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Perhaps the UCR Science News was looking for something other than Nobel-prize generating stories or research about saving the world from cancer, but I’m happy that the editor liked my quilts, sent to him by my favorite guy (my husband).  The quilts were displayed around University of California’s campus near some of the science buildings (and in the Botannic Garden).  Thank you!

DAR Library.jpg

In other news, we visited the (tiny) exhibit at the DAR museum this past week (their library, above) in Washington, DC.

DAR exhibit sign.jpg

More on the exhibit in another post, but I met three quilters while I was there:

From the top left: Beth, a long-time friend (we always meet together at this particular science meeting of our husbands), Rhonda (who I met when I lived in D.C at the local quilt guild), and Bette (who I met online and since have become good friend with via correspondence and phone calls and occasional meetings). But that’s not all the news.

National Press Club

I spoke at the National Press Club, after I was proclaimed Queen of England.
Full story, below.

Headline Queen Elizabeth

Kidding, of course.  I merely posed, and the other photo is a leather-embossed rendition of a famous headline, one in a row of famous headlines.

Climate Change Protest

We’d done most of the museums in December when we last visited, and I was wondering what to do one day when the Climate Change Activists staged one of their protests right outside my hotel.  I threw on my clothes and went down to watch.  I remember how the police used to break up other protests long ago, with tear gas and heavy-handedness.  This experience was more like a garden party, as slowly, they encircled the boat parked in the middle of 16th and K. While the activists moved on to march around D.C. the police cut the handcuffs and tethers of those who remained, then towed away the boat.  I was quite impressed with the whole experience, both of those who felt strongly about making a statement, and the police officers taking good care of those who they serve.  Another reason why I love D.C.

Okay, I promise more serious quilty stuff soon.  I’m coming home tonight from my niece’s wedding in the Bay Area, hoping to dive into what I’ve left undone while traveling.  Before I left, I did get one quilt to the quilter’s, after auditioning, digitally, many different designs for quilting.

North Country Sept 2019I also cut more pieces to keep going on my North Country Patchwork Quilt, eeking this one out, bit by bit (photo of what I have so far, above).

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I did get caught up with my temperature quilt, which is turning out to be very different colors than what I expected.  I find it’s easier to do a whole month at a time, than piece-mealing it, day by day.

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Lastly, this coming Saturday, October 5th, I’ll be presenting a (mostly) modern quilt program at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild in Riverside, California.  They are a small modern guild, with a whole group of interested, dedicated quilters. Maybe you’ll be there?

Maintain vs. Innovate

I’ve been reading a series of articles by Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel, two academics who have noted that we tend to focus on innovation and ignore maintaining.  Maintain?  Innovate?  When I insert this into the quilting world, some thoughtful parallels arise.

LIghtbulb moment

some images cheerfully swiped from the internet; find them using a Google image search.

First, some background.  In an article on Aeon, Russell and Vinsel observed that our love affair with the new and the untried has obscured our reliance on, and the need for, the “old things,” those items like the electric fan that have been unchanged for a century or more.  And by letting the new obscure our vision of the old, it has also blocked our view of the humans who do “the work that goes into keeping the entire world going….from laundry and trash removal to janitorial work and food preparation.”  And to no one’s surprise, it’s “women — disproportionately — [who do the work] to keep life on track.”  Russell and Vinsel argue that it is time to bring the work of maintainers into clearer focus.

EPP Stitching

When I first heard this interview on the radio, I let it sink to the background while I worked in my sewing room that morning. But something in me wondered if this idea also applies to quilters.  To see it, come at the idea from a different direction:  Say you have nineteen bins of fabric at home, a list of at least twelve quilts to be made from the above-mentioned bins, yet when you are on Instagram and you see the latest quilt that EVERYONE is doing, you click through to get their suggested fat quarter bundle because that is the most awesome thing ever.  Sound familiar?

To borrow Russell and Vinsel’s terminology, I would suggest this is a classic case of quilter Maintenance vs. Innovation.  We don’t want to do the hard work of re-imagining why we stashed that fabric, purchased that pattern in the first place, preferring instead the WOW feeling (and let’s face it: the easiness) of contemplating sewing up something fresh and interesting.

Fabric Stash

I believe in innovation.
I do like the feeling of a few fresh cuts into the fabric with a new pattern by my side.  And full disclosure: I’m not a “sew-from-my-stash” only sort of quilter, believing instead that occasionally everyone’s stash needs a punch up of energy with a few fat quarters of current fabrics with their current color palettes.

Plitvice Quilt_unquilted

I believe in maintenance.
Having recently I’ve slogged through a few really old UFOs I found out that there is happiness and satisfaction in working through those projects, yet often it didn’t come until that last stitch on the last inch of binding.

