Quilts

Sun and Sea • New Pattern

How long do you keep owing someone a favor? Do you give up after a month? A year?
About FIVE years ago, Michael contacted me for a pattern for one of my quilts: an older one called Sun, Falling Into Sea.

He didn’t say exactly what he liked about it, but he wanted a pattern for this quilt just as it was. I am not completely flakey: I had sent him the blocks for the center, but last month he contacted me (such patience!) again asking for the pattern. Those of you who know me long-term won’t even blink when I say, well, I should do a couple more different versions. First up is Happy Valley.

Happy Valley, with its limited spectrum of colors and a black background, is named for the place where I grew up. We all called it Happy Valley because it seemed like nothing wrong could ever happen. Or if it did, we’d deny it to our death.

I recently visited my childhood home, and that name was just floating around in my head, as I drafted the pattern in the car the long way home from that place. Ignore the red garage with the antlers. When I lived there, the garage was a falling-down thing in the back. My bedroom was one of those two upper story bedroom windows; there were seven children and we traded around a lot. We were the furthermost house up the hill, with those glorious mountains behind us. I could go on and on about my little childhood stories, but we’ll leave it here.

For this quilt, I dipped my toe into Reels on Instagram and had fun making this little movie. (Sound on!) It’s also on my feed a couple shots back, if you would rather see it that way.

This coloration is called Summer Snowcone, because — of course — with its red, white, navy and sky blue it just says summer fun. I added a different kind of border around this one, and you can make this as large (add more blocks and more border blocks) or small as you want to. I chose this size to be a little table cover for us this summer.

I posted this pattern up on my PayHip site, and within minutes the ever-patient Michael had purchased and downloaded it. I hope it works out for him, and that it was worth the wait. Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed I set up a little discount for anything in my shop, with the launch of this pattern. Use this code to get 15% off:

I did put this up on my Index of Quilts, but it’s kind of cheating, I say, if its not quilted. Well, it will have to be a place holder until I do get it quilted. And that’s another reason to celebrate: Happy Valley appropriately puts me at the significant milestone of 250 quilts. Summer Snowcone is coming in at #251. Cheating, yes, but I couldn’t resist!

Here’s to your Happy Valley, and to the first Summer Snowcone. But let’s do a giveaway or two, too!

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED!

The first giveaway is a free Sun and Sea pattern from my pattern shop. If you are the winner, I’ll send you a coupon just for you to use to get your free downloadable pattern, plus, I will send you a gift card to Pineapple Fabrics, so you can pick up 1 1/2 yards of white Painter’s Palette Cotton Solids to help you get started on your Summer Snowcone quilt.

The second giveaway is a free Sun and Sea pattern from my pattern shop. If you are the winner, I’ll send you a coupon just for you to use to get your free downloadable pattern, plus, I will send you a gift card to Pineapple Fabrics, so you can pick up 1 1/2 yards of black Painter’s Palette Cotton Solids to help you get started on your Happy Valley quilt.

(If you head to my pattern shop to the Sun and Sea Pattern, you can click in the upper righthand corner to download a Preview file that gives an overview of the three different flavors of Sun and Sea quilts, plus yardage requirements.)

To enter: tell me your favorite memory from your childhood that involves summer. I love reading what you write, so enter to win!

(Happy Grandchildren)

Quilts

Build Me A House

I dream of houses.
I dream of houses with quilt blocks on their sides, or quilty houses I can make any size.
This started when I was asked to help beta test for BlockBase+ and began to see some possibilities of putting a block within a block. So I thought I would share how I did this. (News about the giveaway is at the end.)

Brackman ID 864

One way to export their images is by SVG, which means Scalable Vector Graphic. That means I can take this image and scale it (change the size) and everything will stay in proportion. I about fell over in happiness when I found out this was available in BlockBase+. That means I can take out lines, add lines, take out and add shapes, all using the basic image from BB+. So I did some of that.

Double X Brackman ID 1629a

So take one house, add a Double X (using the Brackman ID number to help you find it), and combine them:

Now I have a Shoo-Fly House.

