The Undercover Quilters :: A Gentleman in Moscow

Our 10th Anniversary!

Our 10th Anniversary!

For our 10th Anniversary year we chose A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for our quilt book. This is one of my favorite books of all time and if you haven’t read it yet, you should give it a go. I think you’ll like it! Our quilt exhibit at the Mt Bachelor Quilters’ Guild show a couple of weeks ago looked fantastic and I thought I’d share all the photos here. Each quilt has a full photo, at least one detail plus the maker’s quilt show tag with a short description. Except for mine which didn’t have enough room so I did a separate info sheet with all the details which I’ve copied here.

One thing of note that I didn’t notice until the quilts were displayed all together is that they are predominately shades of grey and blue. It was a complete coincidence that that happened, but it makes for a very cohesive exhibit. There is one other thing to look for, since it’s our 10th anniversary we decided to have everyone somehow represent “10” in their quilts. Some did it more than once, some did it expressly, and for some it’s a little more hidden. See if you can find them all. Enjoy!

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Herr Drosselmeyer by Cheryl Chapman

Herr Drosselmeyer by Cheryl Chapman

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2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (78).JPG
Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

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Nevertheless, He Persisted by Jane Davis

Nevertheless, He Persisted by Jane Davis

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A Game of Zut by Kristin Shields

A Game of Zut by Kristin Shields

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My generic quilt label with a real explanation of my quilt below.

My generic quilt label with a real explanation of my quilt below.

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A Game of Zut
Kristin Shields

This quilt was inspired by A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for the Undercover Quilters Book Club. 

This marvelous story of a former aristocrat subjected to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov makes a life for himself despite his constrained circumstances and affects the lives of countless others over the years as the world comes to him. 

He and his daughter Sofia develop a game they play each night as they wait for dinner in the hotel restaurant.  They call it Zut, so named because, “according to the Count, Zut alors!* was the only appropriate exclamation in the face of defeat.”

“A game of their own invention, Zut’s rules were simple. Player One proposes a category encompassing a specialized subset of phenomena- such as stringed instruments, or famous islands, or winged creatures other than birds. The two players then go back and forth until one of them fails to come up with a fitting example in a suitable interval of time.”

At their final dinner together they play a particularly poignant game of Zut. “Sofia rose from the table to give her father a kiss on the cheek. Then returning to her chair, she leaned back, squinted, and said: ‘Famous threesomes.’ ‘Ha-ha!’ exclaimed the Count.”

*translation: darn, shucks, dang, shoot; pronounced zoot-ahlor*

Fabulous Foursomes by Susan Mondry

Fabulous Foursomes by Susan Mondry

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The Willowy Woman by Cindy O’Neal

The Willowy Woman by Cindy O’Neal

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Fantastical by Wanda McGehey

Fantastical by Wanda McGehey

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Map of Moscow by Erin Biskup

Map of Moscow by Erin Biskup

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Secrets Undercover by Martha Sanders

Secrets Undercover by Martha Sanders

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St Basil’s by Betty Gientke

St Basil’s by Betty Gientke

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What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath (40”x18”)

What Lies Beneath (40”x18”)

What Lies Beneath is another new quilt for this year. This was made for the Central Oregon SAQA challenge, “Beneath the Surface”. When I was trying to figure out what to do for the challenge I had other ideas, ones that were really quite different from this. However, when I have a challenge quilt to do I try to make something that could be used for other purposes besides the original exhibit. In this case, I wanted to do something modern and I was inspired by mid century modern design.

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I came up with this idea as an abstract way to illustrate how people, animals and nearly everything else in the universe are more complicated that they first appear. The original idea had a midline going across the width of the quilt, but at some point I decided it was better without it.

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First I did a small sketch of some shapes, then had to decide the order of putting it all together. I also had to consider shrinkage since the size was supposed to be 18x40 (either vertical or horizontal). I had to make the background extra big and then guess that shrinkage would occur mostly in the width rather than the height due to the vertical background quilting.

