This search term showed up in my stats this past week, albeit in Russian (I translated it into Ukranian) and since I’m always interested in the world, I thought it would be fun to use it as a title, and see what happens.
But aside from the title, this post is a This-and-That style of post, which means rounding up a few loose ends and tucking them in.
We had a fun block this month for the Gridster Bee. We used this pattern from ScissorTailQuilting, but there are others out there, as well as a whole combination of names for this thing. I’ve made this block a handful of times for bees, and it’s always some new version of the block for the same-old familiar block. I’ve also done a Friendship Swap, back in the Flickr Days, organized by Susan of Patchwork n Play. I swapped blocks with Krista, and recently she just finished up her quilt. Here was mine:
What’s fun is seeing multiples of the same block together:
The Queen died. (Old News, I know.) One of my friends did a link-to-your-relative program and she came up as 10th cousin. As I have Scottish and English blood in my lineage, I’ll bet I could match that.
I found this quite moving, but I was only getting the news in drips, in between everything. First time a woman has joined the Vigil of the Princes, but I’m guessing with Princess Anne, there was really no discussion about whether or not she’d be doing this. (If you click on that link, turn on the sound as the music is lovely.) I think I liked watching this because secretly I’m a total British Royals fan (well, some of them), and because it was some of the first news that wasn’t the horrific war in Ukraine, and the awful political fighting of our elections (although I hear the British elections could give us a run for our money).
I also took a road trip.
You can see more of it here or the condensed, video version here.
I also delivered my quilt to my daughter-in-law Kim, who said she loved her quilt. Thank you for all your comments on the last post. I am slowly writing back to you all (see below for why I am slow at this), and appreciate all the things you mentioned about the tricky relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law.
Emilee’s missionary farewell was the main reason we went to Utah, and it was good to see her launch herself into the world. If you live in Argentina and meet her, be kind — she’s lovely! And to prove I’m a normal woman human, right after arriving in northern Utah and two days before the family get-together I hit Dillard’s department store, looking for a top to break myself out of my covid wardrobe. I loved this dotty one, and glad I found it. Most of my clothes are so tired, having been used/worn throughout covid. Anyone else feel the same? My quilts are more up-to-date than what’s hanging in my closet!
Lastly, I finally gathered up my Autumn Leaf blocks from the Gridsters and put the center together. Coming soon: borders!
And Pumpkins! And Witches! And Halloween! And November, then December, then…
It takes a lot of steps to make a dance, a lot of pages to make a book and a lot of pieces to make a quilt.
Relationships are similarly intricate, especially the relationship between a mother-in-law (MIL) and her daughter-in-law. In my first marriage, I tried to develop a relationship with my new mother-in-law, but she and I were just too different to make it. When the son of this woman and I divorced, we made a deal: I’ll take the children to see my parents, and you you take the children to see yours. Within eighteen months time, we’d split the property, I’d met my Real Husband, and he and I married and moved to Southern California.
A few months later, I tasked the children with cleaning out their closets, and one of the kids handed me an unopened envelope from the former MIL. I opened it gingerly, and in it she took me to task for moving her grandchildren away from her, and for generally ruining most everything. I don’t know what happened to that letter, but now, thirty-plus years later, I recognize how right she was. I did move away, I did take the children some distance. But I also recognized her sorrow and from then on sent her school pictures, short notes, had the children write letters, trying to keep up a connection that her son was unwilling to do. I never saw her again in person, but mourned her when she died.
When my sons married, it was my turn. I have found in moving through the world, you either love your mother-in-law or she drives you crazy. There doesn’t seem to be too many in the middle. Sometimes we love our MILs because they raised our husbands, and we give them the respect owed to them for bringing us this wonderful human. Other times we wondered what in heavens’ name they were thinking to raise someone who _________ (fill in the blank). Sometimes we form a close enough bond that we move in sync, and there is no competition. However, mostly as a MIL, you bite your tongue. Eat your words, if needed. If the occasion calls for it, follow Emily Dickinson’s advice: “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant.”
As far as the MIL game goes, I’ve had two, one mentioned above, as well as a near-saint who was supportive and yes, raised the Best Quilt-Holding Husband in the trade (one among many of his fine talents and qualities). Between handing over my sons to their wives, as well as watching my mother and her MIL, my sisters, my friends and their MIL relationships, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve made all kinds of mistakes, but hope for forgiveness. and try to practice that as often as I can. Whatever your relationship is with your mother-in-law/daughter-in-law, there are a lot of pieces that have to come together to make it work.
I have made quilts for all three of my daughters-in-law (besides the wedding quilts); one carted both quilts off in their divorce; I’m waiting for the new love in my son’s life to let me know what she would like. I don’t know if they like their quilts, but I like thinking about these women: strong ones, smart ones, women who like to laugh, women who are partners to my sons. Women who raise interesting children, and sometimes include me in their lives, for in this new century of no social rules, I am the “away grandma” as my son reminds me and contact can be sporadic. Yes. It’s my turn.