Here’s my Ohio Star House.

Last is the Eight-Pointed Star House.

Combine them all and you have a house-warming gift for a friend or a small wallhanging for yourself (depending on what size you make your basic house and their blocks). If you don’t have a digital design program, change that section of the house by making your block, sashing it on top and fitting it into the space where the two front windows are.

I worked up what I call PatternLite that has all the info about this particular block merging: four snappy yellow-and-white blocks into blue houses.

It normally costs five bucks, but you can use the coupon below to get it for half-price. And inside is another discount coupon for any of the patterns in my shop. This PatternLite is nine pages of instruction and includes templates for the odd parts of the house, above, plus info on the four different smaller blocks.

Take this coupon and head over to PayHip, if you’d like to nab my Build Me a House PatternLite.

The last thing I want to show is how you can swap elements of one block for another.

Brackman ID 1740

I have been in love with this block forever, ever since way back in the day, a Flickr group did it for a Halloween online bee block.

But they have a straight stem and I see a curved stem in the BB+ version. This is no problemo, my quilty friend. Swap the stems!

Since both of these are based on a nine-patch block, I can just print the templates for 1740, then print just the stem patch for 1735 (by using the Preview, I can delete patches I don’t want to print), and then swap that part of the block.

If I wanted to just rotary cut them all, I could use this chart (which is the Rotary Cutting Chart of the Export Menu). It will tell you how many to cut of one size, if you change the “Calculations for:” above. However, it will not tell me how much fabric to buy or to pull. I hope that is coming in a future version!

Jennifer (jeifner on IG) was the winner of the giveaway. I typed/copied everyone’s names from Instagram as well as names from comments on the blog posts on this website. I used Google’s Random Number Generator to select the winner, so congratulations, Jenn!

Thank you very much to every one, for all your kind and interesting comments. I enjoyed reading them very much. I also want to say a thank you to The Electric Quilt Company for generously offering up a package of software for me to giveaway. I did ask them if they were having any discounts for people who might want to buy this software. Apparently they always have a site-wide sale over Memorial Day, if you are interested in purchasing this for yourself.

Happy Quilting, everyone!

Quilts

Build a Medallion Quilt with Elizabeth and BlockBase+

Sunny Flowers • quilt #246 • 54″ square

Welcome back to BlockBase+ Week! In this post, Post #2 of BB+ week, we’ll build a medallion quilt.

UPDATE: Giveaway Contest is closed. Thanks for entering!

Sunny Flowers was a fun quilt to make, but I think using BlockBase+ (BB+) enabled me to move a little faster on some of the borders, and I’ll tell you why: I could just decide what size I wanted a certain border, head into BB+ and choose a type of block, then re-size it easily.

Center

In many medallions, the center is where you start. A lot of moderns have been trying centers off to the side, but however its placed, usually there is a larger catch-your-eye-and-set-your-theme block to anchor the quilt.

I have a few more center ideas in my free TipSheet for Sunny Flowers Quilt (details in a minute).

Here are the two centers I mentioned in the kick-off post for BlockBase+ week: a spring/summer block and an fall leaves Autumn block. There are tons of possible centers, and since you can size them, your options are wide open. I begin my designing more easily in an illustrative digital program (Affinity Designer, if you want to know), so that’s where I start. But if you are a quilter who works in EQ8, all of these blocks are available to you in that program.

This was my first version, but it just didn’t work well. Cute, but in my world I like stronger colors and stronger contrasts. I give you my final measurements in the Tip Sheet, but I did keep track of how wide the plain strips were, so I could choose blocks that fit.

I refer constantly to the wide body of work that Melanie McNeil has posted on her blog Catbird Quilt Studio. The first page you should visit is a page listing all her topics, called Medallion Lessons. She has links to everything else on that page–a wonderul resource! She and I have corresponded for years, so when I hit this impasse, she had all sort of tips and tricks for me to try. Some of my angst is written about here.

