background fabric and she put her wool fabrics out for them to choose from. The finished blocks are wonderful! And Linda says that as new blocks go up on her design wall, she is thrilled to see how great they look together.

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Everyone has personalized their blocks with embroidery and embellishments. They are having a whole lot of fun sharing ideas. Linda sent me this picture of some of stitch group with their finished block. More to come as the blocks are done.

Linda says that if you have a stitch group, you might consider doing his kind of project because it is so much fun! Happy stitching, from Linda and me :-).

Finding inspiration…

I’ve shared many photos of our trip to Spain, but I haven’t said much about how what I saw is working its way into my head design-wise. I was definitely inspired by the color, freedom, and spontaneity evident in Antonin Gaudi’s work. The color and playfulness, combined with a deep understanding of form and function, will stay with me.

But there is more to Spain than the work of Antonin Gaudí. I paid particular attention to the colors of the buildings in all of the cities and villages that we visited.

 

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The colors are generally warm, and tend to be light to medium in value. The overall palette is loaded with beige-neutrals, warm grays, pale yellow to gold, peach, salmon, and pale greens…

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If you are like me, you have stopped noticing what you see every day in your own home town. It’s so much fun to look around and see something new everywhere you look!

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Even the back side of a block of basic apartment buildings is interesting to look at.

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White walls and buildings were less common, but they sparkle when you find them.

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Strong, dark colors were rarer and stood out from the crowd. There are probably lots of deeply colored buildings, I just didn’t find them.

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Gaudí’s mosaics are the most famous, but they are not the only mosaics to be found. These columns can be found in the Palau de la Música Catalana designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

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I saw more white walls in the coastal villages. And a lot more blue… blue doors, blue trim, blue water.

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As I think about and remember the places we visited on this trip, I see these colors in my head. I’ve begun drawing my next quilt and I know that at least some of this warm and lovely color palette will be in it.

Park Güell

Antonin Gaudí also designed Park Güell, Palau Güell, and Casa Mila in Barcelona. Park Güell was high on my list of places to visit.

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There are so many whimsical shapes covered with mosaics!!!

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I didn’t love the lion’s head (below), but it’s the only thing I didn’t love.

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There are two levels to the park. The part with the undulating bench is on top, in the sun.

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The bench marks the perimeter of the space. I especially liked seeing the transitions between different tile colors and styles on the bench. And I liked that the drainage holes were well designed and obviously work.

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The plain circles that crop up like dots are really fun!

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You can see the more formal garden in the background in the photos above and below.

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The views of Barcelona were lovely.

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A colonnade holds up the ‘top’ of the park. It is massive, and the columns angle to provide maximum support.

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Stone and tile… everywhere you look! And beautiful ironwork…

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The non-formal part of the park is more organic. Rock work, no tile.

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The whole park feels happy and very alive!

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It was hot summer so the flowers were not as plentiful as they would be in the spring but those that were there, were lovely.

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We arrived at the park early and missed a lot of the crowds and heat. If you go, do that :-).

 

Show and Tell…

It’s time to break up the vacation posts with a quilt! This is Jackie Hillman’s Whimsical Quilt Garden — isn’t it lovely!

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It’s a quilt you could stand in front of and savor for a long time. So many cute details!

FYI: If this is a pattern you want, order it soon. The pattern is going out of print and I still have some in stock. Once those are gone, it will only be available as a digital ebook.

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Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your quilt with us!

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JackieHillman-Whimsical

Palau De la Musica Catalana

After our food tour, we went to the Palau De la Musica Catalana. It is a beautiful space where choirs sing. Not just any choirs… magnificent choirs. And not just classical music, but all kinds of amazing music.

I wish I knew more about music, but I don’t. Celia knows a lot about music and she brought us here because it is a famous, wonderful space. I want to come back to hear choirs sing right here.

Side note: Since I’ve been in Spain, when I google something, it is in Spanish. I don’t want to link to a site you may not be able to read so, if you want to know more, google Palau De la Musica Catalana. You’ll be glad you did.

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Mosaics are everywhere. This space was designed by a contemporary of Gaudi, Lluís Domènech i Montaner,

There are muses that surround the stage, to inspire the musicians. Honestly, doesn’t that sound wonderful? To be surrounded by muses?

And then there is the stained glass, on the outside of the building…

But the best piece is inside, above the stage. It is not flat, but dips down in the center. The space if lit by lovely, colored light…

After this, we went to see the inside of the Sagrada Familia. That visit deserves its very own post!

 

The Cathedral in Newcastle…

We visited Christ Church Cathedral this morning.

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It’s a beautiful, old Anglican Cathedral that occupies a high point of the city of Newcastle and it was open this morning.

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I was surprised to find a church filled with needlework! The banners are collage quilts!

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As was the altar piece.

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These quilts fit the space so very well. It’s impressive! But wait… there’s more!

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There are needle pointed kneeling cushions in every pew! There may be repeating designs, but I didn’t see any.

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These lovely fiber quilts and cushions, made by hand, make this space feel warmer, more comforting. I am impressed.

Sign-ups have begun!

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Registration for next year’s Empty Spools Seminars has begun and I would love to see your smiling face in my class! I’ll be teaching a colorful independent study.

‘Independent’ means that you can work on any project you like. It can be one of my patterns or someone else’s design. It can be any style from traditional to modern to art, pieced or appliqued, by hand or machine.

‘Colorful’ means that I’ll share lots of information about color for an hour on set-up day. The next morning we will spend some no-sew time playing with color before you jump into your project. This is a simple, yet powerful, exercise that my students always love. What you learn will help you make fabric choices during the rest of the class.

If you’ve never been to an Empty Spools class, it is definitely time to treat yourself!

Click here for more information.

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