Prepping the Quilts 2018

Road to California Logo

Thank you all for the lovely words of encouragement you wrote in response to my last post.  I’m making my way through them, and will answer them.  However, everything I have done lately…is done lately.

Annularity_May 2018LabeledNorthern Lights Medallion on bench

These two lovelies were juried into Road to California 2019, and so I spent a morning prepping them to head off:

Prepping for Road_1

Now you see the bit of errant blue quilting thread…

Prepping for Road_2

…and now you don’t…Prepping for Road_3

…thanks to these trusty friends.  This is an old quilter’s trick, mentioned in several older books I have.

Names on labels are covered up. I also had to make sure my name and contact information are included on the quilt, and I do that in a label near the hanging sleeve, and that’s covered up, too.

Quilts into a clear plastic bag, into their box, and off to Road to California, not to be seen until January 2019, in the show!

A Few Thoughts on A Year of Making Frivols

My friend Simone asked me what I was going to do now that the Frivols were all finished.  “What do you have planned for 2019?” she asked, oh so sweetly.

Let me review:
Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_7

2011-2014 I worked on my Lollypop Trees quilt.

shinecirclesquilt_frontl
2014-2015 I worked on Shine: The Circles Quilt.

christmas-tree_5halloween-1904_front2016 I did not one, but TWO, Quilt-A-Longs (Halloween and Christmas).
2017 I had shoulder surgery and it seemed to be the year of small quilts.

Northern Lights Medallion_4
2018 was the year of the Frivols, plus the year of working in Painter’s Palette Solids.

And 2019?

It’s time for a bit of introspection and reflection here.

I am feeling a bit bereft because I feel like I have nothing in the pipeline, nothing in the brain for creativity.  I see everyone’s IG feed, their blogs, I go to quilt shows and there’s just no sparking going on. Awol Erizku, a contemporary artist, titled one of his paintings “When You See Too Much, You See Nothing;”  perhaps this is what’s happening here.

And so the “what now?” kind of morphs into “Nobody’s at Home in My Head” in spite of the fact that I have successfully slain the Frivols Tins that have been living rent-free in my closet for two years.  I recognize that this “I-am-a-useless-cretin” thinking often crops up after an extended period of making, of pedal-to-the-metal.

I am happy that I finished my goal of making all those quilts, but really, I am mostly happy that I am finished with Frivols.  It has been a year of learning, a year of exploring different palettes and fabric styles, but mostly, it has been a year of sewing someone else’s creativity and living in some else’s quilty head.  That last part has been the hardest.  I was pretty excited right off the bat to  make these but after about the thousandth HST, or another tin of colored print fabrics to be augmented with a background of white…I had to dig deep to finish up this project.

It’s like when someone wants you to make them a quilt, and you agree, all the while thinking in your head I can do anything but one of those Star Wars panels, and then they show up at your house with Star Wars panels, it’s torture to get that quilt made.  I wonder if this happens sometimes with our UFOs, if all of a sudden our interest or our tastes change, so what was once interesting, is now banal and you just can’t stand to work on it.

Frivols 12_12a

But I’m happy to be finished.  I set a goal, I powered through it, and I appreciate all the cheering from my readers.  You made a difference, as always.

I will donate some of these quilts to the Neonatal Quilt Project in our Guild and to the group that gives quilts to the foster kids who have aged out.  I will gift a few more, and my favorites will live at our house.

Thank you all!

Frivols_all3Frivols_all_12XDONEs

Quilt Stand Info

Quilt Display.jpg

Simone recently encouraged me into the quilt-stand/frame-buying business, and since she’d done the bulk of the research, I joined her online (me, at my computer and she, at her computer) to figure out the final decision.  She was in charge of the display for our church’s talent show (above) and asked to have one of my quilts displayed in it.  But I had to have a quilt stand/frame to do so.

Quilt Stand Nov 2018.png

We both purchased the Emart Photo Video Studio Backdrop Stand, with a 10 x 12 ft dimension.  We went for this one because the tubes were a thicker diameter than other ones checked, and we liked the clamps.  (I am not an Amazon affiliate, so no pocket change is coming my way on this recommendation.)

Clamps for Quilt Stand.png

I’m putting these for my husband so he knows the right kind of clamps to get to help out Santa with stocking stuffers.  (Honey, I’d like about four, please.)

I was headed out of town, so I had it shipped to Simone’s house, and she sent me photos of the display.  She’s lovely like that.

Simone and I have a running joke about photos.  Both she and I have asked other people to send us photos of our quilts in different shows we couldn’t be to, and invariably the photos come back like this:

Cropped pix of quilt.JPG

It’s our quilt, but cropped and showing no context of the show it was in.  I always say thank you.  If someone is nice enough to go and hunt up your quilt, and take the time and make the effort to send you a photo, you don’t say anything but “Thank you.”  However, as Simone and I comiserated, we do know what our quilts looks like — we were hoping to see what they looked like in the show.

