Happy August 2019 • This and That

When I looked outside in my garden today, the zucchini plant had wilted from the heat, mirroring how I felt inside.  However, unlike my spectacularly unproductive zucchini plant [we’ve only had ONE], I’ve been pretty productive.  Just not on quilts.

I’ve been working on prepping my upcoming Guild Workshops, getting the kits together (in wax paper bags instead of plastic, given my attempt to cut down on plastic where I can), and cute touches like place cards, so I know whose spot is whose once the class gets going.

Spectrum Pattern Revise

The pattern cover with thumbnails showing the pattern pages and revisions. Now it’s a pretty good guide to EPP.

I also revised a couple of patterns, the first one being Spectrum.  Inland Empire Quilters Guild contacted me for a program for their evening meeting, then they got together a group of women for a workshop who wanted to learn English Paper Piecing.  So I changed some things up in the pattern, added more content, and put it back up for sale up on PayHip.

EPP Spectrum Bag

One thing I made for a sample was this tote bag, splitting the main pattern in half and placing it on either side of the bag.  I wanted to show that a person can do more with a pattern than simply make a quilt.  That version of Spectrum is one of the variations in the pattern (bag pattern not included; I used the one in the October 2019 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting by Kristyne Czepuryk).

Kansas Sunflower Minimini

I also made a mini-mini to show them how to do the basics.  I’ll be passing out this pattern for a Kansas Sunflower block in class, show how to “batch-cut” pieces, glue and prep them.  They can then move on to Spectrum, or stay sewing up their mini-mini.  We’ll also do one hexie flower, because what’s a class in EPP without a hexie flower?

Hexie Flowers July 2018

(We’ll only do one; these are from my Field Flowers quilt.)

Merrion Square Pattern Revise

Another class I have coming up is Merrion Square and Far Away Doors, teaching it for the Pass Patchers Quilt Guild nearby.  For ages, I’d hand out the instruction sheet to Far Away Doors when the class was taught, but adding it to the original Merrion Square pattern was one of the revisions I wanted to make, in order to get all the variations in one place.  I took it offline, revised it, and now it’s back up for sale on PayHip, if you want all three versions in one pattern. [Note:  If you’ve purchased Merrion Square and haven’t received Far Away Doors from me in a workshop, please contact me and I’ll get it out to you.  Proof of purchase is required.]

Of course, all this is made easier by the fact that I’m getting the hang of the three pieces of Affinity Serif software that I purchased last fall: Affinity Photo (replacing Adobe’s Photoshop), Affinity Designer (replacing Illustrator) and Affinity Publisher (instead of InDesign).  I’m getting quicker at each one, knowing where the tools are and how to use them.

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

I also made three batches of low-sugar strawberry jam, after I tasted Laurel’s.  Laurel and her husband grow their own strawberries, but the ones from the market in our neighboring town worked well for us.  To go with it, I made a batch of zucchini bread with cranberries and left out half the flour (!).

My saintly husband declared it just fine, and takes chunks of this incredibly dense bread in his lunch every day.  He makes me look good, even on my very bad days (of fighting asthma), wilting in the heat (like the zucchini plants outside), and trying to get all the guild workshop stuff lined up from here to eternity.  I have to remind myself to take it one Guild and a time, and enjoy the process, which I genuinely do.

I finished The Night Tiger (I can recommend highly) and have started Little Fires Everywhere (so far enjoying it, but don’t give a recommendation until I finish).

I decided I was done waiting to start on this Halloween Banner project.  I layered the panel (if your store doesn’t carry it, it’s available here), quilted it, and cut out the flags.  I cut 1-1/4″ strips of stripey fabric from this line (called Costumer’s Ball by J. Wecker Frisch) cutting it across the stripe and bound the edges of the flags, sewing the strips first to one side of the flag, then the other.  After trimming the bottom edge, I folded it up and glued it all down with my trusty friend, a regular old gluestick.  Then I pressed and folded in the binding on the sides, again using my gluestick to keep it in place.  (Be sure to press after gluing in order to distribute the glue).

gluesticks

Hit those back-to-school sales, people!

