60″ wide by 76″ high
Finished April 2017
All our signature blocks, close-up. And who are these people? My beemates from the Gridsters Bee. You can find our work on Instagram: they made over half of the piggies and I made the rest. The tutorial is *here.*
You’ve seen a lot of this quilt, but you haven’t yet seen it down on MY farm: here’s the beauty shot in our garden.
The lower blue fabric dates from the 1970s, a scrap from the very first quilt I ever made. I try to work it into most of my quilts, one way or another.
The backing is an old Marimekko fabric, purchased from when the Crate and Barrel Outlet store used to be nearer to me. The binding is a Kaffe Fasset fabric. Many many thanks to all who cheered me on while making this, and to my lovely bee-mates!
Some time ago, Oliver Burkeman, writing in the Guardian newspaper, discussed the idea of implementing “systems” rather than using goals when we are striving toward a new frontier, whether it be in quilting, or better exercise. He starts by quoting the Dilbert creator, Scott Adams:
“when you’re trying to get better at something – a creative skill, such as cartooning, or a habit, such as regular exercise – think in terms of systems, not goals” for “when you approach life as a sequence of milestones to be achieved, you exist “in a state of near-continuous failure.” Almost all the time, by definition, you’re not at the place you’ve defined as embodying accomplishment or success. And should you get there, you’ll find you’ve lost the very thing that gave you a sense of purpose – so you’ll formulate a new goal and start again.”
Systems ideas mean that if you are a person who walks in the morning, you’ll strive to change one small thing about your stride, or improve your time slightly, and incorporate that into your exercise. The trick is to keep it simple and small, much like the kaizen idea formulated in Japan, which means continuous change for the better.
Adams notes that working in a system is “something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run,” regardless of immediate outcome. Burkeman goes on to say that “drawing one cartoon a day is a system; so is resolving to take some kind of exercise daily – rather than setting a goal, like being able to run a marathon in four hours. One system that’s currently popular online goes by the name “No Zero Days”: the idea is simply not to let a single day pass without doing something, however tiny, towards some important project.”
So how does this apply to quilting?
If you think of all our words for unfinished goals (e.g.: WIP, UFO, etc.) and look at the number of online “finishing” blogs that give away prizes if you finish quilts on your list, you can see that we in the quilting world might need the idea of a system.
What IF you approached it as having no zero days…or…continuously making one small change for the better (kaizen) by sewing for small increments at a regular basis, rather than trying to do a blitz over a weekend? Certainly how your time is managed for you has an impact, for I recognize that small children, spouses, bosses and health issues can indeed interrupt the time available to you. But what if you had a idea of doing a small part of your project, but doing it daily? Soon your system would bring you to a completed quilt project.
It’s hard to grasp the idea of process, especially if you’ve spent your life thinking in terms of product. We’re very good at beating ourselves up over our procrastination or lack of motivation or our inability to get that quilt done. But I like the idea of leaving behind a “state of near-continuous failure,” exchanging that instead for a series of small, manageable tasks that become a part of my day.
I leave with you a little saying on my bookshelf from a past leader in my church, which, when I’ve overwhelmed myself, helps keeps me centered:
Thanks to all who entered the Paintbrush Studios giveaway for the Painter’s Palette Solids. I used the Husband Random Number Generator, and he picked Lisa J. for the scraps and Susan H. for the Paint Chips. It was fun reading all your comments!
I’m sure you’ve seen piggies flying across my screen on Instagram…piggies and more piggies. It’s because I was Queen Bee for this month’s Gridster Bee, and all my beemates were quick and sent them right out. So I honored them by sewing them all up into rows and getting the quilt top done. (Don’t you hate it when you make blocks for bees and they all seem to go into someone’s bottom drawer, never to be seen again? That happens, even to the best of us.)
I made a few more piggies, but imitated the heart in this curlicue pigtail from Carol.
I started to run into troubles because some piggies were facing left and some were facing right, and some were going uphill and some were going down, so my advice is have fun making them go left and right, but keep count, so you know how many you need of each. My husband made the suggestion to have the half-rows facing each other, so I did that in the middle of the quilt.
Another suggestion, from Mary, is to sew the grass on last, instead of first (like I wrote it in the tutorial). She’s right. I thought it wouldn’t matter much after the trimming, but it does. So that’s why I added the scrappy strips of green underneath the rows of pigs.
And last, arrange your piglets up on the wall, decide on the balance/color,etc. THEN start tilting them uphill or down. I also alternated the uphill/downhill at the start of the rows. It wasn’t that hard, if I just worked sequentially.
I started sewing the back together, then realized I was missing a beemate’s signature block. It’s come to a halt while I wait for it to arrive, but it will be great to have them all.
These white flowers (smallish, about 1 1/2″ across) are all over my bushes out front, and the whole yard is blooming. We’ve had a lovely rainy winter, so everything in the yard is very happy. So am I, to see these!
And I did a little spring shopping at our local brick and mortar quilt shop, finding some backing for the En Provence mystery quilt (still in process) on the sale shelves.
For April’s Gridster Bee block, Nancy of Patchwork Breeze drew up her own design, and asked us to make it up in some bold large-scale prints. This was a paper-pieced block in some places, and just plain pieced, in other places, and I think they turned out great.
This book will open your eyes up to color and piecing possibilities for New York Beauties, coupled with Flying Geese. I love it. You can find the author, Carl Hentsch on Instagram. I’m in love with another one of his quilts:
It’s slightly fuzzy because I screen-shotted it from Instagram. What talent!
As promised, the scraps from my Guccilious quilt need to go out into the world, for others to enjoy this fabric and this particular range of colors. And although this bundle accumulated quite a few votes in the March Madness 2017 (thank you very much!), Christine’s bundle of blues and yellows won (I voted again today…and for hers!).
I think someone might like to see all the range of colors, so I’m also giving away two Paintbrush Studios Paint Chips, which includes every color you see below. No, I’m not giving away the card, just the double-pack of two Paint Chips that have every color, as shown above.
UPDATE: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO LEFT A COMMENT. RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW. Leave me a comment below, telling me which one you’d like to win–the scraps or the double pack of Paint Chips–and after a few days, I’ll close off the giveaway and send out the fun! Thanks for entering!
So, I’ve been playing around some more with my Guccilicious bundle of Painter’s Palette Solids, and created this New York Beauty block (free patterns *here*).
It seems my bundle has made it into the Top Eight of the Mad for Solids Bracket 2017. What an honor, and it’s all due to all those nice votes I received from you. Thank you very much. If you feel like doing it again, well, I won’t argue.
So…Head to the Paintbrush Studios Blog to vote for my bundle of fun another time, or head to their Instagram feed. The voting opens at 7 a.m. EST Monday April 3rd, and closes 24 hours later. You can vote once each place.
And thank you, thank you.
If I win this round, I’ll be in the final four. And then we’ll see what happens from there. At any rate, it will all be over by Friday, as shown by the Paintbrush Studios voting schedule:
Monday, 4/3: voting in games 9 and 10 (That’s this one!!)
Tuesday, 4/4: voting in games 11 and 12
Wednesday, 4/5: announce Final Four and voting for games 13 and 14
Thursday, 4/6: announce championship game and voting
Friday, 4/7: announce winner
Regardless of whether I win or not (so you should vote for the bundle you like best, even if it isn’t this one), I will hold a drawing for the remainder of my fabrics, about a fat-eighth each, as a way to say thank you, and for you try to these fabrics. I may give away a couple of extra things, because you’ve all been so nice to vote, and because I really really want you all to discover how wonderful these fabrics are to work with.