300 Quilts · Quilt Finish

Postcard from Burano

Postcard from Burano, quilt #242
11″ x 22″

Over the space of several years, I tried three times to get to the small island of Burano, just a vaparetto ride out of Venice. And when my husband and I finally made it there, we had only about an hour before the next ride back to Venice.

When the boat docked in Burano and everyone turned right to go into the main part of town, we turned left and wandered, taking in the brilliant color, the laundry, the umbrellas, the acqua alta barricades in the doorways, snapping away.

We arrived at the outgoing vaparetto a few minutes early, but stood in line, mentally and physically leaving Burano forever.

So when I had a chance to take Gillian Travis‘ class in October 2019, pulled in by the chance to do a fabric representation of that small island with its brilliant colors, I signed up quickly. It was at PIQF (Pacific International Quilt Festival); my friend Leisa and I traveled there and spent three days in the hotel, rarely leaving as the Mancuso quilt show had many pieces to see, and then there were all the vendors (of course).

In our Townscapes class, we started by tracing, and Gillian had very specific and helpful instructions on how to do everything. I listened carefully and took copious notes. This was one project I wanted to finish. She’s the one who taught us the trick of using parchment paper as a backing for layers of fused fabric (instead buying those expensive specialty sheets).

When I got this far, she came over, and making sure it was all fused together, peeled it off the parchment paper like peeling off a giant sticker, and we plopped it onto a stretch of blue fabric I’d chosen (in consultation, of course).

And this is where I picked it up, a year and some months later. But I’d been to Burano and seen the white window frames, the laundry and the umbrellas, so I pulled out my photos and started adding details.

I imitated the upside down boots on the left side, having found that in our visit:

In the course of time, a lovely splotch affixed itself above one of the chimneys. I tried to get it out with soap and water; it just means that some of the gulls of Venice would now fly through my sky. Her method is to stitch details into the picture while stitching down the fused pieces.

I did that, constantly referring to all the snapshots I took during class. I used a free-motion quilting foot, realizing I would sacrifice another needle to the gunk of fused fabrics.

Then I added borders, as I knew I wanted to stretch it onto bars like California Bear.

I quilted it lightly, trying to add some detail to the sky, but not too much, winding my way around the gulls.

Side view of the borders wrapped and stapled.

I took shots of all the details. Like the teacher, I tried not to be too pristine about how I stitched the window frames, or added detail to the laundry. I can sometimes be a little too uptight about those sort of things, and while I’ll never be an artist like Ms. Travis, I can imitate in order to learn new things.

Work of Gillian Travis

And if you’ve been to the Yorkshire Dales, she has a townscape for you too.

If you want to read about our quick trip to Burano, I include many colorful photos on my travel blog, TraveledMind.blog. (It’s currently under renovation/repair having suffered a loss of domain name recently, and I’m still working to get it back up to where it was.) On the blog, we’re currently in Tokyo, soon heading to Korea and yes, it was a trip from 2017. I’ll get it finished, hopefully before we head out again, maybe in 2022?

Happy February. Wear a mask, get your vaccine, and stay home and quilt!

300 Quilts · Quilt Finish

California Bear • collage quilt finished

California Bear, Quilt #241

California Bear, a collage quilt started in a class with Laura Heine at Road to California 2020, is finished and hanging on my sewing room wall. (It just seems pretentious to call it a “sewing studio” so I persist in calling it a sewing room.) This is a fused collage quilt, and I wrote about it a year ago, when I first began.

As usual, I did multiple permutations moving butterfliers and flowers around until I decided I was done messing with it. The perfect is the enemy of the good…and the done, as I always say. More info our on California Bear is here, if you are interested.

I hung him across from my fancy new calendar from The Dolphin Studio (I saw my sister’s and just had to have one), and he’ll stay there until he walks on to somewhere else.

I finished fusing him into place Friday afternoon, then quilted it in a tiny grid all over, thoroughly gumming up a needle, but it got the job done. After that, I my husband, Dave, and I went out to get stretcher bars (we are double-masking now) and a burger, and then we sat in the parking lot afterwards eating our hot french fries and Habit burger. Later, he helped me staple it into place; I cut out Laura’s name from one of the selvages and fused it onto the back. I’ll make a label later on, but I wanted it up on the wall before January ended.

