It’s Fall–Time for a Christmas Frivols (#10 is finished!)

Fall Food Pumpkin Spice

What does fall mean?

It’s fall, when — if you live in the Northern States — leaves turn colors and fall off the trees.  Here in Southern California we know it’s fall because all the pumpkin spice food shows up in grocery stores, even though the temps are still in the 80s.

Carrot Cauliflower Soup

We pretend it’s fall, and serve fall-colored food, like this Carrot Cauliflower Soup, and we’ve gotten out the fall-colored placemat and napkins, and you can bet there are pumpkins on my table.

Frivols 10_10dAnd if you answered “Christmas!!” in response to the prompt, you — unfortunately — are also correct.  So to take photographs of Frivols #10 finish, done up in a Sweetwater Christmasy line of fabrics, I headed to Costco for the photo shoot.

Here are the finishing up photos for this little quilt, finishing at 32″ by 36″: arranging the quarter-log cabin square, pinning, then quilting it.  I didn’t have any red fabric for the binding, but in my Christmas bin, found a piece of an earlier Sweetwater Christmas line, and yes–it works quite well.

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So I’m tucking and arranging, and a woman comes by and says “They sell quilts at Costco?”  Turns out she’s a quilter (takes one to find one in Costco) and she agreed to hold up the quilt for me next to the ribbons and bows.  I never did find out her name, but we had a great chat about quilting groups, how beginners would be more successful choosing simple quilt designs, the advantages of working with a complete line of fabric in quilts.  It was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had in that giant warehouse store.

Here are couple other photos:
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Almost looks as if the snowmen are helping me.  Interestingly enough, aside from the quilter, nobody else thought it was weird that I was taking photos of a quilt…or at least they didn’t say anything. Here are some photos of the quilt in my garden:

I especially like the look of the stack on that last one.

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Ten done — two to go — so onto Frivols #11!

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Starry Sky Mug Rug

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This summer, my niece Abby, let me have one of her hand-thrown mugs, of which I was thrilled to get (I love hot chocolate).  I meant to send her a little quilted mug rug in return, but that project seemed to get stalled for one reason or another.  But last week, I decided not one more thing would be done until I finished it and sent it off.  (Sometimes you just have to give yourself a little talk.)

I used the Starry Sky block pattern, by Kylie Kelsheimer (a downloadable pattern from Craftsy).  In this new version of her pattern, she has three sizes, and the 6″ size is perfect for a mug rug.

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My niece likes to go hiking, and lives up in the Northwest, so I used colors of purple mountains, green hills and aqua-and-blue waters.  I bound it in navy.

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I used an agate-stone looking print for the back, one of my favorites lurking in my stash.

It took me a couple of hours from start to finish.  It’s a paper-pieced pattern, so all the star points are sharp and it goes together easily.  I kept a photo of the block near me when putting the pieces together, to keep myself straight.

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I listened to the latest Bruno, Chief of  Police book, The Resistance Man, and that kept me going.  Then I ran it to the Post Office, and off it went.  I hope Abby likes it.

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A couple of days before I’d made Simone’s blocks for the Gridsters Bee, a wee bit late, but she forgave me.

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And then I got right on October’s blocks for Joan, for the Gridsters Bee.  She asked for a black-and-white New York Beauty block, with a touch of solid color.  Hope she likes these.

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I liked this old photograph of women sewing, found on the website for the National Gallery of Ireland, reminding me of my travels (I’m finally over the jetlag).

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Here’s your reminder: the perfect is the enemy of the good, Stephan Pastis style.  As some long-time readers know, I believe in this quote and used to keep it on my syllabi when I was a teacher.  Sometimes it’s good to just be *good,* and not strive for perfection.  Hope that idea helps you “lead a sane and balanced life.”

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Berlin)

As I mentioned in the last post, this is a visual sampling of some of the patterned surfaces and interesting places that caught my eye while in Berlin, not an exhaustive travel write-up.

Berlin Brandenburg Gate

The first full day was the Berlin Marathon, with 40,000 runners and a record-beating time.  Because of this, we had more access to the Gate and enjoyed seeing it all lit up.

Berlin Brandernberger Tor Station

Underground stop for the Brandenburger Gate

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I made my way to the former East Berlin, where Frau Tulpe’s shop was located, and ended up buying some fabrics of her own design.Berlin Frau Tulpe_2Berlin Frau Tulpe_2aBerlin Frau Tulpe_2b

It was a fun place with lots to look at.

Berlin Handwerker

A lot of times I’d go to look at a sight the guidebook suggested, then wander off course and find interesting places like this: the Berlin Craftsman Association building, with wonderful light coming in through that back double door:

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You can hear the Singing Lesson in this IG video clip.

