Quilting Annularity–an update

My version of Annularity sat rolled up on my guest bed for ages, until I realized it wasn’t going to get quilted that way.  There are no Quilting Fairies, not that I know of. (Shucks.)

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Where does quilting begin?  It begins in the tortured anguished cry of “How am I going to quilt this thing?” an endeavor I described in this blog post titled Don’t Let the Process Overtake the Purpose— a terrifying something about careening off a mountain cliff sort of feeling.  Yep.  That’s how it starts…or doesn’t.  But finally, using some advice I’d been given at QuiltCon, I started drawing and drawing (above). It got me through the center.

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Then the outer ring of colors.  I opened any random artsy book in my house, pulling up the one from an exhibit of Japanese screens from the Smithsonian, which prompted those bold ribbon designs in the upper right, which looked to me like the ribbons at the end of a piñata.

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No.

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But that same book gave me the idea to think of those shapes as fans, and to fill in the design as if someone had opened one of those and was showing me the designs.

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It became easier to visualize the design that way.

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Am I 100% thrilled with this?  No, but I am 100% happy that I’ve figured it out enough to get the quilt quilted, knowing — again — the truth in that old slogan I repeat to myself more than once a day: The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. (or Done.)

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I had purchased a number of spools of Superior Thread’s Magnifico, which is my go-to thread for quilting.  It lays down a lovely, slightly thicker, line of thread, but it doesn’t sit on top of the quilt like some thicker threads.  I’m always trying to match the thread well, taking photos of the colors to keep myself on target.

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So I wouldn’t get discouraged over taking this in small bites, I took a photo at the end of each quilting session, threw it into my Snapseed app on my phone and labeled the date and the progress.  Above is the first grouping.

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It was celebration once I quilted out of the reds into the yellow, which you can see happened last week.Quilting2 _AnnularityQuilting _Annularity6

Here’s where I am now.  I’ve got to take a break for a while (some traveling and family stuff), but look forward to getting back at it.  The dark outer quadrants have already been planned, mostly quilted in black thread, letting them recede away from the rainbow of colors.

Child’s Play • Frivols 5

I am continuing with my determined goal to make all my Frivols tins this year.

Because this one was quite small, finishing up at 29″ by 32″ (different than what was measured on the tin), I finished it early, so I get to put an X on the circle of Frivols.

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Child’s Play • Quilt #202 • Frivols Quilt #5

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As mentioned in the last post, the fabric is by French General, and while it looked really dark in the tin, with the black and white four-patches added, it is fairly lively.  It reminded me of an extended game of checkers, and since the quilt is small, like a doll’s quilt, I titled it Child’s Play.

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I quilted it with a stylized flower.

ChildsPlay_Frivols5_4Every doll’s quilt needs some dolls, and I just happened to have my mother’s play tea set from when she was a little girl.  She’s celebrating her ninth decade this month, and because she’s turning ninety, she’s always saying things to me like “You’re not old.”

She’s right.  I’m not yet up to her age, but I am one lucky girl to still have a mom here to talk to when I need a cheering up.

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Because I’ve been thinking about my mother today, the chair above is an antique from “the farmhouse,” a place where my grandmother (my mother’s mother) moved when she married grandpa, a widower with a passel of children, and adopted — and adapted herself to — a life as a farm wife.  And then she had three more children, my mother being one of them.

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Mom, at age 12, holding her birthday cake

A photo of my mother when she was in college. My daughter, who is named for my mother, is with her on the left.  And below is a photo of my mother’s Magnum Opus, a quilt with cross-stitched designs, all hand done while we lived in Peru for two years.

Mom and her quilt

Since it is also Mother’s Day here in the United States, I hope you treasured some memories of your mother, and if she is still here — I hope you called her or visited her.

It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized that my mother (and father) gave me the greatest gift of all: a young life where I could pretend, and get dirty and dress up and have imaginary tea parties and fight with my younger brothers, and go to church, and roam the neighborhood, time to read books, and to hope to be like my older sisters.  While soon enough I would discover that there were real sticks and stones out there, she gave me a life sheltered from the world’s harsh realities.

She gave me Child’s Play, every day.

Happy Birthday, Mom, and Happy Mother’s Day!

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Pioneer Cosplay

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Logo by Simone

Recently a few of us here were involved in the Heritage Day Celebration, honoring the early pioneers in this valley. It happened last Saturday, on a mildly hot day.  Good day to be wearing all these layers, right?

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Didn’t Thoreau say something like “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”?  I think the dress looks like a cross between Mary Poppins and the mother from Little House on the Prairie, an ancient TV show that forever colored our view of what women in the 1850s wore around the farm, and notable for the final show: they blew up all the set houses with dynamite to keep them from the local evil corporate guy.

