My month for choosing a block for the Gridster Bee is July 2022. I’ve been in love with this block for ages, even way back to the Flickr times, when I saw it on someone’s photo stream where they had done it for their Bee Block, too. Here it is on an earlier Instagram (when we all liked IG). Their blocks were Halloween oriented, but I have quite enough Halloween quilts.
But not nearly enough Autumn Quilts.
So I organized all my thoughts on color and put them into Autumn Leaf PatternLite. It’s color that will make or break this quilt. Take a look:
So many colors: purple, red, scarlet, yellow-green, burgundy, yellow, gold, yellow-orange, deep blue, brown, taupe just for starters. The biggest color trick that Nature does for autumn is bringing out these colors, but making them blend. Our favorite landscapes are all of sudden alive with color, but they are ALL BLENDED. You can pick out the colors, but when taking the scene in all-at-once, they work together. So that means, probably no fussy cut center squares that are objects/cute I Spy bits/cat fabric, as nothing should stand out. (More info is in the pattern.) If you notice in the block below, I did fussy-cut fabric, but (again) no objects/cute-I-Spy-bits/animals.
Once you get the elements of the block constructed, it’s basically a nine-patch in sewing it all together. Yes, in the pattern I also give you the measurements for the four-at-a-time Flying Geese blocks, as well as the secret calculus to figure it all for yourself, if you ever want to make differently sized geese.
And like a good girl in QuiltLand, in that earlier post I also give you its heritage, and how I morphed it a bit. In the above block, I am following the Roberta Horton Rules for plaids: it’s okay if they are slightly off-grain, as that gives the block more motion.
For a signature block, I slipped a little leaf FPP block into the pattern; please make it in either size: 4-inch or 6-inch. Again, please use the fall colors and sign only what’s seen: name, IG handle, city/state.
Thank you to all my Gridster Beemates for making me autumn blocks in July!
Well, my bees, at least. I recently stepped down from leadership of the Gridsters Bee, but Melanie and Patti (listed alpha order) are the new leaders, and they let me tag along and help out so I won’t go through withdrawal. So as I was organizing, shifting, cleaning out my Google Drive, the list ended up like this:
I’ve participated in fifteen quilt bee groups in the last ten years, often simultaneously. My life has been richer for this and I’ve met so many wonderful quilters. (I’ve met a few cranky women, too.) I met one whose house burned down during the bee and we all donated money to help replace her stash. I’ve met someone who did professional roller skating. I’ve met women like me and not like me. I’ve met quite a few people in Australia, in Canada, and all over the United States. Many others are on Instagram — I love the connections we’ve made and the friendships that continue.
I’ve received some beautiful blocks, some blocks I had to reconstruct and some blocks I couldn’t do anything with at all, but were so interesting, I saved them. Sometimes people put my blocks in their quilts and sometimes they didn’t. I’ve made several Ayumi envelopes, multiple versions of Dresden blocks, and bazillions of HSTs.
Here are some of the logos of some of those bees.
Occasionally I see new bees forming online and I want to say — yes! jump in! make for each other! You’ll learn what blocks you want to make yourself, and you’ll learn which blocks you never want to make again.
At the end of my five years with The Gridster Bee, I put together a slide show of quilts from many of our members, and it was one of the final events of my 2021. I loved that even in spite of the pandiddle (stole that one from Carol — a beemate), at least a dozen of us were cutting and sewing and quilting. Add that to the letters you’ve written telling me about your projects, your intentions for making and I’d say we all made it through the last couple of years in reasonable shape. If you want to see a great array of quilts and blocks, click on our home on Instagram, and enjoy the eye candy.
And here is the launching of Gridster Bee 2022, with a lot of very talented women.
The first blocks were for Patti, who chose Ayumi’s Envelope Blocks (and here, too), but with a twist. We added larger borders on the sides, and chose fabrics that denote romance or love. I had fun choosing.
I’ve drafted up a lot of the Sew-A-Long quilt, and am now making the sample out of Sherri and Chelsi’s fabric, Sincerely Yours. Coming soon. The post-Christmas blahs grabbed me for a while, and of course, we had to eat up the chocolates people brought us. Then there was the going through the ornaments, followed by lifting the holiday boxes up into the garage rafters. Mopping the kitchen floor and cleaning the bathrooms await.
It’s nice to take the advice from my friend Allison who made this for me, since I was leader of Gridsters for a few years. It’s a treasure, with great advice.
Many years ago, my mother stayed up all night on the 24th of December, worried that the child she was carrying would actually come on the due date of Christmas Eve. Who would help the other three young girls? Who would get the ironing done? But I did not arrive on my due date. Nor on New Year’s Eve. But I came 12 days later on Twelfth Night, and dodged forever having my birthday on Christmas. (And she did get up early that morning to get the ironing done before she went to the hospital.) Now I share a birthday with Richard Nixon, the arrival of the Three Kings and the Storming of the Capital.
