Crazy Cushion Class

If you could scroll down for just a second and locate on the right blog sidebar where there is a link to a video titled Create. This was taken from a talk from one of the leaders of my church, and if you are not a religious type, then substitute in your version of God for what Elder Uchtdorf says.  I watch it everyone once in a while to remind me that what I do is more than stitching, or cutting up pretty cloth.  Being creative is my connection to — and a conduit for — the divine.

Crazy Cushion Class_6a

I had an inkling of the power of a lot of creative women, when I attended Becky McDaniel’s class for her Crazy Cushion pattern.  Yes, there was fatigue and frustration, but there was also a spirit of wanting to create (above, watching a demo).

Crazy Cushion Class_6b

My workspace.  I had a nice visit with the two quilters at my table, Sandie and Marie (absent), and was totally impressed with the women in the Nite Owl Guild.

Crazy Cushion Class_7

Becky was energetic, funny and taught some new skills: like working with a light table while paper piecing, and we all promptly handed over our cash to buy her cool flat light table, while stories swirled around about the light tables we had at home.

Crazy Cushion Class_8

Yeah, we weren’t in this room, but the ping-pong table was.  The class was held in the Senior Center for a nearby town and was a great place to have a workshop.  Below, Becky’s table of supplies.

Crazy Cushion Class_9Crazy Cushion Class_10

Even though I had all my sections pre-pieced, at this point I felt like I’d run a marathon, just getting that welting stitched in between the flying geese band and the cushion top/back.  The band includes a handle for carrying (seen serpentining in the photo above).

Crazy Cushion Class_10a

More than one use for those binding clips.

Crazy Cushion Class_11

Because of all my sewing beforehand, I was able to finish my cushion.  Above, the photo with Becky McDaniels.

Crazy Cushion Class_11aCrazy Cushion Class_11b

I posed my cushion with hers (the larger of each).  Mine measures 14″ x 2″ and hers is 16″ x 3.”  If you decided to take this class, do your homework beforehand, if you have done paper-piecing before, so you can have a finish, too.

Crazy Cushion Class_12

And then outside in their gardens, before leaving.

Crazy Cushion Class_12aCrazy Cushion Class_12c

Now I’ll have something to sit on when I go to workshops!

  • The pattern can be found on her website, along with more information.
  • Kaffe Fasset fabrics recently purchased at Blue Bird Quilt Shop, near me, including that cool stripe.
  • I use transluscent vellum paper by Neenan for my paper piecing because I can see through it and it rips off easily.  I purchased a ream about 10 years ago from Kelly Paper, and it cost way more than I wanted, but hey–10 years use?  Not bad.

Guild Visit, and a little stitching for NASA’s JPL Mars

Parachute 1.png

Just to show you that every stitch counts, NASA has been testing a parachute to help with their Mars missions.

Parachute 3.pngParachute 2.png

I love that the announcer mentions “miles and miles of thread” and “over three million stitches” in the video; he’s speaking my language.

Valley Modern Quilt Guild

I’ll be speaking more of that language when I visit the Valley Modern Quilt Guild on Monday, October 29th, with a workshop to follow on Saturday, November 3rd. The Guild talk begins at 7:00 p.m. at High Tech High School (Van Nuys) and the Workshop (see photos below) is held from 10-4 at Calabasas High School (Calabasas). Looking forward to meeting new quilty folks and enjoying the creative mojo of their guild!

Crossroads_1Betty Crocker Qlting_4

Prepping my Crazy Cushion Class

Crazy Cushion Class_1

When I was visiting the South Bay Quilters, they had one class in their line-up which intrigued me: Becky McDaniels’ Crazy Cushions class.

Covet.

I found a guild closer to me offering it, and the class is this coming Saturday.

Crazy Cushion Class_2

But since I am not a quick foundation paper piecer, I knew I should get some done before the class.

Vellum Paper 2.jpg

This is what I use–it’s made by Neenah Paper.

Vellum Paper.jpg

I use a vellum paper, purchased at Kelly Paper, for my paper-piecing.  I can see through it, and it’s crisp, so it tears off easily. I know the price looks high, but there are 500 sheets in there, and the last ream I purchased lasted me almost 10 years.  If you go to order it online, use the number by the manager’s finger.

Crazy Cushion Class_3

Once side of the cushion is Pineapple, and the other is called Star Jasmine.  And then there are a lot of flying geese for the cushion sides.

Crazy Cushion Class_4

We’ve also been movingmovingmoving stuff around upstairs and my quilting machine has a new place to live for a while, until I can figure out how I want to configure my sewing room.

