Crossroads & Simply Moderne Magazine

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Crossroads began in a mix of bright violet, purple, sailor blue, deep aqua, with some bright green, yellow and a touch of black.  In other words, this quilt began like so many of mine do: in a swirl of color.  But what happened next was quite an adventure.Crossroads_1a

The inception of the quilt came from two other versions, but I wanted to put this design through its paces and see what else it could do.

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I cut and built the quilt, color band by color band.

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Then I started quilting it a little over a year ago.

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There were a few troubles here and there, with some healthy doses of unpicking.

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But I finished quilting and moved onto the binding.  So far, it all sounds pretty normal, right?

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Time for some beauty shots in our university’s garden.  Then I contacted Simply Moderne magazine, and asked if they were interested.  I waited.

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I taught a class with it.

Simply Moderne wrote back: yes! They were interested! (Cue jumping on the bed.)  So the quilt went underground, as did the pattern.  No more classes.  No talking about it.

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I dropped it off to them at Road to California January 2019, the folded quilt disguising my sling for my arm (rotator cuff surgery).  This was on their IG feed.

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This past week, September 2019, I received this in my email: the photo of my quilt, ready for publication.  I was beyond thrilled, as I am a fervent and faithful reader of not only Simply Moderne, but also its parent magazine, QuiltMania.  Everyone there at that publication is so very nice and lovely to work with.Simply Moderne Cover F2109

So, pick it up at your newstand, or wait for your subscribed copy to be delivered, or order it online on the 19th of September.  And give me a holler when you read it, for I’ll be waving back, jumping for joy!

This and That • September 2019

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Free Motion Quilting can be one of the main challenges we quilters face after we’ve gotten down the basics of piecing and other construction methods.  Now we want to stitch and shape and sculpt our quilts with thread.  This coming Saturday, September 14th, I’ll be teaching a Free-Motion Quilting workshop in Antelope Valley, and if you are nearby, come on down (up?).  You can find out more at their Quilt Guild Meeting, held Thursday evening, where I’ll present a show titled “An Undercover Traditional Modern Art Quilter.”  I’m bringing two suitcases of quilts, some stories and a sense of humor.  Hope to see you there!

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Simone drew up another one of her fabulous blocks for us in the Gridsters Bee, and I got busy and did six of them.  I just kept wanting to try out different combinations.  More info (and a free download) of this block is available on her website.

Book 15 Gamache

I started a new Inspector Gamache book, #15.  Halfway in, and I can’t wait to get back to listening.

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Over Labor Day weekend, we went to Austin, TX (common abbreviation, I found out, is ATX) to see my son and his family.  Here we are outside Coopers BBQ, where I’m going when I go to QuiltCon in February (well, both places: the BBQ, which is right downtown, and also to see the grandsons).

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I always learn something new when visiting the youngsters: did you know you could charge up your shoes, and when you are at a dance, they will glow different colors?

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When the boys went back to school and their parents went back to their regularly scheduled lives, we did touristing at the State Capitol Building.

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Then up to the University of Texas at Austin, where I visited someting I’d been wanting to see for a very long time: Austin, by Ellsworth Kelley.  Kelley gave the design for this chapel-like space to the Blanton Museum, which had it built.  It’s just over 2700 square feet, so not huge.

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But inside…

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We went in the morning, and then back again after lunch and a walk through the next door Blanton Museum.  I want to come here again, in February, when they say the light comes in the grid over the front door.  Hope it’s not cloudy at QuiltCon!

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Another Ellsworth Kelly.  We call this Couple Self-Portrait in Kelly’s B.  Occasionally if you spend too much time in museums you can get a bit goofy.  We also went to the LBJ Presidential Library after all this.

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But this — a dance of color and light — is what makes my quilty heart sing!

My Small World, redux

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It’s not often I get to have a re-do on Quilts-I-Once-Started-But-Abandoned, but there’s a fresh breeze in the air this fall, with another go-round of Jen Kingwell’s My Small World quilt.  Paula James (@the_secret_sewer) and Nicola Kelly (@nicola_picola_) have joined forces under the IG banner of #mysmallworldsewcial on Instagram, getting us started and keeping us going until we all finish, some nine months later.  The experts all say that we’ll agree to anything that has a finish date in the future because we think we have all the time in the world in the future.  This proves it.

I love Paul’s opening line in her recent post: “Over 60 awesome quilting friends have foolishly offered to join Nicola and me in a special sewalong to create our very own #mysmallworldquilt by genius @jenkingwell.”

