Triad Harmony Workshop

A song from my childhood always pops into my head when I start my Zoom classes, bright and early, on Saturday morning. It’s something about “bright, smiling faces” that are “all in their places,” and when you see that class portrait where I cue them all to look at the camera and smile, it certainly resonates. (I like to do a class portrait, giving the students time to compose themselves, so as to avoid that strange deer-in-the-headlights-slightly-tipsy portrait that can happen when we try to freeze a video feed with a snapshot.)

The portrait above is the Coastal Quilters from Santa Barbara, one of those Guild engagements that morphed from in-person to Zoom. Again, I have to say I’m really loving teaching this way, with everyone in their own spaces with their own equipment and fabrics. (Do we have to go back to the other way?) I did teach one Zoom class once where they all gathered in the back room of a quilt shop, masks in place, but there wasn’t the interaction; I really missed the individual conversations that the traditional Zoom set-up allows.

And this is what a busy workshop looks like in reality. Everyone is on task (since I took this unannounced, I have blurred out any faces), working hard at creating their own versions of Triad Harmony. This is later in the afternoon and they had all made incredible progress.

Something I do — which I think is unusual — is a Follow-up Workshop Session, one week later. It’s one of the best parts of the class, in my opinion.

In this Follow-Up class, the students send me photos of their quilts the day before, and I put them up into a slide show. This is my view from my computer, and we all engage in discussing the quilts, the fabric choices, successes, and challenges. It’s a lovely time to hear from the quilt makers, the quilters involved at a granular level in creating these masterpieces. It’s not often that we get to talk like this, and it’s a treasured time.

I wish I could have had you all there. More than once, someone said, I was scared to work with this precision, but it went together really well. Or they’d say, they had a stack of triangles cut and changed out. At that point, several people picked up their stacks and flashed them at the camera. A couple of people had theirs already quilted, some were still finishing up borders, and one quilter had printed off onto paper an image of the fabric she was missing in order to show us how it should look. All in all, the follow-up class motivated them to work hard, and finish up as much as they could.

Enjoy the show!

Karen B.
Sue B.
Margaret D.
Heather G.
Marcia G.
Ellyn H.
Gail B.
Ranell H.
Carole K.
Sue K.
(The black is for display only.)
Susan K.
Tami K.
Barbara M.
Polly M.
Sue O.
Karen P.
detail, Karen P: dimensional wedges
Bee S. (with bee fabrics!)
Rosana S.

I try to give something a little extra to each class, and for this class I included four different videos they could watch, with different tips and instructions for making the quilt, as well as a line drawing for use in coloring in preferences.

I also included pattern pieces that would make a larger size, shown here for comparison. I’ve updated the pattern in my PayHip shop, and the pattern now includes the larger size. The fabric line I chose for the larger size is Geo Stones, by Riley Blake.

Thank you all, Coastal Quilters, for a lovely experience!

Spectral Light

My husband is a photographer who specializes in small landscapes: detailed shots of flowers that he finds around our neighborhood. Since we live in a climate that is temperate, we have plants from Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and even Madagascar, and he finds and captures them all in their exquisite tiny details. The plant above is called Mother of Millions.

But sometimes when you step back, the plant just isn’t quite so lovely. And so it is with quilts.

I had challenged myself to make a larger version of Triad Harmony, which — when it’s figured out — will be added into the first pattern. I had spent hours drafting patterns, printing them out, perfecting them, and finally it was time to try it in cloth.

Fail.

I really thought it was a loser. I had great fabric, Gem Stones by Riley Blake (shown on this post). I thought, well…every quilt starts out as spindly Mother of Millions plant, with their virtues disguised in the making. I wondered if this smaller quilt just couldn’t scale up to the larger version. So I stepped away for a day, a bit grumpy about the whole thing. But I just needed to look at the details.

And the details came down — as so often it does — to contrast. The second tier of triad blocks needed contrast from the outer heavens in which this star lives. I needed to change out some pieces, but now I think it’s on track. I will soon get the borders on, then take it off my design wall to quilt it. The moral of the story? Keep working, make changes and soon the quilt will show itself.

In other news, I had a wonderful class last Saturday with the Coastal Quilters from Santa Barbara, a Zoom class of 19 students. We have our follow-up session this coming Saturday, and their quilt pictures have been coming in. I am most excited about this–this follow-up session is such a wonderful time where we talk about quilts. That write-up is coming soon, as is a giveaway for the new Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. So stay tuned!

colorful image from here

About the name: I had originally wanted to name this quilt Spectra, as that is plural for spectrum, or an array of light. But when I found out that it is the brand name for a breast milk pump (?!?), I quickly changed my mind. I read that car manufacturers go through this on a large scale, as not only do they have to check English, but the car’s name in many other languages as well.

And now, a little light reading:

from here

Happy Quilting!

P.S. Did you notice I changed this triad piece, too? I subbed out the lightest piece for a really dark one — you know, more contrasting — and then I rotated it to put that darkest piece at the lower edge.

stars shining brightly

stars shining brightly
quilt #237 • 35″ square

This is the second sawtooth star quilt top I made during the Time of Covid, but that first one is still awaiting quilting. One night, dragging around, looking for something to do besides all the things I’d done every single day for the last few months, I thought I would just knock this one out, get it done.

