When you are stuck, it is. I love those houses, but…No.
New favorite. I ordered two more yards.
I love having scraps of batting that are just the right size.
Letting us both rest after a few hours of quilting.
Here come the beauty shots. (Isn’t that little bee with the branch arms the cutest?)
I quilted whatever came into my head.
I haven’t measured it, I haven’t labeled it, but the saga of the Orphan-Blocks-into-Table-Runner is now complete. I’m sorry to say, it didn’t empty out my orphan blocks bin much. Now I have to think up another way to use some of those up. And I have to think up a name. These orphan blocks came from when I taught the First Monday Sew-day class of beginners about Square-in-a-Square, or Economy blocks.
I still love these little houses. Now I have the beginning of another quilt! Get the Pattern Lite here.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend.
Or, as my mother would say, Happy Decoration Day (some fascinating reading in this link). The weekend before Memorial Day, my mother and father would go out and decorate the graves of their grandparents and great-grandparents with flowers, the cemetary made beautiful with pots of mums everywhere. This is the gravestone of my Scottish gr-grandmother. I have two namesake gr-grandmother Elizabeths and I remember them both on this Decoration Day. While the origins of Memorial Day are generally thought to be about the war dead, because of my mother, I remember it also as a day to honor those long gone.
Blog-writing for other organizations can sometimes make me weary. I’ve been the blog-writer for a local guild here, and the other day — Blog Writing Day, as I like to call it, when everything stops and I won’t do one more thing before writing out the news and stuff for the organizaion — I sat at the computer, my mind blank. I wrote the usual paragraphs, then wondered if I should delete some of it, as I am turning everything over to a new person in a month, and would she want to have to write this in her tenure? It all became very complicated, trying to write what’s in someone else’s head, in someone else’s world.
When I write for this blog, on the other hand, I try to find some space and some quiet — a recent challenge during covid-time and we’re all shut in our houses together.
The conditions of these two aforementioned things may explain why you haven’t see a post from me in some time. But here goes.
Part of the title of this post, weary, might describe us all at this time. We’ve been covid-ing since March (wearying), made it mostly through an election (wearying), our energy levels are low, and now we are all putting up our Christmas lights early, trying to bring in some light into this weary world of ours. Ours went up last Saturday, and since we celebrated Thanksgiving early — a social distanced, outside on our patio, meal with local family this past Sunday — all our Christmas decor is creeping in to the house, well before the end of Thanksgiving Day.
It feels right. We need something to celebrate, to rejoice in, and I am looking to the familiar warm-hearted feelings that the Christmas season can bring, and if that means early tinsel and lights and nutcrackers, bring it on. If that means putting out the Christmas quilts, and pillows and table runners, I’m in. Christmas tunes? Now on the playlist.
I was trying to think of ways to help lift the weary and wondered if you were interested in a quilty make to up the holiday cheer. If so, here are two possible ways:
This is a teeny little quilt (4″ x 6″) that can be slipped over a frame. These make cute gifts for friends, for shut-ins, for people you visit but who are still fretting about their gain of the Covid-fifteen-so-no-more-chocolates-please. Directions are found *here.*
This is my field of Christmas trees, made so long ago from *this free tutorial* and which needs to be finished. What always stops me in a project is that I get plans which then complicates everything to that something perfect in my mind, which then shifts me to never-getting-it-finished. Keep in mind that just participating in the act of creation (like our quilts and blocks –and even wooden blocks on barns), can help us feel better about life.
Example of Complicated (work in progress):
Example of Uncomplicated:
Maybe December 2020 is the season for simple, for easy, for uncomplicated. Maybe it’s the time for bringing light, for sharing our lives, for writing holiday cards, letting people know we are still here. And next year, when we’re all vaccinated (my Christmas 2021 wish) and we’re out and about and full of vim and vigor and excitement, and even in spite of all the recovery work that will be around us, we’ll not be weary.
Recently QuiltMania Magazine and I entered into a collaboration — one of those collaborations that finds you in the middle of the night cleaning out the front closet, or tidying up the bookcase in the family room, or hunting all your sewing studio for your favorite piece of fabric. So I tidied uprewrote wrote a new finishing pattern and it’s now up for sale on PayHip. This pattern provides the setting templates and instructions for putting all those circles together cohesively.
Eventually I’ll put out a pattern with all the blocks, but for now, the Shine series consists of the free ones on QuiltMania, four more blocks for purchase, and this pattern to set the quilt together.
The original pattern was from my write-it-up-in-Microsoft-Word days, all the while plugging in poorly lit photos of the steps. Now it has many illustrations, as I’m finally getting the hang of my creative software, and what I don’t know how to do, I’ve figured out a few workarounds. The above illustration was one of those.
I made up a new EPP circle pattern, Summer Day, and threw that in at the end, figuring whoever checks this out would like a freebie.