I remember corresponding with another quilter and when I told her my sewing room was about 9 feet by 10 feet, she wondered how I could ever sew in such a tiny space.  Well…it’s what I have.  I will confess to having spilled over into the guest room, where that Sweet Sixteen is currently residing.

Garage for RV.png

My daughter just built an RV garage onto their existing three-car garage, and I wouldn’t mind taking over that space, but she lives several hours from me, so (sadly) not feasible.  Besides I’d have to share it with their vehicles.  I guess I’m thrilled to have a room dedicated to my own messes, my own stuff, so it never occurred to me that my room was too small.

Works for me.  Now I’m off to sew about a bazillion tiny flying geese and sew them into strips.

It’s Fall–Time for a Christmas Frivols (#10 is finished!)

Fall Food Pumpkin Spice

What does fall mean?

It’s fall, when — if you live in the Northern States — leaves turn colors and fall off the trees.  Here in Southern California we know it’s fall because all the pumpkin spice food shows up in grocery stores, even though the temps are still in the 80s.

Carrot Cauliflower Soup

We pretend it’s fall, and serve fall-colored food, like this Carrot Cauliflower Soup, and we’ve gotten out the fall-colored placemat and napkins, and you can bet there are pumpkins on my table.

Frivols 10_10d

And if you answered “Christmas!!” in response to the prompt, you — unfortunately — are also correct.  So to take photographs of Frivols #10 finish, done up in a Sweetwater Christmasy line of fabrics, I headed to Costco for the photo shoot.  I’m calling it Christmas Corner, because all those quarter log-cabin shapes remind me of street corners.

Here are the finishing up photos for this little quilt, finishing at 32″ by 36″: arranging the quarter-log cabin square, pinning, then quilting it.  I didn’t have any red fabric for the binding, but in my Christmas bin, found a piece of an earlier Sweetwater Christmas line, and yes–it works quite well.

Frivols 10_10

So I’m tucking and arranging, and a woman comes by and says “They sell quilts at Costco?”  Turns out she’s a quilter (takes one to find one in Costco) and she agreed to hold up the quilt for me next to the ribbons and bows.  I never did find out her name, but we had a great chat about quilting groups, how beginners would be more successful choosing simple quilt designs, the advantages of working with a complete line of fabric in quilts.  It was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had in that giant warehouse store.

Here are couple other photos:
Frivols 10_10bFrivols 10_10cFrivols 10_10f

Almost looks as if the snowmen are helping me.  Interestingly enough, aside from the quilter, nobody else thought it was weird that I was taking photos of a quilt…or at least they didn’t say anything. Here are some photos of the quilt in my garden:

I especially like the look of the stack on that last one.

Frivols_all_10Xs
Ten done — two to go — so onto Frivols #11!

FrivolsButton

Starry Sky Mug Rug

Starry MugRug_4Starry MugRug_3

This summer, my niece Abby, let me have one of her hand-thrown mugs, of which I was thrilled to get (I love hot chocolate).  I meant to send her a little quilted mug rug in return, but that project seemed to get stalled for one reason or another.  But last week, I decided not one more thing would be done until I finished it and sent it off.  (Sometimes you just have to give yourself a little talk.)

I used the Starry Sky block pattern, by Kylie Kelsheimer (a downloadable pattern from Craftsy).  In this new version of her pattern, she has three sizes, and the 6″ size is perfect for a mug rug.

Starry MugRug_1Starry MugRug_2

My niece likes to go hiking, and lives up in the Northwest, so I used colors of purple mountains, green hills and aqua-and-blue waters.  I bound it in navy.

Starry MugRug_5

I used an agate-stone looking print for the back, one of my favorites lurking in my stash.

It took me a couple of hours from start to finish.  It’s a paper-pieced pattern, so all the star points are sharp and it goes together easily.  I kept a photo of the block near me when putting the pieces together, to keep myself straight.

Screen Shot 2018-10-05 at 8.21.21 PM.png

I listened to the latest Bruno, Chief of  Police book, The Resistance Man, and that kept me going.  Then I ran it to the Post Office, and off it went.  I hope Abby likes it.

Sept18_Simone_Gridsters.jpg

A couple of days before I’d made Simone’s blocks for the Gridsters Bee, a wee bit late, but she forgave me.

Oct18_Joan_Gridsters.jpg

And then I got right on October’s blocks for Joan, for the Gridsters Bee.  She asked for a black-and-white New York Beauty block, with a touch of solid color.  Hope she likes these.

Irish Women Sewing.jpg

I liked this old photograph of women sewing, found on the website for the National Gallery of Ireland, reminding me of my travels (I’m finally over the jetlag).

