Gridsters Blocks (January 2019) and Affinity software review

gridsters-250-buttonx

The Gridsters are starting on their third year, and it’s been a delight to discover the variety of styles and choices each member puts forward for us to make for them.  Carol was our Queen Bee for January, and she asked us for blocks designed by Kristina of Center Street Quilts.

gridster jan sewinggridster jan2019_1I chose Geometric Christmas Tree and Mod Tree, and mailed them off a few days ago.

sewing room_1

before

I still haven’t settled my sewing room yet after last fall’s room switchearound, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to get everything off the floor and into some semblance of order.sewing room_2sewing room_3

My husband and I needed only two trips to IKEA to make this one work.sewing room_3a

We purchased a new light from Lowe’s Hardware that goes under the bookshelves, and boy, does it blast the lumens into the room.  I love it, and love that it is an LED which doesn’t give off much heat nor consume as much energy.  And I can see everything in my tiny sewing universe when I turn it on.sewing room_4

The ironing board gets set up in front, so the iron is parked on the right.  In the first bin on the top of the shelves, I put all those mini charm packs, and other random charm packs.  I don’t buy many precuts, and so they all fit in there.  The second shallower bin holds Featherweight Sewing Machine Stuff, as I purchased another Featherweight this fall when a neighbor cleaned out her mother’s storage unit and discovered that her mother had collected all these old sewing machines.  I’d also gone to a garage sale, where they had a box of feet and attachments; they appear to belong to the Featherweight, but I’m still researching.  One woman’s trash is another quilter’s treasure.

And I’m still trying to make the bins useful, so this will change as I work in here.  Right now the upper left holds stuff for Bee Happy, a quilt that my friend Leisa and I chose to do as a long-term project.  And as she says, “No deadlines.  If it takes us two years, so what!”

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Been working on this, both in cloth and in pattern.

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I decided to try to upgrade my pattern-writing skills, unsatisfied with my Microsoft Word  approach.  I’d been using Affinity’s Photo and Designer software, which everyone knows is sort of a replacement for the Adobe Creative Suite.  I didn’t want to join in the subscription plan that Adobe wanted me to, so found the Affinity (all 20% now for Christmas–so that makes it around $40 for the Photo and other software in their store–quite a difference from the Adobe prices!).

Affinity Publisher Beta.png

This past fall, they released the free beta version of their Affinity Publisher, which I couldn’t wait to try.  They’ve had two upgrades since I started playing around with it, and each has improved the flow and workability of the app.  I can’t wait for it to be released in its final version.  I also tried to contribute to their Bug and Help forums, you know, to be a good brownie.  It wasn’t hard to come up with things to say, because I was working on patterns, but really, at this point, it’s almost ready for launch.

affinity pattern making nlm

I used screen shots from QuiltPro for the basis of my artwork, as they were perfectly sized, then modified them in Affinity Photo, then saved them as illustrations.  I opened Affinity Publisher Beta, watched all the training videos (taking notes) and dived in. I finished up one pattern earlier this week, did the pattern for my turn next month as Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and am still working on Northern Lights Medallion (NLM).  I’m sorry for the lateness in getting NLM out, but I’m learning as I go, and I wasn’t satisfied with how the templates laid out on the page (exported from QuiltPro) so it’s back to more learning, more Asking the Internet.  I’ll get there–thanks for your patience.

new software

 

 

 

 

Up in Smoke

Burning LA Library 1

The Los Angeles Central Library was set ablaze by an arsonist on April 29, 1986, an event captured in an excellent recent book by Susan Orleans.  The photo above shows the library on fire, and below, a glimpse of the burnt stacks, showing charred remnants of books.

Burning LA Library 2

Librarian Glen Creason writes about that day:

“Even after total resurrection in 1993, when those who stuck it out returned to dear old Central, it seemed like a terribly unreal nightmare. Just to ponder 200,000 books destroyed by the act of a madman is bad enough, but to have worked with and touched these objects created by deep thought and intellectual struggle makes the sadness all the more haunting.

