Digital/Virtual World · Shine: The Circles Quilt · This-and-That

Abecedary • Late June 2021

A is for Abecedary, or a way of organizing this post.

It’s also the name of my Lecture I present to Guilds, and I’m coming up on my last Abecedary of Quilts lecture next month (a milestone). And by the way, today I might skip a few letters. Subtitle: This and That • June 2021.

B is for bibimbap

which is a favorite summer dish, shown here on my placemat made out of Simone’s fabric, back when we supported her in her fabric launch. In the Before Times.

B is for Bunny ears.

C is for Criss-Cross. Fun to see Kathy’s finished quilt on the Glendale Quilt guild’s IG account.

E is for exclamation points, for which I often use too many and always have to edit them out.

F is for feet on Instagram, specifically feet on quilts. Seems there are strong feelings about this.

I is for new ironing board cover.

1. I always leave lots of padding, but maybe shuffle them around. This is multiple year stack-up of padding.
2. My pattern has me lay the ironing board down on some fabric then draw an outline about 3″ away from the edge. No precision needed. I then make a separate “hood” for the top, by duplicating the upper portion. No reason. It’s just the way my most favorite commercial ironing board cover was made, way back in the day, and I’ve just continued it. I sew it on the top part, RST, then flip it. It’s tricky to get the casing around those edges, and I always find myself unpicking bits here and there to get the drawstring through. Don’t judge me by my underneath-the-ironing-board-cover business.
3. I slap an interfaced square on the lower edge and put in two buttonholes (for drawstrings), making sure they are closer to the raw edge. Make a hem of about an inch of fabric all the way around and stitch it down, doing your best. No, I don’t finish the raw edge. Why should I? After that, slide through some sort of long string-y thing (not yarn or string). The best one I’ve found is to use two packages of seam tape, seamed together and overstitched. I’ve re-used it over and over.
4. The underneath, after I’ve pulled it all up into place, and tucked in the strings.
5. My newest gig is to sew on a giant rectangle, right in the middle (pink arrows). I just tuck the edges under after pinning, and topstitch it down. Yes, I fit the board with this after laying the cover on, but before drawing up the string. Why this? When it gets grunge-y after constant use, I unpick the stitches and yippee! Fresh and clean ironing board surface.

K is for Kitchen Sink Cookies.

You can find this recipe on my daughter’s new website, Sweet Mac Shop, made and launched this last month for her macaron-baking efforts.

L is for Leisa.

She’s coming up on the one year anniversary of her stem cell transplant and we are celebrating by taping up a quilt (left side of the photo) for her niece. She had this little quilt of mine out on her antique sewing machine, so I took some time to re-acquainted with an artifact from an early day.

This was one of my earlier attempts at Home, Sweet Home, using a Lemoyne Star in the center, which is a juggling act all the way around (my pattern has an easier method).

It’s like old home week, visiting these fabrics once again.

L is also for Link Tree.

This is what people see when you set up a space to list a series of links off of Instagram. Typically you put it where your ONE available link address is, thereby giving you way more links. Michelle, a brand stategist, often has little tips in her stories about how to make our online life easier, and more clever. One day she had a tip about creating a Link Tree in Canva, a website that will assist you in design tasks.

But then I got to thinking: can’t I do this on my own, using a page from my own website? Since I know her IRL, I asked her and she said “Yep, you can.”

I use WordPress for my blogging software, and they use Blocks for text, images and anything on the page, I colored my Blocks in different colors, wrote my text, and since I didn’t give the page a title, it has a naturally short web address.

Voilá! My very own Link Tree that I can change at a moment’s notice.

N is for Northern Star Quilters’ Guild.

I just finished teaching Criss-Cross and presenting my Abecedary of Quilts lecture to a wonderful group of quilters all the way across the country in New York state. What wonders of our era, to be in California and NY at the same time.

O is for Obama.

I’m almost done listening to the first part of his memoirs, and boy, have I learned a lot about government. A brilliant writer, with an easy-going style. His strong character traits, as well as some of his flaws, do come out in this book, but what I’ve appreciated learning is the bits of history he builds in to each international incident: it gives me a fuller appreciation for the difficulties of managing the expectations of the presidency in both foreign affairs and domestic. Love him or hate him, a lot can be learned by listening to, or reading this book. You’ll learn more about how bills are passed — and blocked — by taking the time to hear from a former president.

P is for pre-wash your red fabrics.

