After getting over my terror of Zooming, and finding I really quite liked it a LOT, I jumped in with both feet to prepare for the class that the Glendale Quilt Guild had chosen. To teach, I had to make some new samples — not to be sent around this time, but for short videos for their class.
So, these two quilts came from those endeavors.
Okay, I take it back. Maybe Criss-Cross Color started here, when a series of photos showed up on my Instagram. I pulled colors of Painters Palette Solids to mimic what I saw. (Yes, I’ve had this series of photos for over a year. Sometimes quilts take a while to percolate up to the top.)
This is what was on my design wall when I started my Workshop with the quilters from Glendale last Saturday:
This group is on fire! They were engaged, enthusiastic and even the most beginner of the bunch dived in and got to work on their quilts. This morning we had a follow-up session, where they showed off what they’d sewn and talked about their quilts.
I like to do a follow-up Zoom one week later, as it’s close enough to the time of the Workshop that the event doesn’t drag on and on, yet gives a few days to cut and sew. And these ladies did just that. Here are the quilts from the slide show I put together for them (they all gave me permission to share them). From the top, the owner/makers are: Cindy, Joyce, Flo, Annie, Nancy, Caren, Beth, Kathy, Rebecca, and Mary.
Some of these are under construction, some are completed tops, and one is all quilted, finished and bound! It was a most lovely follow-up session, and they had great insights about the quilt, working with pattern, finding ways to make this idea their own. I’ve been floating all day.
Thank you to the fine quilters of Glendale Quilt Guild for a wonderful time!
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!
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.
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.
For the backing, I chose something that had cities in it, and two pieces that represented quilters.
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.
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).
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!
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)
I had my own turn at playing Arcimboldo this past Monday at Road to California, in a collage class taught by Laura Heine.
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.
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.
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.
Here it is, from the side.
Slowly, the bears around the classroom started to take shape.
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.
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.
And here is my bear. Arcimboldo would be proud of me. However, I still have the backgrounds to do.
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.
When I teach,often there seems a disconnect between what rulers students have and what rulers they need. So I thought I’d write a post talking about the basics that I wish everyone could have. [And while I’m at it, rotary cutters need a mention, too. The largest I’d recommend in a classroom size is 45mm, for a variety of reasons. I think the larger ones are less helpful, and sometimes even dangerous.]
I got started on my ruler fetish honestly, when a mild-mannered shop owner named Carolyn hosted weekly class based on making a sampler quilt. And every week, she’d hold up a new ruler saying that we needed this to make the block that week. My friend Leisa and I would exchange glances, knowing that Carolyn was a Ruler Enabler of the Worst Kind: she made it so necessary, that you just knew you couldn’t go on without it. Because of this, I’ve used a ton of different rulers, and have two drawers and bin full of those plexiglass gridded items.
Please don’t buy the cheap rulers. Take your time to accumulate these, and buy sturdy rulers, as too thin rulers can warp out of shape.
Buy rulers that have some sort of coating on the back, preventing slippage.
Please buy rulers that have accurate measurements on them, and enough gridlines on them.
I wish every student, every quilter had these basics:
6″ x 24″ ruler
What it’s used for: large initial cuts off yardage, long narrow cuts of yardage
6.5 x 12.5″ ruler
What it’s used for: when working in a smaller space (some classrooms are beyond tiny, and some of our sewing spaces are too), it’s useful to fold the fabric to get the longer cuts. Also good for truing up smaller parts of blocks. Good for even-ing up sewn sections.
Caveat: some people hate having that extra 1/2″ on the edges of their ruler. I got used to it and appreciate it, but for some, it can be distracting.
Small square ruler
With this size, you can rule the world. You don’t need specialty Flying Geese rulers, if you know how to use this. The small one is easy to flip around, when truing up blocks, and easy to use to cut smaller shapes, when scrap sewing.
Square rulers, ranging from 6.5″ – 9.5″ – 12.5″
What it’s used for: I use the 6.5 the most, as I believe in truing up sections of a block before sewing it together. But the other sizes are great for truing up larger blocks, helping you trim your corner of quilt borders evenly. One day I even purchased a 16.5″ gigantor square ruler, and believe it or not, I do use it more than I thought I would.
Bloc-Loc ruler for trimming up Half Square Triangles
What it’s used for: Keeping your sanity when truing up HSTs. They are expensive and I rarely see them on sale. I’d start with a 6.5″ BlocLoc and invest from there. Here are some of the others I’ve picked up over the years:
Specialty Rulers I think should be in your stash:
Some times, for some patterns, you need one of these, like when you make Annularity.
If you are a traditional quilter, or jump in on one of Bonnie Hunter’s Thanksgiving Quilt-A-Longs, you may find yourself needing one of these one day.
Bonnie Hunter’s Essential Triangle Ruler
I only purchased this because she said I would need it. Since then, I ‘ve used it a ton of times in making triangles, and now I consider it one of my go-to rulers.
Lori Holt’s 4.5″ Trim Up Ruler. Careful. You can go broke on these, as she has them in every size from newborn to old age. I have only the 4.5″ and the 8.5″ But what makes these unique is that is is a form of a “centering ruler,” a tool I had to purchase when I studied Clothing and Textiles in college (and which I still use today).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
More than one use for those binding clips.
Because of all my sewing beforehand, I was able to finish my cushion. Above, the photo with Becky McDaniels.
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.
And then outside in their gardens, before leaving.
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.
I found a guild closer to me offering it, and the class is this coming Saturday.
But since I am not a quick foundation paper piecer, I knew I should get some done before the class.
This is what I use–it’s made by Neenah Paper.
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.
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.
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.
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.