creative block

(Yes.  Lower case title, just to reclaim some of my quirkiness.)

I recently posted about taking a break from the creative world, from the quilty world, from whatever and while I was gone, I had some to time to think about how I’d gotten to that non-creative place.

irons in a fire

I’d say, for me it was a factor of four: Time, Health, and Mental/Physical Fatigue, as well as a Too Much to Do.  My Dad used to say “Too many irons in the fire put out the flame.”  While a reference to the bars of iron that blacksmiths use, I did have too much going on.

creative block_99U

from here

I was intrigued with the idea of Creative Block, and one article “7 Types of Creative Block and What to Do About Them,” from my favorite place online (99U) discussed this issue, that apparently is a very-much-real thing.  In that piece, I liked the sub-topic of  Work habits that don’t work, as I have been struggling to (re)learn three new computer programs: EQ7 (I learn it, then forget it, and there’s so many hurdles with the design of this software…but then that’s another post), Affinity Photo (to replace Photoshop) and Affinity Designer (to replace Illustrator).  Three more irons in that proverbial fire.

99U’s advice to “[s]tep back and take a good look at how you’re working, and where the pain points are….If you don’t have enough energy, are you working at the right time of day? If you feel paralyzed by freedom, introduce more structure and order into your day. If you feel constrained by routine, find room for improvisation” felt like it was just for me.

I always love the Brain Pickings articles, and the review on a book from Danielle Krysa (Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists) seems to hit some of those stuck spots:

Creative Block_Alex Cornell

Jessica Bell noted that “When I can’t make progress, it is often because I am mentally scattered; this happens when I am overcommitted or have a schedule without any breathing room in it. I have to have a lot of space and quiet in my head to think my best thoughts. An artist I admire told me a few years ago that “you can’t make art in the cracks.” Carving out a block of time devoted to nothing else but the pursuit of new work has never steered me wrong.”

So,  Miss Gasoline Station stepped aside and made space for some creative time.  I’ll be posting a few projects in the next post, but since it’s summer and it’s time to play, it’s good to keep a balance between working and quilting and cooking and playing and family and friends…

Family Reunion_stone house

Eastmond Family Reunion, atop Brian Head Peak (11,000+ feet)

Thanks to all of you who wrote and left comments on my last post.  We headed out that day for a family reunion and I left the keyboard behind, but I read them all and appreciated your encouragement.  I’m slipping back into the creative life, one stitch at a time.

7 Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains, a sculpture by Ugo Rondinone, found just outside Las Vegas

The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong. –Thomas Carlyle

Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass and a book of rules;
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

–R. L. Sharpe

Giveaway Banner

Because who knows what might spur your creativity, I’ve got some books to give away.  If what I’m giving away (this will go on, erratically, for several posts) tickles your fancy or appeals to you in some way, if you leave a comment, please let me kno you’d like to enter the giveaway.  Some of the books are ones I’ve purchased and read, and no longer need; others were publisher giveaways at Quilt Market, and it’s time to pass them on.

Grifka Book1

The first one is Lines by Design by Debbie Grifka, a lovely book on how to make elegant modern quilts.  Good luck!  Giveaway will close in a few days and I’ll contact the winner by email and get it sent out.

 

Time for Refueling


I’m Elizabeth, the girl behind the pump that fuels this blog.
I’m a quilter, mother, grandmother, wife, reader, writer, cook, housecleaner, recent PT-goer, free-motion-quilter. My driver’s license lies about my weight, my age, and how I look, for I’m really a care-free sylph of a girl, who really just wants to have fun
This is me on a good day.

Other days, I’m just trying to be a maker, in between keeping the station running.

But it is time for some refueling.  Time to break away from social media, writing, cleaning, cooking, stitching……time to fill up the creative tank……and look under the hood.

I’m off to get some Signal Lubrication, a check of the whitewalls,
and to sit on the back of a convertible without seatbelts (how did they ever get away with this?)
I’ll be back!

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Happy Fourth of July • 2017!!

Flag Washington Monumnet

Washington Monument

Happy Fourth of July!

SmithsonianQlt

A long time ago I lived in Washington, DC for a year, and our quilt guild (Mt. Vernon, a chapter of Quilts Unlimited of Virginia) was pretty active.  We met in the community center, next door to the Variety Store (which had great fabrics) and someone organized a tour to the Smithsonian quilt archives in the National History Museum.

