Citrus Belt Quilters Guild Visit • October 2019

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The Citrus Belt Quilters Guild offered their members one of my Two-for-One Classes this week, and since it was October, several of the workshop members went for a Halloween themed mini-quilt. We worked on Merrion Square and Home Sweet Home, which are available in my PayHip shop. Below are some of the quilts in progress:

When Hollie started hers, it became a challenge to see how the value was spread around the circle of house blocks: orange and purple can both read as medium-valued when you look at them.  By switching the camera’s settings to Noir or Silvertone, we could spot the value shifts and distribute them more evenly.

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Linda brought a pile of door pieces, and we had fun distributing them around her circle of houses.

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Tessa had pre-cut all her pieces, and was nearly done by the end of class.

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Now Linda has added her bushes, using her own hand-dyed fabric.  That green — a perfect floating of a color — livened up her composition.

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By the end of class, Lorraine, with nails to match, had created a spooky Halloween neighborhood, with lots of really fun details.

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We had a great time in class–thanks, ladies!

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I arrived about 45 minutes early to the next day’s guild meeting, and the nice ladies there set up the quilt frames and my quilts for me while I put all my programs out on the chairs.  That done, I walked around to see all the program tables.

This Guild, which is celebrating its 39th year this year, runs a full and varied program from “Sew What” (sewing items for sale) to a Charity program with this month’s Angel Tree for foster children, to the other items seen here.

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Because their workshops are the day before their meeting, a group of quilters finished their house mini quilts and showed them off to the guild.  Of course, I loved this part!

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Some made Home, Sweet Home.  Here is Sheryl’s; while she wasn’t able to come yesterday because of worries about the fires in the canyon near her home, she sewed along with us in spirit, using vintage fabrics.  I’m glad her electricity stayed on — because of the fires, many are losing power.

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Linda finished up her Merrion Square, minus a border of the aqua dot and binding of the stripes.  She has been to Merrion Square in Dublin, and used the stripes to echo the wrought iron fence that runs around the square.

Well done, everyone!

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After hearing from all the Program Chairs, they broke for birthday cake.

I liked the tiny hats women wore in honor of Halloween.  I need to get one of those, for sure.  And then it was my turn.  This guild was most responsive and enthusiastic, and I appreciated the interest they had in my quilts and my stories.

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Thank you Citrus Belt Quilters for inviting me!

My Small World 2019, sections 1 and 2 finished

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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:

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First, a detour.

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

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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.

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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:

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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!

Do You Tweet?

Tweet Ladybird

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Perhaps the UCR Science News was looking for something other than Nobel-prize generating stories or research about saving the world from cancer, but I’m happy that the editor liked my quilts, sent to him by my favorite guy (my husband).  The quilts were displayed around University of California’s campus near some of the science buildings (and in the Botannic Garden).  Thank you!

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In other news, we visited the (tiny) exhibit at the DAR museum this past week (their library, above) in Washington, DC.

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More on the exhibit in another post, but I met three quilters while I was there:

From the top left: Beth, a long-time friend (we always meet together at this particular science meeting of our husbands), Rhonda (who I met when I lived in D.C at the local quilt guild), and Bette (who I met online and since have become good friend with via correspondence and phone calls and occasional meetings). But that’s not all the news.

National Press Club

I spoke at the National Press Club, after I was proclaimed Queen of England.
Full story, below.

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Kidding, of course.  I merely posed, and the other photo is a leather-embossed rendition of a famous headline, one in a row of famous headlines.

Climate Change Protest

We’d done most of the museums in December when we last visited, and I was wondering what to do one day when the Climate Change Activists staged one of their protests right outside my hotel.  I threw on my clothes and went down to watch.  I remember how the police used to break up other protests long ago, with tear gas and heavy-handedness.  This experience was more like a garden party, as slowly, they encircled the boat parked in the middle of 16th and K. While the activists moved on to march around D.C. the police cut the handcuffs and tethers of those who remained, then towed away the boat.  I was quite impressed with the whole experience, both of those who felt strongly about making a statement, and the police officers taking good care of those who they serve.  Another reason why I love D.C.

Okay, I promise more serious quilty stuff soon.  I’m coming home tonight from my niece’s wedding in the Bay Area, hoping to dive into what I’ve left undone while traveling.  Before I left, I did get one quilt to the quilter’s, after auditioning, digitally, many different designs for quilting.

North Country Sept 2019I also cut more pieces to keep going on my North Country Patchwork Quilt, eeking this one out, bit by bit (photo of what I have so far, above).

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I did get caught up with my temperature quilt, which is turning out to be very different colors than what I expected.  I find it’s easier to do a whole month at a time, than piece-mealing it, day by day.

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Lastly, this coming Saturday, October 5th, I’ll be presenting a (mostly) modern quilt program at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild in Riverside, California.  They are a small modern guild, with a whole group of interested, dedicated quilters. Maybe you’ll be there?

Antelope Valley Quilt Association Visit • September 2019

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I drove up to Antelope Valley, nearly two hours away from my home, and joined the ladies at a local church for their monthly meeting (shown here during their break).

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It is in capable hands under their president Kathy (shown on the left), along with their two Program Chairs, Pat and Nette, as they showed off the results of their last workshop: Mondo Bags.

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They had many Show and Share quilts, but I only show a couple.  One exciting thing for their Guild is that a local art gallery will be hosing a show of their work, called 3 Layers.

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This a great opportunity for them to have a challenge and then a place to display those challenges.

The program chairs and guild departments were busy before the meeting and then during the break: the snacks line had both goodies and healthy treats for their members.

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Because the Guild is so far away, they allowed me to stay over a night, so I visited their local quilt shop: Bolts in the Bathtub, picking up a few treasures and chatting with the woman who helped me, allowing me to get a sense of what challenges their community of quilters face.

