Gridsters Blocks (January 2019) and Affinity software review

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The Gridsters are starting on their third year, and it’s been a delight to discover the variety of styles and choices each member puts forward for us to make for them.  Carol was our Queen Bee for January, and she asked us for blocks designed by Kristina of Center Street Quilts.

gridster jan sewinggridster jan2019_1I chose Geometric Christmas Tree and Mod Tree, and mailed them off a few days ago.

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before

I still haven’t settled my sewing room yet after last fall’s room switchearound, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to get everything off the floor and into some semblance of order.sewing room_2sewing room_3

My husband and I needed only two trips to IKEA to make this one work.sewing room_3a

We purchased a new light from Lowe’s Hardware that goes under the bookshelves, and boy, does it blast the lumens into the room.  I love it, and love that it is an LED which doesn’t give off much heat nor consume as much energy.  And I can see everything in my tiny sewing universe when I turn it on.sewing room_4

The ironing board gets set up in front, so the iron is parked on the right.  In the first bin on the top of the shelves, I put all those mini charm packs, and other random charm packs.  I don’t buy many precuts, and so they all fit in there.  The second shallower bin holds Featherweight Sewing Machine Stuff, as I purchased another Featherweight this fall when a neighbor cleaned out her mother’s storage unit and discovered that her mother had collected all these old sewing machines.  I’d also gone to a garage sale, where they had a box of feet and attachments; they appear to belong to the Featherweight, but I’m still researching.  One woman’s trash is another quilter’s treasure.

And I’m still trying to make the bins useful, so this will change as I work in here.  Right now the upper left holds stuff for Bee Happy, a quilt that my friend Leisa and I chose to do as a long-term project.  And as she says, “No deadlines.  If it takes us two years, so what!”

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Been working on this, both in cloth and in pattern.

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I decided to try to upgrade my pattern-writing skills, unsatisfied with my Microsoft Word  approach.  I’d been using Affinity’s Photo and Designer software, which everyone knows is sort of a replacement for the Adobe Creative Suite.  I didn’t want to join in the subscription plan that Adobe wanted me to, so found the Affinity (all 20% now for Christmas–so that makes it around $40 for the Photo and other software in their store–quite a difference from the Adobe prices!).

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This past fall, they released the free beta version of their Affinity Publisher, which I couldn’t wait to try.  They’ve had two upgrades since I started playing around with it, and each has improved the flow and workability of the app.  I can’t wait for it to be released in its final version.  I also tried to contribute to their Bug and Help forums, you know, to be a good brownie.  It wasn’t hard to come up with things to say, because I was working on patterns, but really, at this point, it’s almost ready for launch.

affinity pattern making nlm

I used screen shots from QuiltPro for the basis of my artwork, as they were perfectly sized, then modified them in Affinity Photo, then saved them as illustrations.  I opened Affinity Publisher Beta, watched all the training videos (taking notes) and dived in. I finished up one pattern earlier this week, did the pattern for my turn next month as Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and am still working on Northern Lights Medallion (NLM).  I’m sorry for the lateness in getting NLM out, but I’m learning as I go, and I wasn’t satisfied with how the templates laid out on the page (exported from QuiltPro) so it’s back to more learning, more Asking the Internet.  I’ll get there–thanks for your patience.

new software

 

 

 

 

A Bit Frosty this January

1shinecirclesquilt

Remember this?

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

And this?

This is Shine: The Circles Quilt, and I started it as a English Paper Piecing project, putting the free patterns up on this blog, beginning in 2014.  I also have a page dedicated to these blocks, giving out the patterns and tutorials for each, until the last four (which used to live on Craftsy, but that’s another blog post.  Coming soon.)

And then this new year, I opened up mail from one of my heros, Becky Goldsmith to see this:

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and this:

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all advertising her newest endeavor.

As near as I can tell, she has no idea I exist.  She is not copying me.  She has fancy borders, and has done the quilt twice.  I think this is a classic example of what the German’s call “der Zeitgeist” or “the trend of thought and feeling in a period.

But I am a bit frosty about this, for one reason only: she has a megaphone, and I have only this blog.  I used to have a blog and a Craftsy site (!), but I guess I also have Instagram, which might have a zillion followers if I unblocked all those creepy men or Quilt-Content-Thieves.  But is it really “frosty” or is it more that I’m jealous?  I think the latter. 

