300 Quilts · Christmas Quilts

Evergreen, EverLife • Quilt Finish 2022

Evergreen, EverLife • Quilt #263
87″ wide x 98″ high

Center Tree: Made from a kit from Edyta Sitar. I started this in December 2019, sewing with friends. I changed up the background to something lighter.

Three borders (ric-rac squares, Sawtooth Stars, red with vines); designed and pieced/appliquéd by Elizabeth Eastmond. Binding on and finished this past week.

Quilted by Kelley Bachli.

The game: Find pine trees at quilt level in Southern California without going into the mountains. I think we did okay.

Title: The reason why the evergreen (or pine, fir, what-have-you) tree is around at Christmas is because it is ever green. I’m sure there is the bit about adopting it from pagan festivals, etc. but whatever the original reason, it has become a lovely symbol of enduring life. So I connected those two: ever-green and ever-life in the title, reminding me that I have life forever because of Christ’s birth. The trick is, of course, to do something worthwhile with that life that’s been handed to me. (Working on that.)

Either I’m very early for Christmas this year, or very late for 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Other posts about this quilt:
Tannenbaum Top Finished (early name, taken from Sitar’s pattern)
Tannenbaum, in construction
Decorating Tannenbaum
When I purchased Tannenbaum (at PIQF)


MOVING ON…

We reached a sad milestone this past week: we have decided to stop receiving paper copies of one of our three newspapers. It’s the newspaper we get every day on our driveway, and I read it while having breakfast and eating my granola. We also get a national Sunday paper, and then subscribe to another national one online.

First stop, always: the comics. Then, the advice column, the horoscope. Headlines come next, and then I go through it skimming, catching the tidbits that fall into your lap when you have a paper-paper and there is no algorithm trying to force you into reading what THEY want you to. I read opinion editorials of all stripes, Letters to the Editor, and the regional news (this isn’t our local paper which went off the rails several years ago). This particular morning, I found three comic strips which seemed just for me:

And for that last one, I nominate the people who thought it was a good idea to jack up the prices our “introductory offer” to this newspaper of several years ago. We are diehard newspaper supporters, but when we recently did the math, the price over the years had crept up to nearly $800/year (!) for the subscription price. So good-bye to a life-long tradition, planted in us by our parents. I will miss you. (But don’t you love these comics?)

I MADE A DRESS. SHOCK.

It’s an EVA dress, and I’m wearing it today, accessorized with beads and lightweight jacket (you know — the air conditioning — even though the high today is supposed to be in the upper 80s). I put on 3/4-length sleeves, faced the neckline and put bias trim on the hem because it is a lantern-shaped dress. I first saw it on Lorena of Sydney at QuiltCon 2020 in Austin and fell in love with it. It’s a pattern from Tessuti Fabrics.

This was my first rodeo with online patterns. I was apprehensive about getting the pattern printed so I inadvertently ordered a hard-copy of the pattern in one size, and a downloadable copy of the pattern in another size (they have two sizes with lots of other sizes on it). I ended up using the paper instruction booklet with the downloadable pattern, getting it printed off at my local Staples/OfficeMax store.

Susan of Patchwork and Play is also my inspiration, and I’ve since ordered the Sawtell pattern from In the Folds. That’s waiting in the wings, but I don’t have much to say about this as I’m still figuring it out.

Two more crossed off

NEXT…

Back to Lorena–I also fell in love with her larger version of Ring Cycles on Steroids and that is now in the works. Maybe I want to be ahead of the game with another holiday quilt. After this one, I only have two more to sew that are in the closet (that I know about). I seem to collect Christmas quilt fabrics and ideas.

Pinned up Spectral Light, the bigger version of Triad Harmony. The pattern name is Triad Harmony, but you can see I have other versions: one is called Secret Garden (Kaffe fabrics) and one is called Stella di Natale (Christmas, again). I need to quilt them all.

LASTLY…

She describes this phase of my life pretty perfectly.

But don’t we pressure ourselves to do the first, and beat ourselves up a bit if it’s the second? These dots circle (haha) back around to the thoughts at the top, and about doing something worthwhile with this life I’ve been given.

I’ve always loved C. S. Lewis’ quote (below) about recognizing the potential in others, rather than snubbing or diminishing them. And the Arthur Brooks observation of David Brooks’s column reminds me to pursue that which is important, has value, and not only that which is popular or culturally driven. This is a constant struggle sometimes, and I seem to waste a lot of time, by my own assessment.

I’ve taken to asking myself: What do I want to have finished before I go to bed tonight? My bedtime is earlier now than it used to be, Mary Englebreit notwithstanding, so knowing I’m going to have flat-lining brainwaves at a certain time can help me choose wisely. Sometimes in my days I’m only a quarter-full dot, but other times I’m there all the way. But when it is time to stop, it is time to stop.

A juggling act, but I keep at it–

Happy Quilting!

