Orange County Quilters Guild Visit • March 2020

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All the news is filled with Social Isolation and Keeping Your Distance due to the Covid-19 (Novel Corona Virus).  Yet before they lowered the boom on small gatherings, I was able to visit the Orange County Quilters Guild, the first guild I’d every joined, way back in the day when I first moved to Southern California.  Remarkably I recognized one of the members from that time, and I still remember how nice she was to me in welcoming me then…and now.

First, it’s check-in to the hotel, which was right across from Disneyland.  I loved the welcoming rubber duckie, the pictoral reminders of what was across the street.  I saw these as I met the Guild leaders for a lovely dinner … across the side street, and walkable.

After dinner, we headed to the meeting site, getting set up, with the President and the Program Chair threading my two quilts up on quilt stands for me.  I then visited all the different tables: Show and Share, Raffle Prizes, Workshops, Welcoming Table, and the Block Party.  Since they are beginning their new year this month, this was the debut for the Block Party team, and apparently they are all planned out — with blocks made up — for the entire year.

This guild strings a clothesline around the meeting space, and clothespins the Show and Share quilts to this line, then asks the quilter to fill out a short form giving the highlights of the quilt; it reminded me of when I used to attend here (it was done the same way).  Because Southern California had been treated to a deluge of rain that day, the attendance was down, but the President told me they usually have all the walls covered in quilts, bringing a nice atmosphere to their meetings.  The quilts that were there were stunning and beautiful to see.  I also had to take a photo of Betsy–that was my childhood nickname!

Because it was their Guild’s birthday month, these quilters had made a “cake” with fabric-wrapped candles, which they shared with everyone.  We also had two cakes at the beginning of the meeting (I had chocolate–no surprise there!).

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Because the hotel had warned me that thieves target parked cars in resort areas (and loved the last line of the sign about removing the third row seats), Julie, the Program Chair, graciously offered to take home my quilt suitcases so I wouldn’t have to lug them up to my hotel room.  I accepted, and was grateful and happy she was willing to do this.

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As I was calling my husband to tell him good-night, the fireworks went off right across the boulevard–a whole show of them.  So nice of the Orange County Quilters Guild to arrange this for my visit!

The next morning, I headed over to their workshop, held at the Orange Quilt Bee quilt shop in Orange, and our classroom was a wonderful space perfectly set up for classes: electrical outlets at each seat, lots of space for cutting and ironing — a dream for teaching. It was a full class, and I shared this day with these lovely women; Pam was right across from me (lower left) and I appreciated her sharing stories of her life with me in the quieter moments.

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Once they all finished their center blocks, I had them come up for a brief look at how differently they chose fabrics, and to applaud them for getting started.

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The pattern they’d chosen was recently revised, and they were good sports about the typos that had slipped through the revision process.  I appreciated the input many gave me.  They were really prepared sewers, having cut out and labeled all their pieces so they could just get to stitching.  Many of them finished up their quilt tops:OCGuildvisit workshop_6OCGuildvisit workshop_overall

I so appreciated being invited to Orange County Quilters Guild, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with these great quilters.  Thank you so very much!!

Golden California (Small World) • Quilt Finish

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Golden California (Small World)
Quilt #229 • 55″ wide by 36″ high

I mean, you already know what this quilt looks like, having seen various permutations of this on my blog, on the web, on Instagram.  It’s kind of like the quilt that keeps on giving, rolling out forward from the talented mind of Jen Kingwell, and until we all finish up all those My Small World UFOs, it’s likely this quilt will become a quilter’s version of eternity.

[Aside: a cook’s version of eternity is defined as a ham and two people.  An old joke.]

I had a Before…back when the pattern was in the magazine and it sold out like hotcakes.  Then this quilt languished until I had vowed to make Three Hard Quilts in 2019.  It was mostly finished then, but I didn’t have binding sewn on until just before Road to California, where I was taking classes with Ms. Kingwell, herself, and wouldn’t you know it?  I don’t have ONE photo of myself with her and this quilt.  I thought I took one, but, nope.  Can’t find it.

Breaking News!!  My friend Lisa sent me a photo of the quilt with me and Jen Kingwell, so here it is.  Thank you, Lisa!

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To keep myself sane when working on a long project like this, I take little snapshots of progress, title and date them, and keep going.  It reminds me that quilts — like children — will one day be all grown up.

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My photo shoot locator (AKA my husband) suggested we head out to the neighboring town where they had some cool tile murals of different parts of that city.  We battled the shadows, however, but he was right: they were cool murals.

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For the backing, I chose something that had cities in it, and two pieces that represented quilters.

