Sawtoothmania!

Framed Pattern Cover

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.

Bee Block Sawtoothmania Bette

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.

Sawtoothmania Process_0

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):

Sawtoothmania Process_1

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?

Sawtoothmania Process_front

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.

Sawtoothmania Process_Gatesawtoothmania Small

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…

Lowenergy day_covid19

…”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.

City Streets Vivid_quilting

Trying to finish up the quilting of the second rendition of my City Streets pattern, this one done in fancy Tula fabrics.Gridsters May 2020

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.

Sneak Peek Metastructure

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!

Zoom May 10_2020_3

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.

Happy Quilting!

April Flowers

Gridster Bee April 2020

We had our April showers this week, and while the verse says that the flowers aren’t supposed to show up until May,  Nancy of Patchwork Breeze, our Queen Bee for the Gridsters this month, asked us to make these giant blooms for her block…so I made her two, just because at this time of Being Shut In, why not?  It’s the Totally Tulips Quilt from Missouri Star.

Yellow Quilting Tools Block

I also am attracted to happy, yellow posts, and this one from Karolina fit the bill.  She brings string-pieced blocks to a new level with her photo styling.

Roz Chast Cartoon April 2020 COVID

Roz Chast says it best.

Oliver Meme

More Instagram memes, which also remind me to be grateful that I’m esconced in a house with a sewing room with all that I need to sew.

April Masks_35

Beauty Queen in an Face Mask

I chose to put a little dart at the nose and chin of my accordian mask with ties.  I had run out of elastic when I made this batch. Then the universe, and Elin, smiled on me, providing more elastic for more masks.  While I am choosing to serve our country during this critical time by making a few masks, I think there are very many ways to serve.  Maybe your best way is to stay home, or take care of your children, or bring a neighbor some groceries, or put something in the mailbox for your mailman (I usually put treats, but yesterday I left a mask), or treat the people with who you live with a little more patience, or call up someone who is alone and have a chat.  We can all do our part.

Somewhere in this mess of a house, or in my garage somewhere I have a whole box of black pipecleaners that could be used for  shaping in a face mask.  Can I find them?  No, but I found a box of my grandmother’s large silver hairpins, given to me upon her death several years ago.  Thank you, Grandma, for doing your part in donating wires for face masks!

I updated my Face Mask page, after getting the official names for masks.  I found another version on the Washington Post website, so now you have your pick of what you can make — if you need to for your family/friends/health care workers.  Our county put a “wear a mask” mandate out there at the beginning of the week, the neighboring county did it yesterday, and Los Angeles will adopt this as well.  If you don’t have a mask made of batik, then good-quality quilting cotton will do, and in a pinch, a bandana.

Why are you doing it that way Meme

This hit a little close to home.

Fast April 2020 icon

Our church is inviting everyone to fast and pray with us — or just think on it, if you aren’t affiliated — this week on Good Friday.  Our main ideas are “that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.”  I personally can’t do much for the caregivers, health workers, scientists who are scrambling to find us treatments and vaccines, but I can pray and fast that the suffering may end soon, and that those who are on the front lines, supported.

Discouraged Sailors Advice Meme

Sawtooth Mania • Queen Bee February 2020

Sawtooth Overview Screenshot

I sat down one day to draw up a simple sawtooth block.  Thirty-five variations later, I got up.  Really, it’s all the same 8-inch block, but it is what’s inside that 4-inch square in the middle that makes it fun.  As Queen Bee of the mighty Gridsters this month, I am looking for some Sawtooth blocks from my bee-mates.  I’m calling it:

Sawtooth Mania Finalists

And like any beauty pageant there’s always a first phase; after looking at all of the first thirty-five, I’ve winnowed it down to these 25 semi-finalists.

I’ve left more explicit directions on our Bee Spreadsheet, but have fun choosing your favorite block to draw. Indicate which one it is on our sheet, and I’ll send you some templates.  Remember, I only want ONE from you, so choose your favorite.  And the reason why?

Tiny Envelope

Not only do I have a specific layout, involving just twelve blocks, it’s also because I want a different signature block: a Tiny Envelope block (also found here). More instructions and information are given on the spreadsheet, but here’s the download for the instructions for the 6-inch envelope block:

Tiny Envelope Flier

Gridsters: Remember to make it in the same color as your Sawtooth Center, but to use PRINTS that match your solid, with the exception of the white center.  Cut that from the fabrics that are coming your way for your Sawtooth Stars.

