This-and-That

And this week…

I don’t know…just working hard on a new pattern. Here I’m using the Curves Tool in Affinity Photo (Command + M) to lighten up the image. I think images look better in print if they are a little lighter, and a touch more contrast. My new pattern has (so far) about 50 images in it, mostly photographs, as I try to explain it well.

I’m excited about it.

It took me several whiles to figure out what the heck an Artboard was, but now I love them. This is my Warehouse Artboard. Artboards are like grabbing another sheet of paper while you are thinking about something. This pattern currently has about 10 artboards, with different ideas on each one. And yes, a place where I park the ideas that didn’t quite work out, like that border idea at the top. I didn’t know A THING about digitally designing when I purchased the Affinity Designer, about three (?) years ago? But they have books, and tutorials and nice guys on YouTube, so I’m figuring out things as I go. And one of my favs is the Curves (shown in the video).

Thank you, Covid, for not terrorizing me this month. But judging from the Stories on Instagram, more flu, gunk, covid, disease, pestilence is coming our way here in California. I made plane reservations to see my Dad on his 97th birthday in December and I figure I’ll just come home and quarantine as it’s pretty much a sure bet that I’ll catch something up there in the snowy climate.

I put this up on Instagram (whatever happened to that program?) and took my ballot out to the mailbox. We have BallotTrax and it’s already been received, and since I live in a non-hysterical-about-mail-in-ballots state, it’s been counted, too. So cool.

And then the next day I got another ballot in the mail. What?? Yes, now I’m one of *those* voters. If I chose to use it. I had recently renewed my driver’s license online and must have checked the wrong box somewhere. I called the Voting People, and he said just destroy it. Or write VOID across it and mail it back. I can also drop it by, if I wanted to. (I’ll just destroy it.)

I’ve been saving these for a while:

Yes, mine is next week, thank you very much. Right before Joan’s funeral, where I’ll be helping with the family meal afterward. Life just kind of rolls on and on, doesn’t it?

This was in the New York Times. I love this. Every once in a while, my mother will hand me a file she has on me. Now that she can’t see anymore, they don’t come my way, but her handwriting looks so much like Eliza’s grandmother’s handwriting.

Lastly, GREAT NEWS!! I found a source for the 17-lb. vellum I use when I do Foundation Paper Piecing. It’s from JAM Paper and Envelope. It comes in 100-sheet packs and 500-sheet reams. I purchased the ream I have many ages ago and it is still providing me with many happy moments of foundation paper piecing.

So, Happy Halloween, Happy Voting, Happy End Of Political Mailers, Happy Life–

This-and-That

This and That • October 2022

Yes, it does, but sometimes I forget and think that it’s the State-of-our-Nation or the News or my List-of-Things-To-Do, but really…we all know. This was the block for our Gridster Bee this month for Carolyn. It’s a block from Brigette Heitland of Zen Chic.

And this was made because of Love. It’s a curtain that goes around a lab table that has a sensitive microscope: you need darkness to do the work.

It’s made out of black-out lining, and after a couple of repairs when the chairs ran over it, I wrote this on the side. Why am I talking about my husband’s lab at the university? Because he’s clearing it out, shutting it down, and it was like Old Home Week in there. I seriously have not been up on campus for like three years, well before the Covid Shut-Down. So it was strange walking through all those familiar places (I earned my Undergraduate and Masters Degrees in Creative Writing there, so yes — I spent a lot of time on campus at one point in my life).

On the left above Dave’s desk: a photo my friend took of me when I was an undergrad, and then two other photos are pivotal times in our life together: the small silver frame holds a family vacation taken about one month after we were married: Dave, Me, and the Four Children. The middle frame, just above the tape dispenser is when our first son married.

Dave got this building built, as I like to say. I won’t be leaving any buildings on campus to my memory, but I will be leaving a black-out lab curtain. Which they will probably throw away.

Speaking of trash, this was us yesterday morning, on the way to the Free Dump Day.