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Saturday, we all started early with the all-day Free Motion Quilting Workshop.  I didn’t grab everyone’s photo, but the missing ones are in the group photo in the lower right.  They were an enthusiastic group, ready to tackle their quilting sandwiches with stitches.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the quilters of the Antelope Valley!

Inland Empire Quilters Quild

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The classroom behind me was abuzz as I set up my Shine quilt on its frame.  I turned around to see that the room had filled up with women from the Inland Empire Quilters Guild, who had come to take my class on English Paper-Piecing (EPP).  I have many Guild visits coming in the next year, but only one group has chosen EPP.  So I challenged myself to come up with something unusual and interesting that would provide a chance for them to learn a variety of skills.

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IQSC Collection: Clyde E. and Joan B. Shorey Collection IQSC Object Number: 2006.056.0012

First I gave them a brief history of EPP, showing them quilt pictures from the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE.

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International Quilt Study Center, 2006.043.0143, Ardis and Robert James Collection

The International Quilt Museum calls these types of quilts “mosaic” patchwork quilts, and they write: “The earliest examples of mosaic patchwork, from 1700s England, were typically made from lighter-colored silks. Later, during the third quarter of the 1800s, dark-colored silks predominated. Their availability, and the paper-piecing technique, spread widely throughout the United States.”

The three tasks I designed for the Inland Empire Quilters were:

  • baste fabric to hexies and then sew them together
  • learn how to work with paper EPP patterns (batch-cutting, glueing and sewing)
  • work with color and value in creating Spectrum, a circular mini quilt

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Sue worked diligently on her hexie flower, finishing it up.  Most others shifted off to the mini-mini quilt: a Kansas Sunflower variation, shown at the top of this post.

I was impressed with their designs and the variety of colors they used.

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After lunch, we shifted full gear into working on Spectrum, with collections of Kaffe Fasset fabrics being displayed on tables everywhere.  I was most impressed with the generosity of these women, who shared different colors with each other, helping their fellow quilters get all the hues they needed.

At the end of class, Carol went down to the car and brought up this old EPP quilt, with the papers still in it.  We pulled out a few stitches, removed a few papers and decided it was from the 1930s as the papers were really postcards from a Chicago hotel.  What tales this quilt could tell!

Inland Empire Quilt Guild Meeting_2Monday night, I returned to present a program for them, and at the beginning, those who had made progress on their projects held them up for everyone to see.

I snapped photos of some who came up to show me (including Vicki and Terri).  That’s Cynna’s Spectrum color wheel taking shape, above left, and Paula’s Kansas Sunflower (variation) and small hexie quilt below left.  I was very impressed with everyone’s work.

Susan, the Program Chair, was busy at her table, but she and others had worked hard to show their projects for the meeting.  She has arranged a visit by Edyta Sitar next year and was busy taking sign-ups for that workshop to be held in March.  Program Chairs are critical to a Guild’s success, and this Guild has a wide array of interesting presentations for their members.  They also have engaged chairs for Charity, Outreach, and other, but most of those are discussed at their other meeting (they have two per month).  This month was also the kick-off for their Block of the Month, which looks really fun.

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One of the best sounds ever is the cheery voice of quilters greeting each other, which you can hear in this video.  I had a wonderful time visiting the Inland Empire Quilters Guild.  Thank you for inviting me!

Pass Patchers Quilt Guild

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I’m leading off this post about my visit to the Pass Patchers Quilt Guild, with a look at the friendly faces and bright smiles of the talented quilters who were at the workshop today.  I arrived early, but Pam, the Workshop coordinator had beat me there, bringing in irons, cords, lunch, treats, fruit trays, vegetable trays and drinks to keep us supplied while we worked.  But first, let me back up to yesterday morning:PassPatchers_2

Because their regular place in Beaumont was under some renovation, we met in the neighboring town of Yucaipa, but really it was almost to Calimesa, out in the foothills.  After setting up, the stage looked like the photo above.

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I turned the camera outward to show the room where all the Guild Chairmen had set up tables for Workshops, Grab-n-Go, Charity, Membership, among other things.  This is a busy guild, drawing members from the San Gorgonio Pass area, about ninety miles east of Los Angeles.  I was honored to come and speak with them on Wednesday morning.

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I usually bring some stitching when I go to my own Guild meetings, so I was happy to see that Harriet brought her knitting–a woman after my own heart.

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One interesting feature of the meetings is the Historian, who looks up details from history.  This month was Mr. Lincoln and his wife, and the quilts and blocks inspired by this couple.  The Historian, Vivian, even made up a block called Lincoln’s Hat, shown here in red, cream and navy on top of the quilt.

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I took one of the Guild members home after the meeting, and near her house was this colorful fence.  I don’t know how she felt about it, but it was fun seeing these cool colors — a reminder to look for quilt inspiration wherever you are.

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The next morning (Thursday) was the Merrion Square Workshop.  Susan cut out 96 different doors and 96 different houses, and we had a great conversation about recognizing about when fabrics have a conversation with each other, or when it’s time to let them clash a bit, to bring up a strong contrast.

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Amyre took the pattern and designed her own version, just begining (above). I’m impressed how she is making the Merrion Square pattern her own.

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We laid out houses and doors and centers whenever a quilter would get to this stage (this is Sandie’s, but there were others).

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I thought this was clever how Lynette tacked up her first sample on the padded chair across from her, like a mini-design wall.  She also took the pattern and made some changes; it’s fun when a design can inspire others to create.

I made the all workshop members promise to send me photos of their finished quilts; I look forward to seeing them come together.  It was a great day and great fun to spend time with these women of Pass Patchers Guild.  Thank you for inviting me!