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See that golden sun?  One of California’s monikers is The Golden State, so Susan suggested to me that instead of just taking on Jen Kingwell’s name for the quilt (based on the drawings of the Small World ride in Disneyland), I should incorporate something to suggest this quilt’s origin.  So I did.

Each of my posts about this quilt have the tag “My Small World” so you can click on them to be taken to other posts about this, if you are still making yours.  Carry on!  Keep on! and soon yours will be finished, too.

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Show and Tell at our Guild’s February Meeting. Now this quilt will go for a long rest, while it waits for me to put on the label.

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Original magazine layout of quilt, from the QuiltMania Special Spring Edition, 2015 (now out of print). Kingwell sells the patterns on her website.

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Next week, March 10-11,  I’ll be at the Orange County Quilters Guild, giving my Abecedary of Quilts lecture, and teaching a workshop.  Here’s a screenshot from their webpage (kudos to the Communications people for this nice display).

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This week I’ll be giving a hands-on lecture at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild, teaching them an abbreviated version of my all-day workshop on English Paper Piecing.  Excited to teach and meet new quilters!

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Azulejos • Quilt Finish

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Azulejos • Quilt #227
61 1/2″ wide by 75 1/2″ long

It was a rainy, wet day in Lisbon, and we’d made our way by bus to the Lisbon National Museum of the Azulejo, or the Tile Museum.  We were rewarded for our efforts as I began to call it the Quilters’ Resource Center.  If you are a grid enthusiast, as I am, it was heaven to walk through, with all sorts of interesting ways to think about what’s in a grid, as well as how to use color and negative space to make a design.  And so, from a small sketch on that day in 2016, I created this quilt.

I was also inspired by a beautiful fabric created by Alison Glass from her Handiwork Collection.  It was just so….azul (or blue, in Portuguese).  I filled in with other treasures from my stash, and got to work trying to make it easier to construct.

Cathy Kreter, my quilter, did a nice tight design for the quilting.

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So why if I finished it in November, have I not put it up here until now?  Two reasons: one is I was seeing if my favorite magazine was interested (not this time, they said), and secondly, it was slated to hang at Road to California with a collection of modern quilts made by my guild, the Inland Empire Quilt Guild.  We were honored to be able to have our quilts hung in the atrium as quilters entered, so I kept it quiet.  There are more pictures on our Guild’s blog, taken by our President’s husband, a professional photographer.

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On Sunday after Road was over, I had to wait like forever to pick up the three quilts I had at Road.  My husband snapped this as we were leaving, Ladybird in my hands (well, the backing for Ladybird — a stellar print by Jane Sassaman).

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Today I took some more photos of Azulejos, laying it down by the tools of the painters who were working at our home that day, scraping popcorn ceilings painting.  It’s nice how a quilt can brighten any corner!

 

 

Guatemala Fabrics, Sights and Scenes

I figured in December that a post about High Productivity and Strenuous Piecing and Hours of Quilting might better be replaced with something of lower impact.  So, let’s go to Guatemala, look at fabric and maybe do some shopping.

Antigua View

This view of Antigua shows the bowl-shaped valley surrounded by volcanoes, where we spent two days, as well as two days in Guatemala City.  Who was “we”?  My sister Cynthia and her husband Gary are on an eighteen-month humanitarian mission in Guatemala City for our church; they spend long hours in a dental clinic, where Gary donates his services.  My sister is his assistant, so we took advantage of their time there and went to see them for a short weekend.  (Now I wish it had been much longer.)

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We took a red-eye from LAX to Guatemala City, and that first day we went to a market in Guatemala City, where I tried to not pick up everything and buy it.  Surface pattern everywhere: it’s what a quilter loves.

They sell everything here, including bouncy balls for play.

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My first purchase was this huipil, a hand-loomed top that is worn by Guatemalan women.  There are many different styles; this one happened to be embroidered; some have woven designs instead, like those shown below:

Guatemalan Queen

Here is the queen of her village (R), with her mother (center) and her older sister, at an indigenous ceremony where they choose the Queen from 100 different villages.  My sister has a blogpost about these young queens that is fascinating reading (where many more fabrics and textiles can be seen).  Cynthia (my sister) also sent me a lengthy YouTube video for me to watch before I went to Guatemala, which taught me a lot about their native and artisan textiles.  We explored that first market, where I showed incredible restraint, but I must admit to already having sent a letter to her, asking her to pick up a couple of more things.

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We walked a couple of blocks away to Lin Canola (door on the right) where they had two big rooms full of fabric wrapped on circular bolts. (I obtained permission for these photos.)

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Bliss. (My sister knows me well.)

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From all those bolts, I first chose these.

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Then I added some accents, as I want to make this:

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I have vivid fantasies.

Guatemala Chicken Bus

The next day we boarded a chicken bus and went to Antigua.