Why is it that I find even trash interesting? (aside from the smell)

All done! Regular Trash and Hazardous Waste Trash. Showing our love to our home, one happy trash day at a time.

This is the second Louise Erdrich book this year. Because she reads her own books, it’s like entering a trance to listen to them. In grad school we used to call it the Fictive Dream, and the goal (always) was to get the reader there, and then not break the spell. Erdrich has succeeded with this novel.

A couple of weeks ago, when my friend Joan was bedridden, recovering from a stroke, then all of a sudden another, and then her Stage Four lung cancer was diagnosed (she’s not a smoker) and we rang the doorbell to say hello for just a minute, or maybe not. Depending. Her granddaughter Greta answered and came out on the porch, and then was joined by Hanna, then Elsa, the Three Graces, I think, all lovely and tender and shining while their grandmother was dying in the back room, only we didn’t quite know it yet. At my stage of life, I recognized quickly that this potentially sad news was completely unwelcome to these young women, and how to find a way to step over the gap of fighting hard, unwilling to let go to that place where you accept and wait and watch? I remembered Maxwell’s quote and Susan Sontag’s stitched quote about the Kingdom of the Well and the Kingdom of the Sick. Joan had lived in the Kingdom of the Well for nearly all her 92 years, felled last year by a broken hip, but still calling me up to check in with me, ask me something, folding me into her life, always.

And now this.

I read them the quotes, and Greta wept. I cried inside, both for Joan and for these three beautiful Graces of granddaughters. Elsa slipped us into Joan’s room — just for a minute — and brought chairs. After five minutes, we began pulling away, saying our good-byes, not wanting to tire her out, this radiant bright spirit of a friend. I didn’t know then it would be the last time to see her. Do we ever know? We left Joan’s favorite, Irish Soda Bread on the doorstep for them to find when they returned at night from the hospital, and left our love through texts and notes, and then…she left us. Joan was called Home.

When I was writing my novel for grad school, about a woman who loses her family in one icy accident on the road, I asked Joan if I could interview her. Long ago, her young adult son was riding in the hills with another friend, taking a break from families, renewing their friendships when the vehicle suddenly turned over, tragically taking the life of both men. Joan was left another granddaughter and years of grief. We talked a long time about what it felt like on that day of the news, the day of the funeral and burial, the hollow spot left for years afterward. I don’t know if my writing reflected all that Joan shared with me, but from her, I learned about resilience and pain and sorrow and forgiveness and moving on.

In our brief time at her bedside, I also read this thought to Joan, at her granddaughters’ request:

[S]ince this life is such a brief experience, there must be regular exit routes. Some easy. Some hard. Some sudden. Others lingering. Therefore, we cannot presume, even by faith, to block all these exits, all the time, and for all people. Nor, if possessed of full, eternal perspective, would we desire so to do.

Since certain recollections are withheld, we do not now see the end from the beginning. But God does. Meanwhile, we are in what might be called “the murky middle.” Therein, however, we can still truly know that God loves us, individually and perfectly, even though we cannot always explain the meaning of all things happening to us or around us.

Neal A. Maxwell, “The Great Plan of the Eternal God”

Take care,

Gridsters · This-and-That

Печворк Візерунки

aka Patchwork Patterns (in Ukranian).

This search term showed up in my stats this past week, albeit in Russian (I translated it into Ukranian) and since I’m always interested in the world, I thought it would be fun to use it as a title, and see what happens.

But aside from the title, this post is a This-and-That style of post, which means rounding up a few loose ends and tucking them in.

We had a fun block this month for the Gridster Bee. We used this pattern from ScissorTailQuilting, but there are others out there, as well as a whole combination of names for this thing. I’ve made this block a handful of times for bees, and it’s always some new version of the block for the same-old familiar block. I’ve also done a Friendship Swap, back in the Flickr Days, organized by Susan of Patchwork n Play. I swapped blocks with Krista, and recently she just finished up her quilt. Here was mine:

What’s fun is seeing multiples of the same block together:

The Queen died. (Old News, I know.) One of my friends did a link-to-your-relative program and she came up as 10th cousin. As I have Scottish and English blood in my lineage, I’ll bet I could match that.

