I had a great visit to Santa Clarita Quilt Guild this past week, presenting a new lecture: Exploration Through Modern, Art and Traditional Quilts. I then taught a Workshop on 9-11 (!) using my Blossom pattern. I’ve worked with this Guild before and they are delightful. I thought I would share (with their permission) some of the quilts they made for our Follow-Up meeting about a week later.
The pattern has three sizes of blocks, and some quilters chose the smallest size, and some chose the largest, but the impact is great with whichever size was used, as the basis — the Flowering Snowball block — is really adaptable to many different fabrics.
Carol C. used the smallest size, wanting to make a quilt in autumn colors. I think those oranges fairly glow against her dark border.
Jean C. chose dark tone-on-tone batiks for her petals, and backed them with brights. I love that grayed aqua border. While you can’t really see it here, she used a flanged binding, so outside the burnt orange is the dark color again.
I think Joan used the small block again, and I love how the bright cranberry background is balanced by the soft floral petals and the muted green border.
Kristeen D. started out with a white polka dot fabric at our workshop, but by the time we met again, she’d swapped all of that out for the black/white polka-dots. That was a really great choice, along with that border.
Melissa N had pieces of three different black florals, which she combined to great effect for the backgrounds and border. Several quilters finished their quilts completely and she was one of them.
Vickie R used the smallest block in a limited palette of yellows and blues. But she finished hers into a pillow–a great use for this mini-mini quilt.
Usually we have a full week in between, but we shortened the interval to five days. Sue B. was able to get her quilt pieces cut out and arranged on the wall — I am happy to see quilts in progress in our Slide Shows, as that reflects Real Life. I love that border she chose, and it’s a perfect foil to the bright colors in the center.
Robin T. was at the Guild Meeting and once she heard that I have several videos in the class materials, she realized she could sign up even though she couldn’t attend the Workshop. She used autumn tones again, and then brought the center petals forward with her bright pop of yellow. We all liked how she stepped down from that to the polka-dotted half-petals, then out again to another muted floral fabric.
And this is my mini-mini, made in the smallest size. I had decided I’d better try the quilt myself, in preparation for teaching. I loved using the subtle stripe in the border, and rotated the corners 45-degrees so the pattern would continue around the outside. I also demo-ed on this fabric, so this is the front and a large version of the block is the back. Note: the tiny lavender flowered fabric in the outer border is one of the oldest in my stash, as I think it’s about 25+ years old, and was used in a quilt for my then young daughter.
Thank you to the women in the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild for their creativity and imagination and quick work. Hope you enjoyed the Blossom Quilt Show!
Advent, previously shown but what a cool backdrop of flowers. It was in the women’s bathroom, but I couldn’t resist. (I propped open the door and we were in and out in under 60 seconds, and no one was there.) And yes, I have the best quilt-holding husband on the planet.
The drive to meet our son for lunch was about 90 minutes, and I wanted to finish sewing down the hanging sleeve on Advent and the binding on Summer Snowcone, so we had them along. When I saw that painted hallway, I grabbed the quilts out of the car for photographs.
Photographed in the hallway at City Tacos, Sorrento Valley near San Diego. Since my son’s a working man, we drive to see him and his girlfriend. A good day out.
Website of Interest: A project to make a kimono representing every nation was recently completed. The website groups the kimono by continent, and then you can navigate to the country you want to see. Of course I went to see America, then copied and pasted the text into Google Translate.
Their caption, translated:
The image of a country consisting of 50 states called "United States" is expressed by "state flowers". Designed with the national symbol "President" as "American Eagle". Baseball, American football, Hollywood movies, and the goddess of freedom, which Americans love, are studded in the state flowers, and the great presidents Lincoln and Kennedy are represented by statues and Apollo programs.
I love that Abraham Lincoln is right up there with the “goddess of freedom (which Americans love) as well as baseball and Hollywood. When they say “goddess of freedom” I think they mean the Statue of Liberty. But so cool that they included all the state flowers.
I’m now going to go waste a lot of time thinking about how I should get more stuff done. But hey! it’s Labor Day Weekend and we honor the concept of Labor by relaxing, barbecuing and not doing anything.
