A Quiet Week

AMH tote bag

AMH tote bag pocket

After the big TaDa! moment of getting Santa and his blocks and his neighborhood all done, it was a quiet week.  No bee blocks.  No quilting.  No sewing, unless you count the samples that I put together to teach my Pleated Tote Bag class on Tuesday night.  Tonight, I finished the bag that I’d used as a teaching sample (above), putting the pieces together, arriving at completion.

IMG_6050

And because I have a quiet week, and I’ve had a chance to reflect on recent events, and because we are approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s time to count my blessings, quilt-wise.  In the photo above, Cindy, of Live A Colorful Life is seated at my dining room table, sewing on my little featherweight.  This was the second year she has come down for our Good Heart Quilters Potluck Event, and I’m so glad she did.  One of the blessing of modern quilting is the internet, the connections we make through Instagram, through blogs and their comments, through emails, and through bees (Cindy organized the Mid-Century Modern Bee, of which I’m a part).

Pho and Flatbread

When she arrived, on Halloween Night, we turned out the lights on the porch and went out for Pho and flatbread from a new restaurant in town.  She was pretty adventurous, even so far as to have the Korean-style flatbread, with kimchi on top.  Later, we came back home and talked and sewed (my husband was out of town, so we had the run of the place).  Cindy’s gift of collecting people and connecting people has greatly blessed my life.

TAble setting

After sewing all day Friday, we set up the tables in my dining room, and hosted the Good Heart Quilters, or about half of them.  It seems it was a very busy weekend, and we were missing a good number of these fine quilters.

Cooked Stuffed Pumpkin

Stuffed Pumpkin_open

This was what I made for my contribution to dinner: stuffed pumpkin (recipe found *here*).

Quilt Night_1a

from l: Carol, Laurel, Janette, Leisa and Tracy

Quilt Night_2a

from l: Simone, Caitlin, Cindy and Lisa

Quilt Night_Laurel

We always start (and usually finish) with Show and Tell.  This is Laurel’s finish–a quilt for her sister.  It’s very tall, so the angle isn’t the best, but as always, Laurel combines piecing with appliqué to create something we all want to sneak off with, into our cars.

Quilt Night_Lisa

Lisa got her borders sewn on tonight–a Hallelujah! moment because she’s been busy getting ready for her daughter’s wedding in about three weeks, and she has sewn her own dress and most of Bridget’s trousseau, amidst working all day.  We were thrilled for her.

Quilt Night_Simone

Simone started coming this spring for the first time, and has her first finish: an apple core quilt done in modern fabrics.  It’s fabulous.

Quilt Night_Simone2

But she didn’t stop there–she used the scraps to create a table runner.  A clever quilter, wouldn’t you say?  Last year, we ate and then just chatted, but this year we ate and then got to work and everyone made progress on their projects.  Next quilt night is at Simone’s, on Saturday, December 7th, a shift from our usual Fridays (the church Christmas supper snagged that Friday!).  In counting my blessings, this quilt group is one of my big quilty blessings.  Sometimes we’ve been only a few ladies gathered at a house for munchies and sewing, sometimes there’s been a lot of us, but after meeting for sixteen years, roughly 8-10 times a year, we’ve all become close friends, and are always ready to welcome in a new quilter (like Simone and Caitlin).

Hello Kitty on Ceiling

I don’t know if you can see this, but when I went to Arizona to spend time with my daughter and her family while her husband was in Tonga doing free dental work, I got to sleep in her daughter Keagan’s room.  I turned out the light, pulled up the covers and was greeted by a giant pink Hello Kitty and the time, all broadcast to the ceiling.  It made me smile, and count my blessings of having grandchildren who like to know what time it is.  Even if it is in the middle of the night.

Santa Backing

While I was there, Barbara took me to a giant fabric/quilt shop store where they had tons and tons of great quilt fabrics: 35th Avenue Sew and Vac, in Phoenix Arizona, where I found a piece of Ann Kelle’s Christmas trees for no good reason.  Ah, but the very good reason became apparent to me after I finished off the Santa top.  This will be the perfect backing (and I got it on sale!).

