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!

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

SeaDepths • Quilt Finish

SeaDepths
Quilt #254
33″ square
Made from Azulejos Pattern

Naturally, patterns emerge through repetition, and repetition yields up a type of discovery that reveals everything about itself, especially its sorry limits. (Jan Peacock)

I love this variation of my Azulejos pattern. I love the blues, aquas, the glints of yellow. I like where I made a mistake and put the wrong color in the triangle (you’ll never see it, but I like it).

But, I think I hit up upon my sorry limits, as Peacock says, in quilting this. It is the Month of the Broken Ankle, and something always seems to break in my mind when the body is goofy, and perhaps that’s why I just dove into quilting this without doing my usual due diligence of printing out the quilt, drawing all over it, like this (from another quilt):

A plan! Instead, I just went for it, wanting to get it ticked off the list and out of the To Be Quilted Pile, and yes Haste Makes Waste and all that, but I do still like SeaDepths. I just think that this time it hit its sorry limits with the quilter, that’s all.

In other news, Summer Snowcone has been pin-basted, and aren’t you impressed with that matching seam on the backing?

I purchased this fabric just because I am totally over the moon about it, but then…you know I love Sawtooth Blocks.

We grilled lettuce. It was good. That is all. (recipe) (Does this mean we are losing it? Hope not.)

I’m doing another Summer Book Giveaway, and these are the books:
1) Southern Quilts and Twisted (Kerr) (they go as one)
2) The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (Walkers and Watson) (autographed)
3) The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook (Knauer)
4) Quilt with Tula and Angela (Pink and Walters) (autographed)

Since summer’s almost over, they’ll go in one big splat. Enter the name of the one you want, and slip it into the comments below, along with telling me the hottest summer day you ever had. I don’t care if you want two different ones; enter twice, and we’ll see what the Random Husband Winner Generator comes up with.

As far as hottest summer day, I have two: The first one was when I was pregnant with child #3, and we moved from California to upstate New York and the new house had no air conditioning, and it was during a heat wave. We finally bought one window unit and put it in the dining room (that has to be one of the reasons why we divorced later on) so the kids and I would gather there all afternoon and into the evening, mounds of toys and books and snacks under the dining room table while I lay there, so very pregnant and so very hot, so very sticky, humid, and miserable. (She was born mid-August.)

The second one was a July day spent in Montreal, Canada with the temperature climbing well above triple digits. That’s not necessarily the worst heat I’ve ever been in, but we were tourists and kept trying to go out and explore the city and see the sights while everyone else was in their right minds, and stayed in. About the third day, we gave up–going out only in the morning, coming home for the afternoon to the air-conditioned hotel, and heading back out at night, catching the bagpipers in the evening Mardi Gras Parade.

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING!
Leave your Hot Summer Day comment below!

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilts

Azulejos Pattern

There’s this interesting explanation in a Wrinkle in Time, or at least I remember it and hope it’s there, where the main character tries to help the children understand this concept of a shortcut in time, and she demonstrates it with a string and a crawling ant. Or maybe that’s not in the book at all, and I just remember if from somewhere, but at any rate, the point is that I’ve had a wrinkle in time with this quilt.

This photo was taken in January 2020 at the end of Road to California, where my quilt Azulejos hung in a special exhibit at Road to California. It was this one that recently prompted Catherine H, a reader, to get in touch with me asking for the pattern. I’d made several stabs at it, but now I really buckled down to writing. So there’s the shortcut — a bridging of time from January 2020 to July 2022 — a shortcut not unlike those found in novels with children (and where were their mothers??) and IKEA warehouses, where you are trying to get out of there and pay for all your impulse purchases, and yet you still have to go through chairs and desks and lighting and rugs…unless you can find the shortcut.

I had some other ideas about what this pattern could do though, so got busy and made this blue/yellow/aqua/sea/glints of sun wallhanging, calling it SeaDepths. I had fun making it in solids:

It’s still a flimsy, though. Looking forward to sandwiching it together and getting to the quilting.

This block was supposed to be another version of the pattern, done up in scrappy red-and-white, like this sketch shows:

But, alas, the sprained ankle/broken bone/cast-or-boot-or-what problem persisted, so instead of sewing up a storm at the machine (it’s a quick and easy pattern, with the cleverness in how you trim it up), I kept my foot up and edited photos of an earlier photo shoot of the first rendition of Azulejos, with photos taken near some of the old greenhouses and lab buildings for our university:

So, Catherine H, I’m finished!

I’ve already loaded it up on my PayHip pattern site, and it’s ready to go.

It has a basic set of instructions for the version of Azulejos above, as well as SeaDepths. I illustrate two other versions, one in Cheddar and Indigo, and the one you saw above in scrappy red/white. Or at least that’s how I evisioned it. So three sizes, three versions, two sizes of block templates and a wall-hanging. Not bad for one pattern, I’d say. A free downloadable Preview sheet on PayHip will give you the rundown.

The technical name for this shortcut between two different times is an Einstein-Rosen bridge, more colloquially known as a wormhole. Jody Foster, in her role as a scientist who hunted for “little green men” on a SETI project, famously traveled in one in the movie Contact, a film I can watch over and over again. Actually I have a whole collection of space movies, from the goofy one that got me through grad school, Galaxy Quest, to Interstellar.

Sometimes I have my own version of an Einstein-Rosen bridge when I un-earth an older project, abandoned for lack of time or interest (or both) and when I come back to it, I find it interesting or even something that juices up creative connections. When I first made Azulejos, I thought it was a one and done, as it was the shapes in the quilt that interested me. Then, taking it up two years later, I found my way to other variations and then to SeaDepths, whose colors I could get out of my mind. It was like there was a wormhole between those two variations.

I’m always surprised when a creative journey takes these kinds of twists and turns. It usually happens when I try to box something in, with a dismissive, “Oh, I know all about that,” with a sniff and a tilt of the head. To counter this attitude of immediately sizing something up prematurely, Xavier Encinas noted that “If there is something I’m learning over the years it is this: Take your time while setting up your ideas and take time to distance yourself from what you have done.” So maybe completing this pattern, finding the missing link to getting it done took some distance.

And maybe it just took some time.

Pattern available on PayHip.

Good luck with your wormholes and quilting this week!