Bee Blocks, Etc. * March and April *

Bee Blocks, yes.  But first:

Dream Big Bag_2

I recently asked Lisa to make me a tote bag out of a Dream Big panel by Hoffman.  I ordered everything, and the bag turned out to be a good size, one that could hold a queen sized quilt, perfect for taking along binding projects. Dream Big Bag_1

I chose a summery floral for the inside (I like bright colors inside my purses/bags, so I can find things).

Dream Big Bag

Beauty shot in the flowers by the front door.  Thank you Lisa, I love it!

March_2019 Gridsters

Now, here are my bee blocks for the Gridster Bee. Here are March’s blocks, requested by Marsha @quilterinmotion on Instagram.  We used this pattern, and it worked up quickly.

March_2019a Gridsters

If you decide to make these, I’d suggest switching up the order–put #9 on first, then #8.  It’s a sturdier constuction that way.

March_2019b Gridsters.png

But here’s the cool thing: her center will be four “straight” Flying Geese blocks, with our curvy ones being added to it, for lots of motion in her quilt.

April 2019_Gridsters Bee

Nancy who blogs at Patchwork Breeze, and is on Instagram @patchworkbreeze, asked for a patriotic block for a summer quilt.  I guess it’s not too early to get started on the  red, white, and blue, a good reminder to work ahead of the seasons and celebrations (anyone for Halloween quilts?  Christmas?).

Finally, I decided to tally up what I accomplished last year, in terms of completed quilts.  If you remember (or are hoping to forget), it was the Year of Frivols.  So here’s the totals:

• Twelve Frivols
• Three Mini-quilts
• One Baby quilt
• One Small quilt
• Two large quilts
• One large quilt that will show up in Fall 2019 Simpy Moderne

Number Twenty

And for 2019? It’s hard right now because while I can sew the tops, I can’t quilt them myself.  Quilts are only being finished when I can send them out.  But here’s the list of projects so far:

•  Plitvice (finished)
•  Chuck Nohara quilt (binding being sewn on as we speak)
• Nameless other large quilt, being kept under wraps/headed for publication
• Home-keeping Hearts (top only at this point)
• Merrion Square–there are three of these small quilt tops in circulation, and are samples at guilds where I’ll be speaking
• Basket quilt is still on the design wall, as I audition borders.

When I finish them, I’ll catalogue them, above, on the 300 Quilts list.

Speaking Teaching Events
Meet the Teacher for the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds
Utah Valley Quilt Guild, Utah–Trunk Show and Day-long workshop
Valley of the Mist Quilt Guild, Temecula, CA–Trunk Show and Day-long workshop

If you are in Utah, they still have a couple of openings for the workshop on April 16th.  If you are new to this blog (welcome!), you can meet me digitally in my Happy New Year post.

I leave you with a few shots of our California Superbloom.  Happy Spring!

Poppies_1.jpgPoppies_3.jpgPoppies_2.jpg

Visit to Andover Fabrics and New York City

ESE in New York 

I had a chance to travel to New York City this past month, where I joined my daughter Barbara for a long-awaited long weekend.

We stayed midtown Manhattan, so I walked past M & J Trimming many times, a happy spot on my walks.  Anne Brousseau, a good friend who used to work in this industry, arranged a visit for us to Andover Fabrics, and of course I said “YES!”

Fashion Dist_4

Fashion Dist_4dFashion Dist_4a

Cliff Quibell, the Vice President, gave us a tour of the different processes and departments, from design development to printing to editing.  We were able to see an artist hand-painting a new design, but of course, no photos were allowed.  There is so much involved to getting one bolt of fabric to our local quilt shops!  We appreciated Mr. Quibell taking time for us, given the fact that they had just returned from Quilt Market.

Fashion Dist_4b

He introduced me to Gayle, who works for Andover, and hanging in her office is this amazing quilt, made from old clothes from when she lived overseas in Tunisia.  Her sister, Elizabeth Porter, made this quilt for her as a memory quilt.  (I think I got those details correct!)

Fashion Dist_4c

There was so much there that I couldn’t photograph, but he did allow a shot of their bookshelves.  I would have loved to have browsed those titles and made notes.

From there it was a short walk over to Gotham Quilts, another thing on my Must-See list.  I loved their selection of modern fabrics and of course, that see-through Bernina in their front window.
Here are some tidbits of other Fashion District finds (click on any cirle to enlarge):
  • tables in the pedestrian area
  • artwork in the buildings (they let me creep in to photograph it)
  • Desigual building with a terrific mural on the side
  • the heavy weave of one of their winter coats on display
  • Mokuba, a ribbon shop
  • close-up of the wares in the Mokuba window

I went into last shop, thinking I’d like some of that fancy metallic ribbon in their front window display. After some minutes, a little lady pushing a cart rolled up to where I was, opened the fat book on the top, and scanned the list.  She looked at me.  “Twenty-seven dollars,” she said.  “Per YARD.”  Gulp.  I smiled, thanked the lady with her little cart, and slunk out.

