“When all that cautions the eyes toward the imminent slide of autumn to arctic winds, the canopy of English elm and sycamore leaves like colored coins fall and widen a hole letting more light spill in, heaven’s alms to earth…” ~from the poem “Washington Square,” by Major Jackson
And Denise Levertov’s poem asks Autumn: “can you pull me / into December?”
But wait, Denise. I’d like to stay here awhile, and enjoy the recent fall color all squeezed into this quilt:
This was a group effort from Gridster Bee, a collaboration, much like when the forests in winter climates all talk to each other: “You do red this year,” says one. “I’ll do gold and brown. How about you do crimson?” and so on until the forest is “liked colored coins” that will eventually fall and widen. While more blocks than shown arrived, I had to widen the quilt to let that light spill in, so some are saved for another project, letting heaven’s alms fall to earth in more than one spot.
It started with these two, and morphed into a Pattern Lite, which you can grab here for under the price of a slice of pizza or a basket of beignets at our local beignet place. While you are there, don’t forget to snag the SpiderWeb pattern, which is free until the end of October.
Last year around this time, I had a different quilt slung on the fence, and was working on two autumn-themed pillows Mr. Pumpkin and Crossed Lillies; seems like working with these colors is an annual festival.
The back, showing all the signatures of my beemates: Patti, Shelley, Bren, Carlene, Laurie, Melanie, Robin, Susan, Carolyn, Ramona, and Meredith. I am so grateful they all contributed. And gosh, I know I’m missing a label (coming soon), and double-gosh, the back almost looks like a Modern Quilt!
And to honor — and catalogue — all the collaborations I’ve done, I added a new category to My Quilt Index tab, above: Portfolio of Group Quilts. I only have my quilts listed (not the group’s quilt), although I have done posts about the others in the past.
Here’s to roads diverging into yellow woods, and copper woods, and crimson–
This search term showed up in my stats this past week, albeit in Russian (I translated it into Ukranian) and since I’m always interested in the world, I thought it would be fun to use it as a title, and see what happens.
But aside from the title, this post is a This-and-That style of post, which means rounding up a few loose ends and tucking them in.
We had a fun block this month for the Gridster Bee. We used this pattern from ScissorTailQuilting, but there are others out there, as well as a whole combination of names for this thing. I’ve made this block a handful of times for bees, and it’s always some new version of the block for the same-old familiar block. I’ve also done a Friendship Swap, back in the Flickr Days, organized by Susan of Patchwork n Play. I swapped blocks with Krista, and recently she just finished up her quilt. Here was mine:
What’s fun is seeing multiples of the same block together:
The Queen died. (Old News, I know.) One of my friends did a link-to-your-relative program and she came up as 10th cousin. As I have Scottish and English blood in my lineage, I’ll bet I could match that.
I found this quite moving, but I was only getting the news in drips, in between everything. First time a woman has joined the Vigil of the Princes, but I’m guessing with Princess Anne, there was really no discussion about whether or not she’d be doing this. (If you click on that link, turn on the sound as the music is lovely.) I think I liked watching this because secretly I’m a total British Royals fan (well, some of them), and because it was some of the first news that wasn’t the horrific war in Ukraine, and the awful political fighting of our elections (although I hear the British elections could give us a run for our money).
I also took a road trip.
You can see more of it here or the condensed, video version here.
I also delivered my quilt to my daughter-in-law Kim, who said she loved her quilt. Thank you for all your comments on the last post. I am slowly writing back to you all (see below for why I am slow at this), and appreciate all the things you mentioned about the tricky relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law.
Emilee’s missionary farewell was the main reason we went to Utah, and it was good to see her launch herself into the world. If you live in Argentina and meet her, be kind — she’s lovely! And to prove I’m a normal woman human, right after arriving in northern Utah and two days before the family get-together I hit Dillard’s department store, looking for a top to break myself out of my covid wardrobe. I loved this dotty one, and glad I found it. Most of my clothes are so tired, having been used/worn throughout covid. Anyone else feel the same? My quilts are more up-to-date than what’s hanging in my closet!
Lastly, I finally gathered up my Autumn Leaf blocks from the Gridsters and put the center together. Coming soon: borders!
And Pumpkins! And Witches! And Halloween! And November, then December, then…
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.