Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Fabulous New England!

I have just returned from a ten day holiday (or vacation, as they say!) in New England. We flew into Boston and had a couple of nights there and then picked up a car to drive round the area, look at the leaves and anything else of interest, with the hopes of a few quilts and quilt shops too. We had a fabulous time! The weather was fairly kind to us (it only really rained for one day, and we had three whole days of glorious sunshine), the beds were clean, comfortable and soft, the natives were friendly and went out of their way to be helpful and I am now a convert to the charms of Sam Adams's ale!
The best colours were at the start of the holiday when the skies were grey and I didn't take any photos, but the leaves varied all the way from green, through yellow-green, yellow, ochre, orange, peach and crimson to burgundy! Apparently it's only in New England and Japan that the tree varieties and soil conditions are right for such an amazing display. If you've ever thought it was 'just leaves' I can tell you that the whole are is well worth a visit, especially in the autumn.
Here are some lovely trees in the Hancock Shaker Village showing yellow-orange and orange leaves.
This row goes all the way from green, yellow-green, ochre, orange to red.
Here is a typical vista in the Green Mountains.Here is DH standing on a covered bridge. They are also called 'kissing bridges' as the darkness and privacy afforded the chance for a little romance! They aren't covered for that reason, but to protect the road and structure from the weather, and also because the whole bridge became much more stable and secure. I hadn't realised what a big deal pumpkins are, and we saw them everywhere. Some were small and cute, and others monstrous - literally up to about three feet in height! This selection was outside a house in Deerfield. I don't know if they were for sale or just decoration. Most houses had some Halloween decorations out, usually chrysanthemums and pumpkins , with corn stalks, scarecrows, ghosts and skeletons as optional extras! Some of the decorations were very humorous, such as the scarecrow bending over, to reveal two pumpkins placed strategically peeping over the back of his trouser waistband! (We'd passed that one by before I had chance to snap it!)

Here's another glorious tree with red-orange leaves. Compare the red of these leaves with the next photo. This one is much redder - sorry about the telegraph pole!Now for the quilts. We went to Shelburne, which is a kind of collection of collections, and they had an exhibition of crazy quilts. This one was made by two sisters aged 11 and 14 for their 23 year old sister on her marriage. Her initials and the date are in the middle. The pieces were all edged with white fabric before being joined together. I couldn't really work out exactly how it had been made. The easy way would have been to applique the coloured scraps onto a white background, but that didn't seem to be how it was made at all.

This quilt is a more traditional example, with the craziness being tamed by being made into blocks.
Here a few blocks have been added, but still in usual crazy bright silks and black. The flag dates the quilt quite precisely by the number of stars. (Sorry, I can't remember how many there are!)This crazy quilt is unusual in that it has a plain centre. This has been embroidered with flowers, birds and butterflies. The crazy blocks have been added around the egde, and are creeping into the middle portion too!

This quilt is one of my favourites. It's a string star. It's so lively and jolly. But when you look closely, there's a mystery.

How have these blocks been made? I had thought the shapes making up the star (triangles and squares) would have been made from strings and then sewn together with white fabric. But looking closely, you can see that the strings go from the centre of the stars into the points with no apparent join. Yet the stars haven't been appliqued, and are definitely pieced. Any ideas?


Millie said...

Omigoodness! You were about three towns away from me! Yes, it is lovely here in the fall. I try never to take it for granted. Glad you had a nice holiday!

orchidlover said...

Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing.
I love the colour of the trees. Westonbirt in Gloucestershire comes close to all the different colours but I don't think it's quite as spectacular

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Contented Caroline said...

I'm sooooo jealous. Looks like you had a great time. I lived in USA for two years in my early 20's and every Autumn here still evokes those memories of the amazing displays of colour. |It's still my favourite time of year.

Barb said...

lovely photos!
Isn't the Shelburne wonderful?

Susan said...

I am glad that you enjoyed your visit to my part of the world.

It is lovely here this time of year. In fact I think that it is the best time of year.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Sounds delightful! I knew the colours would be a sight to see...and the quilts at the Shelburne are a real treat ;o)

Blogless me said...

Lovely quilts! I very much like the star quilt - quite unusual I would think. I 'd love to see a close-up shot of it. Thank you for sharing.

bellsjo said...

What a wonderful holiday! Thanks for showing us a taste of the fun you had!

Tonya Ricucci said...

beautiful! I love love love that Star quilt. create a star-shaped paper or fabric template and cover the whole thing and then do the Y-seams??? or could you just make that crumby star without a template (eek) OR create a square of crumbs and then applique the background. wish I could see that one in person!

Clare said...

Quilters heaven!

What a great place to go for a holiday. I've always wanted to see the covered bridges.