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit…— C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

When the New York Times columnist David Brooks talks about the difference between “résumé virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” he’s effectively putting the ashramas in a practical context. Résumé virtues are professional and oriented toward earthly success. They require comparison with others. Eulogy virtues are ethical and spiritual, and require no comparison. Your eulogy virtues are what you would want people to talk about at your funeral. As in He was kind and deeply spiritual, not He made senior vice president at an astonishingly young age and had a lot of frequent-flier miles.
You won’t be around to hear the eulogy, but the point Brooks makes is that we live the most fulfilling life—especially once we reach midlife—by pursuing the virtues that are most meaningful to us. (Arthur Brooks, from here)

300 Quilts · Quilt Finish · This-and-That

A Tiny Spritz of Elements • Quilt Finish • This and That: Nov 2021

A Tiny Spritz of Elements • Quilt #259 in my Quilt Index
21″ square

So my husband asked me if this was another pillow. He has a point, as that seems the size I can manage lately, but no…this is a quilt. A mini quilt. It started in a swap of small 2″ unfinished blocks from the guild members at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild. I made more.

The past few months I seemed to have fallen into a streak of really sad days, bad days, tired days, and one of my friends sent me a meme indicating that October was just about to break her, too. What is it about this phase of covid? Those who will, are getting vaccinated, but those of us who are at higher risk also have to make decisions: how will we live with this disease, since we aren’t going to hit the vaccination rate we need to. A bog, a verifiable, certifiable bog.

Then one morning I was sitting outside in the car, waiting for my perfect husband, and because the angle was right and having just shut the door, I was treated to a sparkling array of floating bits of light, the dust scattering flashing bits sunshine all around me as I sat. So often I’m in a rush, in a hurry, and don’t notice these tiny spritzes of cheer. I held the moment close; Dave got in and we drove off.

So that’s the name of this quilt made from tiny blocks, stitched with tiny quilting, each square representing those elements that come into our lives: sorrow, elation, peace, anger, frustration, happiness, forgiveness, repentance, sadness, love and most of all, hope.

When I finished making all my little elements, I saw a quilt from Zen Chic; I followed her lead in the arrangement. I’m also grateful to my fellow Guild Members for sewing and swapping. This little effort is due the first meeting in December, but I just finished it and wanted to share it now.

Melanie chose a birdie block for her turn as Queen Bee in Gridsterbee this month. Her signature block was my little Teeny Tree block–can’t wait to see what she makes of all these birds and trees. Free pattern for tree is here.

UPDATE: The Bee is filled! Thanks to those who joined us!

The Gridster Bee (#gridsterbee) is going through some changes next year. I’m stepping down from the head of the group, and we are looking for some new quilters who want to sew one block a month for your other bee-mates (check out the hashtag above for our wide-ranging style). We have several slots available; continental US only. We require you to have an Instagram Account and/or blog; those in charge will also vet you to make sure that all of us are at the same level of ability. So if you are a beginner who is just learning her stuff, this may not be the group for you.

But if you’ve happily been sewing for a minute or two and want to meet a few really cool women, as well as get a series of blocks made just for you when it’s your turn to be Queen Bee…leave me a comment below. I’ve been in over five bees, and they’ve all been great experiences. If you haven’t done a bee, consider it!

Occasionally I do clean up my computer desk. We got our Christmas present early this year (a nearly identical model to this one, but newer), so are passing this one on to our daughter.

November must have known we were anxiously waiting for it, for it came in with this beautiful sunset. We were fixing dinner (see below) and went out several times to admire the color and take photos.

Dinner: Sesame Salmon Bowl. I didn’t have the slaw they called for so we just sliced up another Persian cucumber. We had the leftovers the next night–so good!

The Cape Plumbago is flowering, with its rare blue flowers.

One advantage of covid days…

Please leave me a comment, or email me privately (e.eastmond@gmail.com), if you are interested in becoming part of a great group of women in our GridsterBee.

Happy Quilting!

300 Quilts · Quilt Finish

Pumpkins • Quilt Finish

Pumpkins • Quilt No. 258
47″ wide by 57″ high

My first memory of a Halloween party was the time my brothers and sisters, parents and I all lived in an old home out in Sudbury, Massachusetts. It was rented to us by Longfellow’s granddaughter, who was looking for a nice grad student and his family (my father was in the MBA program at Harvard) to rent it and take care of it, which meant mowing the acre of lawn in the summer. Out back of this old home was an attached shed with a hidden bunkbed, a giant hearth and a large wooden room. We invited our friends, Mother made us costumes, and we had all the traditional things: bobbing of apples, games and carving pumpkins. I was dressed up as a little girl from Holland, and my mother sewed my paper hat on the sewing machine. I was probably this because one of my other older sisters had been this, and I was the youngest girl, so got all the hand-me-downs. But it was a new hat.

I remember some other costumes I’ve sewed: Pirate Roberts for a young teenage son, a giant Hersey Kiss for the daughter, and somewhere along the long linking of Halloween traditions, I’ve sewn (or been): Pippi Longstocking, a Roma (we called them gypsies then), a vampire complete with fake fang teeth and fake blood, Peter Pan, Elsa (from Frozen), a teen from the 1950s (poodle skirt, included), babies, baseball players and an Egyptian princess.

