What’s that word that describes that feeling of when you finally get it, that gradual understanding, the skill opening up before you and the lights going on? We often use the word “blossom” to describe this but in a more long-term sense of the word, of working hard at something and all of sudden (or so it seems) it’s gone from a tight little bud of mysterious possibilities to a bloom in gorgeous bouquet.
The Olympics are like that. These athletes spend hours out of sight, working hard until all of a sudden they blossom out on the world stage, touching the wall after a 1500 meter swim, or sticking a landing.
We blossom into our quilting, beginning with learning how to make a proper cut, then a proper seam, and then all of sudden we are flowering into patches and designs and colors and quilts.
But here’s also to you: a quilter, whose creations grace our world with as much beauty as a whole garden of blossoms.
While I started this from my Flowering Snowball Pattern Lite series, the intention was a new sample for the class I’m teaching in September for the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild. And in a couple of weeks, this Pattern Lite — whose concept is just a few pieces and general guidelines — will grow into a full-fledged pattern which is better for teaching, with more instructions and yardage guidelines.
In other words…it blossomed!
Thank you to all who entered the giveaway for the Painter’s Palette swatch pack. I actually found more than one set, so there are winners (plural)! Emails will be going out tomorrow to alert the winners.
And if you were a winner of the book giveaway, I mailed them all off this morning. Look for them in about a week (depending on where you live).
Thank you, mostly, to you! (all my readers). I appreciate the conversations, the stories you share, the coaching you give and the gold medal hearts you all have.
I saw this online and immediately jumped. This was one of my favorite quilts at QuiltConTogether, and yes–I’ll take one for myself.
These two quilts, Finger Paints and Cindy’s Delta Breeze, are definitely cousin-quilts, but oh-so different and I’ve had Delta Breeze on the mind for like a 100 years. And the fabric all chosen and set aside in the cupboard, but I can always use another quilt that combines style and color and cool ideas.
Laura Loewen is a relative to another favorite online friend (the Medallion Queen!). Laura has two versions of this quilt: one made straight up, with rulers, etc. and one that is a bit more improv. I decided to jump on the improv class, so am signed up for August 28, Saturday. If you are in that class, come and sit by me! I’m kind of shy as we’ve been in the house like forever, and I don’t quite know how to deal with real people anymore, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
I’m a Painters Palette Solids gal, and Laura doesn’t list these fabrics, so I set out to figure out my colors. Long ago I grabbed one of Paintbrush Studios’ charm packs with all the colors, broke it apart and wrote the number of the color on the small square. But I also wrote another number: one referring to the column on the fabric swatch chart, so I could find them easily. I never understood everyone who cut up their color charts (I mean, I understood why they said they did it, but didn’t understand how it would be easier to find colors), but this system works for me.
(And you can win a complete set of Painters Palette charm colors at the end of the post, if you are a Painters Palette user, or want to be.)
So here’s three photos, showing my chosen colors. You can’t see the Black, but it’s written in pencil beside it: 004. And a quick tip: if you go to Pineapple Fabrics and want to order your Painters Palette Solids, just type in 121- and then the color number in the search bar. It finds it a LOT faster than wading through their menus. (So Black would be 121-004 in the search box.)
The neutrals. I laid the squares over Laura’s cutting instructions so as not to give away any info from her pattern. Again, if you can’t see the number written on the swatch, most are in pencil beside the colored square in her pattern.
Purple is 080. I couldn’t decide on Fabric C–it calls for a light purple and I have two that could do that: a light pinky lavender (084) and a periwinkle lavender (012). I’m holding off on cutting until I see where they go and what will work. Since I think this is sort of the warm colors, it may have to be 084 vs. 012.
Sorry–navy is hard to read, too: It’s Fabric W: 008; Dark Green is 074. I went back and forth on the navy, as to me that color is a bluey-black, but in her original quilt, the color appears much brighter. (The quilt on the cover of her pattern is made up in different fabrics than her original, shown below.)
This is a screenshot from the MQG Website, showing all the award winners from QuiltConTogether 2021, if you want to go and look at the rest. I love what Laura wrote on her blog about creating this quilt: “I had been in a sewing rut, as many of us found ourselves mid-pandemic, and I knew I needed a splash of color and playing with fabric to get back into sewing. I decided on a simple bear paw quilt block but wanted to put a modern spin on it with improv piecing.”
While I did notice that she pressed open all of her seams, I don’t know if I can follow her down that rabbit hole. We’ll see. I’m a press-to-the-side sort of person, because I like the dimension.
Here’s an IG quick movie to show you my mess when I was choosing. Above is my version of the Painter’s Palette Solids color card. Because I’ve been collecting solids for a while, I only had to buy two more colors from Pineapple Fabrics. Hooray for sewing from the stash. (Hooray for collecting!)