I still have my Shine patterns here, but really, I have to yield the selling floor to the firepower of Piece O’Cake Designs, in making a quilt with a grid of paper-pieced circles based on the traditional style of a compass rose.  I don’t have her readership, her TV show appearances, her mailing list.  She’s a tsunami.  I’m a wobbly sprinkler on the back lawn.  To be truthful, Goldsmith earned her tsunami status through hard work over many years; again, she did NOT copy me at all. I have all of her books, and have made a couple of her designs, so you do have to put me in the category of Total Admirer.  But that’s not the issue here.

My takeaway: when quilters come up with designs similar to one another, it’s not always a copyright issue, which is the usual scream that emmanates from the collective online voice.  Sometimes it just is the Zeitgeist.

Sometimes the Sew Together Bag is merely a copy of her grandfather’s toiletries kit (this fact mentioned to me while we were standing in line together at Market in Salt Lake City), and my Mini-Sew Together Bag was a version I was working on when I didn’t like the bulk of the original, and my Smile Bag came before byAnnie’s Clam Up bag and perhaps we were both inspired by the bag for the First Class United Airlines customers, and perhaps they were inspired by some ancient Japanese zakka.  That’s how these things go.

Scream

Edvard Munch’s The Scream

 

 

 

Okay, I feel better now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates to original post are in black text.

Quilt Show Contest • or • Concours International du Carrefour Européen du Patchwork 2017

How’s that for a title?  This post is all about the official competition of the Patchwork Meeting, and I have a sampling of the quilts in the contest.  I purchased the Catalogue from the organizers and it was interesting that it is printed in three languages: French, German and English (yippee!).  The contest theme this year was “Journey to the End of the World” and all the quilts were to be 35″ wide by 47″ inches tall.  This was the first indication that it would be a different type of competition than I had been used to seeing in the States.

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Car in main parking lot

I realized quickly that this would represent all different nationalities, cultures, countries, skill levels (generally really high) and all types of construction.  I chose to notice not only their interpretation of the theme, but also the how and the why they chose to use the materials and techniques they did, always hoping to learn something new.  These quilts are in no particular order.  You can note the winners by the small rosettes in the lower right corner.

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Tatiana Varshavskaya’s In the Beginning.  She is from Hungary.
Her artist’s statement wrote from the perspective on a three-year old, with “continents to conquer, horizons to overcome.  Free, without anchors or restraints, you venture forever in the infinity of childhood’s imagination.”  She finishes by writing “You are three years old, and sail to the unknown with a paper boat.”

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Small Boat, Small Trip, by Sandra Van Velzen of The Netherlands.  She writes “Not so long ago the length of your trip depended on the size of your means of transport.  Nowadays planes and the internet seem to make the world smaller and the trip longer.”

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Gabriele Yoeller, from Germany, created Finistere evoking “France, Bretange…where the sun goes down and the land ends.  Even the Romans called this land: ‘Finis terrae.’ Before you: only water.  Is there something else?  New worlds…or a monster?”

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A quilter from Spain, Eva Arrelano Martin created Into the Deep, an “homage to the effort of thousands of workers who spent and sometimes lost their lives in the their trip into the [great cavity] of the world.”

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Two Americans, Jim Smith & Andy Brunhammer made “June 19th,” celebrating Andy’s birthday  Their artists’ statement notes that “We are both long-term HIV-survivors, and our end of the world has always been just around the corner.  We chose Kaieteur Falls in Guyana [where Jim’s father grew up] as the background. . . Our arm is reaching out with the cascading red ribbon symbolizing the flow or our blood.  The clusters of pills are our life-force.”

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Esodo, by Angela Minaudo of Italy says that “The work represents the journey of those who run from the land in search of a better life, towards other lands, other worlds, towards the end of their world and often toward the end of their lives.”  Esodo means “exodus.”

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A Japanese quilter, Chiaki Yagishita, made Japon.  Her statement read “I think ‘creation’ and ‘infinity’ equals ‘silence.’  There is ‘silence’ in Japan and it is beautiful. This work expresses ‘Japanese blue’ [or] ‘the silent world.’ ”

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Anneliese Jaros, from Austria made 101 Views of Vesuvius (my translation of her title).  She wrote that she loves the Gulf of Naples, and Mt. Vesuvius.  “The eruptions of the volcano in the course of history have been the end of the world to many…Parts of the letters [by Pliny the Younger] describing the eruptions are printed in Latin on cotton, which are then overlaid by my own photos of contemporary views of the mountain.”  I tried to capture the detail of the overlay, below.