Perfection vs Good.png

Here’s your reminder: the perfect is the enemy of the good, Stephan Pastis style.  As some long-time readers know, I believe in this quote and used to keep it on my syllabi when I was a teacher.  Sometimes it’s good to just be *good,* and not strive for perfection.  Hope that idea helps you “lead a sane and balanced life.”

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Berlin)

As I mentioned in the last post, this is a visual sampling of some of the patterned surfaces and interesting places that caught my eye while in Berlin, not an exhaustive travel write-up.

Berlin Brandenburg Gate

The first full day was the Berlin Marathon, with 40,000 runners and a record-beating time.  Because of this, we had more access to the Gate and enjoyed seeing it all lit up.

Berlin Brandernberger Tor Station

Underground stop for the Brandenburger Gate

Berlin Frau Tulpe_1

I made my way to the former East Berlin, where Frau Tulpe’s shop was located, and ended up buying some fabrics of her own design.Berlin Frau Tulpe_2Berlin Frau Tulpe_2aBerlin Frau Tulpe_2b

It was a fun place with lots to look at.

Berlin Handwerker

A lot of times I’d go to look at a sight the guidebook suggested, then wander off course and find interesting places like this: the Berlin Craftsman Association building, with wonderful light coming in through that back double door:

Berlin Handwerker2

You can hear the Singing Lesson in this IG video clip.

Berlin curvy building

This was seen on one of my many bus rides.  I’d climb up to the top level of the bus, try to sit in the front and have my own private tour.

Berlin Hotel Chocolate Hour

Every day at 4 p.m., the hotel would put out treats for “Chocolate Hour.”  I could see this happening at a quilt retreat, although we’d need a lot more.

Berlin Wall_2

There were two main locations to see the Berlin Wall, and this one had paintings on one side.  I had two favorites.  This one showed the crush of ecstatic East Berliners, finally allowed to cross through their oppressive borders.  I can recommend the book, Forty Autumns, if you want a taste of this (previously recommended).

Berlin Wall 1

And I like these women, who reminded me of women from the turn of the century.

Berlin Karstadt_1

While in Frau Tulpe’s, someone recommended this store, Karstadt, which called for another bus ride.Berlin Karstadt_2Berlin Karstadt_2aBerlin Karstadt_2b

Couldn’t believe that I was seeing Free Spirit, and at a bargain price! (about 8 bucks a yard)Berlin Karstadt_3Berlin Laundry

Everybody needs a wash day while traveling, and I brought my stitching along.

Berlin Idee

Another place we saw fabric was at idee.  This one was next door to KaDeWe, a big, fancy department store, but I also saw idee. at the Mall of Berlin, next to the two-story slide.Berlin Idee_1Berlin Reichstag

Climbing up the Reichstag Dome presented so many interesting shapes and patterns, all with a view.

Berlischer Galerie

This building reminded me of a quilt pattern.  It was across from the entrance to the Berlinischer Galerie (yellow tiles). It had several wonderful exhibits.

Berlin museum floor_2a

Grill (above) and floor tiles (below) from the Neues Museum, which housed antiquities.

Berlin museum floor_3Berlin museum floor_4

The Bode Museum had room after room of red-and-white patterned floor tiles.  I’m sure the guards thought I was a little bit dotty when surrounded by beautiful art, I was snapping photos of their floors.

Berlin Dome Photo Mus

My husband is always photographing the interior of domes (above); I followed his example in the Old National Gallery (below):

Berlin Old Natl Gallery.jpg

Evelinde_1

But one of the most fun days I had was meeting up with Evelinde, and going to lunch and seeing one of her local quilt shops.  We met on Instagram, and I was so blown away by her being willing to meet up with a stranger and spend some time out of her busy schedule.  She’s so lovely, and shared stories with me, answering so many questions.  While there are many negatives to social media, meeting quilters halfway across the world, or the states, is one of the positives, for me.

Evelinde_2

We did Show and Tell in the restaurant; this is only one of her many fabulous pieces.  I only had the pathetic little screen on my phone.  She is inspiring!

Evelinde Fabric Shop1

She took me here, to Hobby and Handarbeiten (Handicrafts).

I rarely buy fabric overseas anymore, but I always like to look and see.  I loved the embroidery floss–mine is always in bins and tangled up, and was generally impressed with the range of fabrics they carried.

Berlin Sweet KaDeWe

Since we try to travel cheaply, I purchased my husband’s breakfast (for the next day) when I was out and about, and I thought you’d like to see what I had to choose from.  I also supplemented with yogurt and juice and fruit from the local grocery store.  And we ate great meals at night, mostly from small places near our hotel:

Berlin Doner

Doner, from Berlin

Berlin Babelplatz

Lastly, I leave you with the sight of this beautiful plaza, Babelplatz.  The caption is found on the Instagram video. Click to see my farewell to this great city.