Finishing School Friday · Something to Think About

Summer’s Fading Fast

I read a post from someone in the Midwest this morning, and the blogger said she could start to feel the turn in the air, that telltale sign that summer was fading and fall was around the corner.  Here in Southern California, where today’s high should be 106, we forecast “fall” by the calendar.  In other words, if school is starting, it must be autumn.

School starts on Monday for me.  I have a mess on the dining room table, unable to move it upstairs because of my mess in the studio from the Lollypop Trees.

My main goal this summer was to get all of the lollies cut, shaped and pinned up on their background squares.  Done.

Then I went a little further and created all the border blocks, arranged here alongside the big lollypop trees.  Done.

And since I was picking up all the mess from off the floor and from around my cutting area, I cut the squares and rectangles needed for the sashing and borders.  Done.

Then I folded all the fabrics up into squares, stacked them by color and shoehorned placed them onto my fabric shelves. Done.

I’ll dust, squirt, vacuum, and sigh as I tuck away the mat, rotary cutter and sewing machine, as I prepare to bring up the laptop, textbooks, papers, attaché case and supplies from downstairs and move them up.

It’s been a good summer.  I had an 8-day visit from my daughter and her three children and we made a series of curtains for eight windows in her house.  My husband and I went to New York for a week, where my son and his wife joined us for a day, a night and a day in the Big Apple.  My daughter and her husband and three kids came back again for a week before their school started.  My sister and her husband started the treatments in Los Angeles for his cancer, and they came to stay with us a couple of nights.  We went into LA a couple of days for laundry and moral support.  I listened to three books, trying to keep up with my mother, and read three more in-the-hand books.

I sewed the blocks for my Summer Treat Quilt.  I conquered the Lollypop Trees–now to sew on them all fall.  We had great gingham fun with lovely and interesting and fine participation from excellent quilters.  Good conversations, late on a summer’s evening led to me finding last year’s sparklers from the 4th of July and my grandchildren writing their names in white-hot sparks in the air.  We made SomeMores over the barbecue.  My son and his three boys came up for a day of swimming, running, visiting and two meals.  My brother, his wife and family stopped over one night on their way to a coastal site for their week’s vacation.  I went to a Quilt Festival/Convention and learned how to make a bracelet and a New York Beauty Block.

As I look over the things I thought I wanted to do and the things I did, there are some differences.  It’s easy to fret about those tasks left undone — no Cross-X blocks made, no basket quilt started.  I can look at other lists I’ve made (I have a classic full-page To Do List from 1993 that has over 65 items on it organized into 8 different categories and neatly typed up) and realize that some will be crossed off, while some will never come to fruition.  My lists as I’ve grown older have become simpler, allowing for things like a trip to the frozen yogurt shop instead of the finishing up of a quilt task, or like taking the time to read to the last page of a novel instead of reworking a binding’s corners.

But after all, it is summer, and what else are summers for than to let the tasks drift like a folded paper boat out on the stream of time, watching it bob and weave and sail out of view?  I can pick up my rotary blade another day, but maybe there won’t be time to stand by a grandchild while they write their sparklered name in dark summer air, or feel the ocean tug the sand from under their feet, enjoying the delicious feeling of being pulled off balance by tides, by time.  By a summer’s moment.

Happy Summer’s End to you all.

Quilt Bee · Quilt Shows

Long Beach, part 2

Leaving behind the Twelve by Twelve exhibit, IQA has a several other mini-shows within the big show.  There was a general quilt section, some small created houses on a platform, SAQA, a series of quilts from the book Masters (and their accompanying sample books), and a series of antique Log Cabin quilts.  A lot to take in.  No photography allowed on some exhibits, which makes me less inclined to “interact” with it, as I’m definitely one who likes to take photos, but they were all interesting.

Day and Night, by Grace Errea, depicts a day at a Southern California beach.  It was a lovely riot of applique and quilting, so interesting to look at.

Diane Goff drew on her memories of childhood to create Clovis Bounty, a tribute to her grandfather’s farm where they grew amazing Elberta peaches.

