9-Patches and Churn Dashes • First Monday

PinkyOrangeQuilt1

So what if you were trying to think of the basic blocks for beginning quilters?  What would you choose?  So far in our First Monday Sew-Day series, we’ve done four-patches and square-in-square and half-square triangles and flying geese and a few others (Log Cabin was last month), so I thought I’d take a look at another basic: nine-patch blocks. Above is a version of this block, colored a little differently than what we usually see.

June 2020 FirstMonday Sew-Day Illus

For the handout for the nine-patch/churn dash blocks, click to download a PDF file:

Bee Happy Quilt_Feb_1
You think I might have caught that wonky churn dash.

I recently made some churn dash blocks for the #dungeonofcute quilt I’m making, and yes, I did fix the problem in the upper left.  For this beginning class handout, however, I chose to make the churn dash blocks more like nine-patches, rather than the adjusted proportions, seen above.

Aug2018_Gridsters

Here’s another variation of proportions: large corner squares, and smaller centers.

Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect5
Frivols #6, Practice Makes Perfect

This is one of those Frivols quilts that I did in 2018, which frankly seems like it was about a century ago.  All churn dashes, cozied up to each other.

kucera_mcm

This quilt is the result of a bee; Linda asked us for small churn dashes, with skinny sides and big, fat centers, in these colors.  It’s a really fun way to work with churn dashes.

carla_mcm
Carla Block Jan

While I’ve never done a large quilt with churn dashes, more bee-mates at the time asked for them, in two more different styles.  The blending of value and color in the bottom really makes it interesting.

MCM_Timberlake1

Here were my two blocks that I made for Carla T, and the finished quilt, with giant churn dashes interspersed in among the smaller ones.

IMG_3238
from OpEdgeArt

Here’s a nine-patch “quilt” done by an artist I follow.  He works in paint.  He told me his mother was a quilter and I can see her influence.

Quilt Frolic_front

And here’s Quilt Frolic, a series of nine-patches, set in a an off-set white block, with tons of Amy Butler large-scale prints.

All our Handouts and topics can be found in the tab at the top of my blog: Projects for 2020/First Monday Sew-days.  More quilts can be seen below, in a gallery.

Happy sewing!

tiny-nine-patches
Baby Quilts Nine Patch
I’ve made a lot of baby quilts using nine-patch variations.
Mom Churn Dash
My mother helped make these nine-patch variation (shoo-fly) blocks nearly 85 years ago.
Amish Double Nine Patch
Mini Quilt: Amish double Nine-Patch
Nine Patch green
Carla Churn Dash
Carla’s quilt, from here

Some Thoughts on Our Nation’s Milestone

COVID-19 Map_ May 24_2020

For several months, I’ve awoken every morning, and looked at this map.  I remember when not every state had COVID-19, I remember when New York started spiking, I remember when we started our stay-at-home time some two months ago.

I was aware that we were coming closer to the milestone of 100,000 deaths during this pandemic, and I thought about all I’d read about the Spanish Flu when I was in graduate school and wrote a short story about a dancer and her young soldier who went off to war and never came home, felled by the influenza that ravaged the world in 1918.

But how would I choose to depict our losses in our pandemic?

Kentucky Death Quilt

from here

I’d seen death quilts, with little coffins neatly stitched, tucked away in their little graveyard or around the edges of quilt.  Or would I want to depict them as Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae did, in his poem Flanders Fields?In Flanders fields the poppies

 

But this past Sunday morning, I saw this:

COVID-19_NYTimes1

I read the article online, scrolling through the humanizing choice that this paper had made, to give a person’s name and a salient, interesting fact about them from their published obituary.

COVID-19_NYTimes2COVID-19_NYTimes3COVID-19_NYTimes4

At first it was just numbing, then I noticed this: a quilter.  I began to look for other quilters.

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I found several.

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And on one page, I found not only a quilter, but a “collector of people, laughter and good stories.”  It made me wonder: what one line would I want people to remember about me?  I found several intriguing qualities, and I reflected briefly on that person, especially the one who was “Faithful in corresponding through cards and handwritten notes.”  A woman after my own heart.

COVID-19_NYTimes7COVID-19_NYTimes8COVID-19_NYTimes9COVID-19_NYTimes9b

I loved Patricia Yanni’s quality: “Wasn’t afraid to try new things.”  So often we look to people’s achievements, that they were this important person, or grandmother to twenty-five, or CEO of a Big Corporation, but wouldn’t you rather be known as someone who wasn’t afraid to try new things?  I would.

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I’d like to be known as someone who gets things done.

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Someone who had a life-long passion for learning.

