Citrus Belt Quilters Guild Visit • October 2019

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The Citrus Belt Quilters Guild offered their members one of my Two-for-One Classes this week, and since it was October, several of the workshop members went for a Halloween themed mini-quilt. We worked on Merrion Square and Home Sweet Home, which are available in my PayHip shop. Below are some of the quilts in progress:

When Hollie started hers, it became a challenge to see how the value was spread around the circle of house blocks: orange and purple can both read as medium-valued when you look at them.  By switching the camera’s settings to Noir or Silvertone, we could spot the value shifts and distribute them more evenly.

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Linda brought a pile of door pieces, and we had fun distributing them around her circle of houses.

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Tessa had pre-cut all her pieces, and was nearly done by the end of class.

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Now Linda has added her bushes, using her own hand-dyed fabric.  That green — a perfect floating of a color — livened up her composition.

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By the end of class, Lorraine, with nails to match, had created a spooky Halloween neighborhood, with lots of really fun details.

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We had a great time in class–thanks, ladies!

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I arrived about 45 minutes early to the next day’s guild meeting, and the nice ladies there set up the quilt frames and my quilts for me while I put all my programs out on the chairs.  That done, I walked around to see all the program tables.

This Guild, which is celebrating its 39th year this year, runs a full and varied program from “Sew What” (sewing items for sale) to a Charity program with this month’s Angel Tree for foster children, to the other items seen here.

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Because their workshops are the day before their meeting, a group of quilters finished their house mini quilts and showed them off to the guild.  Of course, I loved this part!

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Some made Home, Sweet Home.  Here is Sheryl’s; while she wasn’t able to come yesterday because of worries about the fires in the canyon near her home, she sewed along with us in spirit, using vintage fabrics.  I’m glad her electricity stayed on — because of the fires, many are losing power.

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Linda finished up her Merrion Square, minus a border of the aqua dot and binding of the stripes.  She has been to Merrion Square in Dublin, and used the stripes to echo the wrought iron fence that runs around the square.

Well done, everyone!

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After hearing from all the Program Chairs, they broke for birthday cake.

I liked the tiny hats women wore in honor of Halloween.  I need to get one of those, for sure.  And then it was my turn.  This guild was most responsive and enthusiastic, and I appreciated the interest they had in my quilts and my stories.

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Thank you Citrus Belt Quilters for inviting me!

Pacific International Quilt Festival • 2019

But first!

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I’ll be speaking and giving a workshop locally, at the Citrus Belt Quilters Guild.  The lecture, titled Abecedary of Quilts, will be on Friday morning, October 25th.  The Workshop, which is a Two-for-One class (Home, Sweet Home and Merrion Square) will be Thursday, October 24th.  This is my last local presentation, and the last for this year; I’m excited to meet all the quilters at the Citrus Belt Guild!

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Now on to PIQF: Pacific International Quilt Festival.  I’d been reading Gillian Travis’ blog for some time, enjoying her small quilts, generated from her photographs from her travels abroad.  When Susan took her class at Road, and recommended it, I wrote to Gillian, asking if she ever taught in the States (she’s British).  Why yes, she replied.  I’m teaching at PIQF.  I hopped on the computer and registered for her class.

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One of the first quilts she showed us in class, was the one above, based on a visit to Burano, Italy.  I had similar photos, and was really excited to make this (the above is a composite of several photos).

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Gillian provided patterns for us to work on smaller versions of Burano, or smaller version of a Yorkshire Village.  I chose Burano, and above you see my progression from tracing to placing to fusing down.  I got so far as to fuse it to my background (the blue in the upper left corner), and right now, it’s still folded up in my bag, still unpacked.  I’m looking forward to unfurling it and getting back to work on it.  We pinned our class’ versions up on the wall:

Some even got to making the white frames around the windows.

PIQF Lecture1I really enjoyed this class, and was happy to move from there, to her lecture that night, where we enjoyed more visions of her work and her stories.  My friend Leisa and I also attended two more evening events: David Taylor’s lecture on Wednesday night, and the Fashion Show of Creative Garments on Friday night (photos are up on IG), which we both really enjoyed (especially the narration by Rachel Clark).

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Leisa (L) and Tracy (R): we went around on Thursday and looked at the show together.  And how about that PINK ribbon, behind their heads.  Now there’s one I could covet.

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Here’s the one that everyone wants: a blue ribbon.

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And Tracy won this for her quilt Sew She Did, which she designed, pieced and quilted. Congratulations, Tracy!

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A closeup of one of the blocks.