If you were a child in some parts of the county, you would recognize the significance of this week: it’s the last week before school starts. Of course, so many now start much earlier, but my internal clock is primed to think “school starts the day after Labor Day,” so I have no guilt stitching on my Summer Snowcone.
There were two winners of the tape, as you positively charmed me with all your descriptions of your first sewing machines. So many of you also wrote stories about how you got them, and the first winner, Nancy of Patchwork Breeze, was one of those:
The first machine that was truly mine was a Kenmore 1774 model (the last 2 numbers tell you the year). [To buy it] I worked 2 summers at the hardware store 3 miles away (many days walking to work) for the wage of $1.25 per hour. It still is a workhorse! I can clean it out all by myself (no technician is really needed). My daughters have sewn on it, the 12-year-old across the road has used it. It has CAMs that are placed in the top to sew decorative designs. It is still treasured by me.
Cathy M., our second winner, also mentioned how she came to hers:
My first sewing machine was a Kenmore from Sears that I bought for about $200 in 1974. I was 16 and had saved up my babysitting money to buy it. I still have it but mostly use the Bernina I bought about 20 years ago with a bonus from my adult job.
While I decided to give out the first roll of tape, Shelley of NanaKaboodle graciously matched my giveaway and is the sponsor of the second roll. I have always appreciated her quick service and clean and high quality fabrics. She’s one of my favorite shops on ETSY, if you should need anything.
Back to Summer Snowcone: As is my usual, I print out dimmed copies of my quilt and then start doodling. I keep a file on my IG of samples I’ve liked, and start scrolling through them for ideas. For this quilt, I wanted it loose, not heavily quilted with lines and angles, as I envision it as a quilt to throw in the car for picnics and outings. The last thing I doodled–those kind of cloud shapes on the lower right — I decided looked like the top of a snow cone, so I went with it. This is one version of my pattern Sun and Sea, and I’m quite partial to the RWB fabrics in this, as you can see below:
A rare photo of me in Regular-not-Posed Life: closet door open, bins of thread on the guest room bed (where I keep the Sweet Sixteen quilting machine), and yes, me in my dorky gloves. I go back and forth between those and that stuff secretaries use on their hands–that pink sticky stuff. My husband took it because I matched my quilt. One should always dress to match their quilting, right?
Here’s a bit. It’s loopy, and I mean that in both definitions of the word.
Marcia C. has been sending me such happy pieces of mail, all containing her versions of my free SHINE blocks (found here). I’m quite in love with the one at the upper right with the fussy cut girls and the striped outer edges. If you make one of my patterns, either free on this blog, or from my pattern shop, please do send me an email with a photo. It brings a big smile to my face!
Lastly, here’s your end-of-summer tip off: This week, if you show your vaccination card, you get TWO Krispy Kreme doughnuts: one a heart-shape and one a circle. We had to do some driving to find one, as there’s not one near us. They were delicious and yes, we sweetened their coffers by purchasing a couple more; they made us remember the fascination that Dublin, Ireland has with donuts.
Truly last thing: Superior Threads is having a sale on my favorite FMQuilting thread. It makes me look good in my quilting. Thought you’d want to know.
Happy Summer, Happy Quilting and most of all: Happy Donut-ing!
Oh my goodness. The brain is fried, the eyeballs are smarting because of smoke in the air and it’s too hot to move or do anything which explains my SECOND round of August This and Thats. What can I say?
I have finally OD-ed on podcasts (more on that later) and found myself a good book: another Maisie Dobbs novel. I have three hours left to go.
What I mean is, it’s the first one done of four I have to do for the first-of-nine giant Bear Paw’s Ruler-free block. I’m playing along in the FingerPaintsQAL on IG and had the opportunity to take a class with Laura yesterday morning (I scribbled on the pattern above to hide her work). It was fun to see people I recognized! Above this block are scenes from class: the fabric key at the ready, the stack of fabric (I took her advice and cut 5″ strips of fabric from all the colors: saved me a lot of time) and ruler-free cutting in process.
Like the lady says, it’s not a race.
