We recently met friends for dinner at Balsam Mountain Inn, a large “railroad hotel” built in 1908 with a train station right in front. Before the days of air conditioning, it was a popular summer spot for vacationers from the cities; the Inn is at 3500 feet elevation.
Photo from Balsam Mountain Inn’s Facebook Page
The floor of the sun porch, where we ate, had an elaborate pattern made up of those one inch tiles that were common in the early 20th Century. We were told the floor is not “original equipment” but it is in keeping with the period.
A friend took some pictures of the floor for me, since I immediately wanted to document the pattern for possible use in designing quilts. These were taken with my cell phone in low light, so the quality is not great, but I thought you’d like to see the floor anyway. You can look up Balsam Mountain Inn on Trip Advisor and see better pictures of the floor as well as the Inn.
This is the one that first caught my eye as a potential motif for a quilt.
And here is a design I made with EQ8 based on the floor. I think it is way too fussy for me to ever make as a quilt. It would make a better embroidery design.
I actually put this quilt top together last year, but waited to finish it because the grandson for whom it was made wasn’t in a “big boy bed” yet. Now, here is the finish in time for his pre-Christmas excitement.
The idea was to use cute Christmas novelty prints. There are plenty of those available, but they don’t lend themselves to intricate piecing so I used the old reliable Turning Twenty Again pattern. I’m not sure I like how chopped-up it looks, but the point is for the child to have fun finding the different items in the novelty prints, and the layout serves that purposeThe quilting was done by my friend Joyce Miller in a pattern of swirling snowflakes.
The backing is a flannel I bought a couple of years ago. Flannel shrinks more than most cotton fabric, so I pre-washed it.
The finished size is 62″ x 73″.
Naturally I have started work on Christmas projects.
First, a “big boy bed” quilt for my younger grandson, which is ready except for binding. Here are some of the cute fabrics and the cozy flannel backing:
I made a set of Christmas place mats for a quick place mat class I’ll be teaching in December.And I’ve finished the top for this quilt to be given to some special people who presumably do not read my blog!This is a modification of a pattern I found in a Quilter’s World publication called Autumn Colors:I kept the size of the squares and the idea of wonky stars. I love wonky stars! However, I added a row of squares all the way around, repositioned the stars, and eliminated the big borders. I’ll show it again when it’s quilted and bound.
What are you up to?
As my friend Melanie recently pointed out, travel can inspire creativity. We just got back from a loooong drive across the country to New Mexico and back, and I took a few pictures of things that inspired me.First, we saw literally thousands of these wind generators across the flat, windy, high plains of West Texas and Oklahoma. The complex shape of the blades is quite an engineering feat by itself, even before the rest of the contraption is considered. It was great to see renewable energy in action, and these are attractive additions to the landscape in my opinion. (No, we never saw any dead birds near them, despite looking. Research in Europe suggests this is mostly an urban myth.)
In New Mexico, I looked for the details that said “Southwest”. These design elements are a kind of shorthand for “you are here” and I thought that idea would be useful in designing quilts (or anything else). Here are a couple.
Stucco walls, turquoise trim, tile roof
Courtyard enclosed by a stucco wall with a wooden gate; tile accent along roof edge; flat roof
Now, I’m off to learn to organize my photos in Photoshop so I can find the rest of the pictures from the Southwest 😀