Bluebird of Quiltiness

Bluebird Tiny Quilt_1

Another Tiny Quilt was hatched today, and its this Bluebird of Quiltiness.  Based on a 1-1/2″ block size, I figured it out and made it up, finishing it with the perfect faceted black bead for the eye.  There are multiple patterns out there for pieced birds, and while I changed this one up enough that I consider it my pattern and no one else’s, I’m not putting a PDF out there.  Just in case.

Bluebird on Nest

However, this one is different enough that I’m posting up a PDF of the pattern pieces, in case you want to make a bird on a nest for your next Tiny Quilt.  Grab the PDF file here: Nested Bird pattern and have fun making another little Tiny Quilt.  (I have a listing of all the Tiny Quilts on this blog, in case you’re interested.)

After you create the bird (with, or without nest), then you sew on borders until it’s large enough.  See the first Tiny Quilt for more instructions.

 

Wanting to finish this today made me leave the house, avoid the parking lot also known as our Memorial Day freeway gridlock, just to get over to WalMart to buy a landscape-oriented frame. It’s those cheesy plastic frames, nothing fancy.   To modify this one, I laid the frame down on my quilt, traced around it, and used those lines to create the backing and put the binding on.

Sing Stitchery_1

I also finished this bird-themed stitchery, purchase eons ago at Primitive Gatherings.  I took it with me to Berlin, but finished it up here.  Now to find a frame for this.

Pinned Quilts_1

The other day I pin-basted three wall-sized quilts, and started stitching on the first one:Quilting with no direction

Right.  I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m having fun.  I think am hoping it will make more sense when I get the whole thing done.  Stay tuned; it will be long while, as I still limit my daily quilting minutes.

Bindings Needed_1

And the three quilts came back from Cathy of CJ Designs, my quilter.  One is in Active Binding Mode downstairs by the TV, and two (above) are waiting for binding.  The whirly-gig backed quilt is also waiting for more quilting along the borders.  The fun thing was that I’ve had a number quilts done by her, and so I hit the magic number and the last one was done for free.  It’s her way of saying thank you to her customers.  (Thank you, Cathy!)

Mom and her quilt

But I’m leaving all this behind this next week, as I head up to my Mother’s to help celebrate her 91st birthday.  (I do like to remind her that if you turn the numbers upside down, she’s a girl of 16.)  She’s shown above with about the only quilt I can remember her making: a cross-stitched top which was sent out to be hand-quilted.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom on young birthday SM

Mom, around age 12, holding her birthday cake

 

Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild

ValleyMist_Workshoppers

I’m leading off with my workshop participants, all brilliant conversationalists and quilters.

ValleyMist_WorkshopIG

This past week, I gave a lecture and taught my Merrion Square Workshop to the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild, a top-notch guild that taught me plenty about how a successful guild functions.

At my workshop, Lupe, an excellent chef and the Workshop Coordinator, brought me a home-made lunch.  We gathered around a table for a break, and I enjoyed hearing stories about how people came to Temecula, California, for there are very few natives here.

Frequent Quilters Card

Here’s an idea for Guilds: a Frequent Quilter Card.  Every time a Guild Member takes a class, the Workshop Coordinator initials their card; when they have taken five classes, they get the sixth one free.  One line I heard over and over at Meet the Teachers was that guilds couldn’t fill their workshop classes.  This would be a great motivator to get people to a workshop, another good idea from this Guld.

 

As with any Guild, finding space to meet for programs and workshops is a challenge, and we met today in a clubhouse, with beautiful roses outside.

ValleyMistActivities_11

Several days before, on Tuesday, I drove to the Temecula Recreation Center, where the Guild has their monthly meetings.  Above is the Guild President, calling the meeting to order.  After a few announcements, it was my turn. ValleyMistActivities_12

I had the two tables at the back of the stage lined up with my quilts, which– after they were showed–were then draped over the structure at the front of the stage (hard to explain, but no, my quilts weren’t on the floor).

