Belle Etoile du Jour

BelleEtoileduJour_4gardenBelle Etoile du Jour
Quilt #181 of 200 quilts, 88″ square
Began December 2016 • Finished May 2017
BelleEtoileduJour_1unquilted

A couple of weeks ago, I had my son and grandson hold up the unquilted top of this creation, and I include it here so you can see the quilt top.  I was late starting this quilt, as everyone else in the world began making it in November when Bonnie Hunter announced her En Provence Mystery Quilt for 2016, based on colors she’d seen in her trip to France.  BelleEtoileduJour_5BelleEtoileduJour_1front

I decided that if I made the various units, as described in the mystery, then stowed them away, I might be able to get back to the quilting even when I was convalescing from the planned rotator cuff surgery.  I was able to finish all but two steps.  When it was time for me to do those, I figured out how to sew one-handed, and my saintly friend Lisa trimmed up 60 blocks for me. BelleEtoileduJour_3back

I did my best to get it up on my garage-door-photo-studio today, but I had a wrinkle in the quilt that I just couldn’t manage to ease out, so I have to resort to other photos to show it off.  I like looking from the back of the quilt outward, like it’s stained glass.  I had purchased about 5 yards of backing fabric, unable to remember how big the quilt top was.  I needed more, so spliced in a yellow coordinating print, then took it all over to my Cathy, my quilter.BelleEtoileduJour_6BelleEtoileduJour_7

She was a good sport and let me choose a new pantograph for her collection, which I think really works well with the quilt.  The original quilt called for purple fabrics in those 18″ blocks, but I went instead with periwinkle, a favorite color of mine.BelleEtoileduJour_8label

The title comes from an old poem, where the poet calls flowers “Day Stars.”  I had Google translate “beautiful day stars” into French, then ran it by my French-speaking husband who said it was fine. (I didn’t want to be swearing in French, or something.)  I don’t really believe there is a top or bottom to this quilt, so I sewed the label on an angle, just for fun.BelleEtoileduJour_2And again, if you haven’t started your listing of your quilts, start now!

 

Legacy

Mom and her quilt

This is my Mom.  Dad is nearby, as always, watching over her.

Mom's Cross-stitch

This is a quilt that took her two years of living life abroad in Lima, Peru to make, putting in one cross-stitch after another.  She sat in an upstairs window seat in our home there, overlooking a quiet suburban street — quiet, except for the time that someone missed a stop sign, careened into our yard, the car turning upside as it landed near our front window.  My dad said he thought the maid had thrown the vacuum cleaner down the stairs again.  Luckily the Clinica was a block away, so it turned out all right.

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My mother didn’t really speak Spanish, although she tried her best to communicate with the household help she was expected to keep: a maid for the household, a maid for the laundry, a man to wash the cars, and a gardener.  She took Spanish lessons, socialized with the faculty wives at the college where my Dad taught, and tried to corral her four blonde teenaged American daughters, along with the raising of the three younger sons.  But when she wasn’t juggling all that, she sat and stitched in the window seat on the second floor, by the large upstairs landing that was like a second family room.  All our bedrooms led off this landing, and perhaps it was a way to keep herself at the center of our lives? When the two years was finished, she brought the quilt back to the United States, had it quilted up by some ladies in Provo, Utah (the city to which they returned) and carried on with her life.

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On my most recent visit, her eyesight failing, she finally let me take it home.  I had her pose for a picture before I carefully put it back in its zippered pillowcase and carried it away to my upstairs extra bedroom.

We bandy about the word legacy in our quilt world so easily some times, as we confront our stacks of fabrics and magazines and books, sewing away madly, trying to keep up with the deluge of digital media and blogs and print materials and keeping our local quilt shop in business.  We are busy, aren’t we, as we are always cutting and sewing and cutting and sewing and frantically trying to outdo ourselves with the number of quilts we’ve produced in a year, going for our Olympic best, in the best competitive fashion.  Numbers!  Quantity!

My mother didn’t have Instagram.  Or the internet.  Barely any English-language magazines.  But she had a plan, several boxes of DMC teal embroidery floss, some needles and a pair of scissors, and a series of stamped cross-stitch panels that when sewn together, would make a quilt.  And she quietly worked on that.  I remember many conversations with her hands drawing the thread in and out of the fabric, as she listened, and gave advice.  Sometimes I thought — in my little 13-year-old teenage way — that she was all by herself in this thing.  I didn’t think of my mother as her own self at that point, and if I had I might have thought loneliness might be a part of the stitching, but I don’t really know. Knowing my mother made it I realize that there’s probably some of her finger-pricked DNA floating somewhere in that cloth, as well as her feelings, thoughts and memories (she missed her own mother during that time).  It has the essence of her, in a way that only a quilt that has been held and worked on for two years can have.

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Legacy’s origin comes from the Latin word “lex,” meaning law, or group of laws that are written and have become canonical, or ingrained and accepted.  And in a derivative sort of way, it (the laws, the legacy) can be a messenger, an ambassador of sorts.  And so it is with this legacy, this quilt: it is a message from a time in her life when she sat quietly and stitched, raising her seven children in a home in Peru.

Barbara SMALL

May’s Blocks (and some of June)

Random Number 6

Because my husband is busy this afternoon recovering from our trip (see below), I used an online generator to pick a winner today for the felt, and it’s Elizabeth (what a great name, eh?) who goes by catskillquilter.  Congratulations, Elizabeth!  I’ll be in touch to get that sent out to you.  I have two more giveaways lined up in the next couple of weeks, one courtesy of Uppercase Magazine, and the other from the Steam A Seam people (that one’s on June 13th–in conjunction with our continuing Hallowe’en 1904 QAL).  I’ll have some great news as well about that fabulous pattern.

