Sing for Joy • Quilt Finish

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Sing for Joy • Quilt #226

This is the second of my Three Hard Quilts to Make for 2019.  It’s a lovely day now that Sing for Joy is finished.

Here was my recipe in four easy steps:

  • I decided I wanted to make a quilt with words, so I bought every quilt book there was on words.
  • Then I decided I wanted mine a bit wonky and NOT paper-pieced.  I posted the how-to’s, one by one on Quilt Abecedary.blogspot.com, where they still live.
  • I sent around an email to see if anyone else was interested, and some colleagues in a former online bee jumped in, so we ran the Spelling Bee ran for one year, all of us making words for each other.
  • I follow Kviltstina on Instagram, and she has the sweetest little creative shapes on her feed, so I put some of them in this quilt.

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The back, showing the signature blocks of my beemates.  I had to remake one, when the ink started running down the block when I pressed it; I guess she grabbed the wrong pen.  (It’s always something, right?)

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My husband and I went out for some photos in our neighborhood park, and several of the walkers asked about it, wondering how long it took to make it?  (Why is that always the first question, when people talk to us about our quilts?)

I began in 2016, and finished it this year (some early photos, above). I had to remake some of the words and cut down others, so I could fit them evenly on the quilt.   I hand wrote a label and pieced it in with the signature blocks, but if I printed one out it would say:

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My brother and I had an active discussion last week about whether or not there is such a thing as a soulmate.  I said I believed there is no such thing, as it was the stuff of movies and greeting cards.  What is possible is that you find yourself a partner and you work to build a relationship and sustain each other and the family.  Soulmates are ephemeral, I said.  Of course, he disagreed with me, as so might some of you.

But what I think I do believe in is a cheerleader, someone who has your best interests at heart, who encourages you, listens to you when you’re sad, upset, cheers you on in happy times and is steady and consistent.  Someone who is always on your team, and for who you’ll do the same.

This quilt is a tribute to my cheerleader of a husband, who 30 years ago married me and my four young children, raising us all.

He makes me Sing for Joy.

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tiny-nine-patches

First Hard Quilt of 2019

Second Hard Quilt of 2019

Third Hard Quilt of 2019

My Small World • Section 3 & 4

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I know you are thinking, no — praying — that someday soon I will be through with This Quilt, and believeyoume, you are not the only one hoping and praying that I can add it to my list of Three Hard Quilts of 2019 to be completed.  I’ve finished two Hard Quilts and I’m determined not to put any other quilt up on that design wall until I slay this Patchwork Dragon.

So I’m here to report progress: Section Three AND four are finished, hallelujah, but I’m celebrating probably less than you are because I have two more sections to go and I get stuck on the smallest things.

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Like the flying geese in Section Three.

The approach I took the first time I made started this quilt was to pull every fabric out of my cupboards, strew them around and clip a square of this or a square of that and piece it into this quilt.

I occasionally try that approach again.  Which doesn’t work, again.

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The best approach is to see what you’ve already thrown into the first two sections, then replicate that, either via color/value or the actual fabric, if you can find it the mess. The completed flying geese, above — which you can see is sort of an amalgam of all the geese I tried.

I’m finding the paper piecing templates from Sarah of SewWhatSherlock very helpful, if you want to get yourself a set.

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I also learned that I am truly stuck, lunch helps.  And maybe read the newspaper.  And then start in on the big shapes, letting the detritus come later.

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I can work in new bits here and there, like this woman with her bird.

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Or some fun repeated shapes, the appliquéd half-circle echoed in the fabric.  I can’t decide if this yellow is a fancy front window, or two hidden doors, camoflauged, or a re-planted tunnel under this European-style gate to the city.mysmallworld2019_4_2.jpgmysmallworld2019_4_3.jpgThen I charged into Section Four — and why not? the whole sewing room is already a disaster — hand-sewing clamshells and fussy cutting blocks, and cutting multiples of the lower section strips but finally deciding, and now these sections are sewn together: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4.

Seam Presser

New notion: this little seam presser, purchased at PIQF from Edyta Sitar‘s booth.  I’ve tried the roller ones, and this one’s on par.

To recap:

My motto: Making progress, square inch-by-square inch.

