Plitvice • Quilt Finish

Plitvice Quilt_6 with poppies

Plitvice
Quilt #218 • 76 1/2″ square

Plitvice Quilt_1 full

After four years, I finally finished up the quilt of multiple pieced hexagons.  Yes, every seam on that top is hand-stitched. I’ve had many posts about this, but here’s its final and complete post: it is done!

Plitvice Quilt_2 back

Back of the quilt, using an Andover Fabrics wideback fabric. No piecing, no fussing around.  This was so slick–just buy the three yards and send it off to the quilter, Darby of Quilted Squid, who did a great job.

Plitvice Quilt_3 labelPlitvice Quilt_4 OPquilt

About that edge binding: it was supposed to be a faced binding, tucked behind the quilt, but once I saw it on the edge, that was the missing piece that fell into place for me.  I wasn’t quite sure I liked this pile of English paper-piecing, until I saw that.  But I stab-stitched the facing in perle cotton all the way around, to get that nice tight, bound edge look.  That’s why it’s so large on the back–I didn’t want to cut down the width of my facing, so I went with it.

Plitvice Quilt_5 detailPlitvice Quilt_5aPlitvice Quilt_7 on poppies

And if you’ve been reading my Instagram account, you know we are poppy-crazy out here with our California Superbloom, so we took the quilt on one of our poppy-hunting treks to get the two photos you see in this post.

Plitvice Words on Label

 

Plitvice_1

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

You can use the tags on this post (click on them) to search for other entries of this quilt, if more information is needed.  Many thanks to Katja Marek for starting us on the Millefiore road.

 

Making, Not Knowing

I was intrigued by the phrase Making, Not Knowing, when I read about the artist Ann Hamilton recently on the website BrainPickings, and learned of her essay with that title, adapted from her 2005 commencement address at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She writes:

One doesn’t arrive — in words or in art — by necessarily knowing where one is going. In every work of art something appears that does not previously exist, and so, by default, you work from what you know to what you don’t know….You have to be open to all possibilities and to all routes — circuitous or otherwise.

Book Stash.jpg

But, she cautions, “Not knowing isn’t ignorance.”  It is a manifestation of a “willingness to trust, leaving knowing in suspension, trusting in possibility without result” much like pulling a stack of fabrics from our stash to make our next quilt is the epitomy of “knowing in suspension.”  Who knows how these colors will work? Sometimes we try to circumvent this process of Not Knowing, by following a pattern, using the fabrics that the designer specifies, ordering wads of fabrics we may not ever use in future quilts.  I am not opposed to this, as you know. But then this becomes more about checking off the boxes, and that idea of Making, Not Knowing is cut short, because I do know what it will be.

Sometimes I think we are hampered, as Maria Popova of BrainPickings notes, by social media: “In our own culture, obsessed with celebrity and panicked for instant approval, what begins as creative work too often ends up as flotsam on the stream of ego-gratification — the countless counterfeit crowns that come in the form of retweets and likes and best-seller lists, unmoored from any real measure of artistic value and longevity.”  Our eyes can glaze over from countless IG posts, or blogs (not this one, of course) and we forget what our real task is: a life of making.

Fabric Stash.jpg

“A life of making isn’t a series of shows, or projects, or productions, or things; it is an everyday practice.  It is a practice of questions more than of answers, of waiting to find what you need more often than knowing what you need to do….Our culture has beheld with suspicion unproductive time, things not utilitarian, and daydreaming in general, but we live in a time when it is especially challenging to articulate the importance of experiences that don’t produce anything obvious, aren’t easily quantifiable, resist measurement, aren’t easily named, are categorically in-between.” (Hamilton)

Finally, Hamilton notes:

“Every act of making matters. How we make matters. I like to remember, and remark with regularity, that the word “making” occupies seventeen pages in the Oxford English Dictionary, so there are multiple possibilities for a lifetime of making: make a cup, a conversation, a building, an institution, make memory, make peace, make a poem, a song, a drawing, a play; make a metaphor that changes, enlarges, or inverts the way we understand or see something. Make something to change your mind — acts that amplify.”

Fabric Stack_food.jpg

While this sounds like an improv challenge, I don’t work that way.  After many years of quilting, I know what makes me happiest, and my style is my sandbox, the edge of my picture frame.  But in cleaning out my sewing room yesterday, I found little bags of cut pieces of fabric — obviously even though I had an idea, it was the process of Making, Not Knowing which yielded discarded shapes, fabrics, designs, steps on the way to my art.

Basket Blocks.jpg

So, get into your sewing room, your studio, or drag cartons out from under the bed, whatever, and pull out fabrics.  Sketch out a new pattern, go for a walk, go for a walk through a museum, capture what you see and let the making flow from your mind and your hands, even though you don’t yet know what it will be.

Plitvice_1.jpg

Be open to all possibilities.

Field Flowers • Top Finished

Field Flowers_1

Field Flowers (quilt top only)
69″ wide by 74 1/2″ tall

I took it out in the backyard for some photos, easily done with my new quilt stand.  It’s very satisfying to look at this, noticing scraps of fabric here and there that remind me of different quilts and times.

