My Small World Top • flimsy finish

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It’s done!  I decided to forge with ahead My Small World because basically, nothing else in my life was getting done with that mess in the sewing room, and I wanted to be finished with this project, the Third Hard Quilt of 2019. Here, in my backyard studio, I’m showing the finished flimsy of My Small World, a pattern by Jen Kingwell.  I made some changes here and there, but it’s basically her pattern.  Began in 2014, I was nudged to completion by a new Instagram Quilt-a-long #mysmallworldsewcial, where many others are still working.  Let’s take each of the last two sections, one at a time:

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One late night I was thrilled to discover an Eiffel Tower in one of my fabrics.  I love the embroidery others had done, but it wasn’t for me.

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I took the hexie bubble with me to Guatemala last week, and stitched it up while chatting with my sister/BIL (who we went to visit) and on the plane home.  I brought home some illness, courtesey of the Chicken Bus airplane we flew home (kidding, it was a regular airplane but there were a lot of people sneezing, coughing, etc).

I made a teeny video of our visit to the bus depot in Antigua, where we saw a lot of Chicken Busses, so nicknamed because they can carry everything, including live chickens.  If I could have figured out how to add a chicken bus to this quilt, I would have; I fell in love with them, as well as Guatemala.

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I also fussy-cut a unicorn (just under the top rainbow, but everyone on IG called it a horse–his little white horn is hard to see).

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Underneath the arches and hexie-bubble are bigger blocks of fabric, as I figured I was going to cut them out from behind the two structures at the end, and why waste all that piecing?  I cut out the fabric from behind the rainbow (shown above) and the spikey arch and hexie-bubble:

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Those arches were a grind, but I did them.  I included other tips and tricks in this post.

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Section six was a relief to get to, after those arches.

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I liked the two blue silos, but they were a bit stark, so I added signs to them: a sewing chicken and the word Quilt.

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I changed the order of the bottom row of patches around, and I just couldn’t face another eight teeny flying geese, so I did a square-in-a-square with fussy-cut horses, since this is the farm section.

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I sewed those two sections together, then stitched it to the other part of the quilt I’d already completed.

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Yes, I’m pretty happy to be at this point.  My friend Laurel added a border to hers and I’m considering that, too.

My To-Do list of items is lengthy, all being held hostage by this quilt.  Now I need to go and clean up my sewing room, vacuum, clean some bathrooms, and try to find the extra furnace filter in the garage, as well as maybe take a nap. But I’m done!!!

Sing for Joy • Quilt Finish

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Sing for Joy • Quilt #226

This is the second of my Three Hard Quilts to Make for 2019.  It’s a lovely day now that Sing for Joy is finished.

Here was my recipe in four easy steps:

  • I decided I wanted to make a quilt with words, so I bought every quilt book there was on words.
  • Then I decided I wanted mine a bit wonky and NOT paper-pieced.  I posted the how-to’s, one by one on Quilt Abecedary.blogspot.com, where they still live.
  • I sent around an email to see if anyone else was interested, and some colleagues in a former online bee jumped in, so we ran the Spelling Bee ran for one year, all of us making words for each other.
  • I follow Kviltstina on Instagram, and she has the sweetest little creative shapes on her feed, so I put some of them in this quilt.

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The back, showing the signature blocks of my beemates.  I had to remake one, when the ink started running down the block when I pressed it; I guess she grabbed the wrong pen.  (It’s always something, right?)

Sing for Joy_1 Front

My husband and I went out for some photos in our neighborhood park, and several of the walkers asked about it, wondering how long it took to make it?  (Why is that always the first question, when people talk to us about our quilts?)

I began in 2016, and finished it this year (some early photos, above). I had to remake some of the words and cut down others, so I could fit them evenly on the quilt.   I hand wrote a label and pieced it in with the signature blocks, but if I printed one out it would say:

Sing for Joy label screenshot

My brother and I had an active discussion last week about whether or not there is such a thing as a soulmate.  I said I believed there is no such thing, as it was the stuff of movies and greeting cards.  What is possible is that you find yourself a partner and you work to build a relationship and sustain each other and the family.  Soulmates are ephemeral, I said.  Of course, he disagreed with me, as so might some of you.