Berlin curvy building

This was seen on one of my many bus rides.  I’d climb up to the top level of the bus, try to sit in the front and have my own private tour.

Berlin Hotel Chocolate Hour

Every day at 4 p.m., the hotel would put out treats for “Chocolate Hour.”  I could see this happening at a quilt retreat, although we’d need a lot more.

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There were two main locations to see the Berlin Wall, and this one had paintings on one side.  I had two favorites.  This one showed the crush of ecstatic East Berliners, finally allowed to cross through their oppressive borders.  I can recommend the book, Forty Autumns, if you want a taste of this (previously recommended).

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And I like these women, who reminded me of women from the turn of the century.

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While in Frau Tulpe’s, someone recommended this store, Karstadt, which called for another bus ride.Berlin Karstadt_2Berlin Karstadt_2aBerlin Karstadt_2b

Couldn’t believe that I was seeing Free Spirit, and at a bargain price! (about 8 bucks a yard)Berlin Karstadt_3Berlin Laundry

Everybody needs a wash day while traveling, and I brought my stitching along.

Berlin Idee

Another place we saw fabric was at idee.  This one was next door to KaDeWe, a big, fancy department store, but I also saw idee. at the Mall of Berlin, next to the two-story slide.Berlin Idee_1Berlin Reichstag

Climbing up the Reichstag Dome presented so many interesting shapes and patterns, all with a view.

Berlischer Galerie

This building reminded me of a quilt pattern.  It was across from the entrance to the Berlinischer Galerie (yellow tiles). It had several wonderful exhibits.

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Grill (above) and floor tiles (below) from the Neues Museum, which housed antiquities.

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The Bode Museum had room after room of red-and-white patterned floor tiles.  I’m sure the guards thought I was a little bit dotty when surrounded by beautiful art, I was snapping photos of their floors.

Berlin Dome Photo Mus

My husband is always photographing the interior of domes (above); I followed his example in the Old National Gallery (below):

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But one of the most fun days I had was meeting up with Evelinde, and going to lunch and seeing one of her local quilt shops.  We met on Instagram, and I was so blown away by her being willing to meet up with a stranger and spend some time out of her busy schedule.  She’s so lovely, and shared stories with me, answering so many questions.  While there are many negatives to social media, meeting quilters halfway across the world, or the states, is one of the positives, for me.

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We did Show and Tell in the restaurant; this is only one of her many fabulous pieces.  I only had the pathetic little screen on my phone.  She is inspiring!

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She took me here, to Hobby and Handarbeiten (Handicrafts).

I rarely buy fabric overseas anymore, but I always like to look and see.  I loved the embroidery floss–mine is always in bins and tangled up, and was generally impressed with the range of fabrics they carried.

Berlin Sweet KaDeWe

Since we try to travel cheaply, I purchased my husband’s breakfast (for the next day) when I was out and about, and I thought you’d like to see what I had to choose from.  I also supplemented with yogurt and juice and fruit from the local grocery store.  And we ate great meals at night, mostly from small places near our hotel:

Berlin Doner

Doner, from Berlin

Berlin Babelplatz

Lastly, I leave you with the sight of this beautiful plaza, Babelplatz.  The caption is found on the Instagram video. Click to see my farewell to this great city.

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Dublin)

I’m dividing this into two posts: first up is Dublin.  As a quilter, I didn’t know what to expect in the surface decoration, the patterns of everyday life in Dublin. Certainly we all are familiar with Celtic knots and crosses and the like, but I have never been that enamoured of those style of quilts (maybe it’s because I couldn’t face appliquéing all those linear feet of bias strips), so was looking for the “flavor” of Dublin that might interest me, a quilter.  So here follows not a travelogue of the two cities I visited, but instead, a sampling of visual pattern and a nod to fabric shops I encountered.

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Christ Church, in Dublin, is undergoing renovation in certain areas of its property so they erected these fun, bold passageways to usher the visitor forward.  I thought it was just genius pulled out of thin air, until we entered the cathedral:

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The designs are pulled from its floors.  My husband is thoroughly trained as a Quilter’s Husband, so he started snapping photos, too, knowing how I would love the designs.Dublin Christchurch floor2

This is a panorama of one section of floor, and I recognize so many designs, as do you.  You can do a search on them, and find lots of material and more illustrations, but the tiles were either original to the 13th century, or 19th century copies.

Dublin Donuts

If I lived in Dublin, these would be my preferred snack.  They are nothing like American donuts–maybe a little like the filled ones, but their flavors and combinations were addicting.  I could see bringing one of each to a quilt retreat.

Dublin floral building

Lots of flowers, lots of green.

Dublin National Library

We went to the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin, after I saw photos of the reading room.  No photos were allowed, so I grabbed this one from the web:

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What a color palette!