“Irreplaceable numbers of hard copy periodicals, drawings from patents, historic maps, fine art prints, photography negatives and newspaper archives were turned into ash or mush by the water that inexorably seeped down the stacks and into the basement. The bottom floor of the venerable landmark became a waterlogged graveyard of collections.”

What does this have to do with us quilters today?  Because recently someone set fire to our collective digital library, also known as Craftsy.

Unlike the LA Central, Craftsy (which as of today is changing its name to BluPrint) has no funding from any state or local governments. It is a business, and in that sphere, money — or keeping your business viable — reigns. So while it’s not surprising that they might make changes to keep it profitable (and no one begrudges them that), too many of us, when looking for our favorite patterns this week saw this:

Craftsy Oops.png

A friendly, grandmotherly tone with the “Oh Dear!”  but because of the lack of punctuation, the sympathic murmuring we all say (“Oh, dear!”) was turned into a dimishing description. They can get us back on track, they claim, as “things aren’t going as planned.”  No kidding.

It’s my turn coming up on Gridster Bee and I was reviewing past bee blocks I’ve seen and made for others, trying to audition one for this month.  Time after time, I clicked on the links I’d carefully imbedded in blog posts, only to see the Oh Dear! Craftsy notice.

I had earlier received the notice that I was one of the designers they decided to keep, but waited to see what would happen.  My collection of nearly 15 patterns was reduced to this one pattern:

craftsy ese oops

I had some revisions in process, so was able to upload them, but doubt I’ll be allowed to do more.  But more importantly, some of my favorite pattern makers are gone:

I would have liked some notice that they were going to ransack our digital library, burn the books and torch the shelves.  I imagine some of you would have liked that, too.  Couldn’t they have tagged our patterns, letting us know they were headed for the dustbin, and then a week later, we could have taken them off the site ourselves?  Would it have been feasible for them to start charging us and letting us keep our “store”? I would have been fine with that, for of course we should pay our way.

And…why did this happen the week before Christmas?  It felt like one of those “release-the-horrible-news-on-Friday-and-maybe-no-one-will-notice-by-Monday” sort of things.

payhip_logo-small

For awhile I’ve had patterns up on PayHip, which also satsifies the VAT issue payment. To search PayHip, use Google.  Type in “quilt patterns payhip” and you’ll see a large listing of creatives already on that site.  Another way to the patterns is through direct links, such as the one to the right on my blog.

payhip site

PayHip OPQuilt site

For now the takeaway is: download anything you like for, without warning, it may suddenly go up in smoke.

 

tiny-nine-patches

 

craftsybluprint notice

from here

Postscript regarding Craftsy/BluPrint:  I have created a folder on my own hard drive, and downloaded into one place all the patterns I’d purchased on Craftsy which I also uploaded to the Cloud (I use Dropbox). I’d suggest doing the same.

A Bit Frosty this January

1shinecirclesquilt

Remember this?

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

And this?

This is Shine: The Circles Quilt, and I started it as a English Paper Piecing project, putting the free patterns up on this blog, beginning in 2014.  I also have a page dedicated to these blocks, giving out the patterns and tutorials for each, until the last four (which used to live on Craftsy, but that’s another blog post.  Coming soon.)

And then this new year, I opened up mail from one of my heros, Becky Goldsmith to see this:

Goldsmith Circles1.jpg

and this:

Goldsmith Circles2.jpg

all advertising her newest endeavor.

As near as I can tell, she has no idea I exist.  She is not copying me.  She has fancy borders, and has done the quilt twice.  I think this is a classic example of what the German’s call “der Zeitgeist” or “the trend of thought and feeling in a period.

But I am a bit frosty about this, for one reason only: she has a megaphone, and I have only this blog.  I used to have a blog and a Craftsy site (!), but I guess I also have Instagram, which might have a zillion followers if I unblocked all those creepy men or Quilt-Content-Thieves.  But is it really “frosty” or is it more that I’m jealous?  I think the latter. 