ValleyMistActivities_13

The Guild Members could come up front to see the quilts for a closer look; very satisfying that they enjoyed my work.  The quilter in the front, Annette, has followed my blog for several years, and came up and introduced herself to me at Road to California a couple of years ago.  (I wrote about that lovely experience up in my journal.) After the break was finished, members scattered to do business at the following tables:

ValleyMistActivities_10

Workshops.  All the tables have signs, and this one is patch-worky!  Lupe is there (you recognize her from the top of the post), with my quilts, signing up people for my Saturday Workshop.

ValleyMistActivities_9

Sweets and Treats table.

ValleyMistActivities_7

Ida is in charge of the Charity Quilts.  Behind her a bags of completed quilts, and in front of her are quilt kits, so people can grab and go and make and return, along with kits for pillowcases (in the bin).  She is very organized!

ValleyMistActivities_8

These tables are where members lay their Show and Tell.  I noticed that they didn’t include small quilted items such as bags, purses or hot pad holders, which I’ve seen in other guilds.  I enjoyed their Show and Tell Show immensely, loving this plaid quilt.  She said she had a bin of plaid from a few years back (um, I have one of those too) and decided to do something with it.  The people who brought these items would scoop them up and line up on one side of the stage.  When it was their turn to speak, the two ladies on the stage would take the quilt and hand the quilter a microphone, so she could talk about her quilt without having to show it.  A nice piece of choreography.ValleyMistActivities_6

Gloria ran the quilt raffle.  I was tempted by those cookbooks and their newly designed Guild pin.

ValleyMistActivities_5

Adriene and Shelly (they are sisters) run the block of the month and this year they are doing Improv Blocks.  They call themselves the Blockheads, but trust me, they are witty and fun to talk to (they were also at the Workshop).

ValleyMistActivities_4

Janice’s Charming Strip Exchange was popular.  This month was Kaffe Fasset fabrics.

ValleyMistActivities_3

What to do with leftovers?  Make Pet Beds.

ValleyMistActivities_2

Check out that mini quilt.  Every month they have a Monthly Mini raffle, and I’m sure this month’s quilt — that of the sewing machine — must have been hugely popular!

ValleyMistActivities_1

Here’s another table that has monthly baskets of sewing supplies, fabrics, magazines–all donated–which the organizers make into cute baskets.  When you buy your tickets, you can grab a candy, plus they give you a small gift:

ValleyMistActivities_1b

ValleyMistActivities_1a

While I picked a ticket for one of their door prizes that night (did I mention they had three?), the highly efficient chairmen do the drawings themselves, and present the name to the President for the announcement.

As might have noticed, this post is pretty detailed.  Many of my readers are on the Boards of their local Guilds, and I though I would present these good ideas for them, as well as for those who simply go to Guild meetings.  I love our community, and celebrate the work of Guilds, impressed as always.  Thanks to the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild for inviting me!

What I’ve Been Doing Lately • May 2019

Gridster_May 2019

Since I hadn’t posted in a couple of weeks, I did want to blog, but felt pretty scattered about what to write.  So here it all is: from finishes to starts, from garden news and quilting to a Trunk Show.

So, to start with, Simone and I got together to make blocks for Rachel‘s Queen Bee turn in our Gridster Bee: Scrap Jar Stars from Gigi’s Thimble.  We’d made them last year for another bee member, so these blocks, in the requested red and green, went together quickly.

May 2019 Gridster layout.png

Rachel laid out on her floor the blocks she’d received so far, and this is going to make a terrific quilt.  She blogs at The Life of Riley.

Rachel Beeswax.png

Something interesting about Rachel is that she raises bees.  This screenshot is from her ETSY shop, where she sells beeswax for hand-sewing.  I’m lucky enough to have one of these!