I circled the second one (in red) because now this was in my hometown, a hospital where I had gone for a surgery several years ago.  Rosa could have been someone who cleaned my room, made my bed.  I will think this week on all those lives that have been taken too soon.

COVID-19_NYTimes10b

COVID-19_NYTimes11

I will remember the quilters.

Sawtoothmania2

Sawtoothmania!

Framed Pattern Cover

Sometimes I get an idea, and it becomes like a dividing cell: one idea becomes into two, then four, and in this case, 23.  Sawtoothmania, the idea I am referring to, began about six months ago I started working on how to create a different sawtooth center.  First I made over 33 different designs, then whittled it down to 26, and then to 23 for this final pattern.

Bee Block Sawtoothmania Bette

I was aiming to have the pattern finished by the time I was Queen Bee in February for the Gridsters Bee, but I wasn’t.  I was far enough along though, to send them each some Painters Palette Solids: blue and white, plus a color to make up the center.  I also asked them to make an accompanying Tiny Envelope block (a free pattern on this blog) as their signature block, using a print that would coordinate with their block.

Sawtoothmania Process_0

This was the original set of colors, along with a little card I sent them so they could choose their block.

Then I kept making, kept testing, putting up blocks on Instagram as I finished them.  Today, the pattern is finished, and is up on my PayHip site, where you can purchase it if you’d like.  Many thanks to my BeeMates for testing these blocks, and for making me such a beautiful array of 12 blocks (I added four to the mix to get this arrangement):

Sawtoothmania Process_1

Then there was Border Angst.

I started with the solid blue border on the left, then tried the right, yes yes that’s the one. Then no no that’s not the one, how about I cut it up?  And then add squares?  And then go back to the solid blue?  And then sash them?  And then too many colors, take some out? And then go to bed, freaking out?

Sawtoothmania Process_front

I ended up here, and called it done.  I actually like it, although I include the plain fabric border option in the pattern, too, just in case you liked that one.  In the end, there were too many colors in the outside border, so I just used cool colors for the squares and smaller sashing to tone it down.  It’s not that noticeable, but it is significant.

Sawtoothmania Process_Gatesawtoothmania Small

I had several blocks I didn’t include, but that they were used as testers, so I made this smaller version, and this one will get the plain print border.

So, there you have it–my Sawtoothmania Pattern!  I had fun designing it and making it and if you decide to get one, I hope you’ll send me pictures of how you decided to make your Sawtoothmania.

I’m sure the length of time from inception to completion was complicated by the onslaught of Covid-19 news and all our living through it.  But since my last post, I’ve tried to get the rhythm of my days, which usually goes a couple of productive days alternating with what I call…

Lowenergy day_covid19

…”a low-energy” day.  Sometimes reading the news will trigger this, or frustration with various current events.  At least now I can predict it a little bit, and work with it.

City Streets Vivid_quilting

Trying to finish up the quilting of the second rendition of my City Streets pattern, this one done in fancy Tula fabrics.Gridsters May 2020

I was able to finish up Rachel’s Bee block for our Gridster Bee: a wagon wheel in the strongest contrasting colors we could use, with a black center.

Sneak Peek Metastructure

And I started and finished my Urban Challenge quilt for the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild.  But this is just a sneak peek, as the due date isn’t until May 25th, and won’t be announced until June 13th, at our Guild’s Zoom Meeting.  Since I run their blog, I have seen some of the entries that have come in, and I’m pretty excited about it all!

Zoom May 10_2020_3

I’ll leave you with this shot from our family Zoom meeting on Mother’s Day, when my son Matthew admitted that he hadn’t gotten a card out to me and shared his screen with us to show this.  It still makes me laugh.

So, between finishing up long-term projects, dodging around the emotions of Covid-19, and receiving Mother’s Day cards via Zoom, it looks like we are all figuring this out.

Happy Quilting!

Returned Samples

Samples Returned

I didn’t want to open the envelope when these teaching samples came back, even though I’d been expecting them.  The Guild Program Chair wrote me a lovely note telling me they’d never had to cancel a speaker before, and they were sorry.

I cried.

outer shell virus trojan horse

How do I write a blog post about what’s going on under the surface for those of us who love going out and teaching and meeting new groups (groups of 50+!) and hanging out with quilters and celebrating what they make in their classes?

When Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio, in a newsletter, said that they’d canceled all classes and Guild visits until there is a vaccine, I knew that what I initially thought of a just-a-few-weeks experience was now going to be at least a year, if not two or three.

