PatternLite · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Something to Think About

Autumn Leaves • PatternLite

Confession: I got caught up in Fall Color. A few particular trees in Southern California and even the leaves on my wisteria arbor are turning yellow, getting ready to drop. In addition, we put together another round of Gridster Bee, and those of us who were experienced thought we should get sample blocks up on the spreadsheet as an example.

I have been hanging on to this screenshot (see how old those IG icons are?) for some time, as I’ve always wanted to do it in a bee. The pattern is a variation of Maple Leaf:

To be precise, it’s Maple Leaf–Brackman #1740, which originally debuted in Aunt Martha’s booklets in the 1930s. Like the Flickr group, above, I changed out the stem so it could be pieced. And is my wont, I wondered if anyone else was interested in this block. I certainly I had a few words to say about how to make up a leaf in autumn colors, so I put it all into a PatternLite, and then up in my PayHip Shop. I also included how to make a Four-at-a-Time Flying Geese block, giving away the secret formula, freeing you from charts forever.

PatternLite Patterns, if you are new here, are not-quite-all-of-a-pattern, for not-quite-all-of-the-price. They are less than a fancy pink drink at Starbucks. They are cheaper than a slice of pizza from that place around the corner from you. They are for those quilters who can see a block and take off with it in their own way, and don’t need comprehensive instructions on construction. But I did do up a couple of sketches for what can be done with this block:

How about a table runner for your holiday table?

Or a quilt? It’s there now in the shop, if you want to grab it.

I had some other ideas, but I will let time work them out for me, or sleep as John Steinbeck noted:

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”

This may take me more than a few nights, I think.

And then there’s this, that’s been rattling around in my head:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” (Steve Jobs)

Lately, I’ve been concerned with sameness, or the inability to make connections between two different things, because so much is all the same.

an “un-same” landscape

If we are mostly in our houses, with our same stashes, in the same room, making those same projects we dreamed up some time ago, where are the differences that allow us to make connections? I think many of us get it through social media, but beware:

from a recent Honors symposium my friend attended

I had been sort of dependent on my Instagram feed for variety and for seeing new things, until I realized that over time the random things I had selected had become more of “the same”–repeating back to me the images I had selected precisely because they were new and different. What with the algorithm changing how we interacted with that media, and the selectivity with which it feeds us our friends’ posts on our feed, what had once fed my need for new and novel things just came unraveled.

When you are traveling in a new space, trying to juggle all that’s coming at you, you make new connections. Perhaps you discover a different way to think about a dilemma, or even how to navigate physical space:

I did eventually make it to TechnoPark-ro, and enjoyed all that I saw. This has been on my mind because of what I’ve noticed in my correspondence, that there’s been a refrain of not feeling enthusiastic about what you used to do. Some describe it in that time-honored way of “lost my sewjo.” I could also describe it as longing for the thunderbolt of a new idea, one that just grabs you and has you on the run to try to express it.

Because I feel like drowning in sameness is a situation to escape, my tactic of late has been to look for old quilt blocks to explore in new ways (hence, Autumn Leaves). I also like seeing new fabrics, other than the same three designers carried by my quilt shop, so recently I went to Fat Quarter Shop to their pre-cuts and read ALL 38 pages of it, learning about what’s coming. I vary my walks around my neighborhood, cook new recipes:

What I call Sushi in a Bowl: sushi rice, salmon, cucumbers, slaw, avocado and dressing

Three reasons why people are motivated to be creative: 1) need for novel, varied, and complex stimulation; 2) need to communicate ideas and values and 3) need to solve problems. A scholarly listing of thoughts about creativity can be read here.

Right brain? Left Brain? Anna Abraham begs to differ: “The brain’s right hemisphere is not a separate organ whose workings can be regarded in isolation from that of the left hemisphere in most human beings. It is also incorrect to conclude that the left brain is uncreative. In fact even the earliest scholars who explored the brain lateralization in relation to creativity emphasized the importance of both hemispheres.” A high level Q & A with her is here.

“As strange as it sounds, creativity can become a habit,” says creativity researcher Jonathan Plucker, PhD, a psychology professor at Indiana University. “Making it one helps you become more productive.” Read about it here.

A quote from an article from my favorite resource, 99U: “Creativity is a skill that allows you to draw understanding of the world around you, connect those observations to your existing knowledge reservoirs, and imagine new applications of your knowledge on the world.” Read it here.

Keep at it, find the new and novel, and keep quilting!

(More info on this one, coming soon!)