After they come out damp from the dryer, I press them and let them dry on the guestroom bed. This was in preparation for my Summer Snowcone Quilt. I don’t always pre-wash all my fabrics, but I ALWAYS pre-wash the reds.

S is for Shine, the red, white and blue version.

My goal is to get this done by the end of next week, in preparation for the Fourth of July. I have now finished most of the white thread, most of the red thread, most of the blue thread. Next up is light-blue thread, and then going back for borders and finishing touches.

W is for Writing Patterns.

Next up is Azulejos, a pattern to be made from a quilt finished in the Before Times. This pattern is almost done. I use Affinity Software (Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher) and for the last while they’ve been offering a smoking hot deal at 50% off. (Hooray! No more chained-to-Adobe-subscription prices, although they do have excellent software.)

Well, that is ending soon, on the 30th of June. If you have a hankering to design, or to tweak your photos, or other creative uses, head to Affinity by Serif and pick up your copies before it goes off sale. I’ve written about this before and I will again. It’s a great set of software apps for creatives Creative Peoples Creative People and Quilters. It will take you some time to get to know it, I won’t lie, especially if you have no Adobe experience. I had never used Illustrator by Adobe, but I purchased Affinity’s Designer. I had to do a bit of research here and there, but they have a great series of tutorials (I went through them all and Took Notes), a hefty online design community, a comprehensive online manual and even a hardcover book, that walks you through lessons on how to use it. I was up and running fairly quickly, and continue to learn new things.

Speaking of sales, get this, too. QuiltFolk. Ending Soon, and all that stuff.

V is for a sad move for Viking Sewing Machines.

Somehow I never think it is a good sign when equity firms own our sewing machines. We recently lost one good tool when QuiltPro, a favorite design software (it used vectors, not lines) was purchased by a corporation, and let it slide into nothingness. Admittedly, it is still around and functioning for Windows machines, just not on Macs. Superior Threads was also sold, and I miss talking to my favorite help person on the line, although the threads themselves are still the high quality threads I know and love. And now these three sewing firms. I’m somewhat encouraged by the last line of the announcement, but not much.

Z is for Zee End.
Happy Beginning of Summer!

Behind the Curtain · PatternLite · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

The Flowering Snowball Block Grows Up

Now where were we?

I think we left the Flowering Snowball block here:

Don’t get me wrong…that was a good place to leave it, and I still might try to make this version of it, but the idea that I should do one in Anna Maria Horner fabrics just wouldn’t leave me alone. Thanks to Patti, I just had to give it a go.

First draft, using 12″ blocks from the PatternLite Flowering Snowball pattern:

The finished quilt center:

For some time I was stumped on what to do for a border. I try to subscribe to the Ruth McDowell school of sneaking in a border if you can, that is, having it be integral to your quilt, but not the same as the quilt.

I tried to do that with Summer Snowcone.

As well as a version of it with Sawtoothmania.

I looked at the center section for a long time, and was bothered that the tips of the petals were cut off. So I had the idea to extend the petals, re-draw a new border piece and see where that took me.

First draft of border, using the petals I’d originally cut for the center (but in the end, chose the warm yellow-green instead):

This is still an AMH fabric, called One Mile Radiant, a lovely design with Queen Anne’s lace all over it. I’d show you what it looks like, but I cut it all up.

(Aren’t we supposed to do that with fabric?)

The white was ho-hum, just didn’t sing it for me. So I auditioned different colors of solids: medium purple, light periwinkle and deep pink.
But as I said to Carol, “That dark pink on the left just looks like freshly manicured fingernails to me.”
And then she said, “Once you see that, you just can’t un-see it.”

Reject.

The smart and handsome youngest son and his brilliant and lovely girlfriend came yesterday for an early Father’s Day lunch (which is why this post is late but that’s a good reason), and they graciously posed in front of Sunny Flowers just before Dave (DH) suggested they go up to the sewing room to help me with my conundrum of freshly painted fingernails. They were like, what?

But then I showed them the stack of AMH and started flipping through the bits, and one of these two said, What about that one? pointing to what is now front and center.
I think that might work, I said.
We all agreed (by now Dave had joined us) that the tips of those leaves were like an extension of the yellow-green and that the pink bits echoed the center of the larger flowers in the quilt.

So, after church today, we went out back to the pavilion and park and took a few pictures, before heading home to celebrate Father’s Day. As usual, Dave was my Quilt Holder Supreme. My newest pattern, Blossom, contains all the parts for this quilt, as well as three other sizes, including that original border block.