Did I mention that California is having a gubnatorial recall? Like either of these goofballs will win my vote, but check out Mr. Drake. Wouldn’t it be cool to tell your kids that one time you ran for governor of California? Or drop that bit on a first date?
Just want you to know I still have a few things on my To Do List from March 2000. This is because we chatted about To Do Lists in the last post.
Occasionally I fall down the rabbit hole of art galleries on Instagram. Jim Isermann turned up. Quilters, start your engines:
We’ve had more than a few fires in our state this summer, but I loved the write-up about grabbing a quilt.
Generally, the news has been weighty and ponderous and horrifically sad, with covid, airlifts, fires, babies in hospitals, angry young men (and some angry old men), divisiveness, coupled with more suffering and death in country far far from here. I realize that this post could be construed as lightweight and frivolous. But all this news reminds me of old news: the fall of Saigon long ago, my father’s bout with polio and stories my mother told me of getting her first vaccines for Whooping Cough because her baby sister had died of that disease. That is why I have avoided podcasts: they are wearying. Add in the sorrows I read daily on Instagram in all your lives, the divisiveness in our families over vaccines and masks (and yes, I’m making more masks this weekend) and it’s no wonder I’m grabbing bits and pieces, sewing and quilting, poking fun at candidates for California’s governor when inside I’m weeping a bit that it has all ended up in a Big Fight All The Time.
Our individualism has run rough-shod over our ability to come together as a community and do what’s best, what helps those babies and children have a better world. And then I see little toddlers held tight in Afghan arms as they walk into the belly of a very big plane with no seat belts and no snacks and somehow they all don’t need to be ducktaped to their seats (what seats?) for their 3 hour flight to freedom, to what we have and what we fight over but somehow don’t understand how fragile it is. They leave everything behind: little treasures in their bottom drawer, ties to their communities, friends and that bowl that Grandma always had on the top shelf, and I snip off a piece of this hope, tuck it into my heart and keep going.
The other night I found a photo of the first sewing machine I ever owned: The Genie, by Singer. My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was a Freshman in college, majoring in Clothing and Textiles. I sewed on it forever, then passed it on down to my daughter. I have a lot of memories like this that are easily recalled when I see photos. I’m thinking on what I have that I could give up…give up to the refugees that are certainly coming our way. And to end this post on a better note (I’m not really going to jump out the window, I promise), I want to give something away to you.
Do you ever finish a quilt, but not quite finish it? Like forget the label? Or find scraps that needed to be put away from a quilt that is two years old? Or do you have tasks that still await you even as you transfer them from list to list to list? Or do you add tasks to your list of things to get done? Or do you feel like you spend so much time working off your list that you have no time to think, to create, to play, to imagine?
All of these are types of things that plague creatives, as we are known now. The list is endless, and we can keep adding to it. I was quite intrigued, then, with Mark McGuiness’s solution: a 3″ x 3″ Post-It Note. Actually, he uses two of them. On the first one — as outlined in this article from 99U — he writes one main task in the upper left corner, and then adds the rest of the day’s chores to the Post-It Note. Since it is only 3″ by 3″ it can’t get overrun. McGuiness writes: “But what about all the rest? All the phone calls, emails, and requests that come in during the day? Not to mention all the new ideas that pop into my head as I work? Good question. There’s a place for all of these things, and that place is the second Post-It on the stack, a.k.a. my to-do list for tomorrow.”
He then quotes Mark Forster, noting the idea of an “open” and “closed” list. The first Post-It Note is closed. The second one, is open.
Here are some of the things I did this week that were on my list, putting together disparate parts of my life. I made this quilt with the help of the Gridster Bee, but had misplaced the signature blocks. And then when I would find the signature blocks, I couldn’t remember which quilt they went to. But we put a new shelf in our closet to hold the stack of quilts, and in the shuffling, I was able to put the two together.
I did the bulk of the little houses on the front of the quilt, but it’s fun to look at all the different houses my bee-mates and others sent to me. I often keep my quilts hanging up around my house, because I enjoy them finished.
That is something that Janet Choi might appreciate: “The simple act of pausing to reflect and acknowledge your efforts provides valuable boosts of motivation, focus, and insight that would otherwise be lost amidst your busy day.” It’s like the other side of the To Do List…it’s the Done List.
