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!

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (82).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (83).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (35).JPG
Herr Drosselmeyer by Cheryl Chapman

Herr Drosselmeyer by Cheryl Chapman

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (79).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (78).JPG
Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (72).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (73).JPG
Nevertheless, He Persisted by Jane Davis

Nevertheless, He Persisted by Jane Davis

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (74).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (75).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (70).JPG
A Game of Zut by Kristin Shields

A Game of Zut by Kristin Shields

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (66).JPG
My generic quilt label with a real explanation of my quilt below.

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

A Gentleman in Moscow image.jpg

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

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (63).JPG
The Willowy Woman by Cindy O’Neal

The Willowy Woman by Cindy O’Neal

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (57).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (56).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (59).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (55).JPG
Fantastical by Wanda McGehey

Fantastical by Wanda McGehey

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (52).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (53).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (51).JPG
Map of Moscow by Erin Biskup

Map of Moscow by Erin Biskup

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (49).JPG
Secrets Undercover by Martha Sanders

Secrets Undercover by Martha Sanders

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (45).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (47).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (46).JPG
St Basil’s by Betty Gientke

St Basil’s by Betty Gientke

2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (43).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (42).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (33).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (40).JPG
2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (34).JPG

Quilt Show in the Park :: Martin Marten Quilts

Martin Marten General (1).JPG

The Mt Bachelor Quilters' Guild Quilt Show in the Park was last Saturday.  It was an amazing day for the quilt show with picture perfect weather. It was sunny, dry, and not too hot.  The smoke of the previous week had cleared out and this week's smoke was yet to come.  I took lots of photos of the show, but have posted the rest of them on the guild 's website. So please go to the link if you want to see the rest of the show.

In this post I will highlight the Undercover Quilters special exhibit of Martin Marten quilt.  Our quilts were inspired by Martin Marten by Brian Doyle.  If you like these quilts I hope you'll consider reading this wonderful novel.  To see what they looked like a few days before this go to my previous post about our quilt reveal meeting.

I think our quilts looked amazing together, partly due to the uniform size of 40x40 inches.  They were also paired beautifully as you'll see below.  After the paired photos I'll go through each quilt individually, so keep reading to find out the scoop behind the quilts.

Martin Marten General (9).JPG
Martin Marten General (10).JPG
Martin Marten General (8).JPG
Martin Marten General (7).JPG
Martin Marten General (6).JPG
Martin Marten General (5).JPG
Martin Marten General (4).JPG
Watch & Learn by Jane Jensen-Davis

Watch & Learn by Jane Jensen-Davis

Jane's quilt was inspired by the techniques of quilter Susan Carlson.  It was really amazing to see how this one came together.  Jane used many different Australian prints to bring this scene to life.  One thing I love about these quilts is that although 6 of them include the marten, none of the quilters does it the same way.  And that tree is amazing!  I love the blue streaks.

This book is a coming of age novel of a sort, but it follows two main characters as they grow up.  One is Martin the marten and the other is Dave the boy who lives in a log cabin with his family in the little hamlet of Zigzag on the slopes of Wy'east* in Oregon, USA.

Doyle is one the most amazing authors to read because his love of language comes through every page.  This book includes all manner of tales of the people of the community and an amazing variety of natural history about the wildlife.  I feel like I know a whole lot more about pine martens after reading this book.  

Jane (2).JPG
Living on Wy'east by Lani Sanders

Living on Wy'east by Lani Sanders

One of the things we highly encourage in our group is to get your quilt done in any way that it makes sense to you.  If you happen to have the perfect UFO lying around with a log cabin and lots of animals which were mentioned in the book, then yes, please go with that.  Lani got lucky in that these blocks were already made and she only had to put them together and quilt it.  How perfect is that embroidered log cabin?  Did you know that the Beaver is our state mammal?  If you aren't a quilter, did you know that quilt block is called log cabin?  This quilt is soft and cozy and oh so perfect for the book.  Lani noted that her family has a cabin in the little town of Rhododendron which is in the same area this novel is set.  