This is my Criss-Cross Color pattern. Obviously I like this sort of quilt! Now to get busy on cleaning up the sewing room. We cleared out a lot of my stuff out of the guest room because — oh, gosh — we had guests, and I need to finish cramming stuff onto shelves organizing to get the detritus off the floor.
UPDATE: Giveway closed. Thanks for entering! If you want to enter the giveaway for the charm-packs-color swatches, mention it in your comment below. (Domestic USA only.)
Naturally, patterns emerge through repetition, and repetition yields up a type of discovery that reveals everything about itself, especially its sorry limits. (Jan Peacock)
I love this variation of my Azulejos pattern. I love the blues, aquas, the glints of yellow. I like where I made a mistake and put the wrong color in the triangle (you’ll never see it, but I like it).
But, I think I hit up upon my sorry limits, as Peacock says, in quilting this. It is the Month of the Broken Ankle, and something always seems to break in my mind when the body is goofy, and perhaps that’s why I just dove into quilting this without doing my usual due diligence of printing out the quilt, drawing all over it, like this (from another quilt):
A plan! Instead, I just went for it, wanting to get it ticked off the list and out of the To Be Quilted Pile, and yes Haste Makes Waste and all that, but I do still like SeaDepths. I just think that this time it hit its sorry limits with the quilter, that’s all.
In other news, Summer Snowcone has been pin-basted, and aren’t you impressed with that matching seam on the backing?
I purchased this fabric just because I am totally over the moon about it, but then…you know I love Sawtooth Blocks.
We grilled lettuce. It was good. That is all. (recipe) (Does this mean we are losing it? Hope not.)
I’m doing another Summer Book Giveaway, and these are the books: 1) Southern Quilts and Twisted (Kerr) (they go as one) 2) The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (Walkers and Watson) (autographed) 3) The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook (Knauer) 4) Quilt with Tula and Angela (Pink and Walters) (autographed)
Since summer’s almost over, they’ll go in one big splat. Enter the name of the one you want, and slip it into the comments below, along with telling me the hottest summer day you ever had. I don’t care if you want two different ones; enter twice, and we’ll see what the Random Husband Winner Generator comes up with.
As far as hottest summer day, I have two: The first one was when I was pregnant with child #3, and we moved from California to upstate New York and the new house had no air conditioning, and it was during a heat wave. We finally bought one window unit and put it in the dining room (that has to be one of the reasons why we divorced later on) so the kids and I would gather there all afternoon and into the evening, mounds of toys and books and snacks under the dining room table while I lay there, so very pregnant and so very hot, so very sticky, humid, and miserable. (She was born mid-August.)
The second one was a July day spent in Montreal, Canada with the temperature climbing well above triple digits. That’s not necessarily the worst heat I’ve ever been in, but we were tourists and kept trying to go out and explore the city and see the sights while everyone else was in their right minds, and stayed in. About the third day, we gave up–going out only in the morning, coming home for the afternoon to the air-conditioned hotel, and heading back out at night, catching the bagpipers in the evening Mardi Gras Parade.
UPDATE: GIVEAWAY CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING! Leave your Hot Summer Day comment below!
“Fashion is not ‘art’, because the latter is sufficient in itself while the former always has a purpose, a function, a use. Recognizing the differences is the first step to instructing mutual listening, made up of curiosity, enthusiasm, and respect. This listening needs time, just like Haute Couture and ultimately also like art. In fact, the maturation of the project was slow, a rhythm perhaps unusual for our world but just and intimate for the world that I would like to.” -Pierpaolo Piccioli (from here)
And if you understood that, then you are more experienced than I in the language of haute couture–the clothing, the dresses, the fashion that is more concept than something you would hang in your closet. But just like the movie The Devil Wore Prada in that withering scene where Meryl Streep’s character critiques Ann Hamilton’s sweater, the fashion houses often tilt us to what’s coming in shape, in color and in what we’ll be wearing post-pandemic when we finally decide to crawl into stores and buy ourselves some clothes.
It’s also very likely that we’ll be seeing some influences on the colors we use in our quilts, or maybe even the shapes we’ll experiment with (if you are a half-way, non-traditional quilter). Or not.
So I was pretty amazed by the colors put together by the designer for Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, and while I can’t pretend to really absorb what he said (above), I do speak the language of color, and thought you might like to see some of his designs, shown recently in the magical city of Venice, Italy. The contrast between that very old city with its own recent struggles with over-tourism, pollution and dwindling residents is a perfect contrast and foil to the glamorous, hand-sewn clothing made with extraordinary precision with pricey fabrics.
As Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times wrote: “[The designer Piccioli] has been conversing with contemporary artists — about their work, sure, but mostly about life in general, process, emotion, what turns them on — thinking about how to integrate their points of commonality in cloth…The result — shown at sunset beneath the brick arches of the former shipbuilding yard of Venice, with water lapping at the edges of the runway…was as powerful an argument for the interconnectedness of time, human connection and creativity as anything fashion has produced. The lushness of Mr. Piccioli’s palette — as a designer, he is the best colorist since Yves Saint Laurent — was on full display; so was his throwaway elegance, and his generosity. Not just to his atelier (his show notes name-checked the individuals who sewed each garment [italics are mine]) but to the bodies that will wear the clothes.”
So, what do I see?
In the above image, I see scale: large shapes on a larger garment, then those same large shapes on a more narrow profile of a dress. The designer plays with scale in many of his other pieces, using different shapes to emphasize different parts of the body, and different lines (like those flowing hats!).
I also see a lot of color blocking: large swaths of color against slivers of color (a bit of scale, again), causing each to accent the other. This collection is not about fussy little prints. Mostly I see lush, elegant and rich, deep colors:
This palette is missing the mint of the shirt. Sure, it’s a metallic shimmer of color and hard to catch, but that really makes this grouping, in my mind.
In this one, the palette generator is capturing a lot of the background, but it’s that’s slice of bubble-gum pink against those deep coral trousers which really caught my eye. The grey isn’t those flat greys we are used to seeing in our quilting fabrics, but a soft mellow gray, warmed up slightly, but not heading towards taupe or green-gray — maybe a deep off-white?
Orchid appears to be heading our way, but a vivid hue of that color, especially when paired with bright jungle green.
While the palette generator captured a lot of the background (I don’t see that pinky brown anywhere on the model), this palette is a “be-still-my-heart” series of shades for me as I love aqua blue. But it’s a new take on that–a refreshing deeper shade.
Now to shift gears from haute couture to the nuts and bolts of my life lately:
How about some velcro bolts? This is the boot they gave me to wear while my ankle heals. I hate it for a variety of good and not-so-good reasons (would it kill them to add some color?). The doctor okayed my getting around the house without it, so I’ve just decided to ace-bandage-wrap my ankle for protection, stay off it, and stay home. What’s four more weeks of pandemic quarantine?
Very proud of this: I drew the spools up by hand. Well, digital hand. Yes, it’s in my favorite color (aqua blue). I have found lately that getting the hang of a few tools in my Affinity Designer has opened up new worlds for me in terms of satisfaction with my work; it was a bit of a struggle at first, but a bit smoother sailing now. And why did I make these?
I didn’t like the nuts-and-boltsy (notice how I’m stretching the metaphor) look of BEFORE as it was too chunky and disparate. I also wanted something as well that would indicate degree of difficulty at a glance. So, I made spools. And I like how the shop looks now.
This is the new display pattern front. I still have a few things left to do, but have finished most. PayHip upgraded some of their marketplace tools, so I thought it was a good time for me to fuss around a bit, too.
Quilting SeaDepths (a variation of Azulejos) in spurts, while listening to this:
I like how the themes overlap: the ocean in Harper’s book with the theme of SeaDepths on my newest quilt. I can hardly wait to go upstairs and quilt. I’ve listened to two of her others: The Dry and The Lost Man and loved both of those. I will reserve my review on this until I finish it (5 more hours). While I listen, I think of Susan of PatchNPlay, and her trip to Tasmania. I can’t wait to show off the backing I chose for this quilt.
Lastly, there seems to something in the zeitgeist here, but truth! Patti chose this without knowing all the other watery connections I’ve just mentioned. If you jump on this link, you can see a lot of the blocks she’s received, all laid out together. I love how nice they all play together.
And that’s it for today. Happy July, Happy Not Wearing My Boot, and Happy Quilting!
There’s this interesting explanation in a Wrinkle in Time, or at least I remember it and hope it’s there, where the main character tries to help the children understand this concept of a shortcut in time, and she demonstrates it with a string and a crawling ant. Or maybe that’s not in the book at all, and I just remember if from somewhere, but at any rate, the point is that I’ve had a wrinkle in time with this quilt.
This photo was taken in January 2020 at the end of Road to California, where my quilt Azulejos hung in a special exhibit at Road to California. It was this one that recently prompted Catherine H, a reader, to get in touch with me asking for the pattern. I’d made several stabs at it, but now I really buckled down to writing. So there’s the shortcut — a bridging of time from January 2020 to July 2022 — a shortcut not unlike those found in novels with children (and where were their mothers??) and IKEA warehouses, where you are trying to get out of there and pay for all your impulse purchases, and yet you still have to go through chairs and desks and lighting and rugs…unless you can find the shortcut.
I had some other ideas about what this pattern could do though, so got busy and made this blue/yellow/aqua/sea/glints of sun wallhanging, calling it SeaDepths. I had fun making it in solids:
It’s still a flimsy, though. Looking forward to sandwiching it together and getting to the quilting.