Version Two. Remember, that I had determined what size all those borders were, and then went into BlockBase+ to find blocks I liked. I would then resize them, and make a sample or two or five.

I had been cleaning out photos and saw a quilt that had shapes I liked (we’re talking about the orangey-pink border). I found a similar block in BlockBase+ and since I wanted a four-inch block, I re-sized this Brackman ID 1194 block to print out at 8″ so that part in the aqua circle would be the correct size. I changed the corners from the photo, using a Drunkard’s Path block (again, from BlockBase+), written about in this post. Moral of this story: take photos at Quilt Shows, get ready for your future.

This was The Plan.

Yeah, okay, and this total wreck was The Plan, too, as I tried out different borders.

I kept trying to go farther with those crosses. I really really like them. But the bold orange-pink border was too strong, so it became the last pieced border. I had the brain flash to use violet in that outer border, so I stayed up one night searching online shops for violet; however, this is not the color this year.

I was madly going through my stash one early morning, and had a stack of fabrics neatly lined up on the ironing board when my husband walked in. After explaining that I’d gone through everything, he reached over and pulled out a piece of fabric from the ombré bin. “You mean, like this?” he asked. I pieced it in the middle to get the darker outer corners, and it was done.

Get Your Tip Sheet for Free

I’ve compiled a little TipSheet for you for this quilt, which is free, if you use this coupon code:

Just enter it in at the checkout spot at PayHip, where I sell my patterns, and it will download for free to your email. I do have plans to make this a full-fledged pattern, but just like The Plan above, it may go awry. But for now, get your free tipsheet for Sunny Flowers.

UPDATE: Giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered. Winner will be announced on Sunday, April 25, 2021.

Yes, the giveaway is still going strong. Please leave a comment below about how you will use BlockBase+: would its be a baby quilt for a new niece or nephew? Would it be a medallion quilt? Or do you need a fun picnic quilt for summer?

If so, maybe this Brackman ID 912 Mayflower is the one for you?

Leave me a comment below. I will be combining all the comments from everywhere before I pick the winner, so, I don’t mind if you leave one here, too!

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilts

Criss-Cross Color • Quilt Finish

Criss-Cross Color, quilt no. 233
49″ wide by 68″ high

The quilting by Kelley of Wolf Girl Quilts really looks lovely in this light.

IKEA fabric, from back in the day: a series of numbers. It was what I had.

the label

All photographs above by my husband or I, taken from a frontage road on the 680 freeway, to the west of Grizzly Bay and the Goodyear Slough, on Lopes Road near the Bay Area in Northern California. I like how the shadows are playing with the quilt in this image.

These last two photos were not taken on Lopes Road, but at my brother’s, as I knew they had a picturesque playhouse from when their girls were tiny.

I listed this as Quilt #233, as I got over-eager when the quilt top was done. Kelley, a long-armer friend, did the fabulous loopy quilting texture on the quilt. It’s been a good series for me, challenging me to think differently about color, texture and size.

The pattern is sold in my pattern shop on PayHip. There is a discount running on this pattern right now, until January 15th, if you are interested in purchasing it. Details are at the pattern shop.

Other Posts about the Criss-Cross series of quilts:
Criss-Cross Color, completed top, Criss-Cross Autumn, and the follow-up to the workshop
Criss-Cross Autumn
Christmas Criss-Cross, quilt finish
Criss-Cross, the genesis

300 Quilts · Covid-19 Times · Quilts

Repeat/Augment

Repeat/Augment
Quilt #230
47 1/2″ square

For some reason this morning, the fog cleared, the brain snapped to, I thought: “You have got to finish something today!” And so I did.

A low-energy-COVIDistraction-day back in May got me started on the quilting, although the quilt top itself was begun back in August 2019, in another galaxy far away from our lives now.

Shots from my backyard, in nearly 100 degree heat. We are both wilting, the quilt and I.

Why is it called Repeat/Augment? Because you’ve seen this City Streets pattern once before, in this quilt.

I decided it was Very Serious, all that gridwork in the quilting.

So I went natural this time, in as many places as I could. And used Tula Pink fabric in really saturated tones with curvy-swervy designs. Yes, definitely more playful.

The label is coming, but here’s the mock-up.
Without the pink things sticking out everywhere.
(I was having fun with my Affinity Designer software.)

Our lives, now, unless you live in one of those places that is like the wild, wild west and has released you from Stay-At-Home. In our neck of the woods, it’s not yet, so it kind of freaks me out if I go outside and see people not wearing masks.

Hey, around here, even the quarters have them on!

Which reminds me, I need to cut out some more masks. My friend’s granddaughters are making holiday-themed masks (not shown here, but there are some fun types) and after the most recent news from Those Who Know, looks like the granddaughters were on to something. If you are keeping track, here’s my most recent favorite map, from Johns Hopkins. (I put it here so I can find it again.)

Last happy news is that my hair stylist has re-opened for the first time since March, so on Saturday I will get a real haircut. Not the kind where you set the mirror up on the barbeque, and try to cut your hair yourself. I am a little afraid of what he’s going to say when he sees the hatchet job that is living on top of my head. All I’ve got to say, it’s a good thing I’ve been in Stay-at-Home mode.

Happy Quilting!

Quilts

Buzzing

Let me start with the easy stuff, the stuff that’s in my hands all the time: cloth, needle, thread, shapes, stitching.

While I’ve called this the #dungeonofcute on Instagram, I am happy that I finished it, and that it is really cute. I set up a place on my blog to corral all the handouts I made while working through this. I made a series of tip sheets that collect all the disparate information that Lori Holt presents on her blog, and hopefully will serve to help those who decide to jump in to Bee Happy. Borders are up next.

I started to wonder why this was so hard for me. There is the matter of all that stitching. By hand. It is also a quilt of medium tones and values, and while I do like those quilts, I tend to be more comfortable using stronger contrasts. And maybe I’m not as patient as I could be? And maybe because I felt like I was always buying her fabric, so everything could neatly “fit in together”? Sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and charming motifs and flowers and buzzing bees?

This week has provided us all with a way of looking at the side we don’t often see, the side that gets hidden behind a tidy facade. I’m a Pollyana from way back, and am always looking for the rainbows and the hearts and flowers. But there were more than a few things in the past few days to knock me around. It was that kind of week.

From this, the (mildest of) images, to the videos and pictures generated by another visitor to Lafayette Park, the news stories chronicling the fights and the hate and the soldiers and the protestors and the (unneeded) clashing.

This week, our Instagram feeds filled with these sorts of images:

House in my neighborhood

Then a couple of days ago, I was surprised to see this statue from Alexandria, Virginia in my southern California newspaper. I’d walked past this statue often when I lived there, and thought it a rather simple memorial.

The art critic calls it a “racist civic sculpture celebrating white supremecy.” Its location in Alexandria is right where the main street through town gives way to a bigger highway, shuffling the traffic over to bridges and it faces south, away from the town. It was, when I was there, a mostly ignored statue. Is it okay to admit to liking this simple memorial in an area full of memorials, a soldier contemplating his fallen comrades? But this week, given our new vantage point, and out of necessity, it came down. And as my historian sister says, a lot of ink has been spilled on this topic recently.

So, this week I sewed.

This week I listened and watched.

I spent time in my garden, catching a glimpse of a late-blooming peony. I read through news stories of the protests, stunned at more instances of thoughtlessness. I would step away from the television and computer every night then lay awake in the dark, wondering what kind of senseless world I was living in, when people were singled out for how they look. I had no answers, just a lot of tired mornings, when I would repeat the cycle again. I wanted to make it all happy, turn the cloth under, hide the fraying and the raw edges, but I was being asked to see it from another view, a richer, more nuanced, and painful view.

A flower for George

I wish I could wrap up this post in a tidy little package, give a neat turn, but this is not that kind of week. This is the kind of week where you wonder. This is the kind of week where you decide what you want your country to be. This is the kind of week that you pay attention to what’s on the other side of things, knowing that they can make all the difference.