So when I was standing on the subway platform of the Wall Street Subway station, exhausted after a day of tramping around, feeling rather dour, I burst out laughing when she sent me the above photo, with this caption:

It looks awesome! Don’t you love it?!!!

My daughter was like, “What?  What’s so funny?” and I tried to explain it to her, but I could clearly see she lost interest after the first nanosecond and however do you explain quilter’s jokes to a non-quilter?

So anyway, the quilt stand/frame worked great, and I tried it out:

Quilt Stand

I put it up by myself and took it down by myself, and if you’ve never used a quilt stand, the trick is to set up the legs, then insert the side supports, then thread (or clamp) the quilt onto the cross bar, and only THEN do you raise the cross bar higher by means of the adjustments on the side.

Quilt Stand bag_1

I like that the case has places for the two tripod-legs, and loops for each of the bars (you have four, so you can get that twelve-foot width; I only used three of the four today).  The top really zippers open, so you can lay it out to unpack all the parts.

Quilt Stand bag_2

It’s also fairly lightweight and easy to carry in its own sturdy case. The best news is that it’s a reasonable price: $69.49 as of December 2018.  I do now feel very grown up, with my very own quilt stand.

 

 

It’s Fall–Time for a Christmas Frivols (#10 is finished!)

Fall Food Pumpkin Spice

What does fall mean?

It’s fall, when — if you live in the Northern States — leaves turn colors and fall off the trees.  Here in Southern California we know it’s fall because all the pumpkin spice food shows up in grocery stores, even though the temps are still in the 80s.

Carrot Cauliflower Soup

We pretend it’s fall, and serve fall-colored food, like this Carrot Cauliflower Soup, and we’ve gotten out the fall-colored placemat and napkins, and you can bet there are pumpkins on my table.

Frivols 10_10d

And if you answered “Christmas!!” in response to the prompt, you — unfortunately — are also correct.  So to take photographs of Frivols #10 finish, done up in a Sweetwater Christmasy line of fabrics, I headed to Costco for the photo shoot.  I’m calling it Christmas Corner, because all those quarter log-cabin shapes remind me of street corners.

Here are the finishing up photos for this little quilt, finishing at 32″ by 36″: arranging the quarter-log cabin square, pinning, then quilting it.  I didn’t have any red fabric for the binding, but in my Christmas bin, found a piece of an earlier Sweetwater Christmas line, and yes–it works quite well.

Frivols 10_10

So I’m tucking and arranging, and a woman comes by and says “They sell quilts at Costco?”  Turns out she’s a quilter (takes one to find one in Costco) and she agreed to hold up the quilt for me next to the ribbons and bows.  I never did find out her name, but we had a great chat about quilting groups, how beginners would be more successful choosing simple quilt designs, the advantages of working with a complete line of fabric in quilts.  It was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had in that giant warehouse store.

Here are couple other photos:
Frivols 10_10bFrivols 10_10cFrivols 10_10f

Almost looks as if the snowmen are helping me.  Interestingly enough, aside from the quilter, nobody else thought it was weird that I was taking photos of a quilt…or at least they didn’t say anything. Here are some photos of the quilt in my garden:

I especially like the look of the stack on that last one.

Frivols_all_10Xs
Ten done — two to go — so onto Frivols #11!

FrivolsButton

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Berlin)

As I mentioned in the last post, this is a visual sampling of some of the patterned surfaces and interesting places that caught my eye while in Berlin, not an exhaustive travel write-up.

Berlin Brandenburg Gate

The first full day was the Berlin Marathon, with 40,000 runners and a record-beating time.  Because of this, we had more access to the Gate and enjoyed seeing it all lit up.

Berlin Brandernberger Tor Station

Underground stop for the Brandenburger Gate

Berlin Frau Tulpe_1

I made my way to the former East Berlin, where Frau Tulpe’s shop was located, and ended up buying some fabrics of her own design.Berlin Frau Tulpe_2Berlin Frau Tulpe_2aBerlin Frau Tulpe_2b

It was a fun place with lots to look at.

Berlin Handwerker

A lot of times I’d go to look at a sight the guidebook suggested, then wander off course and find interesting places like this: the Berlin Craftsman Association building, with wonderful light coming in through that back double door:

Berlin Handwerker2

You can hear the Singing Lesson in this IG video clip.

Berlin curvy building

This was seen on one of my many bus rides.  I’d climb up to the top level of the bus, try to sit in the front and have my own private tour.

Berlin Hotel Chocolate Hour

Every day at 4 p.m., the hotel would put out treats for “Chocolate Hour.”  I could see this happening at a quilt retreat, although we’d need a lot more.

Berlin Wall_2

There were two main locations to see the Berlin Wall, and this one had paintings on one side.  I had two favorites.  This one showed the crush of ecstatic East Berliners, finally allowed to cross through their oppressive borders.  I can recommend the book, Forty Autumns, if you want a taste of this (previously recommended).

Berlin Wall 1

And I like these women, who reminded me of women from the turn of the century.

