Leisa and the Sawtooth Star Quilt

Leisa and I at quilt show

Back in the day, Leisa and I were always hanging out at quilt shows. But now, she spends a lot of her getting chemo treatments, dealing with ALLeukemia, and hanging out at UCIrvine, where she is being treated.

LeisaJohn on NBC news

Here’s a video clip from the NBC Nightly News that explains it all.

So I floated the idea of a quilt for her, texting out little group of sewers who have hung out for a while.  Everyone was on board: Lisa, Marlene, Laurel, Caitlin, Simone, Beth and I.  But what block?  Well, you know I’ve had Sawtooth Stars on the brain since the beginning of the year, so we all scrambled to put blocks together, with Laurel sewing the blocks together and our quilter, Cathy, getting it done in record time.  Laurel bound it for us, too.

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Laurel and I worked on the arrangement for all the fun Sawtooth blocks we received from everyone.  We finished it in time for Leisa’s birthday, and Laurel took it over to her.

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A couple of weeks later, I had the chance to catch Leisa in between hospital visits.  (Her dog Marley loves the quilt.)

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Close-ups so you can see the quilting of loops and hearts and flowers.  Cathy shut down her business after this, so it was one of the last quilt tops she did.

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The backing is the Tula print with bears all over it.  Because of this we called the quilt:

Leisa Quilt Label

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And then this arrived in the mail: I’ve known Leisa for years, and she knows the way to my heart is a lovely note.  Tomorrow she heads back to her hospital for more treatments, and we hope our hugs provide solace as she works her way through this difficult part of her life.  My heart goes out to her and to her family, and I’m cognizant of others who have suffered the ravages of cancer.  I can only hope for healing for you all.

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Shu Embroidery

Recently I learned of a young woman on YouTube, Liziqi, who is worth watching.  As one commenter wrote, “Li Ziqi makes Martha Stewart look like a slacker.”  I learned about her video on garlic through the seasons and I was hooked (trust me, you have to watch this).

I found the episode about Shu Embroidery.  She doesn’t actually weave the base cloth for her embroidery in this episode, but I have no doubt that she probably could.  (In this video, she makes a quilt).  The music is tasteful, the mood serene, and the fantasy about living off the land in the Chinese countryside is complete.  While I usually shy away from excessive YouTube watching, I’m going to make an exception for Liziqi.

Liziqi screen shot

To you, to Leisa: Life isn’t easy, as a screen shot from Liziqi’s website attests.  And while her saying is a bit cheesy, it does have some truth:  we can live with our hearts engaged, thinking about each other, and bringing forward our best offerings.

Like a quilt.

Golden California (Small World) • Quilt Finish

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Golden California (Small World)
Quilt #229 • 55″ wide by 36″ high

I mean, you already know what this quilt looks like, having seen various permutations of this on my blog, on the web, on Instagram.  It’s kind of like the quilt that keeps on giving, rolling out forward from the talented mind of Jen Kingwell, and until we all finish up all those My Small World UFOs, it’s likely this quilt will become a quilter’s version of eternity.

[Aside: a cook’s version of eternity is defined as a ham and two people.  An old joke.]

I had a Before…back when the pattern was in the magazine and it sold out like hotcakes.  Then this quilt languished until I had vowed to make Three Hard Quilts in 2019.  It was mostly finished then, but I didn’t have binding sewn on until just before Road to California, where I was taking classes with Ms. Kingwell, herself, and wouldn’t you know it?  I don’t have ONE photo of myself with her and this quilt.  I thought I took one, but, nope.  Can’t find it.

Breaking News!!  My friend Lisa sent me a photo of the quilt with me and Jen Kingwell, so here it is.  Thank you, Lisa!

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To keep myself sane when working on a long project like this, I take little snapshots of progress, title and date them, and keep going.  It reminds me that quilts — like children — will one day be all grown up.

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My photo shoot locator (AKA my husband) suggested we head out to the neighboring town where they had some cool tile murals of different parts of that city.  We battled the shadows, however, but he was right: they were cool murals.

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For the backing, I chose something that had cities in it, and two pieces that represented quilters.

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See that golden sun?  One of California’s monikers is The Golden State, so Susan suggested to me that instead of just taking on Jen Kingwell’s name for the quilt (based on the drawings of the Small World ride in Disneyland), I should incorporate something to suggest this quilt’s origin.  So I did.

Each of my posts about this quilt have the tag “My Small World” so you can click on them to be taken to other posts about this, if you are still making yours.  Carry on!  Keep on! and soon yours will be finished, too.