Wy'east is the Multnomah tribe name for Mt Hood which is in the northern part of Oregon and part of the Cascade Mountain Range.  In the Author's Note at the beginning of the book Doyle calls it the "holy mountain Wy'east".  One of the main characters in the novel, Dave, "prefers to say that he lives on Wy'east, which is what the first people who lived on the and around it called the mountain for thousands of years, rather than Hood, which is what some guy from another country called it one day."

Lani (3).JPG
Lani (2).JPG
Dave's cabin

Dave's cabin

Oregon State beaver!

Oregon State beaver!

Zig Zag River by Betty Gientke

Zig Zag River by Betty Gientke

Betty is a talented art quilter who likes to hand dye her own fabric.  This piece includes hand dyes and depicts the river that runs through the town in the book.  In fact, the town is named for the river and that's true in real life, though Doyle makes pains to say that the town of Zigzag in the book is not like the real life town of Zigzag. 

"On the other hand, the Zigzag River in this book absolutely is the real Zigzag River on the holy mountain Wy'east."

Betty perfectly depicts the river flowing through the trees with dappled sun and shade.

Betty (2).JPG
Wy'east by Suzanne Martin

Wy'east by Suzanne Martin

Suzanne is one of two new members to our group.  She really outdid herself with this map quilt which shows Wy'east with its glacier and the ribbon of the Zigzag river flowing from the glacier .  Dave's sister Maria is a precocious child who sees the world from a map based perspective.  I love that Suzanne picked up on this detail for her quilt.  The running trails are shown as well as Dave and Maria's log cabin and another version of Martin.  The applique for this quilt was all layered on top of a white background.  We were all impressed by how she did the chinks in the logs of the log cabin.  Those are just slits cut into the brown fabric.  It works perfectly!  She also did a tiny marten in the trees.  What a wonderful addition to the group!  

Overview of Wy'east with glacier and the Zigzag River.

Overview of Wy'east with glacier and the Zigzag River.

Dave's cabin

Dave's cabin

Martin the marten

Martin the marten

Peek-a-Boo Marten by Sally Black

Peek-a-Boo Marten by Sally Black

Sally's quilt was a bit of a surprise at our quilt reveal.  Previously we had only seen the tree trunk and then she showed up with that adorable marten face!  It really makes this quilt and fits the book perfectly.  She also represented his sharp claws which are mentioned specifically in the book.  One of the things we see Martin do throughout the book is he watches other animals and people as they go about their days.  A watchful marten is one that learns and lives.  Sally's color choices are also interesting and so effective. 

Sally (2).JPG
Martin the marten

Martin the marten

What's That? by Martha Phair Sanders

What's That? by Martha Phair Sanders

Martha is the one member of our group who is famous for her last minute quilt finishes.  If you look at the previous post which was on a Monday night, you'll see that her quilt didn't have Dave in it and didn't have the marten.  She had only three days to finish the whole thing because the quilts needed to be turned in last Friday.  Somehow she pulled it off and it came out great!  Martha has depicted the moment that Dave and Martin see each other for the first time.  

"Marten!  And just as Dave realized what sort of animals they were and blurted it aloud, they vanished back into the woods, graceful and silent as wraiths; but the last one heard Dave say the word and turned and looked at Dave, and he and Dave stared for a long instant at each other before Martin slipped under a fern frond, following his family, and Dave stood up, thrilled and stiff, and walked home to tell his family what he had seen."

Martha also does a lot of hand dyed fabric and other fabric manipulation.  She includes fabric painting and fabric collage here.  