Christmas Quilts

Decorating Tannenbaum

(The pattern view)

In December 2019, in the Before Times, my friend Laurel and I got together and in two days of mad sewing finished the Tannenbaum top from Laundry Basket Quilts. I hung it on a hanger, hoping to make it bigger, but out of ideas for that moment. Laurel appliquéd her tree to a larger backing, not wanting all the seams and finished hers. (I’m hoping and praying that my seams will “quilt out.”)

And then my brain pretty much took a vacation for about two years. But the storms of this last year have receded, so now I’m ready to go at it again. I scanned it into my Affinity Designer program, and started to work mess around.

I figured I should draw from Edita Sitar’s ideas, since I was using her fabric (ordered back in 2019, and hoarded since then) and Tannenbaum quilt pattern. That inner little sawtooth-effect border was the first one I drew. Then I realized I needed:

  • top of bed dimension (queen size)
  • total quilt size

You see them in the two blue boxes. I kept shifting it around as I worked, trying to figure out space for pillow shams, if I decide to make them.

I got this far. I need to extend/blow-up/rethink the mistletoe on the borders, and have another adjustment to make for the larger sawtooth star blocks (thinking they need nine-patches in the middle, just like the bottom tree row), but at least I’ve started.

I’ve finished the first 106 blocks (2″ finished) and the four corner blocks for the first round. That old phrase about a journey of a thousand miles and single step razz-ma-tazz could be rephrased as a quilt of a thousand seams begins with a single cut. Or whatever.

One border finished.

Take Two. Better keep sewing.

300 Quilts · Quilt Finish · This-and-That

A Tiny Spritz of Elements • Quilt Finish • This and That: Nov 2021

A Tiny Spritz of Elements • Quilt #259 in my Quilt Index
21″ square

So my husband asked me if this was another pillow. He has a point, as that seems the size I can manage lately, but no…this is a quilt. A mini quilt. It started in a swap of small 2″ unfinished blocks from the guild members at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild. I made more.

The past few months I seemed to have fallen into a streak of really sad days, bad days, tired days, and one of my friends sent me a meme indicating that October was just about to break her, too. What is it about this phase of covid? Those who will, are getting vaccinated, but those of us who are at higher risk also have to make decisions: how will we live with this disease, since we aren’t going to hit the vaccination rate we need to. A bog, a verifiable, certifiable bog.

Then one morning I was sitting outside in the car, waiting for my perfect husband, and because the angle was right and having just shut the door, I was treated to a sparkling array of floating bits of light, the dust scattering flashing bits sunshine all around me as I sat. So often I’m in a rush, in a hurry, and don’t notice these tiny spritzes of cheer. I held the moment close; Dave got in and we drove off.

So that’s the name of this quilt made from tiny blocks, stitched with tiny quilting, each square representing those elements that come into our lives: sorrow, elation, peace, anger, frustration, happiness, forgiveness, repentance, sadness, love and most of all, hope.

When I finished making all my little elements, I saw a quilt from Zen Chic; I followed her lead in the arrangement. I’m also grateful to my fellow Guild Members for sewing and swapping. This little effort is due the first meeting in December, but I just finished it and wanted to share it now.

Melanie chose a birdie block for her turn as Queen Bee in Gridsterbee this month. Her signature block was my little Teeny Tree block–can’t wait to see what she makes of all these birds and trees. Free pattern for tree is here.

The Gridster Bee (#gridsterbee) is going through some changes next year. I’m stepping down from the head of the group, and we are looking for some new quilters who want to sew one block a month for your other bee-mates (check out the hashtag above for our wide-ranging style). We have several slots available; continental US only. We require you to have an Instagram Account and/or blog; those in charge will also vet you to make sure that all of us are at the same level of ability. So if you are a beginner who is just learning her stuff, this may not be the group for you.

But if you’ve happily been sewing for a minute or two and want to meet a few really cool women, as well as get a series of blocks made just for you when it’s your turn to be Queen Bee…leave me a comment below. I’ve been in over five bees, and they’ve all been great experiences. If you haven’t done a bee, consider it!

Occasionally I do clean up my computer desk. We got our Christmas present early this year (a nearly identical model to this one, but newer), so are passing this one on to our daughter.

November must have known we were anxiously waiting for it, for it came in with this beautiful sunset. We were fixing dinner (see below) and went out several times to admire the color and take photos.

Dinner: Sesame Salmon Bowl. I didn’t have the slaw they called for so we just sliced up another Persian cucumber. We had the leftovers the next night–so good!

The Cape Plumbago is flowering, with its rare blue flowers.

One advantage of covid days…

Please leave me a comment, or email me privately (e.eastmond@gmail.com), if you are interested in becoming part of a great group of women in our GridsterBee.

Happy Quilting!