Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Happy New Year 2019

That saying in the title is Welsh for Happy New Year, and one custom is that the children in old Welsh villages would “rush around the village visiting as many houses as possible to collect sweets and money. The visits had to be made before midday, so it was often a race against the clock!”  The gifts were called calennig, and often referred to a skewered apple that the children would carry around.

I have no gifts for you, other than myself.  But then you aren’t rushing around knocking on my door, either.

I have some new readers, and thought I’d re-introduce myself at this time of Happy Old Year Ending • Happy New Year.  (I first learned to say Happy Old Year ending from a well-traveled friend, who said it was from somewhere on the African continent, and although I’ve never been able to corroborate that, I still like the idea of being happy with an ending.)

I’m Elizabeth Eastmond and I am the sole writer of this blog.

 

I first began writing in 2007, sliding quilty posts in amongst my then regular blog, OccasionalPiece, which at this point, is resting (it’s been resting for several years).  The blog name, OccasionalPiece, morphed into OccasionalPiece~Quilt, then I dropped the tilde (~).  When I started trying to find a web address, I shortened it even further to OPQuilt, because who wants to try and spell Occasional or Piece?

Piece originated not in the term “piecing” but from the fact that at the time I started writing online, I was in Graduate School, getting my degree in Creative Writing.  We called our writings “pieces” as in a “short story piece” or “a piece of my novel.”  In my mind it expanded to include my cloth piecings, and any slice of my life–so that’s why you’ll see some travel, some family, current events, cooking, and yes, an occasional piece of writing.  Oh, and art.  We’ve got to have art!

NYC11_18_12c highline

Sculpture on the High Line; the birds perched there, but they are not a part of this piece of art

I keep a listing of my quilts–or as we say in Creative Writing, a catalogue of the body of my work–up above on 100 Quilts, 200 Quilts, and am starting on the 300 Quilts list.  Everything is linked, but not illustrated, and I’m sorry about that.  I would like to have a listing of photos, but that’s in my Someday category.

While it’s traditional on this week to do a year-end round-up of Quilts I’ve Made or lists of Hope I Finish These This Year, and while I love other people’s inventory, this year I found my own lists and write-ups pretty boring (really, can we stand one more look at Frivols?) except, perhaps, for the lovely one below, gifted at a new baby shower:

Deneese baby quilt

Personal stats: I have four lovely and clever children, eleven brilliant and handsome grandchildren, a perfectly amazing and wonderful husband. Our last family photo, since we are scatterered over four states was two years ago, and one was missing even then.  I like the word lovely and use it a lot. I’ve been divorced, remarried, had two major surgeries, a scattering of small ones, but consider myself healthy, and try always to follow my grandmother’s advice to keep my whines to myself, with the caveat that if something interrupts the output of quilting, I might put it up on this blog.  I make mistakes.  I cherish my faith and crave harmony.  I love going to quilt shows.  I like to sing, mostly to the stuff coming in off my playlist.  I am not totally in love with Smart Technology (still having fights with our new Christmas gift: “Siri, why are you singing in the middle of the night?”), but adore my mobile phone and its capabilities. I like to laugh, have a fairly honed capacity for snark, and cry in tender and emotional scenes in movies. In short, I am like you.  I am not like you.  But I hope to count myself as someone who writes something that you’d like to read.

But generally, this blog is about quilts.  Quilting.  Our quilting world.  Things that pertain to it.  It might be about a quilting personality, or quilting commerce.  It is not a newsletter.  It’s my calennig, my gift to you.

Happy Reading.

Happy New Year!

Prepping the Quilts 2018

Road to California Logo

Thank you all for the lovely words of encouragement you wrote in response to my last post.  I’m making my way through them, and will answer them.  However, everything I have done lately…is done lately.

Annularity_May 2018LabeledNorthern Lights Medallion on bench

These two lovelies were juried into Road to California 2019, and so I spent a morning prepping them to head off:

Prepping for Road_1

Now you see the bit of errant blue quilting thread…

Prepping for Road_2

…and now you don’t…Prepping for Road_3

…thanks to these trusty friends.  This is an old quilter’s trick, mentioned in several older books I have.

Names on labels are covered up. I also had to make sure my name and contact information are included on the quilt, and I do that in a label near the hanging sleeve, and that’s covered up, too.

Quilts into a clear plastic bag, into their box, and off to Road to California, not to be seen until January 2019, in the show!