Tesla Roadster

Some fall into the trap that Elon Musk did recently, when he outlined a tunnel transportation system in Los Angeles demonstrating that he believed “that the best path forward is to scrap existing reality and start over from scratch.”  Yet, as Russell and Vinsel note, “a clean slate is rarely a realistic option.  We need to figure out better ways of preserving, improving and caring for what we have.”  Although tempting, we can’t torch our fabric stash in order to begin fresh and new and wonderful and exciting.

But the mental tussle between finishing up those UFOs vs. buying new fabric perhaps goes deeper, as Russell and Vinsel describe in their article, “Let’s Get Excited about Maintenance,” when they say that often we “fetishize innovation as a kind of art, [which] demeans upkeep as mere drudgery.”

Innovation=Art?  Upkeep=Drudgery?

  • If I’m buying new, I’m making art?
  • Sewing up my old half-finished projects is drudgery?

The answer might be yes to both questions, but it’s more like often or sometimes, but not always.

EPP 4 cutting pieces

We need innovation.  I can’t imagine making a quilt today without my rotary cutter, mat or ruler.  But we also need maintenance to help us keep our lives in balance and on track.  Make that new quilt, buy that new fabric, but don’t think of it as better than pulling out the quilt you started last year.  Likewise, finishing up a painfully old UFO that would have been better donated to the scrap bag isn’t necessarily more noble, either.

Innovate? Maintain?

We need both.

Antelope Valley Quilt Association Visit • September 2019

Antelope ValleyQA

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I drove up to Antelope Valley, nearly two hours away from my home, and joined the ladies at a local church for their monthly meeting (shown here during their break).

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It is in capable hands under their president Kathy (shown on the left), along with their two Program Chairs, Pat and Nette, as they showed off the results of their last workshop: Mondo Bags.

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They had many Show and Share quilts, but I only show a couple.  One exciting thing for their Guild is that a local art gallery will be hosing a show of their work, called 3 Layers.

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This a great opportunity for them to have a challenge and then a place to display those challenges.

The program chairs and guild departments were busy before the meeting and then during the break: the snacks line had both goodies and healthy treats for their members.

AVQA_Friday6

Because the Guild is so far away, they allowed me to stay over a night, so I visited their local quilt shop: Bolts in the Bathtub, picking up a few treasures and chatting with the woman who helped me, allowing me to get a sense of what challenges their community of quilters face.

AVQA Workshop Montage

Saturday, we all started early with the all-day Free Motion Quilting Workshop.  I didn’t grab everyone’s photo, but the missing ones are in the group photo in the lower right.  They were an enthusiastic group, ready to tackle their quilting sandwiches with stitches.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the quilters of the Antelope Valley!

Crossroads & Simply Moderne Magazine

Crossroads_1
Crossroads began in a mix of bright violet, purple, sailor blue, deep aqua, with some bright green, yellow and a touch of black.  In other words, this quilt began like so many of mine do: in a swirl of color.  But what happened next was quite an adventure.Crossroads_1a

The inception of the quilt came from two other versions, but I wanted to put this design through its paces and see what else it could do.

Crossroads_2Crossroads_2a

I cut and built the quilt, color band by color band.

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Then I started quilting it a little over a year ago.

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There were a few troubles here and there, with some healthy doses of unpicking.

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But I finished quilting and moved onto the binding.  So far, it all sounds pretty normal, right?

Crossroads_5Crossroads_6

Time for some beauty shots in our university’s garden.  Then I contacted Simply Moderne magazine, and asked if they were interested.  I waited.

Crossroads_7Crossroads_7a

I taught a class with it.

Simply Moderne wrote back: yes! They were interested! (Cue jumping on the bed.)  So the quilt went underground, as did the pattern.  No more classes.  No talking about it.

Crossroads_8

I dropped it off to them at Road to California January 2019, the folded quilt disguising my sling for my arm (rotator cuff surgery).  This was on their IG feed.

Crossroads_SimplyModerneFall2019

This past week, September 2019, I received this in my email: the photo of my quilt, ready for publication.  I was beyond thrilled, as I am a fervent and faithful reader of not only Simply Moderne, but also its parent magazine, QuiltMania.  Everyone there at that publication is so very nice and lovely to work with.Simply Moderne Cover F2109

So, pick it up at your newstand, or wait for your subscribed copy to be delivered, or order it online on the 19th of September.  And give me a holler when you read it, for I’ll be waving back, jumping for joy!

This and That • September 2019

Antelope Valley Guild Sept2019.jpg

Free Motion Quilting can be one of the main challenges we quilters face after we’ve gotten down the basics of piecing and other construction methods.  Now we want to stitch and shape and sculpt our quilts with thread.  This coming Saturday, September 14th, I’ll be teaching a Free-Motion Quilting workshop in Antelope Valley, and if you are nearby, come on down (up?).  You can find out more at their Quilt Guild Meeting, held Thursday evening, where I’ll present a show titled “An Undercover Traditional Modern Art Quilter.”  I’m bringing two suitcases of quilts, some stories and a sense of humor.  Hope to see you there!