Happy Father’s Day to the man who married me and four children, all at once, and raised us all.

The day my husband became a father to four children. He’s a keeper.

I was also fortunate enough to have a magnificent father, who raised me, as well as being surrounded by many fine fathers: brothers, brothers-in-law, our sons, friends we know — all men who are doing their best to influence their families for good.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

Our grandchildren: a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.
Guild Visits · PatternLite · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

Flowering Snowball Block • New PatternLite

One of the members of the Gridster Bee chose the Flowering Snowball for her block this month, and I was sort of: hmmm, nice block. But when I started playing around with the sewing of the curves, I became addicted to figuring out how to explain it. Then I drafted it up in my Affinity Designer software — nine blocks’ worth — and then it was oh, WOW! I love this block!

So here we go with a lot of things to help you, including a new PatternLite that has all the tips and tricks plus full-sized templates to make a 12″ block.

BONUS: At the last minute, I threw in the templates for a 6″ size block. That’s in case you want to make a mini version of this quilt.

Kelley chose a range of colors for us to work with, but I also loved Patti’s idea to make them all up in Anna Maria Horner with low-volumes for the petals. So I got out my stashed fabric, some going back for years, and started playing. I chose a neutral for the “petals” but I think Kelley’s and Patti’s ideas of a rich color palette might work really well for this block. Stay tuned.

Laying it out. Kelley had warned us about getting the light-colored petals flipped around, so I figured out how to explain that. Then I just started sewing it together willy-nilly, which works okay. When I went to write up the PatternLite, though, I took a more systematic approach, which I think works better. You’ll see.

First up: here’s the video I made of sewing these curves without pins.

Caveat: I never went to film school. I am not 27 years old. I don’t live on my phone. Some parts are blurry, but the professor in me just kept on going and kept on explaining. Hey, it’s free, and it has some pretty good tips, and it’s under three minutes.

And I decided to get organized on an idea I had: some of us more experienced quilters don’t really want to buy a full pattern, but we either a) like the block/quilt, or b) want the templates. So I am trying to put together a series of what I call PatternLite publications, which often will have the templates, but sometimes will carry the idea forward and have some tips for construction and finishing.

My first two: Build Me A House, and Sunny Flowers Quilt were like this. Or as I say on the pattern: PatternLite: not all-of-a-full-size-pattern for not-all-of-the-price. I still write complete patterns when I have a bigger idea, or I think the pattern might appeal to a quilter who wants step-by-step patterns. Most of my regular patterns have between 20-40 full-color illustrations and are very thorough; however, not every quilt or every quilter needs that. And rather than having them all different prices, I’m also pricing them all at one low price, which is less than the cost of a double-scoop ice cream cone (I checked).

In case you want to get the Flowering Snowball PatternLite, I promised you a coupon: it’s the same code — sunandsea15 — as the last post. It runs through June 20th and is good for any pattern in my PayHip Pattern Shop.

This week I spent a very lovely morning reading and thinking about all your summer experiences. Many of you have had similar ones to me, and others have been quite different; some were very poignant and some quiet and personal. But what they all had in common was a that feeling we all feel now (that we’ve been vaccinated) of freedom to do, to explore, to ignore the clock and to just immerse in the moment. I have contacted the winners; thank you all for entering my little giveaway.

Penultimate final note: This week I had fun learning how to make a sun filled with orange scribbles using Affinity Designer. They are a great replacement for Illustrator, if — like me — you hate subscription software; they are having a 50% off sale.

Absolutely final note: I am giving a lecture and teaching a workshop this week at Northern Star Quilt Guild. They let me know that if you want to join in this Criss-Cross Workshop, you are more than welcome to.

Head to their website and sign up, as they have made it very easy to do this through their website. My lecture, Abecedary of Quilts is Tuesday evening (East Coast Time) and the Workshop is Wednesday (beginning at 10 a.m., East Coast Time). As life moves on, it is probably the last time I will be teaching Criss-Cross, and really no prep is needed. So if you want to join in a fun workshop, go sign up and we’ll see you Wednesday.

May you have many more great summer memories!

Quilts

Sun and Sea • New Pattern

How long do you keep owing someone a favor? Do you give up after a month? A year?
About FIVE years ago, Michael contacted me for a pattern for one of my quilts: an older one called Sun, Falling Into Sea.

