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.

Crazy Cushion Class_2

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.

Vellum Paper.jpg

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.

Crazy Cushion Class_3

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.

Northern Star Medallion, progress

Northern Star Medallion v1

Northern Star Medallion, version 1

As most of you know, I was asked to participate in the Mad for Solids 2018, hosted by Paintbrush Studios, using their Painter’s Palette fabrics.  Thank you for all who voted for me to send me out of the first bracket into the second.  Today is the day for the voting for the second bracket, so if you are inclined, the info is at the bottom of this post if you want to vote again in this second bracket, titled “Elite Eight.”

But as I really don’t like blogs that pitch one thing after another — and fearful that I was becoming one of those blogs — I decided to tilt this post a bit different way, and show you how having to choose my colors, then come up with a design led me to my progress on my medallion quilt, which I’m calling Northern Star Medallion.

I was allowed to choose eight fabrics, and as is my usual, I like to see what colors are trending, so I head to the Fall Fashion write-ups to see what colors are coming up on the runways.  The range of colors was all over the map, but I really liked the collection from Emporio Armani for Fall 2018, as it was in icy crystalline tones, matching the images of the Northern Lights we’d recently seen in a movie.

Northern Star Color Inspiration 2018

So I called my collection Northern Lights.  Then I wanted to use the colors to move me to the process of designing a quilt.  Of course, it had to have a star in the middle.  So when I was exploring in my quilt software, I noticed they had a grid that had an eight-point star.  I loved playing around with it, and came up with the 24-inch star you see at the top of the post. I could stop there, but I still had more fabric, so I found out that I can design Medallion Quilts in my software.  I’ve had that for over 15 years, and am now just getting to this?  That idea — of running in a rut — can apply all over my life, so I’ll leave it right there.

Northern Star Medallion v3

So I thought I would, with each bracket I move up in (or not), add another border to my quilt.  I added a teal band, then a light aqua dashed border, then a midnight blue band.  I sat down last night and appliquéd on the four corner diamonds, and the center circle.  So here it is: Version 2, all gussied up for publication.  I am taking notes, so this may become a pattern, but for now, I just wanted to play in the northern sky colors.

Mad for Solids 2018

It is kind of fun to see all the stacks people have chosen for their color schemes (some are repeated, and mine is really similar to a couple of other stacks). Good ideas for quilts, if you need some inspiration. If you want to send me to the next round (I promise another border on my medallion), please go here to vote:

•  Paintbrush Studios Blog
•  Paintbrush Studios on Instagram
•  Paintbrush Studios on Facebook

Northern Lights green bands

March Madness 2018 FB Header

Annularity II

Annularity1PBStudios

This is the story of the design of my quilt Annularity.  It is also the story of Annularity II, which will hang at QuiltCon in Paintbrush Studios Booth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annularity II
Quilt Number 194
Designed and Pieced by Elizabeth Eastmond
Quilted by Natalia Bonner
59″ square

The story of this begins when I was contacted by the fine people at Paintbrush Studios, who make the ever-lovely Painter’s Palette Solids.  I submitted one design for review, time passed, things changed; I thought the process was dead in the water.

AnnularityDesign_1fabrics

But I had all these lovely fabrics, so we started the process again.

Annularity Fail

I played around in QuiltPro, my favorite quilt design program and came up with the above design messes.

annularityfailalmost

I showed them to Simone, seeking advice, and she said, “Don’t forget the white.”  Negative space is critical, but sometimes you get in the weeds of a thing and you can’t see your way clear.

Given that the Great American Eclipse was on my mind, I started calling my quilt Annularity:

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I began building the quilt top, remembering the white.  But when I got to the outer edges, something still wasn’t right.  A designer can do all the designing they want to, but then the fabric takes over and slowly, the outer edges morphed from the planned design to what you see at the very top.  Then there was the problem of the center.

AnnularityOPQuilt Centers

I tried lots of combinations: yellow, aqua, violet, maroon but finally finished with periwinkle, one of my favorite colors in the Painter’s Palette Solids line-up.  I finished it and when Paintbrush Studios told me that Natalia Bonner was going to quilt it, I was over the moon, because I quite admire her work.  I bundled up the quilt, sent it off, and then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And I began to wonder, even though I’d tracked it to her address, if it had gotten lost.  I worried, then did the next best thing:

My Annularity

I made another.

In the rush, I didn’t have all the correct fabrics, so some are pieced.  But then I heard from Natalia that she had the quilt.  Whew!  Since it’s going to be hanging in the booth at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena, I gave the first one a new name, since now there were two in the world: Annularity II.

Pineapple Fabrics has the complete line of colors needed to make this design, and you can soon buy the quilt pattern from them.  Come and see Annularity II in the Paintbrush Studios booth, #905.

