The Ladies are Back: This & That February 2023

They’ve lain quietly in the quilt block graveyard since December 2021, and I’ve decided it’s time to resurrect them. I have combed the book I have by Freddy Moran — the designer of this block — a bazillion times, looking for ideas. I don’t know about you, but ideas often go wandering around in my house at night and when I wake up, I can’t find them. So today, I’m writing about my newest take on this quilt.

The Gridster Bee ladies made these blocks and notions for me:

I wanted to use all the blocks, but some are needed to help jumpstart either a planned smaller quilt or majestic back art.

UPDATED: You can find all the patterns up on the circled page, above, in the header.

The center ladies are together and I have notions and blocks on two sides. I liked the giant zig-zag I found in the other books I looked through, but thought pops of color might help make it interesting. All the black will be predominantly black-on-white prints and all the white will be — wait for it — predominantly white-on-black prints.

I’m cutting a bunch of squares and rectangles. The trick is to reverse half the blocks:

So…that’s ten-thousand being made one direction and ten-thousand the other way. I’m taking bets that I won’t do this correctly, but I will be “snowballing” for a while.

Today’s the last day of QuiltCon, and in that spirit, here’s my story. We had a nice speaker at Guild the other night, but I must have sat down at the wrong table. Every quilt she showed (such as a Gwen Marston liberated stars, a traditional spider web, etc.) the lady next to me said (in a not-soft voice): “Do you like this quilt? I don’t like this quilt. I hate modern quilts. I don’t like these quilts.”

The spiderweb block is a modern block?

This is #1306 from BlockBasePlus. Name: Spider Web. Date first published: 1933 in the Old Chelsea Station Needlecraft Company periodical. The guild speaker’s blocks were a bit different, with no cute triangles on the corners, but I think 1933 qualifies a block as a “traditional quilt block.”

from here

This full, beautiful quilt is titled Beach Umbrellas, and it’s made by Cindy Wiens of LiveAColorfulLife. It’s made with the free spiderweb block found in my PayHip shop in the Pattern Lite section (three different sizes of blocks!), but unlike what was shown at our guild the other night, I do think Cindy has made it modern. Her use of a softer block in the borders — no, there is no overlay: she used pastels to get that look — and the bright, bold colors really make great use of this traditional block.

Here’s another block (on the right) that might be pushed into the “modern” category with its use of non-tea-dyed, contemporary fabrics, but I’d still consider it a traditional block. I doubt my neighbor would have. This block was from my class at Road to California 2023, taught by Becky Goldsmith. Her quilt:

All of this is to say, thank goodness for the Modern Quilt Guild which has pushed all of us quilters into updating our stash, brightening up our outlook, and helping see the possibilities in traditional blocks. Cindy’s quilt, above, would have been pretty humdrum if it were made in tea-dyed prints with tiny rosebuds on them (or “calicos” as the Guild’s guest speaker kept saying). I’m not going this year to QuiltCon, but I did get my granola made (as promised on IG), and I did watch some rain.

Lastly, another friend of mine has passed away. Judy was a gifted artist, quilter, bookstore-owner, friend, cook, wife, mother, and grandmother and that’s just some of her titles. Last year she’d had a stroke, which confined her to bed, half paralyzed. I tried to visit her often and listen to her stories, as I considered my own wealth of blessings: health, mobility, and an ability to still sew a seam. She kept me focused. She loved Ireland (shown in the photo). She could do a deft mimic of the accents and dialects she heard while there, and I still say Pos-Toffice when I head out to mail a letter.

When I was Trader Joe’s early this month, they were selling those annual bunches of daffodils, and lo-and-behold, these were from Ireland. I dropped by two bunches on the way home, trying to put off that errand because the car was full of groceries, but the little sprite inside kept saying, “Do it now, Elizabeth.” Judy was sleeping, but she awakened briefly to receive the flowers. I gave her aides directions on how to put the flowers in water, saw that Judy was back asleep, tapped a kiss from my fingers onto her cheek, and left. She died within the week.

Thursday my husband and I went over and picked up her fabric and yarn collection from her daughter. As I was sorting through them, preparing them for her friends to come over and have our own mini-version of an Irish wake, I discovered this: a house block signed by Freddy Moran, 2001. And the memory came flooding back.

That was the year that Judy and I both took classes at Road to California. Our classes were right next to each other: hers with Freddy and mine with Joen Wolfrom. At our lunch break we ate our sack lunches together, as Judy, with her delicious sense of black humor, told me some funny stories about Freddy seeming to help herself to her students’ scraps. We both laughed.

While a traditional Irish saying begins: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,” I prefer to focus on the latter half: “Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” In my ladies quilt, l will also include these patches, thinking as I stitch:

my dear Judy, may heaven always look like your beloved Ireland–

19 thoughts on “The Ladies are Back: This & That February 2023

  1. All your ponderings over The Ladies were certainly worth it – your final design idea is so spot on, good job!!!!!! And I am sorry to hear about your friend, I know we’ve spoken about her before. That a special memory of her will live on in The Ladies seems befitting and an honor. And now you might hear me saying Pos-Toffice as I head to the mailbox, too! Thanks for another wonderful post.