“Your done list acts as a signpost, a manifestation of all that day’s hard work. This flips an overwhelmed mindset into action mode to correct course, learn from mistakes, and ultimately make better progress” (Choi).
I tend to write my “Dones” at the end of the day in my journal, made for me by Amy, an artisan book maker. I was in a workshop of hers at Camp Create, and she made me this. It’s a treasure, but not only for what it is: it holds a lot of my Dones, but I also like reading backwards to find out what I thought about things a year ago, or even a month. Although I don’t write every day, I write enough that there is a general trend.
I also write my Quilt Dones up on my master Quilt Index at the top of this page, cataloging them on this blog, and then listing them one by one. I know several of you have started a Quilt Index of your own, judging by my emails.
Choi says to count our smaller wins, too: “Don’t wait until you’ve hit big goals like completing a project or getting a promotion — which happen only occasionally and make it difficult to appreciate small but important advancements. Don’t dismiss all the smaller things that fill out your days and are building up in the long run.”
Which brings me to this: the little rotary cutter in the illustration above. I was making images for my new workshop, Blossom, and I always like to have a visual header as to what is going on in the paragraph where it links to the instructional video, and gives tips. I had the scissors in my digital image file, but when I went hunting for a rotary cutter, I thought: I could make my own. So I did. I have the how-to’s below for those of you who are so inclined (including a video!), but for the rest of you, I leave you with this: I hope you will now not only consider not only a To-Do List, but also a Done List. Isn’t that why we started quilting in the first place? To have things stay done?
How to Make a Digital Rotary Cutter in Affinity Designer, by a Verified Amateur.
Start the program. Open an artboard. If that already feels like a foreign language, an artboard is basically just a big scratch pad. I can open multiple artboards in one file and save them all under one name. So I can have a scratchpad for rotary cutter, a scratchpad for a quilt block, etc.
Open Affinity Designer, click on “New.” A screen will show up with lots of sizes to choose from. I usually go with 9 x 11 as I can always resize it, but it fits on my laptop screen neatly. I choose “inches” not pixels from the set-up screen and I like mine sideways, so I click on Landscape. Don’t forget to click “Create Artboard.”
3. And then I realized I would be writing a book, so instead, I made a video.
And then I uploaded the video to YouTube, where you can watch it. (And I do not know why the full-screen version is blurry. Working on that.)
It runs about six minutes, if you have that much time. Of course, it took me three Google searches to figure out how to record from screen (pretty nifty, once you learn it), then I uploaded into iMovie so I could cut off the end where I keep saying, “How do I stop recording this?” over and over all the while critiquing my voice. I then uploaded titles on the front and back and even a little Title Card saying Thank You For Watching. Yes, sirree. I’m a rank amateur trying to act professional.
But there you go. Obviously I should have majored in graphic design in college, but that was some years ago when it was Photoshop Version 1.0. (Now, I’ve left Adobe behind and moved over to Affinity where there are NO monthly subscription fees. I’m just saying.)
I’m most excited about how Affinity Designer now has a gazadget that will let me automatically draw quarter-inch seam allowances around any shape I make (called a Contour Tool). So, so happy with this!
Advent Quilt Number 256 • 35″ square Blossom (pattern based on the Flowering Snowball block)
I’m teaching the Blossom pattern in a Workshop for the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild this coming month, and in celebration of finishing all three samples, shooting and uploading five videos for their workshop and figuring out how to make fancy-schmancy title cards for the videos, I’m celebrating by giving you a coupon for 20% this new pattern.
Right now. In the pattern shop. Use the code: Blossom20 at checkout. Expires at the end of the month, August 31st.
Blossom, version #1: Colorbright Blossom (47″)
Blossom, version #2: Advent (35″) (see above)
Blossom, version #3: Hanagasaku (23″) They are made with different sizes of blocks, and the pattern has these three different sizes, plus three different (original) border patterns to fit.
Here’s the full line-up, available only through the workshop. Now, since I worked all day in a medium I’m not used to (video editing), and I think I don’t have any brain cells left to think, I’ll end here.
A version of the final end title on my videos, which I think might make a nice new logo.