Just kidding–we went in a nice car, but oh, how I love to see these fabulous, re-purposed school busses.  Here’s a video.  They have a person who rides along, calling people to get on, and helping with all the luggage atop the busses.  In the video you can hear the callers, as well as see some un-decorated American school busses.

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We went first to Carolina’s Textile Museum, where in the entry courtyard, a young woman was weaving on hand loom, anchored above her head, and strapped around her hips.  She was quick with her hands and interesting to watch.  I have many videos on Instagram using the #fiestaguatemala2019 hashtag, as well as in my stories.

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Textiles Carolinas flier

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This huipil is rare–completely woven back and front, and done by a woman for her future mother-in-law.  The young bride gifts it to her mother-in-law on the wedding day, and it is used in many ways: a shawl, sewn up the sides for a huipil top, or folded up and placed on her head to shield her from the sun.  Then, the mother-in-law is buried with it.  (I’d have a hard time parting with it, if I were a new bride!)

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The my sister noticed this patchwork quilt up on the wall.  Carolina (below) brought out two more quilts:

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The too-worn fabrics are cut up into patches, or parches in Spanish. Yes, I came home with some.

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My sister and I, with Gary in the background. (I purchased the scarf.)

Antigua Arch

We left Carolina’s, which was on the outskirts of Antigua, and headed into town to pose with all the street vendors near the iconic arch.

Antigua Hotel

Our hotel was El Convento, mentioned in this article in the NYTimes.  I took about a billion pictures of this small, perfect, hotel, which I’m not posting here.  Above is the swimming pool.

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In the area just outside my room, they had tourist-safe water to drink (not shown) and little flowered meringues to enjoy.  I did enjoy them, and often.

Guatemala Bracelets

We spent some time in the main plaza, where I purchased some souvenirs from this young girl and her brother.  Interesting to see our thrift store clothing show up here.

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Wares for sale one day in our hotel.  I kept trying figure how to pack it ALL up into my suitcase, but only purchased a doll for a friend who collects.

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One early morning we went down to the bus depot (where we took the chicken bus video) and enjoyed all the colors there.

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Thearch and volcano, early on the morning we left to head back to Guatemala City.

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We brought home the two stacked wreaths the angel, a few table runners, placemats and the fabrics, but if I’d had another suitcase, I would have brought home so much more.  It’s truly a textile-lovers’ paradise.

Guatemala Note

Before we left, I had to call to make sure our credit/ATM card would work overseas and ended up talking to a young woman who was born there, but has only returned once.  When we came home, this note was in our mail, a thoughtful sentiment.

I do appreciate my sister and her husband hosting us for a long weekend in the middle of their busy, giving lives.  I was especially thankful to spend time with my sister.  I have three sisters, but all of them live far away from me, so it was lovely to talk to her, stroll around Antigua with her, and deepen our relationship.

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The last thing I want to say is that it’s Christmas time, so be kind to yourselves in the rush.  I know you are all busy with your final preparations for family, friends, and a day or two to yourselves, but take time to listen to a carol, take a breath, and enjoy this season of light.

 

A Piece of Her Mind: DAR Exhibit 2019

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When my husband and I traveled to Washington, D.C. recently, we took in an exhibit at the DAR Museum titled, A Piece of Her Mind.  It had a focus on how technology — in an historical sense — affected quilters at an earlier time, just as much as it affects us today.  I thought you’d like to see some of the quilts, so here we go.

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I actually have to give a lecture in 2020 about the impact of technology, and all that was swirling around in my mind were topics such as social media, rotary cutters, our fancy high-speed sewing machines.  But this showed me that technology’s impact is not just a recent phenomena.

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An example of a table-top sewing machine with foot pedals was in front of a beautiful quilt of basket blocks.

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The blocks were appliqued (interesting to note her use of black thread, no matter what color the fruit), and from the appearance of it, stuffed (trapunto?).  It also looks like she quilted the “plain” blocks first, then sewed the basket blocks in between the quilted blocks — a really unusual way to construct a quilt.

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The Red and Green Bethlehem Star Quilt (1840-1860) benefitted from the relatively new ‘Turkey red’ dyes.  According the title card, previous to this invention, “dying cloth this color of red was a complicated dye process. [In addition] [g]reen had to be dyed in two steps (yellow, then blue) until late in the 1800s, but a more reliable option called ‘chrome green’ provided the leafy and emeral hues seen in mid-century quilts.”  This cotton quilt was made by Sarah Hall Gwyer (1819-1882) in North Carolina, or Omaha, Nebraska.

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I loved this broderie perse (or appliquéd chintz panel) quilt from the 1820s not only because of the design, but because of those stitches!  Seeing evidence of another woman’s handwork always makes a quilt more personal for me.

