Home-Keeping Hearts

Home-keeping Hearts

Home-keeping Hearts, top only
44 1/2″ wide x 51″ tall

I finished my most recent Merrion Square variation, a grouping of houses made by friends and Gridster beemates, plus a few more from my own workshop.  This would be a terrific signature quilt for an out-going president, or a friend who is moving away, with everyone signing their names on the doors.

I call it Home-keeping Hearts, taken from a verse by Longfellow:

Stay, stay at home, my heart and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Merrion Square Pattern_opquilt_illustration

To make this quilt, use the basic home unit from my Merrion Square pattern.  I originally had all my beemates put the lower sidewalks/treetrunks piece on, but when I was assembling them, I could see that only the lower row needed them, so I removed the others.

I originally tried out some dark 4″ borders, you know–to frame the piece, but when I held up the yellow-green floral from Kaffe Fassett, it just seemed to be the whimsical field of flowers I needed for my houses.  I did do an inner border of 3/4″ inch, as I love this print (it is in several of the houses I made).

Of course, it’s not finished yet…not quilted or bound.  I’m just about at Week 9 of rotator-cuff recovery, and using my quilting machine is a good three months down the road.  But that gives me lots of time to think about how I’ll quilt it up.  Thanks to all my beemates and friends who made and sent houses.  I think this is the fastest I’ve made up a bee quilt, ever!

tiny-nine-patches

Continuing on:

Design Wall

Somedays it’s fun to just look at my design wall, even though a lot of it is “in-process.”  I put my house blocks up there as they came in from all over the world.

Mind Internet Sign

Saw this recently in my Instagram browsing.

March 2019 Gridster Block

I finished up my Gridster Bee blocks for Marsha.  She’d asked for blocks that resemble a circle of geese, but instead, they meander; the pattern is a free download.  You can find all our blocks on Instagram at #gridsterbee.  We’re going on our third year, and have a wide range of blocks up there, if you need ideas for a Block Lotto, or something fun for your next quilt.

What kept me absorbed throughout all this stitching?  Jane Harper’s novels. I finished up The Lost Man, and can highly recommend it.  I’m in the middle of the The Dry; I’ll let you know how that turns out.

 

Temperature Quilt Key

I’ve been thinking hard about how I want to record the colors I used in my Temperature quilt.  I’ve seen lots of different kinds (on Instagram use the hashtag #tempquilt, or some variation of it, to see more), so it directed my thinking.

I wanted one that showed all the colors and left me places where I could embroider or write on it what that color meant, in terms of the temperature scale.

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I decided on this: Kelly Liddle’s Goosed Up pattern, now on PayHip. I only have 23 colors in play, but I’ll figure out that last color, plus there’s lot of room to mark it up somehow.

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I colored in the triangles and labeled them to make construction easier.  I also pulled out my thin LED light box, which helps in placing the fabrics. Temp Quilt_key2

Three more sections to go.

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My little houses are coming in from the Gridsters already, and I’ve lined them up like the Victorian Ladies on San Francisco street. I plan to make this into a pattern; I’ll let you know when it’s up online.

I’ve finished January! Now to wait for some days to pile up so I can start on February.

Queen Bee for Gridsters 2019

(see below for the winners of the Temperature Giveaway)

gridsters 500 with label

February is my month to be Queen Bee, a phrase I picked up from hanging-out-across-the-ocean with Susan of Patchwork and Play (she lives in Melbourne).  I’ve gone through about a million different permutations, but in the end, I’m playing it safe and asking my beemates to build me a series of little houses, like the ones I saw as a teenager in the Daly City area, near San Francisco.

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We’d drive up the newly built 280 freeway, look out through gaps in the trees and see the houses like zippers in the landscape.

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There are lots of houses also in Dolores Heights.

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But the USA doesn’t have a lock on houses crammed together: the first photo with the red house was from one of the villages in Cinque Terre, and the one just above is Porto Venere, Italy.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia.

little houses

We’ll see what my beemates come up with.  I’ve mailed them all the pattern, and look forward to seeing their creations!

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Thank you to all who entered the Giveaway for coldest and for hottest place you’ve ever been.  I started out by reading all the coldest, then had to go and put on another sweater; so many referenced the brutal cold the Midwest is experiencing.  Our hearts go out to you.