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Au pays des atomes translates to “In the Country of Atoms,” and is a quilt by French quilter Françoise Buzzi-Morel.  She write that atoms “are able to reach the end of the world…beyond any human limits.  And in one precise order, they geometrically follow parallels, cubes, circles and lines.”

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Another French quilter, Eriko Krzyzaniak, made Emmenez-moi au pays des merveilles, or “Take me to Wonderland.”  The colors of blue and gold were inspired by the icon of the Virgen Rynecka in the Church of Our Lady in Prague.  “The drawing,” she writes, “was inspired but the poetry “The Little Flute Player,” by G. Brassens.  It was the starting point of my ‘Wonderland.’ ”
I snapped two more photos showing the detail of her work (below).

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Rita Dijkstra, from The Netherlands, did a rendition of Mount Fitz Roy (her title).  She describes it for us: “The road on the quilt leads to Mount Fitz Roy on the border of Argentina and Chile (Patagonia)….For me Patagonia stands for the end of the world.  The only way you can travel more south from this point, is by taking a boat to the South Pole.”

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No return was made by Anne Lillhom, from The Netherlands.  She writes “From birth to death, we go through different stages.  We have good and less good things happening in life, days with more colors and days with less colors.  We have periods in life where life goes up and days where it goes down…Nobody knows what the life journey will bring us, the only that is for sure is….there is NO RETURN.  We simply have to follow the path.”

Details, below.

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Michèle Samter of Switzerland made Excitement of a big city, her tribute to Singapore.  She writes that “The vibrating performance of all the lights in different colors from high-rise buildings and traffic all night long evokes [a] feeling [of having been to the end of the world]….The contrast between my home in Switzerland and this other city, which never seems to sleep, had a great impact on me.”

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Incredible Voyage to the End of the World is by Dalia Eliraz, who is from Israel.  She writes: “The Arctic tern’s [long] trip from Arctic to Antarctic and back is the furthest animal migration.  Over 30 years, it will travel the equivalent of 3 roundtrips from Earth to Moon.  My quilt is inspired by this super-migration bird, as a metaphor of human behavior [when] motivated by determination to achieve a life goal or purpose….whether it is love, academic ambition, artistic aspirations or nesting…”

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Dreamland, by Elly Van Steebeek (from the Netherlands)
She writes: “There is a place, [far] from home with a beautiful blue sky, singing birds, flowing rivers and dark rocks. And after a spectacular sunset there is total darkness, only a whispering wind and the sound of the busy.  This is the land of my dreams!”

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This is Edith Leidi, from Italy, and I was so excited to meet her, I forgot to take a photo of the complete quilt.  The title is Stargate. What’s next?  and I loved what she wrote: “My idea was born in the swimming pool.  I was watching my husband’s hand diving in the water, so I created my stargate.  The hand passes through it while the body remains on the other side.  There is another hand in the universe, that is going to meet the first one.  But…from where does it come?”
Detail, below.

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Gabrielle Paquin from France (who also had her own exhibit at the Patchwork Meeting) created Voyage en orbite.  She says “The Earth [has] become too little for its population.  It is necessary to find some exits in Space….we must in a future time go away for a journey…tempory of definitively.”

ConcoursPatchwork_18

This quilt was on the front of their brochure for the Meeting, so we saw it everywhere.  Chang Misun, of South Korea, created Pieces of memories.  She says: “I think my way of life is like an endless trip.  Pieces of past life and future life come together…[some] especially clear and some others are dim.  Pieces of all memories were expressed in the works.”

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Maryte Collard, of Lithuania, made Song of the Linen.  Writing about returning to Lithuania, she notes that it “always feels like the trip backwards in time” due to the ancient language and that is was the “last European country to accept Christianity.”  Because of this “traces of ancient customs still remain in daily life….Flax has been a traditional Lithuanian fiber for several thousand years.  It has a special place in my heart and it sings to me the song about the trip to the end of the world.”
Detail, below.

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Catalogue of Patchwork Meeting 2017

taken from *here*

Watch me breeze through the complete catalogue, which I couldn’t figure out how to upload, which shows a few more quilts.  Below is a photo of the giant poster, showing all our venues.  The one above was above the L’Espace Commercial.

