The Free Motion Quilting Project: Another Day Off...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another Day Off...

Yep, I've played hookie for 2 days in a row. It's almost becoming a vacation!

I woke up this morning just feeling really blah! While the trip to Asheville had been fun, it hadn't succeeded in the intended purpose of relaxing and inspiring me.

So I sat down to write day 130 and realized what I really needed was a serious break from all things work, home, mom, and wife.

More than anything else, I was questing for silence. Just that nice, silent place in my mind where I can chill out and prepare for my next workshop and lecture I'm doing this week in South Carolina.

So I took off! Jumped in the car and drove all alone to Gastonia, NC and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden where my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp and several other awesome art quilters were holding a gorgeous exhibition of orchid quilts.

These photos don't do the quilts justice. You really have to see them in person, but gosh! they were so beautiful and so inspiring!

Susan Brubaker Knapp - Purple Phalaenopsis

Linda Stegall - Yellow Orchid
Look at the detail stitching - all of that is texture created by thread!
Susan Brubaker Knapp - Ruffles
This one was one of my favorites. What can I say, I'm a sucker for red, orange, and yellow!

Nancy G Cook - Rhythms: Stems and Leaves
I'm wanting to start using cooler colors like this aqua, green, and blue.
Seeing this exhibit was so inspiring. I really feel like I'm humming with creativity now and can't wait to start stitching some new filler designs.

The best thing about this exhibit is several of the artists were at the garden giving demonstrations, and walking people through the exhibit. Susan and I have only met the one time at a lecture she did for my guild, so it was so nice to catch up a bit.

I also met Deborah Langsam and Nancy G Cook and learned a little about their techniques. It's so fun to learn about new things like printing on fabric that I've never tried before and see the results of quilts created with these techniques.

I'm finding that the more open and willing to try new things I am, the faster I'm able to work. It's almost like the more tightly boxed in I get, the slower and more bogged down I feel.

I'm definitely going to try a new method for designing my next quilt based on what I learned from Nancy G Cook. I've never used my computer to blow up a hand-drawn sketch, but I definitely want to try it and see if it will work with "My Cup Runneth Over" quilt.

Before I left the gardens, I did actually walk outside and visited the new orchid conservatory. This is a large glass building filled with tropical plants, a huge waterfall, and more orchids than I've ever seen in one place.

Here are a few of the most beautiful I saw:

While I'm not a huge flowery / plant loving person, I love the textures these flowers have built right into their petals.

Well, it was a truly wonderful day off and the drive to and back from Gastonia definitely gave me the much needed silent time I was craving.

Now I'm off to take a super warm bath and read one of the incredibly stupid romance novels I picked up in town. As silly as it sounds, this is one of my favorite ways to spend the evening if I'm not quilting!

You go quilt while I go read!



  1. Every Mom needs a break from her responsibilities and especially if she is a working Mom. So glad you enjoyed your day. Love your blog and I have learned so much about machine quilting.

  2. Wow! These quilts are beautiful! Thank you for blogging about the exhibition. I'm off to read my book too, hope you're enjoying your read.

  3. Thanks for sharing your day off activities. Love the orchid pics. I am always inspired by nature. I love Susan's quilts. It was nice to see some of the other quilts too.

  4. Good for you! One of the most difficult thing to learn. I think, is what in life replenishes our spirit and rekindles our creative flame. The second most difficult is then finding/making time to put more of that into our daily lives.

    The orchids and the quilts are beautiful. Glad you had a great day.

    Jeanette in Ky

  5. Nature and art are both wonderful ways to rejuvenate the soul and reconnect with the important things in life. Every mom needs those moments. I know I sure do!

    Both the quilts and the orchids are so beautiful. No wonder it fed your soul!

  6. Looks like it was a wonderful outing. Wish I could have made it with you!

  7. Leah, It was so great to see you today! I'm glad you got some quality "alone time" to renew your spirits. Thanks for posting about our exhibition. Hope our paths will cross again soon. :-)

  8. Preserve yourself and recharge the 'batteries' you need to do it as much for yourself as for your family and friends. Listen to your body and mind and 'escape' anytime you need to into whatever environment helps you best. This quilt show certainly seems to have done the trick and what super quilts, they are simply stunning.
    I hope all goes well with your up and coming guild talk.

  9. Dear Leah,

    Thanks for coming to the show yesterday - your write-up is terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and will continue to enjoy your blog. Hope to see you at another fun event.

  10. Leah, So nice to have met you yesterday. Thanks for the great posting on the show. We really loved talking about out work to all the visitors. What is better than be able to share what you love?

  11. Thanks for sharing those quilt pictures and those of the flowers. they are great inspirations! Lovin' your designs too. judee


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