We hosted a “quilting booth” but instead of that tired old trope of setting out a quilt top so people could mangle it with their stitches, we ran a hexie booth, based on the research I found that quilters at the time were doing English paper piecing.

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We had some work to do.  We, meaning, several of us who have attended our quilting group for many years, plus some others we conned into asked to participate.

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First, combine four patterns to make a pioneer outfit (seen above). Then start working on the demo goods: hexies.

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I appliqued them to a tote bag I picked up a couple of years ago at Quilt Market, figuring the “maker” theme was a good fit for hexies.

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l to r: Julie, Melissa, me, Laurel, Simone, Lisa. (PS Simone doesn’t really look like this. She likes to pull faces. Her texts always make me laugh.)

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We figure we glued up about 500 hexies, total, between this and what Leisa did later on.  It was so good to have these!

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It was a team effort: our friend Dennis brought us tables and chairs, and Leisa was the “set decorator,” using quilts from near and far. We arrived at 7:10 a.m. and left at 2:20 p.m., the right amount of time.

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We also had some modern hexies there to entice the participants; that is Laurel’s beautiful Modern Millefiore Hexie quilt on the left, with Simone’s hexie pillow (pattern here), and other props.

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We had Color-A-Quilt pages for the littlest visitors, as well as create your own quilt block (below).  We had to remind them that it was a visual treat–take a photo with your phone sort of thing–as people kept walking off with my design boards.  That is Julie’s hand you see there, making a mock-up.  She kept these two sections rolling the whole day.

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from l to r: Cindy, Julie, Denese, me, Laurel and her husband Ralph, Leisa, Simone

The original crew, plus my husband, Dave (who is taking the photo).  We swapped out two for four others mid-day; we were swamped, so were glad to have them.  Here are some photos from our day:

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We were suprised by the number of teens — and teen boys — who sat down and made a three-hexie patch from start to finish.

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Most did not look like this–they sewed them up properly, although sometimes with an interesting twist or two, but we thought this won the prize for “Most Interesting Hexie” of the day.  We had to teach many how to tie knots (about half had no idea how to do that), and we saw that lots of youngsters (and oldsters) liked to be able to sit and sew, a skill not often available to them in other places.

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We had a sample quilt set up in a hoop in case anyone wanted to try hand-quilting.  Most were more fascinated by the hexies.  And most wanted to pick through the baskets of cut fabric squares and glue their own shapes, too.

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Wee Pioneers

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I love sharing our craft with some new quilters!

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Stats: 3,000 paper hexies purchased
60 needles (only 35 were brought home–don’t know where the rest went)
3 needle-threaders: one from Clover, my friend Laurel, and my husband Dave
2 ten-gallon jugs of water
4,000 cut squares prepped up: fabric donated by Paintbrush Studio and Primitive Gatherings
Project boards that are not dusty: 0
Number of pioneer outfits that will never be used again: 7

Quilting as Part of Our Life Story

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Happy Almost May with Frivol #5!

I’m beginning this post by talking about my ongoing goal to make up all the Mode Frivols tins.  I had signed up when they first came out (as I am a total fangirl for Carrie Nelson) and every month one would arrive, and I’d stack them up neatly.

As I mentioned before, it’s been a good experience to try something new, to work with fabrics that weren’t generally found on my shelves, and Frivol Tin #5 is just that sort, as its filled with French General.  I’ve used French General before, but it was lighter and airier, when I made a quilt for my sister:

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After receiving the quilt, she repainted her room to match.  Now if that’s not undying love from a sister, I don’t know what is.

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But this tin is a bit darker, filled with lusciously colored deep reds, for the tin was originally placed in the shops in December, a month when we typically sew with those kinds of colors.

First up, this note from Moda:

You can find more about this tin on their blog (including how they turned it into a tin for hand sewing supplies), but for me, I’m dying to open it:

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The fabrics in this tin are from French General, which makes me happy, as I love their fabrics.  And their store.

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It will be a table topper, or even a doll quilt as it’s even tinier that what is printed on the tin (see note, above).  However, that means it will sew up quickly.

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As I mentioned in last month’s overview, there is always a treat in a tin, and this time it is a beautiful woven ribbon in red and white.Frivols 5_3

Continuing on, I also received news in my Yahoo mailbox about new ownership of that enterprise, including Flickr.  So went over to Flickr to see what I would lose if I just ignored that whole thing forever.  The newest activity in any Flickr group was over a year ago.  Most activity was much older than that, which told me that a lot of other quilty peeps have abandoned that site.