It had held me up for a while, as I kept thinking that it had to have precision ruler work in all those fine-pointed stars that were made when I was testing out my Sawtoothmania pattern, but in the end I decided that Done Was Best.

I’m about ready to sew the labels on the back, but I’ll pin them on then wait for a Zoom call to finish this up.

We snucked sneaked zipped up to Utah for a very quick trip last weekend to go to my niece’s wedding, dithering about it so badly that it wasn’t until the night before that we actually made our final decision. You know…covid. But the evening was idllyic, the food delicous, the bride and her father (my brother) both giddy and slightly delirious with happiness, so I’m glad I got to see that. She had three pages of vows, he had two pages, and all of us old marrieds are thinking: seriously? But in the blush of youth, why not pledge your troth in a really big way? Life will do what it does, and I’m thrilled they both climbed in the same buggy for the ride.

While going through photos the other day, I found this screenshot. It’s the headline that makes it delicious. Or awful, depending on how your day is going. Yep, it’s not like we wear those kinds of clothes in the photo anymore, right?

So I fell down the Riley Blake Gem Stones ombré fabrics rabbit hole. Here are some brights from The Cotton Cure, complete with a fun piece of candy and a sticker (which I put on the front of my calendar that I still am having a hard time filling out…who needs calendars these days?) I wish I could unfurl the fabrics for you to see the wonderful gradation of color and hue.

Here is another batch of half-yards from Quilt Expressions, who included this little note pad. These two shops know the way to any woman’s heart is a little gift. I found both these shops by doing a search on ETSY for this fabric, which led me to them.

All of them together.

Plans? Another Triad Harmony quilt, as I have my first live-online class with this pattern in a couple of weeks, when I Zoom into the Coastal Quilters for an evening and a fun Saturday. I’m starting work on the password-protected page on this website, shooting videos, freaking out when I try to edit them. You know, the whole digital experience of teaching these days.

Lastly, we are saying good-bye to too many people these days. The flags at half-mast are for Judge Ginsberg, and the 20,000 flags in front are to honor the over 200,000 dead due to Covid-19, since March. I wrote about the first 100,000 dead some months ago, and I struggled at this milestone. Are we not talking about it because we are numb? Are we not making a big deal of because it’s an election year and all the rahrah is distracting us? Or, more soberly, are we not noting it with fervor because we expect that soon there will be a 300,000 milestone, maybe even a 400,000 and we want to save something for that event?

This last idea scares me to death, for that means that many more people we love will be gone, from grandparents to aunts to friends and neighbors, almost sliding out of our lives without much notice. All that history. Gone. All those relationships. Gone. All those memories that will have to stand in place of these who died of this disease; gone too soon, they now grace the heavens, stars shining brightly.

I wish for all who remain behind, solace in their sorrow, and hopefully a quilt somewhere to curl up in on a bad day. Take care everyone. Wear your masks. Be kind.

We are not out of this yet.

My grandmother (left), my great-grandmother (right) and my Aunt Alfarette as a child, all wearing masks during the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

SHINE: The Circles Quilt • Collaboration with QuiltMania

SHINE: the Circles Quilt

First I’m going to tell you the short version.

Shine is going back out into the world again, this time in collaboration with QuiltMania Magazine. If you are a subscriber to their newsletter, you’ll receive access to the newly revised patterns, free, as a thank you for subscribing.

Block One: Swirlygig

Now the long version.

When Covid-19 hit the proverbial fan, one April morning in my mailbox was a heartfelt letter from Carol, writing in her regular QuiltMania Newsletter about some of the difficulties magazines like hers were facing.  I contacted them, offering my help in any way (you know I’m a fangirl).

Block Two: Sunshine

After some correspondence, it was decided that they would release SHINE: The Circles Quilt out into the world, bit by bit on their blog, and after further developments, as a thank you for subscribing to their newsletter.  I was happy with this, and thinking it would be released quickly, revised all the formerly free patterns on this blog into a new format.  I sent them to back to QuiltMania where they were translated into French.  

Block Three: Ljublana

Wondering if they’d be out by July, I started work on another set of the circles, this time in Red, White, and Blue.  You may have seen them here, here, and here.  I am still working on them, but am borrowing an idea from my friend Carol, who is also working on a Red, White and Blue quilt.  We hope to get these quilts finished in time for the Inauguration in January.  That gives me a little more time.

So here we go on a new journey with SHINE! Underneath each block is the name, and a link to where it lives on this blog. Each of these posts has detailed instructions and photos, which may prove helpful in your sewing. The full set is up above, in my header, under SHINE: The Circles Quilt.

This is how it looked on their blog this morning. 

Above is the teaser in their newsletter, which you’ll want to subscribe to.  

