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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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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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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Uppercase Magazine Feature

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A couple of months ago I got a message from Janine at Uppercase Magazine asking if she could feature my folk art cat painting in the next issue. Of course I said yes! It’s such a colorful, lively page and I’m honored to be there along with other wonderful artists including Mogg Shop because I own a couple of her paintings myself.

The issue just arrived in hands all over the world and I realized that it’s poor timing on my part because my shop is on holiday until July 15. Never fear though, that cat painting and several others will be available as soon as my shop opens. Shop links are in the header.

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Our Dear Scrabble

Scrabble, 2004 to 2019

Scrabble, 2004 to 2019

It’s been a rough couple of months, but it’s time to get this blog rolling again. It all started in late April when I got really sick while on a trip to California. I was there for the SAQA conference, but only managed to make it to one morning of talks. By the time I got home a couple of days later I could barely breathe for coughing. Then, later that week our sweet little Scrabble took a turn for the worse (he had a heart murmur) and we had to put him down. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I still miss him like crazy. I haven’t had such a hard time with a pet’s death since my childhood dog died. I think about him every day and can’t believe he’s not underfoot and ready for hugs.

As time went on my cough actually got worse and I am sure I had bronchitis at least and possibly pneumonia which I’ve had several times before. It took many weeks to recover from the cough and exhaustion. In the meantime we were still trying to get ready to put our house on the market and also make decisions about the new house we are building. It was exhausting to try to get it all done while recovering from my illness and dealing with grief. Then, just as we were getting a handle on things a couple of weeks ago my sister had surgery for a burst appendix and I was visiting the hospital for several days. Thankfully, she’s home and recuperating well.

Our house is now tidied up and on the market and we are getting on top of the decisions that need to be made for the new one. We hope to be moving in by late August or September. While I’ve kept up with hand stitching, knitting, and spinning (easy activities to do while recuperating) I hadn’t really had much studio time. As it turns out though, deadlines don’t disappear just because life is crazy. So, in the past couple of weeks I’ve also managed to finish my guild challenge quilt (it’s secret for now) and work on my SAQA challenge quilt which is due in a couple of weeks. I even got out an old WIP which is getting exciting again. I’m looking forward to getting back to regular posting again soon!

No Country for Fools

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Big Snow, February 2019

Last week we had a huge snowstorm that went on for several days and in the end we had nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground. It was a record amount for this area and led to all sorts of cancellations. It’s also been so cold since then that not much as melted. Now, a new storm just blew in and we’ll get several more inches. I can safely say that just about everyone is kind of sick of snow. We live so close to the mountains that we’d be just as happy to have it stay there and not come down to town! Anyway, it does give one lots of indoor time to catch up on projects when you aren’t clearing snow.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

One project I managed to finish is called No Country for Fools. it’s inspired by Temperance Creek by Pamela Royes. This book was chosen by QuiltWorks as an alternative to the Novel Idea book this year. In this case, the author lives in Oregon and she will come to town for the quilt reception and will do an author talk the next day. Here’s a link to the book trailer which is pretty fascinating. Maybe you’ll want to read it too!

The title of this quilt comes directly from the book and is a description of the area of eastern Oregon where it takes place. I took one line that the author had about a dream that she is reminded of just as she drives toward her new life in the wilds of eastern Oregon. Her dream was about a crow flying beside her car window as she drove.

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I used some old shirts that my dad was done with. I cut them into various odd shapes and saved a couple of labels that I incorporated. I combined the shirt fabrics with some Japanese taupes that were in the perfect colors. The background was pieced improvisationally. Then, I appliqued the bird down and added some hand embroidery with embroidery thread (some of which was hand dyed).

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This piece measures 21” by 24”. I machine quilted it around the embroidery. I would have liked to hand quilt it too, but that would have taken too much time and I am having arthritis issues again so I have to be careful.

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I really love the fabric that the bird is made from (you can see it up close below). I have this stuff in several patterns and colors and it’s really different from any other fabric I’ve used. I call it bubble fabric, but I don’t know the official name. The pattern is created with texture rather than printing. These fabrics were made by Diamond Textiles and I haven’t seen them in a long time, but they are really great for turned under applique because they are thin, but very sturdy and the turned under edge just holds a crease really well. I added the embroidery embellishment by just following the pattern on the fabric.

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I washed the old shirts from my dad, of course. But I also didn’t obsess about stains or holes as you can see below. They tell the story of the cloth and the quilt, so I actually highlighted them.

I have seen a few of the other quilts in this exhibit, but I am really looking forward to seeing them all up. It should be an excellent exhibit. If you can be there, the reception is Friday, April 5, 5-7 pm and the author talk is the following day. Contact QuiltWorks directly if you are interested.

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