Friendship Quilt

And lastly, about fifteen years ago I started this Friendship Quilt. At that time I wanted to remember lots of women in my life who had been my mentors, my friends, my sisters and sisters-in-law, my daughter and daughters-in-law.  Some of these women: two of my aunts, and my mother-in-law have passed away already.  It’s time to get it done.  I have put it on my Finish-A-Long list nearly every month, but hadn’t done much about it.  Recently I laid out the squares in what I thought I remembered as my original design.  Holes in the pattern were apparent.  I realized that I had just enough missing blocks that I could gather my granddaughters’ signatures, as well as the my most recent daughter-in-law.  It’s tempting to keep it going, to add those friends who are close to me now, but I decided some time ago that with the exception of adding those related to me, I would leave it as it was: a snapshot in time.  But because I am counting my quilty blessing on this post, from new friends and far-flung internet friends and old friends both near and far, and all those related to me, I must end by counting these sweet blessings in my life:

Signatures

These were the signatures I collected last week, from the three-year-old Dani to the eldest granddaughter Keagan, and all the others in between.

I am beyond blessed to know these little women.  They make my heart sing.

Cool quilt square from IG

Happy Thanksgiving week, every one.  Don’t let the cooking interfere too much with the sewing (although, judging from what I see on Instagram (photo above), things are proceeding apace! (Nice quilt block, Leanne!)

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As a reminder, if you see an ad on this blog, it is because my blogging software puts it there.
 I make no money from their ads, but since I blog for free, I figure it’s a fair trade-off.

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.

∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆

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.

At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night

BandstandStarryNight_front

 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, front

I’ve written about this quilt on this blog before, where I referred to it as Hunter’s Star, a description of the block.  But now it is finished, binding and all, and has a new name: At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night.

SFO Bay Bridge_1

I’ve done a couple of “under the starry night” experiences this past week, and there’s also been some bandstanding, or music.  The photo above is of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, where they have an LED art installation, The Bay Lights, which makes patterns with fish swimming across the bridge, clouds, waves, shooting lines, sparkly doodads and all sorts of patterns.  We drove up to San Francisco to see this, as it’s only here for two years.

SFO City LIghts

And here’s The City’s lights, with the Ferry Building in the foreground.  I had first made this quilt for my youngest son’s college quilt.  He was enamored of music of all kinds, acquiring the nickname of Audioman, so I incorporated music-themed fabric into the Hunter’s Star design, a personal favorite.

BandstandStarryNight_back

 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, back

However, he took one look at it and kind of squinched up his eyes, subtly shook his head and didn’t say much.  I figured it out, and made him a different one (#43 on the 100 Quilts List), which he liked much better.  This one sat around.

BandstandStarryNight_detail2

I pulled it out because I’d put it on my Finish-A-Long list, rummaged through my fabric stash, finding the borders already cut out.  I slipped in the yellow inner border for some variety (funny how your quilting tastes change), found a large piece of IKEA fabric and put a back on it so my quilter could get it quilted for me.

BandstandStarryNight_back detail

Back detail

As you all know, it had been a beyond-stressful week for me not only for my own puny reasons, but troubles within my larger circle of people I love.  And then the landline phone on the house telephone went out.  That’s it, I said.  So I sat down and put on the binding, and Friday morning found me traveling north with my husband to a scientific conference.  I happily stitched as he drove.

BandstandStarryNight_tree1

 quilt on a large cypress tree, outside our hotel room

So we found ourselves here in Monterey and it’s the jazz festival — a Big Deal, with Big Names — jazz in the lounge, on the stereo, musical instruments being seen everywhere.  And I thought of the best kind of music, being played with great affection and intensity under a starry night, perhaps even by a band on a bandstand on a summery night, and so the quilt found its name, and its finish.

BandstandStarryNight_tree

FinishALong Button

This is one of my project on the Finish-A-Long list, and quilt #47 on my 100 Quilts List.  Yes, I went backwards.  (Although now I only list them when they are completed, earlier I slipped in a couple of tops only.)

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