I love the pintucks on the dress bodice, and the quilted curls along the top of her face.

“Yeeee-ha” It’s the Texas State Fair, was created by Karen Harting.  There are lots of nice details here, but as I mentioned before the lighting was a challenge and I hate to post blurry photos.  I thought the use of fabric to be quite creative, esp. that blue in the background.

This one is titled Capital Hardware, even though the inspiration was the Texas State Capitol building.  I couldn’t decide if it was a typo, or if Frances Holliday Alford was making a statement about the importance of the hardware–maybe both?  Alford had her photographs printed up by Spoonflower into fabric that she used to create the quilt. I could relate–I have lots of photos of the nation’s government buildings with their decorative hardware.

Full view of the quilt.

These blue oblongs, sticking straight out from this quilt are the first thing you notice.  Then you step back, look, and . . .

…Kathy York’s Central Park comes into focus, with those blue oblongs representing the tall buildings around the perimeter of the park.  Since I’ve taken two trips to New York this past year, I was intrigued and delighted by York’s work.

Detail. Note the transparency of the bushes in the lower area.

A highly graphic design, Karen Eckmeier’s Black, White and READ Village has text taken from her morning journals.  She created the fabric, then built the town.

Detail of the buildings.  She’s layered tulle netting over the town and machine-stitched the applique pieces down.

Love the found phrase: “CHANGE your life Princess Today.”  I’m a sucker for text.  Always.

In An Orderly World, by Linda R. Syverson Guild was inspired by an Art Deco picture.  At the bottom of her sign she writes “In An Orderly World, the borders aren’t the end” reflecting her breaking of the borders with her design.

After twelve years of living in a leafy Baltimore suburb, Cheryl Sleboda moved back to her hometown of Chicago, with its bright lights. I liked the composition of the quilt, Road to Home, with its bold hues in the foreground and the larger shapes in gray in the background.

Detail of the quilting.  I liked how the green patches and their row quilting imitated farmland.

Answering Nature’s Call, by Kathy Augur Smith (quilted by Wilma Cogliantry) pays homage to an earlier time in America, when homes didn’t have indoor plumbing.  A poem around the outside edges makes a rosy reference to going outside for Nature’s call.  Frankly, I am happy to have indoor plumbing and a hot shower every morning.

Detail of the hollyhocks.  They were created separately (I’m guessing) and appliqued.

Quilting detail.  I love the texture of this “jaggedness” in between the smooth lines. She notes that there is photo transfers as one of the techniques, but I kept wondering if the outside writing was stenciled onto the quilt.

Aryana B. Londir created Compartments #1 of blocks and strips in just four colors.  This graphic design was then channel-quilted in rows.

Detail of the quilting.  According to her statement, this quilt is an allusion to the tight housing found in “big cities and poverty-stricken areas of the world.”

I’ve got some more to show, but I wanted to close (and watch the final of the Women’s Beach Volleyball) with these photos from a vendor of her quilts (yes, I obtained permission).  One quilt is a bunch of dirndl dresses and the other is matryoshka dolls.  Loved them both, with their individual details and charming subject matter

Detail. This would be a great Christmas quilt, made up in holiday colors.  My friend Judy, who has a German heritage, would broaden the red and green to include blue, commonly seen in Christmas decorations in Germany.

This is the back of a quilt by Julie Herman, of Jaybird Quilts.  I had purchased her book, Skip the Borders, the day before and in my quiet night at the hotel, read it from cover to cover.  I was quite intrigued at how she constructed her backs, piecing in her label, then sandwiching the “label strip” into between two other large pieces of fabric, securing the label from being cut off if the quilt was ever stolen.  So I went back the next day and took a photo.  I just like how it looks.

And today’s happy news?  My Far Flung Bee blocks arrived from Holly of TwoCheesePlease in Australia.

I love the look of all the postage and Holly’s washi tape decor.

Yes.  I’m a mail dork.  I love the back too.