MCM May 2016_Carla

Here we go, first with quilt blocks from our Mid-Century Modern Bee: Carla of Grace and Favor asked for a modern churn dash block, saying she likes mustard and plum.  Above is my block, but I was tempted by this, from @myquiltdiet:
Sawtooth Churndash

I thought it would be fun to try, but Carla said “Too much work!” I could hear the laugh in her voice, so I smiled and went with tweaking the center bars to give it a bit of a twist.  I hope she likes it.

Spelling Bee May

In our Spelling Bee Quilt Bee, Susan of PatchworknPlay asked for words to make up her saying, which she’ll reveal on her blog.   I first took three words with “w’s” but then Simone had none, so I gave two back, leaving me with the above.

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Since NOT staying at home seems to be the thing I do the best lately, we headed out Friday for a mini-reunion with my husband’s family in Zion National Park, about 7 hours away.  You can tell who has been coming there for ages (this makes about trip #20 for me) as we say “heading to Zion’s” as if there’s a possessive element there.  (However, I do feel like it’s “my” park.)  To try and catch up with my patchwork, I took some Chuck Nohara blocks on the road, stitching them in the car and in the park.
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We invested in new air mattresses this year, twin blow-up beds, and those of you who have slept on a queen air mattress with another person while it slowly deflates all night long, know exactly why I replaced our aging air mattress.  It also helps that my favorite camp quilt, Hearts in the Pines, is made for a twin.  The pattern is out of print, but you can find the blocks in this previous post.  My husband’s bed later on got a green nine-patch, but he left it off because it was. . .

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…pretty dang hot this weekend. Snapshot was from the next day, where it turned out to have a high of 103 degrees F (about 40 C.)Zion16_3

My husband and I, my son and his wife and boys always go out to dinner at Zion Pizza and Noodle Company the first night, as we all love their pizzas, and who wants to cook after setting up camp? I love their scallopy crusts.
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We were tasked with getting the S’more supplies.  I cracked up when I saw a whole section just dedicated to this.Zion16_5

We rejoiced to have my husband’s niece (shown here in the Virgin River with the  youngest of her six children) join us.  Several weeks ago she underwent surgery for a brain tumor, and while under anesthesia, had a stroke.  She awoke to a mostly paralyzed left side and has undergone significant physical therapy just to be able to walk with occasional hesitation.  But she’s walking! She’s our own little success story, and she and her husband and family are our very own heroes.Zion16_6 Zion16_7

Throwing rocks in the river was great entertainment for my grandson and the other small cousins. (No, he couldn’t lift that one.)Zion16_9

I left the river early because it was too hot, and went back to camp.  I picked up my Chuck Nohara stitching, sitting quietly in the shade, watching (and chasing away) the squirrels.  All of a sudden I hear a sound directly behind me, and using the reverse camera on my phone, caught this shot.  One of the other little cousins came running over, saying “Bambi’s here! Mom, Bambi’s here!”

Because of the above sitting quietly, I’m all caught up with my Chuck Nohara blocks from April and May:

April 2016 Chuck Nohara May 2016 Chuck NoharaNow to head into June!

WIP–December Quilting

Today I’m guest-hosting over at Lee’s blog: Freshly Pieced, so I encourage you to head over there and see all the beautiful quilts in her Linky party, and leave some holiday comments to cheer all the quilters on.

If you are arriving here from there, welcome!

Log Cabin Advent Calendar Christmas

You may be here looking for the free downloadable quilt pattern for the Log Cabin Christmas Advent Calendar (above).  Here it is as a PDF file: Log Cabin Advent Calendar.  You might want to download the picture above as a reference for things like buttons, etc.

Here’s two photos of the back, showing the label and the drapery ring, which I use to hang it with:

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These two photos show how I tied the ribbon around my “ornament” buttons, then used a dot of hot glue to secure the knot in place.

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And I promised those in my readership a look at the finished quilt shams, mentioned in the last post.

pillow sham finish

I bought that tiny little pillow at the after-Christmas clearance sales, shortly after Dave and I were married.  It had been one of those harried, race-and-shop-’till-you-drop sort of Christmases, as we were shopping for all four children and each other and parents and relatives and friends.  We’d had more than one of “those” finances, stress, did-we-need-this? sort of conversations, yet I wanted to provide a lovely (but not extravagant) Christmas for our newly joined family (Dave, a long-term bachelor, married me and my four children). Seeing the pillow in the clearance bin reminded me what I really wanted for Christmas, and it has gone on our bed every Christmas since then.

We can’t forget the hurryhurryhurry feeling that always shows up this time of year, but I wrote about that over at Lee’s, so there’s no need to repeat myself here.

Thanks again to Lee for inviting me to guest blog.  And here’s to you–the quilters who make the Christmas quilts and banners and gifts and pajamas (that one’s for you, Lisa).  I hope you have a lovely Christmas and holiday season.

Quilts on the Bed

I started quilting my Valentine Quilt yesterday and it’s coming along.  Marking it with pencil makes life a whole lot easier.  But here’s two other quilts on the bed currently: the back of my patriotic quilt (the red and white toile), and a cousin to a quilt I made for Heather, a good friend.  It used Lakeside cherry prints and is lap sized.  I love the pillow, purchased on my first anniversary of being married to Dave, my heart-throb of a husband.

I didn’t find him first–but despite the presence of my ex-husband (who, by the way, is divorcing his fourth wife and is writing a book about relationships–just so you know), Dave raised my four children, giving me good support and encouragement.  When we were dating, there was always this realization that our marriage came out of loss, and that perhaps a future splintering might possibly occur.  When I saw this pillow (over 21 years ago), with its sentiment of Real Love Stories Never Have Endings, I had to buy it, because it described my love for Dave.

Okay, that’s the February/Valentine bed.  What’s on yours?