Golden California (Small World) • Quilt Finish

Golden California_1

Golden California (Small World)
Quilt #229 • 55″ wide by 36″ high

I mean, you already know what this quilt looks like, having seen various permutations of this on my blog, on the web, on Instagram.  It’s kind of like the quilt that keeps on giving, rolling out forward from the talented mind of Jen Kingwell, and until we all finish up all those My Small World UFOs, it’s likely this quilt will become a quilter’s version of eternity.

[Aside: a cook’s version of eternity is defined as a ham and two people.  An old joke.]

I had a Before…back when the pattern was in the magazine and it sold out like hotcakes.  Then this quilt languished until I had vowed to make Three Hard Quilts in 2019.  It was mostly finished then, but I didn’t have binding sewn on until just before Road to California, where I was taking classes with Ms. Kingwell, herself, and wouldn’t you know it?  I don’t have ONE photo of myself with her and this quilt.  I thought I took one, but, nope.  Can’t find it.

Breaking News!!  My friend Lisa sent me a photo of the quilt with me and Jen Kingwell, so here it is.  Thank you, Lisa!

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To keep myself sane when working on a long project like this, I take little snapshots of progress, title and date them, and keep going.  It reminds me that quilts — like children — will one day be all grown up.

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My photo shoot locator (AKA my husband) suggested we head out to the neighboring town where they had some cool tile murals of different parts of that city.  We battled the shadows, however, but he was right: they were cool murals.

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For the backing, I chose something that had cities in it, and two pieces that represented quilters.

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See that golden sun?  One of California’s monikers is The Golden State, so Susan suggested to me that instead of just taking on Jen Kingwell’s name for the quilt (based on the drawings of the Small World ride in Disneyland), I should incorporate something to suggest this quilt’s origin.  So I did.

Each of my posts about this quilt have the tag “My Small World” so you can click on them to be taken to other posts about this, if you are still making yours.  Carry on!  Keep on! and soon yours will be finished, too.

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Show and Tell at our Guild’s February Meeting. Now this quilt will go for a long rest, while it waits for me to put on the label.

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Original magazine layout of quilt, from the QuiltMania Special Spring Edition, 2015 (now out of print). Kingwell sells the patterns on her website.

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Next week, March 10-11,  I’ll be at the Orange County Quilters Guild, giving my Abecedary of Quilts lecture, and teaching a workshop.  Here’s a screenshot from their webpage (kudos to the Communications people for this nice display).

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This week I’ll be giving a hands-on lecture at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild, teaching them an abbreviated version of my all-day workshop on English Paper Piecing.  Excited to teach and meet new quilters!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Crazy Cushion Class

If you could scroll down for just a second and locate on the right blog sidebar where there is a link to a video titled Create. This was taken from a talk from one of the leaders of my church, and if you are not a religious type, then substitute in your version of God for what Elder Uchtdorf says.  I watch it everyone once in a while to remind me that what I do is more than stitching, or cutting up pretty cloth.  Being creative is my connection to — and a conduit for — the divine.

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I had an inkling of the power of a lot of creative women, when I attended Becky McDaniel’s class for her Crazy Cushion pattern.  Yes, there was fatigue and frustration, but there was also a spirit of wanting to create (above, watching a demo).

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My workspace.  I had a nice visit with the two quilters at my table, Sandie and Marie (absent), and was totally impressed with the women in the Nite Owl Guild.

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Becky was energetic, funny and taught some new skills: like working with a light table while paper piecing, and we all promptly handed over our cash to buy her cool flat light table, while stories swirled around about the light tables we had at home.

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Yeah, we weren’t in this room, but the ping-pong table was.  The class was held in the Senior Center for a nearby town and was a great place to have a workshop.  Below, Becky’s table of supplies.

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Even though I had all my sections pre-pieced, at this point I felt like I’d run a marathon, just getting that welting stitched in between the flying geese band and the cushion top/back.  The band includes a handle for carrying (seen serpentining in the photo above).

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More than one use for those binding clips.

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Because of all my sewing beforehand, I was able to finish my cushion.  Above, the photo with Becky McDaniels.

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I posed my cushion with hers (the larger of each).  Mine measures 14″ x 2″ and hers is 16″ x 3.”  If you decided to take this class, do your homework beforehand, if you have done paper-piecing before, so you can have a finish, too.

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And then outside in their gardens, before leaving.

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Now I’ll have something to sit on when I go to workshops!

  • The pattern can be found on her website, along with more information.
  • Kaffe Fasset fabrics recently purchased at Blue Bird Quilt Shop, near me, including that cool stripe.
  • I use transluscent vellum paper by Neenan for my paper piecing because I can see through it and it rips off easily.  I purchased a ream about 10 years ago from Kelly Paper, and it cost way more than I wanted, but hey–10 years use?  Not bad.

Prepping my Crazy Cushion Class

Crazy Cushion Class_1

When I was visiting the South Bay Quilters, they had one class in their line-up which intrigued me: Becky McDaniels’ Crazy Cushions class.

Covet.

I found a guild closer to me offering it, and the class is this coming Saturday.

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But since I am not a quick foundation paper piecer, I knew I should get some done before the class.

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This is what I use–it’s made by Neenah Paper.

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I use a vellum paper, purchased at Kelly Paper, for my paper-piecing.  I can see through it, and it’s crisp, so it tears off easily. I know the price looks high, but there are 500 sheets in there, and the last ream I purchased lasted me almost 10 years.  If you go to order it online, use the number by the manager’s finger.

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Once side of the cushion is Pineapple, and the other is called Star Jasmine.  And then there are a lot of flying geese for the cushion sides.