Here’s the scheduled release dates of the free quilt blocks from QuiltMania:
September: Blocks 1, 2 and 3
October: Blocks 4, 5 and 6
November:  Blocks 7, 8 and 9
December: Blocks 10, 11 and 12

In case you can’t wait, the complete pattern is coming soon to my PayHip shop.  Currently up up on PayHip are the last four blocks of SHINE (13 through 16) and the quilt’s finishing directions, which are written in Hobbit Elvish.  Just kidding (sort of), but certainly they are from my earliest days as a pattern writer and will soon be revised to my current format and standards. (When the new patterns drop, if you have purchased either of these, you’ll be able to download the new ones without additional cost.)

I used fabric from the Minick and Simpson recent lines of red, white, and blue, as well as other Moda and Riley Blake fabrics for the backgrounds.

Happy Labor Day this weekend. Here is a less-than-happy version of Work (Le Travail), by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (c. 1863) from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. I am happy that they worked in a woman in “travail” down in the lower right corner. I am beyond happy that my current work of quilting doesn’t resemble anything in this picture. (Okay, maybe sometimes.)

Keep stitching!

Triad Harmony • Quilt Finish

Triad Harmony, quilt number 234
33″ wide by 29″ high

Annularity now has a little sister, and her name is Triad Harmony.

Triads that harmonize are found in color wheels and in music. The Oxford Dictionary of Music notes that “Zarlino was the first theorist to accept the triad as a full-fledged consonance. Not only did he accept it, he dubbed it the harmonia perfetta—the ‘perfect harmony.’ He rationalized giving the triad this suggestive name not only on the basis of the sensory pleasure that triadic harmony evoked” but also because of reason and mathematical theory.

But that’s not why I named it that. I don’t really know why I named it this, other than my triad block is the basis of the design. Sometimes names just drift in out of the heavens, and there they are.

I was asked to speak to the Coastal Quilters Guild about a year ago, and my friend Susan wanted to make Annularity. When we all were switching to Zoom, I thought I should try to create a smaller version of that quilt, as small quilts are more easily created in a workshop setting. And I promised her I’d try it in Kaffe fabrics, her first love. So here it is, but it’s so hot off the press, that I haven’t had a chance to quilt this version. (Coming soon, and with a different name, I promise.)

The pattern is finished and can be purchased on PayHip, my pattern site.

I also drew up a bit larger version and I loved seeing some of the drafting details, so I took a screen shot. It is also when I found a significant error in my first quilt, but I doubt you’ll find it so I’m not going to tell you where it is. Humbling moments come at me from every direction.

It’s been an intense two weeks filled with smoke from fires in my lovely California, watching most of the Democratic convention and parts of the Republican convention, worrying about people I love, dealing with asthma and a reaction to a Shingles vaccination, writing up this pattern, quilting the first quilt, cutting and sewing the Kaffe version, moving my in-person Guild Visits to Zoom visits, trying not to be cranky when we had ten days of 100+ temperatures, along with the usual.

I didn’t have to deal with sending children back to school in masks, a stressful essential job where I had to risk the covid-19 virus, money troubles (thinking about my early days when I didn’t have two quarters to rub together in my pocket), locating a good fabric shop, teenagers, car or computer troubles.

I have some observations about the conventions, a thought or two about some of the other things, but today I am tired, so I’ll close it out here.

Take care, everyone. Keep quilting. Keep bringing the beautiful into your lives, one stitch at a time.

Criss-Cross Color

Criss-Cross Color • Quilt [Top] No. 233
49″ wide by 68″ high

It has been a good month, a month of Criss-Crossing with the Criss-Cross Quilt pattern.

Criss-Cross Autumn • Quilt No. 232
35″ square

After getting over my terror of Zooming, and finding I really quite liked it a LOT, I jumped in with both feet to prepare for the class that the Glendale Quilt Guild had chosen. To teach, I had to make some new samples — not to be sent around this time, but for short videos for their class.

So, these two quilts came from those endeavors.

Okay, I take it back. Maybe Criss-Cross Color started here, when a series of photos showed up on my Instagram. I pulled colors of Painters Palette Solids to mimic what I saw. (Yes, I’ve had this series of photos for over a year. Sometimes quilts take a while to percolate up to the top.)

This is what was on my design wall when I started my Workshop with the quilters from Glendale last Saturday:

This group is on fire! They were engaged, enthusiastic and even the most beginner of the bunch dived in and got to work on their quilts. This morning we had a follow-up session, where they showed off what they’d sewn and talked about their quilts.

Follow-up Workshop

I like to do a follow-up Zoom one week later, as it’s close enough to the time of the Workshop that the event doesn’t drag on and on, yet gives a few days to cut and sew. And these ladies did just that. Here are the quilts from the slide show I put together for them (they all gave me permission to share them). From the top, the owner/makers are: Cindy, Joyce, Flo, Annie, Nancy, Caren, Beth, Kathy, Rebecca, and Mary.

Some of these are under construction, some are completed tops, and one is all quilted, finished and bound! It was a most lovely follow-up session, and they had great insights about the quilt, working with pattern, finding ways to make this idea their own. I’ve been floating all day.

Thank you to the fine quilters of Glendale Quilt Guild for a wonderful time!