And Nicola writes: “The fabulous Paula and I were beyond inspired by Jen Kingwell’s #mysmallworldquilt at last weekend’s retreat that we decided to make one in our inimitable style! 😂. If you would like to join us in a friendly, motivational and slightly bonkers sew along we’d LOVE to have you onboard….Thank you for the phenomenal response already to Paula’s post last night and let me know below if you’ve reconsidered your WIP pile and fancy another little addition.”

These are my kind of leaders.

I dug in the boxes at the bottom of the heap, to drag out this woe-be-gotten piece of piecing, folded up some four years ago (that’s 1460 days, if you are counting) and set aside.  The last post I can find says something like “My Small World, June 2015 edition,” like there was going to be something else after that.

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I’d made a copy of the pattern from my Quilt Mania Special Issue Spring 2015 (which isn’t for sale anymore), and made all my errata and corrections on this, so I’m somewhat ahead of the game.  I guess.  And there was an earlier sew-a-long; see my Posts for Reference, below.  The IG at that time was #mysmallworldqal and it can be helpful to look at that feed for ideas.

I also have a bazillion 1 1/2″ squares of ivory-colored sky cut up.  When I saw this in a comment on the #mysmallworldsewcial feed, I had to laugh:mysmallworld2019_2.png

You can purchase the pattern at Jen Kingwell’s Shop, Amitie, if you want the booklet, but you can also find some online, if you do a search.  So, get out your orphaned Small World and get back in the game!!  Below are screenshots from their feed, reminding me of what I need to get done by what date:

IG sewalong SMall World

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Other Posts For Reference
VeryKerryBerry — Kerry ran an IG sew-a-long in 2015.  On this post she has info about each section, links to Errata (Corrections) if you have the magazine pattern, and tips and tricks.  Very helpful.  [Warning: Any link back to QuiltMania does not work.  I think after a year, they relinquish rights and responsibilities back to the pattern writer.]
Patchwork ‘n’ Play — Susan’s Melbourne Town, where I found out that Jen Kingwell based this quilt on the artwork of Mary Blair, a Disney artist.
Live A Colorful Life — Cindy’s My Small World: The Disney Version
Wendy’s Quilts and More — Wendy writes about re-starting a stalled Small World
Another post from Wendy with more tips

City Streets Pattern Release

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City Streets now has another rendition.

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I made it up in a 15″ block pattern, and broke into my meager Tula stash to create a colorful quilt.  This pattern is made for beginners, with no triangles anywhere.  I envisioned the 15″ block to sew up quickly for baby quilts and other times when you need a quilt.  Fast.

I cut and sewed this all in a long morning, which leaked a bit into the afternoon.  It’s a pretty quick sew if you are experienced, but a bit longer if you are a newbie.

City Streets Pattern Cover

City Streets, with both sizes included, is now for sale on PayHip. (Get coupon, below.)

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I also learned a few new things in my Affinity Publisher Software, making the pattern more colorful and easy-to-read.  Above is the yardage chart for both versions.

You’ve seen a photo shoot on the first version of this quilt, but more pictures of the new version (not yet quilted) are below:

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Here’s a coupon code for you in case you want to pick it up. Head over to PayHip and use CITYSTREETS20 — it will get you 20% off the price for a little more than a week (it expires on September 17th).

Happy Sewing!

Betsy’s Creation • Quilt Finish

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I found this 1920s vintage park with a grandstand in a small town just to the north of me and took my husband and my most recent finished quilt there, so we could do some photographing.  And some reminiscing.

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It’s a sweet little small-town-built-long-ago park that for some miracle has remained.  Named for an officer of the local cement company at the time, it’s known as the Thomas J. Fleming Memorial Park, built circa 1922-1925. Why is this important?

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I grew up in a small little town (not so little anymore), but it had that feeling of walking downtown on a hot summer’s evening, catching the fireworks on the 4th of July after seeing the parade that morning.  It had the feeling of being able to drop your school bag at the door, change in to your “play clothes,” and head over past the Muehlstein’s home to send this and that sailing down their irrigation canal until you knew it was time to go home for dinner.  (And did I mention that my childhood nickname was Betsy?)

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We’d walk up to Heber’s house and offer to find the eggs in his chicken coop for him.  He’d let us.  We would wind crepe paper in our bicycle spokes and all show up for a local parade.  This was also a place where I was smallminded at times, like when I teased Marlene in fourth grade over something dumb, and then used up all her Scotch tape.  It’s a place where others can also be mean, like when I got beat up by the Mitchell boy, and cried all the way home.  (Later my mother saw him on the road, rolled down her car window and gave him a talking-to like I’d never heard.)