  2. Your posts always leave me with so many different thoughts! The ladies quilt is fantastic. You really put it together perfectly. I can’t imagine another way that would be better.

    I did read Wendy’s post. I like her thoughts on how she constructed her quilt and I did download it for a future time. Using the solids really did make them look like umbrellas.

    I am wondering why that woman at your table even bothered to attend. LOL My uneducated opinion of modern quilting is that they are using newer, mostly solid or bright, fabrics to create fresh looks of traditional quilts and the ones that seem to be totally random are an interpretation of the Gees Bend quilts. Our techniques have totally changed and improved over the last 20-30 years but I think most quilts still resemble the old standards and the quilts of Gees Bemd.

    I am glad you were able to see your friend one last time. That is precious and the fabrics and blocks will help the memories linger.

  3. OK, there’s a lot going on in this blog, as in your life. However, I just LOVE the “I’m not going to QuiltCon” badge. Next year I hope you’ll tell me where to get one for my blog!

  4. Oh,Elizabeth, I’m so sorry about Judy. So sad. We found out Friday that our Emily 🐈‍⬛ Is succumbing to kidney disease. She would have been 15 in April. I am grieving already.
    Your ladies quilt is so cute 🥰. Hugs 🤗

  5. I’m sorry to read about Judy. I remember you writing and talking about her before. It sounds like a very talented light in the quilting world has been extinguished and I’m glad you got that last visit together. Freddy Moran was such a hoot. Love your version of her girls. I agree… sat at the wrong table!

  6. Love your sharing of these memories. I made up the Freddy “house quilt” – with little critters in the windows and doors. All made from “in your face brights”. Imagine my surprise, when a grandson picked a quilt for his sweet new baby daughter – that is the one he chose. It’s true that “love leaves a memory, no one can steal”. I’ve experienced that this year for sure.

  7. I LOVE where your ladies quilt is headed! Good luck with those 20,000 snowballed blocks!😉
    Often my brain will immediately say “ I don’t like that” but I try and filter those thoughts and keep them to myself. I remember years ago standing in front of a small piece I had entered in a small local show and overhearing someone talking about it in negative tones. I was a fairly new quilter and boy did that shake my confidence and take the joy away from that show inclusion. That helped to shape my filters that keep my own negative thoughts to myself. It sounds as if your table mate has never found her own filter and hopefully her negative comments won’t be over heard by a maker. We all have our own tastes, life would be very dull if we all made things the same way!
    I am so sorry to hear of your friends passing but so glad you were able to see her. I feel there was a hand in those daffodils being from Ireland and pushing you towards that visit. So special to be able have the blocks and your memories with Judy join your ladies in in this quilt. ❤️

  8. The ladies quilt will be fantastic!! Your memories of you friend Judy are vivid and touching to read. You have a big heart and lovely memories to keep.

  9. I always enjoy your posts and have learned that in the midst of grief we find joy. Remembering our loved family and friends, as is said one is never truly gone until their name is no longer spoken. Thank you for sharing your friend Judy with us.
    PS Freddy Moran’s classes are fun and her saying so true – 10 fabrics don’t go together but 100 do and Red is a neutral ( or for me bright pink)

  10. Another thoughtful and thought-provoking post sweet Elizabeth! Sincere condolences on the loss of your friend Judy. May the memories you have of her sustain you. And her blocks will be welcomed by the ladies in your wonderful new quilt. It is stunning- so graphic and bold!

  11. I’m loving your Ladies and the way that you are integrating your bee blocks as well. This is going to be a beauty. The story about your friend Judy’s passing brought me to tears, interspersed with loud chuckling. It sounds like she was a wonderful soul with a terrific sense of humour and I will never look at a Freddy Moran quilt again without thinking of her; I suspect that you will not either. Such a terrific way to be remembered. As for the gal with the commentary, maybe look for another table next time. Just love that Spiderweb quilt. I made one several years ago in Halloween colours and absolutely loved it; I called it The Pumpkin Patch at Midnight. The spaces between the webs were all made from randomly sewn bits and pieces, which took me forever, but they ended up making the quilt for me.

  12. I’m so sorry about your friend Judy’s passing; she knew you loved her. I’ve learned to pay attention to those “do it now” thoughts. I feel sorry for that guild member, who has to build herself up by tearing down someone else. I’ve have been tempted to say, “Oh, come on!”

    I love the Irish saying, “Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

  13. So sorry for the loss of your friend. “I’m sure she got to heaven a half hour before the devil knew she passed” with respect. 🙏😇🍀

  14. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. I’m sure you’ll have unexpected but happy memories of her while having the fabric Irish wake. As for the naysayer . . . wonder what she would have said if you voiced your love of modern. Take care my friend and find joy in every day.

  15. I’m so sorry your friend passed away. Your ladies quilt is going to be fantastic. I love the addition of the colored triangles to the black and white border–very inspired. Thanks also for including my Beach Umbrellas quilt. It’s one of my favorite finishes from 2022.

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