I found this quite moving, but I was only getting the news in drips, in between everything. First time a woman has joined the Vigil of the Princes, but I’m guessing with Princess Anne, there was really no discussion about whether or not she’d be doing this. (If you click on that link, turn on the sound as the music is lovely.) I think I liked watching this because secretly I’m a total British Royals fan (well, some of them), and because it was some of the first news that wasn’t the horrific war in Ukraine, and the awful political fighting of our elections (although I hear the British elections could give us a run for our money).

I also took a road trip.

Clouds over Red Rock Country, Southern Utah

You can see more of it here or the condensed, video version here.

I also delivered my quilt to my daughter-in-law Kim, who said she loved her quilt. Thank you for all your comments on the last post. I am slowly writing back to you all (see below for why I am slow at this), and appreciate all the things you mentioned about the tricky relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law.

Emilee’s missionary farewell was the main reason we went to Utah, and it was good to see her launch herself into the world. If you live in Argentina and meet her, be kind — she’s lovely! And to prove I’m a normal woman human, right after arriving in northern Utah and two days before the family get-together I hit Dillard’s department store, looking for a top to break myself out of my covid wardrobe. I loved this dotty one, and glad I found it. Most of my clothes are so tired, having been used/worn throughout covid. Anyone else feel the same? My quilts are more up-to-date than what’s hanging in my closet!

Lastly, I finally gathered up my Autumn Leaf blocks from the Gridsters and put the center together. Coming soon: borders!

And Pumpkins! And Witches! And Halloween! And November, then December, then…

Guess I’d better get quilting–

This-and-That

This and That • (July) & August 2022

Yes, I skipped July, but here we are for August!

My fabric forest as Queen Bee:

What a leafy wonderland! The small leaves at the top are their signature blocks.

I’m leaving Gridster Bee, my creation of five years-going-on-six at the end of this year. I don’t know what Patti will do with the bee after that, but you can contact her directly if you would like to check if there are any slots available.

(Madeline Dore, now found here, but used to be found *here*)

This worked out for many years and they are still a great group, which you can see by clicking on the Instagram hashtag #gridsterbee.

I did finish the Gridster Bee block for August already. Robin asked us to use colorful, bright, kids-oriented fabrics, of which I’m sad to report I only had a few. How my stash has changed! It was a fun block, and on the signature block, we were to write our favorite (children’s) book:

This was mine. I once raised an “Alexander” and today he is a fabulous father, friend and son. Who would have thought we’d make it through those years in such fine form?

Becky Goldsmith, a favorite, has put up a video on how to change up our EPP stitches. Take a look.

I’m writing this next tip here, and not on IG because I don’t want Them to Find Out.

Although Instagram seems to be behaving a *touch* better these days, I’ve taken to reading Instagram on my home computer, through the browser (like Safari or Firefox, not the IG app). It’s like the Old Days! I only see the people I follow, and I can comment on their posts without the annoying deluge of suggested posts and ads. Try it, before They take it away.

Trip to Utah Last Month was Busy…But Never Fear!

I managed a mini Shop Hop while I was there. In spurts. Like 10 minutes at a time over several days. But it’s always nice to see fabric where it lives on shelves in fabric stores, and Utah has some mighty nice shops. Here’s a link to their website, where it lists some of the shops I was able to hit. However, I missed our Southern California Shop Hop while I was gone. And yes, the yellow fabric from Mother Superior’s Fab! Fabrics (lower right) was used in the making of my Sunflower! block.

I came home with a horrid case of asthma (I am making progress, having finished with two of the four medications–hooray) but at night, when I think the pollution has cleared out, I’ll go outside in our side garden and enjoy the sky (an old photo, above). We also saw some stellar skies one morning near Beaver, Utah, when an amazing sunrise opened up our travels home that day. So many people around me have had extraordinarily difficult challenges – from devastating health diagnoses to broken hearts — and so I welcome these small colorful blessings, helping me keep my balance.