I top-stitched down the striped binding, and am now waiting for the fabric to arrive to make the top part so I can get the banners all ready for October 1st.

August Gridsters_2019 trees

Lastly, I finished up August’s bee blocks for the Gridster Bee, using an original pattern designed by my talented beemate Kelley.  She’s getting ready for Christmas early!

I think my holidays are all mixed up, because I’m working on Christmas blocks, Halloween Banners, and my Fourth of July quilt just came back from the longarmer, needing binding.  I hope you are able to keep your days and events and sewing projects straight.  Happy Quilting!

Gridsters Blocks (January 2019) and Affinity software review

gridsters-250-buttonx

The Gridsters are starting on their third year, and it’s been a delight to discover the variety of styles and choices each member puts forward for us to make for them.  Carol was our Queen Bee for January, and she asked us for blocks designed by Kristina of Center Street Quilts.

gridster jan sewinggridster jan2019_1I chose Geometric Christmas Tree and Mod Tree, and mailed them off a few days ago.

sewing room_1

before

I still haven’t settled my sewing room yet after last fall’s room switchearound, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to get everything off the floor and into some semblance of order.sewing room_2sewing room_3

My husband and I needed only two trips to IKEA to make this one work.sewing room_3a

We purchased a new light from Lowe’s Hardware that goes under the bookshelves, and boy, does it blast the lumens into the room.  I love it, and love that it is an LED which doesn’t give off much heat nor consume as much energy.  And I can see everything in my tiny sewing universe when I turn it on.sewing room_4

The ironing board gets set up in front, so the iron is parked on the right.  In the first bin on the top of the shelves, I put all those mini charm packs, and other random charm packs.  I don’t buy many precuts, and so they all fit in there.  The second shallower bin holds Featherweight Sewing Machine Stuff, as I purchased another Featherweight this fall when a neighbor cleaned out her mother’s storage unit and discovered that her mother had collected all these old sewing machines.  I’d also gone to a garage sale, where they had a box of feet and attachments; they appear to belong to the Featherweight, but I’m still researching.  One woman’s trash is another quilter’s treasure.

And I’m still trying to make the bins useful, so this will change as I work in here.  Right now the upper left holds stuff for Bee Happy, a quilt that my friend Leisa and I chose to do as a long-term project.  And as she says, “No deadlines.  If it takes us two years, so what!”

merrionsquare_1

Been working on this, both in cloth and in pattern.

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I decided to try to upgrade my pattern-writing skills, unsatisfied with my Microsoft Word  approach.  I’d been using Affinity’s Photo and Designer software, which everyone knows is sort of a replacement for the Adobe Creative Suite.  I didn’t want to join in the subscription plan that Adobe wanted me to, so found the Affinity (all 20% now for Christmas–so that makes it around $40 for the Photo and other software in their store–quite a difference from the Adobe prices!).

Affinity Publisher Beta.png

This past fall, they released the free beta version of their Affinity Publisher, which I couldn’t wait to try.  They’ve had two upgrades since I started playing around with it, and each has improved the flow and workability of the app.  I can’t wait for it to be released in its final version.  I also tried to contribute to their Bug and Help forums, you know, to be a good brownie.  It wasn’t hard to come up with things to say, because I was working on patterns, but really, at this point, it’s almost ready for launch.

affinity pattern making nlm

I used screen shots from QuiltPro for the basis of my artwork, as they were perfectly sized, then modified them in Affinity Photo, then saved them as illustrations.  I opened Affinity Publisher Beta, watched all the training videos (taking notes) and dived in. I finished up one pattern earlier this week, did the pattern for my turn next month as Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and am still working on Northern Lights Medallion (NLM).  I’m sorry for the lateness in getting NLM out, but I’m learning as I go, and I wasn’t satisfied with how the templates laid out on the page (exported from QuiltPro) so it’s back to more learning, more Asking the Internet.  I’ll get there–thanks for your patience.

new software

 

 

 

 

Crazy Cushion Class

If you could scroll down for just a second and locate on the right blog sidebar where there is a link to a video titled Create. This was taken from a talk from one of the leaders of my church, and if you are not a religious type, then substitute in your version of God for what Elder Uchtdorf says.  I watch it everyone once in a while to remind me that what I do is more than stitching, or cutting up pretty cloth.  Being creative is my connection to — and a conduit for — the divine.

