Fabric Collage at Road

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books.  He painted representations of these objects on the canvas, arranging them in such a way that collection of objects formed a recognizable likeness of the portrait subject. (found online)

Azulejos at Road

Above, the main hallway, with quilts from our Inland Empire Modern Quilt guild.

I had my own turn at playing Arcimboldo this past Monday at Road to California, in a collage class taught by Laura Heine.

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We arrived at the hotel ballroom, purchased our kits, and started fusing fabric to Steam a Seam 2. But of course, only one iron worked.  Soon, Laura had rustled up irons from ballrooms that were vacant, so we were in business.

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Then we started cutting and cutting and cutting.  After lunch she showed us how to start laying out our cut pieces using the pattern shape to help keep us organized.  It was a challenge.  It made me think of Arcimboldo, but I also remembered when I was a teenager in Lima, Peru and the only way we could decorate our walls (big posters hadn’t really been invented yet, for teenagers’ rooms) was to lay out cut out pieces from fashion magazines onto a piece of newspaper, and carefully cover the newsprint to create some sort of art, one piece at a time.  My sister, Christine, excelled at this, but soon all four of us were creating collages, guided by her teaching.

Tokyo Face Collage

Here are two more collages that my husband and I glimpsed in a store window in the Ginza area of Tokyo a couple of years ago.

Tokyo Face Collage2Tokyo Face Collage 2_side

Here it is, from the side.

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Slowly, the bears around the classroom started to take shape.

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This is Arcimboldo’s portrait titled “Flora,” a lovely lady made all of flowers…just like I was trying to do with my bear in a classroom at Road to California.

Arcimboldo Winter

His Four Seasons are some of his more well-known works; above is Winter.  I kept thinking of the version I’d seen in more recent memory: a giant sculpture in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  Arcimboldo in 3D, rendered by Philip Hass in pigmented and painted fiberglass.

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This is probably 20 feet tall.

Heine_Class California Bear

And here is my bear.  Arcimboldo would be proud of me.  However, I still have the backgrounds to do.

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Here’s the class sample.  It is evident I have a lot of work to do yet, but Heine’s artful versions of fabric collage are much more inticing that stacks of vegetables, or retail items.  It was a good but busy day; Heine was a lovely teacher who encourages her students onward.  

Monday marked the official opening of Road to California 2020.  I have two Jen Kingwell classes (Wednesday and Thursday) and Thursday is the day that the show opens, and I’ll be able to finally glimpse my three quilts hanging in the show this year!  Then Friday is the night I get to hear Jenny Doan in an evening lecture.  Lisa and three friends are coming in from Utah, Afton is arriving tomorrow from New Mexico, and I’ll get to meet up with lots of new and returning friends from around the area.

I love Road week!

Tiny Envelope & More Blocks

Gridsters January 2020

It all started, this idea of Tiny Envelopes, when a) I came down with a bad cold and everything I’d ever done in the world seemed lame and stupid, and b) Carol, our Gridster Queen Bee for January had us all make wee televisions for our signature blocks, in order to match up the larger block of Lori Holt’s vintage TV.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate on the first reason, but this is my THIRD cold of the season, and I am sick and tired of being sick-and-tired.  And I live in sunny Southern California, and no one ever feels sorry for you in the winter.

Then, last night, when the cold and sniffles had interrupted my sleep and I lay there, pondering this (can you tell I’ve been watching Jane Austin’s Sanditon on PBS, where they belabor every point, and examine everything to the point of madness?), following in Carol’s footsteps seemed the way to go.

Tiny Envelope

This little 6″ finished block will be my signature block for when it’s my turn, which is coming right up next month.  Last fall I spent many hours making a variety of my chosen bee block in my quilt program, in preparation for my turn at Queen Bee.

And it was that, which all of a sudden seemed so inane.  So last night this made perfect sense.

Tiny Envelope Illustration

So here are my instructions for making Tiny Envelope blocks, in downloadable PDF form (it’s slightly different than the illustration above):

Tiny Envelope Flier

(The usual caveats apply: don’t download for classes, parties, or your best friend.  Please send them here to this blog to get their own copy.)

Here are a slew of pictures to go along with the Tiny Envelope blocks flier:

TinyEnvelope_1

All the bits.

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I sewed one slender envelope strip on one side, trimmed it; then repeated the process.  Press.

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Now take that square that you cut in half and sew to one side, letting the tip of one side of the triangle extend 1/4″ past the edge.  The other side will really extend.  (Pay this no mind.)

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Sew the other side on.  You can see the 1/4″ bit of the tip extending on the upper left side. Thankfully, it does the same on the bottom.  Stitch, trimming off that excess first triangle.

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Now for the background.  Same idea.  Look for 1/4″ on the lower right edge, and let the rest of the triangle flow off the top.

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Sew the other triangle on.  Trim and press.

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The sides were bugging me.  I laid a 4″ ruler, so that the 45-degree angles matched up perfectly with my inner envelope, and trimmed both sides.

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I sewed on the strips for both sides, then evened up the top, too.

