Cautious Optimism and Spring

I’ve been sewing again for a week, carefully restricting the amount of time with my machine. It seems to be paying off as my arms feel better. Of course, my improved health could also be due to the warm weather we’re finally getting. With age my body is turning into a weather forecasting system. My sinuses ache with any change in barometric pressure and my joints foretell cold weather. Yes, I can feel it in my bones.

Speaking of spring, I decided to devote my April master class landscape to spring colors. Even though I submitted four sketches, I blocked out a linear, abstract landscape from a quilt I’ve made twice already.

I used Ruth McDowell’s freezer paper template method, so the paper edges will be my sewing guide for a pieced quilt. What’s shown below is the reverse of the scene. After I took the photo I cut out the individual pieces and ironed them to fabric. Each template is numbered and the top is marked. I drew tick marks in different colors to help me line up the pieces for sewing.

Pattern for Marsh in Spring

Here’s the photos of the two almost identical versions I submitted, followed by Elizabeth’s comments. I will make the minor modification she suggests.


It’s beautiful…and definitely very spring like.  I do like the little accent down on the bottom right and then the great stretch of viridian out to the horizon – lovely.
Definitely  the bottom one..I think the darker green/brown adds a little more weight – everything else looks really good…though I puzzle over the strange house or muffin shape on the upper right – I don’t think you need it…I would just let the blue fabric flow through to the side.  The scale of it feels wrong somehow.   Yes I like McDowell’s piecing – well anybody’s piecing really…anything can be worked out.  she was a great master at using value with all the patterned commercial fabrics.”

I think it will finish around 16 inches by 32 inches. This makes the third in a series of landscapes I’ve made based on tidal salt marshes in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Only summer remains.



Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Techniques

10 responses to “Cautious Optimism and Spring

  1. Oh, I’m glad you’re back to sewing and it’s working out well–that hiatus must’ve been difficult!

    • Since I live with “the enforcer” I’ve been chivvied along the straight and narrow path. I need to rethink some projects I had planned as I think the quilting (either FMQ or hand stitching) will be too much for me.

  2. Ann

    I love the design and your execution is great. I agree that the structure on the upper right should go. Changing to that slightly darker triangle piece in front adds to the foreground layer and depth.

    • The structure was supposed to be a very abstract cluster of trees, but it’s now gone. I have kept the variations in the greens to imply vegetation. And the more I look at this with the darker fabric triangle, the more I realize it’s the better choice. Thanks for the compliment.

  3. I played “find the difference” for quite a while before I spotted it. Did you really do two different versions of the entire piece?!! Or just lay the piece of color choice two on top of color choice one? (which is what I would have done)
    And I like the dark mossy green on the bottom left better too.
    It is a beautiful piece!

    • Since the pieces were pinned to a board, swapping out pieces was easy. I hadn’t planned for it to become a spot the difference exercise, but I can see where it would become that. And many thanks for the compliment.

  4. Oh, that’s lovely! Those green fabrics are beautiful!

    • Thanks. There are some of your fabrics in the sky. I really need to order some greens from you as this piece has wiped out my stock. Hand dyed fabrics make such a difference in landscapes.

  5. The two are so similar it’s hard to work out the differences, though yes, the bottom one seems to have a little more depth or weight.

    So glad you’re feeling better. I certainly get the perpetual pain issues better than I would like. 😦

    • The difference is just the one piece. Sometimes I just need to be told why one color works better, and Elizabeth’s comment did that. We’ll see how disciplined I can be about stopping when I feel discomfort. Too many years of working through the pain.

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