Everyone else: Feel free to use or borrow these sawtooth ideas.  Pattern coming soon for all of them.

Tiny Envelope & More Blocks

Gridsters January 2020

It all started, this idea of Tiny Envelopes, when a) I came down with a bad cold and everything I’d ever done in the world seemed lame and stupid, and b) Carol, our Gridster Queen Bee for January had us all make wee televisions for our signature blocks, in order to match up the larger block of Lori Holt’s vintage TV.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate on the first reason, but this is my THIRD cold of the season, and I am sick and tired of being sick-and-tired.  And I live in sunny Southern California, and no one ever feels sorry for you in the winter.

Then, last night, when the cold and sniffles had interrupted my sleep and I lay there, pondering this (can you tell I’ve been watching Jane Austin’s Sanditon on PBS, where they belabor every point, and examine everything to the point of madness?), following in Carol’s footsteps seemed the way to go.

Tiny Envelope

This little 6″ finished block will be my signature block for when it’s my turn, which is coming right up next month.  Last fall I spent many hours making a variety of my chosen bee block in my quilt program, in preparation for my turn at Queen Bee.

And it was that, which all of a sudden seemed so inane.  So last night this made perfect sense.

Tiny Envelope Illustration

So here are my instructions for making Tiny Envelope blocks, in downloadable PDF form (it’s slightly different than the illustration above):

Tiny Envelope Flier

(The usual caveats apply: don’t download for classes, parties, or your best friend.  Please send them here to this blog to get their own copy.)

Here are a slew of pictures to go along with the Tiny Envelope blocks flier:

TinyEnvelope_1

All the bits.

TinyEnvelope_2

I sewed one slender envelope strip on one side, trimmed it; then repeated the process.  Press.

TinyEnvelope_3

Now take that square that you cut in half and sew to one side, letting the tip of one side of the triangle extend 1/4″ past the edge.  The other side will really extend.  (Pay this no mind.)

TinyEnvelope_4

Sew the other side on.  You can see the 1/4″ bit of the tip extending on the upper left side. Thankfully, it does the same on the bottom.  Stitch, trimming off that excess first triangle.

TinyEnvelope_5TinyEnvelope_6

Now for the background.  Same idea.  Look for 1/4″ on the lower right edge, and let the rest of the triangle flow off the top.

TinyEnvelope_7

Sew the other triangle on.  Trim and press.

TinyEnvelope_8

The sides were bugging me.  I laid a 4″ ruler, so that the 45-degree angles matched up perfectly with my inner envelope, and trimmed both sides.

TinyEnvelope_9

I sewed on the strips for both sides, then evened up the top, too.

TinyEnvelope_10

Lower strip is on.  True the whole thing up to 6″ square, or leave it for me to do when you send it.  Either is fine.  And also for my Gridsters, use a background that is lively (no low-volume stuff), but that still reads “light,” like this one.  The envelope part will match the color of your eventual choice next week.  Like that makes any sense, but soon it will.  The rest of you can just make fun little envelope blocks.

In other news blocks…

Tri-Ball

My friend Simone designs new and interesting blocks for our chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  This is the Tri-Ball block that’s coming up to submit to the March drawing.  I really love this one!

Extra HSTs from Tri-Ball

Snowball Triangle Example

Since this has some snowball corners, if you double-sew that seam 1/2″ apart, then cut in between the two lines of stitching, you can get some fun HSTs.

Orange Fields HSH

I’m also re-writing, re-freshing my Home, Sweet Home pattern, and changed up some of the construction techniques, so I made up a new version.  I call this my Orange Grove Houses, especially now that its January and all the citrus is popping out in Southern California!

Quilted My Small World

Lastly, before this cold hit, I was able to finish up the quilting on My Small World. It’s good to hit the pause button now and again, to enjoy the (here comes my Jane Austin voice) fruits of our labors, the blessing of our handiwork.

Now I’m going back to the bed to practice some fainting and work on handling those nasty spells that come over a Victorian woman.  But boy, do I love all the clothes they wear.  It’s worth watching that show, if only to catch a glimpse of Miss Heywood’s dress with the pineapple sleeve caps!

sanditon-charlotte-heywood-sidney-parker-1571036275.jpg

Happy Quilting!

Oh My Stars Where Have I Been?