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Lower strip is on.  True the whole thing up to 6″ square, or leave it for me to do when you send it.  Either is fine.  And also for my Gridsters, use a background that is lively (no low-volume stuff), but that still reads “light,” like this one.  The envelope part will match the color of your eventual choice next week.  Like that makes any sense, but soon it will.  The rest of you can just make fun little envelope blocks.

In other news blocks…

Tri-Ball

My friend Simone designs new and interesting blocks for our chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  This is the Tri-Ball block that’s coming up to submit to the March drawing.  I really love this one!

Extra HSTs from Tri-Ball

Snowball Triangle Example

Since this has some snowball corners, if you double-sew that seam 1/2″ apart, then cut in between the two lines of stitching, you can get some fun HSTs.

Orange Fields HSH

I’m also re-writing, re-freshing my Home, Sweet Home pattern, and changed up some of the construction techniques, so I made up a new version.  I call this my Orange Grove Houses, especially now that its January and all the citrus is popping out in Southern California!

Quilted My Small World

Lastly, before this cold hit, I was able to finish up the quilting on My Small World. It’s good to hit the pause button now and again, to enjoy the (here comes my Jane Austin voice) fruits of our labors, the blessing of our handiwork.

Now I’m going back to the bed to practice some fainting and work on handling those nasty spells that come over a Victorian woman.  But boy, do I love all the clothes they wear.  It’s worth watching that show, if only to catch a glimpse of Miss Heywood’s dress with the pineapple sleeve caps!

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Happy Quilting!

Temperature Quilt Top • January 2020

One-thousand-ninety-five triangles along with six rectangles make up the face of this heat map quilt, cataloging the temperatures and rainfall of Riverside, California in 2019.  I have no plans to make another, but I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up with this, faltering only in my crazybusy November to December (finishing those two months in the first few days of January — which is why I couldn’t get the holiday decorations down until January 7th).

temp colors and chart

Of the four numbers at the top of the fabric square, the color numbers are the three numbers written on the right side. The first number is for cataloging.

Here is the original Temperature Quilt Key, for those on IG who keep asking for it (it lives here, on the blog); it was first published early in the year, outlinging my intents and purposes.

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The un-adorned face of the quilt, today in my sewing room.

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I’m thinking of a narrow border before I begin to add other blocks around this quilt, to make it a bit larger.

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I embroidered the temps on the corresponding triangles in my Temperature Quilt Key.

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I have a lot of triangles leftover, so I thought I’d sew them together, fit them into a pattern, somehow, and sew them on the outside.Seoul Korea Triangle Doorway

I guess I have in mind the doorway we saw in Seoul, triangles everywhere.

ESE with 4 grands Dec 2020

Thought I’d flash up here a photo of me with four of my amazing granddaughters.  I have two more, just as far away.  They make me look young.

North Country Quilt with Dani

Danielle agreed to help me lay out the interior of my North Country Patchwork Quilt.  I finished all the interior pieces; now on to the rings.

MySmallWorldJan_1

While this shows just the sky quilted, I have now finished the quilting on My Small World.  I’m still looking for a good title for this quilt, but My Small World is such a great shorthand.  I’m determined to have it finished by Road to California, as I’m in two different classes taught by Jen Kingwell, who created this quilt.  Yep, I want her to sign a label.  Which means I have to get the binding on, then make the label.

Circe book

Finished this, too, just about the time I finished up the quilting.  I could listen to narrator on this audio book read the phone directory, she’s that good, but the novel is wonderful by itself.

 

It’s that New Year Stuff

When I’m deep in the tired mind blahs, mindlessly wandering through my Feedly list can sometimes yield nuggets that flash in my brain and perk me up.  I follow Zen Habits, and this week Leo Babauta’s words plonked into my brain with a spark.

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Apparently even Tarot cards are aware of this brain-fog issue.

What caught my eye was How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day.  I see a lot of these change-your-life-in-the-new-year articles.  After having lived a few years on this planet, I usually just ignore their advice, but I did like this:

[Any] success I’ve had in increasing my focused time comes down to three habits:
•  Asking myself what meaningful, impactful work I can get done today.
•  Creating space for the meaningful work instead of just doing busywork or being distracted all day.
•  Working in fullscreen mode and diving in.

So I was interested to see that he and I have the first thing in common. I’ve used something similar for years: after I’ve ditzed around for part of the day, I ask myself “What do you want to have done before you quit working today?” and after identifying that ONE thing, I get to work on it.  It’s cured a lot of procrastination issues when I use it.

He expands by noting that “Most of us just dive into our inboxes, social media, favorite online sites, and busywork to start our day. We might have some bigger tasks on our lists, but they get lost in the woods of our day. It’s an incredible habit to take even a few moments at the beginning of your day (or the end of the day before) to give some thought to where you’d like to concentrate your attention. What is worth doing today? What is worth focusing on? What is worth spending the limited time you have in this life?” [italics are mine]

He approaches the second idea — of creating space — in a more roundabout way.  It’s almost like we have to trick ourselves.  He says “Set aside the next 20 minutes for writing, or getting moving on a big project. I don’t have to do the whole project in this time, but just the act of giving myself more space to focus is a huge shift. This is more of a mental act than a physical one: you just tell yourself that it’s time to focus on this important task. You breathe, and say, ‘This is worthy of my attention and effort right now. Let’s put aside everything else and give this some space.’ “January 2020 Messy RoomBut it’s also hard to get going when your sewing space looks like this.