A Few Thoughts on A Year of Making Frivols

My friend Simone asked me what I was going to do now that the Frivols were all finished.  “What do you have planned for 2019?” she asked, oh so sweetly.

Let me review:
Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_7

2011-2014 I worked on my Lollypop Trees quilt.

shinecirclesquilt_frontl
2014-2015 I worked on Shine: The Circles Quilt.

christmas-tree_5halloween-1904_front2016 I did not one, but TWO, Quilt-A-Longs (Halloween and Christmas).
2017 I had shoulder surgery and it seemed to be the year of small quilts.

Northern Lights Medallion_4
2018 was the year of the Frivols, plus the year of working in Painter’s Palette Solids.

And 2019?

It’s time for a bit of introspection and reflection here.

I am feeling a bit bereft because I feel like I have nothing in the pipeline, nothing in the brain for creativity.  I see everyone’s IG feed, their blogs, I go to quilt shows and there’s just no sparking going on. Awol Erizku, a contemporary artist, titled one of his paintings “When You See Too Much, You See Nothing;”  perhaps this is what’s happening here.

And so the “what now?” kind of morphs into “Nobody’s at Home in My Head” in spite of the fact that I have successfully slain the Frivols Tins that have been living rent-free in my closet for two years.  I recognize that this “I-am-a-useless-cretin” thinking often crops up after an extended period of making, of pedal-to-the-metal.

I am happy that I finished my goal of making all those quilts, but really, I am mostly happy that I am finished with Frivols.  It has been a year of learning, a year of exploring different palettes and fabric styles, but mostly, it has been a year of sewing someone else’s creativity and living in some else’s quilty head.  That last part has been the hardest.  I was pretty excited right off the bat to  make these but after about the thousandth HST, or another tin of colored print fabrics to be augmented with a background of white…I had to dig deep to finish up this project.

It’s like when someone wants you to make them a quilt, and you agree, all the while thinking in your head I can do anything but one of those Star Wars panels, and then they show up at your house with Star Wars panels, it’s torture to get that quilt made.  I wonder if this happens sometimes with our UFOs, if all of a sudden our interest or our tastes change, so what was once interesting, is now banal and you just can’t stand to work on it.

Frivols 12_12a

But I’m happy to be finished.  I set a goal, I powered through it, and I appreciate all the cheering from my readers.  You made a difference, as always.

I will donate some of these quilts to the Neonatal Quilt Project in our Guild and to the group that gives quilts to the foster kids who have aged out.  I will gift a few more, and my favorites will live at our house.

Thank you all!

Frivols_all3Frivols_all_12XDONEs

Blue Stars (Frivols #12): All Finished, Completed & Done, and an Encore!

FrivolsButton

Frivols 12_12 front with toys
This is the final Frivols, a table runner for my holiday table, shown here with my wooden toys from Sweden, Copenhagen and Germany.  I’m calling it Blue Stars.  I almost called it Christmas Stars, but what if I want to use it in July? (Just trying to be practical here.)

Frivols 12_7a

I left you in the other post with all the stars and their backgrounds cut out, and tucked away in their little tin.  My first step when I got them back out, was to group them together, stars and backgrounds, making sure I had enough of each part to make the block.

Frivols 12_7b

First up was to make the Flying Geese, then trim them up.  I rarely make geese that aren’t slightly wonky.  I’ve learned to live with this terrible character flaw, as when it is sewn up, no one knows.

Frivols 12_8

(Apologies for the nighttime lighting.)

Frivols 12_8a

Trim it all up to 5 1/2.”

Frivols 12_9

Arrange the stars, obsess.  Decide it’s okay.  Decide to add little strips of color around the outside edge so that some of that extra fabric in the tin is used up.

Frivols 12_9a

Sew together.

Frivols 12_10

I layered the finished runner with some Christmas fabric from the stash, some batting, put on my walking foot, and stitched in the ditch.  At some point I want to come in and do some echo quilting around all the stars, but hey–it’s December and I’ve got Stuff To Do, so that will have to wait.

Frivols 12_12c back

The backing. More beauty shots:

Frivols 12_11 front

Frivols 12_12b

Frivols_all_12XDONEs

Can I just say this again? Here they all are, back again for their encore:

Frivols 2018_1

Frivols #1, Caitlin’s Baby Quilt

Frivols_2_23a

Frivols #2, Windowpane

Frivols 3_1

Frivols #3, Betsy’s Quilt

LifesDilemma_3

Frivols #4, Life’s Dilemma

ChildsPlay_Frivols5_7

Frivols #5, Child’s Play

Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect5

Frivols #6, Practice Makes Perfect

Frivols 7_28 front

Frivols #7, Bread with Every Meal

Frivols 8_7 front

Frivols #8, Baby Bear

Frivols 9 _13

Frivols #9, Walk Around the Block

Frivols 10_11

Frivols #10, Christmas Corner

Frivols 11_12

Frivols #11, Stars of Night, Lend Their Light

Frivols 12_12 front with toys

Frivols #12, Blue Stars

I have some thoughts on this experience (surprise!) in the next post.