My Small World Quilt, a pattern by Jenn Kingwell.
Mess in the sewing room, by Elizabeth Eastmond (me).

Citrus Belt Quilters Guild Visit • October 2019

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The Citrus Belt Quilters Guild offered their members one of my Two-for-One Classes this week, and since it was October, several of the workshop members went for a Halloween themed mini-quilt. We worked on Merrion Square and Home Sweet Home, which are available in my PayHip shop. Below are some of the quilts in progress:

When Hollie started hers, it became a challenge to see how the value was spread around the circle of house blocks: orange and purple can both read as medium-valued when you look at them.  By switching the camera’s settings to Noir or Silvertone, we could spot the value shifts and distribute them more evenly.

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Linda brought a pile of door pieces, and we had fun distributing them around her circle of houses.

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Tessa had pre-cut all her pieces, and was nearly done by the end of class.

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Now Linda has added her bushes, using her own hand-dyed fabric.  That green — a perfect floating of a color — livened up her composition.

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By the end of class, Lorraine, with nails to match, had created a spooky Halloween neighborhood, with lots of really fun details.

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We had a great time in class–thanks, ladies!

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I arrived about 45 minutes early to the next day’s guild meeting, and the nice ladies there set up the quilt frames and my quilts for me while I put all my programs out on the chairs.  That done, I walked around to see all the program tables.

This Guild, which is celebrating its 39th year this year, runs a full and varied program from “Sew What” (sewing items for sale) to a Charity program with this month’s Angel Tree for foster children, to the other items seen here.

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Because their workshops are the day before their meeting, a group of quilters finished their house mini quilts and showed them off to the guild.  Of course, I loved this part!

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Some made Home, Sweet Home.  Here is Sheryl’s; while she wasn’t able to come yesterday because of worries about the fires in the canyon near her home, she sewed along with us in spirit, using vintage fabrics.  I’m glad her electricity stayed on — because of the fires, many are losing power.

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Linda finished up her Merrion Square, minus a border of the aqua dot and binding of the stripes.  She has been to Merrion Square in Dublin, and used the stripes to echo the wrought iron fence that runs around the square.

Well done, everyone!

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After hearing from all the Program Chairs, they broke for birthday cake.

I liked the tiny hats women wore in honor of Halloween.  I need to get one of those, for sure.  And then it was my turn.  This guild was most responsive and enthusiastic, and I appreciated the interest they had in my quilts and my stories.

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Thank you Citrus Belt Quilters for inviting me!

Pacific International Quilt Festival • 2019

But first!

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I’ll be speaking and giving a workshop locally, at the Citrus Belt Quilters Guild.  The lecture, titled Abecedary of Quilts, will be on Friday morning, October 25th.  The Workshop, which is a Two-for-One class (Home, Sweet Home and Merrion Square) will be Thursday, October 24th.  This is my last local presentation, and the last for this year; I’m excited to meet all the quilters at the Citrus Belt Guild!

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Now on to PIQF: Pacific International Quilt Festival.  I’d been reading Gillian Travis’ blog for some time, enjoying her small quilts, generated from her photographs from her travels abroad.  When Susan took her class at Road, and recommended it, I wrote to Gillian, asking if she ever taught in the States (she’s British).  Why yes, she replied.  I’m teaching at PIQF.  I hopped on the computer and registered for her class.

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One of the first quilts she showed us in class, was the one above, based on a visit to Burano, Italy.  I had similar photos, and was really excited to make this (the above is a composite of several photos).

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Gillian provided patterns for us to work on smaller versions of Burano, or smaller version of a Yorkshire Village.  I chose Burano, and above you see my progression from tracing to placing to fusing down.  I got so far as to fuse it to my background (the blue in the upper left corner), and right now, it’s still folded up in my bag, still unpacked.  I’m looking forward to unfurling it and getting back to work on it.  We pinned our class’ versions up on the wall:

Some even got to making the white frames around the windows.

PIQF Lecture1I really enjoyed this class, and was happy to move from there, to her lecture that night, where we enjoyed more visions of her work and her stories.  My friend Leisa and I also attended two more evening events: David Taylor’s lecture on Wednesday night, and the Fashion Show of Creative Garments on Friday night (photos are up on IG), which we both really enjoyed (especially the narration by Rachel Clark).