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Show and Tell at our Guild’s February Meeting. Now this quilt will go for a long rest, while it waits for me to put on the label.

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Original magazine layout of quilt, from the QuiltMania Special Spring Edition, 2015 (now out of print). Kingwell sells the patterns on her website.

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Next week, March 10-11,  I’ll be at the Orange County Quilters Guild, giving my Abecedary of Quilts lecture, and teaching a workshop.  Here’s a screenshot from their webpage (kudos to the Communications people for this nice display).

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This week I’ll be giving a hands-on lecture at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild, teaching them an abbreviated version of my all-day workshop on English Paper Piecing.  Excited to teach and meet new quilters!

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Azulejos • Quilt Finish

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Azulejos • Quilt #227
61 1/2″ wide by 75 1/2″ long

It was a rainy, wet day in Lisbon, and we’d made our way by bus to the Lisbon National Museum of the Azulejo, or the Tile Museum.  We were rewarded for our efforts as I began to call it the Quilters’ Resource Center.  If you are a grid enthusiast, as I am, it was heaven to walk through, with all sorts of interesting ways to think about what’s in a grid, as well as how to use color and negative space to make a design.  And so, from a small sketch on that day in 2016, I created this quilt.

I was also inspired by a beautiful fabric created by Alison Glass from her Handiwork Collection.  It was just so….azul (or blue, in Portuguese).  I filled in with other treasures from my stash, and got to work trying to make it easier to construct.

Cathy Kreter, my quilter, did a nice tight design for the quilting.

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So why if I finished it in November, have I not put it up here until now?  Two reasons: one is I was seeing if my favorite magazine was interested (not this time, they said), and secondly, it was slated to hang at Road to California with a collection of modern quilts made by my guild, the Inland Empire Quilt Guild.  We were honored to be able to have our quilts hung in the atrium as quilters entered, so I kept it quiet.  There are more pictures on our Guild’s blog, taken by our President’s husband, a professional photographer.

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On Sunday after Road was over, I had to wait like forever to pick up the three quilts I had at Road.  My husband snapped this as we were leaving, Ladybird in my hands (well, the backing for Ladybird — a stellar print by Jane Sassaman).

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Today I took some more photos of Azulejos, laying it down by the tools of the painters who were working at our home that day, scraping popcorn ceilings painting.  It’s nice how a quilt can brighten any corner!

 

 

Betsy’s Creation • Quilt Finish

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I found this 1920s vintage park with a grandstand in a small town just to the north of me and took my husband and my most recent finished quilt there, so we could do some photographing.  And some reminiscing.

Fleming Park

It’s a sweet little small-town-built-long-ago park that for some miracle has remained.  Named for an officer of the local cement company at the time, it’s known as the Thomas J. Fleming Memorial Park, built circa 1922-1925. Why is this important?

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I grew up in a small little town (not so little anymore), but it had that feeling of walking downtown on a hot summer’s evening, catching the fireworks on the 4th of July after seeing the parade that morning.  It had the feeling of being able to drop your school bag at the door, change in to your “play clothes,” and head over past the Muehlstein’s home to send this and that sailing down their irrigation canal until you knew it was time to go home for dinner.  (And did I mention that my childhood nickname was Betsy?)

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We’d walk up to Heber’s house and offer to find the eggs in his chicken coop for him.  He’d let us.  We would wind crepe paper in our bicycle spokes and all show up for a local parade.  This was also a place where I was smallminded at times, like when I teased Marlene in fourth grade over something dumb, and then used up all her Scotch tape.  It’s a place where others can also be mean, like when I got beat up by the Mitchell boy, and cried all the way home.  (Later my mother saw him on the road, rolled down her car window and gave him a talking-to like I’d never heard.)

This small town in America was my place, where I learned to behave myself so no neighborhood mother would ever have to lean out her car window and give me a scolding.  And how I wish I could go back in time and find Marlene and tell her how sorry I am.  It was a place to be small, to grow up, and to leave behind.

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But I catch glimpses of it when I think of it as a land of red, white and blue, where we love flags and fireworks and the Fourth of July.  It’s a land of learning to get along with your neighbor because you never know when that person with the different name would give you a lifetime memory.  Like when I needed to learn to ride a bike and Joan Muehlstein gripped the back of the seat, ran alongside me, and hollered, “Turn towards the wobble!”