Martha (4).JPG
Martin the marten

Martin the marten

Dave the boy

Dave the boy

Baggallini Bandit by Cindy O'Neal

Baggallini Bandit by Cindy O'Neal

Cindy's tale of this quilt is quite interesting and complicated and if you ever see her you should ask her about it.  This is the short version.  The raccoon became her focus when she decided to take a workshop with Sophie Standing.  Everyone in the class was going to do a raccoon and with this book it worked out perfectly because just about any animal you can imagine living in the Oregon Cascades is mentioned in the book.  Anyway, Cindy learned Sophie's stitching technique at a workshop where it turned out her table mate was none other than NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg.  Have you seen this cool video of Karen sewing in the International Space Station?  But I digress...  Well, then there was another story that Cindy tells of a recent camping trip in Yosemite National Park when a raccoon stole a Baggallini purse from the tent.  That's how the quilt got its name. 

There were other misadventures I haven't mentioned here, but I don't want to give away Cindy's whole story.  Besides, just take a look at this beautiful raccoon!  The raccoon panel is created separately from the quilt underneath.  It was made with various commercial cotton prints over which Cindy stitched with many colors of thread.  It really is stunning.  The eyes, which took many hours just on their own, are only created with stitching.

Cindy (3).JPG
Maria and the Finch by Kristin Shields

Maria and the Finch by Kristin Shields

This is my quilt and I already wrote a whole post about it, so I'll refer you there, but I did want to point out that this is Dave's sister Maria.  She looks wiser than her years even though this scene is her 6th birthday.  But as I mentioned before she is quite precocious so I gave her a more serious look.  Also, this is her Cassin's Finch which was a birthday gift from the Unabled Lady.  (You'll have to read the book to understand the way Doyle names people).  However, there is one little twist to this story.  In the birthday scene Maria's finch is indicated to be a female.  Later in the book the bird is clearly stated to be a male and that is what I depicted here.  I am guessing this was just an oversight, and I'd love to ask Doyle about it, but he passed away last year.  The later passage talks about bird song and says "he, the finch" several times, so I suspect that is what he meant it to be from the beginning.  Anyway, that passage is a delightful discussion of how Cassin's finches came to be called that. It's in chapter 42 in case you are interested.

And Martin!  Yes, here's another version of Martin.  

Kristin (2).JPG
Flash of Gold by Cheryl Chapman

Flash of Gold by Cheryl Chapman

Cheryl is the other new member to the group and I'm particularly delighted about that because she's my sister.  Cheryl's quilt is so representative of her style of art.  She is primarily a glass artist (shop Silly Dog Art Glass) and she works in a whimsical folk art style which really comes through here.  She loves to do hand work and this quilt is no exception- it simply oozes with hand embroidery and hand quilting.  Cheryl has also represented Martin here, but not in a traditional way.  The ribbon of gold winding through the trees is Martin on his way to something.  He is also written about this way as he quickly makes his way through the forest. 

"....perhaps as you walk in the woods or sprawl in a mountain meadow or lie abed early in the morning and stare out the windows, sure that you just saw, just for and instant, a flash of golden brown against the long green splash of the trees."

Embroidery/Quilting

Embroidery/Quilting

The "flash of gold" running through the trees represents Martin the marten.

The "flash of gold" running through the trees represents Martin the marten.

A Bear Visits Martin by Susan Mondry

A Bear Visits Martin by Susan Mondry

Susan was inspired by this bear block from a UFO she had.  Again, if you've got the perfect thing already started, just keep going.  We love to finish up those UFOs!  Susan found a passage to go with it too.

"Up and up comes a very old bear through the thinning juniper and alpine fir and into the tumbled rock fields, and Martin watches from a high stone pillar."

In this case the bear block also includes the orange bear paw pattern which is a traditional block.  I believe this block was from a local block of the month.  The rest of the quilt includes wonderful forest colors of brown and green.  

And that's a wrap for this particular exhibit.  We already have plans for the quilts to be exhibited at QuiltWorks in Bend and hopefully at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show next year.  I hope you enjoyed them!