I could say to the moon and maybe to the stars, and back.
I could say Guatemala, but you already know I’ve returned home from there.
I could say sick, but now I’m better, and yes, I had a nice Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house.  They even had a quilt shop in her tiny town in Arizona, but since I’d been in there several times and the fabric was all the same, every bolt every time, I didn’t think it warranted another stop.

I could plead The Fifth and just get on with it, which is what I’ll do.

November 2019 Gridsters

It’s always good to begin with a finish, even if it is only a block.  In this case, this finish went to my buddy Allison in the GridsterBee: a free online spider-web block, which we printed out onto paper and got to work with all those skinny litle scraps of fabric in that bin over there, next to the iron.

Above are scenes from my Thanksgiving (click on image to enlarge):

(from upper left, going down) 1)El Travatore, an old motel in Kingman AZ (the longest piece of extant Route 66 runs through this town), 2) the family just before enjoying the two turkeys and two kinds of sweet potatoes and salad, and multiple pies and then falling into food coma sometime later on, 3) teachers’ gifts my ever-talented daughter dreamed up and put together.

Sign at top right: a Truth.

Two views of storefronts across the bottom that my daughter designed: THE  Farmhouse used to be her shop until last year, and West of 3rd is her friend’s shop.  We went out Saturday for Small Shop Saturday, so I hope you visited yours.

Kingman N19_3

Sunday morning, really early, heading out across the Mojave Desert.  (Mojave is spelled with a “j” in California, but spelled with an “h” in Arizona, as in Mohave, and that’s just the way it is.)

Arrow Tape.png

I picked up a few of these. It’s washi tape on major sale at the Get To Work Book website.  I bought it because I’d seen this from here:

Washi Tape for stitching.png

and figured out we could draw our own lines on either side.

Washi tape Carol

My friend Carol figured it out.

Pear Tart

Monday, I launched into laundry, but later rooted out the pears we’d stuck in the fridge the week before and made a Pear-Almond Tart.  I always know the routine is coming back when I start baking again.  The recipe is over on my recipe-blog: ElizabethCooks.com.First Mondays_D19

Then fun-of-fun, we found a couple young women who wanted to learn to quilt, and so we rustled up a small group, calling it First Monday Sewday.  (We’re missing a kid from the photo, and me, of course.) It was chaos, but really fun.

Illustration FM_D19

I made up a little handout for the newbies; click below on the link if you’d like to print it out:

FirstMondaySewday_D19

Relax Grant Snider

All good suggestions from Grant Snider, except for the top right.

Many years ago we took our children to Italy, scraping together frequent flier miles, and saving for months before we showed up in Rome on Christmas Eve.  Being in a different place for Christmas broke my “Overwhelm Them with Gifts” habit, well-formed after raising children for twenty years, helped along by American merchandising.

That night we walked down to Vatican City, walked through the newly opened Jubilee Door, and experienced a midnight mass where they placed the Christ Child back into the empty manger in Nativity Scenes everywhere.

Christmas Day we slept in a bit, then went out again to see the parade of the Pope’s Swiss Guards, listen to the service in Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva where, after the service, I stood to sing the Hallelujah chorus with everyone, but I did it in English.  My family sat beside me in the church for all of about ten minutes, then ducked out to see the Pope bless the crowds gathered in front of St. Peter’s.  No, we aren’t of that religion, but seeing the holiday from another perspective changed how I view Christmas.

I believe in gifts (I’ll show you what I made our families later) and celebrating, but I try to do it in a quieter way, enjoying hours of Christmas music, decorating with my husband’s nutcracker collection, baking up a few treats, while taking the incessant retail merchandising blast in much smaller doses.

Target Birds 2019

Target’s newest birds

Glad to see you all again!  I hope you ease into the holidays, too.

Mary Joseph Donkey Vatican

Favorite small sculpture in the Vatican; December 1999

 

My Small World 2019, sections 1 and 2 finished

Cartoon_playwith the puppy

In my Instagram search box, sometimes the bots throw interesting things up there for me to see — like this cartoon of the sad, then very happy dog, courtesy of a little tender care from a young child.  Coming into the year 2019, I had three quilts who were like the dog in the first frame of the cartoon: miserable, the quilts quite possibly headed for the dustbin to be put out their misery.  But like the young child who was “on it,” the first (Plitvice) has been completed, the second (Sing for Joy) is finished and awaiting photography and a blog post.  The third…well, here’s the first frame photo of it, when I left it several years ago:

mysmallworld2019_1

First, a detour.