Why do I bring this up? Because Tannenbaum will most likely suffer the same fate, arriving somewhere around Twelfth Night. It’s because I wanted a longer drop on the sides, and didn’t have enough of the beige fabric (earlier version is seen here). So as long as I was playing around, what would the quilt look like with red? I quite liked it. Many iterations and consultations with my quilt gurus (I have a couple) and I ordered some red fabric from Laundry Basket Quilts. Like me, in my almost early days…this probably won’t be done by Christmas.
This is where I am now, with the two borders attached (big smiles), the wrinkles that will need to be quilted out in the center, and sideways on my design wall, because it’s too big now to go vertically. (In other words, it looks like it needs its make-up put on, the lipstick applied, and good blow-out for the hair. You know, like all of us in the morning.)
I’m working on the pattern now, and that’s coming along too. But what has arrived?
Several of my Piece Maker Quilt Ladies have arrived from the Gridster Bee, along with their cloth sewing treasures, like buttons and rotary cutters and topiary trees. You can read more about this project, written a few whiles ago, but basically I got the idea from Surfside Quilters, from their Blocks of the Month page. I’ve always wanted a Freddy Moran-style quilt, and now it looks like I’ll make one.
To help further this quilt along, I’ve been collecting black-and-white prints to go with other 400 black-and-white prints (dear, I’m kidding). I have discovered there’s a particular kind of black and white print that works with Freddy Moran style quilts, and I think I probably have enough now. Too much white? It bleaches it out. Too much black? A blot in the quilt. Black and white — that when you squint your eyes — turns into grey? Nyet. I think two of the prints above are perfect (on the outer edges) and we’ll see where the others may go.
In keeping with the red theme of today’s post, here’s a treat I want to try: Cranberry Lemon Bars, from New York Times Cooking.
And I’ll see this, next week. First airplane ride in over 20 months (better get it in before Omicron shows up).
But before that, we have to finish putting out my husband’s nutcrackers, arranging the lights on the mini-tree, switching out the quilts, and generally getting ready for the Christmas season. Another work in progress.
In case you want something fun, here’s a free pattern to make this little tree on a frame, from my earlier days of pattern making; still good to go, but not quite as fancy.
And here’s a sneak peak of what I’m working on for 2022. I’m thinking a monthly quilt-a-long, sort of easy, no sign-ups, free patterns, work together, have fun, make a nice-sized wall hanging. And if you can’t deal with any more outside pressure to produce, it’s okay if you just want to grab the patterns and squirrel them away. That’s fine, I’m fine, you’re fine.
I also always make colorful quilts, and this one may go there yet, but I was gifted a little stack of Sherri and Chelsi’s newest line (thanks, Sherri!), and I’m starting there, because — oh my gosh — I do need a cool Valentine-y quilt. So that’s my starting line. I’ve got the first month’s pattern done, but I want to make samples, so you won’t see it until after the holidays. Maybe even by Twelfth Night!
I open the page in my calendar for the new month and write in family birthdays and decorate the squares with a looping border, even though all the people I celebrate live far away from me and I won’t be getting together with them, singing songs and having slices of cake. Next, I write in the mundane: car service, dr. appointments, reminders for a hair cut (which lately has been a fraught experience). And then I notice: Where are my I can hardly waits?
This idea came from Annie Mumolo, in an interview in the LATimes:
“My dad calls them the “I can hardly waits.” He says there came a point when he turned 40 and he felt like all of his “I can hardly waits” were over, and then what do you do? I can hardly wait to get married, I can hardly wait to have kids, whatever your hardly wait is.”
The interview is worth the read, if only for Wiig’s and Mumulo’s description of middle-aged women who are kind of “invisible,” but I was most struck with this idea of the I can hardly waits, and by naming them, I realized mine had all but evaporated over the last two years. Yearly, my husband and I had penciled in travel dates on the calendar. We’d circled squares for visits to family, notable achievement celebrations and so on. We sorta-kinda had one coming this fall for a conference in Ann Arbor, but that’s turned into a virtual conference with the rise of the Delta variant.
Which leads me to registering for QuiltCon. (You knew I’d get here eventually.) It’s an annual ritual of controlled mayhem. The management at QuiltCon is always looking for a way to reduce the bloodshed, wailing and gnashing of teeth that happens at the moment the registration site opens. They’d changed this year to the people who manage ComicCon registration, but apparently the new people (Configio) didn’t read the specs, didn’t allot sufficient bandwith/server space/whatever and so the whole thing was The Worse One Yet. I imagine Configio treated “all those nice little quilters” much like the women in the movie Barb & Star, who are “kind of invisible,” “aren’t on TikTok” and are an “unrepresented portion of the population” (from here).