Patchwork Mtg_venues SMAM

It was raining that day, but none of our wet umbrellas were allowed in the exhibits.  Since I’d lost one already to an umbrella stand, I wasn’t anxious to repeat the experience, so I whipped out my souvenir Patchwork Bag, and we stuffed the umbrellas in there as we walked around.  Everyone was happy.

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More posts coming. The original post, with links, is found *here.*

To Reply, or Not to Reply? Blogging Buzz

I guess the first thing to get out of the way is to ask one of the big questions:

Question1

No, that’s not it.

The big question is: why do you blog?

And if you are like most of the blogs I see in Blogland, the answer falls into these categories:

  • making a living at quilting
  • want to make a living at quilting
  • will never make a living, but still have hope
  • pleasure of sharing my quilts
  • love to write and would write about making tires, if necessary

And then the next question:

Another question

Wrong.

Here it is: What do you expect of the people who visit your blog?

Should they leave a comment? Visit only? Not steal your content (it happens)? Not copy your ideas without attribution (it happens)?  Which leads us to the really big question:

JosephCampbellBigQuestion(from *here*)

When I first started my blogging adventure, in September 2006, I didn’t even enable comments, coming as I was from the “pure” experience of a Creative Writing degree where it was always expected that you would write from within yourself.  Soon after that, the digital world exploded and during grad school a few years later, even though we were still yearning for that isolated writing experience, the reality of the market now loomed large, and we had classes on marketing, selling your novel, pitching stories, being aware of What’s Out There.

And that now is the world in which we quilt bloggers find ourselves, I think, which means that the pure excitement of sharing our quilts, our ideas and just chatting up the room seems to be slowly sinking into the swamp of Making Connections, Pitching My Stuff, Pick Me! Pick Me!, and so on.  I think I participate in all of everything, as do most of us.  But I was quite struck by the thoughts on Carrie Nelson’s blog, LaVieEnRosie, about how so much of blogging has become about advertising.  Carrie is one of my heroes in the way she blogs truthfully about her life, so I really perked up when she next said:

With blogs, I’m also betwixt and between about responding to comments.  I feel horribly – terribly! – guilty when I don’t answer each and every comment with an e-mail but since I can’t bring myself to send just a quick “thank you for commenting” – I think we all know I’m a bit chattier than that – do I answer just some?  And if I don’t get to it right away, is it awful to respond a week or ten days later?  That might be worse than not answering it at all.  So I stick my head in the sand and hope the e-mails answer themselves.

Sometimes I think that comments are just comments–not requiring a reply.  When I leave a comment like “Great quilt!” I don’t really expect a reply at all.  But other times I’ve been pleasantly surprised when a reply has come, and over time it has deepened to a correspondence of some sort.  However (and she peers over the top of glasses), I know several bloggers who feel so swamped by their own success, of the imperative to thank everyone who comes by, that they withdraw from blogland, retreating back to their studios to Make Stuff, which is — if you think about it — the main reason to have a blog.  And I also cringe a little when I happen on a blog where they cheerfully say “I want to grow my blog!” as we are expected to carry away a task from that honest goal, and as I slink away I feel guilty, because certainly one of the true pleasures of blogging is building a community of like-minded folks.

So, does this strange cultural custom of expected replies to comments enhance your appreciation for a blog?  Do you leave comments regardless of whether the blogger will answer you back? And if you blog yourself, do you feel compelled (and I chose that word purposefully) to answer back all your commenters?

Do Tell.

Google Reader, exiting stage left

I have blog followers (subscribers) on Google Reader, and I also use Google Reader.  A LOT.

So it was worth paying attention to the news when Google announced it was discontinuing Google Reader.  While I’ve read multiple articles, I must admit my eyes glaze over when techie terms are mentioned.  For those who aren’t affected by this announcement, it’s helpful to know that readers are a handy way to organize blogs into categories, allowing their Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds to be gathered up, allowing the reader to save posts, while also making them searchable from within the reader.

So now it’s back to the hunt for easy-to-use products that will allow us to replace Google Reader.

NewsBar view

I did a search on RSS feeds for Macintosh and NewsBar (view, above) seems to be top-rated.  I’ve been trying it out and I can customize colors, size of font, where I can put the floating feed (and I can make it disappear) among other things.  I like that I can group my feeds as before, and that by clicking, it will show the post to the right with an option to open it in my browser.  Once the RSS feeds have been uploaded, they are on their own and don’t refer back to Google’s reader.