They took us downstairs into a room with tons of these large, flat drawers, and a docent pulled them out one-by-one to show us these historical quilts.  This was in the days before our phone cameras, which take great photos effortlessly, so many of my photos are sub-standard.  But a few fun things stood out for me, from that tour.

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Gloriously colored applique, using ombre-shaded fabrics.

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The teensiest logs in this stellar Log Cabin quilt (the use of the plaids interspersed with solids and other plaids is brilliant, I think).

SmithsonianQlt_2SmithsonianQlt_1

Stars that are each their own character.

SmithsonianQlt_3

And this quilt, which looked like it was English paper-pieced out of felt, but it was wool from Civil War uniforms, carefully cut and pieced, and made by a soldier.SmithsonianQlt_4SmithsonianQlt_4a

Celebrate!!

happy4thJuly

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Riley’s Quilt

Red, White, and Blue giveaway info is at the end of this post.  Many thanks to all who entered!

RileyQuilt_8

If my grandchildren come to visit me long enough, we can crank out a quilt.  Last time it was Keagan’s.  This time, it was Riley’s.  I discovered last time that simpler quilts are best, so I started leafing through my BLOCK Magazines from Missouri Star, until I happened on her pattern titled Slice of Life, found in Volume 1, Issue 4.  You can get a download here.

Riley Quilt layout

Riley picked out blue and green prints from my stash (using your stash is also a good thing to do) and he ironed while I cut.  He arranged the squares on the wall into groups of nine.

Originally the book called for “layer cake” squares, which if you have a layer cake (or have the pre-cut sizes memorized), you are set, but I don’t.  I get grumpy when patterns call only for precuts, and don’t tell you what the actual dimensions are, so I’m telling you that I cut squares that were 10-1/2″ square. [Yes, I know they are bigger than a layer cake.] I narrowed the sashing, cutting it at 2″ (sewn in it will measure 1-1/2″ wide).  You make three of these giant nine-patches, then cut them apart like this.

RileyQuilt_3

I cheated a bit, and folded the giant 9-patch into fourths, and took a bare sliver of fabric off the fold when I cut–kind of like when the local quilt shop cuts fat quarters.  Then we arranged these new designs up on the wall.

RileyQuilt_Hallway

Sometimes Riley took a break with his little sister.

RileyQuilt_4

I sewed the giant pieces together, but sometimes Riley did.  I pinned it a LOT when it was his turn at the sewing machine, also teaching him not to sew over pins.

RileyQuilt_5

Everyone helped pin baste the quilt on the kitchen counter.  We would pin a large section, then shift the quilt.

Everyone helped quilt, even the littlest sister, as well as my daughter, mother to these three charmers.

Binding was next, again from the stash.  Late that afternoon, they went to the beach and my husband and I headed up the mountains to our church’s camp for the young women.  I sewed on the binding all the way up, and while we waited for the program to start. I finished it.

RileyQuilt_8aRileyQuilt_8b

Backing is Marimekko fabric.RileyQuilt_8c

He couldn’t think of a title, so I wrote a couple of details on the back.  I think this is the section that Riley quilted–I think it’s great that he helped in all phases.  This is Quilt #184 on my 200 Quilts List.

The youngest of these grandchildren is eight years old, so I imagine her turn will be next!  Baby Blues comic strip ran these this week, and I thought it fitting (although the sisters do quite well, too!)


Congratulations to Nancy S. who won the bundle of Painter’s Palette Solids!  I’ve been in touch with her via email and will get the bundle sent out to her.  I had the best time reading over all the comments about fireworks, from those who had a first date watching them (that happened to me, too, early in our courtship) to those who watched barges-full launch them into the air.  Thank you all for your wonderful responses!!

(This is for those who mentioned that they watched them over the Washington Monument.
I did too.)

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Red, White, and Blue Star

Welcome to Day 4 of the Patriotic Palette Blog Hop, hosted by Paintbrush Studios and Painter’s Palette Solids!

Red, White, and Blue Star • Quilt #183
25″ square, made from Painter’s Palette Solids

A couple of weeks ago, the fine people who make Painter’s Palette Solids sent me some fabric and asked if I would make something. At the end of this post, there is a giveaway so you can win your own stack of red, white and blue fabrics.