I got on at 7:00 a.m., which was our time here on the West Coast. It’s always good to have a registation buddy to rant text with, so Simone was in Northern California doing the same thing. She got through to the registration portion before me, at about 7:15ish. I tried every which way, but saw these too often:
Finally, by 7:44, I had two of my classes. I went back in three more times over Wednesday, and by the afternoon, I had all my lectures and classes. Here is my schedule, if you are interested:
Yes, I know I clipped short the foundation piecing class on Saturday to go and hear Tighe, but I figure (since I’m in the age group of Barb & Star) I’ll be sort of <all done> by the time 3 p.m. rolls around. If not, I’ll be late to the lecture, or miss it. Here is a class that made me laugh:
I actually have one of these going, stashed away in my sewing room, along with a vintage family apron for inspiration.
Many athletes had a lot of I can hardly waits with the Olympics this past two weeks. The Washington Post put up an array of photos that were fascinating. Here are a few:
This month’s blocks for our Gridster Bee are a combination of three flying geese (cut the colorful part 2.5″ x 4.5″ then snowball on two low-volume corner blocks 2.5″ square). Strips on the side were added (cut 1.5″ x 6.5″). Although Linda only asked for four blocks, once I got started in my scrap drawer I couldn’t stop.
And in ankle news, at almost 6 weeks I’m getting there, walking on it a little bit, going to get a pedicure, although I was really careful to let my pedicurist know not to touch the sore spot. We had moderate success in that goal, and I cut it short to go home. I also got a hair cut yesterday, trying to salvage the over-processed mess from the last stylist. This new person is my third to try after my regular guy moved to Florida. And yes, I know. it’s pretty pathetic if your I can hardly waits consists of a visit to a hair salon.
I looked at Road to California classes (coming in January) and thought Sew Kind of Wonderful’s Posh Penelope was lovely, but do I really want to add another project to the pile waiting to become quilts? Not really.
I have a lot of the not reallys going on lately, and not too many of the I can hardly waits. However: I have a pattern I just finished writing last night for a workshop I’m teaching in September to the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild, my very last Guild presentation and workshop. I’ll be teaching Blossom and if you are interested in seeing if they have any openings, let me know. I’ve taught for them before and they are a super guild with lots of lovely quilters. That and QuiltCon are the I can hardly waits right now for me.
My husband brings me flowers every day…well, photos of flowers. This one measures about 1 inch across in real life.
I finished Vesper Flights, and went on to this one: The Midnight Library. I listen to them at the same time my mother does, but this is one I wish I had in print, so I could underline things that caught my heart and imagination. Now I’m deep into Obama’s A Promised Land. It’s moved much faster now he’s been elected, and hearing about the 2008 economic meltdown, as well as the hog-trading of politics has been interesting. I am SURE I never want to be a politician. I’m sticking with quilting.
This is a close-up of one of the panels I used on my Wealth of Days quilt backing. I was stoked that it had our city on it. I tell most people, “we are between Palm Springs and LA,” but here we are!
Fabric receipts? Now the fabric just shows up in my mailbox, like magic, or something.
Occasionally, when writing this blog, or trying to color in a design, I can’t quite make the program give me the color I want (like this background). That’s when I turn to this no-frills site which shows a ton of colors with all their hexadecimal codes. I always start with the Blues page, which is what I’ve linked you to. I just copy the #code, pop it into my software or blogware, and I’m good to go.
I love following people who know what they are doing. I love reading their blog posts, their Instagram posts, and while I’m not a total fangirl of them all, I have several favorites (there are too many to list here; see my list at the bottom of my blog). I appreciate their sharing what they’ve discovered and learned. However, recently a famous maker of absolutely necessary quilting supplies popped the above Instagram ad up on my feed. (I’ve blocked out all the identifying marks to protect the marketing department.) She may be qualified, but is she an expert?
Shouldn’t she be referred to instead, more appropriately, as an Influencer?? I like Aurifil’s word for their influencers: “Ambassadors,” which my macaron-making daughter let me know, is also used in her industry. Rather than the previous ad campaigns of simple extolling of excellence of product, we now use people for that. (In my English classes of yore, this was a type of logical fallacy, using celebrities to sell products; however, we’ve morphed from random celebrities to using established personalities in the field to sell products.) Carolyn, a sewist/sewer who I’ve read for years, knows her stuff and has an excellent post on the rise of Influencers. I love this part of the post:
My criteria is based upon: – Can they actually sew? – Are they learning to better their craft? – Do their garments fit well or are they just photographed well? – Do they have any actual fabric knowledge or are they just taking stuff because it’s free? – Do they understand why notions are important and why they’re needed to perform a task? – Is all of their knowledge YouTube/Internet based or have they actually read a sewing book? Not all YouTube videos show you the correct techniques. – Is this just a way to make them Social Media Famous?