This quilt is for Kim, a daughter-in-law who loves to laugh, doesn’t hold grudges, is a great mother, a fine partner and wife for my son, and doesn’t let him get away with too many shenanigans, while escaping when she can for hers. She always has a game ready for us to play, welcomes us to her home, and is easy to talk to. She loves sunflowers, those being the flowers she carried at her wedding, some twenty years ago. Happy Anniversary, Kim, for making me your mother-in-law, then redeeming me from that awful fate.
And many thanks to my Quilt-Holding Husband, who found us this wonderful mural backdrop, and to Jen, for her fine quilting using an E2E of Baptist Heart Clams.
This updated pattern is found in my PayHip Pattern Shop. If you have already purchased this PatternLite Pattern, thank you. The newest version can be downloaded using the email you received when you bought it.
I got this back from the quilter, cut the binding, and in the last gloriously awful days of our heat wave, I sewed on the binding while listening to Hamnet, a novel I highly recommend. Finally(!) we get a view of Shakespeare’s wife from a woman, and I was fascinated with the things I learned about running a household in the 1600s.
Jen’s quilting, using the E2E pattern Funky Fans really complimented the repetitive nature of this quilt. I think of this as a calming quilt. I have another blue quilt, also quilted in a repeated curving design, also calming. Here they are talking together:
The photographs were taken right after the outer edges of Hurricane Kay graced our area with a full day-and-night of steady drizzle, breaking the heat wave, bringing wanted moisture to our parched area. Now all we’ll need is an earthquake and we’ll have covered all the bases. Oh, wait. We did have a 3.6 earthquake, with an epicenter about five miles from our house, so we’re good on the disaster front.
And in a measure of how time (maybe) heals all wounds, I thought of 9-11 in passing, and only when I scheduled this post. Yes, I have been immersed in disasters: reading a book set in the 1600s with people dying of the plague; Pale Rider, a book about the 1918 flu; watching all the events associated with the death of Queen Elizabeth. I guess those were prominent in my mind. But today, let us remember.
It’s too hot to think, but here’s a fun sketch from a traditional block, originally called Boise (Brackman 2306). The periodical, Hearth and Home, which published this block, was in operation from 1885 to the 1930s.
The block, exploded.
The 7″ block, set on alternating verticals. All of these can be found in BlockBase+ which is software that is basically the Brackman Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. I modified this in my design software, Affinity Designer by Serif, a reasonable cost design software (NO, you don’t have to buy Illustrator. YES you should buy BlockBase+.)
And I think we should give the quilt a name. I know it’s the capitol of the state of Idaho, but I’d like to give it a more contemporary name: Blockchain. What does that mean? Since I just donated to Wikipedia (you should too), here’s their definition:
A blockchain is a type of Digital Ledger Technology (DLT) that consists of growing list of records, called blocks, that are securely linked together using cryptography.
So couldn’t we define a quilt as “a growing list of blocks that are securely linked together with thread”? I think so. I was amused to see that a lot of the images used to depict the idea of blockchain are some of our traditional quilt blocks, like baby’s tumbling block, among others.
If you’d like the 8-inch version, I’ve got that for you here, as a free download. I didn’t monkey around with it too much, so it’s rather a no-frills set of templates (remember, it’s too hot), but you can see how nicely the templates are generated for you by Blockbase+. [Okay, I did do a bit of monkeying…]
Here’s the 12-inch version, which finishes at 52″ square, with those 2″ borders and cornerstones. To get this layout, I did four columns of the Blockchain block, doing half-blocks at the top and bottom of columns 2 and 4. I’m sorry I didn’t include the 12″ size block, but it’s hot, and we are about to head to our traditional Labor Day Cookout: a trip to In and Out Burger, where they do the grilling for me.
Decided to pick this one up again. I don’t know why my mind will flit to an once-begun-left-unfinished quilt, but at least I am well ahead of Christmas.
I chose the red Sassaman print for the centers, and for the background, I knew I wanted to use the white-with-gold Heavy Metal fabric, so last time I was rummaging around in ETSY, I purchased a bit extra (it has disappeared from the marketplace).
My first block. The center was a challenge, so I kept trying. I had another reject, but then figured out three more that would work.
It’s a dot-to-dot sort of construction among the angles.
I press toward the colorful fabrics.
This photo is before I stitched in the white triangles in between everything.
In chatting on IG with Marla (@mingamonga on Instagram), she alerted me to the other name of this block.
I went over to the Quilt Index, and these were the two earliest quilts listed under Jack’s Chain. This block, shown below, had a Barbara Brackman number of 430, and was first published in late 1939 as Rosalia Flower Garden.
It’s drawn a bit wonky; the center is a true hexagon. But in the newest variation, the rings are pulled apart, set next to each other. That’s what allows that secondary pattern to emerge that we all love.
I did put this up on Instagram today (sorry for the redundancy) but still continue my plea for quilters to acknowledge the deep heritage they have from other quilters. I love stories where “old” blocks are given new life, but let’s not make their works anonymous.