He didn’t say exactly what he liked about it, but he wanted a pattern for this quilt just as it was. I am not completely flakey: I had sent him the blocks for the center, but last month he contacted me (such patience!) again asking for the pattern. Those of you who know me long-term won’t even blink when I say, well, I should do a couple more different versions. First up is Happy Valley.

Happy Valley, with its limited spectrum of colors and a black background, is named for the place where I grew up. We all called it Happy Valley because it seemed like nothing wrong could ever happen. Or if it did, we’d deny it to our death.

I recently visited my childhood home, and that name was just floating around in my head, as I drafted the pattern in the car the long way home from that place. Ignore the red garage with the antlers. When I lived there, the garage was a falling-down thing in the back. My bedroom was one of those two upper story bedroom windows; there were seven children and we traded around a lot. We were the furthermost house up the hill, with those glorious mountains behind us. I could go on and on about my little childhood stories, but we’ll leave it here.

For this quilt, I dipped my toe into Reels on Instagram and had fun making this little movie. (Sound on!) It’s also on my feed a couple shots back, if you would rather see it that way.

This coloration is called Summer Snowcone, because — of course — with its red, white, navy and sky blue it just says summer fun. I added a different kind of border around this one, and you can make this as large (add more blocks and more border blocks) or small as you want to. I chose this size to be a little table cover for us this summer.

I posted this pattern up on my PayHip site, and within minutes the ever-patient Michael had purchased and downloaded it. I hope it works out for him, and that it was worth the wait. Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed I set up a little discount for anything in my shop, with the launch of this pattern. Use this code to get 15% off:

I did put this up on my Index of Quilts, but it’s kind of cheating, I say, if its not quilted. Well, it will have to be a place holder until I do get it quilted. And that’s another reason to celebrate: Happy Valley appropriately puts me at the significant milestone of 250 quilts. Summer Snowcone is coming in at #251. Cheating, yes, but I couldn’t resist!

Here’s to your Happy Valley, and to the first Summer Snowcone. But let’s do a giveaway or two, too!

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED!

The first giveaway is a free Sun and Sea pattern from my pattern shop. If you are the winner, I’ll send you a coupon just for you to use to get your free downloadable pattern, plus, I will send you a gift card to Pineapple Fabrics, so you can pick up 1 1/2 yards of white Painter’s Palette Cotton Solids to help you get started on your Summer Snowcone quilt.

The second giveaway is a free Sun and Sea pattern from my pattern shop. If you are the winner, I’ll send you a coupon just for you to use to get your free downloadable pattern, plus, I will send you a gift card to Pineapple Fabrics, so you can pick up 1 1/2 yards of black Painter’s Palette Cotton Solids to help you get started on your Happy Valley quilt.

(If you head to my pattern shop to the Sun and Sea Pattern, you can click in the upper righthand corner to download a Preview file that gives an overview of the three different flavors of Sun and Sea quilts, plus yardage requirements.)

To enter: tell me your favorite memory from your childhood that involves summer. I love reading what you write, so enter to win!

(Happy Grandchildren)

300 Quilts · Quick Quilt · Quilt Finish

Quilt Finish: Blue and White Star for David

This quilt started on Zoom. Several weeks ago as our family was having their weekly Zoom get-together, my brother hinted (strongly) that he wouldn’t mind having one of my quilts, you know, in blues–lots of them. He just loved blues.

It began with a block writ large. I used a basic nine-patch (see details below) that measured 12″ per block, so 4″ parts. It was a joy to work with blue and white, a favorite.

I have the above blue and white currently on the bottom of my bed, and must admit to having a lot of blue in my stash, so it was easy to pull fabrics for this quilt.

We’re lucky in June, out here in California, to have two flowering trees at the same time: the purple jacaranda, and the yellow Palo Verde. And I wanted photos with both.

My quilt-holding husband obliged. We stopped on the way home from church, and here you can see our nifty quilt-holding contraptions: a clamp duct-taped to a sturdy stick (you could use a dowel).

He received it yesterday and is thrilled to have it.

The Details

The block, pulled from my BlockBase+ software, is the Double Hour Glass block with a bit different coloration. I enlarged it to 12″ size, then went to town piecing it. The quilting pattern is Belly Bop, and my quilter Kelley used a silver Microquilter thread (#7007) on the top, and barely off-white 401 So Fine in the bobbin. Both threads are made by Superior Threads. The batting was Soft and Bright, by The Warm Company.

This is Quilt #249 in my Quilt Index of finished quilts.