Pillows · Quilt Shows · This-and-That

This and That • February 2022 • Sticky Issues

It’s February, so I’m leading with hearts…quilted hearts.

My first finish for February, and it seems, like the whole of 2022. The sludge I’m walking through these days seems to be rather marshy and thick, filled with Instagram rabbit holes, fascinating detours, some sighing and looking out the window, but certainly, no energy to Get My Stuff Done (best video ever). All of this is to say, I’m celebrating this pillow’s completion.

It’s month two of a new year for the Gridster Bee, and Shelley has autumn leaves on her mind, as did all the people doing the Riley Blake sampler quilt. I was off to a great start.

Not.

I wasn’t the only one having trouble with getting this block together, and I wonder if it was the pattern? My 7th grade Home Ec. teacher taught me that one–that sometimes it IS the pattern and not us.

Got it right, but that wasn’t the first mistake I’d made, either. Back to the pattern thing.

This popped up. It must explain why my energy level is so low, if I’m only getting about three hours of sleep per day. It’s because I’ve been writing patterns. One pattern is massively overdue (Borders for Tannenbaum), but I’ve finished the third draft and it’s 12 pages (I like to explain things). The other is the ongoing (and upcoming) release of Part 2 of Heart’s Garden. I have had hundreds of people get their free download of the Part 1, so look for the next installment very soon. Very Soon. Now to address two sticky issues.

Sticky Thing #1
In my last Road to California blogpost, I celebrated Linda Anderson’s quilt art. I still celebrate it, but my friend Dot commented on how one of the photos in her recent Piecework Magazine was a twin, a clone, to one of Linda’s quilts.

The above photo in Piecework, taken by Eric Sebastian Mindling.

I didn’t see any attribution on Linda’s title cards at the exhibits, so as realization slowly dawned that perhaps this quilt might have been a quilty copy of someone’s photo, I began looking for other similar examples. I found the following photograph online:

I couldn’t find a direct link to it, but it seemed to lead to Eric Sebastian Mindling, who has lived over twenty years in Oaxaca. You can see it behind Linda’s head in the photograph I took of her. I wrote in that post about the moving picture of the mother and child. I found that one on Mindling’s website. And here, below is another photo from Mindling:

This one is Linda’s.

I wrote back and forth to Dot about this copying without attribution. Dot offered, “Perhaps Linda was on one of his tours, and they both took photos of Maria at the same time”? But there are too many instances where the poses are exactly the same, the perspective the same.

When we enter any quilt contest now, we are asked to identify the sources of our inspiration. When I submitted SHINE: The Circles Quilt, I mentioned the ceiling of that church in Ljubljana, Croatia with all its painted circles. I don’t think it takes anything away from any of our creations to acknowledge the spark that led us to our make our quilt. In Linda’s case, and the way quilt shows are run now, if we use someone’s pattern or use a photo, we have to get their permission. It’s a mystery as to why this was not done in this instance, as the quilts are beautiful in their own right, even if they were taken from someone else’s photo.

Sticky Thing #2

This is the title of Mary Fons latest contribution to the quilt world, and is from the short video she recently put up on YouTube. Fons is commenting on the trend that has been around for a few years now: of cutting up old quilts to be re-made into clothing. She has some hilarious examples, some designer examples, some hideous examples. I get that not every quilt is beautiful (I’ve known that for a quite a while), and doesn’t deserve the “heirloom” treatment of a museum storage in acid-free tissue. But does that mean we are all destined for the scrap heap? The cutting room floor? The comment I put up there in support of Mary’s video was quickly rebutted by someone else. I wrote back to the commentor:

“But [Mary’s] larger point, which often seems to be subsumed in many of these tit-for-tat [comment] responses, was the query: is our craft merely to be a tool for someone else’s particular novelty, fame and glory? Or do our quilts, from now and back into the ages, have value by themselves? Can we acknowledge them and revere them or are we quilters just part of the excessive consumer machinery? Perhaps both, but I prefer to think that what I spend time on, and what my mother and grandmother spent time on, have value, and carry their particular history.”

