Criss-Cross Autumn Quilt Top

I’m getting ready to do a live-online presentation and teaching at Glendale Quilt Guild next week, and a deadline always sends my I-should-try-this into overdrive. So while I have the Criss-Cross pattern up online, and I thought I was pretty settled, a little voice in the back of my head said I should try some autumn colors in the largest size block in the pattern.

Okey-dokey. So I pulled a group of red-orange, purple, gold, orange, yellow fabrics and I was cooking along, pretty happy with the choices I’d made, but when I was looking for another darkish to put into what was up on the design wall…

…this fell out of a bin. It was Jennifer Sampou’s Chalk and Charcoal fat quarter stack, purchased some years ago. I used to have it out on a surface, just because I liked the colors so much, but had never opened it. (I’m sure you have never done this.)

So, in a flash, all the previous choices were down from the wall, and I had cut and was arranging all the new choices up there. The last image is adding in the strips.

So here is Criss-Cross Autumn, a 35″ square wall hanging. And since we don’t live in a climate that has a lot of rusts, golds, purples, reds in the tree canopies, but we do live in a climate that at the end of summer has a lot of golds, browns and yellows, my husband and I took a drive out in the countryside to shoot some photographs.

We were out in Hemet, by the golden San Jacinto mountains (shown above). One writer once compared the California hills to a tawny mountain lion. I grew up in the Bay Area, where in autumn, the golden grassy hills are interspersed by giant spreading oaks. What we have mostly now is not native, as I discovered when reading this essay, but like the author, I do love the colors.

Now, what to do with that other almost-quilt? How about I give it away? I’ll send you the almost-quilt (already cut!) and its strips (also, already cut, although I have to tell you that once you get adding and subtracting, you may find yourself adding more). There are also a few extra pieces in there, in case you have a different vision. I will also include a hard copy of this new pattern, with multiples sizes and variations.

Leave me a comment at the end, tell me about what colors are in your landscape around you right now, and how you feel about those colors. I’ll pick a winner using the husband-draw-a-paper-out-of-hat method, and let the winner know by email. Here are some image/photos of Criss-Cross Quilt, done in Christmas fabrics:

I’m looking forward to live-online teaching this quilt at the Glendale Quilt Guild next Saturday!

P.S. There’s a coupon code for the pattern, good for 25% off Criss-Cross Quilt through the end of August. The code is listed on the PayHip page.

UPDATE: Comments are now closed. Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, August 10, 2020.

Made to Withstand the Proof of Time

from here; more about this in a minute

As quilters, we have an relationship to time. We begin something, knowing it won’t be done for days, or months or even years. We work towards a daily or weekly goal of finishing the quilt, even though we might sometimes abandon the effort. But there is always this gap from beginning to end.

I started this quilt in December 2015, the design inspiration taken from an antique red and white quilt I’d seen in a quilt show. I couldn’t figure out how that quilting sister from 150 years ago put her quilt together, so I modernized it, and then in January 2016 sent the instructions to a bee I was in, asking them to make some blocks. Then I made more blocks, thinking about how that woman so long ago might envy our ability to have such an array of fabrics, to sew like the wind on our modern machines, to have such a distant circle of friends still gather together in a quilting bee.

I wrote about the finished quilt top, and then it sat. Time passed.

I wrote a pattern, but when QuiltMania accepted the quilt for publication, I took it down from my PayHip shop.

Time passed. And then some more time.

This week I received this picture in an email, along with the picture of the cover:

From December 2015 to August 2020 is nearly five years. In that time I’ve counted off changes in our family, health issues, deaths in our family, births and birthdays, personal highs, and personal challenges, a pandemic and now extremely grateful to have a quilt published in a respected quilt magazine. And to quote a common phrase seen in our quilty culture: I have #allthefeels.

Which brings me back to that photo at the top of this page. Several designers and architects were asked to “reflect on a changing world, their creative process, and the future of design.” I enjoyed reading their thoughts, as they echoed some of my own feelings about the creative life. Here’s two:

Pierre Yovanovitch (Provence, France) said: “I try to look at the silver lining and see this as an opportunity for a creative reset, taking a pause from our overly scheduled lives to tap back into what inspires us.”

Milanese designers Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli, who designed the room of plates at the top of the post:

“Regarding the future effects of this pandemic, on one hand it has been recognized the importance of the house as a center, a place of the soul in people’s life. On the other hand, the inevitable economic impact that will follow this situation will, we hope, generate among people the idea that the house isn’t just an object that follows the trends to be discarded and replaced for the next upcoming thing. You should aim for an object of beauty, made to withstand the proof of time.”

I guess that’s why we quilters are willing to start a quilt in December and nearly five years later, see it completed. That’s why we pick out fabrics and squirrel them away, knowing that sometime in the future — maybe even in a pandemic — we will pull out the projects we’ve collected and start the long process in the midst of the distraction, the sorrow, the uncertainty.

And as always, we will send our quilt out into the world as a veritable declaration of hope, our handiwork created to withstand the proof of time.

Happy quilting. Yes, especially now.

Happy Seventh of July Block!

Yes, it’s Happy Seventh of July!

On this day in 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time. What other significance does this day hold? It’s National Chocolate Day! I could just stop this silliness there, but it’s also National Strawberry Sundae Day. The moral of this is if you don’t have sliced bread, you can head to chocolate or strawberry sundaes. Or chocolate-drizzled strawberry sundaes on top of sliced bread.