After figuring this all out, my husband Dave took me down to the Beignet Spot, where we shared some small beignets and a Cajun Chicken sandwich. I like those kind of dinners. The temperatures are supposed to soar up into the 100+ next week, so since it was a mild evening, we opened all the windows to enjoy the fresh air. Then we promptly closed them again: smoke from a nearby fire was wafting into the house. One.More.Month. Hopefully by the end of September, we’ll be through the worst of it.
I can recommend this Cold Soup with Noodles & Tomatoes for supper, if you are having the same issues. We used somen noodles and added some poached shrimp. It was also great as leftovers.
And now for a giant leap from Jack’s Chain to AI, aka Artificial Intelligence:
I’ve become most interested in the part of AI that is text-to-image.
DALLE-E was the first one I’d read about, and I think it is one of the original AI text-to-image generators. The operator would type in something like “Teddy bears working on new AI research underwater with 1990s technology” and a the computer would scan gazillions of images, and generate a new image, using the parameters given:
It can generate different types of styles, and while I don’t know where this will eventually lead, neither did I understand where the iPod would go, or how it would be combined with the portable telephone. And so, ever since I read about the ability of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to be used with images, I’ve kind of kept my antenna up when I scroll Instagram. I’m going to throw in a bunch of links here, and just briefly mention some places where you might want to explore, then head back to quilting.
Andrew Kudless (@matstydesign) has some explorations in this text-to-image process, and this post and this post have quite the discussion. MidJourney is an AI Art Generator, and you can read more about it here. The Instagram hashtag #midjourney is also interesting, but I find that the heavy dependence on dystopian, creepy, and frankly evil-looking images get in my way. (Maybe that is the true hidden character of computers? Just Kidding.) If you have access to this software, and make something cool with this new medium, send me an image.
But mostly I’m interested in thinking about how quilters might use AI with say nine-patch blocks, or Jack’s Chain, given that AI imagery can think up this for a house:
But maybe it’s not possible to break out of our grid. Maybe we as quilters are doomed to forever lifting patterns from those who have gone before, or subject the people in our IG feed to endless demonstrations of our improv or block-making techniques. [I could apologize, but it’s probably not going to stop.] However fascinating the exploration of improv, or AI, or geometric iterations may be to us, maybe we have to acknowledge that there might be an end point, although I won’t venture to say where that is. In looking at bunches of AI images for this post, I found they can sort of run together in concept, even if they are somewhat singular in design.
I’ve seen some pushing outward, some new quilting ideas, like we are all taking baby steps towards a new language of our own making. But we aren’t there, at least not yet. But it is this sort of challenge: beginning with hundreds of blocks, a full range of values and colors, and multiples of shapes, all being input into our brains as we try to become our own AI machines, combining and recombining. We are forever hoping from this process that a new quilt idea will burble up from the primordial ooze* of our sewing studios/rooms/spaces, and emerge into a full-blown fabulous new quilt. Aren’t we?
No answers from me about this. I imagine us exploring together, pushing outward here, and combining it with a new technique there and using yet-undiscovered tools to create new quilts. Maybe it’s all a bit too Brave New World-ish for you. Maybe for me, too. I love the grid, and I love standing on the shoulders of the women who have come before. I just don’t want to let them down, nor rob our evolving quilt world of potential new and exciting iterations.
*I was kidding about primordial muck on our sewing room floors. Sort of.
If you use an image from the Quilt Index, they like you to include the following info:
So as I served up the bibimbap with bolgigi the other day, placing the bowl on the impossibly old placemats, I thought: it’s time for new placemats. When I went out looking, they either had newer versions of my impossibly old placemats, or versions that looked like they’d been made with fabric from France.
Hey! I have fabric from France. Like from about 20 years ago.
Yes, it is also impossibly old, but it should do. So in the late afternoon sun (important for a plot twist later on) I folded down this fabric that was made for napkins, attempting to herd it into in a size like the impossibly old placemats.
I glued down the fold, stitched it, backed it with some batting and more impossibly old fabric, turned it inside out, poked out the corners and stitched the opening closed. I went on an adventure with quilting, moving from WhatWasIThinking to ILikeThisPrettyWell.
Then as I was finishing up today, I noticed that hmmmm. The fabric is darker on one edge — or faded on the other (however you want to think about it). I guess laying out that fabric in the late afternoon sun on the first day complicated my laser-like color vision. (lol)
Four placemats finished.
And when I went to make the napkin, yep. I can really see the fade. I used this tutorial.
I have more unfaded sections to make into napkins…and some faded sections, too.
Remember this quote from a couple of posts back? I may have this etched in my brain, because it applies to this, too:
This was my 2021-22 year-long making of pillows to go on the bed, shown from January (upper left, snowflake) to November (middle bottom row, lilies). I kept thinking I needed to get December’s made. But that idea — that some things end because we are finished with them — rang in my head. I’ve made a new Christmas Quilt for the bed, and don’t know if my idea will “go” with it, plus Evergreen, EverLife has a lot going on. It probably doesn’t need a pillow. So I’m finished with this. Pillows-of-the-Month are done.
Lastly, thank you for your observations and responses on my last post, Age of Subtraction. A lot of what you wrote has reverberated out into my life, into conversations with my family, and given me a lot of think about. I appreciate your taking the time to write and be a part of this conversation.