Watch the video. See what you think.
Happy Quilting!

300 Quilts · Quilt Finish · This-and-That

A Tiny Spritz of Elements • Quilt Finish • This and That: Nov 2021

A Tiny Spritz of Elements • Quilt #259 in my Quilt Index
21″ square

So my husband asked me if this was another pillow. He has a point, as that seems the size I can manage lately, but no…this is a quilt. A mini quilt. It started in a swap of small 2″ unfinished blocks from the guild members at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild. I made more.

The past few months I seemed to have fallen into a streak of really sad days, bad days, tired days, and one of my friends sent me a meme indicating that October was just about to break her, too. What is it about this phase of covid? Those who will, are getting vaccinated, but those of us who are at higher risk also have to make decisions: how will we live with this disease, since we aren’t going to hit the vaccination rate we need to. A bog, a verifiable, certifiable bog.

Then one morning I was sitting outside in the car, waiting for my perfect husband, and because the angle was right and having just shut the door, I was treated to a sparkling array of floating bits of light, the dust scattering flashing bits sunshine all around me as I sat. So often I’m in a rush, in a hurry, and don’t notice these tiny spritzes of cheer. I held the moment close; Dave got in and we drove off.

So that’s the name of this quilt made from tiny blocks, stitched with tiny quilting, each square representing those elements that come into our lives: sorrow, elation, peace, anger, frustration, happiness, forgiveness, repentance, sadness, love and most of all, hope.

When I finished making all my little elements, I saw a quilt from Zen Chic; I followed her lead in the arrangement. I’m also grateful to my fellow Guild Members for sewing and swapping. This little effort is due the first meeting in December, but I just finished it and wanted to share it now.

Melanie chose a birdie block for her turn as Queen Bee in Gridsterbee this month. Her signature block was my little Teeny Tree block–can’t wait to see what she makes of all these birds and trees. Free pattern for tree is here.

UPDATE: The Bee is filled! Thanks to those who joined us!

The Gridster Bee (#gridsterbee) is going through some changes next year. I’m stepping down from the head of the group, and we are looking for some new quilters who want to sew one block a month for your other bee-mates (check out the hashtag above for our wide-ranging style). We have several slots available; continental US only. We require you to have an Instagram Account and/or blog; those in charge will also vet you to make sure that all of us are at the same level of ability. So if you are a beginner who is just learning her stuff, this may not be the group for you.

But if you’ve happily been sewing for a minute or two and want to meet a few really cool women, as well as get a series of blocks made just for you when it’s your turn to be Queen Bee…leave me a comment below. I’ve been in over five bees, and they’ve all been great experiences. If you haven’t done a bee, consider it!

Occasionally I do clean up my computer desk. We got our Christmas present early this year (a nearly identical model to this one, but newer), so are passing this one on to our daughter.

November must have known we were anxiously waiting for it, for it came in with this beautiful sunset. We were fixing dinner (see below) and went out several times to admire the color and take photos.

Dinner: Sesame Salmon Bowl. I didn’t have the slaw they called for so we just sliced up another Persian cucumber. We had the leftovers the next night–so good!

The Cape Plumbago is flowering, with its rare blue flowers.

One advantage of covid days…

Please leave me a comment, or email me privately (e.eastmond@gmail.com), if you are interested in becoming part of a great group of women in our GridsterBee.

Happy Quilting!

This-and-That

This and That • Should have been September 2021

Everything I’ve done lately has been done lately.

I did get this block made in September for Bette, and did send it off on time, but never posted about it, so here we are, October 3rd and there you go. You can download the foundation paper-pieced pattern from here. Each quadrant is a six-inch block. This is for our Gridster Bee quilt group and if you want some quilty eye-candy, here’s our space on the web. One of the things I like about this group is that we are all so varied, there are a lot of interesting blocks to experiment with.

And I’m totally on deadline for October’s block, just as soon as I look it up and remember what it is.