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My masthead, but I think that “Joined 2009” thing is when I opened a yahoo email account.

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Here’s my first set of photos on the site: March 2012, with my EPP quilt Kaleidoscope.

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And my last set, in uploading photos for the Mid-Century Modern Bee, which ended that year.

I used to belong to seven groups, most of them Bees, had several Galleries.  I got rid of the Galleries, and unjoined all groups that weren’t a bee I had participated in.

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I was hunting for this gem (4 blocks, shown together–this one is not mine): a wild and crazy star block.  The links to the original pattern are all gone now–funny how quickly that happened, but here’s my PDF for it, if you want to download one for yourself.  I tried to track down the original owner and have not been successful; I would hate for this pattern (which was a free download) would get lost to the quiltiverse forever, hence my posting it here for your download: Starry Sky by Kylie Kelsheimer

UPDATE: Dot wrote me a note with the following info:  

“The Starry Sky pattern is still out there on Kylie’s Dropbox account. I did some searching around with Google and the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and found an archived copy of Kylie’s website, with a link to her Dropbox page. To get the pattern, you need to have (or create) your own free Dropbox account, and log in to your account. Then you can paste this link into your browser, and download the file!

Here’s the Wayback Machine link to her old website:

https://web.archive.org/web/20170507123558/http://aperseveringmom.com/starry-sky-block-get-the-pattern-here/

Thank you, Dot!

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This one was mine.

So I guess I’m saying that it feels weird to have the history of the quilt world on the internet go missing after such a short time, and it feels equally weird to be erasing some of my own history as well.

It reminds me of some of the things I read in The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter (really, it’s a great little book by Margareta Magnusson): “If someone has lived in a home for many years where children, grown-ups, relatives, and guests have stayed and felt welcome, that same someone is often so busy that they never think of reducing the number of things in the household. And so the number of possessions grows and collects quickly over the years. Suddenly the situation is out of control and the weight of all those things can begin to seem tiring.”

My home and my digital media sites and my blog and Flickr are all like guests that have stayed and felt welcome, I guess.  Unlike the woman in the Swedish Death Cleaning book, not only will we have garages and drawers and closets full that we’ll need to deal with, we’ll also have digital universes that need clearing out, too.  That thought ought to cheer you up, right?

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Which leads me, finally, to this a wonderful video about Ken Burns, the historian and documentarian, who sent a lot of his quilts to be exhibited in Nebraska at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  If you want to see them, they will only be on exhibit for a couple of more weeks, but the museum does have a good gallery of the quilts online, from which I excerpt these:

Ken Burns Flag w Crosses.pngMy favorite is the American Flag, with all the crosses surrounding it.  So many terrific quilts, and thankfully, someone, some where, did not clean them out and throw them away.  Someone did not think they were household junk to part with.  Thank you, Mr. Burns, for sharing your wonderful collection and thoughts:

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“Ann Lee, who founded the Shakers, said ‘Do all your work as if you had a thousand years to live, and as you would if you knew you would die tomorrow.’  The things we leave behind — our children, our land, the environment, but also these made things, the art — will commend us to posterity.”  ~Ken Burns

Life’s Dilemma–Frivol 4 is Finished

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway for Simone’s stack of fabrics.  The info about that is at the end of this post.

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I finished up the quilt from Frivol Tin #4, and named it Life’s Dilemma.  It’s quilt #201, which means I started a new listing of quilts, above “300 Quilts.”  When I get that list filled up, I guess that means I retire? Go to the Caribbean or something, and lay on the beach?  (But can I sneak my sewing machine into the hut on that elusive beach?)

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Maybe I named it that because I forgot to put on the final 3″ plain white border, and only realized this after I finished the quilting (so now it only measures 45″ square).  Maybe I named it this because two people stopped me in the hallway at church to talk about their divorces (one just starting, one wrapping up), and the design of this quilt made me think of that type of a maze.  But maybe I just was thinking about how simple, yet complicated life’s choice can be… that way leads on to way, and this quilt reminded me of pathways, both obvious and hidden.

I decided to quilt this using my new circles rulers.

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I placed it in the middle and put my quilting needle INSIDE the circle, started it and kept going.  When I finished the circle, I pivoted it it somewhere else, working my way to the outer edges, trying for coverage, but also trying really hard not to make it feel like work.  I wanted to just play with this.

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Life’s Dilemma, quilt #301

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So now I have another X on my circle of tins: four down and eight to go.  Progress.  Which is the name of the game at my house.