I still have my Shine patterns here, but really, I have to yield the selling floor to the firepower of Piece O’Cake Designs, in making a quilt with a grid of paper-pieced circles based on the traditional style of a compass rose.  I don’t have her readership, her TV show appearances, her mailing list.  She’s a tsunami.  I’m a wobbly sprinkler on the back lawn.  To be truthful, Goldsmith earned her tsunami status through hard work over many years; again, she did NOT copy me at all. I have all of her books, and have made a couple of her designs, so you do have to put me in the category of Total Admirer.  But that’s not the issue here.

My takeaway: when quilters come up with designs similar to one another, it’s not always a copyright issue, which is the usual scream that emmanates from the collective online voice.  Sometimes it just is the Zeitgeist.

Sometimes the Sew Together Bag is merely a copy of her grandfather’s toiletries kit (this fact mentioned to me while we were standing in line together at Market in Salt Lake City), and my Mini-Sew Together Bag was a version I was working on when I didn’t like the bulk of the original, and my Smile Bag came before byAnnie’s Clam Up bag and perhaps we were both inspired by the bag for the First Class United Airlines customers, and perhaps they were inspired by some ancient Japanese zakka.  That’s how these things go.

Scream

Edvard Munch’s The Scream

 

 

 

Okay, I feel better now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates to original post are in black text.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Happy New Year 2019

That saying in the title is Welsh for Happy New Year, and one custom is that the children in old Welsh villages would “rush around the village visiting as many houses as possible to collect sweets and money. The visits had to be made before midday, so it was often a race against the clock!”  The gifts were called calennig, and often referred to a skewered apple that the children would carry around.

I have no gifts for you, other than myself.  But then you aren’t rushing around knocking on my door, either.

I have some new readers, and thought I’d re-introduce myself at this time of Happy Old Year Ending • Happy New Year.  (I first learned to say Happy Old Year ending from a well-traveled friend, who said it was from somewhere on the African continent, and although I’ve never been able to corroborate that, I still like the idea of being happy with an ending.)

I’m Elizabeth Eastmond and I am the sole writer of this blog.

 

I first began writing in 2007, sliding quilty posts in amongst my then regular blog, OccasionalPiece, which at this point, is resting (it’s been resting for several years).  The blog name, OccasionalPiece, morphed into OccasionalPiece~Quilt, then I dropped the tilde (~).  When I started trying to find a web address, I shortened it even further to OPQuilt, because who wants to try and spell Occasional or Piece?

Piece originated not in the term “piecing” but from the fact that at the time I started writing online, I was in Graduate School, getting my degree in Creative Writing.  We called our writings “pieces” as in a “short story piece” or “a piece of my novel.”  In my mind it expanded to include my cloth piecings, and any slice of my life–so that’s why you’ll see some travel, some family, current events, cooking, and yes, an occasional piece of writing.  Oh, and art.  We’ve got to have art!

NYC11_18_12c highline

Sculpture on the High Line; the birds perched there, but they are not a part of this piece of art

I keep a listing of my quilts–or as we say in Creative Writing, a catalogue of the body of my work–up above on 100 Quilts, 200 Quilts, and am starting on the 300 Quilts list.  Everything is linked, but not illustrated, and I’m sorry about that.  I would like to have a listing of photos, but that’s in my Someday category.

While it’s traditional on this week to do a year-end round-up of Quilts I’ve Made or lists of Hope I Finish These This Year, and while I love other people’s inventory, this year I found my own lists and write-ups pretty boring (really, can we stand one more look at Frivols?) except, perhaps, for the lovely one below, gifted at a new baby shower:

Deneese baby quilt

Personal stats: I have four lovely and clever children, eleven brilliant and handsome grandchildren, a perfectly amazing and wonderful husband. Our last family photo, since we are scatterered over four states was two years ago, and one was missing even then.  I like the word lovely and use it a lot. I’ve been divorced, remarried, had two major surgeries, a scattering of small ones, but consider myself healthy, and try always to follow my grandmother’s advice to keep my whines to myself, with the caveat that if something interrupts the output of quilting, I might put it up on this blog.  I make mistakes.  I cherish my faith and crave harmony.  I love going to quilt shows.  I like to sing, mostly to the stuff coming in off my playlist.  I am not totally in love with Smart Technology (still having fights with our new Christmas gift: “Siri, why are you singing in the middle of the night?”), but adore my mobile phone and its capabilities. I like to laugh, have a fairly honed capacity for snark, and cry in tender and emotional scenes in movies. In short, I am like you.  I am not like you.  But I hope to count myself as someone who writes something that you’d like to read.

