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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Blue Stars (Frivols #12): All Finished, Completed & Done, and an Encore!

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Frivols 12_12 front with toys
This is the final Frivols, a table runner for my holiday table, shown here with my wooden toys from Sweden, Copenhagen and Germany.  I’m calling it Blue Stars.  I almost called it Christmas Stars, but what if I want to use it in July? (Just trying to be practical here.)

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I left you in the other post with all the stars and their backgrounds cut out, and tucked away in their little tin.  My first step when I got them back out, was to group them together, stars and backgrounds, making sure I had enough of each part to make the block.

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First up was to make the Flying Geese, then trim them up.  I rarely make geese that aren’t slightly wonky.  I’ve learned to live with this terrible character flaw, as when it is sewn up, no one knows.

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(Apologies for the nighttime lighting.)

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Trim it all up to 5 1/2.”

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Arrange the stars, obsess.  Decide it’s okay.  Decide to add little strips of color around the outside edge so that some of that extra fabric in the tin is used up.

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Sew together.

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I layered the finished runner with some Christmas fabric from the stash, some batting, put on my walking foot, and stitched in the ditch.  At some point I want to come in and do some echo quilting around all the stars, but hey–it’s December and I’ve got Stuff To Do, so that will have to wait.

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The backing. More beauty shots:

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Can I just say this again? Here they all are, back again for their encore:

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Frivols #1, Caitlin’s Baby Quilt

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Frivols #2, Windowpane

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Frivols #3, Betsy’s Quilt

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Frivols #4, Life’s Dilemma

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Frivols #5, Child’s Play

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Frivols #6, Practice Makes Perfect

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Frivols #7, Bread with Every Meal

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Frivols #8, Baby Bear

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Frivols #9, Walk Around the Block

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Frivols #10, Christmas Corner

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Frivols #11, Stars of Night, Lend Their Light

Frivols 12_12 front with toys

Frivols #12, Blue Stars

I have some thoughts on this experience (surprise!) in the next post.

Quilt Stand Info

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Simone recently encouraged me into the quilt-stand/frame-buying business, and since she’d done the bulk of the research, I joined her online (me, at my computer and she, at her computer) to figure out the final decision.  She was in charge of the display for our church’s talent show (above) and asked to have one of my quilts displayed in it.  But I had to have a quilt stand/frame to do so.

Quilt Stand Nov 2018.png

We both purchased the Emart Photo Video Studio Backdrop Stand, with a 10 x 12 ft dimension.  We went for this one because the tubes were a thicker diameter than other ones checked, and we liked the clamps.  (I am not an Amazon affiliate, so no pocket change is coming my way on this recommendation.)

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I’m putting these for my husband so he knows the right kind of clamps to get to help out Santa with stocking stuffers.  (Honey, I’d like about four, please.)

I was headed out of town, so I had it shipped to Simone’s house, and she sent me photos of the display.  She’s lovely like that.

Simone and I have a running joke about photos.  Both she and I have asked other people to send us photos of our quilts in different shows we couldn’t be to, and invariably the photos come back like this:

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It’s our quilt, but cropped and showing no context of the show it was in.  I always say thank you.  If someone is nice enough to go and hunt up your quilt, and take the time and make the effort to send you a photo, you don’t say anything but “Thank you.”  However, as Simone and I comiserated, we do know what our quilts looks like — we were hoping to see what they looked like in the show.

So when I was standing on the subway platform of the Wall Street Subway station, exhausted after a day of tramping around, feeling rather dour, I burst out laughing when she sent me the above photo, with this caption:

It looks awesome! Don’t you love it?!!!

My daughter was like, “What?  What’s so funny?” and I tried to explain it to her, but I could clearly see she lost interest after the first nanosecond and however do you explain quilter’s jokes to a non-quilter?

So anyway, the quilt stand/frame worked great, and I tried it out:

Quilt Stand

I put it up by myself and took it down by myself, and if you’ve never used a quilt stand, the trick is to set up the legs, then insert the side supports, then thread (or clamp) the quilt onto the cross bar, and only THEN do you raise the cross bar higher by means of the adjustments on the side.

Quilt Stand bag_1

I like that the case has places for the two tripod-legs, and loops for each of the bars (you have four, so you can get that twelve-foot width; I only used three of the four today).  The top really zippers open, so you can lay it out to unpack all the parts.

Quilt Stand bag_2

It’s also fairly lightweight and easy to carry in its own sturdy case. The best news is that it’s a reasonable price: $69.49 as of December 2018.  I do now feel very grown up, with my very own quilt stand.

 

 

Frivols 12

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Last one!! Last one!!

This is my last introduction to the series of small-tins-with-fabrics, called Frivols.  Although the other day, one of my non-sewing friends asked me how my Frizzles were doing.  I think she was about right. The little freebie with this tin is a couple of fabric quilt labels, seen in the lower center with the sleigh.

This is a line of blue-toned traditional fabric by Edyta Sitar, before she left the Moda hive and jumped over to Andover.  This design doesn’t call for any extra background fabrics, and makes a smallish table runner, 15″ by 35.”  More can be seen on the Moda blog.  They manufactured these tins about two years ago, but I have it on good authority that if you are resourceful, you can find them on Etsy, Ebay and other places.

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This fabric line, Blue Barn, is beautiful, and can easily blend into my holiday decor, since it’s December.  I’ve always loved blue with Christmas decorations.Frivols 12_5

I cut up all the stars and their backgrounds, labeling each stack…

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…and tucked them in their own tin until I could get to the sewing.