Although I was shivering by the time I finished Celia’s story of walking in the snow in ballet flats, the winner of the coldest packet is Susan Shaw, with her story of sledding with her brothers:

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I used to live in Wisconsin, and one summer we moved to Texas.  The A/C broke and my children and I sweltered in 100+ hea for week.  We’d gone from wearing our winter coats to the 4th of July parade to two weeks later, melting in the home.

So many of you had great “hottest” stories, but I totally related to Beth, who had to endure no A/C with all her little children:

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I hope you all stay warm…or cool, whatever the case may be!  I’ll be in touch via email to notify the winners.  Thank you all for entering!

 

Gridsters Blocks (January 2019) and Affinity software review

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The Gridsters are starting on their third year, and it’s been a delight to discover the variety of styles and choices each member puts forward for us to make for them.  Carol was our Queen Bee for January, and she asked us for blocks designed by Kristina of Center Street Quilts.

gridster jan sewinggridster jan2019_1I chose Geometric Christmas Tree and Mod Tree, and mailed them off a few days ago.

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before

I still haven’t settled my sewing room yet after last fall’s room switchearound, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to get everything off the floor and into some semblance of order.sewing room_2sewing room_3

My husband and I needed only two trips to IKEA to make this one work.sewing room_3a

We purchased a new light from Lowe’s Hardware that goes under the bookshelves, and boy, does it blast the lumens into the room.  I love it, and love that it is an LED which doesn’t give off much heat nor consume as much energy.  And I can see everything in my tiny sewing universe when I turn it on.sewing room_4

The ironing board gets set up in front, so the iron is parked on the right.  In the first bin on the top of the shelves, I put all those mini charm packs, and other random charm packs.  I don’t buy many precuts, and so they all fit in there.  The second shallower bin holds Featherweight Sewing Machine Stuff, as I purchased another Featherweight this fall when a neighbor cleaned out her mother’s storage unit and discovered that her mother had collected all these old sewing machines.  I’d also gone to a garage sale, where they had a box of feet and attachments; they appear to belong to the Featherweight, but I’m still researching.  One woman’s trash is another quilter’s treasure.

And I’m still trying to make the bins useful, so this will change as I work in here.  Right now the upper left holds stuff for Bee Happy, a quilt that my friend Leisa and I chose to do as a long-term project.  And as she says, “No deadlines.  If it takes us two years, so what!”

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Been working on this, both in cloth and in pattern.

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I decided to try to upgrade my pattern-writing skills, unsatisfied with my Microsoft Word  approach.  I’d been using Affinity’s Photo and Designer software, which everyone knows is sort of a replacement for the Adobe Creative Suite.  I didn’t want to join in the subscription plan that Adobe wanted me to, so found the Affinity (all 20% now for Christmas–so that makes it around $40 for the Photo and other software in their store–quite a difference from the Adobe prices!).

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This past fall, they released the free beta version of their Affinity Publisher, which I couldn’t wait to try.  They’ve had two upgrades since I started playing around with it, and each has improved the flow and workability of the app.  I can’t wait for it to be released in its final version.  I also tried to contribute to their Bug and Help forums, you know, to be a good brownie.  It wasn’t hard to come up with things to say, because I was working on patterns, but really, at this point, it’s almost ready for launch.

affinity pattern making nlm

I used screen shots from QuiltPro for the basis of my artwork, as they were perfectly sized, then modified them in Affinity Photo, then saved them as illustrations.  I opened Affinity Publisher Beta, watched all the training videos (taking notes) and dived in. I finished up one pattern earlier this week, did the pattern for my turn next month as Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and am still working on Northern Lights Medallion (NLM).  I’m sorry for the lateness in getting NLM out, but I’m learning as I go, and I wasn’t satisfied with how the templates laid out on the page (exported from QuiltPro) so it’s back to more learning, more Asking the Internet.  I’ll get there–thanks for your patience.

new software

 

 

 

 

Fun with Other Quilters at Valley Modern Quilt Guild

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Last week I had the chance to head over to Los Angeles, and speak at the Valley Modern Quilt Guild, held at HighTech LA, a very cool building (with great gates).