I’m part of a series of posts showing items you can make with just three reds, three blues and some white.  Here is the complete list and the days that they are presenting:

6/23: Jayne of TwiggyandOpal (@twiggyandopal)
6/26: Elizabeth of OPQuilt (@occasionalpiecequilt)
6/30: Cindy Wiens of Live a Colorful Life (@liveacolorfullife)
7/3: Stephanie of Peas in a Pod (@stephiepeterson)

The project I chose was a quick and easy mini-quilt, which finishes at 25″ square, and is perfect for a table top when you want to give a little patriotic flare to the kitchen.  I’ve written up a free pattern, available in my Craftsy shop for download (see button to the right), but the instructions are here if you need any tips and help with construction.

RedWhiteBlueStar_9

RedWhiteBlueStar_2

I was sent fat quarters in three shades of red, three shades of blue and a fat quarter of white.  The white needs special cutting: cut the long borders first (see chart on pattern), then the squares for the half-square triangles.  You may have enough the other way, but do it this way to be safe.  I also was tight on the medium blue, as I used it for the binding, too.  You’ll need to provide your own backing (about 3/4 yard, or pieced scraps).

RedWhiteBlueStar_3

I basically constructed this as a nine-patch, a favorite thing of mine to do with minis. I started by sewing four bright red triangles on the edges of the blue square, then pressed them all away from the center.  I squared this unit to 7 1/2″.  (This quilt is forgiving if yours is slightly smaller.)  I squared all my nine units to the same 7 1/2″ as then I wouldn’t have to square up (or true up, depending on how you refer to it) the finished quilt top.RedWhiteBlueStar_2a

Next was the construction on this corner, sewing the medium and dark red triangles together to make a square, then sewing on the dark blue triangles to make a larger triangle.

RedWhiteBlueStar_2a1

Sew on the medium blue triangle to make it a square; true it up to 7-1/2″ inches.RedWhiteBlueStar_2b

Now make the rest of the blocks: sew the triangles together as shown, then seam those together to make a square.  I always press to the side, if you are wondering.  Only rarely do I press open, so avoid that.

Lay out all your squares (as shown above, left), then sew them together like a nine-patch (upper right).  Measure the square; the sides should measure 21-1/2″.  Trim your long white border rectangles to measure.  Sew the darkest red blocks on each of two of the white rectangle borders.

Sew two white borders: one on top of the quilt and one of the bottom.  Press.  Then sew on the borders with the squares attached; press.  Admire your quilt top.

Let’s get quilting!

Here’s a picture of the quilt in the sunshine, showing my quilting stitches.  I always have the hardest time coming up with what to quilt where; yours may vary.  The “bandstand swag” arcs on the outside were a happy accident.

RedWhiteBlueStar_6

This was all done on my Sweet Sixteen machine, but that functions like a domestic sewing machine. I did do ruler work (which is probably easier on my machine than a domestic) but it can be done on your regular sewing machine.  Just make sure you have a thick enough hopping foot and thick rulers designed for this task (not your cutting rulers!); put grippy stuff on the bottom of your rulers, as you’ll use them to help you move the fabric under your needle.

Happy Fourth of July!

If you haven’t heard me tell you about Painter’s Palette Solids, made by Paintbrush Studio, you must be a new reader.  It is my FAVORITE solid: it’s easy to work with, has a nice hand, deals well when I need to unpick and re-stitch (I had to do that with the quilting, but you can’t see it, right?).  It’s a fairly new fabric to the market, but many brick-and-mortar shops, as well as online shops, are starting to carry it.

Giveaway Banner

Patriotic Bundle June 2017

from here

As is my custom when sewing for Painter’s Palette, I give away my scraps when I finish a project, so that some fortunate quilter can give this fabric a try.  BUT!  Paintbrush Studios has generously offered up a stack of the fabrics I used in this quilt — seven fat quarters — so you can make your own (giveaway is for domestic/US only).

To enter, leave me a comment telling me if you like fireworks, and why (or your most memorable).  I’m not talking the little things that are lit up down on street level, but those glorious bursting displays of color and light.  It will get us all in the mood for Independence Day.

Giveaway picking a winnerI’ll activate the Husband Random Number Generator and pick a winner, to be contacted by email.

Giveaway closed.  
Winner has been notified and will be announced in next post.  Thank you all!

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