Crazy Cushion Class_4

We’ve also been movingmovingmoving stuff around upstairs and my quilting machine has a new place to live for a while, until I can figure out how I want to configure my sewing room.

I remember corresponding with another quilter and when I told her my sewing room was about 9 feet by 10 feet, she wondered how I could ever sew in such a tiny space.  Well…it’s what I have.  I will confess to having spilled over into the guest room, where that Sweet Sixteen is currently residing.

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My daughter just built an RV garage onto their existing three-car garage, and I wouldn’t mind taking over that space, but she lives several hours from me, so (sadly) not feasible.  Besides I’d have to share it with their vehicles.  I guess I’m thrilled to have a room dedicated to my own messes, my own stuff, so it never occurred to me that my room was too small.

Works for me.  Now I’m off to sew about a bazillion tiny flying geese and sew them into strips.

Home, Sweet, Home Mini-Quilt Class

 

HomeSweetHomeClassRecently I taught a class for my Home, Sweet, Home mini quilt.  I snapped these photos as they were working; they’d all mostly prepped up their pieces before coming, and it made the class go quite smoothly.  I loved all the different ways that people did their blocks (shown here at our Guild Meeting):

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Here are most of them (some didn’t bring them to Guild):

It wasn’t until posting these up that I found two errors in these quilts.  Isn’t it funny that you don’t see things…until you do?  (Hint: it’s in the bushes.)  I love the rainbow quilt made by my friend Lisa.  I may have to make one for myself.

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(Breaking News: Melissa finished hers!)

Joe Cunningham Lecture * QuiltFest Palm Springs • Sept 2016

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Self Portrait, by Joe Cunningham

The evening of my class with Joe Cunningham, he had a lecture in the hotel, and since there were only four of us, he told the organizers he could hold up his own quilts and talk at the same time.  So we began with a song of his (guitar and all) and then he pulled out his quilts. In between we got “four lectures in one,” as he talked about how he came to quilting.  He’d started collaborating with Gwen Marston in 1975, and then she taught him to quilt.  They were both inspired by the collection of an older quilter with her handmade quilts, a woman who kept the quilting tradition alive during the middle years of the past century.  In 1990, he ended his collaboration with Gwen Marston, moved to New York, then to San Francisco to work with the Esprit Collection of quilts.  He never left.

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Lake Street House, by Joe Cunningham

He developed this quilting process working in conjunction with the people at Handi Quilter, where he could enter in a complex pattern into a computer and “tile” it back onto his quilt in the quilting.  Each tile takes about 45 minutes to quilt, but creates all sorts of interesting patterns in the quilting.  I asked him about the trend to matchstick quilting, and he had only one thing to say: “lost a chance to be creative.”
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And this is how he labels/signs his quilts: his name and the year stitched into the top.

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I’m on a Quilt, by Joe Cunningham

Both Joe and Luke Haynes, another art-centered quilter who is male, seem to be quite adventurous in the use of large blocks of particularly unattractive (ugly?) fabric and making that fabric hew to their vision of the quilt, an approach worth learning.  So much of what I see is that we quilters are the ones commanded BY the fabric to the end result, rather than the opposite tack.

Something else I noted in his approach — that I also see in Luke Haynes —  is figuring out the space where quilting and the art world collide and how to use that tension and friction.

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(Of course, I’m fascinated by the mundane: how he folds his quilts so there are no creases.)

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Kiev Protesters Quilt, by Joe Cunningham

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Detail, Kiev Protesters Quilt

He talked about how a quilt is allowed to say several things: I love you.  I’m thinking about you. Memorial quilts.  But he was fascinated one day by the blockades in Kiev, and how those who were protesting just fell to sleep anywhere.

For me this quilt reminded me of what he said in class: that he makes a quilt to see what it will look like.

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Bicameral Lovers Knot, by Joe Cunningham

Log cabin blocks are in the background.  Look up what bicameral is, if you don’t know.

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New York Beauty, by Joe Cunningham

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Back of New York Beauty, showing the quilting

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Mountain/Mountaineer, by Joe Cunningham

Luke gave him some of the leftover Log Cabin blocks from his recent exhibit, and Joe made them into this quilt, minus the mountaineer.  His wife walked in where it was hanging and said that he needed a figure there, so Joe gave it back to Luke, who added the climber

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Crazy City–San Francisco, by Joe Cunningham

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Back of Crazy City–San Francisco

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Crazy City–the Creek, by Joe Cunningham

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Back

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Tar Patch Quilt, by Joe Cunningham

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Detail and Signature

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He covered so many topics that I can’t write them all here, but they were fascinating and I thought about them all the way home, such as (I’m paraphrasing):

  • If a piece of art looks like art, then it’s somebody else’s art.  [Can’t we apply this to our quilts?]
  • The brilliance of quilts in the colonies [our early American colonies] was in the egalitarian nature of it.  It wasn’t just for the rich, which it had been earlier when quilting was done in imitation of European quilts, but it was for the masses.
  • These women changed the definition of a quilt from a commercial item to a gift.  The quilting, done around a frame, cost no money.  Because of this, it remained in the realm of women and was invisible to the men, especially the merchant class.
  • Quilts from Europe in the earliest days were of four types: whole cloth, honeycomb (think EPP), strippy or medallion.  From there, we invented blocks.  From four types, we know have over 400,000 different patterns, an independent realm created by women.
  • And finally: “We make quilts like everyone else…unless you don’t want to.”  A trap door exists for us to escape the sameness and make our own vision.

I love classes where I have as much for the brain as I do for the creative, visual, tactile side of the equation, and this lecture certainly gave me everything.  I’m so glad I was able to go, and so glad QuiltFest brought out this great speaker.