Inland Empire Quilters Quild

EPP Workshop.jpgInland Empire Workshop Group

The classroom behind me was abuzz as I set up my Shine quilt on its frame.  I turned around to see that the room had filled up with women from the Inland Empire Quilters Guild, who had come to take my class on English Paper-Piecing (EPP).  I have many Guild visits coming in the next year, but only one group has chosen EPP.  So I challenged myself to come up with something unusual and interesting that would provide a chance for them to learn a variety of skills.

EPP Picture 2

IQSC Collection: Clyde E. and Joan B. Shorey Collection IQSC Object Number: 2006.056.0012

First I gave them a brief history of EPP, showing them quilt pictures from the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE.

EPP Picture 1

International Quilt Study Center, 2006.043.0143, Ardis and Robert James Collection

The International Quilt Museum calls these types of quilts “mosaic” patchwork quilts, and they write: “The earliest examples of mosaic patchwork, from 1700s England, were typically made from lighter-colored silks. Later, during the third quarter of the 1800s, dark-colored silks predominated. Their availability, and the paper-piecing technique, spread widely throughout the United States.”

The three tasks I designed for the Inland Empire Quilters were:

  • baste fabric to hexies and then sew them together
  • learn how to work with paper EPP patterns (batch-cutting, glueing and sewing)
  • work with color and value in creating Spectrum, a circular mini quilt

EPP Workshop_0 hexies

Sue worked diligently on her hexie flower, finishing it up.  Most others shifted off to the mini-mini quilt: a Kansas Sunflower variation, shown at the top of this post.

I was impressed with their designs and the variety of colors they used.

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After lunch, we shifted full gear into working on Spectrum, with collections of Kaffe Fasset fabrics being displayed on tables everywhere.  I was most impressed with the generosity of these women, who shared different colors with each other, helping their fellow quilters get all the hues they needed.

At the end of class, Carol went down to the car and brought up this old EPP quilt, with the papers still in it.  We pulled out a few stitches, removed a few papers and decided it was from the 1930s as the papers were really postcards from a Chicago hotel.  What tales this quilt could tell!

Inland Empire Quilt Guild Meeting_2Monday night, I returned to present a program for them, and at the beginning, those who had made progress on their projects held them up for everyone to see.

I snapped photos of some who came up to show me (including Vicki and Terri).  That’s Cynna’s Spectrum color wheel taking shape, above left, and Paula’s Kansas Sunflower (variation) and small hexie quilt below left.  I was very impressed with everyone’s work.

Susan, the Program Chair, was busy at her table, but she and others had worked hard to show their projects for the meeting.  She has arranged a visit by Edyta Sitar next year and was busy taking sign-ups for that workshop to be held in March.  Program Chairs are critical to a Guild’s success, and this Guild has a wide array of interesting presentations for their members.  They also have engaged chairs for Charity, Outreach, and other, but most of those are discussed at their other meeting (they have two per month).  This month was also the kick-off for their Block of the Month, which looks really fun.

Inland Empire Quilt Guild Meeting_1

One of the best sounds ever is the cheery voice of quilters greeting each other, which you can hear in this video.  I had a wonderful time visiting the Inland Empire Quilters Guild.  Thank you for inviting me!

Pass Patchers Quilt Guild

PP Workshop Group

I’m leading off this post about my visit to the Pass Patchers Quilt Guild, with a look at the friendly faces and bright smiles of the talented quilters who were at the workshop today.  I arrived early, but Pam, the Workshop coordinator had beat me there, bringing in irons, cords, lunch, treats, fruit trays, vegetable trays and drinks to keep us supplied while we worked.  But first, let me back up to yesterday morning:PassPatchers_2

Because their regular place in Beaumont was under some renovation, we met in the neighboring town of Yucaipa, but really it was almost to Calimesa, out in the foothills.  After setting up, the stage looked like the photo above.

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I turned the camera outward to show the room where all the Guild Chairmen had set up tables for Workshops, Grab-n-Go, Charity, Membership, among other things.  This is a busy guild, drawing members from the San Gorgonio Pass area, about ninety miles east of Los Angeles.  I was honored to come and speak with them on Wednesday morning.

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I usually bring some stitching when I go to my own Guild meetings, so I was happy to see that Harriet brought her knitting–a woman after my own heart.

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One interesting feature of the meetings is the Historian, who looks up details from history.  This month was Mr. Lincoln and his wife, and the quilts and blocks inspired by this couple.  The Historian, Vivian, even made up a block called Lincoln’s Hat, shown here in red, cream and navy on top of the quilt.