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I made a full size drawing and used hand applique and freezer paper templates to add the shapes. Then I layered and machine quilted the background. I started and stopped each stitching line at the shapes and since I like to bury the thread tails that took a really long time! Lastly, I added the hand quilting and hand embroidery. It was a lot of fun to to doodle on the shapes. I used a Pitt Artist pen to draw the doodles and then stitched over the lines with embroidery floss with mostly back stitch and satin stitch.

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Finally, I added my hand stitched signature to the front of the quilt. I’ve been doing that on most quilts in recent years and I like the look. It feels like signing a painting.

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I really love how this quilt came out and it was enjoyable to do (except for all the ends to bury!). The background fabric is Essex linen/cotton blend which is one of my favorite fabrics for hand stitching. I also love the backing print which is very busy, but so very cute. Those tiny houses are about 1/4”! It worked out great because I didn’t worry to much about doing the hand embroidery. Normally I would try to keep my embroidery stitches in the batting layer rather than going through to the back, but with the machine quilting lines it would have been very frustrating to do. With that backing being so busy all the errant stitches on the back don’t really show so I don’t mind them.

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Upcoming Shows

Rhythm of the Rails

Rhythm of the Rails

Good news to report! These two quilts will be included in a couple of upcoming shows. Rhythm of the Rails will be at World Quilt New England, August 15-17 in Springfield, Massachusetts. That will likely be it’s last outing.

Good Vibrations has been juried into the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, October 31- November 3.

PS- Do you see how these two quilts are related?

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations

Happy Town

2019 Happy Town (41” x 41”)

2019 Happy Town (41” x 41”)

Happy Town is challenge quilt that I was obligated to keep secret until the reveal a couple of weeks ago. This original design was made for the Mt Bachelor Quilters’ Guild “My Hometown” challenge. Rather than doing a specific place I did one of my imaginary hometown scenes of whimsical houses. Because it’s Happy Town, I also added the Bluebirds of Happiness. This cheerful quilt was a lot of fun to make!

The background was improvisationally pieced. This includes the grass, the sidewalks, lawns, and sky. All of the other elements were added with hand applique. The fabrics are all prints designed by Marcia Derse, except for a few solids and the grunge for the sky. I machine quilted the whole thing and then added some hand embroidery to finish it. My favorite part was fussy cutting the art history:101 graphic print to make the doors, windows, trees, and flowers.

The challenge quilts were shown and voted on at our July meeting. Then the quilts will be shown at our August Quilt Show at Pioneer Park in Bend, August 17, 10am to 4 pm. They will also be shown at the Sisters Quilt Show next year.

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Sew Teach Me Fundraiser

Tropical Beauty

Tropical Beauty

One of our local quilt shop treasures is closing this August after nine years in business. QuiltWorks has been a mainstay in the Central Oregon quilt community and has put on amazing gallery shows every month since it’s inception. I was honored and delighted to be a featured quilter there in March 2012. I’ve also had quilts in multiple other exhibits over the years, most notably with my Undercover Quilters group. So, it’s with great sadness that we say good bye to this wonderful shop.

This August 2nd is the 100th First Friday for the shop and they are going out with a bang. The gallery show for August (and really just the first week or two) is a fundraiser for Sew Teach Me which is a non-profit founded by Marilyn Forestell, the owner of QuiltWorks, that teaches young people how to sew. This has become a real passion for Marilyn and she will be traveling around the country to spread the word about the organization and to help get new teams started. If you have a shop or other group interested in the program please check the website for more information.

Marilyn asked friends of the shop to donate small quilts that will be sold to benefit Sew Teach Me and I was happy to oblige. All the quilts you see here will be included in the sale which starts on Friday, August 2 and continues until all are sold or until mid-August. I can’t wait to see all the quilts that will be available. If you are in the area, the First Friday reception will be a huge party and a great way to say goodbye to Marilyn and all the QuiltWorks folks.

Pink Flower

Pink Flower

Black and White and Spooky All Over

Black and White and Spooky All Over

Three Pink Trees

Three Pink Trees

Autumn

Autumn

Little Red House

Little Red House

Boho Baskets

Boho Baskets

Autumn Baskets

Autumn Baskets

Night at the Improv

Night at the Improv