This small town in America was my place, where I learned to behave myself so no neighborhood mother would ever have to lean out her car window and give me a scolding.  And how I wish I could go back in time and find Marlene and tell her how sorry I am.  It was a place to be small, to grow up, and to leave behind.

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But I catch glimpses of it when I think of it as a land of red, white and blue, where we love flags and fireworks and the Fourth of July.  It’s a land of learning to get along with your neighbor because you never know when that person with the different name would give you a lifetime memory.  Like when I needed to learn to ride a bike and Joan Muehlstein gripped the back of the seat, ran alongside me, and hollered, “Turn towards the wobble!”

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It’s mountains and vast plains, it’s small towns and big cities.  And America is where I like to be the most, even though now I’ve traveled and love Berlin and Bologna and other different places with wonderful people who’ve gone themselves through nice and mean, dark and light, thick and thin.  It’s when I return from far away and see that flag on the  wall at the airport with a sign that says “Welcome to the United States,” well, I get a misty-eyed, just like in those movies from the 1940s.

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It’s my home, this America.  And to me, it’s a pretty great place.

American Flag

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Betsy’s Creation • Quilt #225
Pieced by Elizabeth Eastmond • Quilted by Cathy Kreter
72″ wide x 86″ tall

Quilt began on Flag Day: June 14, 2019
Finished August 20, 2019
More info and a free worksheet for making this quilt can be found here.  I also made a companion smaller flag:

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Inland Empire Quilters Quild

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The classroom behind me was abuzz as I set up my Shine quilt on its frame.  I turned around to see that the room had filled up with women from the Inland Empire Quilters Guild, who had come to take my class on English Paper-Piecing (EPP).  I have many Guild visits coming in the next year, but only one group has chosen EPP.  So I challenged myself to come up with something unusual and interesting that would provide a chance for them to learn a variety of skills.

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IQSC Collection: Clyde E. and Joan B. Shorey Collection IQSC Object Number: 2006.056.0012

First I gave them a brief history of EPP, showing them quilt pictures from the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE.

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International Quilt Study Center, 2006.043.0143, Ardis and Robert James Collection

The International Quilt Museum calls these types of quilts “mosaic” patchwork quilts, and they write: “The earliest examples of mosaic patchwork, from 1700s England, were typically made from lighter-colored silks. Later, during the third quarter of the 1800s, dark-colored silks predominated. Their availability, and the paper-piecing technique, spread widely throughout the United States.”

The three tasks I designed for the Inland Empire Quilters were:

  • baste fabric to hexies and then sew them together
  • learn how to work with paper EPP patterns (batch-cutting, glueing and sewing)
  • work with color and value in creating Spectrum, a circular mini quilt

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Sue worked diligently on her hexie flower, finishing it up.  Most others shifted off to the mini-mini quilt: a Kansas Sunflower variation, shown at the top of this post.

I was impressed with their designs and the variety of colors they used.

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After lunch, we shifted full gear into working on Spectrum, with collections of Kaffe Fasset fabrics being displayed on tables everywhere.  I was most impressed with the generosity of these women, who shared different colors with each other, helping their fellow quilters get all the hues they needed.

At the end of class, Carol went down to the car and brought up this old EPP quilt, with the papers still in it.  We pulled out a few stitches, removed a few papers and decided it was from the 1930s as the papers were really postcards from a Chicago hotel.  What tales this quilt could tell!

Inland Empire Quilt Guild Meeting_2Monday night, I returned to present a program for them, and at the beginning, those who had made progress on their projects held them up for everyone to see.

I snapped photos of some who came up to show me (including Vicki and Terri).  That’s Cynna’s Spectrum color wheel taking shape, above left, and Paula’s Kansas Sunflower (variation) and small hexie quilt below left.  I was very impressed with everyone’s work.

Susan, the Program Chair, was busy at her table, but she and others had worked hard to show their projects for the meeting.  She has arranged a visit by Edyta Sitar next year and was busy taking sign-ups for that workshop to be held in March.  Program Chairs are critical to a Guild’s success, and this Guild has a wide array of interesting presentations for their members.  They also have engaged chairs for Charity, Outreach, and other, but most of those are discussed at their other meeting (they have two per month).  This month was also the kick-off for their Block of the Month, which looks really fun.

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One of the best sounds ever is the cheery voice of quilters greeting each other, which you can hear in this video.  I had a wonderful time visiting the Inland Empire Quilters Guild.  Thank you for inviting me!