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If NewsBar is open, and I’m reading a website I want to save, I merely click on the small “plus” sign and it will add it.  In some cases (I’m still learning), I had to locate a site’s RSS feed icon (above), then copy and paste the feed address into NewsBar.  I’ve added an RSS feed icon to my blog now, too.

Flipboardicon

On my iPad, I use Flipboard, having logged into my Google Reader account and connected the two, but I don’t know if they are independent of Google; I’d have to suppose so.  Debbie of A Quilter’s Table said she was trying Bloglovin, but when I tried it, I received this notice:

Bloglovin

For the interim, we could start following lots of blogs, via their following service, then use filters in our emails to separate them off.  This will work (I use it now for online quilt shops, family emails, and so forth), so if you want to follow me, you know how (fill in your email above; WordPress is a pretty good platform for this sort of thing).

At any rate, we’ll back shortly, with a new post.

2013-National-Quilting-Day-250p(logo borrowed from www.fabshopnet.com)

And if you’re reading this on March 16th,

Happy National Quilting Day!

Creativity and the Web

I’m thinking about all those affected by the horrific storm on the East Coast.  I have several quilty/blogger friends, as well as quite a few family members who have been affected and hope that they and their families are through the worst of it.  I’ve been on a blogging break this week from the computer (I wrote this post earlier) but I just wanted to jump in and send my thoughts to those who are dealing with this “Frankenstorm” and its aftermath.  Take care, everyone.

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In my class at school, we just completed a unit that was based on this book by Nicholas Carr, titled, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains.  We had our Discussion Panels last Wednesday, and it was fascinating that the students were fairly perceptive and able to discuss how the Internet has impacted their lives, for better or for worse.  One young man is fairly sanguine about the whole thing, saying, “Well, it’s here.  We just have to deal.”  Another pair of young women took opposite positions on the question of whether print was dead.  The internet’s main impact, that of re-wiring our brains due to neuroplasticity, was skirted around, but acknowledged when they all complained of the inability to finish a book before distractedly checking their phones for texts or messages.

And I think it’s rewired my brain as well.  Carr goes through the history of civilization’s adding of new technologies, from writing to moveable print to the typewriter and onward to clocks and the internet.  I was interested in his discussion on tools: “The tight bonds we form with our tools go both ways.  Even as our technologies become extensions of ourselves, we become extensions of our technologies.”

 I thought about how quilting has changed from the time when I used to trace a pattern onto cardboard, carefully cut it out and tape the edges for stability.  Then I’d trace it about a bazillion times in order to make a quilt, following along the pencil line for the seam.  I did use a machine for piecing, but hand-quilting was the only way to finish a quilt.  That’s why my list of 100 Quilts took so long to grow: our tools were more primitive before the advent of rulers and rotary cutters.

He also references Frederick Taylor’s Time-Motion studies and how it has changed how workers do their jobs (above: a golfer takes a swing).  Before Taylor came along, “the individual laborer, drawaing on his training, knowledge and experience, would make his own decisions about how he did his work.  He would write his own script” (218).

I think of us at work.  Some of us spread all our fabric out into a lovely mess (like mine, above).  Others fold and organize continually throughout the day.  I like to doodle around with my computer when thinking up a new quilt. Some like to start cutting, throwing the cloth up on the pin wall to see what’s going on.  Carr notes that with Taylor’s regimentation of industry’s messiness, something was lost.  “What was lost along with the messiness was personal initiative, creativity, and whim.  Conscious craft turned into unconscious routine.”

I hope I never become such a slave to a pattern or a ruler or a system of making a quilt that I can’t make  a creative and conscious detour into creativity.  But sometimes I wonder when I make a copy of another’s quilt, using one line of fabric if I’m not caught in a type of quilt-machine using Taylor’s demands for proscribed motion.   Is this creativity?  Am I being creative, or just following someone else’s script and benefitting from their decisions?

And like many of you, I’ve been following #quiltmarket on Instagram.  Carr said more than once, and I’m paraphrasing here, that trying to control the flow of information from the internet is like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant at full blast.  The internet caters to the new! unique! amazing! as we all know.

I also have Pinterest boards full of ideas, most are quilts which I’ll never make, but pin them up there nonetheless.   Can we be creative 24/7, or is that too exhausting?  Has the Internet made better quilting possible?  More interesting quilting?  Given us an access to a wider range of styles and types?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.  I only know that sometimes the Internet affects us quilters, too.

So my question now, is how has the Internet affected you?  And has it been for better. . . or for worse?