Circling back around to Mother Superior’s Fab Fabric Shop from my Utah Shop-hop, that store was the brainchild of Heather Purcell, who with her husband Bob, started and ran Superior Threads. Yesterday was her funeral, as she died of cancer too early. Mourning her, I clicked in to watch it on Zoom, but was cheered by the view of so many of her quilts, displayed at the front of the church. I listened to her first son, and recognized so many of her sayings and inflections. Her sister spoke, and again, I heard Heather. I went in and out of tears during the 90-minute service — especially during Bob’s talk — and at the end, everyone paused as the choir sang “Aloha ʻOe” (Farewell to Thee), before the family filed out behind her. Aloha, Heather. We will miss you.

Photo of Heather and I in front of one of her quilts, 2012.

Speaking of 2012, this was my summer To-Do List from a decade ago.

And to wind this up this This & That post, I noticed that Laundry Basket Quilts has restocked their Tannenbaum quilt. I’m happy to report that I finished mine up in April of this year. I’m calling it early. The inner panel is from Laundry Basket Quilts with some changes in the background fabric. I added the outer borders, and yes, the pattern is in my PayHip shop (link on upper right).

Having Christmas lights in our bushes year-round makes me happy.

Take time for a sunset–

This-and-That

This and That • June 2022

Solved!

Remember this block? The one I did for our GridsterBee this year? And how I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it, nor could anyone I talked to, nor did Bren, the Queen Bee?

This is the pattern Woven, available for free on the Robert Kaufman website. It was designed by Elizabeth Hartman, using one of her fabric lines. I’d also made it before, for Mary of NeedledMom:

And here is a picture of Mary’s blocks, all laid out:

Okay, that mystery solved, and the Heart’s Garden Mystery QAL put to rest, what’s next?

June blocks, from Leila Gardunia, are a series of scrappy triangles, with white-on-white as the opposite side. Leila provides a free download of 52 of these blocks, plus a few bonus ones– a fun pattern to keep around when you have too many scraps and need a way to make them useful.

My friend Jean sent me a photo of her finished Polaroid quilt. Some time ago (2013), we’d had a Polaroid swap, and she was happy to send me a finished photo. The directions to make those little blocks can be found in this post. I don’t care when you start a quilt, it’s the finish that needs celebrating and I celebrate this!

I also cut out a dress. That is all.

Since bashing on Instagram is a favorite thing in this house — we love it and we hate it — I was interested in this advice from The Washington Post in their IG feed and more on the stranglehold they have on our data in an article on Privacy Policies. I’ve yet to convert my feed over, but do try to keep my eyeballs-on-screens time down to a manageable level.

Culture Department: This is the stage where the Ukrainian band, Kalush, won the Eurovision Song Contest. Now that song is stuck in my head, and I don’t even speak Ukranian. One of the members is known as Carpet Man, and he is covered in a patterned balaclava that looks like patterned carpet. You can listen (and see Carpet Man) in this video, a song that is a combination of rap, a plaintive melody and a chorus that is all too catchy. Be sure to admire the man with the one of the traditional Ukrainian woodwind instruments, a telenka.

As a bonafide surface pattern enthusiast, I think I fell in love with their traditional shirts.

And no, I haven’t forgotten about this horrendous week of news we’ve had, and the video that sums up all the horror of what our children are exposed to. I remember hanging out at school, playing ball on the schoolyard, and absolutely nothing like what this young woman in the video described. I voted by mail this week, giving a NO vote to a particular leader who didn’t represent my views on this, or on pandemic caution. I urge you to vote in your Primary if your state is having one, or will have one, and I thank those who did vote. Let’s leave our children and grandchildren a world where they have the freedoms we did.

Maybe it was in response to the oppressing sadness that I designed this happy little pattern? I don’t know, but for four Wednesdays in June I’ll put up a new block. Thanks to the nice comments you’ve sent to me, and hope you have been able to download it from my pattern shop (link to PayHip is on upper right).

Take a breath, and quilt!

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!