Little three-year-old Gio came to live with my son Chad and his wife Kristen last year, and when this February rolled around, I decided that he had become, in effect, my grandson, and in my world grandchildren get quilts. I rustled up a stack of Hungry Animal Alphabet fabric by J. Wecker Frisch, figuring that my daughter-in-law was probably working with this little guy on his alphabet.
Kristen and Chad had first taken Gio’s mother under their wing some years ago (a complicated story), but soon Gio’s mom decided to go out on her own; it was heartbreaking. Fast forward two years, and Chad and Kristen got a call to come and get this cute energetic little boy. Without a moment’s hesitation, they did, and now he is in a secure home with a family that loves him.
This past Thursday, I had hit the Pandemic Wall, (and here, too) so we grabbed the quilt and jumped in the car and headed to the beach to take some photographs. Let’s go places, indeed.
Of course, this is my favorite block. That’s totally me, there, eating raspberries with racoons and a quail on my shoulder and a quilt on the table.
The back is an alphabet toss of black letters on white. I quilted it in a meandering stipple, bound it in red (Gio’s favorite color), and signed the back and sent it off that afternoon. Gio’s Quilt is quilt #244. It measures 45″ wide by 55″ high and I hope it makes Gio smile.
This past week I was also able to present and teach at Surfside Quilters Guild, out of San Clemente area (California).
I recently got a new laptop and am now able to use virtual backgrounds when on Zoom. I used to have to set up a quilt stand and clamp on a quilt as my backdrop, and one afternoon when I was auditioning backgrounds, Dave magically appeared. I ended up using the lower image with Plitvice and the backdrop of California poppies. I still think my hair looks like –and moves like — a bowl of Jello when a virtual background is used, but it’s easier than setting up quilt stands.
Surfside Quilters Guild is a collection with many powerful, talented and well-known quilters. I fall in love with every guild where I go and teach, but it was fun to circle back around to this one, and have Nancy Ota in my class (I took one from her when I first moved to Southern California). Nancy mentioned that she’d just heard news of the death of Roberta Horton, a silver star of a quilter. (I wrote about Roberta Horton here.) In 2019, when I’d gone to PIQF, I saw Roberta and she graciously agreed to a photograph together. The news of her death blew me away, much as the news of Gwen Marston’s had done a couple of years earlier.
Roberta Horton is one of a collection of BIG quilters, meaning Before Instagram. Before Facebook and before social media. You learned about these quilters — Roberta, her sister Mary Mashuta, Gwen Marston, Nancy Ota, Ruth McDowell, among others — by reading magazines, seeing which quilt shows where they would be teaching, and then trying to get there. The edges of our quilting universe seemed a lot farther away then and I was a roaming fangirl. I learned a lot from the women in that cohort, who, regretfully seem invisible to this new crop of younger quilters, quilters who somehow believe they sprang fully formed out of the social media earth without any quilting mothers. I have always believed that we quilters are richer for our heritage, and hope we won’t forget these giants.
Because Surfside began in 2009, and because their website is a strong compilation of their history as a guild, I had fun exploring their Blocks of the Month. I chose their Freddy Moran Garden Lady block (2012-2013) for my block this year for the Gridster Bee, and hope to make many of the accompanying sewing-related BOM blocks for a quilt in 2022. [Freddy Moran is another heritage quilter, seen here and here.]
This block, however, is not from Surfside, but is the block one of my beemates chose for her turn as Queen Bee, and is a free pattern from Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt. I am doing all my blocks for the above quilt with red backgrounds, so tried it out in the block you see above.
These are what I made for Susan. The scissors are there for scale (blocks finish at 3 1/2″).
And last but not least, here are some textures drawn by Mother Nature and her helping flock of seagulls, seashells and edges of waves. If you need more beach, I put a Beach Highlight on my Instagram; make sure the sound is on for full effect. I plan to keep my finger on that play button often in the next few weeks, trying to get through pandemic life, and as I get my second dose of vaccine this morning.
It’s nice to feel a bit of hope again around the edges of life. I wish this for you, as well.