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I took one of the Guild members home after the meeting, and near her house was this colorful fence.  I don’t know how she felt about it, but it was fun seeing these cool colors — a reminder to look for quilt inspiration wherever you are.

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The next morning (Thursday) was the Merrion Square Workshop.  Susan cut out 96 different doors and 96 different houses, and we had a great conversation about recognizing about when fabrics have a conversation with each other, or when it’s time to let them clash a bit, to bring up a strong contrast.

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Amyre took the pattern and designed her own version, just begining (above). I’m impressed how she is making the Merrion Square pattern her own.

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We laid out houses and doors and centers whenever a quilter would get to this stage (this is Sandie’s, but there were others).

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I thought this was clever how Lynette tacked up her first sample on the padded chair across from her, like a mini-design wall.  She also took the pattern and made some changes; it’s fun when a design can inspire others to create.

I made the all workshop members promise to send me photos of their finished quilts; I look forward to seeing them come together.  It was a great day and great fun to spend time with these women of Pass Patchers Guild.  Thank you for inviting me!

Happy August 2019 • This and That

When I looked outside in my garden today, the zucchini plant had wilted from the heat, mirroring how I felt inside.  However, unlike my spectacularly unproductive zucchini plant [we’ve only had ONE], I’ve been pretty productive.  Just not on quilts.

I’ve been working on prepping my upcoming Guild Workshops, getting the kits together (in wax paper bags instead of plastic, given my attempt to cut down on plastic where I can), and cute touches like place cards, so I know whose spot is whose once the class gets going.

Spectrum Pattern Revise

The pattern cover with thumbnails showing the pattern pages and revisions. Now it’s a pretty good guide to EPP.

I also revised a couple of patterns, the first one being Spectrum.  Inland Empire Quilters Guild contacted me for a program for their evening meeting, then they got together a group of women for a workshop who wanted to learn English Paper Piecing.  So I changed some things up in the pattern, added more content, and put it back up for sale up on PayHip.

EPP Spectrum Bag

One thing I made for a sample was this tote bag, splitting the main pattern in half and placing it on either side of the bag.  I wanted to show that a person can do more with a pattern than simply make a quilt.  That version of Spectrum is one of the variations in the pattern (bag pattern not included; I used the one in the October 2019 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting by Kristyne Czepuryk).

Kansas Sunflower Minimini

I also made a mini-mini to show them how to do the basics.  I’ll be passing out this pattern for a Kansas Sunflower block in class, show how to “batch-cut” pieces, glue and prep them.  They can then move on to Spectrum, or stay sewing up their mini-mini.  We’ll also do one hexie flower, because what’s a class in EPP without a hexie flower?

Hexie Flowers July 2018

(We’ll only do one; these are from my Field Flowers quilt.)

Merrion Square Pattern Revise

Another class I have coming up is Merrion Square and Far Away Doors, teaching it for the Pass Patchers Quilt Guild nearby.  For ages, I’d hand out the instruction sheet to Far Away Doors when the class was taught, but adding it to the original Merrion Square pattern was one of the revisions I wanted to make, in order to get all the variations in one place.  I took it offline, revised it, and now it’s back up for sale on PayHip, if you want all three versions in one pattern. [Note:  If you’ve purchased Merrion Square and haven’t received Far Away Doors from me in a workshop, please contact me and I’ll get it out to you.  Proof of purchase is required.]

Of course, all this is made easier by the fact that I’m getting the hang of the three pieces of Affinity Serif software that I purchased last fall: Affinity Photo (replacing Adobe’s Photoshop), Affinity Designer (replacing Illustrator) and Affinity Publisher (instead of InDesign).  I’m getting quicker at each one, knowing where the tools are and how to use them.

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

I also made three batches of low-sugar strawberry jam, after I tasted Laurel’s.  Laurel and her husband grow their own strawberries, but the ones from the market in our neighboring town worked well for us.  To go with it, I made a batch of zucchini bread with cranberries and left out half the flour (!).

My saintly husband declared it just fine, and takes chunks of this incredibly dense bread in his lunch every day.  He makes me look good, even on my very bad days (of fighting asthma), wilting in the heat (like the zucchini plants outside), and trying to get all the guild workshop stuff lined up from here to eternity.  I have to remind myself to take it one Guild and a time, and enjoy the process, which I genuinely do.

I finished The Night Tiger (I can recommend highly) and have started Little Fires Everywhere (so far enjoying it, but don’t give a recommendation until I finish).

