Pacific Grove Blues

Pacific Grove Blues_front

Oh, yes, you’ve seen this before, but only (as the Australians say) as a flimsy, a quilt top.  So I needed to get a few projects done and finished and this was next on the list.  I was originally going to name it Sand and Sea, but changed my mind to keep it fresh.

Pacific Grove Blues_block

This is the block, made in fours and arranged into the quilt.  The original post has more information about the pattern, if you’re interested.

Pacific Grove Blues_back

I call it Pacific Grove Blues, because of the time we spent in Northern California last month walking along the coastal path in that very interesting town.   I don’t have the label for this quilt finished yet, but will, soon.  Of course, I visited the fabric store that was there, Back Porch Fabrics; look for the review of that in an upcoming post.

Carmel Blues

It also hearkens back to an earlier quilt, titled The Blues of Carmel, made from a fat quarter purchased there, and homage to my mother’s blue blue eyes.

We watched these waves every morning, trying to get to the walking just before sunrise.  A peak experience, as my Dad would say.

Pacific Grove Blues

It can now join my growing stack of Schnibbles on top of the guest room armoire.  My husband keeps asking me what I’m going to do with all of these little quilts.  I really have no idea.  Table toppers for holidays (especially the last one, that’s all patriotic)?  Doll quilts for the granddaughters? (But I’ve already made them all doll quilts.)

What would you do with a bunch of little quilts? Any ideas, besides stack them up and enjoy them?  We’ve all heard quoted a million times that factoid from the book by Malcolm Gladwell about how it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at anything.  I figure by cranking these out, I’m keeping those 10,000 hours of practice alive and going.  I don’t really know how much longer I will continue to do these Schnibbles, but I have to say that Carrie Nielson of Miss Rosie’s pattern company always has solid designs and colorations, and I can always keep learning something new about how to piece something, or put a combo together, or be exposed to a new block and its possibilities.  I like keeping my options open.

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FinishALong Button

This is one completed project from Finish-A-Long, hosted by Leanne of She Can Quilt, Quarter 4 of 2014’s goals.

This is quilt number 123, on my 200 quilts list.

Juxtaposition (and a pattern giveaway)

Juxtaposition_front

I finished my quilt, and I’ve titled it Juxtaposition.  Every quilt teaches me something, and this one taught me to try again, to not get discouraged, to discover new ways of doing things.

Quilt Juxtaposition_front

This photo of the quilt, shows less of the texture–the quilting–and more of the color and pattern.  I love the pattern.

Facets Pattern-cover

It is Facets, from Anne of SpringLeaf Studios and as a lovely part of this quilt, she will be offering one pattern for a giveaway.  (See the end of this post.)  I only did one of the several versions of this pattern; mine was the simplest, but all of her directions are clearly written and easy-to-follow.

Juxtaposition_corner

The easy punch of the graphic design drew me to this, and I knew that the fabric I chose, Charleston Farmhouse, would be a perfect fit.  I just didn’t anticipate the difficulty of quilting that central square, but it didn’t take away my fondness for this pattern.  I’m already planning to make it again, using the blocks idea shown on the front of the pattern.

Juxtaposition Quilt Center drawings

I wrote about the frustration I experienced in quilting this, but sitting in my hotel room one morning (we were away at a conference), I realized that if I didn’t tackle and finish, this quilt, I probably would pitch it in the thrift store bag.

Facets Quilting_1

(original quilting)

So I drew up two ideas for the center; both were generated by a comment of a reader who said that my ferns in my original design were facing the wrong direction.  I thought a long time about what she said, and as I drew, took in her ideas.  I let my husband and my quilter friend Beth vote on the one they liked, and I went to town.  I used a blue marking pen to assist me, but didn’t trace the leaves, as I still wanted that organic look to the quilting.

Quilt in high relief

After I finished, I had my quilt in one hand, camera in the other, walking around the hotel looking for places to take its picture.  This shot was taken in full sun, laying on the grass in the late afternoon and the texture of the quilting really pops. I used a faced binding again on this quilt, and I like how it looks.

Juxtaposition and Cypress

It was lovely to come home with a finished quilt.  This is quilt #121 on my 200 Quilts List.

FinishALong Button

It is also part of the Third Quarter Finish-A-Long, and I’m happy to say I finished one more quilt on my list!

FAL Tutorial Header

And also today, my tutorial on Y-seams posted at Leanne’s blog here, if you need a little help in that direction.

Giveaway Banner

To win a copy of this pattern (it’s a downloadable PDF), tell me about the hardest quilt you ever made, that really challenged you, but one that stuck with until the end.  Are you glad you finished it?  Do you hate the quilt?  Love it for what it taught you? Gave it away as soon as you could?

Leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner on Thursday evening.

Finsh-A-Long–Second Quarter Report

First, on July 3rd, I’m guest hosting today over at Leanne’s, of She Can Quilt, where I have written a tutorial for making a faced binding on a quilt (used on Kaleidoscope). This tutorial is in conjunction with the end of the second quarter of the Finish-A-Long, which she is hosting this year.

FacedBindingTitle

Now that you’re back, every quarter we monitor our progress and check in with Leanne, who is hosting this year’s Finish-A-Long program.  So now it’s time for the second quarterly report of how many of our goals we finished.  For a reminder, here’s my original mosaic, showing the quilts I was thinking about finishing:

FAL Q2_2013

And now the wrap-up:

Hunter’s Star–still in the closet (not finished)

Doleket Art Quilt-front

Four-in-Art: Fire–Doloket, finished

TakeMeBacktoItaly front

Italy Quilt–Take Me Back to Italy, finished

Lollypop Class Sample I–(top is finished, but the whole project is not finished, because it’s at the shop for a sample)

Lollypop Tree Quilt–(not finished, still hanging in the closet)

Christmas Treat final

Lollypop Class Sample II–Christmas Treat, finished

Friendship Quilt, still in the closet (not finished)

Kaleidoscope Front

EPP Quilt–Kaleidoscope, finished (amazingly)

So that’s four finishes.  Not bad.  I also snuck in a few more that weren’t listed:

SpoolinAroundTop

Spooling Around

Giving Christine the quilt

A quilt for my sister Christine:  Christine’s Philadelphia
(We’re in a pastry shop)

Christine's Row Quilt labeled

One really nice thing is the way that participating in the Finish-A-Long (FAL) keeps me focused on what to do next.  So often I can be swayed by what I see on Instagram, or from blog reading, or the latest internet craze, ignoring my own goals and projects.  I still have way more ideas and fabrics and projects that I will ever finish in my lifetime, but I like participating in FAL, where I least have a fighting chance of pointing to something at the end of the quarter that I did, that I finished, and that I’m proud of.

Now I need to think of things I want to try and finish for next quarter’s FAL.  Hope you’ll join us.

FinishALong Button

FAL Progress: not much

This is one of those I-think-I’ll-beat-myself-up posts.

I’m participating in the Finish-A-Long this quarter, after having such a gang-busting last quarter.  Really, I was hot hot hot.

FAL Q2_2013These were my goals.

1. I glimpsed the Hunter’s Star quilt top when I was finishing up the vacuuming after my sister and her husband left (they stayed with us for a few days and we had great talks).  It’s still hanging there, waiting for a border or two and then a trip to the quilter.

2. Hey! I finished something–the Four-in-Art * Fire quilt, titled Doloket.

3. Hey!  Something else was completed.  Guess I might not have to hate myself so much.  Yes, I did finish the Italy quilt — a Schnibbles quilt — part of Another Year of Schnibbles on Sheri and Sinta’s blogs.  Title: Take Me Back to Italy.

4.  I can’t finish this one, as the sample is hanging in the shop — the shop owner likes it unfinished so she can show people what machine appliqué looks like from the back.

5.  Oh, right.  Next.

6. Finished this one, woohoo!  Title: Lollypop Treat.

7.  What was I thinking even listing this?  Next.

8. Sigh.

Spoolin Around1

So, I guess it’s not total loathing here in Riverside, just partial.  But the one good thing about this FAL is that keeps me honest, and usually focused.  But I had to add in another Schnibbles (above, as I know no post is good without photos), and I slipped in Christine’s Philadelphia because the idea was burning in my brain.  Okay, confessional over.  I guess I should get to work.

Take Me Back to Italy!

TakeMeBacktoItaly front

I have this thing for Italy.  So when I saw Va Bene!, a line of fabrics depicting scenes and buildings and landmarks from Italy, it had to come home with me.  Many of our trips are detailed on my travel blog, Traveled Mind, which I’ve maintained for several trips, and it serves as a journal of sorts.  It’s always fun to go and read it to remember the perfect bruschetta pomodora in the courtyard just beyond the steps of Santo Spirito in Florence (and is why I put the snippet of fabric showing this on the quilt label).

santospirito2

The facade of the church Santo Spirito, Florence

bruschettapomodora

Brushetta Pomodora (pronounced with a hard sound: brus-ketta)

Recipe is found *here.*

So with this memory floating in my mind, I fell in love with the tomato fabric and the sights fabric and the background fabric with the Venetian gondolas and knew that I wanted to make this for Another Year of Schnibbles that Sherri and Sinta are hosting.