Happy Valentine’s Day Quilting!
16 thoughts on “This and That • February 2021”
Dear Elizabeth, I just read your blog. I love the alphabet quilt and how you photographed it but most of all I loved learning about Gio. I hadn’t heard about Chad’s and Kristen’s new addition. How wonderful for all of them! ThenI read on and I discovered the construction of my own quilt! That was very special! It has now been eight years since Bruce died. I love having your quilt nearby. Thank you so much again for your thoughtful and generous gift of love. Happy Valentines Day!❤️💕♥️Love, Janice
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I love to receive your Sunday morning posts!!!! And this one is just stupendous! I feel certain Gio is going to love his quilt, something else to wrap himself in along with his caring family by his side. And thank you for calling out so sweetly those wonderful quilt mavens who helped lay such a great foundation for us, all of us. I fell in love with Freddy Moran early on and am always thrilled to look through my books of her works, same for Gwen Marston and Jean Wells and so, so many others.
Totally envy that you are on to vaccine shot #2 – Virginia has had a horribly inept response to the vaccine and every day is a roll of the dice to see which list is already full, 2 seconds after opening up! We persist!!!! Happy Valentines dear friend 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day, Elizabeth. You rightly have included a story of great love with your new grandson Gio. And also with the tribute to Roberta Horton. I learned to quilt (in the sense of how to think about it) with Horton, Marston, Sharyn Craig, and Bonnie Hunter, among others. She will be missed.
Thinking back to the days when it was so exciting to find Quilters Newsletter Magazine in the mail. One of my great privileges was making quilts for my temporary (now forever!) nieces and nephews.
Nancy Ota is such a treasure! I am so glad I got to take her class and buy some of her patterns before the pandemic.
What a fun assortment of rabbit holes you have provided this morning! 🙂 I have spent the morning printing out blocks of the month and perusing Fabric Mutt’s site. I also love that you included some nature photos and a vintage Valentine along with your fantastic quilts. A delectable post!
Gio will be showered with even more love with that darling (and educational) quilt. Well done. I hope you were able to stay and enjoy the sunset with that gorgeous sky. They have been remarkable lately. It has been hard to see many sewing and quilting icons pass on to the land of endless fabrics. Like you, I have followed so many over the years and still treasure all that I have learned through their instructions and enthusiasm. Cute bee blocks and garden lady too!
I bought that alphabet panel even though I have no grandchildren–it’s just that cute!
I bet that Gio is going to love the quilt. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day! I haven’t explored the world of virtual backgrounds for Zoom, but in our new small space may find that it becomes a bit of a necessity. Time will tell!
Gio’s quilt is lovely, and perfect for a little boy! I also envy your vaccine….we have not even started vaccinating people yet. And I am in the third tier in the allocation. Hopefully before our winter I will be made safe! I enjoyed the stories about your early quilting journey with those amazing women. The quilting heritage is strong !
Congratulations on a new addition to the family. Sounds like Gio is in a good place right now with lots of people to love him!
You Gridsters are doing cute blocks this year!
A super cute quilt for your new little Gio. Hope he loves it. I know what you mean about the legacy quilters and learning of them through magazines. I rarely had a chance to take classes but definitely enjoyed reading magazines and seeking out books on many of those early quilting mothers as you call them. Freddy Moran was the only one I had the opportunity to see in person and I just loved her lecture not to mention her red glasses.
I sure understand pandemic fatigue and the need to get out – get away. If and when the day comes that hubs and I get our vaccinations, the first thing I’m planning it a cross-country trip to visit family. Haven’t seen two of our grandsons for more than a year! This has been awful. I’m becoming grouchier by the day. It’s wonderful that you have a new “grandson” for whom you could make a quilt. This will be a good one for helping encourage him to learn. Your beach pictures are so good. Refreshing to see. I’m glad you’re able to continue teaching too…. and to Nancy Ota! Wow. I swear, I think I’ve made every one of her pet screen bags. It’s good to see that you’re persistently involved in quilting. Without a doubt, it’s the best therapy for getting through Coronavirus.