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On Saturday morning, I went and said good-bye to my two quilts that were in the show.  Annularity (above) was in a nice placing, all by itself in good lighting.

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Ladybird (above) also was placed well, with okay lighting.  I talked to one woman who gave me a full (and lovely) critique of what was going on in my quilt.  It was nice to talk shop with a complete stranger.  I also saw (and got a photo with) Roberta Horton, who really launched me from beginning quilter to serious quilter.  I’d taken classes with her at Houston, and I was a complete fangirl when meeting her.

As someone who has traveled to Houston, QuiltCon, Road to California, Palm Springs, and Virginia shows, the last two Mancuso Brothers shows, as well as to Long Beach, I have to say that some venues have real difficulty with lighting (all the Mancuso shows and the Long Beach).  The entire show felt like it was in a greenish cast, and not nearly bright enough.  My husband told me he could see it in the photos I posted on Instagram.  That first night, halfway through, everything all of a sudden went brighter, and I realized they hadn’t “warmed up” the lights.  So none of the photos I took at the beginning are any good.

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One of my quilt heroines, Tanya Brown, whose work I have followed for many years, had Cranky Claus hanging in the show, along with Life Nouveau, but they were horribly placed.  She gets into Houston every time, so I was suprised where they’d hung her quilts.  It made me belive that maybe the organizers/hangers didn’t know who she was?  My friend Lisa has helped hang Road to California for several years, and I know the effort that show goes to in displaying each quilt to its best. Their lighting is very good, as well.

The other issue I had was that some quilts got hung that shouldn’t have been: poorly designed, poorly made, odd choice of materials or subject.  When speaking with one of the Mancusos, I asked how many quilts were submitted: “Roughly 450.”  How many quilts are accepted? “Those that meet our standards.” (evasive) I pressed on, asking, How many quilts are rejected? “2-5%.”  So then you hang nearly everything. He mumbled something about that standards business again, but I had my answer.  I did smile when I saw that their webpage listing their award winners didn’t use the photographs from their contest venue. (I saw most all of these.)

I decided I would focus on the fact that my quilts hung in the same show as Tanya Brown and Tracy Cox, rather than my quilts hung in the same show as the fleece-lamé-fur-shells beginner’s quilt, above.  I was there once, at the place where this quilter was, and for many years, every entry of mine into quilt shows was rejected. I appreciate it when the judges a) limit the number of entries, and b) jury the quilts into the show.  It appears that this year at PIQF there was very little jurying going on, which makes for an uneven show quality.

Last Whine: when are these older shows going to come into the modern age and put Instagram names on the placards?  QuiltCon has done this for years, and it makes it easy to tag people when posting. Okay, on to the fun.

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One highlight was going to the show Friday late afternoon when everyone had cleared out.  We had the vendors to ourselves, and got to spend some time talking with Edyta Sitar and her husband. We may have purchased the pre-cut kit to make Tannenbaum, but also vowed not to pressure ourselves to get it done for 2019.

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Edyta Sitar and I: fangirl moment!

We also participated in the Bernina giveaways, the vendor mall (where I saw some old favorite booths — hi Cecile!), and met and chatted with new quilters.  We enjoyed the evening lectures/fashion show and came away with new projects to sew, as well as good memories.  I need to go and unpack and sort and pre-wash my bright tangerines and indigo blues (I was on the hunt for these fabrics) and decide what to do with my length of kantha fabric, but I wanted to get a post up quickly, while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Happy Quilting!

 

 

My Small World 2019, sections 1 and 2 finished

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In my Instagram search box, sometimes the bots throw interesting things up there for me to see — like this cartoon of the sad, then very happy dog, courtesy of a little tender care from a young child.  Coming into the year 2019, I had three quilts who were like the dog in the first frame of the cartoon: miserable, the quilts quite possibly headed for the dustbin to be put out their misery.  But like the young child who was “on it,” the first (Plitvice) has been completed, the second (Sing for Joy) is finished and awaiting photography and a blog post.  The third…well, here’s the first frame photo of it, when I left it several years ago:

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First, a detour.

Intrigued by what qualities would most accurately predict outstanding achievement, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth isolated two qualities:

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So what does it take for a quilter to look at a seemingly failed project, and decide to figure out how to redeem it, to re-work it, to finish it up.  Sometimes I don’t have a clue why we finish some quilts.  I’ve seen a lot that might have better been abandoned, mine own included.  But perhaps the idea of “grit,” which Duckworth articulated so well in her TED talk, might have something to do with it.  For what we do in our workrooms is somewhat about thread and cloth, but other times, it’s a microcosm of the world outside our sewing room doors.  Okay, back to gritting my teeth and tearing apart a half-built, unhappy quilt.