But what I think I do believe in is a cheerleader, someone who has your best interests at heart, who encourages you, listens to you when you’re sad, upset, cheers you on in happy times and is steady and consistent.  Someone who is always on your team, and for who you’ll do the same.

This quilt is a tribute to my cheerleader of a husband, who 30 years ago married me and my four young children, raising us all.

He makes me Sing for Joy.

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tiny-nine-patches

First Hard Quilt of 2019

Second Hard Quilt of 2019

Third Hard Quilt of 2019

City Streets Pattern Release

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City Streets now has another rendition.

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I made it up in a 15″ block pattern, and broke into my meager Tula stash to create a colorful quilt.  This pattern is made for beginners, with no triangles anywhere.  I envisioned the 15″ block to sew up quickly for baby quilts and other times when you need a quilt.  Fast.

I cut and sewed this all in a long morning, which leaked a bit into the afternoon.  It’s a pretty quick sew if you are experienced, but a bit longer if you are a newbie.

City Streets Pattern Cover

City Streets, with both sizes included, is now for sale on PayHip. (Get coupon, below.)

Yardage City Streets

I also learned a few new things in my Affinity Publisher Software, making the pattern more colorful and easy-to-read.  Above is the yardage chart for both versions.

You’ve seen a photo shoot on the first version of this quilt, but more pictures of the new version (not yet quilted) are below:

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Here’s a coupon code for you in case you want to pick it up. Head over to PayHip and use CITYSTREETS20 — it will get you 20% off the price for a little more than a week (it expires on September 17th).

Happy Sewing!

Betsy’s Creation • Quilt Finish

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I found this 1920s vintage park with a grandstand in a small town just to the north of me and took my husband and my most recent finished quilt there, so we could do some photographing.  And some reminiscing.

Fleming Park

It’s a sweet little small-town-built-long-ago park that for some miracle has remained.  Named for an officer of the local cement company at the time, it’s known as the Thomas J. Fleming Memorial Park, built circa 1922-1925. Why is this important?

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I grew up in a small little town (not so little anymore), but it had that feeling of walking downtown on a hot summer’s evening, catching the fireworks on the 4th of July after seeing the parade that morning.  It had the feeling of being able to drop your school bag at the door, change in to your “play clothes,” and head over past the Muehlstein’s home to send this and that sailing down their irrigation canal until you knew it was time to go home for dinner.  (And did I mention that my childhood nickname was Betsy?)

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We’d walk up to Heber’s house and offer to find the eggs in his chicken coop for him.  He’d let us.  We would wind crepe paper in our bicycle spokes and all show up for a local parade.  This was also a place where I was smallminded at times, like when I teased Marlene in fourth grade over something dumb, and then used up all her Scotch tape.  It’s a place where others can also be mean, like when I got beat up by the Mitchell boy, and cried all the way home.  (Later my mother saw him on the road, rolled down her car window and gave him a talking-to like I’d never heard.)

This small town in America was my place, where I learned to behave myself so no neighborhood mother would ever have to lean out her car window and give me a scolding.  And how I wish I could go back in time and find Marlene and tell her how sorry I am.  It was a place to be small, to grow up, and to leave behind.

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But I catch glimpses of it when I think of it as a land of red, white and blue, where we love flags and fireworks and the Fourth of July.  It’s a land of learning to get along with your neighbor because you never know when that person with the different name would give you a lifetime memory.  Like when I needed to learn to ride a bike and Joan Muehlstein gripped the back of the seat, ran alongside me, and hollered, “Turn towards the wobble!”

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It’s mountains and vast plains, it’s small towns and big cities.  And America is where I like to be the most, even though now I’ve traveled and love Berlin and Bologna and other different places with wonderful people who’ve gone themselves through nice and mean, dark and light, thick and thin.  It’s when I return from far away and see that flag on the  wall at the airport with a sign that says “Welcome to the United States,” well, I get a misty-eyed, just like in those movies from the 1940s.