I know this is blurry and tiny, but you had to see it. The Metropolitan Costume Division of Wild and Crazy and How Does That Dress Stay On? recently had another one of their galas–this time in September because the May 2021 and the May 2020 were cancelled. The theme is American Patchwork or something like that, and of course, all we quilters cringe a little, because what THEY think is patchwork and what WE think is patchwork often are not the same thing.

But check out this hexie dress!! I’m in total love with it. Either she was one of the Vogue Magazine Staffers or Someone Not Important Who Was Fully Dressed, but she didn’t show up in any of the “after” photos. A Famous Quilter helped with one of the “outfits” which although I have high regard for the quilter, I was sort of Meh, or Meh-Minus, about the get-up. It’s up to you to find the calico bubble quilt, draped over the shoulders of somebody famous.

I get these letters all the time. I’ll forward them on to you, if you are interested. The internets is a funny place.

I can now make macarons, digitally, using Affinity Designer. I’ve been working on a logo for my daughter, and I’m pretty excited that I learned how to use the gradiant tool to give these sweet treats some dimension.

She owes me real macarons.

Iron died. Had to use my travel iron during the workshop, and yes, I’ve bought a new iron, but I like my old Sunbeam iron a LOT more than the new cheap-o Model of Rowenta (not shown) I purchased. So, hating the Rowenta from Target, I bought a new Sunbeam iron on Amazon, which is perfect: it gets hot, doesn’t spit or drip, is smallish so I don’t feel like I’m dragging an anvil around every time I pick up the iron and doesn’t pack as much wattage so the lights in my oldish house don’t dim as much as when the massive wattage irons click on to heat. I never buy fancy irons, by the way. Check back with me in five years to see if it’s still good. My first cheap iron lasted 25 years, but they don’t make them like they used to.

One of my readers sent me her version of four of my free SHINE blocks (here on this website). I love what she’s done! You all are so inventive and interesting and creative–if you use one of my patterns, send over a photo. Thank you Veroniqué!

Okay, this is random, but we went to Forest Lawn to see a stained glass exhibit. Yes, we were at a cemetary, but check out this brickwork. I asked inside if this was built to be a house or something and she said, No–always a mortuary. Famous People Buried Here: a list, but I almost didn’t know a lot of them (there are a few I did know, like George Burns, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor and The Lone Ranger). Apparently it was the thing to see in the day, as my parents visited this place while on their honeymoon in the 1940s.

A N D…I did finish my September pillow, a whole ten days before the end of the month. I already see things I want to fix in that quilting, but it will have to wait until October. I’m not unsquishing the pillow form out now.

Stay safe out there, everyone.

Keep Quilting!

Something to Think About · This-and-That

This and That • August 2021

Oh my goodness. The brain is fried, the eyeballs are smarting because of smoke in the air and it’s too hot to move or do anything which explains my SECOND round of August This and Thats. What can I say?

I have finally OD-ed on podcasts (more on that later) and found myself a good book: another Maisie Dobbs novel. I have three hours left to go.

What I mean is, it’s the first one done of four I have to do for the first-of-nine giant Bear Paw’s Ruler-free block. I’m playing along in the FingerPaintsQAL on IG and had the opportunity to take a class with Laura yesterday morning (I scribbled on the pattern above to hide her work). It was fun to see people I recognized! Above this block are scenes from class: the fabric key at the ready, the stack of fabric (I took her advice and cut 5″ strips of fabric from all the colors: saved me a lot of time) and ruler-free cutting in process.

Like the lady says, it’s not a race.

Did I mention that California is having a gubnatorial recall? Like either of these goofballs will win my vote, but check out Mr. Drake. Wouldn’t it be cool to tell your kids that one time you ran for governor of California? Or drop that bit on a first date?

Just want you to know I still have a few things on my To Do List from March 2000. This is because we chatted about To Do Lists in the last post.

Occasionally I fall down the rabbit hole of art galleries on Instagram. Jim Isermann turned up. Quilters, start your engines:

I think this is a quilt…

We’ve had more than a few fires in our state this summer, but I loved the write-up about grabbing a quilt.

