This and That for February 2019

Bee Happy Quilt_Feb_1

You think I might have caught that wonky churn dash.

I’ve been watching the second season of Anne with an E, a show on Netflix that re-thinks the well-loved story about a certain red-haired orphan.  I binged-watched several episodes while hand-sewing and emobroidering the bees and other blocks from the sew-a-long Leisa and I decided to do.  It’s been good company while I’m still recovering.

Bee Happy Quilt_Feb_2

Okay, now it’s fixed.

blossom

I’ve been able to get out for a few walks around the neighborhood; this is our first blossom in our front yard.  We’ve had a ton of rain, and since we’ve been in a drought, the plants (and I) are loving it.

Flower Hexie strips

I was able to sew my Flowers for Emma blocks into strips.  Next up is sashing, the borders. I love this design by Sherri McConnell.Flying Geese BlocLoc ruler

I gave in and pressed the small triangles a different way, because, gosh!  How can I possibly make a year’s worth of triangles and not use this?

Temperature Quilt_Feb13

Here’s a month-and-a-half’s worth of triangle temperature markers.  It’s also an interesting way to note the passage of time. And yes, I have not yet Marie-Kondo-ed my design wall.  I like it just as it is.

Gridster Bee Blocks_Feb13

Bee blocks from my Gridster pals have been coming in: a row of houses!High Quality Life label

I’d actually prefer dark, rich chocolate to give me a high-quality life, rather than Snickers.  (Sign in my local Japanese/Chinese import store)

Quilted quilts_1

I sent out three quilts for quilting, and got them back in record time.

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Now what will I do with them?  I have to figure out how to trim them, and bind them with one working arm.

Time Marker for Surgery

Only now we’re almost at six weeks.  I make these monthly time markers to send to my mother, to show her I’m still around.  Still have the sling, still one-armed, but I’m trying to keep up with all the projects around here.

Happy Stitching!

tiny-nine-patches

Temperature Quilt Key

I’ve been thinking hard about how I want to record the colors I used in my Temperature quilt.  I’ve seen lots of different kinds (on Instagram use the hashtag #tempquilt, or some variation of it, to see more), so it directed my thinking.

I wanted one that showed all the colors and left me places where I could embroider or write on it what that color meant, in terms of the temperature scale.

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I decided on this: Kelly Liddle’s Goosed Up pattern, now on PayHip. I only have 23 colors in play, but I’ll figure out that last color, plus there’s lot of room to mark it up somehow.

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I colored in the triangles and labeled them to make construction easier.  I also pulled out my thin LED light box, which helps in placing the fabrics. Temp Quilt_key2

Three more sections to go.

Gridsters Feb 2019_1

My little houses are coming in from the Gridsters already, and I’ve lined them up like the Victorian Ladies on San Francisco street. I plan to make this into a pattern; I’ll let you know when it’s up online.

I’ve finished January! Now to wait for some days to pile up so I can start on February.

Art Muses/Art Musings

Everyonce in a while it’s good to leave your tribe and take a look at what other artists are doing.  It also helps to be in recovery from shoulder surgery so when that rabbit hole in Instagram opens up, you have too much time are free to follow where it leads.

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Photo: Polly Apfelbaum assembling “Mojo Jojo,” Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2013. (from DrawingCenter on IG)

I first followed the Polly Apfelbaum hashtag.  She is an artist about my age, and still producing interesting and thoughtful works of art, many which seem to intersect my world of quilting. I grabbed this screen shot from DrawingCenter, who also had a series of quotes from her, which I loved:

“Her interdisciplinary approach is most notable in her floor pieces that she refers to as “fallen paintings,” the series of work that she best known for. Laid on the floor in intricate and somewhat psychedelic patterns and forms, the paintings are made of fabrics that have been dyed brilliant hues. The striking use of color aligns her work with abstract expressionism, but rejects the hypermasculinity of the style through the use of fabric and horizontal orientation. Apfelbaum explains that “[the] floor was a place that was inclusive but I could also be reverent.” By installing on the floor, viewers are able to walk around the art making the piece more fluid and approachable.”

She goes on to say “that she wanted “a relaxed sense of form, a form that was more abstract, a form that could kind of be chameleon-like, it could go from talking about minimalism, but could also talk about maximalism…and to craft.” Indeed, the dialogues around her hybridized work are wide-ranging and include feminism, religion, outsider art, and domesticity.”