But I’ll be quilting mine, Annularity, bit by bit, sharing that experience as I proceed.  In the meantime, enjoy the photos of Natalia’s fine work:

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Shopping at the European Quilt Meeting

EuroPatchwork Meeting Program

The brains of the meeting.  I’d done some prepwork (looking at the website) so I knew what I wanted to see.  The very first thing: see the vendors.  I told my husband it would be like going to Disneyland for quilters.  Everything was new and different to me, but since I only have a small suitcase, I had to choose fun and interesting things.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendorsprices
Since fat quarters were running about $5 a piece (with the conversion rates) and fabric was 22 Euro (about $25 dollars) per meter, I knew right off the bat I wouldn’t be buying any “American” fabric, and gained instant sympathy for European quilters at these prices!

The vendors were in a combination of inside “Espace Commercial” and outside tents, with one side of the tent opening to the passersby (and the weather).  I saw many of the drapes drawn to close in the booths when it was raining.

The Commercial Space was weather-proof, but hot and stuffy.  I took these photographs early in the morning.  When we doubled back before leaving, it was very crowded.

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Who wouldn’t want to shop at this booth, with its array of Kaffe fabrics and a vendor with bright pinky-red hair?

EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsVenue6 Moda

This isn’t exactly a vendor, but the distributor (Rhinetex) who’d rented out the ground floor of this old house, displaying some Moda fabrics (don’t they always do it spectacularly?).

EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsVenue6 Moda3EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsVenue6 Moda2And inside, the famous Tula quilt for her new line, and a sweet scene at the fireplace, with their logo on the felt backdrop.  Lots of quilts in here, and it was fairly mobbed.

EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsVenue5 creativesThe last venue I want to mention was titled “Les Createurs” and was filled with beautiful handiwork from “designers and craftsmen.”  I definitely coveted a few pieces of jewelry, as well as that blue coat in front. Now to show you what I bought and what their booths looked like.  I asked permission for all photos, but was told more than once they’d only like me to take a “general” photograph (imagine this word with a French accent); I totally understood their request and why they made it.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors1These folks are from the west side of France; she has a book out (I saw it at the book booth, but since it’s all in French, well…)  I’m always thinking small, so I picked up these two fat quarters.
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Across from them was the Costuretas de Moly booth, with the most charming kits and small handmades.  I saw a lot of sweet little bags and pouches with detailed scenes appliquéd and embroidered on the fronts and backs.  They are from Catalan, Spain.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors2a

A small bracelet, a quick blurry shot of the bins of bracelets (they didn’t want their booth photographed) and random German Christmas Tree, the only thing I regret buying.  The vendor had tacked green rosettes of fabric around all the outside edges, and I thought maybe I could tie on some green primitive rags instead.  Oh well, we’ll see.

The handmade, laser-cut embellishments were purchased next, from a booth that made it hard to decide, given their categories of sewing, animals, children, family, house, etc.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors5aEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors5Even though I said to myself “no fabric” the Filarte booth drew me in with their linens.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors6My husband and I both liked the scarf on the outer upper edge of the houses, but when I tried on the leafy print next to it, well, that one came home.  It is wool and cotton so I will be very warm in sunny old Riverside. (I’m wearing it now, as I type this next to the chilly window in our hotel in Geneva.)

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7cI had a total fangirl moment when I realized whose booth I was standing in front of: Un Chat dans l’aiguille.  The lady on the right is the artist who makes up all these beautiful pieces (and whose name I think is Christel–hard to figure it out when you don’t speak the language).  I fell in love with her Matryoshka needle case, that I saw in a shop when I was here in Geneva last year, but they didn’t have any more (it’s out of print).  So when I got home, I looked up who made it and read all about her and her designs.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7aa
But what to chose?  None of them are cheap, so I had to choose carefully.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7aEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7bI went with this little pouch with all its flowers and scalloped edge detail.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7aabWhen I looked inside, I can see why her kits are so popular: everything is well-labeled, ordered and she even included a needle.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors9

Sometimes what draws you in to fabric is that it is the exact opposite of what you’d normally buy.  Like the dusky shades of printed and dyed linen on the left.  Then you spend the next two hours mentioning to your husband that it won’t be enough fabric to do anything with, so you circle back around (my husband is a saint) and then pick up two more fat quarters to round it out.  I’m assuming it was the wife of the man (below) sort of strongly suggested that it was not good to put the heavier weight linen next to the quilt-fabric-weight linen on the right.  But I loved the look of the thicker threads in the first pack and couldn’t be persuaded to change.  If only they’d had the colors on the right in the heavier.  The vendors are from Germany.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors9a

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Here’s the back of the package, in case you ever run into them.  Like I said, nearly everything I saw was unique, unusual, and not seen in the American markets.

Like these doll heads:EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsRandom HeadsEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10a
We saw this sign while walking between exhibit locations, and entered into the little lane where several booths were set up with bolts of fabric.  At the back was a burned out house (?) with buttons for sale in what looks like the garage.  Or maybe the whole house was under renovation?EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10bEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10cThe quilts are pretty backdrops for what I purchased: the two buttons, above, and a necklace.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors11

The penultimate purchase was this dishtowel from the Beauville exhibit in Sainte Croix-aux-Mines, one town away from where we started.  I have one more purchase, but I’ll mention it when I get to the various exhibits.

Alsatian Dress Lady

Here’s the woman in the Alsatian dress again.  It is so beautiful, and of course, I wondered where I could get that apron fabric.  We saw her again later in the Old Theater venue, so stay tuned.

