Happy Old Year Ending • 2017

This year’s main quilting events: Shoulder surgery in January, which pretty much sidelined me for a long time.  That’s at the top of the list, because whatever I did after that was like icing on the cake.  My  achievements — or lack of, depending on your view — can be found under the tab “200 Quilts,” a handy way to navigate the morass of blogland.

But here’s some eye-candy, quilt-style.

2017 Makes_1

2017 Makes_2

and a few more…

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So, in spite of a lame start, I did manage to get a few things made.  That’s why I do these posts–they are more for me, to say…hey, you didn’t do so bad.  So often we only notice what we don’t do, what we can’t make or achieve, as you’ll notice by my language in the intro, where I denigrate my accomplishments.

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I did some some traveling, which expanded my horizons a bit, to the European Patchwork Meeting…

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…as well as Seoul and Tokyo (accompanying my husband to his meetings).  Next travel is to Ontario, California for Road to California, and to Pasadena for QuiltCon 2018. Luckily both are within an hour of my home.

I’m joining up with Cheryl’s Linky Party, because I’ve found it so fun to browse what everyone else has been doing this year.  My top five posts for 2017 are:

  1.  Mini Sew-Together Bag.  I recently moved the pattern up to Craftsy and am happy that it has helped find a wider audience of bag enthusiasts. Mini Sew Together Bag_5b stuffed

2. Christmas Tree Skirt.  Although there is no pattern, there is enough information on this post so you can make your own.  I’m still surprised by how much traffic this post gets.

Christmas Tree Skirt 2014

3. Shine–the Circle Quilt Post is a busy place, as I make available many EPP patterns for free, so you can make a circle block either for a quilt, or pillows or wall-hangings.  And this year, the quilt will hang in Road to California.

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4. Two posts are virtually tied for the same place: the post on how to convert a Chuck Nohara block illustration to a pattern, and the posts showing the tutorial on my Piggies quilt.

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Chuck Nohara quilt top

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Piggies!

5.  Christmas Tree Block Swap tutorial.

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I hope you do your own tallying up, and sail into 2018 with the wind at your back.
Happy New Year!

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Criss-Cross Christmas Quilt Top

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Criss-Cross Christmas Quilt, top finished December 2017
59 ” by 68″

It all started when my friend Leisa gave me a mini-charm pack of Merrily fabrics by Gingiber.  Then the Fat Quarter Shop had the fat-eighth stack, and then when my making dictated more, I scooped up a layer cake of the line, and I was set (and I still have some left).

I added Kona Snow, and got creative.

I’d seen a variation of this quilt in my Instagram feed, but I changed up a few things to use up all my ideas.  Basic construction was to take a 10-inch square, and cut it either way: into four squares or four triangles.

But then I wanted to use the mini-charm pack, so I bordered them in strips, then cut them at an angle.

The “criss-cross” filler strips are cut at 1-1/4″ wide, so they have some presence, but don’t overwhelm the structure.  I seamed two squares or two triangles with the filler strip, then seamed those units together into a block, as I wanted to have the “criss-cross” pieces be random–the best of improv quilting.  I trimmed up the block to 9″ square, making sure to “center” the ruler as much as possible, so they aren’t wonky at all.

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I ended up not liking that seamed-up business in the solid portion of my mini–charm square block, visible in the upper right block.  I discarded all those triangles, and just went with the ones shown in the lower-left, with no visible seams in the solid.

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Still wanting to use up more of the mini-charm pack, I made my own “squares” of fabric and let them stand in.

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I just started making…and putting them up..and making…and deciding to enlarge it…

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Then I moved around the blocks, making sure the light of the mini-charm-square blocks were balanced against the heavier “filled-in” blocks.  At some point I decided I was done.

I sewed them together, stopping mid-way to celebrate Christmas and get the flu. Because the flu shot is only partially effective this year, more people will probably get the bug.  The good news, though, that by having had the flu shot, the duration and intensity will be lessened.  I hope so.

I’ve got some year-end sewing to do!

Bee Blocks for Gridsters • December 2017

Four of us got together to do the last block of 2017 for Afton, of Quilting Mod.

She’d asked that we do a cake from Patty Sloniger’s pattern (for Michael Miller Fabrics), and Afton mapped out our plan of which stand for which cake.  I had a different cake from Lisa, Leisa and Simone, but our stands were all the same.  Luckily.

 

The quilter who made the cake on the left was the first to finish, but whoops…she had to redo the cake stand.

One of us had to leave early to pick up kids, so I don’t have that quilter’s block, but here are three of the cake blocks finished.  In all the fun, I never took a photo of my block by itself, but I’m the stacked layer cake on the lower right.  The pattern went together without too much drama, and we shipped them off to Afton.  That’s the end of the Gridster Bee for 2017, but we’re gearing up and are all ready to go for 2018.