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It’s mountains and vast plains, it’s small towns and big cities.  And America is where I like to be the most, even though now I’ve traveled and love Berlin and Bologna and other different places with wonderful people who’ve gone themselves through nice and mean, dark and light, thick and thin.  It’s when I return from far away and see that flag on the  wall at the airport with a sign that says “Welcome to the United States,” well, I get a misty-eyed, just like in those movies from the 1940s.

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It’s my home, this America.  And to me, it’s a pretty great place.

American Flag

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Betsy’s Creation • Quilt #225
Pieced by Elizabeth Eastmond • Quilted by Cathy Kreter
72″ wide x 86″ tall

Quilt began on Flag Day: June 14, 2019
Finished August 20, 2019
More info and a free worksheet for making this quilt can be found here.  I also made a companion smaller flag:

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City Streets • Quilt Finish

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Recently my husband and I took my latest quilt, City Streets, out to a small branch library in our town for some photos.  It was a deserted Sunday afternoon, perfect for us to find interesting shadows and backdrops.

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City Streets, 2019
Quilt No. 224, 47″ square

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I made this with a fat quarter stack of Vanessa Christensen’s ombre confetti dots: I wanted to see if it was possible for me to work with one line of fabric.  I almost made it, but pulled in some white grunge and a solid to offset the colorful squares.  I quilted it on my Handquilter Sweet 16 using Art Studio Color 101, which looks like gold, but it’s not a metallic thread.  I did the background using So Fine color 401, which is a white, but not stark white hue.  I only mention these details because our last guild meeting had a speaker who emphasized this point: we should tell people what thread  and fabric we quilt with.

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The back, and the label:

City Streets_labelGinza Scramble

Maybe my original design was inspired by this scramble intersection in the Ginza area of Tokyo, or by this view of Tokyo from the Government Building (below)?

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Thanks to my ever-supportive husband for holding quilts, and helping find great locations for photography. Pattern coming soon.

Far Away Doors • Quilt Finish

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Doors opening, closing on us
by Marge Piercy

Maybe there is more of the magical
in the idea of a door than in the door
itself. It’s always a matter of going
through into something else. But

while some doors lead to cathedrals
arching up overhead like stormy skies
and some to sumptuous auditoriums
and some to caves of nuclear monsters

most just yield a bathroom or a closet.
Still, the image of a door is liminal,
passing from one place into another
one state to the other, boundaries

and promises and threats. Inside
to outside, light into dark, dark into
light, cold into warm, known into
strange, safe into terror, wind

into stillness, silence into noise
or music. We slice our life into
segments by rituals, each a door
to a presumed new phase. We see

ourselves progressing from room
to room perhaps dragging our toys
along until the last door opens
and we pass at last into was.

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Far Away Doors
Quilt No. 216 • 49 1/2″ wide by 43 1/2″ tall
Some blocks sent to me by the Gridsters Bee

Finished!

I originally named it “Home-keeping Hearts” but that was just its milk name as it had just been born and I was in a cheezy mood of  Hearts and Deep Meanings and All That.  Marge Piercy said it best about doors, even quilty ones inspired by far away doors from Dublin, Ireland:

“the image of a door is liminal, / passing from one place into another / one state to the other, boundaries // and promises and threats. Inside / to outside, light into dark, dark into / light, cold into warm, known into / strange, safe into terror, wind // into stillness, silence into noise / or music.”

The photograph on the truck?  It went like this: on our way to get some Vietnamese bùn châ for lunch, we trekked down to our newest neighbors’ home to ask if we could please pose the quilt on their cool car, and so I knocked on their door and it opened to a crying baby in the other room and a smiling baby in his father’s arms and good-natured parents, owners of a new-to-them truck and the mother’s name was Genesis and the father’s name was Nate and we introduced ourselves and they said yes, of course, and then they headed back inside because it was about a hundred degrees outside, as they smiled and waved and shut the door behind them, the  lovely music of a home with a young family and a Ford Ranger just made for quilt posing.

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And so, this variation of Merrion Square is finished.  I pass out the how-to sheet as a freebie when people take my Merrion Square classes, so hopefully you’ll be in one soon.  Check my schedule to see if there’s a workshop near you.

Far Away Doors_LABEL

And finally, many thanks to all who entered the giveaway for the ruler.  The winner has been notified by email and I’ll get the ruler off to her this week.  I am leaving the post up because there are so many great responses to my question.  You are all a significantly talented and experienced group of quilters — thank you for your ruler advice!

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