I decided I was done waiting to start on this Halloween Banner project.  I layered the panel (if your store doesn’t carry it, it’s available here), quilted it, and cut out the flags.  I cut 1-1/4″ strips of stripey fabric from this line (called Costumer’s Ball by J. Wecker Frisch) cutting it across the stripe and bound the edges of the flags, sewing the strips first to one side of the flag, then the other.  After trimming the bottom edge, I folded it up and glued it all down with my trusty friend, a regular old gluestick.  Then I pressed and folded in the binding on the sides, again using my gluestick to keep it in place.  (Be sure to press after gluing in order to distribute the glue).

gluesticks

Hit those back-to-school sales, people!

I top-stitched down the striped binding, and am now waiting for the fabric to arrive to make the top part so I can get the banners all ready for October 1st.

August Gridsters_2019 trees

Lastly, I finished up August’s bee blocks for the Gridster Bee, using an original pattern designed by my talented beemate Kelley.  She’s getting ready for Christmas early!

I think my holidays are all mixed up, because I’m working on Christmas blocks, Halloween Banners, and my Fourth of July quilt just came back from the longarmer, needing binding.  I hope you are able to keep your days and events and sewing projects straight.  Happy Quilting!

City Streets • Quilt Finish

City Streets_1

Recently my husband and I took my latest quilt, City Streets, out to a small branch library in our town for some photos.  It was a deserted Sunday afternoon, perfect for us to find interesting shadows and backdrops.

City Streets Quilt_1aCity Streets_2City Streets_front

City Streets, 2019
Quilt No. 224, 47″ square

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I made this with a fat quarter stack of Vanessa Christensen’s ombre confetti dots: I wanted to see if it was possible for me to work with one line of fabric.  I almost made it, but pulled in some white grunge and a solid to offset the colorful squares.  I quilted it on my Handquilter Sweet 16 using Art Studio Color 101, which looks like gold, but it’s not a metallic thread.  I did the background using So Fine color 401, which is a white, but not stark white hue.  I only mention these details because our last guild meeting had a speaker who emphasized this point: we should tell people what thread  and fabric we quilt with.

City Streets_5City Streets_back

The back, and the label:

City Streets_labelGinza Scramble

Maybe my original design was inspired by this scramble intersection in the Ginza area of Tokyo, or by this view of Tokyo from the Government Building (below)?

Tokyo SkylineCity Streets_4

Thanks to my ever-supportive husband for holding quilts, and helping find great locations for photography. Pattern coming soon.

Mending

I’ve had mending on my mind and wanted to write about all forms of mending, but hadn’t been able to find a way in until I saw this:

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“The Opposite of Hate is Mending,” by Kate Sekules

Mending 2a

I’m a long-time mender.  I recently fixed a favorite purse for my mother, replacing the torn pocket with some vivid yellow lining.  I stitched up a few other ripped places, re-glued the lining into the frame and sent it back to her; she was pleased as punch to have her little purse back in working order.

ChristAdulteress_0I always look for handsewing in pieces of art, and found it in this image by David Habben, in a recent art exhibit in Salt Lake City.  It depicts Jesus and the adulteress with her angry mob of accusers.  The clenched fists with rocks, the tortured shapes, and the vile expressions in the background convey the tension in this well-known scene.

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In the foreground, Christ kneels and writes on the ground, this thread looping around his other hand.  This puzzled me, as I knew it wasn’t in the original story.

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I found gold stitching in areas of the woman’s veil, clues to my small mystery.  My sister, viewing this with me, provided the connection: calmly drawing in the dust with his finger, the accusers slinking away after his measured rejoinder, Christ was mending.  The accused woman may have stitched her clothing, but now He would mend her soul.

A mended surface can carry a scar.  In the case of boro, or of artful kintsugi, we appreciate the addition.  But more often that not, we humans don’t want imperfections, or wrinkles, or sadness, death, old age, or any evidence of a rent place.  We want happy.  We want life to go on with daisies and sunshine and lollipops: no fights or bad diagnoses or mistakes that reverberate for generations.

For years I’ve taken comfort in Eugene O’Neill’s line: “Man is born broken.  He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.”  Are we broken? Certainly we only have to the watch unbelievable tragedies of this past weekend trickle in a headline at a time on our screens, to know that broken and torn places are piling up somewhere in a onslaught of rage.  I turned away from the yet-again, awful headlines, not knowing what to do.

I take comfort in O’Neill’s wisdom, and Christ’s golden thread.   Rather than join the fury, I can fix a torn pocket, a broken heart, work through a quarrel, listen to someone who is trying to heal a shattered life. Whether at the epicenter of the current bad news or in our own homes, we can do our part to draw together the gaping edges, mending them with careful, even stitches.