This block was supposed to be another version of the pattern, done up in scrappy red-and-white, like this sketch shows:
But, alas, the sprained ankle/broken bone/cast-or-boot-or-what problem persisted, so instead of sewing up a storm at the machine (it’s a quick and easy pattern, with the cleverness in how you trim it up), I kept my foot up and edited photos of an earlier photo shoot of the first rendition of Azulejos, with photos taken near some of the old greenhouses and lab buildings for our university:
It has a basic set of instructions for the version of Azulejos above, as well as SeaDepths. I illustrate two other versions, one in Cheddar and Indigo, and the one you saw above in scrappy red/white. Or at least that’s how I evisioned it. So three sizes, three versions, two sizes of block templates and a wall-hanging. Not bad for one pattern, I’d say. A free downloadable Preview sheet on PayHip will give you the rundown.
The technical name for this shortcut between two different times is an Einstein-Rosen bridge, more colloquially known as a wormhole. Jody Foster, in her role as a scientist who hunted for “little green men” on a SETI project, famously traveled in one in the movie Contact, a film I can watch over and over again. Actually I have a whole collection of space movies, from the goofy one that got me through grad school, Galaxy Quest, to Interstellar.
Sometimes I have my own version of an Einstein-Rosen bridge when I un-earth an older project, abandoned for lack of time or interest (or both) and when I come back to it, I find it interesting or even something that juices up creative connections. When I first made Azulejos, I thought it was a one and done, as it was the shapes in the quilt that interested me. Then, taking it up two years later, I found my way to other variations and then to SeaDepths, whose colors I could get out of my mind. It was like there was a wormhole between those two variations.
I’m always surprised when a creative journey takes these kinds of twists and turns. It usually happens when I try to box something in, with a dismissive, “Oh, I know all about that,” with a sniff and a tilt of the head. To counter this attitude of immediately sizing something up prematurely, Xavier Encinas noted that “If there is something I’m learning over the years it is this: Take your time while setting up your ideas and take time to distance yourself from what you have done.” So maybe completing this pattern, finding the missing link to getting it done took some distance.
The year 1666 was the first recorded use of the word “minimal.” That was also the year, according to the Merriam-Webster Time Traveller feature, where the word “pandemic” was first turned up.
I looked it up because I was thinking about Minimalism — a word that showed up much later, in 1926 (the same year as estrogen, garlic salt, preemie and trick-or-treat) — and is defined as a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.
[And speaking of words, did you know that “fewtrils” was one of the words in the final rounds of the recent Spelling Bee? It means things of little value and first showed up in 1750, the same year as frosting, steering wheel and unimportant. I totally have to use fewtrils again.] I digress, but be warned, I have the Spelling Bee on my mind today.
Modern quilters seem to love this style. Gimme a bunch of squares, a field of white and we are in business. So I was surprised to note that my granddaughter Keagan was also a lover of minimalism, when she asked me to make her a quilt for her queen-sized college bed. I found out from her mother that Keagan is also an avid follower of a famous trendy store, so I wasn’t too surprised when, as we began to trade photos of possible quilts, that this one showed up. I tracked the origins of this one using Google Photo search, and sure enough–it’s listed in that famous trendy store, is made in India, and is hand-stitched. We are all familiar with these quilts.
Keagan’s only requirement besides: minimalistic, gray with touches of forest green, and queen-sized, was “snuggly.” I sent the completed quilt top, with some cotton-wool batting (pre-washed) to Wolf Girl Quilts, and she sent it back a couple of days ago, all finished.
Since breaking my ankle, I’ve had a few more hours of down-time, and since my past self was very kind to my future self, I had the binding all cut out and ready to go. So I sewed it all down yesterday: broken/sprained ankle up on a camp stool on the left, while the right foot worked the sewing machine pedal on the right. Today we took it out for photos, with Dave moving around, me gimping around (no cast on the foot, yes, the referral and call are in to ortho, I just keep it elevated except when I’m out photographing quilts).
The back is all white: Painter’s Palette Solids. I ordered a whole bolt of that stuff.
We usually use a contraption of two clamps held out on sticks, but the sticks broke, so the quilt is in the washer (we kept meaning to put on sturdier sticks…). I’ll press it lightly, wrap it up and mail it off to one of my two granddaughters headed for college this year!
Keagan’s Quilt Quilt No. 253 Began April 18, with designs showing how it will drape on the bed (below) Finished July 9, 2021 89″ wide x 92″ long (approximate)
I worked it up in Affinity Designer. There is no pattern, but you can figure out the gist of it from what’s in the sketch above.
Apparently “snuggly” is not a word, but “snuggle” is. It showed up in 1687, along with birdhouse, trigonometric and yawner. I hope all these words haven’t been a real yawner for you, but just in case…I’ll stop this post here.