Guild Visit VMQG_4

They had these signs all over the school, which I think is a good motto for retreats and workshops, right?

Guild Visit VMQG_5

The place we met was one of those classrooms that can be changed around to suit the needs of those using it, and it was a good space for giving a talk: well lit, comfortable with a good microphone.  I stayed until the end of their Guild, as I was curious to see what they were working on.  I especially liked their Challenge for that month: Curves.

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Saturday, I headed back to teach a workshop for them at a local high school; the workshop was held in the costume department of the high school, and the teacher worked on costumes for an upcoming production while we used her room.

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First up, a little show and tell.  The woman holding the quilt is the principal of the school, and I’m happy to be in her company, along with the other fine members of this guild.

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It’s always fun to see what gadgets people bring, and I loved this one: a veritable traveling trunk of supplies, that you just unzip and Voila! it is available.  No more packing up and forgetting something.  (I don’t have anymore information on it, but I know she purchased it online.)

Guild Visit VMQG_8a

As soon as we finished the center block, it was photo time.  I love how some centers come forward and some recede.  Such a creative group!  I didn’t do a very good job on taking a picture of the group, but there might be more on their Guild Website.  They decided on the Two-For-One class: a quilt in the morning, and free-motion quilting in the afternoon.

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Thank you, Valley Modern Quilt Guild–I had a great time!

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And in other news…  It is the ONLY reason I did an update on my iPhone this early.  Usually I wait a while until they get the bugs out, but I couldn’t resist.  They also have a ball of yarn, if you are interested in that.

Gridsters 2018_November blocks

And I finished my November Gridsters Bee blocks early this month and am sending them off to Allison of Quilt Studio 62, who is our Queen Bee this month.

In addition, I’ve had a question or two about what paper I use in the foundation paper piecing I did for the recent Crazy Cushion Class. I recently purchased a ream of paper from them (after 10 years of using the first one), so I took some photos in the store.

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It’s a vellum from Neenah.  I updated this post, where you can find more information.

Don’t know what to do with all those real “decorator” pumpkins you buy for fall? A recipe for Stuffed Pumpkin is a good way to enjoy them one more time.

Fall Leaves

The year we lived in Alexandria, Virginia I brought home handfuls of leaves from my walks and scanned them for the future.  I love looking at them at this time of year, as we here in Southern California don’t have fall color like this.

Happy November!

Starry Sky Mug Rug

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This summer, my niece Abby, let me have one of her hand-thrown mugs, of which I was thrilled to get (I love hot chocolate).  I meant to send her a little quilted mug rug in return, but that project seemed to get stalled for one reason or another.  But last week, I decided not one more thing would be done until I finished it and sent it off.  (Sometimes you just have to give yourself a little talk.)

I used the Starry Sky block pattern, by Kylie Kelsheimer (a downloadable pattern from Craftsy).  In this new version of her pattern, she has three sizes, and the 6″ size is perfect for a mug rug.

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My niece likes to go hiking, and lives up in the Northwest, so I used colors of purple mountains, green hills and aqua-and-blue waters.  I bound it in navy.

Starry MugRug_5

I used an agate-stone looking print for the back, one of my favorites lurking in my stash.

It took me a couple of hours from start to finish.  It’s a paper-pieced pattern, so all the star points are sharp and it goes together easily.  I kept a photo of the block near me when putting the pieces together, to keep myself straight.

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I listened to the latest Bruno, Chief of  Police book, The Resistance Man, and that kept me going.  Then I ran it to the Post Office, and off it went.  I hope Abby likes it.

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A couple of days before I’d made Simone’s blocks for the Gridsters Bee, a wee bit late, but she forgave me.

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And then I got right on October’s blocks for Joan, for the Gridsters Bee.  She asked for a black-and-white New York Beauty block, with a touch of solid color.  Hope she likes these.

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I liked this old photograph of women sewing, found on the website for the National Gallery of Ireland, reminding me of my travels (I’m finally over the jetlag).

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Here’s your reminder: the perfect is the enemy of the good, Stephan Pastis style.  As some long-time readers know, I believe in this quote and used to keep it on my syllabi when I was a teacher.  Sometimes it’s good to just be *good,* and not strive for perfection.  Hope that idea helps you “lead a sane and balanced life.”