 

 

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Congratulations, Ellie!  Ellie is a faithful reader of this blog, and I’ve appreciated all her nice notes, so it was great to see the Random Number Thingie pick her.  When I was running this at first, I was perplexed, because I show more comments than 80, but when I went back through to read all these interesting and wonderful comments about placemats, not all were “comments” for the giveaway.  Eighty unique and individual comments were left.

If you didn’t win, you can buy the stack of fat quarters directly.

The On Your Mark Create! blog hop is still going on.  You can enter to win every day at the following places:

Tuesday, April 17: Simone @simone.g.b  ; Simone Bradford
Wednesday, April 18: Elizabeth (me!)
Thursday, April 19: Stephanie @spontaneousthreadsSpontaneous Threads
Friday, April 20: Linda @quiltlady63
Saturday, April 21: Joan@alaskanquilter
Sunday, April 22: Carol @carolanngillen
Monday, April 23: Sarah @nohatsquilts
Tuesday, April 24: Afton @quiltingmodQuilting Mod
Wednesday, April 25: Alison @quiltstudio62
Thursday, April 26@pbstudiofabricsInspired by Fabric

On Your Mark Create! Blog Hop and Giveaway

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I was recently sent a stack of fabrics as I was asked to be a part of the On Your Mark Create! blog hop; I jumped at the chance to work more with my friend Simone’s On Your Mark fabrics.  I stewed over what I could sew, since I’d already made a baby quilt. This time I wanted some quilty project that would be fun and helpful for me and for you.

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Then it was time for lunch.

What?

Yes, lunch, and when I looked those placemats on the table, I knew they were way past their Sell By date.  It was time for some new ones.

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I hunted around for placemat tutorials that had some style and were quick and easy and that would show off the fun prints in Simone’s fabrics.  (As a former English teacher, I’m totally in love with the exclamation point fabric.)

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I found this free pattern on Craftsy by Samelia’s Mum, and thought it would be perfect.  I had toyed with another design by Fabric Mutt, which had pockets for paper plates and plasticware at picnics, but opted instead for the leafy design on “All Seasons Placemats.”

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The fabric has a soft hand, and to make sure I didn’t have the placemats shrink out of shape (and, as a mostly-I-prewash-fabric quilter), I threw the fabrics into the washer, then dryer, until they were damp-dry and then pressed up the fabric.

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I had fun choosing which leaves to go where.  I also made some changes to how the pattern went together.  First I constructed the placemat completely, following her instructions for fusing and stitching.

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But then I layered the placemat on top of batting without quilting it down first.  I layered the backing on top of that RST.  I stitched around the edges, leaving an opening.

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I turned it inside out, and closed the opening by top-stitching around the outside edge of the placemat.  It looks poofy, but it settles down when you quilt it, which is the next step.  After stitching around the outside edge, I’d say to do it again, 1/4″ away.  Then quilt the plain spaces in the mat.  I went around the leaves first, then stitched more leaves in a random fill pattern all over.

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Did I mention they are reversible?

I know a lot of folks don’t set proper tables anymore, but there’s something so lovely about a well-set table that shows love to all who join in. After using them for a few days, I think I should have places the leaves on the RIGHT side of the placemat, for then the glass would be like the flower at the top of the leafy stem.  Next time.

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PS.  That’s my grandmother’s napkin ring you see up there.

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Here are my On Your Mark placemats, gracing our table for dinner.  By the way, one night we spilled on them, and I tossed them in the washer then laid them out flat on top of the dryer to dry, and they look as good as new.  No shrinking.

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Paintbrush Studio, who makes these fabrics, is offering one fat quarter bundle to be given away each day of the blog hop (like what you saw at the beginning of the post). (So you can hop around for more chances to win!)

UPDATE: Giveaway closed now.  Thank you all!

To win one from me, leave a comment telling me when the last time was you purchased placemats (if you can remember), and I’ll draw one name randomly (USA only) to win.  Winner will be contacted via email and the bundle will be mailed out from Paintbrush Studio.  (But if you don’t win, you can purchase them here.)

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Please visit the others on the blog hop (the first listing is the Instagram address, and if there is a second, it is their blog):

Tuesday, April 17: Simone @simone.g.b  ; Simone Bradford
Wednesday, April 18: Elizabeth (me!)
Thursday, April 19: Stephanie @spontaneousthreadsSpontaneous Threads
Friday, April 20: Linda @quiltlady63
Saturday, April 21: Joan@alaskanquilter
Sunday, April 22: Carol @carolanngillen
Monday, April 23: Sarah @nohatsquilts
Tuesday, April 24: Afton @quiltingmodQuilting Mod
Wednesday, April 25: Alison @quiltstudio62
Thursday, April 26@pbstudiofabricsInspired by Fabric
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