I went walking this morning and it was California cold. Not as cold as some of the weather in other parts of this wonderful state (we have twelve “Fourteeners” in our state–that is, mountains over 14,000 feet, so you know they have snow). But here in Southern California, an hour east of Los Angeles, well…this is kind of cold. All around our geographical basin the mountains were touched with snow after our last storm. Pretty fancy for us.

And here’s a photo of my quilt holders: two clamps duct-taped onto some molding strips that I found in my garage, but you could use dowels. Really high tech. Oh, and here’s a photo of the Quilt Holding Husband using the Quilt Holders:

We just clamped them onto the corners of the quilt. If you are a short person, like I am, then it makes it easier to hold up the quilts. Later on, we switched, and I held the quilt for while, as seen in this post (in front of the colorful wall). I haven’t yet tried them on a quilted-with-batting quilt, but soon I will and I’ll let you know how it works.

That big-skirted lady is for a quilt, coming later on in the year, and the ABCs and other fabrics are part of a quilt for a grandchild who is having a birthday soon. I use my design wall as a bulletin board sometimes.

I’m making progress on this (binding on and clipped down, reading for hand-sewing). I’ve also come up with a name. Coming soon.

I recently freshened up my blog header, switched up my blog theme (the other one wasn’t supported any more) and am working on the commenting problem some of you have had. I think I’ve solved it, but will know when you tell me. I always ask for your name and your email, as I like to answer my comments privately. If you can’t comment on the blog, you are welcome to email me at opquilt [at] gmail [dot] com.

Happy Quilting!

Older Header, from 2014. My, how time flies!
300 Quilts · Giveaway · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt Finish · Quilt Patterns

Pomegranates • Giveaway

Where does inspiration begin?

Does it start here? How about both places? Today is a pattern announcement, a quilt top done announcement and the best part: a giveaway!

My friend, Kenna Ogg of Madison Cottage Design, is launching her line of batiks from Banyan Batiks (made by Northcott) and asked me to help her share the pictures and flavors of her line of fabrics. And at the end of the post, be sure to enter to win a fat quarter stack of these beautiful fabrics, rich in the tones of fall and winter.

So when she sent them to me to dream up a quilt, I kept thinking about my friend Karen’s pomegranate tree, and how she was always so generous with the fruit:

Pomegranates come on in the fall and into winter, so the two ideas merged into one.

(Posed under a citrus bush)

I arranged the fabrics, trying to get a feel for the richness of the color, then one night drew up the quilt idea in my Affinity software, and a quilt pattern was on its way!

I drew up a pomegranate shape, adding the bit at the top (the calyx), then traced it onto fusing material, cutting out the center of the circle so the quilt wouldn’t be too stiff. I then cut around the outside and fused it down to a four-patch.

All are on! Now the borders.

It’s a fun way to show off the luscious tones of this line of batiks. I had a hard time photographing them in the night when I was working, so here’s a photo from Kenna:

This is what she’ll send the winner of the giveaway: Twenty Fat Quarters. Yes, you can make the Pomegranates quilt from that. But now you can also score a discount on the pattern, as I’m launching it at the same time. Head over to my pattern shop on PayHip, navigate to the pattern and for a 30% discount on this pattern enter the following code at checkout:

PomegranatesOPQuilt30

There are three places you can enter the giveaway:

The giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to Esther, who wrote:
“Love the fabric and the pattern! Pomegranates and the pomegranate tree are beautiful. The tree and fruit provide habitat for birds. Maybe this will be the year I plant a tree or two, there are a number of varieties, some with pink arils and lighter rind that I think would make a nice combo with the standards. I think there are many references in the bible and poetry as to their beauty and symbolism, though right now I can’t pull one out of my memory. As far as harvesting the arils, I just “go for it” since I’m only cleaning one at a time. If I was ambitious, I’d make pomegranate jelly. I like to use the arils in a salad of winter greens, with slices of bosc pear and fuyu persimmon and a vinagrette.”