Loved the “hypermasculinity” idea, reminding me of when I proposed a show of quilts to my Art Professor in college.  “Over my dead body,” he said.  It was then I realized that quilts were essentially, in his mind, NOT art, but I daresay they might be called “hyperfeminine” with the use of fabric, of soft construction.

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Apfelbaum also works by creating shaped woodcuts, which are then inked in vibrant colors, then placed in a design.  Of course I think it looks like a quilt. More images, below:

Polly Apfelbaum_3Polly Apfelbaum_4Polly Apfelbaum_5Polly Apfelbaum_6

This last one is especially quilt-like, I think, in terms of the shapes.  Is the quilting world is having an impact on others?  They probably don’t know we exist, but I do believe in the idea of cross-pollination:

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These last two are by Luis Zerbini, a Brazilian artist.  The second one is definately an Orange Peel block, or a Wedding Ring variant, if you ask me.  Even housework can inspire art:

Lynn Aldrich‘s Coral Landscapes made from house cleaning items; the one on the left is titled Marine Preserve.  I wonder if the one on the right is a wannabe Lynn Aldrich?

Anyone for some Nine-Patch?  With pieced sashings? Start cutting up your solid scraps into squares.

The art world can also be an interesting way to learn about value, a classic part of creating an interesting quilt.  I’ve tried to include the sources so you can go and have a look:

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Bringing this to a workshop would certainly get everyone’s attention about the impact of using those light-to-dark values.

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I’m pretty sure she does this with make-up.

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A screen shot of my Saved images from this morning.  I’ve started making categories and put some of these in the Random Color/Art category of my saves.  Just after you hit that little ribbon to save, the prompt comes up: Save to Collection.  Tap that, and then either direct the save into a category, or make a new one.  It helps in finding things.

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You might want to try to what I call “focused browsing” if your eyes are glazing over after looking at three billion quilts in your feed, and you’ll scream if you see another heavily curated shot with threads and scissors everywhere where you feel like you are trapped in the Dungeon of Cute.

Color theory and effect

a screen shot of the #colortheoryandaffect hashtag on IG

Some of the hashtags I followed were #gridart, or #hardedgepainting, or the names of the artists themselves. @DurhamPress also had some interesting images. Sometimes I would go to an artist, click on the name of the gallery they were showing at, then look at what the gallery had.

Yes, a little focused browsing might just clear the mind a little.

Queen Bee for Gridsters 2019

(see below for the winners of the Temperature Giveaway)

gridsters 500 with label

February is my month to be Queen Bee, a phrase I picked up from hanging-out-across-the-ocean with Susan of Patchwork and Play (she lives in Melbourne).  I’ve gone through about a million different permutations, but in the end, I’m playing it safe and asking my beemates to build me a series of little houses, like the ones I saw as a teenager in the Daly City area, near San Francisco.

daly city

We’d drive up the newly built 280 freeway, look out through gaps in the trees and see the houses like zippers in the landscape.

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There are lots of houses also in Dolores Heights.

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But the USA doesn’t have a lock on houses crammed together: the first photo with the red house was from one of the villages in Cinque Terre, and the one just above is Porto Venere, Italy.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia.

little houses

We’ll see what my beemates come up with.  I’ve mailed them all the pattern, and look forward to seeing their creations!

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Thank you to all who entered the Giveaway for coldest and for hottest place you’ve ever been.  I started out by reading all the coldest, then had to go and put on another sweater; so many referenced the brutal cold the Midwest is experiencing.  Our hearts go out to you.

Although I was shivering by the time I finished Celia’s story of walking in the snow in ballet flats, the winner of the coldest packet is Susan Shaw, with her story of sledding with her brothers:

Coldest Day.png

I used to live in Wisconsin, and one summer we moved to Texas.  The A/C broke and my children and I sweltered in 100+ hea for week.  We’d gone from wearing our winter coats to the 4th of July parade to two weeks later, melting in the home.

So many of you had great “hottest” stories, but I totally related to Beth, who had to endure no A/C with all her little children:

Hottest Day.png

I hope you all stay warm…or cool, whatever the case may be!  I’ll be in touch via email to notify the winners.  Thank you all for entering!

 

Temperature Quilt & Giveaway

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I’ve jumped on that colorful bandwagon and am making a Temperature Quilt, or as my scientist husband likes to refer to it: a Heat Map.  And, I’m hosting a

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…so keep reading for how you can win. Teaser:

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No, it’s not a Featherweight…

Giveaway now closed.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

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Here are some examples of heat maps:

heat map_world touristiness map

World Touristiness: in other words, where the most photographs are snapped.

heat map_gym locations in dc

Gym locations in Washington DC

heat map_natural gas prices

Gas Prices 2014

heat map_tornado watches

Tornado Watches, 20 year average

heat map_australia 2017 feb

And one we are most used to: temperature heat maps.  By the way, between the polar vortex and Australia’s heat waves, the heat maps this year are really getting quite the range.