I think it’s been slowly dawning on most of us — as we stay carefully put, doing our “i-sew-lation” sewing, doing our best to be cheerful — that a creeping sadness is all around us.  It’s not only the horrific amount of deaths from Coivd-19 or the stories of those on the front lines in the hospitals or that we share memes incessantly, trying hard not to be sucked under. That creeping sadness some call grief (and that may be what it is), interrupts creativity, joy, connection, and a host of other daily living patterns.

Urge to create is gone cartoon

One morning’s walk this week, I dissolved in tears as my husband discussed all the formal steps we would have to take for possible retirement: forms to be signed, Zoom calls, separation from his job and mountains of research and careful planning. It wasn’t that we aren’t prepared or ready for this new shift in our lives.  I was just jealous that he had forms to be signed, Zoom calls and mountains of careful planning.

I cried because all of sudden, doing what I loved was gone, and for the foreseeable future–it would remain out of reach.  There were no forms to be signed.  Just a lonely envelope in the mail from a most kind fellow quilter.

So many tears for such a little crisis, I thought.  I immediately shifted into Counting the Blessings Mode, as that’s my usual.  I have a wonderful home to shelter in, a sufficiently stocked sewing room, a kind and loving husband who works hard to understand me, sufficient steady income, a large family of brothers and sisters and parents and children and grandchildren and a wide expanse of friends, both in person and digital.

But it’s just hard to retire when you weren’t expecting to, when you’d found what you really loved to do.  I don’t know how long it will be until I can greet quilting friends again in person.  No one knows. But we’ll all just keep going, keep trying to count our blessings, keep working to bridge that not-in-person gap that we all face.  Some days I do fine at this.

And other days an envelope makes me stop and have a good cry.

Happy Box.jpg

I’ll be in my Sewing Room — my particular version of a Happy Box — if you need me.

tiny nine patches

QuiltCon 2021.png

This came in my emailbox yesterday.  Given what I wrote about above, I’m not surprised.  I’m glad that the Modern Quilt Guild is being proactive on solving the problems that might exist in our new covid-centric world.

And as far as my teaching goes, I am in contact with my future quilt guild gigs, seeing what their plans are, if they will be holding events.  If you have questions, and have already booked with me, please get in contact to discuss.  Things change quickly.

tiny nine patches

The illlustration of the virus above is:

“A rendering of the outer shell of an adeno-associated virus with the exterior partially removed. The shell is used as a Trojan horse to deliver a genetic component of the coronavirus to raise an immune response. Credit: Eric Zinn and Luk H. Vandenberghe”

I thought the illustration beautiful.

First Monday Sew-Day • May 2020

All these Log Cabin Quilts were hanging in a special vintage exhibit in a quilt show some years back, and I think I photographed them all.  And while there are a lot of images here in this collage, I didn’t put them all in.

Log Cabin

This Log  Cabin quilt, above, was the second big quilt I ever made and it took me four years from start to finish.  When the quilting was all done, I brought the backing fabric to the front, folded it over, stitched it down and called it a binding (the quilt police are gasping!).  But it was what I knew how to do then. I quilted this by hand through the hot summers of my time in Texas, finishing it up in the mellow spring of the Bay Area in California.

May 2020 Illus

So for our First Monday Sew-day group I chose the Log Cabin block.  This group is geared toward new quilters, so I’m trying to figure out the basic blocks a quilter needs in their skills basket, and designing a monthly handout to match.  You can get your PDF handout here:

FirstMondaySewday_5_2020

It’s in a PDF form, two-sided.  Trying to keep it simple, I only tackled two of the hundreds of variations of Log Cabin blocks.  We’ve been doing this for a while, so search for First Monday Sew-day to get the rest of the handouts.

And variations of setting, too.  I’ve made a few different kind of Log Cabin blocks.  Here are a few:

Christmas Wonky Log Cabin2

A wonky Log Cabin quilt, given to my son.

Amish With a Twist 2 log cabins

A block for this quilt:

Shadow Light Quilt_full1

Eastmond Bubble Log Cabin June 2015MCM

And even a funky round Log Cabin block, made by varying the sizes and lengths of the strips.  Yes, Log Cabins are definitely in our heritage, especially our quilting heritage.

harrison-log-cabin-med

Historical Newspaper (from here)

Barbara Brackman provides information on the origin of this name: “In June of 1866, an Iowa diarist known only as “Abbie” wrote that she “went to town, bought Delaine [wool blend] for my log cabin.” On the last day of July she “wrote a letter to Sis and worked on my log cabin.”  If you don’t know about Barbara Brackman, a quilt historian, click over to her site and learn.  She’s always my go-to source when I have a question.

So, even though we can’t meet together, that doesn’t mean we can’t have our First Monday Sew-day.  If like me, you are stuck at home and you make a Log Cabin block, send me a photo!