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July’s Gridster Bee Block

July 2017_Gridster_Carol

Here’s the block I made for the July Gridster Bee, for Carol.  It was a fun make, made easy by this tutorial from Sara Noda.  (She also has a blog post on her completed flag quilt.)

Rosette 7

I also dragged out my hexagon quilt, and got started again.  Here is Rosette #7, isolated (above), and below as it looks sewn into the quilt.  I took the blocks and quilt rosettes with me on our recent family trip — since we had a lot of driving time — and was able to get the rosettes sewn together and one more completed.Millefiore Rosette #7I’ve totally revamped Rosette #8, because frankly, everyone on the Facebook page was having real troubles with it, so I thought I would have a go at creating my own hexie arrangement.  I’m choosing fabrics for it now.

Road to California 2018 classes

I also picked my classes for Road to California 2018 (above)…

QuiltCon 2018 ESE Classes

…and my classes for QuiltCon 2018, too.  Anyone else going?  Are we in the same classes?

Film Quilt1And in case you think you only need fabric to create quilt patters, Sabrina Gschwandertner acquired a collection of old instructional films on the textile arts and has been creating quilt works of art.  I will spare you the mumbo-jumbo about quilting from the LA Times, but here’s the article if you want to read it.

Film Quilt2

(PS Ignore the random “A” up on the right side)

Film Quilt3

I actually wanted to see the movies, after reading about her and seeing images of her work.  Now it is lost forever.  Will we feel that way about the millions of YouTube videos?  I doubt it.  There is something about the tangible presence of film being cut up, the scarcity of that resource being destroyed to begin again.  But I do like looking at her works.  If you are in LA, the article has info about how to see this in the gallery, but the show closes soon.

And today is six months since my shoulder surgery.  I’ve seen the surgeon for the last time, finished my formal PT.  Now just the challenge of walking, getting back into some semblance of shape after sitting around, and doing the PT exercises on my own.

LASTLY, thanks to all who entered the OPQuilt Summer Book Giveaway (snazzy title, don’t you think?).

 Giveaway Banner

Here’s another:

Intentional Piecing_Book Giveaway

Amy Friend’s Intentional Piecing, a look at using fussy-cutting to make spectacular quilts.  She has a range of stellar projects, plus some fun paper-piecing designs to sew into various quilts and hand-mades.  It’s signed by the author.

Again–leave a comment letting me know if you are interested in receiving this book in the giveaway.  I’ll notify the winner by email.

Update: Roxanne was our winner from the last giveaway. Thanks again for all who entered!

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Quilting System

System_1

Some time ago, Oliver Burkeman, writing in the Guardian newspaper, discussed the idea of implementing “systems” rather than using goals when we are striving toward a new frontier, whether it be in quilting, or better exercise.  He starts by quoting the Dilbert creator, Scott Adams:

“when you’re trying to get better at something – a creative skill, such as cartooning, or a habit, such as regular exercise – think in terms of systems, not goals” for “when you approach life as a sequence of milestones to be achieved, you exist “in a state of near-continuous failure.” Almost all the time, by definition, you’re not at the place you’ve defined as embodying accomplishment or success. And should you get there, you’ll find you’ve lost the very thing that gave you a sense of purpose – so you’ll formulate a new goal and start again.”

Systems ideas mean that if you are a person who walks in the morning, you’ll strive to change one small thing about your stride, or improve your time slightly, and incorporate that into your exercise.  The trick is to keep it simple and small, much like the kaizen idea formulated in Japan, which means continuous change for the better.

Adams notes that working in a system is “something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run,” regardless of immediate outcome. Burkeman goes on to say that “drawing one cartoon a day is a system; so is resolving to take some kind of exercise daily – rather than setting a goal, like being able to run a marathon in four hours. One system that’s currently popular online goes by the name “No Zero Days”: the idea is simply not to let a single day pass without doing something, however tiny, towards some important project.”

Keagan_6

So how does this apply to quilting?

If you think of all our words for unfinished goals (e.g.: WIP, UFO, etc.) and look at the number of online “finishing” blogs that give away prizes if you finish quilts on your list, you can see that we in the quilting world might need the idea of a system.

What IF you approached it as having no zero days…or…continuously making one small change for the better (kaizen) by sewing for small increments at a regular basis, rather than trying to do a blitz over a weekend?  Certainly how your time is managed for you has an impact, for I recognize that small children, spouses, bosses and health issues can indeed interrupt the time available to you.  But what if you had a idea of doing a small part of your project, but doing it daily? Soon your system would bring you to a completed quilt project.

goals

from Here

It’s hard to grasp the idea of process, especially if you’ve spent your life thinking in terms of product. We’re very good at beating ourselves up over our procrastination or lack of motivation or our inability to get that quilt done.   But I like the idea of leaving behind a “state of near-continuous failure,” exchanging that instead for a series of small, manageable tasks that become a part of my day.

shine-block_quilting

I leave with you a little saying on my bookshelf from a past leader in my church, which, when I’ve overwhelmed myself, helps keeps me centered: