Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Quilter's Look at Morocco

What will come out of this trip to Morocco in my studio? I don't know. I still have things rolling around in my head from Kenya and Japan. But here's what caught my eye on this trip.
Stone Floor at Volubilis

Mosaic Marble Floor Tiles

Mosaic Tile Floor

Cedarwood Ceiling Work

Ancient library, courtesy of Atlas Studios

Arch perspective

More arches

Rudimentary Roofing

Notre Dame in Casablanca
by Louardiri

by Nabili

A Look at Morocco

Looking through the window of a casbah

Our Gate1Travel guide Ibrahim was a delightful man who showed us the best of his country through geography, history, and people.  From Rabat on the coast of the Atlantic through to Atlas Mountains to the edge of the Sahara Desert back through the mountain oasis of Ouazazate to Marrakech to Casablanca, we generous people and feasted our eyes on things we will never see again.
Courtyard in a medina of Rabat
Family outing in the city of Sale
Happy to be in Morocco on the way to Fez

Roman Ruins of Volubilis

  Karavanseri (Hotel for Caravans) now a museum

Our camels waiting to take us back down the dunes

Seriously, we were at the edge of the Sahara Desert. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be there, let alone get there on a camel. 
The variety and beauty of olives
Lunch in a Berber tent
Algerian food is tangines and couscous
In Fez at a leather-dying factory

While so much of Morocco is rural and unique, the cities are highly Westernized. Is that good or bad? Older cities like Fez and Marrakech have managed to balance what is uniquely Moroccan with some modernization. Newer cities like Casablanca are a bit scary in that they are so modern. Look at this picture from our hotel room.  We could hear the call to prayer through the din of the evening traffic.  The city highrises surround little flat shantytowns, where the poverty is visible. 
Morocco is a country of contrasts - the snow-covered mountain tops of the Atlas Mountains and the beautiful desert foliage, shepherds in fields and aggressive souvenir hawkers, the sands and the oasis, the seacoast and the high plateaus.  It's a country where you view life through a vastly different window.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

We're Off on the Road to Morocco!

We leave shortly for Morocco, a lovely 12-day tour of the country.  While we are gone, the kitchen is being redone.  What an exciting time!

This baby quilt for Project Night Night -  the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's spring charity work.  This 50" x 60" quilt will be packaged with a stuffed toy and a book and given to a homeless.  The blocks of this quilt were made at the January CMQG meeting using improvisational foundation piecing.

Here's a second quilt in process for Project NightNight from an on-sale jelly roll at Joann's. Do you see Weeks and Bill's book Quilts Made Modern in the corner of this picture? I'm using the cover design - I used it once before with great success - for this project.  So when we get back from Morocco and when the kitchen is back in order, I know exactly what I need to do to make the mid-April deadline. 

For my viewing and design pleasure, I have combined three additional fabrics with the beautiful Marcia Derse fabrics I bought at QuiltCon.  I look at Yoshiko Jinzenzi  books.  And then I think.  And then I look at the fabrics.  I need to get a fabulous white, much more refined than a Kona.   I'm thinking of a new bedroom quilt.  Just thinking.  I might cut a 2" strip from each fabric and just play. 

And here's that pile of Oakshott cottons I bought at QuiltCon. I am having difficulty finding grommets that size made of metal. These fabrics will be sewn horizontally, and I'm pretty sure I will use Soft and Stable . What isn't pictured here are those projects in the can't-wait-to-start/finish pile? That beautiful set of batik scraps from Beth, the pile of jeans that I want to turn into kick-ass shopping bags, my bridge piece, those two beautiful black/coffee batiks, the Moroccan designs I'm coming home with.

Leaving the studio full of projects I want to come home to?  Priceless.

Getting lost in the Blogosphere

So many bloggers have made connections through their blogs.   One of my favorite bloggers is Carol from QuiltFever. She does clever things with her guild, on her own, and is my constant reminder about the value of charity projects - she spits them out with great regularity.

Carol sent me a link to this tutorial to Sew Create It on a divided basket after seeing the knitting basket I made with Wayne. This is fabulous - I have to make one.  But what really caught my eye was the reference and link to Noodlehead's blog.  Fellow Chicago Modern Quilt Guilder Emily Lang was the one to pointed me to Noodehead's tutorial for wide-mouthed ditty bags and then I got lost with some of her other things, like a pleated zippered clutch.  Emily's blog is Mommy's Nap Time - look at this Weekend Tote she made for Quilt Con!

At QuiltCon It was fun to witness some personal face-to-face meetings.  Emily had a chance to meet Anna Maria Horner whose blog Emily has followed for some time.  Emily also met and introduced me to Thomas Knauer of Thomas Knauer Sews. He approaches quilting from an art history background, which is something new to me.  My two favorite blogs are Jacquie Gering's Tallgrass Prairie Studio and Chawne Kimber's Completely Cauchy (I was wanting to meet her at QuiltCon but didn't). Both of these amazing women bring a definite political bent to their quilt works, and both have taken heat.  Thomas, Jacquie, and Chawne have made me think about my work and what I want to do.  They are artists who walk the tight rope of creativity and follow strong inner voices

Just now in writing this post I went to the above blogs to get their exact addresses to copy and paste.  Each time I had to force myself to come to this because each mentions several other links that I need to explore.

I love my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild and the friends I have made  - this group has influenced my work.  I love my friend Wayne and the way we can talk about and share our work/play/art.  And I love the riches of the quilting blogosphere.

No pictures.  Just thoughts...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fun Sewing Date

My buddy Wayne's daughter Emily is a knitter. She spotted this bag and suggested her dad make her one. And of course whatever Wayne does, I have to do, too. So Wayne and Emily came over, and we made Emily's bag and mine. While Wayne did most of Em's sewing, it was fun to teach Emily some basics and she was a great gopher! I'm so crazy about the red and black bag that I may have to learn how to knit! Both bags have some nice interior pockets, are 17" long, and 8" tall.

Earlier in the week the women at my nail salon, Nailz4U in LaGrange, welcomed a new baby into their family. This little guy has a quilt, but his mom wants something she can throw on the floor for the baby but can also be folded up easily. So this whole cloth quilt is 36" x 45" and batted with flannel - a perfect weight for what the mom wants. Above Timmy's little floor quilt is a zippered pouch for granddaughter Nikki. She's 16 this month. Grandpa John has tucked sixteen 10's into this little purse.