Dublin St. Patricks Door

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also in Dublin, brought more eye candy to this quilter:Dublin StPatricks floor1

Christ Church still is the best, I think, in terms of floor tiles.

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Two shops: Hickey’s and Cloth. I zipped right into Cloth and brought home a tote bag (like I need another tote bag, right?).  I smiled when I saw their floor tiles.

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Other decorative surfaces were the tiles design at the Garden of Remembrance, with coving on the side of the pool that imitated the laid tiling:

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Lastly, hexagon stamps…which I admired, but forgot to purchase.

Next up: Berlin.

 

Frivols 10

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It’s the first week of October and has been my tradition this year, I announce the next Frivols I’ll be making for that month. (Only three more months to go.)

 

Titled The Cookie Exhange, box #10 inclues a Christmasy set of fabrics, recipe cards for the extra, a quote about cookies, and directions to a cute Bento-box type quilt called (what else?) “Sugar.”  More info can be found on the Moda blog.

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I had put all of the Frivols tins in two cloth bags in my closet, and one-by-one I had been drawing them out to use.  What a nice surprise it was to find extra fabric tucked in next to this box.  See? I was being kind to my future self (for once).

AND, I’d like to announce the winner of the Paint by Numbers quilt book, a digital copy sent out by C & T books.

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Random Number Generator picked respondent #5, so congrats, Susan!  I’ll be emailing you details for how to get your book.

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Thank you to all who entered, and happy sewing!

 

Paint by Numbers, a creative approach to pictorial quilts

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I was recently asked to review Kerry Foster’s new book, Paint-by-Number Quilts, recently published by C & T, and I eagerly said yes.  I’ve been a quilty-pal of Kerry’s for some time, and enjoy her style of quilt-making.

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Her style reminds me somewhat of Edrica Huws.  I love the energy this type of quiltmaking generates, as I trend toward the pristine and ordered, and am not as comfortable with the assemblage/collage.  I always want to be better, but it’s like trying to straighten that errant curl in your hair–when you are not looking, it springs back to where it wants to be.
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So I thought I would give Kerry’s techniques a try in recreating this picture, taken when we were in Burano, Italy some years ago.  I like the weather-beaten look and knew that it would be better served by Kerry’s Paint-by-Numbers approach.Red Door_2_small

I threw it into an image processing program and used a filter on it to highlight the edges, but you could just trace the strong lines using a lightbox.Red Door_3_small

I extracted all the color, so I could see the shapes, then printed that directly onto the dull side of freezer paper, cut to size and put through my color printer.

I trimmed the freezer paper to size, taped it to a piece of cardstock at the top edge and fed it through the printer.  Mine has a rear cassette access, so the paper path is flow-through (it’s the reason I purchased this one).  Since I’m making one of my tiny picture-stand quilts, there are two images per page.

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I did draw on lines and prepared it for construction, according to her instructions in her well-written book.  All the information is clear and concise, with great photo illustrations to accompany each step.

I’m mid-process in the upper left photo, layering up the pieces as per Kerry’s instructions.  Yes, it did dawn on me at this point, that I’ve hardly broken out into wild new territory, but I liked this door when I took a photo of it some years ago.

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In retrospect, I realized that some of the proportions are off a bit — like the doorway is kind of floating, but I am always learning.  Next doorway will be better…and wilder!

Instructions for a tiny quilt on a frame are here.

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The back.  I’ve finally wised up and am using some of my favorite fabrics in quilts, instead of leaving them on the shelf.  I can enjoy them that way, instead of never seeing them.

Okay, back to the real reason for this post: letting you see a couple of the fun things that Kerry has in her book for you to make:

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Grizzly Bear quilt

Kerry, and C&T Publishing would like to for you to have a copy of her book. There are many others who have reviewed Kerry’s Paint-by-Numbers Quilting book; I’m one of the last.  Each one is running their own giveaway, if you want to visit them:

Monday Sept 17 – Kerry @ PennyDog

Tuesday Sept 18 – Deirdre @ C&T Publishing

Wednesday Sept 19 – Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts

Thursday Sept 20 – Sarah @ Coopcrafts *

Friday Sept 21 – Krista @ Poppyprint *

Monday Sept 24 – ME!  Elizabeth @ OPQuilt

Tuesday Sept 25 – Wendy @ The Crafter’s Apprentice

Wednesday Sept 26 – Angela @ Heart of Charnwood *

Thursday Sept 27 – Leanne @ She Can Quilt *

Friday Sept 28 – Katy @ The Littlest Thistle

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To enter to win a digital copy, please leave me a comment below.  Thanks to you, and many thanks to Kerry and C&T!