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Leisa (L) and Tracy (R): we went around on Thursday and looked at the show together.  And how about that PINK ribbon, behind their heads.  Now there’s one I could covet.

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Here’s the one that everyone wants: a blue ribbon.

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And Tracy won this for her quilt Sew She Did, which she designed, pieced and quilted. Congratulations, Tracy!

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A closeup of one of the blocks.

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On Saturday morning, I went and said good-bye to my two quilts that were in the show.  Annularity (above) was in a nice placing, all by itself in good lighting.

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Ladybird (above) also was placed well, with okay lighting.  I talked to one woman who gave me a full (and lovely) critique of what was going on in my quilt.  It was nice to talk shop with a complete stranger.  I also saw (and got a photo with) Roberta Horton, who really launched me from beginning quilter to serious quilter.  I’d taken classes with her at Houston, and I was a complete fangirl when meeting her.

As someone who has traveled to Houston, QuiltCon, Road to California, Palm Springs, and Virginia shows, the last two Mancuso Brothers shows, as well as to Long Beach, I have to say that some venues have real difficulty with lighting (all the Mancuso shows and the Long Beach).  The entire show felt like it was in a greenish cast, and not nearly bright enough.  My husband told me he could see it in the photos I posted on Instagram.  That first night, halfway through, everything all of a sudden went brighter, and I realized they hadn’t “warmed up” the lights.  So none of the photos I took at the beginning are any good.

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One of my quilt heroines, Tanya Brown, whose work I have followed for many years, had Cranky Claus hanging in the show, along with Life Nouveau, but they were horribly placed.  She gets into Houston every time, so I was suprised where they’d hung her quilts.  It made me belive that maybe the organizers/hangers didn’t know who she was?  My friend Lisa has helped hang Road to California for several years, and I know the effort that show goes to in displaying each quilt to its best. Their lighting is very good, as well.

The other issue I had was that some quilts got hung that shouldn’t have been: poorly designed, poorly made, odd choice of materials or subject.  When speaking with one of the Mancusos, I asked how many quilts were submitted: “Roughly 450.”  How many quilts are accepted? “Those that meet our standards.” (evasive) I pressed on, asking, How many quilts are rejected? “2-5%.”  So then you hang nearly everything. He mumbled something about that standards business again, but I had my answer.  I did smile when I saw that their webpage listing their award winners didn’t use the photographs from their contest venue. (I saw most all of these.)

I decided I would focus on the fact that my quilts hung in the same show as Tanya Brown and Tracy Cox, rather than my quilts hung in the same show as the fleece-lamé-fur-shells beginner’s quilt, above.  I was there once, at the place where this quilter was, and for many years, every entry of mine into quilt shows was rejected. I appreciate it when the judges a) limit the number of entries, and b) jury the quilts into the show.  It appears that this year at PIQF there was very little jurying going on, which makes for an uneven show quality.

Last Whine: when are these older shows going to come into the modern age and put Instagram names on the placards?  QuiltCon has done this for years, and it makes it easy to tag people when posting. Okay, on to the fun.

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One highlight was going to the show Friday late afternoon when everyone had cleared out.  We had the vendors to ourselves, and got to spend some time talking with Edyta Sitar and her husband. We may have purchased the pre-cut kit to make Tannenbaum, but also vowed not to pressure ourselves to get it done for 2019.

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Edyta Sitar and I: fangirl moment!

We also participated in the Bernina giveaways, the vendor mall (where I saw some old favorite booths — hi Cecile!), and met and chatted with new quilters.  We enjoyed the evening lectures/fashion show and came away with new projects to sew, as well as good memories.  I need to go and unpack and sort and pre-wash my bright tangerines and indigo blues (I was on the hunt for these fabrics) and decide what to do with my length of kantha fabric, but I wanted to get a post up quickly, while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Happy Quilting!

