WIP and FAL are real motivation!

WIP new button

I’ve been doing Lee’s Work In Progress Wednesdays for a long time now, and I love participating and reading her blog.  Head back there to see more of what others are working on.

FinishALong Button

And Leanne’s Finish-A-Long has certainly focused what I’m working on.  I’ll get back to posting up Road to California pictures next post, but here’s what I’m working on today.

EPP outer pieces

I’ve finally figured out the outer pieces of my EPP quilt.  And the border after this, too.  Now just to sit and watch something interesting on television, so I can finish it up.  What to watch now that Downton Abbey’s all finished, and the Oscar broadcast is over?  I do have some interesting Netflix coming.  By the way, if you like quirky movies, I can recommend Moonrise Kingdom.

Lollypop Tree Border Blocks2

And I finished appliqueing all the pieces on my Lollypop Tree Border Blocks.  Now I have to cut away the backs of those that have freezer paper in them, pull out the paper, then press them.  When that happens, it means that all the components of the Lollypop Tree quilt will be ready to be put together.  I first saw Kim McLean’s pattern on the blog for Material Obsession–a blog you should defininitely have in your Reader.

Lollypop Tree Border Blocks3

A few of my favorites.  Happy Quilting!


Road to California 2013–part I

Okay, here’s a truth.  When you are sewing your brains out, you aren’t  blogging much.  And since I’ve been on a tear with a couple of quilts, I haven’t yet given the recap of Road to California 2013 version.  I’ve been remiss.  Let’s begin.


As we’ve noticed this week at QuiltCon, the connections we make with other quilters are valuable and as invigorating as creating new quilts, and so I want to start the post by acknowledging my debt to some of my quilty friends–thank you all.  Here we are at the first day’s lunch: Leisa, me, Laurel and Lisa.


Dinner that night was at our local El Torrito, where Jean, Laurel, JoDy, (me) and Leisa ate chips, chewed over the quilt show, inhaled the guacamole.  We sort of do this every year, so if you come, join us.


Last group shot: Debbie from Miss Luella, Cindy from Live A Colorful life and the rest of us.  I am happy to have such great friends.  Now here’s some other people we saw at the quilt show.


Queen of the Nereids: Deborah Levy was the quilter and maker.  This was a lot of fun to look at, ooh over and find the interesting details (like how did she keep those shells on?)


  She’s from New Orleans–the quilter, not the mermaid–so she does know water.  I love the texture in that hair, and she used some of my favorite thread: Superior (I’m a fan!).


Laurie Tigner made and quilted this fascinating homage to ancient religious icons, Silver Madonna -1 .  First she painted silver spandex, then quilted it.  She said the fabric was stretchy in four direction, “but worked beautifully.”



The quilting made me swoon.


Samson and Delilah, by Jerry Granata from California (near me!).  This was such an interesting image, prompted by his love of Art Deco and the art by Erte.


He quilted it all on a regular sewing machine.


Sirena has a secret.


This quilt, by DeLoa Jones (who was on the faculty of Road) lit up this quilt with LED lights and sparkley things that we buy at Disneyland.


visenfishmaid4   Very ingenious.


I couldn’t get a great shot of this, but it was wonderfully made by five different quilters of the Collective Visions quilt group: Kathy Adams, Joan Baeth, Susan Massini, Louise Page, with Kathy Adams as the quilter.


Grandma’s Big Fish was based on a photograph taken in 1959.  Don’t we all want to be like this woman?


Celise, by Carol Swinden, melted my heart, but then again, it was a picture of Swinden’s granddaughter that prompted it.

Celise detail

The quilting was really amazing, drawing in the contours.  I apologize for the harsh lighting, but the colors were more delicate in person.

Celise quilting

Hope you can see this background quilting.


Surrender was a quiet quilt, tucked in among some showier ones, but took my breath away for the depiction of a mother saying good-bye to her newly deceased newborn. Maria Elkins of Ohio, paid homage to all those moms who have had to say farewell at birth.  She dedicated it to her grandchild, “who was given into the loving hands of her daughter and son-in-law.” I studied it for a long time.

Pink Display 2

One of their special exhibits was “Pink,” a lovely collection of quilts with pink as their predominant color.

Pink Display1

Makes you want to go out and get some pink, right?


Lollypop Tree Blocks Completed


All stitched down.  But I remembered in the middle of the night, that I wasn’t done stitching.


I still have the border blocks to finish.  But first, I’m going to enjoy being at this point (for closeups of the last three blocks, head to “Lollypop Trees” in the header).  I finished taking off the back of the pieces last night before I went to bed, then pressed it and put it up on the wall.  I think sometimes in our rush to have a finish, we forget to stop and smell the flowers.  So I’m stopping today to smell these flowers–even though there’s no fragrance, there’s a sweetness to the air in my studio–all these up on the wall.  They’ll cheer me on while I grade the poetry papers that came in yesterday from my students.  So, in honor of getting this far on this quilt, and this far in the semester, I leave you with a couple of haiku, bare whisps of poems appropriate to the season.

Tom Tico:

Into old pots and pans

thrown out in the backyard—

the musical rain

Harriet Axelrad:

snowflakes glued

to the kindergarten window—

no two alike

Enjoy the weekend!

Finish-A-Long · Quilts

Lollypop Trees Rise Again: Blocks 4, 5, 6

One advantage to being in a group like Leanne’s Finish-A-Long (FAL), is that you have a reason to pull those unfinished projects to the front of the line, rather than letting good solid work be upstaged consistently by the New! and the Fabulous! and the Have You Seen This Fabric Line! sort of business.  So the Lollies came out of hibernation.