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The first step is to balance the value of the buildings.  If you see the first example, they are all about the same value (light-to-dark) grey fabric, even though they are different prints.  And too many different windows!!  In the new version, I used the same fabric for the bulk of my windows (excepting the “apartment” on the lower left), cutting from different places in the fabric to get a different look.  I’m much happier with this.

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I found some pictures of Small Worlds I liked on the web and on Instagram, and pinned them up in the corner for inspiration, as I worked through the next section.  I took apart my existing under-the-building-shapes and re-used some of them, yet adding others.  I also moved around the shapes to suit what I liked, deviating from the Jenn Kingwell pattern.

mysmallworld2019_5 DUOThen there was this choice: in the lower left, which little large-door shed should it be?

UPDATE: I should also note that I find the My Small World Templates from Sarah Bailey to very helpful.  If you head to Sew What Sherlock? you’ll find instructions on how to obtain them.  I printed them out on my favorite vellum paper, but also printed them on cardstock, for tracing in some sections. 

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Finally I declared it finished, posted it up on IG to check in with the organizers of the My Small World.  I passed.

Moving On...Part II

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The before of Section Two.  Ugh.  Too much of everything.  It’s like I opened the doors to my cupboard and tried to put one of every color, every value and every fabric in this thing.

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Auditioning–trying to keep it to a limited palette of colors, trying to repeat fabrics or mimic them in other sections, all the while listening to this:

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I’m learning a lot about grit from the four presidents discussed in her latest book.

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The little record was from a Polaroid swap some time ago: I took apart the Polaroid block and inserted it.

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I wanted the Art Gallery Maker fabric in this section, but it was too blah next to the pinwheel underneath.  So I bordered it with a bit of blue.mysmallworld2019_8

Section Two: Finished!

I sewed the two sections together, and am now back where I started long ago.  But I like it much better.  I really like the small pinwheels section, the same print in different colors (from a purchased charm square pack) used with the same background print.  I studied many peoples’ Small Worlds to see how they were harmonizing, and where it was okay to throw a ton of stuff at the quilt to see if it stuck.  The hashtags #mysmallworldsewcial and #mysmallworld have been really helpful.  (The first one is the current one; the second from long ago.)  And the two leaders, Nicola and Paula have been great, too: it’s always fun to see their comments on my posts, encouraging me on.

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As my buddy Linda noted, once you get going on Small World, it’s hard to do anything else, but I did get my Gridster block made for Lisa and sent off.  She’d met Jenn Kingwell (there seems to be a theme, here) and Jenn had given her permission to send patterns out for our group make Steampunk blocks, for her turn at Queen Bee of the Gridsters. Lisa also sent us some of Jenn’s fabric, asking us to go wild.

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Here’s the first batch of blocks to reach her.  They do play well together.

Lastly, I had a nice time visiting the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild.

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Simone (on left), helped me set up.  This is before it started.

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Some scenes of the Guild Meeting.  They are a small (50 person) guild, but have such lovely people.

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I’m headed here this week with Leisa–can’t wait!

Hope your small worlds are harmonizing, your colors singing together, and that your sewing places are fun and cozy places to be!

A Piece of Her Mind: DAR Exhibit 2019

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When my husband and I traveled to Washington, D.C. recently, we took in an exhibit at the DAR Museum titled, A Piece of Her Mind.  It had a focus on how technology — in an historical sense — affected quilters at an earlier time, just as much as it affects us today.  I thought you’d like to see some of the quilts, so here we go.

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I actually have to give a lecture in 2020 about the impact of technology, and all that was swirling around in my mind were topics such as social media, rotary cutters, our fancy high-speed sewing machines.  But this showed me that technology’s impact is not just a recent phenomena.

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An example of a table-top sewing machine with foot pedals was in front of a beautiful quilt of basket blocks.

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The blocks were appliqued (interesting to note her use of black thread, no matter what color the fruit), and from the appearance of it, stuffed (trapunto?).  It also looks like she quilted the “plain” blocks first, then sewed the basket blocks in between the quilted blocks — a really unusual way to construct a quilt.

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The Red and Green Bethlehem Star Quilt (1840-1860) benefitted from the relatively new ‘Turkey red’ dyes.  According the title card, previous to this invention, “dying cloth this color of red was a complicated dye process. [In addition] [g]reen had to be dyed in two steps (yellow, then blue) until late in the 1800s, but a more reliable option called ‘chrome green’ provided the leafy and emeral hues seen in mid-century quilts.”  This cotton quilt was made by Sarah Hall Gwyer (1819-1882) in North Carolina, or Omaha, Nebraska.