Quilt Stand Info

Quilt Display.jpg

Simone recently encouraged me into the quilt-stand/frame-buying business, and since she’d done the bulk of the research, I joined her online (me, at my computer and she, at her computer) to figure out the final decision.  She was in charge of the display for our church’s talent show (above) and asked to have one of my quilts displayed in it.  But I had to have a quilt stand/frame to do so.

Quilt Stand Nov 2018.png

We both purchased the Emart Photo Video Studio Backdrop Stand, with a 10 x 12 ft dimension.  We went for this one because the tubes were a thicker diameter than other ones checked, and we liked the clamps.  (I am not an Amazon affiliate, so no pocket change is coming my way on this recommendation.)

Clamps for Quilt Stand.png

I’m putting these for my husband so he knows the right kind of clamps to get to help out Santa with stocking stuffers.  (Honey, I’d like about four, please.)

I was headed out of town, so I had it shipped to Simone’s house, and she sent me photos of the display.  She’s lovely like that.

Simone and I have a running joke about photos.  Both she and I have asked other people to send us photos of our quilts in different shows we couldn’t be to, and invariably the photos come back like this:

Cropped pix of quilt.JPG

It’s our quilt, but cropped and showing no context of the show it was in.  I always say thank you.  If someone is nice enough to go and hunt up your quilt, and take the time and make the effort to send you a photo, you don’t say anything but “Thank you.”  However, as Simone and I comiserated, we do know what our quilts looks like — we were hoping to see what they looked like in the show.

So when I was standing on the subway platform of the Wall Street Subway station, exhausted after a day of tramping around, feeling rather dour, I burst out laughing when she sent me the above photo, with this caption:

It looks awesome! Don’t you love it?!!!

My daughter was like, “What?  What’s so funny?” and I tried to explain it to her, but I could clearly see she lost interest after the first nanosecond and however do you explain quilter’s jokes to a non-quilter?

So anyway, the quilt stand/frame worked great, and I tried it out:

Quilt Stand

I put it up by myself and took it down by myself, and if you’ve never used a quilt stand, the trick is to set up the legs, then insert the side supports, then thread (or clamp) the quilt onto the cross bar, and only THEN do you raise the cross bar higher by means of the adjustments on the side.

Quilt Stand bag_1

I like that the case has places for the two tripod-legs, and loops for each of the bars (you have four, so you can get that twelve-foot width; I only used three of the four today).  The top really zippers open, so you can lay it out to unpack all the parts.

Quilt Stand bag_2

It’s also fairly lightweight and easy to carry in its own sturdy case. The best news is that it’s a reasonable price: $69.49 as of December 2018.  I do now feel very grown up, with my very own quilt stand.

 

 

Frivols 12

FrivolsButton

Last one!! Last one!!

This is my last introduction to the series of small-tins-with-fabrics, called Frivols.  Although the other day, one of my non-sewing friends asked me how my Frizzles were doing.  I think she was about right. The little freebie with this tin is a couple of fabric quilt labels, seen in the lower center with the sleigh.

This is a line of blue-toned traditional fabric by Edyta Sitar, before she left the Moda hive and jumped over to Andover.  This design doesn’t call for any extra background fabrics, and makes a smallish table runner, 15″ by 35.”  More can be seen on the Moda blog.  They manufactured these tins about two years ago, but I have it on good authority that if you are resourceful, you can find them on Etsy, Ebay and other places.

Frivols 12_4

This fabric line, Blue Barn, is beautiful, and can easily blend into my holiday decor, since it’s December.  I’ve always loved blue with Christmas decorations.Frivols 12_5

I cut up all the stars and their backgrounds, labeling each stack…

Frivols 12_6

…and tucked them in their own tin until I could get to the sewing.

Frivols 12_7

The one disappointment in this tin was how much fabric I had leftover/wasted.  I’ll have to see if I can augment the design some way to use up what I can of these extra scraps.

Okay, we’re launched!  Get out your last Frivols tin and get cutting!