Berlin Karstadt_1

While in Frau Tulpe’s, someone recommended this store, Karstadt, which called for another bus ride.Berlin Karstadt_2Berlin Karstadt_2aBerlin Karstadt_2b

Couldn’t believe that I was seeing Free Spirit, and at a bargain price! (about 8 bucks a yard)Berlin Karstadt_3Berlin Laundry

Everybody needs a wash day while traveling, and I brought my stitching along.

Berlin Idee

Another place we saw fabric was at idee.  This one was next door to KaDeWe, a big, fancy department store, but I also saw idee. at the Mall of Berlin, next to the two-story slide.Berlin Idee_1Berlin Reichstag

Climbing up the Reichstag Dome presented so many interesting shapes and patterns, all with a view.

Berlischer Galerie

This building reminded me of a quilt pattern.  It was across from the entrance to the Berlinischer Galerie (yellow tiles). It had several wonderful exhibits.

Berlin museum floor_2a

Grill (above) and floor tiles (below) from the Neues Museum, which housed antiquities.

Berlin museum floor_3Berlin museum floor_4

The Bode Museum had room after room of red-and-white patterned floor tiles.  I’m sure the guards thought I was a little bit dotty when surrounded by beautiful art, I was snapping photos of their floors.

Berlin Dome Photo Mus

My husband is always photographing the interior of domes (above); I followed his example in the Old National Gallery (below):

Berlin Old Natl Gallery.jpg

Evelinde_1

But one of the most fun days I had was meeting up with Evelinde, and going to lunch and seeing one of her local quilt shops.  We met on Instagram, and I was so blown away by her being willing to meet up with a stranger and spend some time out of her busy schedule.  She’s so lovely, and shared stories with me, answering so many questions.  While there are many negatives to social media, meeting quilters halfway across the world, or the states, is one of the positives, for me.

Evelinde_2

We did Show and Tell in the restaurant; this is only one of her many fabulous pieces.  I only had the pathetic little screen on my phone.  She is inspiring!

Evelinde Fabric Shop1

She took me here, to Hobby and Handarbeiten (Handicrafts).

I rarely buy fabric overseas anymore, but I always like to look and see.  I loved the embroidery floss–mine is always in bins and tangled up, and was generally impressed with the range of fabrics they carried.

Berlin Sweet KaDeWe

Since we try to travel cheaply, I purchased my husband’s breakfast (for the next day) when I was out and about, and I thought you’d like to see what I had to choose from.  I also supplemented with yogurt and juice and fruit from the local grocery store.  And we ate great meals at night, mostly from small places near our hotel:

Berlin Doner

Doner, from Berlin

Berlin Babelplatz

Lastly, I leave you with the sight of this beautiful plaza, Babelplatz.  The caption is found on the Instagram video. Click to see my farewell to this great city.

Northern Lights Medallion

Northern Lights Medallion_front

Northern Lights Medallion
Quilt No. 210 • 52″ square

I love these posts where I get to place a quilt front and center, quilting finished, bound and photographed, and even a label made AND sewn on.  It’s like that Easter Sunday long ago, where your mother dressed you and your sisters up in fancy new dresses, new patent leather shoes and anklets with ruffles and you all posed for a picture.  It’s like that wedding day, where your hair was behaving, and your wedding dress and veil were just how you wanted them, and oh–the love you had for your soon-to-be-yours was shining from your face.

Yeah, kind of like that. Some process photos:

Northern Lights Medallion_pinning

I now pin my quilts on my kitchen counter–the floor is too far down these days.

Northern LIghts Medallion quilting

I’m getting faster at quilting: the dates from start (August 8, 2018) to finish (August 25, 2018).  Part of the challenge is figuring out what to quilt, and another part is not to physically wear myself out.

Northern Lights Medallion_quilting

I love the texture that quilting creates.

Northern Lights Medallion Name label

Fun detail: I like to include my name and address on my quilts, but also like to hide that info.  So I used the logo from the Mad for Solids Challenge and used it as a disguise.

This began as a challenge to create something using just eight colors of Painter’s Palette Solids, in the March Madness Challenge in 2018; you’ve read posts about this before.

But the other challenge I put for myself was to create a medallion quilt using my favorite quilt software, QuiltPro, which I’ve been using for years.  I love it love it love it and their tech support person, Linda, is nothing short of a fairy godmother, always answering questions quickly and succintly.  Like she taught me how to do this conversion:

Northern Star Medallion

from this

northern lights no pen outlines

to this (no pen outlines)

This creates a more modern look, I think.  Anyway.  I’m a fan.

So I posted this design up on their Facebook page, and I was contacted and one thing led to another, and Northern Lights Medallion (its real name, in spite of other confusing  malarky above) will hang in their booth at both Paducah and Houston this year.  I’m honored, and I love working with these lovely people (and it may be the only way I get to be at either of those shows!). So if you go, snap a photo and email me (opquilt@gmail.com) or tag me on Instagram (occasionalpiecequilt).  Thanks!

This is quilt number 210, and it’s going up on the 300 Quilts list.

You Are Not Going to Run Out of Ideas

You’re Not going to Run Out of Ideas

And I need to keep remembering this.