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I loved this broderie perse (or appliquéd chintz panel) quilt from the 1820s not only because of the design, but because of those stitches!  Seeing evidence of another woman’s handwork always makes a quilt more personal for me.

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This Baltimore Album Quilt is from about 1850, and is made by a member of the Hayden family from Baltimore, Marlyand.  It’s cotton, with wool embroidery.

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This appliqué quilt was made by Mary Swearingen King (1811-1902) in Findlay, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  I loved the applique birds:

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They look almost pre-historic, here, feeding berries to their young.

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Beyond the technology-oriented quilts, there was a section on quilts that were affected by the culture of the day.  I was drawn to the red, white and blue quilts.  That center block is the flag from Cuba, explained below:

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I zoomed way in (the ropes around the quilts didn’t permit close inspection) so the picture is a bit globby, but you can see the Clay ribbon in the outside border.

The exhibit also had a series of crazy quilts, some quilts made with toile prints, and quilts inspired by popular fictional characters.

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Afterwards we went to the library–quite stunning in a panoramic view.

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There was also a quilt of another kind in the Renwick Gallery, just up the street, made out of snippets of movie film.  The title of this is “Fibers and Civilization (1959)” and was made in 2009, using 16 mm film and polyamide thread.  This piece of art is from Sabrina Gshwandtner, and I’d seen some of her work before at LACMA.

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Then we hopped on the Metro and went over to the National Museum of American History.  Can you tell I looked up on the internet where all the quilt exhibits were?

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Unfortunately, this spectacular quilt was behind a piece of highly reflective glass, so the only way I could get a photo was to gently lean my photo lens on the glass to cut the glare.  This means that I couldn’t get a photo of the complete quilt, but here are some segments.

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In another small exhibit, they had a lot of crazy quilts.

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I was quite interested in what this title card (above) said about the advent of patterns for crazy patchwork.

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In between all this, we stopped for some lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster shop, meandered around the Mall, and hung out together.  We really like DC, as you probably know.  More photos can be found on Instagram.

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Later that week we had a gathering at the The National Press Club in D.C., where they host the White House Correspondent Dinners, and we had a spread of yummy desserts to choose from.  I chose one of these (it’s the color, naturally!) after I’d had the requisite chocolate treat.

So, here’s your spot of fall color–happy quilting!

 

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My niece-by-marriage, Stephanie, has decked out her house with spiders everywhere, along with Halloween decor.  She is a young mother with small children.  I, however, drape one thing around the house and call it done.  I am an old mother whose children have grown and gone, and there are no grandchildren around to witness my pathetic Halloween decorationing.

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I started this in August, hoping to have it finished by October 1st.  I finished it last Monday, so just barely by the beginning of Halloween Month.

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In the other post, you can read about how I put the striped fabric on the edges.  To finish it off, I cut five  1-1/2″ WOF strips of spooky fabric, and used a bias seam to join them all together.  Then I arranged my pennants how I liked the order, and sewed the binding right-sides-together, overlapping the corners of the pennants slightly, and sewed it on.

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I decided to slip in some really narrow cording (used for pulling up blinds; you can find it at your local all-purpose fabric store) in the black binding, in order to strengthen it and so it wouldn’t stretch out.

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I folded the binding up and over the pennants, and pinned the edge.  It gaped slightly, so I used a stiletto to help coax the folded edge over.

Really, it’s a clay MudTool, specifically a Mudshark.  I saw it last week when we were in DC at Michael Sherrill’s exhibit.  I like how the needle tool folds up into the Mudshark: no stiletto caps to lose. Who says museum gift shops don’t have items for quilters?  You just have to think creatively.

P.S. I decided to mail it home via USPS because I didn’t know if it would clear airport security.

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You can see the backing fabric here, also by J. Wecker Frisch.  I left a tail of about 14″ and also added a loop of fabric (cut 5″ long) so I could tie it up somewhere, and call our house decorated.

If I can find the box in the garage, I also have some spooky crows that will work with this scene (more importantly:  IF I feel like getting it all out). Maybe if I stocked in the Halloween Candy early, I’d get into the season?

Maybe.

Below is a link to a video clip of Michael Sherrill talking about his work.  I found all the videos in the exhibit fascinating, as he is an artist who is also articulate, and can talk about the creative process.

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Link to video.