This is the last sew day for all of us together, as Lisa (in blue sweater) has moved away to another state.  She and I started our little quilt group of twenty years, and it is odd not to see her around, or to be able to pop up and borrow some fabric (she lived close to me).  I wish her all the best in her new home, and hope she finds lots of quilters to hang out with!

Bojagi and the Chojun Textile & Quilt Art Museum • Seoul, South Korea

It was the last day of our trip to Tokyo and Seoul.  I was laying in bed, so so tired from our trip, and already the events and obligations of home were pressing in.  I communicated to my husband that all I wanted to do that day was lay in bed. He leaned over and said “There’s a quilt museum here in Seoul.”  I was dressed and ready to go in a flash.

The Chojun Textile and Quilt Art Museum wasn’t too far from our hotel, up a narrow street, and it is very small: a room for the entry, a side room for the gift shop and more, a hallway and a one-room display. Right off the bat, we see Yvonne Porcella’s quilt hanging up on the right side of the display room.  When we were talking about it, the assistant curator, Jeehye OK, who spoke English and was  a good guide and help, lifted it up to see if there was a label.  There wasn’t, but instead a hand-written note on the rod pocket: “Top.”  The quilt was displayed upside-down, but apparently the curator likes it that way.  I wondered if it were because of the way language functioned in Korea until the early 1990s: written right to left, but I’ll never know.

This quilt was on the left side of the door.  Again, no name or title.  Most of the quilts were down a long poorly-lit hallway (below), but my husband’s camera picked up amazing amounts of info in dim lighting.  

So here is a collage of the quilts, however dimly colored they are:

You can click on any quilt to get a larger photo.  What I found interesting were the colors they used, the placement of motifs or accents, and the general symmetry of the quilts.  The little birds are just a photo fragment of a quilt–I thought they’d be cute improv pieced as a filler block.

I also find interesting the impact of American traditional quilting, as shown in the quilt with the scenes of an old-time quilting bee.  I don’t think we often realize the impact we from the US have on other countries, and not just in quilting.  Maybe we’d tread a little more lightly if we realized that others have good ideas, many countries do a lot of things better than we do, and that we could all learn from each other.  (It’s that traveling thing, again.)

These three displays of quilts, seemingly made of organza or other transparent fabrics, were in between the hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing.  I think we in the U.S. think of transparent patchwork  as “bojagi,” but really that is a word for a square cloth that can cover something, or be used as a wrap.  The patchwork style is known as “chogak bo,” or so Jeehye explained to me.  I had a hard time figuring this out, given my belief that bojagi is patchwork cloth.  All this new info was not so clear cut.  {And by the way, it’s bo-jag-i, which rhymes (nonsensically) with “row-hag-ee” with a hard-sounding “g.”}

When I got home, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found these tidbits:

“Bojagi were used for transporting items, as well as covering, or keeping things together in storage….Min-bo or chogak bo were “patchwork” bojagi made by commoners. In contrast with the royal [wrapping cloths], which were not patchwork, these cloths were created from small segments (“chogak”) of fabric from other sewing, such as those left over from cutting the curves in traditional hanbok clothing. Both symmetrical ‘regular’ and random-seeming ‘irregular’ patterned cloths were sewn, with styles presumably selected by an individual woman’s aesthetic tastes.”

Seoul QM_hanbok1

This exhibit was also shown at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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This is what we saw when we entered, and immediately I leaned over for a closer look.

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All these contemporary bojagi were made by local artists, demonstrating the concept of pieced cloth.  They appear to be all sorts of organdy, printed organza and perhaps some chiffon here and there?  I said to Dave that they must have gone shopping at Dongdaemun to get this range of cloth.  I don’t think I could find this many kinds of sheer cloth in this range of colors here in the States.

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I also think their jeogori (or the little top with sleeves) is longer on the artists’ interpretations, than in the traditional versions.  I like the bit longer one better.

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Silks?

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This is the more traditional woman’s hanbok with the long bib-front.  I think this is the perfect outfit for the mature woman (forget Kimono, which show everything!).

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Men’s hanbok.

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I liked the juxtaposition of the new and the old back to back.  On the wall behind the blue hanbok is a diagram/display of types of sleeves on the jeogori:

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The woman’s outfit also has an underskirt, an overskirt that in the past was nothing more than a gathered length of cloth on a band which was tied tightly above the bust   But now there are straps to keep it from falling down (all this is from Jeehye, who as very patient with my questions).

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Men’s, with close-up of the embroidered panel.  Most of these photos were taken by my patient and understanding husband, while I chatted.

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ESE and assisCurator

Jeehye and I, in front of Porcella’s quilt.