Schnibbles Hat Trick Version 1

This was my first attempt.  I ending up snipping off the piano key borders — even though they are in the original pattern — because everything seemed “mushed” together.  I think a quilt should have strong focal point, or perhaps several places where the eye can travel to, and with the borders and this fabric, it just wasn’t working.

TakeMeBacktoItaly detail

I also quilted the nine-patches in the ditch, and then did a heavy stippling on the triangles to smash them flat into the background, hoping the nine-patch design would pop up a bit.  I think it also helped with that no place for the eye to rest thing I was talking about.

stacroceac

Windows of Santa Croce

TakeMeBacktoItalyBack

I’d purchased this tea towel on a very hot day when we were touring Lake Como, and tucked it away in the suitcase.  You can’t always find fabric in distant places, but there’s always a tea towel or two, showing the sights.

img_4116

Florence Duomo exterior

oltrarnogate

roadscene1

Tuscan countryside

My husband is a great traveler, very adventurous, and loves to rent a car and just drive around, trying new places to eat, finding the out of the way place, avoiding the tourist traps, although he will put up with a few if the sights are top notch.  So Italy fits us well.  Enough people speak English, the food is amazing, and the scenery is picturesque.

TakeMeBacktoItaly label

So what else could I name this quilt but Take Me Back to Italy?

This is Quilt #112 on my 200 Quilts list.

It’s also my second finish for the second quarter of Leanne’s Finish-A-Long,

FinishALong Button

. . . and my first Schnibbles in Another Year of Schnibbles.

Schnibbles

 That’s a pretty big pedigree for such a small quilt, but this one can handle it.

 It’s Italian.

Christmas Treat Wallhanging

Christmas Treat front

So, out here on the old sewing ranch-a-roo, I finished up Christmas Treat (name is courtesy of my husband–thanks hon!) and took it outside to pose for pictures.  The front.

Christmas Treat back

The back is an old Alexander Henry fabric with quirky angels flying everywhere.  I’ve hoarded this and now only have about a yard of the black colorway.

Christmas Treat label

The label.  I like to print mine out and border them before I stitch them on.  If you do a search for “labels” in the search box on the blog, you’ll find posts about how I do my labels.

Christmas Treat final

The final full shot.  It’s #111 on my 200 Quilts list.  It’s a big day because of the following four reasons:

1–this is my first Finish a Long completed.  Today Leanne posted the winners from the first quarter over on her blog, and if you want a fun quilt show, spending a few minutes looking at all the entries will give you enough ideas to make up all that fabric you’ve been collecting (Did I win?  No.  I never win, but that’s just my life).  I probably won’t finish the blue flowers at this time as the shop owner likes that it shows the back;
2–I actually did some free motion quilting on this that I’m not mostly ashamed of.  Don’t look too closely, as I don’t do enough of it to show it off, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out;
3–I took this sample (above, of Christmas Treat and below, of Lollypop Tree block) to Bluebird Quilts & Gallery, my local quilt shop, and she booked me in to teach two classes!  I’m so jazzed!  Now, to see if they carry. . .and. . .

Lollypop Block

4) my husband took a new picture of me that I think is a pretty good rendition of who I am at this point in my life.  As the Mid-Century Moderns know, we scrupulously monitor our images, preferring instead to be behind the lens instead of in front of it.

ESE April 2013

About photographs: we swim in a sea of digital images, and most are out of our control, as was demonstrated by the plethora of images that came forward about the Boston Marathon tragedy.  Our grandparents had a handful.  Our great-grandparents had, like, maybe three.  So does having so many pictures make it any easier to find one you like of yourself, especially if you don’t look like Gyweneth Paltrow or George Clooney or some other cinema god/dess?  If you’re like me, my husband took about ten shots before I got one that I liked–one that represented on the outside how I generally felt on the inside.  So, here it is.  Banish all other images to the dustbin.  This is the me as I am this week, all sunny yellow in sunny Southern California.

Two Lollypop Blocks800

Okay, class info:
Class will be taught at Bluebird Quilts & Gallery, at 22320 Barton Road, Suite A, in  Grand Terrace, California (just north of Riverside).

I’ll teach Wednesday, May 22nd from 10 to 3:30 p.m. and July 29th, from 10 to 3:30 p.m.

I need at least four, preferably, five people to carry the class.  I’m including the pattern (my own, drawn from the original Lollypop Tree quilt from the 1880s), and freezer paper (have you priced this stuff lately?  Whew!).  Cost is $50/full day class, including pattern.  Call the shop (909) 514-0333 to sign up, if you think you’d like to take the class.  They’ll have class supply lists for you when you sign up.  Their hours are Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Closed Saturdays.