But generally, this blog is about quilts.  Quilting.  Our quilting world.  Things that pertain to it.  It might be about a quilting personality, or quilting commerce.  It is not a newsletter.  It’s my calennig, my gift to you.

Happy Reading.

Happy New Year!

Prepping the Quilts 2018

Road to California Logo

Thank you all for the lovely words of encouragement you wrote in response to my last post.  I’m making my way through them, and will answer them.  However, everything I have done lately…is done lately.

Annularity_May 2018LabeledNorthern Lights Medallion on bench

These two lovelies were juried into Road to California 2019, and so I spent a morning prepping them to head off:

Prepping for Road_1

Now you see the bit of errant blue quilting thread…

Prepping for Road_2

…and now you don’t…Prepping for Road_3

…thanks to these trusty friends.  This is an old quilter’s trick, mentioned in several older books I have.

Names on labels are covered up. I also had to make sure my name and contact information are included on the quilt, and I do that in a label near the hanging sleeve, and that’s covered up, too.

Quilts into a clear plastic bag, into their box, and off to Road to California, not to be seen until January 2019, in the show!

A Few Thoughts on A Year of Making Frivols

My friend Simone asked me what I was going to do now that the Frivols were all finished.  “What do you have planned for 2019?” she asked, oh so sweetly.

Let me review:
Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_7

2011-2014 I worked on my Lollypop Trees quilt.

shinecirclesquilt_frontl
2014-2015 I worked on Shine: The Circles Quilt.

christmas-tree_5halloween-1904_front2016 I did not one, but TWO, Quilt-A-Longs (Halloween and Christmas).
2017 I had shoulder surgery and it seemed to be the year of small quilts.

Northern Lights Medallion_4
2018 was the year of the Frivols, plus the year of working in Painter’s Palette Solids.

And 2019?

It’s time for a bit of introspection and reflection here.

I am feeling a bit bereft because I feel like I have nothing in the pipeline, nothing in the brain for creativity.  I see everyone’s IG feed, their blogs, I go to quilt shows and there’s just no sparking going on. Awol Erizku, a contemporary artist, titled one of his paintings “When You See Too Much, You See Nothing;”  perhaps this is what’s happening here.

And so the “what now?” kind of morphs into “Nobody’s at Home in My Head” in spite of the fact that I have successfully slain the Frivols Tins that have been living rent-free in my closet for two years.  I recognize that this “I-am-a-useless-cretin” thinking often crops up after an extended period of making, of pedal-to-the-metal.

I am happy that I finished my goal of making all those quilts, but really, I am mostly happy that I am finished with Frivols.  It has been a year of learning, a year of exploring different palettes and fabric styles, but mostly, it has been a year of sewing someone else’s creativity and living in some else’s quilty head.  That last part has been the hardest.  I was pretty excited right off the bat to  make these but after about the thousandth HST, or another tin of colored print fabrics to be augmented with a background of white…I had to dig deep to finish up this project.

It’s like when someone wants you to make them a quilt, and you agree, all the while thinking in your head I can do anything but one of those Star Wars panels, and then they show up at your house with Star Wars panels, it’s torture to get that quilt made.  I wonder if this happens sometimes with our UFOs, if all of a sudden our interest or our tastes change, so what was once interesting, is now banal and you just can’t stand to work on it.

Frivols 12_12a

But I’m happy to be finished.  I set a goal, I powered through it, and I appreciate all the cheering from my readers.  You made a difference, as always.

I will donate some of these quilts to the Neonatal Quilt Project in our Guild and to the group that gives quilts to the foster kids who have aged out.  I will gift a few more, and my favorites will live at our house.

Thank you all!

Frivols_all3Frivols_all_12XDONEs