 

 

My Small World 2019, sections 1 and 2 finished

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In my Instagram search box, sometimes the bots throw interesting things up there for me to see — like this cartoon of the sad, then very happy dog, courtesy of a little tender care from a young child.  Coming into the year 2019, I had three quilts who were like the dog in the first frame of the cartoon: miserable, the quilts quite possibly headed for the dustbin to be put out their misery.  But like the young child who was “on it,” the first (Plitvice) has been completed, the second (Sing for Joy) is finished and awaiting photography and a blog post.  The third…well, here’s the first frame photo of it, when I left it several years ago:

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First, a detour.

Intrigued by what qualities would most accurately predict outstanding achievement, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth isolated two qualities:

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So what does it take for a quilter to look at a seemingly failed project, and decide to figure out how to redeem it, to re-work it, to finish it up.  Sometimes I don’t have a clue why we finish some quilts.  I’ve seen a lot that might have better been abandoned, mine own included.  But perhaps the idea of “grit,” which Duckworth articulated so well in her TED talk, might have something to do with it.  For what we do in our workrooms is somewhat about thread and cloth, but other times, it’s a microcosm of the world outside our sewing room doors.  Okay, back to gritting my teeth and tearing apart a half-built, unhappy quilt.

Moving On...Part I

The first step is to balance the value of the buildings.  If you see the first example, they are all about the same value (light-to-dark) grey fabric, even though they are different prints.  And too many different windows!!  In the new version, I used the same fabric for the bulk of my windows (excepting the “apartment” on the lower left), cutting from different places in the fabric to get a different look.  I’m much happier with this.

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I found some pictures of Small Worlds I liked on the web and on Instagram, and pinned them up in the corner for inspiration, as I worked through the next section.  I took apart my existing under-the-building-shapes and re-used some of them, yet adding others.  I also moved around the shapes to suit what I liked, deviating from the Jenn Kingwell pattern.

mysmallworld2019_5 DUOThen there was this choice: in the lower left, which little large-door shed should it be?

UPDATE: I should also note that I find the My Small World Templates from Sarah Bailey to very helpful.  If you head to Sew What Sherlock? you’ll find instructions on how to obtain them.  I printed them out on my favorite vellum paper, but also printed them on cardstock, for tracing in some sections. 

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Finally I declared it finished, posted it up on IG to check in with the organizers of the My Small World.  I passed.

Moving On...Part II

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The before of Section Two.  Ugh.  Too much of everything.  It’s like I opened the doors to my cupboard and tried to put one of every color, every value and every fabric in this thing.

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Auditioning–trying to keep it to a limited palette of colors, trying to repeat fabrics or mimic them in other sections, all the while listening to this:

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I’m learning a lot about grit from the four presidents discussed in her latest book.

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The little record was from a Polaroid swap some time ago: I took apart the Polaroid block and inserted it.

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I wanted the Art Gallery Maker fabric in this section, but it was too blah next to the pinwheel underneath.  So I bordered it with a bit of blue.mysmallworld2019_8

Section Two: Finished!

I sewed the two sections together, and am now back where I started long ago.  But I like it much better.  I really like the small pinwheels section, the same print in different colors (from a purchased charm square pack) used with the same background print.  I studied many peoples’ Small Worlds to see how they were harmonizing, and where it was okay to throw a ton of stuff at the quilt to see if it stuck.  The hashtags #mysmallworldsewcial and #mysmallworld have been really helpful.  (The first one is the current one; the second from long ago.)  And the two leaders, Nicola and Paula have been great, too: it’s always fun to see their comments on my posts, encouraging me on.

Gridster October 2019

As my buddy Linda noted, once you get going on Small World, it’s hard to do anything else, but I did get my Gridster block made for Lisa and sent off.  She’d met Jenn Kingwell (there seems to be a theme, here) and Jenn had given her permission to send patterns out for our group make Steampunk blocks, for her turn at Queen Bee of the Gridsters. Lisa also sent us some of Jenn’s fabric, asking us to go wild.

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Here’s the first batch of blocks to reach her.  They do play well together.

Lastly, I had a nice time visiting the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild.

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Simone (on left), helped me set up.  This is before it started.

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Some scenes of the Guild Meeting.  They are a small (50 person) guild, but have such lovely people.

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I’m headed here this week with Leisa–can’t wait!

Hope your small worlds are harmonizing, your colors singing together, and that your sewing places are fun and cozy places to be!