Generally, the news has been weighty and ponderous and horrifically sad, with covid, airlifts, fires, babies in hospitals, angry young men (and some angry old men), divisiveness, coupled with more suffering and death in country far far from here. I realize that this post could be construed as lightweight and frivolous. But all this news reminds me of old news: the fall of Saigon long ago, my father’s bout with polio and stories my mother told me of getting her first vaccines for Whooping Cough because her baby sister had died of that disease. That is why I have avoided podcasts: they are wearying. Add in the sorrows I read daily on Instagram in all your lives, the divisiveness in our families over vaccines and masks (and yes, I’m making more masks this weekend) and it’s no wonder I’m grabbing bits and pieces, sewing and quilting, poking fun at candidates for California’s governor when inside I’m weeping a bit that it has all ended up in a Big Fight All The Time.

Our individualism has run rough-shod over our ability to come together as a community and do what’s best, what helps those babies and children have a better world. And then I see little toddlers held tight in Afghan arms as they walk into the belly of a very big plane with no seat belts and no snacks and somehow they all don’t need to be ducktaped to their seats (what seats?) for their 3 hour flight to freedom, to what we have and what we fight over but somehow don’t understand how fragile it is. They leave everything behind: little treasures in their bottom drawer, ties to their communities, friends and that bowl that Grandma always had on the top shelf, and I snip off a piece of this hope, tuck it into my heart and keep going.

The other night I found a photo of the first sewing machine I ever owned: The Genie, by Singer. My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was a Freshman in college, majoring in Clothing and Textiles. I sewed on it forever, then passed it on down to my daughter. I have a lot of memories like this that are easily recalled when I see photos. I’m thinking on what I have that I could give up…give up to the refugees that are certainly coming our way. And to end this post on a better note (I’m not really going to jump out the window, I promise), I want to give something away to you.

I finally got all the bits from the last two giveaways mailed out, so before summer disappears, Shelley of Nanakaboodle (ETSY) and I are doing a teeny giveaway of Cluck, Cluck Sew’s Diagonal Seam Tape. I’ve ordered multiple times from Nanakaboodle and she always has really prompt shipping and a cheerful customer service.

UPDATE: Giveaway is closed, but thanks for reading!

To win this roll of seam tape, leave me a comment below telling me about your first sewing machine.

Think Good Thoughts & Let’s Share Joy and I don’t know what else, but you do.
Happy Quilting!

Gridsters · Quilt Shows · This-and-That

I can hardly waits • This and That August 2021

I open the page in my calendar for the new month and write in family birthdays and decorate the squares with a looping border, even though all the people I celebrate live far away from me and I won’t be getting together with them, singing songs and having slices of cake. Next, I write in the mundane: car service, dr. appointments, reminders for a hair cut (which lately has been a fraught experience). And then I notice: Where are my I can hardly waits?

This idea came from Annie Mumolo, in an interview in the LATimes

“My dad calls them the “I can hardly waits.” He says there came a point when he turned 40 and he felt like all of his “I can hardly waits” were over, and then what do you do? I can hardly wait to get married, I can hardly wait to have kids, whatever your hardly wait is.” 

The interview is worth the read, if only for Wiig’s and Mumulo’s description of middle-aged women who are kind of “invisible,” but I was most struck with this idea of the I can hardly waits, and by naming them, I realized mine had all but evaporated over the last two years. Yearly, my husband and I had penciled in travel dates on the calendar. We’d circled squares for visits to family, notable achievement celebrations and so on. We sorta-kinda had one coming this fall for a conference in Ann Arbor, but that’s turned into a virtual conference with the rise of the Delta variant.

Which leads me to registering for QuiltCon. (You knew I’d get here eventually.) It’s an annual ritual of controlled mayhem. The management at QuiltCon is always looking for a way to reduce the bloodshed, wailing and gnashing of teeth that happens at the moment the registration site opens. They’d changed this year to the people who manage ComicCon registration, but apparently the new people (Configio) didn’t read the specs, didn’t allot sufficient bandwith/server space/whatever and so the whole thing was The Worse One Yet. I imagine Configio treated “all those nice little quilters” much like the women in the movie Barb & Star, who are “kind of invisible,” “aren’t on TikTok” and are an “unrepresented portion of the population” (from here).