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It’s my home, this America.  And to me, it’s a pretty great place.

American Flag

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Betsy’s Creation • Quilt #225
Pieced by Elizabeth Eastmond • Quilted by Cathy Kreter
72″ wide x 86″ tall

Quilt began on Flag Day: June 14, 2019
Finished August 20, 2019
More info and a free worksheet for making this quilt can be found here.  I also made a companion smaller flag:

Flag for the Fourth_AFlag for the Fourth_B

City Streets • Quilt Finish

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Recently my husband and I took my latest quilt, City Streets, out to a small branch library in our town for some photos.  It was a deserted Sunday afternoon, perfect for us to find interesting shadows and backdrops.

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City Streets, 2019
Quilt No. 224, 47″ square

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I made this with a fat quarter stack of Vanessa Christensen’s ombre confetti dots: I wanted to see if it was possible for me to work with one line of fabric.  I almost made it, but pulled in some white grunge and a solid to offset the colorful squares.  I quilted it on my Handquilter Sweet 16 using Art Studio Color 101, which looks like gold, but it’s not a metallic thread.  I did the background using So Fine color 401, which is a white, but not stark white hue.  I only mention these details because our last guild meeting had a speaker who emphasized this point: we should tell people what thread  and fabric we quilt with.

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The back, and the label:

City Streets_labelGinza Scramble

Maybe my original design was inspired by this scramble intersection in the Ginza area of Tokyo, or by this view of Tokyo from the Government Building (below)?

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Thanks to my ever-supportive husband for holding quilts, and helping find great locations for photography. Pattern coming soon.

Far Away Doors • Quilt Finish

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Doors opening, closing on us
by Marge Piercy

Maybe there is more of the magical
in the idea of a door than in the door
itself. It’s always a matter of going
through into something else. But

while some doors lead to cathedrals
arching up overhead like stormy skies
and some to sumptuous auditoriums
and some to caves of nuclear monsters

most just yield a bathroom or a closet.
Still, the image of a door is liminal,
passing from one place into another
one state to the other, boundaries

and promises and threats. Inside
to outside, light into dark, dark into
light, cold into warm, known into
strange, safe into terror, wind

into stillness, silence into noise
or music. We slice our life into
segments by rituals, each a door
to a presumed new phase. We see

ourselves progressing from room
to room perhaps dragging our toys
along until the last door opens
and we pass at last into was.

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Far Away Doors
Quilt No. 216 • 49 1/2″ wide by 43 1/2″ tall
Some blocks sent to me by the Gridsters Bee

Finished!

I originally named it “Home-keeping Hearts” but that was just its milk name as it had just been born and I was in a cheezy mood of  Hearts and Deep Meanings and All That.  Marge Piercy said it best about doors, even quilty ones inspired by far away doors from Dublin, Ireland:

“the image of a door is liminal, / passing from one place into another / one state to the other, boundaries // and promises and threats. Inside / to outside, light into dark, dark into / light, cold into warm, known into / strange, safe into terror, wind // into stillness, silence into noise / or music.”

The photograph on the truck?  It went like this: on our way to get some Vietnamese bùn châ for lunch, we trekked down to our newest neighbors’ home to ask if we could please pose the quilt on their cool car, and so I knocked on their door and it opened to a crying baby in the other room and a smiling baby in his father’s arms and good-natured parents, owners of a new-to-them truck and the mother’s name was Genesis and the father’s name was Nate and we introduced ourselves and they said yes, of course, and then they headed back inside because it was about a hundred degrees outside, as they smiled and waved and shut the door behind them, the  lovely music of a home with a young family and a Ford Ranger just made for quilt posing.

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And so, this variation of Merrion Square is finished.  I pass out the how-to sheet as a freebie when people take my Merrion Square classes, so hopefully you’ll be in one soon.  Check my schedule to see if there’s a workshop near you.

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And finally, many thanks to all who entered the giveaway for the ruler.  The winner has been notified by email and I’ll get the ruler off to her this week.  I am leaving the post up because there are so many great responses to my question.  You are all a significantly talented and experienced group of quilters — thank you for your ruler advice!

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