Shine Blocks in the wild

Imagine waking up one morning to a tag from a friend about this quilt.  I recognized the block immediately, as it was the final block I designed for my Shine: The Circles Quilt.  This man sells a shot cotton (in Australia), and they’d contracted someone to make a quilt showing their fabric line and that person used my quilt design.  After a few back-and-forths, I did get attribution for the design.  Peony_2019

Moving right along, the peony bush in the garden bloomed.  I have two exactly-the-same bushes and they each have a slightly different flower.  Just like people, just like quilters, who can make the same quilt and have it look quite different.

And…after a visit to my doctor and the A-OK from him and from Kris, my physical therapist (above right), I started using the Sweet Sixteen quilting machine again.  This is my first attempt at quilting, so I took it in to show her.  They chart everything you do, asking seemingly innocent questions like, “How are your household chores coming along?”  or “Take any long drives this weekend?” so they can monitor my progress in recovering from rotator cuff surgery in January.  Nearly five months out, I’m in the “danger zone” where most re-tears happen, so I’m very careful not to stress the repair, or mow lawns.  (Kidding.  I never mow the lawn, because my husband does a very fine job and I wouldn’t want to interrupt his successes.)

Prepping Quilts for Quilter_1

This past month I also proved to myself, once again, that texting can be a horrible way to convey complicated information, given the strange timing you get in texting (answering one text while that person is answering your text, creating an asyncronous conversation).  Because of this, I was unsuccessful in communicating with a new quilter I’d previously tried.  She was frustrated. And I was BEYOND frustrated.  (One unsolved topic: using vertical seams in your backing.) And yes, she only uses texts, so we parted ways.

Prepping Quilts for Quilter_2

I bundled up my three quilts and their backs and took them to my regular quilter, Cathy of CJ Designs.  I asked her about vertical seams on the back, and she said she had no problem with them.  And her costs were more reasonable. So what felt like a set-back  really turned out okay in the end.

Merrion Square2

Over the last few weeks, I have sewn three of these mini quilt tops.  At the Meet the Teacher event I recently went to, I signed eight contracts for teaching, and many of the guilds chose this as their workshop.  And everyone likes samples to be sent.  This is the second one I’ve quilted, and it made me feel more at home on the machine.  I still have to take frequent breaks and can’t go too long in any one session, but I’m making progress.

Backing of Merrion Square2

I think the backing fabric is awesome.

I’ve also been sewing up some of my new designs, working out the bugs and kinks of the patterns, but am not ready to launch them yet.

Sample Checklist for Guilds.png
Finally, when I was sorting out my contracts, I developed a form to help me keep track of critical information, which was missing from several of the contracts I signed.  Only one Guild so far (I’ve gone through about half my contracts) had everything I needed to know.  I realize that if I flew into a city, the Guild Minders would take me around, so I wouldn’t need all this info.  But since I drive to all my gigs, it’s critical to know.  If you would like an editable MSWord version of this for your own personal use (the above is only a screenshot), I’ll be happy to send it to you. Just leave me a comment on this post, or email me.

Organizing Blog Content

And even more interestingly, I couldn’t find a lot of relevant information on Guild Websites.  So, if you are a guild board member, please make sure that people (strangers) can easily find the time and date and place of your monthly meeting, and the same for your workshops.

I know how this happens, as I’m guilty of it here sometimes: you just start throwing up blogposts, forgetting that some visitors come for specific information.  I’ve revised the organization and wording of this blog mulitple times, always trying to make it easier for people to find my quilts (links and titles) as well as other info.  It’s a never-ending task: like trying to keep the junk drawer in the kitchen cleaned out.

Best Wishes on Trunk Show

My husband left this sign for me on the kitchen counter while I was at PT.

I’m looking forward to a lot of fun teaching and meeting people, beginning with tonight, at the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild in Temecula California.  I’ll be teaching a Merrion Square Workshop for them on Saturday.  Please contact them if you are interested in coming.

Temperature Quilt_April 2019.jpg
April’s Temperature Quilt Blocks are all done…moving into May!