Intrigued by what qualities would most accurately predict outstanding achievement, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth isolated two qualities:

Grit Two Qualities.png

So what does it take for a quilter to look at a seemingly failed project, and decide to figure out how to redeem it, to re-work it, to finish it up.  Sometimes I don’t have a clue why we finish some quilts.  I’ve seen a lot that might have better been abandoned, mine own included.  But perhaps the idea of “grit,” which Duckworth articulated so well in her TED talk, might have something to do with it.  For what we do in our workrooms is somewhat about thread and cloth, but other times, it’s a microcosm of the world outside our sewing room doors.  Okay, back to gritting my teeth and tearing apart a half-built, unhappy quilt.

Moving On...Part I

The first step is to balance the value of the buildings.  If you see the first example, they are all about the same value (light-to-dark) grey fabric, even though they are different prints.  And too many different windows!!  In the new version, I used the same fabric for the bulk of my windows (excepting the “apartment” on the lower left), cutting from different places in the fabric to get a different look.  I’m much happier with this.

mysmallworld2019_4

I found some pictures of Small Worlds I liked on the web and on Instagram, and pinned them up in the corner for inspiration, as I worked through the next section.  I took apart my existing under-the-building-shapes and re-used some of them, yet adding others.  I also moved around the shapes to suit what I liked, deviating from the Jenn Kingwell pattern.

mysmallworld2019_5 DUOThen there was this choice: in the lower left, which little large-door shed should it be?

UPDATE: I should also note that I find the My Small World Templates from Sarah Bailey to very helpful.  If you head to Sew What Sherlock? you’ll find instructions on how to obtain them.  I printed them out on my favorite vellum paper, but also printed them on cardstock, for tracing in some sections. 

mysmallworld2019_5c

Finally I declared it finished, posted it up on IG to check in with the organizers of the My Small World.  I passed.

Moving On...Part II

mysmallworld2019_6abeforepart2

The before of Section Two.  Ugh.  Too much of everything.  It’s like I opened the doors to my cupboard and tried to put one of every color, every value and every fabric in this thing.

mysmallworld2019_6aa

Auditioning–trying to keep it to a limited palette of colors, trying to repeat fabrics or mimic them in other sections, all the while listening to this:

Book_Leadership

I’m learning a lot about grit from the four presidents discussed in her latest book.

mysmallworld2019_7a

The little record was from a Polaroid swap some time ago: I took apart the Polaroid block and inserted it.

mysmallworld2019_7b

I wanted the Art Gallery Maker fabric in this section, but it was too blah next to the pinwheel underneath.  So I bordered it with a bit of blue.mysmallworld2019_8

Section Two: Finished!

I sewed the two sections together, and am now back where I started long ago.  But I like it much better.  I really like the small pinwheels section, the same print in different colors (from a purchased charm square pack) used with the same background print.  I studied many peoples’ Small Worlds to see how they were harmonizing, and where it was okay to throw a ton of stuff at the quilt to see if it stuck.  The hashtags #mysmallworldsewcial and #mysmallworld have been really helpful.  (The first one is the current one; the second from long ago.)  And the two leaders, Nicola and Paula have been great, too: it’s always fun to see their comments on my posts, encouraging me on.

Gridster October 2019

As my buddy Linda noted, once you get going on Small World, it’s hard to do anything else, but I did get my Gridster block made for Lisa and sent off.  She’d met Jenn Kingwell (there seems to be a theme, here) and Jenn had given her permission to send patterns out for our group make Steampunk blocks, for her turn at Queen Bee of the Gridsters. Lisa also sent us some of Jenn’s fabric, asking us to go wild.

Oct 2019 Gridsters blocks.png

Here’s the first batch of blocks to reach her.  They do play well together.

Lastly, I had a nice time visiting the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild.

Guild Visit IEMQG_1

Simone (on left), helped me set up.  This is before it started.

Guild Visit IEMQG_2

Some scenes of the Guild Meeting.  They are a small (50 person) guild, but have such lovely people.

PIQF My Quilt.jpg

I’m headed here this week with Leisa–can’t wait!

Hope your small worlds are harmonizing, your colors singing together, and that your sewing places are fun and cozy places to be!