Gridsters Sept 2019 Simone.jpg

Simone drew up another one of her fabulous blocks for us in the Gridsters Bee, and I got busy and did six of them.  I just kept wanting to try out different combinations.  More info (and a free download) of this block is available on her website.

Book 15 Gamache

I started a new Inspector Gamache book, #15.  Halfway in, and I can’t wait to get back to listening.

AustinTX_1BBQ

Over Labor Day weekend, we went to Austin, TX (common abbreviation, I found out, is ATX) to see my son and his family.  Here we are outside Coopers BBQ, where I’m going when I go to QuiltCon in February (well, both places: the BBQ, which is right downtown, and also to see the grandsons).

AustinTX_2pluginshoes

I always learn something new when visiting the youngsters: did you know you could charge up your shoes, and when you are at a dance, they will glow different colors?

AustinTX_3capitol

When the boys went back to school and their parents went back to their regularly scheduled lives, we did touristing at the State Capitol Building.

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Then up to the University of Texas at Austin, where I visited someting I’d been wanting to see for a very long time: Austin, by Ellsworth Kelley.  Kelley gave the design for this chapel-like space to the Blanton Museum, which had it built.  It’s just over 2700 square feet, so not huge.

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But inside…

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We went in the morning, and then back again after lunch and a walk through the next door Blanton Museum.  I want to come here again, in February, when they say the light comes in the grid over the front door.  Hope it’s not cloudy at QuiltCon!

AustinTX_5art

Another Ellsworth Kelly.  We call this Couple Self-Portrait in Kelly’s B.  Occasionally if you spend too much time in museums you can get a bit goofy.  We also went to the LBJ Presidential Library after all this.

AustinTX_b

But this — a dance of color and light — is what makes my quilty heart sing!

My Small World, redux

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It’s not often I get to have a re-do on Quilts-I-Once-Started-But-Abandoned, but there’s a fresh breeze in the air this fall, with another go-round of Jen Kingwell’s My Small World quilt.  Paula James (@the_secret_sewer) and Nicola Kelly (@nicola_picola_) have joined forces under the IG banner of #mysmallworldsewcial on Instagram, getting us started and keeping us going until we all finish, some nine months later.  The experts all say that we’ll agree to anything that has a finish date in the future because we think we have all the time in the world in the future.  This proves it.

I love Paul’s opening line in her recent post: “Over 60 awesome quilting friends have foolishly offered to join Nicola and me in a special sewalong to create our very own #mysmallworldquilt by genius @jenkingwell.”

And Nicola writes: “The fabulous Paula and I were beyond inspired by Jen Kingwell’s #mysmallworldquilt at last weekend’s retreat that we decided to make one in our inimitable style! 😂. If you would like to join us in a friendly, motivational and slightly bonkers sew along we’d LOVE to have you onboard….Thank you for the phenomenal response already to Paula’s post last night and let me know below if you’ve reconsidered your WIP pile and fancy another little addition.”

These are my kind of leaders.

I dug in the boxes at the bottom of the heap, to drag out this woe-be-gotten piece of piecing, folded up some four years ago (that’s 1460 days, if you are counting) and set aside.  The last post I can find says something like “My Small World, June 2015 edition,” like there was going to be something else after that.

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I’d made a copy of the pattern from my Quilt Mania Special Issue Spring 2015 (which isn’t for sale anymore), and made all my errata and corrections on this, so I’m somewhat ahead of the game.  I guess.  And there was an earlier sew-a-long; see my Posts for Reference, below.  The IG at that time was #mysmallworldqal and it can be helpful to look at that feed for ideas.

I also have a bazillion 1 1/2″ squares of ivory-colored sky cut up.  When I saw this in a comment on the #mysmallworldsewcial feed, I had to laugh:mysmallworld2019_2.png

You can purchase the pattern at Jen Kingwell’s Shop, Amitie, if you want the booklet, but you can also find some online, if you do a search.  So, get out your orphaned Small World and get back in the game!!  Below are screenshots from their feed, reminding me of what I need to get done by what date:

IG sewalong SMall World

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Other Posts For Reference
VeryKerryBerry — Kerry ran an IG sew-a-long in 2015.  On this post she has info about each section, links to Errata (Corrections) if you have the magazine pattern, and tips and tricks.  Very helpful.  [Warning: Any link back to QuiltMania does not work.  I think after a year, they relinquish rights and responsibilities back to the pattern writer.]
Patchwork ‘n’ Play — Susan’s Melbourne Town, where I found out that Jen Kingwell based this quilt on the artwork of Mary Blair, a Disney artist.
Live A Colorful Life — Cindy’s My Small World: The Disney Version
Wendy’s Quilts and More — Wendy writes about re-starting a stalled Small World
Another post from Wendy with more tips