Susan (2).JPG

The Undercover Quilters :: Martin Marten Quilt Reveal

A Bear Visits Martin by Susan Mondry

A Bear Visits Martin by Susan Mondry

The Undercover Quilters is my quilting book club.  We have 14 members now, though two have moved away.  For those who don't know we read a book every month just like a regular book club.  Every year we choose one book we've read to make quilts from.  You should also know that the only rule about our club is that you can't quit.  You don't have to read the book and you don't have to make a quilt.  For this exhibit we have 10 finished quilts.  I should also note that though we call this a quilt "reveal" we have actually seen the quilts along the way.  There's often a lot of finishing in that last month though and often there are wonderful surprises.

This year our book choice was Martin Marten by Brian Doyle.  This book is a coming of age novel about a boy named Dave and a marten named Martin.  It's just wonderful and set right here in Oregon on the slopes of Mt Hood.  As you'll see, our quilts celebrate the nature of the Pacific Northwest. 

When we do our quilt reveal meeting it's just a few days before the Mt Bachelor Quilters' Guild show which is our debut exhibition.  We never really know which quilts will be complete, there's always some that have a little ways to go (or sometimes a lot).  Some of our members are a bit shy, but I've posted the quilt name and maker's name for each.  I love that every maker has a different style.  We often try new techniques for these quilts and we share our quilt knowledge at every meeting.  Enjoy the quilts and be ready for the next post from the quilt show in which all of these quilts will be complete.

Flash of Gold by Cheryl Chapman

Flash of Gold by Cheryl Chapman

Maria and the Finch by Kristin Shields

Maria and the Finch by Kristin Shields

Peek-a-Boo Marten by Sally Black

Peek-a-Boo Marten by Sally Black

ZigZag River by Betty Gientke

ZigZag River by Betty Gientke

What's That? by Martha Phair Sanders

What's That? by Martha Phair Sanders

Baggallini Bandit by Cindy O'Neal

Baggallini Bandit by Cindy O'Neal

Living on Wy'east by Lani Sanders

Living on Wy'east by Lani Sanders

Watch & Learn by Jane Jensen-Davis

Watch & Learn by Jane Jensen-Davis

Wy'east by Suzanne Martin

Wy'east by Suzanne Martin

Faces in Fabric Part 5- Maria's Hair & Body

Maria and the Finch (50) crop.jpg

Maria in the book is a young girl so I wanted to do some hair that was carefree.  According to the book, she has short red hair.  I found one of the faces in Melissa's book that had the sort of hair I wanted so I followed that idea by using one fabric as the base of the hair and another fabric cut up to represent strands of hair.

First I did some auditioning of background fabric and hair fabric.  

Maria and the Finch (25).JPG

Then I trimmed around her neck, face and hair line.

Maria and the Finch (28).JPG

I thought the striped orange fabric was what I wanted, but first I cut rectangles to audition in case I didn't care for it.  I also auditioned a couple of sky fabrics and a couple of shirt fabrics.  I was looking for a combination that went well together.  In the end I decided to go with the orange stripe hair, turquoise sky and yellow frog shirt.  I liked the colors together and the frog fabric just felt perfect for a nature loving girl.  I didn't have enough of that particular turquoise, so I went shopping to get a large piece of something similar to use for the background.

Maria and the Finch (31).JPG

Once I cut a shape for the background hair I used the ombre orange fabric in photo #2 to cut the strands.   That was a good choice because there were several values of russet orange to choose from and I could easily add highlights to her hair.

Maria and the Finch (35).JPG

I spent a fair bit of time refining her hair, cutting the strands just so and figuring out how to place them.  When I was satisfied I used my large square ruler to carry the whole thing to the ironing board to fuse it.

Maria and the Finch (38).JPG

I didn't get photos of this, but at some point i decided her neck was too wide, so I trimmed the sides and added the brown lines again.  

With the whole hair and face fused I could work on the rest of her body.  I made tracing paper templates for the bird and her arms and shirt.