Utah Valley Quilt Guild • National Teacher

Utah VlyQG_13

This is the Utah Valley, where the Utah Valley Quilt Guild lives, meets and has way too much fun (check their website to see what I’m talking about).  In April, I was invited as their National Teacher, an annual honor, to present and to give a workshop.  As I was born and raised in this valley, it stands to reason that I would know some people here…

Utah VlyQG_9

…like Lisa, my “minder” and a sweet friend who recently moved here from SoCal.  I was actually invited by Brenda S., who is serving an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have looked forward to coming to speak to this guild for over a year.  Thank you, Brenda!

Utah VlyQG_1

First up: teach a Workshop for their Guild.  They actually wanted two combined into one, and I loved seeing all the different houses-on-a-square that resulted from this class:

Scenes from class that day.

Utah VlyQG_5

I knew that Leslie (L) was a total geneology expert, so we figured out (via an app that we are both registered on) that not only was she my 9th cousin, I was also ninth cousin with another quilter (R), too!

Lisa took me to The Quilter’s Lodge, where I indulged, and where we saw Simone’s fabric.  Truth: I went back two days later.  Actually, you should all go!

Utah VlyQG_7

Next up: the Trunk Show, where I was to give my Abecedary of Quilts lecture.

Utah VlyQG_8

Because they have their lecture after their workshop, all those class ladies when home and sewed their brains out, and came up with the beginnings of their Home, Sweet, Home and Merrion Square mini quilts. Impressive!

Utah VlyQG_8a

Lisa, as Quilt Minder, had too much on her mind and left hers at home–she later sent me a photo of how cute her quilt had turned out.  I love this version!

Utah VlyQG_10

The guild was really responsive, and we laughed together–I was so appreciative of their keen interest.  I was also impressed with all the good projects this guild is doing, so much that I joined the guild before I left!

Utah VlyQG_12Utah VlyQG_12a

While I was at the Workshop, my husband went to an art museum in Salt Lake City, that because he is also a well-trained quilter’s husband, zeroed in on these two pieces that were there.  It’s nice to know that others see our art in cloth and thread, and want to include it in their exhibits.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this quild; they are incredibly friendly and welcoming.  Thank you, Utah Valley!

Signature Blocks

I’ve done several types of signature blocks, so thought I’d update my tutorial on how to make a signature block for friends.  The basic kind I make (L)  is a small block, that the people in the Bees I participate in, send with their blocks.  The larger size (R) is suitable for a friendship quilt, which we made for our friend Lora when she moved away.

Cut one white, or light, 3 1/2″ square and two 2 1/2″ squares.  I like to use the fabric that was in my block that I sent. (Click on any circle to enlarge it.)

Place the smaller block on the top of the larger block, aligning corners, right sides together, and draw a diagonal line.  Stitch one-to-two threads away from this line, towards the corner.  This is the same technique used when making snowball blocks, in order to give room for the fabric to turn over the stitching line.  Trim off the excess corner, leaving 1/4″.

In Circle 1, I’ve trimmed away the excess fabric and pressed the block.  The center should measure about 1 1/2″ wide (Circle 2).  In the last circle (seen from the back), I pressed a scrap of freezer paper, shiny side down, to the wrong side of the white strip in order to stabilize the area where I’ll be writing.

I’ve made myself a card that I place underneath the white area, to help keep my writing aligned; I use paper clips to keep it in place. I use a Micron Pigma 08 pen to write.

What to write on a Signature Block that is included with bee blocks? In our bee, we suggest: Name, IG name, the date (in smaller writing) and the city where the quilter lives.

When making the larger signature blocks (quilt shown above), I used a 6 1/2″ white square and a 5″ contrast square.  It gave a good amount of room for Lora’s friends to write their names.  I did back every white part with strips of freezer paper, and collected signatures from all the church ladies to give her a good send-off.  Many wanted to write a message, but we encouraged them to just leave a signature.