I got on at 7:00 a.m., which was our time here on the West Coast. It’s always good to have a registation buddy to rant text with, so Simone was in Northern California doing the same thing. She got through to the registration portion before me, at about 7:15ish. I tried every which way, but saw these too often:

Finally, by 7:44, I had two of my classes. I went back in three more times over Wednesday, and by the afternoon, I had all my lectures and classes. Here is my schedule, if you are interested:

Yes, I know I clipped short the foundation piecing class on Saturday to go and hear Tighe, but I figure (since I’m in the age group of Barb & Star) I’ll be sort of <all done> by the time 3 p.m. rolls around. If not, I’ll be late to the lecture, or miss it. Here is a class that made me laugh:

I actually have one of these going, stashed away in my sewing room, along with a vintage family apron for inspiration.

Many athletes had a lot of I can hardly waits with the Olympics this past two weeks. The Washington Post put up an array of photos that were fascinating. Here are a few:

This month’s blocks for our Gridster Bee are a combination of three flying geese (cut the colorful part 2.5″ x 4.5″ then snowball on two low-volume corner blocks 2.5″ square). Strips on the side were added (cut 1.5″ x 6.5″). Although Linda only asked for four blocks, once I got started in my scrap drawer I couldn’t stop.

And in ankle news, at almost 6 weeks I’m getting there, walking on it a little bit, going to get a pedicure, although I was really careful to let my pedicurist know not to touch the sore spot. We had moderate success in that goal, and I cut it short to go home. I also got a hair cut yesterday, trying to salvage the over-processed mess from the last stylist. This new person is my third to try after my regular guy moved to Florida. And yes, I know. it’s pretty pathetic if your I can hardly waits consists of a visit to a hair salon.

not mine! It’s Posh Penelope from Sew Kind of Wonderful

I looked at Road to California classes (coming in January) and thought Sew Kind of Wonderful’s Posh Penelope was lovely, but do I really want to add another project to the pile waiting to become quilts? Not really.

I have a lot of the not reallys going on lately, and not too many of the I can hardly waits. However: I have a pattern I just finished writing last night for a workshop I’m teaching in September to the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild, my very last Guild presentation and workshop. I’ll be teaching Blossom and if you are interested in seeing if they have any openings, let me know. I’ve taught for them before and they are a super guild with lots of lovely quilters. That and QuiltCon are the I can hardly waits right now for me.

Happy Quilting!

Creating · This-and-That

Color, Venice and Valentino • This and That July 2021

“Fashion is not ‘art’, because the latter is sufficient in itself while the former always has a purpose, a function, a use. Recognizing the differences is the first step to instructing mutual listening, made up of curiosity, enthusiasm, and respect. This listening needs time, just like Haute Couture and ultimately also like art. In fact, the maturation of the project was slow, a rhythm perhaps unusual for our world but just and intimate for the world that I would like to.” -Pierpaolo Piccioli (from here)

And if you understood that, then you are more experienced than I in the language of haute couture–the clothing, the dresses, the fashion that is more concept than something you would hang in your closet. But just like the movie The Devil Wore Prada in that withering scene where Meryl Streep’s character critiques Ann Hamilton’s sweater, the fashion houses often tilt us to what’s coming in shape, in color and in what we’ll be wearing post-pandemic when we finally decide to crawl into stores and buy ourselves some clothes.

It’s also very likely that we’ll be seeing some influences on the colors we use in our quilts, or maybe even the shapes we’ll experiment with (if you are a half-way, non-traditional quilter). Or not.

So I was pretty amazed by the colors put together by the designer for Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, and while I can’t pretend to really absorb what he said (above), I do speak the language of color, and thought you might like to see some of his designs, shown recently in the magical city of Venice, Italy. The contrast between that very old city with its own recent struggles with over-tourism, pollution and dwindling residents is a perfect contrast and foil to the glamorous, hand-sewn clothing made with extraordinary precision with pricey fabrics.

As Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times wrote: “[The designer Piccioli] has been conversing with contemporary artists — about their work, sure, but mostly about life in general, process, emotion, what turns them on — thinking about how to integrate their points of commonality in cloth…The result — shown at sunset beneath the brick arches of the former shipbuilding yard of Venice, with water lapping at the edges of the runway…was as powerful an argument for the interconnectedness of time, human connection and creativity as anything fashion has produced. The lushness of Mr. Piccioli’s palette — as a designer, he is the best colorist since Yves Saint Laurent — was on full display; so was his throwaway elegance, and his generosity. Not just to his atelier (his show notes name-checked the individuals who sewed each garment [italics are mine]) but to the bodies that will wear the clothes.”

from here

So, what do I see?

In the above image, I see scale: large shapes on a larger garment, then those same large shapes on a more narrow profile of a dress. The designer plays with scale in many of his other pieces, using different shapes to emphasize different parts of the body, and different lines (like those flowing hats!).

I also see a lot of color blocking: large swaths of color against slivers of color (a bit of scale, again), causing each to accent the other. This collection is not about fussy little prints. Mostly I see lush, elegant and rich, deep colors:

palette generator from here

This palette is missing the mint of the shirt. Sure, it’s a metallic shimmer of color and hard to catch, but that really makes this grouping, in my mind.

In this one, the palette generator is capturing a lot of the background, but it’s that’s slice of bubble-gum pink against those deep coral trousers which really caught my eye. The grey isn’t those flat greys we are used to seeing in our quilting fabrics, but a soft mellow gray, warmed up slightly, but not heading towards taupe or green-gray — maybe a deep off-white?

Orchid appears to be heading our way, but a vivid hue of that color, especially when paired with bright jungle green.

While the palette generator captured a lot of the background (I don’t see that pinky brown anywhere on the model), this palette is a “be-still-my-heart” series of shades for me as I love aqua blue. But it’s a new take on that–a refreshing deeper shade.

Now to shift gears from haute couture to the nuts and bolts of my life lately:

How about some velcro bolts? This is the boot they gave me to wear while my ankle heals. I hate it for a variety of good and not-so-good reasons (would it kill them to add some color?). The doctor okayed my getting around the house without it, so I’ve just decided to ace-bandage-wrap my ankle for protection, stay off it, and stay home. What’s four more weeks of pandemic quarantine?

Very proud of this: I drew the spools up by hand. Well, digital hand. Yes, it’s in my favorite color (aqua blue). I have found lately that getting the hang of a few tools in my Affinity Designer has opened up new worlds for me in terms of satisfaction with my work; it was a bit of a struggle at first, but a bit smoother sailing now. And why did I make these?

Pattern Shop Refresh!

I didn’t like the nuts-and-boltsy (notice how I’m stretching the metaphor) look of BEFORE as it was too chunky and disparate. I also wanted something as well that would indicate degree of difficulty at a glance. So, I made spools. And I like how the shop looks now.

This is the new display pattern front. I still have a few things left to do, but have finished most. PayHip upgraded some of their marketplace tools, so I thought it was a good time for me to fuss around a bit, too.

Quilting SeaDepths (a variation of Azulejos) in spurts, while listening to this:

I like how the themes overlap: the ocean in Harper’s book with the theme of SeaDepths on my newest quilt. I can hardly wait to go upstairs and quilt. I’ve listened to two of her others: The Dry and The Lost Man and loved both of those. I will reserve my review on this until I finish it (5 more hours). While I listen, I think of Susan of PatchNPlay, and her trip to Tasmania. I can’t wait to show off the backing I chose for this quilt.

Lastly, there seems to something in the zeitgeist here, but truth! Patti chose this without knowing all the other watery connections I’ve just mentioned. If you jump on this link, you can see a lot of the blocks she’s received, all laid out together. I love how nice they all play together.

And that’s it for today. Happy July, Happy Not Wearing My Boot, and Happy Quilting!