Lollypop Tree Four.


Lollypop Tree block five.


Lollypop Tree block Six.

Gang of Six Lollypop Trees

So I’ve appliqued six to their background fabric, using the freezer-paper, then invisible thread in top spool method.

Appliqueing Lollypop Tree

I’ve discussed this in buckets of digitial bytes in other posts, but here’s a photo of me going at it.  Yes, those are teensy applique pins and when you have about 60 of them on a block (these are huge blocks), it helps that they are small so you are not stabbed to death by pins.  I also hang my sweater on the back of the chair, as they have affinity with knitted things–they get caught in the sleeves.  I use a 1.0 width zig-zag with a 2.0 length of stitch, with Mono-Poly invisible thread in the top spool (put a netting on it and you will be happier) and Bottom Line thread in the bobbin.  I also dial back the upper tension by half, down to 2.2 and use a very slender needle.  Both threads are made by Superior Threads.

My student papers don’t come in until Thursday evening, so maybe I can squeak out three more blocks?  It takes about an hour to stitch each block, and another 20 minutes to open up the back and take all the freezer paper pieces out. I know I won’t finish the quilt this first quarter of the FAL, but the very fact that I’m sewing on these trees is a benefit of signing up. I’ll be thrilled just to get the blocks done.


Now head back to Lee’s Freshly Pieced blog to see more Works in Progress!


Low-Volume: Quilters Slang?

Have you seen the phrase “low volume” used lately in the quilt world?  I have, in many places, and it’s confused me to no end.  How is it that we quilters have come up with a term that has almost no application outside our little quilty planet?  Why do people say low volume when they really mean soft color or tint or pale or faded or neutrals (which is usually what it stands in for). Yeah, yeah, yeah, I thought, until I saw this in the New York Times this weekend:

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 8.59.32 PM

Check out that phrase: “low-volume white and gray.”  So I did a Google search on “low-volume” and color and got lots of info on printers printing jobs that were low in page numbers.  Then a bunch of references to hair coloring and beauticians, then a smattering of entries where bloggers have used this term in their blog posts.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 8.59.41 PM

Both of these images are from the NYTimes write-up about Blues for Smoke, a newly opened art exhibit, taking its inspiration from the Blues (the music, not the color, although there does appear to be some riffing on the latter).


But where in heavens name does the term “low volume” come from?  If you do a search on “low volume” in Google images, quilts predominate. But in the rest of the Google universe, it refers to sound, or how many pages your printer can turn out, or stocks you have traded.  I turned to my trusty Colorworks books, esp. the one on pastels to see what terms Dale Russell uses.


He doesn’t use the words low volume in references to those lightened colors.  He uses the more common “tint,” which is a color that has had white added to it, lightening it from the pure hue.  (And on the opposite scale, a shade has black added to it, darkening it.)

So, if you use the term low volume, where did you get it from?  Does it come from industry?  The art world (like my example above)? Graphic arts and design?

Or is it peculiar to quilters?


Hexies, Bee Blocks and Betty’s Tile Quilt


I finished sewing this together during the last Downton Abbey.  I love it.  But now what do I do with this?  Moving on. . .

Cindy's Block Feb

Cindy, of Live A Colorful Life, asked us to make this block from During Quiet Time’s tutorial for her turn in our MidCentury Modern Bee.  Today, after taking a nap (really, I just couldn’t go any further and I have a life where I can take a nap if I want–that’s why I am in the Mid-Century Modern group, as all of us are over the mid-century mark on the old birthday calendar), I plowed into it.  The tutorial is very clear and easy, and it was fun to draw from my stash.


Signature Block for February’s block.  We are each including one of these smaller blocks along with our square.  Tutorial is from PS I Quilt, but I won’t call it a “siggy” block, for the same reason I avoid the word “veggie” (instead vegetable).

Carla Block Jan

This Churn Dash was made for Carla of Lollyquiltz, by following her tutorial.  She uses the two squares-sew the edges method of the half-square triangle.  I found it easy, but did think that the block was a little more fluid because of all the bias edges.  She calls this block Juicy Fruit, and her quilt is something to behold (click on the link to go to her Flickr photo pool).

Signature Block Jan

And this was her signature block–requested in colors from her quilt.  I ironed freezer paper to the back of the white section to get it stable enough to write on.  Okay, that’s where I’m at so far this month, but the really exciting thing was hearing from Betty just before I left last week.  She’d made up my Harvesting the Wind in her own colors and had just gotten it back from the quilters.  She gave me permission to put up photos on my blog.  So. . . here they are!


She used all solids, but added that pop of tangerine to really set off the tile block.  I was smiling and grinning from ear to ear, because I loved seeing what she’d done!



Betty, it’s wonderful.  She’s one of the Four-in-Art members, so it’s fun to have another connection with her. I think we are Quilting Twins in some ways, and I keep trying to figure out a way to get to the East Coast to meet her.

Okay, not done yet.  I mentioned I wanted to make the Sunshine and Shadow in another colorway, this time for my grandson.  Here’s the initial mock-up for the quilt.  It looks really different in such bold “boy” colors (he likes blue, red and black but I couldn’t resist lightening it up with those white patches), but I know it will go together quickly.


Have a nice Presidents Day Weekend!