And lest you think I just sit around, I am working on a scrappy blues quilt, but it’s pretty shy right now and I just can’t coax it out from underneath the bed. I’ve even tried leaving spools of thread and colorful scraps to lure it into the daylight. Maybe later I can get a photo of it.
This is a quilt for a college-girl’s bed. My granddaughter shyly asked me last time I was at her house, “Grandma, will you make me a quilt for college?”
Me, outside: “Absolutely!”
We traded designs and pictures back and forth, but I quickly discovered that she is a minimalist, and likes gray. She knows I hate am not a fan of gray (generally), but she told her mother she thought I would come around after working on her quilt.
The red line in the drawing above is to approximate her queen-sized bed. I ordered yards of Painters Palette solids from Pineapple Threads, and they arrived last week. Between the shy scrappy blue quilt hiding out of sight, and this one, I’ll be keeping busy.
I can’t believe I signed up for this, but I swear it was because they come in cute little boxes. I do have some undressed pillow forms around her that need some clothes, and these seemed to call out to me (although if you know me, it won’t surprise you that I’ll be changing up some of the designs…looking at you Miss Christmas). But I’m excited to get a little fun package every month in the mail. (Guess this means I’m in covid-recovery–that I’m actually planning into the future.)
Lastly, I listened to/watched this show about the writer Amy Tan, called “Unintended Memoir.” It gave me so much to think about as I worked on the shy scrappy quilt, and now I want to go back and read her books again from her first, Joy Luck Club. She speaks movingly about her mother, and Tan chronicles their relationship as well as the writing of her novels. It lasts about 90 minutes; I recommend it.
I’m leading with this photo, the green leaves just beginning to bud out on the airy branches at the park where I walk most days. It’s three laps, 2.2 miles, almost 4 km, then a stretch of the legs and I drive back home.
Sometimes I walk around the neighborhood, like my husband, who loves to photograph flowers (above). But this Spring, so many are tired:
So I am happy to bring you this one, that I found on an walk.
I also saw this sticker on the ground. I didn’t get a sticker. Did you get a sticker?
To thoroughly give you seasonal whiplash, this month Marsha had us rummaging around our Christmas stash to make her block. She found the free pattern online from a fabric manufacturer, but I morphed it into a handout for a single block. You can download a free PDF of the directions ifi you want to make a wreath block:
She determined the overall tonality of the fabrics we would use, as she sent us the fabric for the banner across the wreath, the ribbon and the background. Then we could choose what we wanted to for the rest, staying within traditional colors.
I became confused when figuring out what to cut, as there are a lot of moving parts, so I wangled up this schematic to help me keep track.
It really didn’t take that long. I read about one of the quilters in the BeeSewcial group this month who spent twelve hours on her block for their group (it’s stunning–I always love her blocks). In our GridsterBee, we kindly request to keep it under a few hours. I’ve done a block once that took me 12 hours in a bee, and I swore never again.
Three more SHINE blocks have come back home. They are free EPP downloads, if you are interested. Start HERE.
My friend Cindy, of LiveAColorfulLife who found this photo, says “You have arrived. You have been ripped off.” Oh, boy. Here’s the original quilt:
I laughed because it looks like they used this EXACT PICTURE on their website. Not only are they thieving the quilt design, they are thieving the picture, too.
UPDATE:The website actually has two of my quilts. Go and see if any of yours are there, and then write them a letter telling them off, or something. So what do you think? I imagine that they just print the picture on a square of polyester, then quilt it. Interestingly in this second one, they rotated the photo and didn’t make it very large, so it’s a bit hard to see. The original is here.
Almost done clearing out the This and That box. Two things left — hang on for the finish.
I’ve been asked to keep making the graphics for the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild. The top one is the general info graphic about how to follow us and get the news. The lower one is the announcement for our Guild Challenge: Sounds and Voices. My entry is all done and submitted, so I’m looking forward to our meeting on Saturday to see the other entries. Here’s a teaser:
I had gifted one of my other small quilts that had the pop cans on the back, so when I put this one together, I used some more of the pop can fabric. It’s a favorite. I’ll show that in the next post.
Okay, I promise that this is the last thing. The fine people over at Electric Quilt have been revamping and changing and making a whalloping good piece of software to go along with the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman. I was able to be a beta tester, and will be doing a giveway of the software (both Mac and PC) the week of April 18th, as well as a couple of my observations (and a handout for a pattern) about the software (I love it) and how it can be used. Just wanted to give you a heads up.
And that’s it! Thanks for staying for the This and That Show, and thank you all very much for your comments on my last post. I loved reading about what you think about Craft (both noun and verb), and the assurances that you will keep riding your craft horse into the sunset.