Notice the chair is clear.  I can still do some work.  That’s what he means of working in the third idea, fullscreen mode: ignore everything else around the edges, and just focus in.  I used to only be able to work in a very clean, very tidy sewing room.  But I got over that.  I still like to clean it up, and did leave it sort of clean when we went up to Utah to help Mom and Dad clear out their condo of 30 years, in preparation for moving to a senior community, but I brought back various sewing things, a small Viking sewing machine THAT WAS MADE IN SWEDEN (I know, I know!) and I just plopped them around.

I spent three days quilting My Small World, and now it’s ready for borders.  I need to put a slim border around my Temperature Quilt before I move forward, and just like that…I am making a list in my mind about what I want to do first.

It’s also helped that the busyness that has been present in my life since — say, about September — culminated with our First Monday Sew Day this past week (pictures, above).  It’s quite gratifying to see Hayley, a beginning quilter, turn out such pristinely perfect pinwheels (lower left corner).  She’s only been sewing for about a month, and puts me to shame!

Here’s our flier from that day, where we covered snowball blocks and half-square triangles:

FirstMonday Jan2020 Sample

For the handout, click on this title: FirstMondaySewday_Jan6_2020

Pattern HSH underconstruction

Still working on revising Home, Sweet, Home–there are lots of new illustrations to make — as I will be teaching this a lot this year and want a shiny new version to take with me when I visit Guilds.  I also began new duties as VP of Communications for our local Modern Quilt Guild, and have my first board meeting next week.  I’m impressed with all the service I hear that you give to your Guilds and wanted to do the same.

Thank you notes 2020.jpg

Finally, I always begin the new year by writing my thank you notes.  These, from Quiltfolk, were perfect.  I hope you all have good beginnings to your new year!

Happy Old Year Ending 2019

I am a firm believer in making lists.  There are Best Seller Lists, To-Do Lists, Grocery Lists, Honey-Do Lists, in short, lists for everything.  A grand event in my world is making a list of tasks, then whipping out my yellow marker to cross them off when completed.  I even have lists of lists, and many of them are in my calendar

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This is my list of what I accomplished in 2020, quilt-wise.  We won’t talk about the other stuff (like shoulder surgery–yikes!).

You haven’t seen number 18 Azulejos yet.  And in a little more housekeeping, Field Flowers, number 7 in the listing above, is listed as 188 in my Quilt Index, since I posted about the top back then, and like to keep them together.

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Can’t believe I made five Merrion Square quilts.  But here they are.

I also made a couple more Tiny Quilts which aren’t listed; they are free patterns available in the tab “Tiny Quilts” at the top of the blog.Crossroads SModerne.jpg

This was a highlight of 2019, as I am quite a fangirl of this magazine.

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Here’s one you haven’t seen on this blog yet.  It’s Home Is Where the Heart is, a re-do of my Home, Sweet Home pattern.  Lots of people would rather piece in the doors and windows (the smaller version has you fuse them on), so I am in the process of refreshing the pattern; it will be available Febrary 1st in PayHip.

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The backing shows scenes of New York City, and reminds me of my daughter, who is in totally besotted with that place.  She was born there, but we moved when she was still tiny.  The city is in her DNA, I’m convinced.2019 completed Quilt Tops.jpg

But I still have some work to do.  Tannenbaum was on my Christmas Day post, and it needs a few more tons more squares for the borders so it can live on my bed in December.  Small World is pin-baseted, ready for quilting, as is the City Streets variation.  And that Temperature Quilt will soon be finished (like tonight).

Output number Sign 2019

So, even though I started the  year with that surgery which sidelined me for a few months, I think my output has been decent.  I also visited seven different guilds, taught seven workshops, and wrote/refreshed many of my patterns.  I’m not listing the number of doctor visits, trips to the grocery store, visits to the car dealership, nor the trips to see my children/grandchildren/parents/family.  In this blog, all revolves around the quilt, and my Quilt Index (or Indices, if you want to get technical).

And why is a quilt index important for you?  I was sitting next to Judy R. in December’s Guild meeting, and the question came up “Who has made the most quilts?”  Several women raised their hands, but Judy popped her hand up and said “Elizabeth has! And has a Quilt List to prove it!” (She’s very sweet.) It made me, yet again, happy that I’d made a quilt index and kept it up to date.  In this new upcoming  year, I’d like to encourage you to start one, if you haven’t already.

BTC and ESE Matching Outfits

That daughter and I, long long ago.

If you are new to this blog, last year I wrote an introduction of who I am.  In this space, I generally talk about my quilts, places I go that are textile/quilty related, as well as discuss quilt/work/create topics once in a while.  I keep this quote of Thomas Merton’s handy, perhaps to help me keep perspective:

“We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.”

For now, for today, it’s time to unwind from that tension, take a break and close out this year, looking forward to the next.  In all ways, quilting can help.

German Happy New Year

Prosit Neujahr 2020!