But now, I sew quilts. While this one is well into the 250s on my index — as I don’t count the quilts until they are quilted (with some rare exceptions) — but it’s only about the fourth or fifth Halloween/fall/autumn quilt I’ve made. I did a #pumpkinquilt search the other night on Instagram and this pattern, from Laundry Basket Quilts, was rarely seen, as the chunkier, pieced pumpkins seem to be more the rage.

We looked for pumpkin patches to photograph this in, but they are miles away. So this yellow patch of wisteria leaves is the best I can do from my backyard, the first few leaves scattered on our back patio.

The back is from my stash. The label tells the origin.

I didn’t carve this, but am doing a giant project of moving old stuff from my computer, trying to clean up excess files, and found this cool fella’. I don’t really carve pumpkins anymore, and while I do have up my Halloween quilt banner, this year has been more subdued than in recent years. I usually try to escape handing out candy by going somewhere, but this year my husband bought some, wanting to participate in the tradition. Our neighborhood used to have close to 300 trick-or-treaters, but last year we could only rustle up about thirty. Obviously we are not the only ones getting older around here.

I still love Halloween, the idea that we mark the passing of autumn and acknowledge the advent of winter. It’s a holiday of treats and hopefully few tricks, and lots and lots of pumpkins.

Happy Quilting!

Previous Posts about this quilt:
How it started
Top Finished

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

Summer Snowcone • Quilt Finish

It’s mostly photos, today. Enjoy!

Summer Snowcone, variation of Sun and Sea Pattern
Quilt #251
48″ wide x 56″ high

Advent, previously shown but what a cool backdrop of flowers. It was in the women’s bathroom, but I couldn’t resist. (I propped open the door and we were in and out in under 60 seconds, and no one was there.) And yes, I have the best quilt-holding husband on the planet.

The drive to meet our son for lunch was about 90 minutes, and I wanted to finish sewing down the hanging sleeve on Advent and the binding on Summer Snowcone, so we had them along. When I saw that painted hallway, I grabbed the quilts out of the car for photographs.

Photographed in the hallway at City Tacos, Sorrento Valley near San Diego. Since my son’s a working man, we drive to see him and his girlfriend. A good day out.

Website of Interest: A project to make a kimono representing every nation was recently completed. The website groups the kimono by continent, and then you can navigate to the country you want to see. Of course I went to see America, then copied and pasted the text into Google Translate.

Their caption, translated:

The image of a country consisting of 50 states called "United States" is expressed by "state flowers". Designed with the national symbol "President" as "American Eagle". Baseball, American football, Hollywood movies, and the goddess of freedom, which Americans love, are studded in the state flowers, and the great presidents Lincoln and Kennedy are represented by statues and Apollo programs.

I love that Abraham Lincoln is right up there with the “goddess of freedom (which Americans love) as well as baseball and Hollywood. When they say “goddess of freedom” I think they mean the Statue of Liberty. But so cool that they included all the state flowers.

I’m now going to go waste a lot of time thinking about how I should get more stuff done. But hey! it’s Labor Day Weekend and we honor the concept of Labor by relaxing, barbecuing and not doing anything.

Happy Labor Day!

Samuel Gompers Memorial, Washington, D. C.

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt Finish

Merry Christmas in August: Advent • Quilt Finish

Mrs. Claus, from Berlin, Germany
133 days until Christmas
We always have nutcrackers around our house.

Advent
Quilt Number 256 • 35″ square
Blossom (pattern based on the Flowering Snowball block)

I’m teaching the Blossom pattern in a Workshop for the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild this coming month, and in celebration of finishing all three samples, shooting and uploading five videos for their workshop and figuring out how to make fancy-schmancy title cards for the videos, I’m celebrating by giving you a coupon for 20% this new pattern.

Right now. In the pattern shop.
Use the code: Blossom20 at checkout.
Expires at the end of the month, August 31st.

Blossom, version #1: Colorbright Blossom (47″)

Blossom, version #2: Advent (35″) (see above)

Blossom, version #3: Hanagasaku (23″)
They are made with different sizes of blocks, and the pattern has these three different sizes, plus three different (original) border patterns to fit.

Here’s the full line-up, available only through the workshop. Now, since I worked all day in a medium I’m not used to (video editing), and I think I don’t have any brain cells left to think, I’ll end here.

A version of the final end title on my videos, which I think might make a nice new logo.

Happy Quilting!

300 Quilts · PatternLite · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt Finish

Hanagasaku: Flowering Rings • Quilt Finish

Hanagasaku: Flowering Rings
Quilt #255
23″ square

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.

So this is Hanagasaku: Flowering Rings, in honor of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (held in 2021), partly inspired by Barb’s quilt of the Beijing Olympics (and others).

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.

UPDATE: In other words…it blossomed into Blossom!

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.

Happy August!