Over the space of a few days, I’d looked up the range of temperatures in my area, chosen my colors, and then set to choosing colors.  I had bins of my favorite solid fabrics: Painter’s Palette by Paintbrush Studio and what I didn’t have, I found at the Pineapple Fabrics booth at the Road to California, which just happened to be open this week. (See below for more information and the giveaway).temperature quilt_1temperature quilt_2

temp colors and chart

This swatch line-up is mostly accurate, but I have made some changes, reflected in the chart, although I did swap out Beryl 095 for Agave 094.  

I made myself a preliminary chart, but by looking at Weather Underground’s calendar for this month for my city, I could see I would need to add a couple more lows.  The chart on the right is the final one, and I added a color for rain, since that’s a Big Deal around here. Here’s the website for my city; you can type in yours and get your own calendar.

I was following along with Michonne’s Instagram posts for her Temperature Quilt last year.  Like me, she’s not a fan of the heat (she lives in a hot climate, too) and since I didn’t want a whole quilt of reds and oranges, I switched up my colors.  I don’t think it matters what you do, just keep a chart and be consistent.

temperature quilt_3

Because I recently had rotator cuff repair surgery (aha!  you knew it had been quiet around here…well that’s why), I was back to drawing lines on cloth and cutting them apart with scissors. It’s my right arm that’s out of commission, so no rotary cutting for me for a while.temperature quilt_4

I put them all in little baggies, labeled with their place in the chart, the color number and name, and the temperature degrees spread.  I went with a three-degree spread because I wanted a lot of variation and colors.temperature quilt_5temperature quilt_3atemperature quilt_6

I only made a few of this color, because if it’s over 115 for too many days, I don’t know what I’ll do.

temperature quilt_7b

If the day is warmer than the day before, the middle arrow points upward.
If the day is cooler than the previous day, the middle arrow points down.
If it’s a tie, I’ll look at the day’s low temperature and let that be the deciding factor.
If everything is a tie, then it stays pointing up.
Rain triangles always go on the left side of the big triangle when it’s pointing up (even if it is flipped around).temperature quilt_8

I penciled in the date in the seam allowances.temperature quilt_8a

It’s interesting sewing with the dominant hand mostly out of commission.  I’ve gotten better at wrangling the iron left-handed.  And I iron in steps, as shown above.  Everything is  s l o w e r.

temperature quilt_9

I was excited to get this to use for tracing around for cutting, but whoops. This just won’t do.
I corresponded with the company and apparently I need to iron the seam allowances toward the smaller triangles to make it work.  I haven’t done that.  Those of you who are long-time readers know I appreciate the sculpting that can happen with the direction the seam allowances are pressed. Because I want the larger triangle to pop, this won’t work, but I’m keeping this ruler around anyway. (I ended up using a smaller 4 -1/2″ ruler with a rough undersurface to help things from slipping around.)  [And no, I’m not obsessing if the tip of a triangle is cut off a bit.  There’ll be over 365 of those in this quilt, and since I’m working left-handed, it’s a miracle they are even sewn.]

temperature quilt_10

And so here I am on this nearly last day of January.  I planned this so I’d have pinks in the scorching temps and lots of blues in the moderate temps, but was surprised at the combination of oranges and greens in January’s temps.

 

It reminds me of the citrus bushes next to my driveway (kumquats) and if you ever drive by, you are welcome to pick some.  It’s citrus-picking season around here (Valencia oranges come on later in the season).  But no worries, I’ve lived before in Wisconsin in during one of the coldest-it’s-been-in-80-years winters, so I am familiar with how it feels be up North.  Obviously their temperature maps this year will be blasting open the lower ranges of possibility:

heat map jan 2019

(By the way, more than happy to see the National Weather Service and NOAA back up and running!)

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Pineapple Fabrics is the place where I buy all my Painter’s Palette. (If you use that link, you’ll be taken right to the place to purchase the fabrics.)  There are several of us who are total manaical fans of this fabric and after you try it, you’ll be converted.  Linda has written about why you should try this fabric; I’m in love not only with the colorfastness, but the silky hand and fine weave.