Maria and the Finch (43).JPG
Maria and the Finch (44).JPG
Maria and the Finch (45).JPG

I made the bird and fused it together, then the shirt.  I think I did cut that from the pattern.

Maria and the Finch (47).JPG

I purposely put her arms behind her back so I didn't have to worry about her hands. and once the shirt and arms were ready I fused it all to the turquoise background.

My next task is to create the flowers and maybe some butterflies or dragonflies and then I can quilt it!  It's been on the design wall for a while now, but I plan to work on this in July because it's due in mid-August.  I am also contemplating adding a little marten face to hide in the flowers.  Updates will certainly be on Instagram in the meantime, but I'll do at least one more blog post about this quilt eventually.  

That's all for Maria, but I have one more fabric face to show you next time.  Stay tuned!

Maria and the Finch (50).JPG

Faces in Fabric Part 4- Maria and the Finch

Maria and the Finch (50).JPG

So, let's get back to our faces in fabric series. Today I'll start a two part post about the largest quilt in the series.  This one is for my Undercover Quilters book challenge this year.  The book is Marten Martin by Brian Doyle.  It's a fantastic read and you are in for a treat if you've never read Doyle before.  He was a local Oregon author who died last year, well before his time.  His books celebrate language and nature in the most delightful way.  In this book I've chosen to depict one of the main characters, a girl named Maria.  The scene about her birthday party in a meadow on the flank of Mt Hood was a real favorite for me.  

Maria and the Finch (1).JPG

This quilt has to be a certain size, so rather than leave it up to chance and my crazy improv instincts, I decided to draw a mock up to make sure I can fit in all the parts.  I then traced the face onto tracing paper with a Sharpie.  This allows me to use it as a guide, but not as a pattern.  Remember, I got help for this from Melissa Averino's book, Making Faces in Fabric.

Maria and the Finch (3).JPG

The next step is to choose a face fabric and start building the face.  I keep the tracing out as my guide as you'll see below.

Maria and the Finch (5).JPG
I first refined the shape of the mouth.

I first refined the shape of the mouth.

As I said before, I always start with the eyes. I cut the white of the eye, irises and pupils and use the guide for a rough idea of shape.  There will be changes as we go along, but that's ok.

As I said before, I always start with the eyes. I cut the white of the eye, irises and pupils and use the guide for a rough idea of shape.  There will be changes as we go along, but that's ok.

Then I decide on an upper and lower eye lid.

Then I decide on an upper and lower eye lid.

Before I go further I like to fuse the eyeball so I don't lose the little pieces. Then I do a couple of hand stitches in the pupil.

Before I go further I like to fuse the eyeball so I don't lose the little pieces. Then I do a couple of hand stitches in the pupil.

Maria and the Finch (10).JPG
Maria and the Finch (11).JPG
Tweezers are a necessity in my opinion!  I also added the  highlight with a couple of little stitches.

Tweezers are a necessity in my opinion!  I also added the  highlight with a couple of little stitches.

Once the eyes are complete they are fused, then I can decide on other features.  The lips have a dark fabric placed under the upper lip for definition between the upper and lower.  Melissa also recommends having the upper lip a shade darker than the lower lip.

Once the eyes are complete they are fused, then I can decide on other features.  The lips have a dark fabric placed under the upper lip for definition between the upper and lower.  Melissa also recommends having the upper lip a shade darker than the lower lip.

cheeks

cheeks

rosy cheeks, even better!

rosy cheeks, even better!

eyebrows

eyebrows

Once I have all the features ready I use the translucent tracing paper to guide placement on the face fabric.

Once I have all the features ready I use the translucent tracing paper to guide placement on the face fabric.

At this point they can all be fused.

At this point they can all be fused.

This time I used some very tiny pieces to just outline the nose.

This time I used some very tiny pieces to just outline the nose.

I also used some skinny pieces to define the shape of the lower face and the neck.

I also used some skinny pieces to define the shape of the lower face and the neck.

Next time I'll talk about how to do the hair!