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The one disappointment in this tin was how much fabric I had leftover/wasted.  I’ll have to see if I can augment the design some way to use up what I can of these extra scraps.

Okay, we’re launched!  Get out your last Frivols tin and get cutting!

Millefiore Quilt Update

Millefiore mood board

It all began here, with my Millefiore mood board, drawing on colors from the National Park in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes.  I had decided to jump in and go with all of Quilting America that year and join the The New Hexagon Millefiore Quiltalong.  I was pretty much nuts to do this.  This was photographed on January 19, 2015.

Millefiore first sewing

First glued-up paper pieces: January 19, 2015.

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First public appearance for Rosette #1: March 14, 2015.

All Rosettes_OPQuilt

Last public appearance for quilt, mocked up in Photoshop: July 15, 2018. That’s over three years, if you are doing the math.

As you know, I hated the crenellated edges on this particular quilt.  So the quilt sat in the corner until this week.  Then suddenly it was do or die time, and I picked up making little sections to fit into the cut-outs.

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And here it is today, all edges filled in.

Millefiore Working Mess

I pretty much used all the papers I’d taken out of the rosettes — once they were sewn together — and categorized these pieces into bags, using paper clips and rubber bands to keep them organized.

Millefiore numbering cutouts

To keep track, I took a photo, and numbered the half–hexies I was making.  I ended up not needing to do this for every corner, as I used long triangles that fit into the zig-zaggy sides (#5-12)  in a variety of darker fabrics (taking cues from the adjacent blocks).

Millefiore place tryout

I kept one half-hexie out on my cutting mat and tried different “puzzles” of what could go in that shape.  I had pretty much determined that I was not going to use a full half-hexie; I’d seen others and to me they looked bland, like they didn’t add anything to the quilt.  I did end up using one, but the fabric had a print that just worked.

Millefiore pinning

I used triangles and a variety of other shapes to fill in, always letting the adjacent fabrics dictate what I’d use for the fill-in fabrics.

Because I like to keep records, and because I’m hoping this will help others when they try this technique, here are all the filled-in shapes and the marked spaces (scroll past fast, if it doesn’t interest you):

Millefiore Fillins_1Millefiore Fillins_1A

I did my own thing on this rosette.

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I liked how I was able to complete the “bird points.”

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The half-hexie on the lower left is the only one cut from one piece of fabric, but I think it reads as more complex.

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I used a floral Kaffe fabric from deep in the interior (just barely out of sight on the middle left).

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Stained Glass View

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This is the rosette that started it all, and I still like it.

Quilt Stand

More info on my new quilt stand, coming in a couple of weeks.  But now I have my final Frivols to attend to!

Visit to Andover Fabrics and New York City

ESE in New York 

I had a chance to travel to New York City this past month, where I joined my daughter Barbara for a long-awaited long weekend.

We stayed midtown Manhattan, so I walked past M & J Trimming many times, a happy spot on my walks.  Anne Brousseau, a good friend who used to work in this industry, arranged a visit for us to Andover Fabrics, and of course I said “YES!”

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Cliff Quibell, the Vice President, gave us a tour of the different processes and departments, from design development to printing to editing.  We were able to see an artist hand-painting a new design, but of course, no photos were allowed.  There is so much involved to getting one bolt of fabric to our local quilt shops!  We appreciated Mr. Quibell taking time for us, given the fact that they had just returned from Quilt Market.

Fashion Dist_4b

He introduced me to Gayle, who works for Andover, and hanging in her office is this amazing quilt, made from old clothes from when she lived overseas in Tunisia.  Her sister, Elizabeth Porter, made this quilt for her as a memory quilt.  (I think I got those details correct!)

Fashion Dist_4c

There was so much there that I couldn’t photograph, but he did allow a shot of their bookshelves.  I would have loved to have browsed those titles and made notes.

From there it was a short walk over to Gotham Quilts, another thing on my Must-See list.  I loved their selection of modern fabrics and of course, that see-through Bernina in their front window.
Here are some tidbits of other Fashion District finds (click on any cirle to enlarge):
  • tables in the pedestrian area
  • artwork in the buildings (they let me creep in to photograph it)
  • Desigual building with a terrific mural on the side
  • the heavy weave of one of their winter coats on display
  • Mokuba, a ribbon shop
  • close-up of the wares in the Mokuba window

I went into last shop, thinking I’d like some of that fancy metallic ribbon in their front window display. After some minutes, a little lady pushing a cart rolled up to where I was, opened the fat book on the top, and scanned the list.  She looked at me.  “Twenty-seven dollars,” she said.  “Per YARD.”  Gulp.  I smiled, thanked the lady with her little cart, and slunk out.

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This pedestrian barrier was near the Folk Art Museum, which I didn’t get to.  Next trip.

NYC11_18_6 Zabars

We were on our way to Zabar’s, a New York Institution, where I almost bought a set of glasses (Macy’s got the business when I arrived home), but did buy a nutmeg grater.

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

NYC11_18_5 chelsea market

Another day found us at Chelsea Market, after walking the High Line, on the East Side.

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Her husband purchased Hamilton tickets for her for her birthday, and I got to come along (we first had a meal at Eataly near the Flatiron Building).

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We got ourselves to the Occulus, the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and we visited the recently opened subway station underneath it:

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Another chilly day (you need to know that I am from Southern California and she is from Arizona) we drove around looking at street art in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.  

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A few more iconic sights: taxi shoes at Kate Spade, the Empire State Building from our hotel room, posing with a man from the Empire Shield Task Force (he told me to point to his badge), and finally, the glorious sight of Grand Central Station.

Until next time, New York!