Crazy Cushion Class_6a

I had an inkling of the power of a lot of creative women, when I attended Becky McDaniel’s class for her Crazy Cushion pattern.  Yes, there was fatigue and frustration, but there was also a spirit of wanting to create (above, watching a demo).

Crazy Cushion Class_6b

My workspace.  I had a nice visit with the two quilters at my table, Sandie and Marie (absent), and was totally impressed with the women in the Nite Owl Guild.

Crazy Cushion Class_7

Becky was energetic, funny and taught some new skills: like working with a light table while paper piecing, and we all promptly handed over our cash to buy her cool flat light table, while stories swirled around about the light tables we had at home.

Crazy Cushion Class_8

Yeah, we weren’t in this room, but the ping-pong table was.  The class was held in the Senior Center for a nearby town and was a great place to have a workshop.  Below, Becky’s table of supplies.

Crazy Cushion Class_9Crazy Cushion Class_10

Even though I had all my sections pre-pieced, at this point I felt like I’d run a marathon, just getting that welting stitched in between the flying geese band and the cushion top/back.  The band includes a handle for carrying (seen serpentining in the photo above).

Crazy Cushion Class_10a

More than one use for those binding clips.

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Because of all my sewing beforehand, I was able to finish my cushion.  Above, the photo with Becky McDaniels.

Crazy Cushion Class_11aCrazy Cushion Class_11b

I posed my cushion with hers (the larger of each).  Mine measures 14″ x 2″ and hers is 16″ x 3.”  If you decided to take this class, do your homework beforehand, if you have done paper-piecing before, so you can have a finish, too.

Crazy Cushion Class_12

And then outside in their gardens, before leaving.

Crazy Cushion Class_12aCrazy Cushion Class_12c

Now I’ll have something to sit on when I go to workshops!

  • The pattern can be found on her website, along with more information.
  • Kaffe Fasset fabrics recently purchased at Blue Bird Quilt Shop, near me, including that cool stripe.
  • I use transluscent vellum paper by Neenan for my paper piecing because I can see through it and it rips off easily.  I purchased a ream about 10 years ago from Kelly Paper, and it cost way more than I wanted, but hey–10 years use?  Not bad.

Annularity

Annularity_May 2018LabeledAnnularity
Quilt #203
Began October 2017 • Completed May 2018

Annularity_3DetailAnnularity_1DetailAnnularity_2Detail

I use Magnifico thread as it has a nice sheen without being shiny, and it lays down a lovely line of stitching.  In the bobbin is So Fine thread (both by Superior Threads).

Annularity_6a

I made a duplicate of  Annularity II — which was a quilt I designed and made for Paintbrush Studios (which hung at QuiltCon, and most recently, Quilt Market) — because I thought the first version had been lost in the mail en route to the quilter. It hadn’t, and now I had my own top.

Then I decided to quilt my own, trying out different ideas as explained in an earlier post. But thanks to my quilt holder Dave, I can now reveal the fully quilted version to the world, as well as deliver some great news about this quilt.

Recently I’d been talking with Rick and Dot Kimmelman of Pineapple Fabrics about this quilt, hoping they’d want to use it for their booth, as they carry the full line of Painter’s Palette Fabrics. In between Point A and Point B of our discussions, they purchased Keepsake Quilting, which made many of us in the QuiltWorld very happy.  And so, beginning this summer, Keepsake Quilting and Pineapple Fabrics will be the exclusive sellers of my Annularity pattern.   Both Keepsake and Pineapple will also have kits available that include all the fabrics for the top and binding.  (You can check Pineapple Fabrics.com to purchase within the next month, and see Keepsake Quilting’s Fall catalogue, due out the second week of August.  You can bet I’ll put something up on here when I first lay eyes on my quilt in their catalogue!)