I’m sure you can see the double stitching on the corner.  Because this was a larger block, I did two lines of stitching on those corners, 1/2″ apart, then cut right down the middle when I trimmed.  That yielded a sweet-sized HST to use for other projects.

Signatures

Some time ago, I made myself a signature quilt, collecting names of those who were significant to me at that time in my life.  Some six years later, all these sweet granddaughters who signed a block (above) have grown up.

SilverGold_draped

Silver and Gold, 2013

In this case, I used the center of the King’s Crown Block (also the basis for the popular Meadowland block that is currently all the rage; see below), sending around white blocks of fabric backed with squares of freezer paper all over the country, asking them to write their names in pencil (which I later traced over with my Micron Pigma 08 pen).

However or whatever your need for signature blocks are, I hope these tips are helpful!

KingsCrown_Meadlowland Quilt Blocks

tiny-nine-patches

Photo Gallery Label

Sampler Quilt 2015with Sigs

I’ve circled where I used my beemates signature blocks.

Signature Blocks19_11

This shows the signature blocks of my beemates set in the back of a recently finished quilt, like kiss marks (sweet thought!).

Piggies-signature blocks

I inserted the signature blocks in a row on the back of this quilt, with my “label” the same size and shape in lower left.

Piggies2_back

Meet the Teacher • Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds

MTTeacherBooths_37

I participated in a new experience this month, when I signed up for a booth at the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds‘ Meet the Teacher meeting. I had been encouraged to do this by a fellow quilter, and she was really helpful in sending me tips of what to do.  In my more fretful moments, I searched the internet for more information, so I write this post to document my experience, to show what kinds of booths were there, to help others who may choose to do this.  This post is picture heavy, but full of wonderful quilts.

MTT Hall

It was held in Carson, California at the community center.  The area we had of this center was one large room, with “wings” of rooms, open to the main room.  You could hear all that was going on, and it was a busy, fun feeling.  We entered the area at the top of this paper, checked in (we received a cookie!) and went to our booth areas, which consisted of two chairs, a cloth-draped 8-foot table that was about 24″ wide.  I was on the left side of the above diagram, next to a really lovely woman who did embroidery.  The people on the other side didn’t show, so we used that table for eating lunch, as did others.

Meet the Teacher Booths_0

My booth at Meet the Teachers• April 2019

What to bring?  Here’s a listing of what I would suggest (you can get more ideas from the pictures that follow this list:

• 1 or 2 quilt stands.  We strung a pole (one of my HangIt Dangits) between the two so I could show three quilts.
• A sign for your booth.  They did provide a sign, but mine had migrated and was two tables over (I found it later).
• Quilts that you want for background atmosphere and backdrop. You can see I draped the table in my basket quilt.
• A book showing classes you’ll teach.  Keep it simple.  The Guild Board Members always seemed to be in rush, so they don’t spend a long time at your booth.
• Quilts that are samples of classes you will teach.  These were invaluable, as people want to see the class samples.  Many took photos of the quilts to show to their Guild.
• Bowl of wrapped chocolates. I went to the store and bought two bags of foil-wrapped chocolates (Dove Mixture and a Reese’s peanut butter candy).  These were a hit.
• Fliers showing a brief bio, a photo, one of your quilts (if possible) and contact information. I did 100 half-sheet fliers which yielded 200.  I put some out on the Flier Table in the front hallway, and offered up chocolate and a flier to everyone that came by. Because I had too many fliers, I wasn’t worried about running out.
• Decorative items for your table.  I brought my Tiny Quilts, showing what was available on my blog for free.  (I am not a pro on this one, but you’ll see other booths who had more.)
• Lunch will be a rush.  While I did buy the offered lunch, I only ate about 1/2 of it.  For us, it might have been better to have brought small grazing items, for when we were hungry, I think.  We brought a small cooler that we tucked under the table, filled with three bottles of water (could have used four), a soft drink and some snacks and grapes. They had iced tea and water with lemons in it in the main welcoming area, it that interests you.
• I also brought a cushion to sit on, not knowing what kind of chairs they had.  They were fine, but it was helpful to be a bit higher in my chair when I was doing business.
• Pen(s).
• Put an app on your phone so you can take a photo that will scan the contracts you sign.  They carry away the copy, and you’ll probably want to know what you signed.
• Printed out calendars, with the dates you aren’t available blocked out.  Most of these Guilds are working two years out, so bring three years’ worth of calendars.
• A helper.  I brought my husband, and he was invaluable.  They do have booth sitters that come around and can give you a break.