And yes, I’m going to torture you with all the photos of the process of discovery.  I like how she taped a little note to the package for me with more washi tape.  The design for the Far Flung Bee logo is one I put together and I’m glad she liked it.

Holly’s the organizer of our bee.  Yes, Holly–I’m glad I joined too!

I had asked for text fabric to be used in the design–either in the background, or in the tulip.

So very cute, both of these!  Thanks, Holly!

Now, off to see who wins the gold: May-Treanor/Jennings or Kessy/Ross.

Quilt Shows

Long Beach Quilt Festival–Part I

Where have I been?  Where all of you have been. Watching the Olympics.  For those of us Stateside, “Happy and glorious” is a phrase from the British National Anthem, “God Save the Queen [King]” but wouldn’t you just love to have this patch?  My hand’s raised.  I’ve also been washing sheets and towels after all my company and writing my syllabus, but the quilts from Long Beach deserve some attention, too.

As I said to a friend, the quilt show has really improved from the last time I saw it.  And as she said, Well, it only had one way to go. . . and that was up.  It’s a different kind of show from Road to California, which is all about crystals, glitz, flash, heavy quilting for the winners (so-called “Show Quilts), but this show is quieter, with multiple points of focus.

The one that for me was the most intriguing was the display by twelve quilt artists in an international offering titled “Twelve by Twelve.”  Their website, Twelve by Twelve, can give more information about each of them, and I must admit, better pictures.  (This quilt show is held in a cavernous hall, partially underground with high contrast lighting.)  I started into this exhibit in a rush, then forced myself to slow down, slow waaay down and appreciate what I was seeing.  The above is Orange.

Each collection is made by one of the artists in the collaborative, with different techniques, materials, designs.  Each hanging is twelve different ways of interpreting a theme.  Each has twelve little quilts–and it took me a while to figure out that I could really learn from them if I took the time.

This is BrownSageBlue.  They had three exhibits here: Themes, Colors and Numbers.

So what would you design, if the theme was BrownSageBlue?  Would you remember how landscapes look from an airplane?  Neither would I.

Three squares from Chairs.  Above is the first, the other two follow.

Yum! Chocolate!

And a woman posing with the God of Chocolate?  Maybe she’s a quilter.  No, she’s a nursing Mom, according to the blog post about this piece.

This piece is from the theme Community.

Window.  Already you can see all the different ideas playing around in this piece.  A lot of these “quilts” in this theme have zig-zagged edges for a finish.

Introspection is the title of this piece from Windows.  It’s a photo from her optometrist visit.

Rainbows and Sun Breaks from the Water grouping.

Twelve is the theme here.

Twelfth of Twelve, a mandala that contains references to her other pieces in the series.

Spice.  Are you tired of these yet?  I hope not, because I wish I had a group like this who would make little art quilts with me.  That’s the effect it had on me–I realized it was at once collaborative, yet individual.  And it would force you to work in quick succession–no getting bogged down or tired of a quilt.  They found each other via their blogs, and many of them have met each other.  They reveal their creations every two months after receiving their theme.

A piece from Rusty. A star within a star and then embellished with a swath of rusty-colored beads and textiles across the top.


Who can resist these planted birdhouses?  I love the background of patched greens.

Simple, yet effective rendition of Shelter.

from PurpleYellow.

PurpleYellow group.


Teensy little square illustrating the principle of randomness. Or not.

I took this shot to show that they had affixed their squares to a piece of black felt.  I saw this technique for joining small pieces also in Road to California, as typically a quilter is only allowed to enter one piece–even if that is composed of multiple parts.  The tree in the upper left is Fractals.  Fascinating.  I loved it.

How did you first learn to count?

Last one: Pink.

St. Rose and her Pinking Shears, by Terry Grant.

She writes: “St Rose came to me in a dream with her PINKing shears. Later I discovered the real St. Rose of Lima was patroness of embroiderers and lacemakers and supported her family as a teenager with her exquisite needlework.”

I’m moving on in the next post, but am still thinking about these twelve artists and their accomplishments.