Annularity_4Back_fixedThe wild and crazy back.  It’s “prairie house” from the De Leon Design Group, for Alexander Henry Fabrics.  I thought it might disguise any oopsies, but I was happy to note that I actually had very few.  I guess maybe after ten years I’m getting better at the quilting?  Much credit belongs to the Sweet Sixteen machine I use, and the threads, which always seem to balance so well.Annularity_4bBackScrap

After one quilting session, when I turned it over to check the back, I noticed I had quilted in this wedge-shaped scrap onto the back.  I started to try and cut it out, then decided I kind of liked this nod to the process, so left it in.  Really, you can’t see it, when looking at the overall back. (Well, NOW you do, but you didn’t at first, right?)

Annularity_6Annularity_4cLabel

So, thanks for being my cheering squad, motivating me to finish up my quilt.  And I hope you enjoy making yours!

Annularity II

Annularity1PBStudios

This is the story of the design of my quilt Annularity.  It is also the story of Annularity II, which will hang at QuiltCon in Paintbrush Studios Booth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annularity II
Quilt Number 194
Designed and Pieced by Elizabeth Eastmond
Quilted by Natalia Bonner
59″ square

The story of this begins when I was contacted by the fine people at Paintbrush Studios, who make the ever-lovely Painter’s Palette Solids.  I submitted one design for review, time passed, things changed; I thought the process was dead in the water.

AnnularityDesign_1fabrics

But I had all these lovely fabrics, so we started the process again.

Annularity Fail

I played around in QuiltPro, my favorite quilt design program and came up with the above design messes.

annularityfailalmost

I showed them to Simone, seeking advice, and she said, “Don’t forget the white.”  Negative space is critical, but sometimes you get in the weeds of a thing and you can’t see your way clear.

Given that the Great American Eclipse was on my mind, I started calling my quilt Annularity:

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I began building the quilt top, remembering the white.  But when I got to the outer edges, something still wasn’t right.  A designer can do all the designing they want to, but then the fabric takes over and slowly, the outer edges morphed from the planned design to what you see at the very top.  Then there was the problem of the center.

AnnularityOPQuilt Centers

I tried lots of combinations: yellow, aqua, violet, maroon but finally finished with periwinkle, one of my favorite colors in the Painter’s Palette Solids line-up.  I finished it and when Paintbrush Studios told me that Natalia Bonner was going to quilt it, I was over the moon, because I quite admire her work.  I bundled up the quilt, sent it off, and then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And I began to wonder, even though I’d tracked it to her address, if it had gotten lost.  I worried, then did the next best thing:

My Annularity

I made another.

In the rush, I didn’t have all the correct fabrics, so some are pieced.  But then I heard from Natalia that she had the quilt.  Whew!  Since it’s going to be hanging in the booth at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena, I gave the first one a new name, since now there were two in the world: Annularity II.

Pineapple Fabrics has the complete line of colors needed to make this design, and you can soon buy the quilt pattern from them.  Come and see Annularity II in the Paintbrush Studios booth, #905.

But I’ll be quilting mine, Annularity, bit by bit, sharing that experience as I proceed.  In the meantime, enjoy the photos of Natalia’s fine work:

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Home, Sweet, Home Mini-Quilt Class

 

HomeSweetHomeClassRecently I taught a class for my Home, Sweet, Home mini quilt.  I snapped these photos as they were working; they’d all mostly prepped up their pieces before coming, and it made the class go quite smoothly.  I loved all the different ways that people did their blocks (shown here at our Guild Meeting):

HomeSweetHomeClass_1

Here are most of them (some didn’t bring them to Guild):

It wasn’t until posting these up that I found two errors in these quilts.  Isn’t it funny that you don’t see things…until you do?  (Hint: it’s in the bushes.)  I love the rainbow quilt made by my friend Lisa.  I may have to make one for myself.

HomeSweetHome_Melissa

(Breaking News: Melissa finished hers!)