Last week I taught a live-online lecture for the Alabama Station Quilt Guild, and the Criss-Cross Quilt below was sent to me by Gisele, one of the participants. I love the colors she chose and thought the quilt was really terrific.
A few weeks ago my friend Mary of ZippyQuilts sent me a photo of her version of my Merrion Square pattern, made larger as it had a specific size need. I love her interpretation and the cute bunnies in the town square.
Last year, in April 2019, I received this comment from Karin on an old post:
“I’m just embarking on making this quilt (Crossed Canoes) as a memory quilt for my parents. We lost my brother, an avid canoeist, in December. Thank you for that idea! I’m making mine with my brother’s shirts and a few other fabrics from my stash for extra vibrancy.” My original post was about my sister and her group of friends making a memorial version of Crossed Canoes quilt for a friend. I love this pattern, and this post tells that story as well as provides a free downloadable pattern of this block.
Last post I had put up our Gridsters Bee Block for September, attributing it to a variation of Puss-in-the-Corner block.
On further look, it is more like a variation of Illinois, from the periodical Hearth and Home, published from the 1880s to the 1930s.** What a difference a few well-placed color shifts can make! What would happen if I made a few color shifts, or line shifts, I wondered? The following riot of squares and triangles ensued. In my defense, it was late, and I was too tired to do the dishes, so I sat down to play with what my friend Janet calls “a quilter’s video game,” our quilting software.
These are grouped by first, the block, then a grouping of possible quilt designs. There’s a lot so feel free to just scroll quickly.
The basic Puss in the Corner block. I guess those little square blocks are the farmhouse cat, tucked away in the corner sleeping.
Basic Quilt with no sashing. If you squint, you can start to see a secondary pattern emerge. #needshelp
So I added some color. It needs some value shifts, I think.
Variation. I cleared out the undergrowth.
This final rendition has some different versions of coloring the blocks, along with some sashing.
I thought the prominance of the flying geese might make for some goose tracks throughout the quilt.
Here’s the basic Illinois block, in the coloration from Hearth and Home publication.
Okay. Maybe we could do something with this one.
I must have been really tired to use so much purple.
Okay, how about I keep the flying geese and Puss-in-the-Corner corner blocks, but just turn them all inward-facing?
Busy, but could be fun as a scrappy quilt, playing around with where the blocks touch. Of course, our quilting foremothers would have always had sashing, right?
This was a neighbor to Puss in the Corner, and is called Big T.
I went this direction first, swapping out the center. Nah.
Here’s the variations of that block. I kind of like how it looks like the corner edges are folded down.
Here’s what I played with, all capsulized. And below are the blocks in white, and then further down, a PDF of the pattern templates.
Final thoughts: The top left block looks like it has more possibilities, less places to call a halt to other ideas. The other three blocks kind of box in the quilter, confining the creativity to the block itself. I would like to try matching these up with other nine-patch variations, and see what kind of quilts those combos could yield.
Here are the basic block PDF files for download. They all make a 12″ block.
This month’s First Monday Sew-day Lesson was on teaching the newbie quilters about String Piecing, or Strip Piecing, or whatever you want to call it, but it involved laying out a shape on paper, arranging fabric and stitching through the paper. Foundation Paper-Piecing? except that we are using long strips of fabric. So I’m going with String Piecing. And the block I chose to teach was a traditional Spider Web Block.
For the handout for the Making a Spider Web block, click to download a PDF file:
It’s bit longer this time: multiple pages instead of just one sheet. There were a lot of illustrations for teaching this, like this one:
Since it is free, please don’t distribute — send your mom and your kid sister and your friends here to download the handout. (If you are a quilt shop or quilt guild, and need a virtual activity, please ask first before distributing.)
So this was my final block, taken at night, when all the lighting is really mellow. I chose low-volume prints for the centers, a deeper blue for the first strips near the center, and then circus-circus after that.
I did a virtual layout after that, trying to approximate how interesting this block can be in a quilt. More discussion of this is on the handout.
My “string bag” was left exploded on the floor after all this mucking around, but I just wadded everything back into it and threw it back in the closet.
I also made two sets of Gridster Bee blocks: first one was for Mary, for June. She requested a whole lot of little houses, and we used the free download pattern from Moda.
Kelly was up next, and for July she chose to miniaturize a flag, using the Grand Ole Flag handout from Pat Sloan as a starting point. These are tiny little things, finishing at 4″ x 7 1/2.”
Here’s a whole slew of them, all laid out together.
I was tipped off to two new mask patterns, and the Creative Grids mask template also arrived at my house. Updates are on my Face Mask Info Post, up there under Projects for 2020 tab at the top of the blog.
So this was interesting to see all week. Mancuso Brothers surprised me by using my Ladybird quilt in all their advertising for their online show in August. I had entered Ladybird in their Pacific International Quilt Festival, held in Santa Clara, California last fall. The picture they are using is my image, I must assume, as the lighting is good and the colors are bright (the lighting in that show was problematic). Most of the time my name and the name of the quilt were attached, but often I saw it with the orange lower banner chopped off, so no accreditation whatsoever.