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This Baltimore Album Quilt is from about 1850, and is made by a member of the Hayden family from Baltimore, Marlyand.  It’s cotton, with wool embroidery.

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This appliqué quilt was made by Mary Swearingen King (1811-1902) in Findlay, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  I loved the applique birds:

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They look almost pre-historic, here, feeding berries to their young.

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Beyond the technology-oriented quilts, there was a section on quilts that were affected by the culture of the day.  I was drawn to the red, white and blue quilts.  That center block is the flag from Cuba, explained below:

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I zoomed way in (the ropes around the quilts didn’t permit close inspection) so the picture is a bit globby, but you can see the Clay ribbon in the outside border.

The exhibit also had a series of crazy quilts, some quilts made with toile prints, and quilts inspired by popular fictional characters.

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Afterwards we went to the library–quite stunning in a panoramic view.

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There was also a quilt of another kind in the Renwick Gallery, just up the street, made out of snippets of movie film.  The title of this is “Fibers and Civilization (1959)” and was made in 2009, using 16 mm film and polyamide thread.  This piece of art is from Sabrina Gshwandtner, and I’d seen some of her work before at LACMA.

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Then we hopped on the Metro and went over to the National Museum of American History.  Can you tell I looked up on the internet where all the quilt exhibits were?

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Unfortunately, this spectacular quilt was behind a piece of highly reflective glass, so the only way I could get a photo was to gently lean my photo lens on the glass to cut the glare.  This means that I couldn’t get a photo of the complete quilt, but here are some segments.

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In another small exhibit, they had a lot of crazy quilts.

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I was quite interested in what this title card (above) said about the advent of patterns for crazy patchwork.

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In between all this, we stopped for some lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster shop, meandered around the Mall, and hung out together.  We really like DC, as you probably know.  More photos can be found on Instagram.

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Later that week we had a gathering at the The National Press Club in D.C., where they host the White House Correspondent Dinners, and we had a spread of yummy desserts to choose from.  I chose one of these (it’s the color, naturally!) after I’d had the requisite chocolate treat.

So, here’s your spot of fall color–happy quilting!

 

Do You Tweet?

Tweet Ladybird

Tweet ShineTweet Crossroads

Perhaps the UCR Science News was looking for something other than Nobel-prize generating stories or research about saving the world from cancer, but I’m happy that the editor liked my quilts, sent to him by my favorite guy (my husband).  The quilts were displayed around University of California’s campus near some of the science buildings (and in the Botannic Garden).  Thank you!

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In other news, we visited the (tiny) exhibit at the DAR museum this past week (their library, above) in Washington, DC.

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More on the exhibit in another post, but I met three quilters while I was there:

From the top left: Beth, a long-time friend (we always meet together at this particular science meeting of our husbands), Rhonda (who I met when I lived in D.C at the local quilt guild), and Bette (who I met online and since have become good friend with via correspondence and phone calls and occasional meetings). But that’s not all the news.

National Press Club

I spoke at the National Press Club, after I was proclaimed Queen of England.
Full story, below.

Headline Queen Elizabeth

Kidding, of course.  I merely posed, and the other photo is a leather-embossed rendition of a famous headline, one in a row of famous headlines.

Climate Change Protest

We’d done most of the museums in December when we last visited, and I was wondering what to do one day when the Climate Change Activists staged one of their protests right outside my hotel.  I threw on my clothes and went down to watch.  I remember how the police used to break up other protests long ago, with tear gas and heavy-handedness.  This experience was more like a garden party, as slowly, they encircled the boat parked in the middle of 16th and K. While the activists moved on to march around D.C. the police cut the handcuffs and tethers of those who remained, then towed away the boat.  I was quite impressed with the whole experience, both of those who felt strongly about making a statement, and the police officers taking good care of those who they serve.  Another reason why I love D.C.

Okay, I promise more serious quilty stuff soon.  I’m coming home tonight from my niece’s wedding in the Bay Area, hoping to dive into what I’ve left undone while traveling.  Before I left, I did get one quilt to the quilter’s, after auditioning, digitally, many different designs for quilting.

North Country Sept 2019I also cut more pieces to keep going on my North Country Patchwork Quilt, eeking this one out, bit by bit (photo of what I have so far, above).

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I did get caught up with my temperature quilt, which is turning out to be very different colors than what I expected.  I find it’s easier to do a whole month at a time, than piece-mealing it, day by day.

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Lastly, this coming Saturday, October 5th, I’ll be presenting a (mostly) modern quilt program at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild in Riverside, California.  They are a small modern guild, with a whole group of interested, dedicated quilters. Maybe you’ll be there?