Here, on this blog (I’ll pick a winner on Thursday evening, and email the winner). OR, on my Instagram account. OR on Kenna’s Instagram account. And of course, you’ve figured out by now that if you enter all three places, that’s three times the chances. I will mail your name and address to Kenna and she’ll send them out. Good luck.

Leave me a comment below, telling me what you think is the easiest method to get the arils (the seeds) out of the pomemgranate: get on an old shirt and head out to the picnic table and just go for it, or submerge the fruit in a water bath, letting the arils sink to the bottom while the pith floats to the top. And of course, since I love your stories, any pomegranate story or memory you want to leave me will make me smile.

A red-stained juicy pomegranate smile!

300 Quilts · Quilt Finish

Choose Something Like a Star: Quilt Finish

Choose Something Like a Star
Quilt #238
29″ high by 33″ wide

Biography of this quilt

Titles considered
Choose Something Like a Star (from a poem by Robert Frost)
Playful Star (from a haiku by Tada Chimako)
Double Star
Binary Star
Twin Stars
Eclipsing Binary (I really fell down a rabbit hole on this concept)

I don’t often give individual titles to quilts made in a series, but all of the Triad Harmony quilts have such a different look, that I wanted to distinguish them by name.

Fabrics used
All from the stash

Batting
Soft and Bright polyester. I buy it by the roll and cut off what I need for each quilt, but this time I made a “frankenbatting,” pieced together from scraps. This post talks about how I do that.

Thread used in piecing
Masterpiece, by Superior Threads Color: Granite #156 Sometimes I use other threads. As long as it is good quality (not the cheap stuff from the sale bin) I’m happy with it. I am, however, incredibly specific about what I quilt with.

Thread used in quilting
Magnifico, by Superior Threads, various colors (top thread)
So Fine, by Superior Threads, (bobbin thread) coordinated to top thread

Quilting Patterns
After racking my brain, and browsing all the patterns in Lori Kennedy‘s books and my saved Instagram posts, I went with loops in the stars, ruler work in some of the triangles, and a wonky starry border pattern (which doesn’t really show up, which is fine). Choosing a quilting pattern is always a challenge. I have to repeat to myself: The perfect is the enemy of the good. Seeking for the perfect can also be the enemy of the done.

Binding Method
Single fold binding method I did use the glue stick method: after ironing it into place, I stroke it with a school-supply glue stick, pressing it to distribute the glue. Then I topstitch it with some Magnifico thread, matching it to the binding/border.

Label
Put through EPSON inkjet printer, then bordered

Book listened to while I worked
I am working my way through the series by Julia Spencer-Fleming, featuring the Reverend Clare Fergueson and the police chief Russ Van Alstyne, solving mysteries, and set in a small town in upstate New York. These were recommended to me by my friend Bette.

Inspiration
Desire for a cousin to Annularity, to make a smaller version that can be used for workshops.

As you can see, it takes a village to make a quilt.

I still like the name Eclipsing Binary. Below is a sketch of this effect, of one star eclipsing another.

from here

Other Triad Harmony quilts:

Triad Harmony
Secret Garden

Pattern can be purchased on PayHip. Thanks also to my angel friends from Berlin, for holding up the quilt for me. I turned off the comments, as this is just a biography post.

Quilt Finish · Sawtooth Stars · Something to Think About

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.

LeisaSawtoothQlt grouping

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.

LeisaSawtoothQlt_0

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

LeisaSawtoothQlt_1LeisaSawtoothQlt_2LeisaSawtoothQlt_3

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.

LeisaSawtoothQlt_4

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

Leisa Quilt Label

LeisaSawtoothQlt_5LeisaSawtoothQlt_6

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.

tiny nine patches

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.

Classes · Quilt Finish · Travels · Trunk Show

Golden California (Small World) • Quilt Finish

Golden California_1

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!

Small World_ESE_Kingwell.jpgmysmallworld2019_final full topGolden California_2cQuilted My Small WorldGolden California_2d

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.

Golden California_5Golden California_2

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.

Golden California_3frontGolden California_7 detailGolden California_4back

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

Golden California_8

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.

Golden California_9
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.

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

Orange County Quilt Guild Visit_1

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).

March 2020 Advert_v2

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!

tiny-nine-patches