I’d like you to be able to try some.  Because I can’t get to the Post Office (not cleared for driving yet), and because my husband is the one doing all my errands, I’m going to limit this to U.S. readers only.

And you’ve got to get your quilts quilted, right?

Colorwheel Blossom_quilting

Quilting _Annularity4a thread

When I did the top quilt, all in a rainbow, Magnifico was just new on the market.  Some of those sections are Magnifico, some are So Fine, both threads by Superior Threads Company.

 

But when I quilted my two most recent quilts: Northern Lights Medallion and Annularity, it was Magnifico all the way for one reason: it makes your quilting look great.  Superior Threads has graciously agreed to give away some thread, too.

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If you want to win this bundle, leave me a comment about the hottest day you can remember and where it was.

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If you want to win this bundle, leave me a comment about the coldest day you ever lived through and where it was.

Both bundles have one spool of Magnifico Thread, and two yards of Painter’s Palette Solids.  Yep — you have to choose: either the Hottest or the Coldest.  If you write for both (always interesting) I’ll use the first comment you left for your entry.  If you are a follower, you get two double chances.  I’ll close the giveaway February 1st.

And many thanks to our donors:

superior threads

pineapple fabrics

Leave me a comment!

Giveaway now closed.  Thank you for entering!

Gridsters Blocks (January 2019) and Affinity software review

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The Gridsters are starting on their third year, and it’s been a delight to discover the variety of styles and choices each member puts forward for us to make for them.  Carol was our Queen Bee for January, and she asked us for blocks designed by Kristina of Center Street Quilts.

gridster jan sewinggridster jan2019_1I chose Geometric Christmas Tree and Mod Tree, and mailed them off a few days ago.

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before

I still haven’t settled my sewing room yet after last fall’s room switchearound, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to get everything off the floor and into some semblance of order.sewing room_2sewing room_3

My husband and I needed only two trips to IKEA to make this one work.sewing room_3a

We purchased a new light from Lowe’s Hardware that goes under the bookshelves, and boy, does it blast the lumens into the room.  I love it, and love that it is an LED which doesn’t give off much heat nor consume as much energy.  And I can see everything in my tiny sewing universe when I turn it on.sewing room_4

The ironing board gets set up in front, so the iron is parked on the right.  In the first bin on the top of the shelves, I put all those mini charm packs, and other random charm packs.  I don’t buy many precuts, and so they all fit in there.  The second shallower bin holds Featherweight Sewing Machine Stuff, as I purchased another Featherweight this fall when a neighbor cleaned out her mother’s storage unit and discovered that her mother had collected all these old sewing machines.  I’d also gone to a garage sale, where they had a box of feet and attachments; they appear to belong to the Featherweight, but I’m still researching.  One woman’s trash is another quilter’s treasure.

And I’m still trying to make the bins useful, so this will change as I work in here.  Right now the upper left holds stuff for Bee Happy, a quilt that my friend Leisa and I chose to do as a long-term project.  And as she says, “No deadlines.  If it takes us two years, so what!”

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Been working on this, both in cloth and in pattern.

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I decided to try to upgrade my pattern-writing skills, unsatisfied with my Microsoft Word  approach.  I’d been using Affinity’s Photo and Designer software, which everyone knows is sort of a replacement for the Adobe Creative Suite.  I didn’t want to join in the subscription plan that Adobe wanted me to, so found the Affinity (all 20% now for Christmas–so that makes it around $40 for the Photo and other software in their store–quite a difference from the Adobe prices!).

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This past fall, they released the free beta version of their Affinity Publisher, which I couldn’t wait to try.  They’ve had two upgrades since I started playing around with it, and each has improved the flow and workability of the app.  I can’t wait for it to be released in its final version.  I also tried to contribute to their Bug and Help forums, you know, to be a good brownie.  It wasn’t hard to come up with things to say, because I was working on patterns, but really, at this point, it’s almost ready for launch.

affinity pattern making nlm

I used screen shots from QuiltPro for the basis of my artwork, as they were perfectly sized, then modified them in Affinity Photo, then saved them as illustrations.  I opened Affinity Publisher Beta, watched all the training videos (taking notes) and dived in. I finished up one pattern earlier this week, did the pattern for my turn next month as Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and am still working on Northern Lights Medallion (NLM).  I’m sorry for the lateness in getting NLM out, but I’m learning as I go, and I wasn’t satisfied with how the templates laid out on the page (exported from QuiltPro) so it’s back to more learning, more Asking the Internet.  I’ll get there–thanks for your patience.

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