Should I be honored and flattered that someone wants to take my artwork/quilt/work and use it for their ad campaign without asking permission or offering some compensation, like a teaching spot or something? (The real irony is when they use my quilt to announce another teacher.) I am very happy that, most of the time, my work is acknowledged. Should I just let this roll on by, knowing that I get “free publicity” — which is always what is said — although I don’t have a pattern for it, and I’m not teaching it anywhere, so it’s hard to know what good the free publicity does.
It’s a tricky proposition. I am not angry. I might be perplexed. Mostly I don’t yet know how I feel about it, but I do think it would be nice to be asked. I’d be curious to know what you all think. (Leave your comments below.)
Thought I’d show you the Betsy’s Creation quilt on the bottom of my bed for July. The smaller one is hung in the downstairs hallway. That pattern (which includes both, and really more like a handout) is free, found here. Hope your last few days of July find you quilting!
I decided to give my Shine: The Circles Quilt blocks another run, prompted by a backdoor agreement that won’t be mentioned at this point, but when/if it happens, I will be more than happy to splash it all over.
This time, the blocks will coalesce into one pattern, which will soon be available up on my pattern site, PayHip.
I remember my Clothing and Textiles teacher telling me that the inside of a garment is where the real story is. So here is the inside of this circle. Carol showed me her Red, White and Blue stack of Mackinac Island prints from Minick and Simpson, and yes, they arrived at my house probably only a day after they arrived at her house. (Quilt friends can be quite wicked that way.)
They, of course, are last year’s treasure, but I’ve been finding other prints that have been joining the stack growing to the side of my cutting table. And Minick and Simpson do have a companion collection coming out later this year, so we’ll see if I need any more.
I call this first block Swirlygig, but it floats a different direction than the original block.
This was the original Shine quilt. It’s time for a up-do-re-do!
Sometimes I get an idea, and it becomes like a dividing cell: one idea becomes into two, then four, and in this case, 23. Sawtoothmania, the idea I am referring to, began about six months ago I started working on how to create a different sawtooth center. First I made over 33 different designs, then whittled it down to 26, and then to 23 for this final pattern.
I was aiming to have the pattern finished by the time I was Queen Bee in February for the Gridsters Bee, but I wasn’t. I was far enough along though, to send them each some Painters Palette Solids: blue and white, plus a color to make up the center. I also asked them to make an accompanying Tiny Envelope block (a free pattern on this blog) as their signature block, using a print that would coordinate with their block.
This was the original set of colors, along with a little card I sent them so they could choose their block.
Then I kept making, kept testing, putting up blocks on Instagram as I finished them. Today, the pattern is finished, and is up on my PayHip site, where you can purchase it if you’d like. Many thanks to my BeeMates for testing these blocks, and for making me such a beautiful array of 12 blocks (I added four to the mix to get this arrangement):
Then there was Border Angst.
I started with the solid blue border on the left, then tried the right, yes yes that’s the one. Then no no that’s not the one, how about I cut it up? And then add squares? And then go back to the solid blue? And then sash them? And then too many colors, take some out? And then go to bed, freaking out?
I ended up here, and called it done. I actually like it, although I include the plain fabric border option in the pattern, too, just in case you liked that one. In the end, there were too many colors in the outside border, so I just used cool colors for the squares and smaller sashing to tone it down. It’s not that noticeable, but it is significant.
I had several blocks I didn’t include, but that they were used as testers, so I made this smaller version, and this one will get the plain print border.
So, there you have it–my Sawtoothmania Pattern! I had fun designing it and making it and if you decide to get one, I hope you’ll send me pictures of how you decided to make your Sawtoothmania.
I’m sure the length of time from inception to completion was complicated by the onslaught of Covid-19 news and all our living through it. But since my last post, I’ve tried to get the rhythm of my days, which usually goes a couple of productive days alternating with what I call…
…”a low-energy” day. Sometimes reading the news will trigger this, or frustration with various current events. At least now I can predict it a little bit, and work with it.
Trying to finish up the quilting of the second rendition of my City Streets pattern, this one done in fancy Tula fabrics.
I was able to finish up Rachel’s Bee block for our Gridster Bee: a wagon wheel in the strongest contrasting colors we could use, with a black center.
And I started and finished my Urban Challenge quilt for the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild. But this is just a sneak peek, as the due date isn’t until May 25th, and won’t be announced until June 13th, at our Guild’s Zoom Meeting. Since I run their blog, I have seen some of the entries that have come in, and I’m pretty excited about it all!
I’ll leave you with this shot from our family Zoom meeting on Mother’s Day, when my son Matthew admitted that he hadn’t gotten a card out to me and shared his screen with us to show this. It still makes me laugh.
So, between finishing up long-term projects, dodging around the emotions of Covid-19, and receiving Mother’s Day cards via Zoom, it looks like we are all figuring this out.