Field Flowers_4

The pattern is Flowers for Emma, by Sherri McConnell, and like a true A Quilting Life pattern, it’s easy to follow and a lovely design. [You can also buy it at Fat Quarter Shop.]  I’ve already tucked the completed quilt top away in the closet, awaiting its quilting (at some time in the future).  I added a couple of extra rows and a couple of hexie blocks to lengthen out each row, wanting it a bit bigger. Field Flowers_start.jpg

Here’s where I started, a year ago on April 25, 2018.  Nice to be at the “finished top” stage.

Riverside Flowers_1

I’m calling this Field Flowers, as each petal of my hexie flowers is small, and contains  visual treasures, like this vista of wildflowers in bloom on the hills around our city.

These are all closeups of small flowers at my feet: pops of color that delight.  So instead of a “Field of Flowers,” I chose “Field Flowers,” a different connotation entirely.

tiny-nine-patches

Field Flowers_being photo'ed

Backstage, after the fans have gone home.

tiny-nine-patches

Supermoon.jpg

The spring equinox supermoon is tonight. Don’t forget to look!
(You can also see it tomorrow night, too.)

 

Temperature Quilt, Etc.

Temperature Quilt_11

I’m making progress on my temperature quilt.  I don’t attach the months together until they are complete, so what’s shown is only January and February.  In my garden.  Of course.

Temperature Quilt_12

The Los Angeles Times published the unique factoid that our past February was the coldest it had been in 113 years.  I was remembering back to last year when we had a high of 84.  We get cranky in Southern California when it is that hot, that early in the year.  So we’re all loving this year, of course.

Wunderground, which is owned by Weather.com, has changed up my easy-access for looking up past weather.  So, after some searching, I found the Time and Date had the information I needed.  Their information for March for my area is not presented in a neat little calendar, but in a scrolling graph.  It works for me, though.  (Don’t know why Wunderground changed everything–now it only gives forecasts, not history, and yes, I sent them an email.)

Temperature Gauge for quilt

I finished my “Temperature Gauge” block, to go on the back of the quilt.  We had hail (!) the other day, and I wished I had some sort of indicator for that.  But my choice is to keep it simple.

Bee Happy Week 2

I finished Week One’s blocks of the ancient-history Bee Happy Sewalong Quilt, or as I call it, Being Trapped in the Dungeon of Cute.

Sew Sassy threads.jpg

I used Sew Sassy Threads on the detail stitching on the Flower Pot.  It’s a thicker thread, made by Superior Threads, and it sews really easily.  Sometimes on thicker threads I like to use sashiko needles, but I this time used a regular needle with a slightly larger eye and it worked just fine.Bee Happy March 2019

Here they all are together, and yes, they are cute!  Leisa made me promise that there was no deadline for getting this done (we are doing this in tandem), so I’m taking it slowly.  It’s a good project for me to have as I like to have handwork at night to do while I watch Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up episodes.  I live in dread that she is going to ring my doorbell and make me pile up all my fabric on my bed, then make me give away all that doesn’t spark joy, saying thank you to each fat quarter that doesn’t make my heart sing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  

Dublin and Fish and Chips

I leave you with this image of my husband standing out front of a genuine Fish and Chips shop in Dublin, Ireland, when we visited last September.


May your heart sing everytime you touch fabric.

Dublin Fabric Shop

This was right across the street from the Fish & Chips place.

 

 

Home-Keeping Hearts

Home-keeping Hearts

Home-keeping Hearts, top only
44 1/2″ wide x 51″ tall

I finished my most recent Merrion Square variation, a grouping of houses made by friends and Gridster beemates, plus a few more from my own workshop.  This would be a terrific signature quilt for an out-going president, or a friend who is moving away, with everyone signing their names on the doors.

I call it Home-keeping Hearts, taken from a verse by Longfellow:

Stay, stay at home, my heart and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Merrion Square Pattern_opquilt_illustration

To make this quilt, use the basic home unit from my Merrion Square pattern.  I originally had all my beemates put the lower sidewalks/treetrunks piece on, but when I was assembling them, I could see that only the lower row needed them, so I removed the others.

I originally tried out some dark 4″ borders, you know–to frame the piece, but when I held up the yellow-green floral from Kaffe Fassett, it just seemed to be the whimsical field of flowers I needed for my houses.  I did do an inner border of 3/4″ inch, as I love this print (it is in several of the houses I made).

Of course, it’s not finished yet…not quilted or bound.  I’m just about at Week 9 of rotator-cuff recovery, and using my quilting machine is a good three months down the road.  But that gives me lots of time to think about how I’ll quilt it up.  Thanks to all my beemates and friends who made and sent houses.  I think this is the fastest I’ve made up a bee quilt, ever!

tiny-nine-patches

Continuing on:

Design Wall

Somedays it’s fun to just look at my design wall, even though a lot of it is “in-process.”  I put my house blocks up there as they came in from all over the world.

Mind Internet Sign

Saw this recently in my Instagram browsing.

March 2019 Gridster Block

I finished up my Gridster Bee blocks for Marsha.  She’d asked for blocks that resemble a circle of geese, but instead, they meander; the pattern is a free download.  You can find all our blocks on Instagram at #gridsterbee.  We’re going on our third year, and have a wide range of blocks up there, if you need ideas for a Block Lotto, or something fun for your next quilt.

What kept me absorbed throughout all this stitching?  Jane Harper’s novels. I finished up The Lost Man, and can highly recommend it.  I’m in the middle of the The Dry; I’ll let you know how that turns out.