Folkwear Hanbok

I did some research and found that many would-be-sewers of hanbok used this Folkwear pattern as a basis for their costume.  Tempting, but how will I finish all those UFO quilts hanging around on my guest bed, if I attempt this?  I do have a modern-day Seoul fashion story for you, though.  It’s about a purse just meant for quilters.

While we were in Tokyo or Seoul (can’t remember which) I saw this geometric purse, carried by a woman my age.  Her daughter was with her (and she spoke English), so told me it was a bag by her mother’s favorite designer, but I couldn’t understand what she said. (This happened a lot.)

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The last night, we were over by the Shinsegue Department Store to look at their lights, and as we were wandering through the store, I stopped in my tracks: The Purse!  And of course, it was by Issey Miyake (slaps head).

The way it draped and moved, was beyond amazing.  So was the price tag.  I snuck a few photos (asked permission, finally, and the sales clerk said it was okay), and snapped a few more.  Sigh.

Seoul purse1

Fast forward a few days, when I was talking to my sister, who is totally with it in fashion, unlike me.  “Oh,” she said.  “That’s been around so long there are knock-offs.”  Cue up Amazon, type in BaoBao, and after a few mouse clicks and a couple of days, the aqua knock-off arrived in my kitchen.

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I plan on bringing it to all the Quilt Shows, as it is definitely a purse for quilters: very cool, very light and holds a lot.

So, no hanbok for me, but yes! to a geometric purse and yes! to bojagi patchwork.

Now it’s back to those UFOs on the guest bed.  Oh, and maybe get ready for Christmas!

Tiny Tree and Teeny Trees

Tiny Trees

I’m decorating for Christmas and wanted to change out my Tiny Quilt from Autumn to Christmas, but then got wondering how a teeny-weeny quilt would look, so got busy.  These little quilts fit onto plastic picture frames:

I have two free patterns for you here, but please remember the drill: Don’t print off umpteen for your next class, or guild meeting swap or your mother.  Please send them here to get their own pattern.

The teeny tree (4×6″) pattern is in this downloadable PDF file:Teeny Christmas Tree quilt

The tiny tree (8×10″) pattern is in this downloadable PDF file:Tiny Christmas tree quilt

As you can see from the samples I made up, I play fast and loose with some of the placement of pieces, really using them more as a guideline for cutting, than anything else (although I did cut out the tree exactly).

Tiny Tree_1

Cut out all the pieces for the pattern you’ve chosen.  As I noted above, sometimes I used the pattern (shown here before I added the labels) as sort of a general guidelines.  You need an accurate tree, and a nice straight edge where you’ll sew it to the tree (the diagonal line in the photo, above).Tiny Tree_2

I sewed the “sky” pieces to the sides of the trunks then trimmed the edge that would attach to the tree.  More detailed tutorial is also on my OTHER Christmas Tree block tutorial, which is sized somewhere in between these two tree sizes. (I should open up a Christmas Tree lot with all these patterns.)Tiny Tree_3

Sew the “right” side onto the tree.  Make sure you keep the marked top triangle point pointing upwards.

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Trim any stray areas (above), then add the other side.

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Straighten out the bottom of the tree assembly.  Center, then sew on the tree-trunk unit, pressing seam towards tree (so it looks like the trunk is under the tree).Tiny Tree_6a

Now to add the snowdrifts on the little tree.  On the left, I sort of place that wedge-shaped piece, determine the angle but flipping it up and down (on the right).  When I have the angle I like, flip it back up so right sides are together, and stitch along the upper edge.  Trim.Tiny Tree_6b

Repeat for lower snowdrift.  Trim excess.

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For the bigger tree, I added on 2″ strips to frame the tree.  It needed something to jazz it up, so I got rid of the bottom strip on the pattern and just used strips all around.Tiny Tree_7a

Layer with batting and backing and quilt.  I did a meander in the sky area around the trees, then some straight lines in the snowdrift on the teeny tree, and some straight lines in the frame around the bigger tree:

Tiny Tree_8a

I also quilted some swirls in the center of the tree.Tiny Tree_8b

Time to trim.  The teeny trees trim to 4-3/4″ by 6-1/2″ and the larger tree is trimmed to 8-3/4″ by 10-1/2.”

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Make a sleeve for the back by cutting a piece the same size as the quilt top, but then hem the lower edge, turning it up twice and top-stitching.  I know it’s hard to see in this print, but again, feel free to check out the other tutorials of tiny quilts.Tiny Tree_10a

I brought out my Blythe doll and one of my husband’s nutcrackers to pose by the quilts.

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Looks like Blythe has the hots for the Santa skier. And here I thought she’d go for the more traditional guy:

Blythe and King

He does look a little formal.  Hmmm.  Evidently not her type.

Okay, that’s enough–I’m off to sew!

(Buttons added!)