I don’t have a back of this block to show, but the title of this block is Provoslavni Park, named for where that beautiful church was located in Ljubliana, Slovenia.

Here’s the back of the 6th of July block, shown yesterday.

My mother always says that doldums come predictably after Christmas: in January you can expect a little mopiness as you clean up the glitter and tinsel. It’s just that living such a sustained high — in terms of activity and expectations and hopes and fun and parties — will inevitably result in a series of days where you can hardly drag yourself around.

So what are we to expect after having a series of days, in this Covid-time, where we have covidistraction, covidsludgenergy, or general covidecline–what can we expect after that?

I know we all looked forward to the 4th of July with all that hullabaloo, but given our numbers, if you stayed in the house and didn’t breathe you were to be commended. So that’s why I thought a little silliness these past few days might provide an occasional snort at a bad joke, a roll of the eyes, and yes, I do want to see pictures of your chocolate-dripped strawberry sundae on sliced bread.

And as usual, Pattern Coming Soon. Stay Sane.

The Original Shine: The Circles Quilt, just hanging out.

And that’s it for the Shine re-do-up-do for a while, while my fingers catch up on the rest of the blocks. Happy July, everyone. Only two more years of — what my science-y friends call — mitigation (masks, etc.)! By then this pattern will be out and I’ll have the quilt made, with any luck.

Stay safe and figure out how to do a social distance gathering, so you won’t feel so isolated as we wait out/suffer through this pandemic. And please keep the parts of the country that are exploding in cases in your hearts, and if you are so inclined, in your prayers. And please wear your masks. We’re all in this together by ourselves, Lily Tomlin used to say.

Never truer.

Happy Sixth of July!

I think I sense a pattern here…

Yes, you do. I’m working on re-doing my Shine: The Circles Quilt pattern in red, white and blue, and this is the third block, titled Ljublana.

I was inspired to make this pattern after visiting a church in Slovenia, and after getting permission from the Guy-in-the-Booth-at-the-front-of-the-Church, I snapped a couple of photos. Many of the blocks in this series are inspired by that exquisite church in that beautiful country.

Now comes the dream story.

In this dream, I was traveling with my husband in a foreign place and it was like, last week — you know, during Covid-time. I couldn’t understand the people and they couldn’t understand me (both wearing masks), and on the bus, people were just too close to me, and I carried giant canisters of sanitizing wipes in my suitcase, and it was all just so unpleasant. Has Covid-19 ruined us for the typical jostling and hustling and bustling of travel?

Don’t answer that. I want to imagine that it hasn’t, and that one day we will all board what my sister calls germ tubes and fly to far-away places and be jostled and bustled and hustled.

Until then, I will do my traveling through specials on TV, through watching videos from our past trips, and by re-visiting amazing painted churches in Slovenia with my quilt blocks, where cheerful and friendly guards encouraged me to take photos.

In Lithuania, the 6th of July is King Mindaugas’ Coronation Day, or Statehood Day. Kind of like our Fourth of July, only not the same day. And their colors aren’t the red, white and blue of this block. This is also National Air Controllers Day, and International Kissing Day…which don’t, unless the person you want to kiss is related to you, or in your pandemic bubble. (I only mention that because the theme of this post is travel.)

The original Shine: The Circles Quilt

Pattern Coming Soon.

A finally, a reminder: there is one week left on the discount for this pattern. Until July 14th, the pattern will be sold at a discount of 20% with the code: minidoublepocketbag20 — that’s all lower case, with the number 20 at the end. When you check out over on PayHip, you’ll see a place to put your code.

(I have turned off the comments on this post.)

Happy Fifth of July Block!

I couldn’t just stop at one, could I? After all the original Shine quilt has sixteen. Let’s just say I have been busy, although given the CovidSludgeyFeeling that all of us have, it’s sometimes been difficult to power through.

But I’m feeling good this particular day (let’s not talk about last Thursday, shall we?) and so I am pressing forward with some Red, White and Blue creations to brighten up your mailbox.

I call this block Sunshine. (I’m sure that is a big surprise.) And we’ll get a lot of it with temps soaring into the near-100s this week.

I’m not shy, says Mr. Sunshine. I’ll show you my backside.

Pattern coming soon. Happy Fifth of July!

(Apparently this is also Mechanical Pencil Day, Bikini Day (invented in 1946), and in various countries, Independence Day.)

Original Shine: The Circles Quilt

Happy Fourth of July Block!

I decided to give my Shine: The Circles Quilt blocks another run, prompted by a backdoor agreement that won’t be mentioned at this point, but when/if it happens, I will be more than happy to splash it all over.

This time, the blocks will coalesce into one pattern, which will soon be available up on my pattern site, PayHip.

I remember my Clothing and Textiles teacher telling me that the inside of a garment is where the real story is. So here is the inside of this circle. Carol showed me her Red, White and Blue stack of Mackinac Island prints from Minick and Simpson, and yes, they arrived at my house probably only a day after they arrived at her house. (Quilt friends can be quite wicked that way.)

They, of course, are last year’s treasure, but I’ve been finding other prints that have been joining the stack growing to the side of my cutting table. And Minick and Simpson do have a companion collection coming out later this year, so we’ll see if I need any more.

I call this first block Swirlygig, but it floats a different direction than the original block.

This was the original Shine quilt. It’s time for a up-do-re-do!

Pattern coming soon. Happy Fourth of July!

This free tiny flag quilt pattern is up under the Tab: Past Endeavors -> Tiny Quilts
This free four-patch flag pattern available here