Here’s my Instagram post, with videos, showing bits of this day.  We arrived about 8:15, and set up; we were ready to go in 30 minutes.  At 2 p.m. it was all over with, and we packed up and left.

You’ll also be asked to give a 3 minute talk, and they are serious about 3 minutes.  I wrote mine out, using one of my blog posts as the basis, and showed only two samples of things I could teach.  Others brought oodles of samples to show and talked mainly about their classes.  They have two helpers onstage to hold up your items while you talk.  I’d suggest timing your talk so you know how long it will take, but they do have a woman at the front with signs, telling you when to get off the stage (they run a tight ship). I’m guessing the Guild board members basically want to see what kind of person you are, and if you are coherent.  It can be a mind-rattling experience, so be prepared.  Because I was, I thought it was fun.  The talks go on throughout the day, with breaks in between every so often so the guild members can get to the booths.

Here come the photos.  They are meant to be helpful, if you are planning to do this, so draw from them what might work.  For the rest of my readers, have fun looking at the quilts!

Meet the Teacher Booths_1

She obviously was a pro–with lights! They do ask you if you need electricity in your registration form.

Meet the Teacher Booths_2

In case your booth shows the backside, I thought this banner was clever in showing her quilt and her name.

Meet the Teacher Booths_3Meet the Teacher Booths_4Meet the Teacher Booths_5Meet the Teacher Booths_6Meet the Teacher Booths_7Meet the Teacher Booths_8Meet the Teacher Booths_9

Meet the Teacher Booths_10

I want to take a class to make that bag!

MTTeacherBooths_11MTTeacherBooths_12

MTTeacherBooths_13

Looks like she brought a skinny table to put behind her.

MTTeacherBooths_14MTTeacherBooths_15

MTTeacherBooths_16

She wore bunny ears. I saw another woman with a tiara.

MTTeacherBooths_17

Many brought things to sell, as you can see by her box of patterns.

MTTeacherBooths_18MTTeacherBooths_19

MTTeacherBooths_20

Becky is the one who told me I should do this, and is my hero. You can see how fun her booth is with her banners (I want to make one!). I met her while taking her cushion class (in front, right).

MTTeacherBooths_21MTTeacherBooths_22MTTeacherBooths_23

MTTeacherBooths_24

One of the guilds was selling rolls of donated fabric, so you are actually looking through a couple of booths to the row behind.

MTTeacherBooths_25

MTTeacherBooths_26

Courtyard outside. Beautiful location!

MTTeacherBooths_27

MTTeacherBooths_29

This is Sheila Collins’ Fabric Art booth, and she came down from Sunnyvale (Northern California). I loved her work!

MTTeacherBooths_30MTTeacherBooths_31

MTTeacherBooths_33

I thought this might be a good excuse to get one of those cute little red wagons, but we brought everything in one giant suitcase instead.

MTTeacherBooths_34MTTeacherBooths_35

MTTeacherBooths_36

Posting with our local Modern Quilt Guild gals, who’ve chosen this quilt for a half-day guild workshop, along with my lecture.

MTTeacherBooths_39

Out for Dinner

Two vermicelli bowls at our local Vietnamese place.

We drove home through intermittent LA traffic (part of life, here), arriving home tired, but happy.  I put this photo here to let you know you won’t be cooking–go out and enjoy a meal after all your hard work!