NYC11_18_1NYC11_18_2

This pedestrian barrier was near the Folk Art Museum, which I didn’t get to.  Next trip.

NYC11_18_6 Zabars

We were on our way to Zabar’s, a New York Institution, where I almost bought a set of glasses (Macy’s got the business when I arrived home), but did buy a nutmeg grater.

NYC11_18_12c highline

Sculpture on the High Line; the birds perched there, but they are not a part of this piece of art

NYC11_18_5 chelsea market

Another day found us at Chelsea Market, after walking the High Line, on the East Side.

NYC11_18_10NYC11_18_11

Her husband purchased Hamilton tickets for her for her birthday, and I got to come along (we first had a meal at Eataly near the Flatiron Building).

NYC11_18_12a

We got ourselves to the Occulus, the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and we visited the recently opened subway station underneath it:

NYC11_18_12b

NYC11_18_12b1

Another chilly day (you need to know that I am from Southern California and she is from Arizona) we drove around looking at street art in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.  

NYC11_18_8 RockefellerNYC11_18_12fNYC11_18_12eNYC11_18_12d

A few more iconic sights: taxi shoes at Kate Spade, the Empire State Building from our hotel room, posing with a man from the Empire Shield Task Force (he told me to point to his badge), and finally, the glorious sight of Grand Central Station.

Until next time, New York!

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.

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Dublin)

I’m dividing this into two posts: first up is Dublin.  As a quilter, I didn’t know what to expect in the surface decoration, the patterns of everyday life in Dublin. Certainly we all are familiar with Celtic knots and crosses and the like, but I have never been that enamoured of those style of quilts (maybe it’s because I couldn’t face appliquéing all those linear feet of bias strips), so was looking for the “flavor” of Dublin that might interest me, a quilter.  So here follows not a travelogue of the two cities I visited, but instead, a sampling of visual pattern and a nod to fabric shops I encountered.

Dublin Christ Church.jpg

Christ Church, in Dublin, is undergoing renovation in certain areas of its property so they erected these fun, bold passageways to usher the visitor forward.  I thought it was just genius pulled out of thin air, until we entered the cathedral:

Dublin Christchurch floor1

The designs are pulled from its floors.  My husband is thoroughly trained as a Quilter’s Husband, so he started snapping photos, too, knowing how I would love the designs.Dublin Christchurch floor2

This is a panorama of one section of floor, and I recognize so many designs, as do you.  You can do a search on them, and find lots of material and more illustrations, but the tiles were either original to the 13th century, or 19th century copies.

Dublin Donuts

If I lived in Dublin, these would be my preferred snack.  They are nothing like American donuts–maybe a little like the filled ones, but their flavors and combinations were addicting.  I could see bringing one of each to a quilt retreat.

Dublin floral building

Lots of flowers, lots of green.

Dublin National Library

We went to the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin, after I saw photos of the reading room.  No photos were allowed, so I grabbed this one from the web:

Dublin NatlLibraryIreland_reading room

What a color palette!

Dublin St. Patricks Door

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also in Dublin, brought more eye candy to this quilter:Dublin StPatricks floor1

Christ Church still is the best, I think, in terms of floor tiles.

DublinFabric_1DublinFabric_2

Two shops: Hickey’s and Cloth. I zipped right into Cloth and brought home a tote bag (like I need another tote bag, right?).  I smiled when I saw their floor tiles.

Dublin Garden of Remembrance waves.jpg

Other decorative surfaces were the tiles design at the Garden of Remembrance, with coving on the side of the pool that imitated the laid tiling:

Dublin Garden of Remembrance waves2.jpg

Dublin Bee Stamps.jpg

Lastly, hexagon stamps…which I admired, but forgot to purchase.

Next up: Berlin.

 

Inspiration: Okano, Manzanar, Etc.

Eiko Okano_Time for Supper

Eiko Okano’s exhibition of quilts is up at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. (Someday I want to go there.)  I first saw Okano’s quilts long ago and at that time wanted to buzz into her studio and be a fly on the wall as she created.  Unlike our quick-study Instagram world, where quilts are being produced at the rate of 300 a second — or so it seems — I imagine her process would take a bit longer.

Eiko Okano_Delicious and Round

I love the wild, dancing rick-rack scribbles in the border of this quilt, and those buttons!

Eiko Okano_Delicious Quilt

I want to hang this one in my kitchen.  These photographs are all taken from the IGSC website, where more of her quilts are shown.

Ballard Street MOJO

Ballard Street cartoon

In charging up my creative batteries, which often we speak of as “mojo,” I found this series of ten videos from 99U, which are about the creative process.

Everyting Is a Remix.jpg

I intrigued by the concept that this one gives us, that — believe it or not — springboarding off of things that others have done, is a time-honored path to creativity. Notice I said “springboarding.”  No one likes to have their work cloned, unless maybe you are making a pattern or something that is designed to be cloned.

Flower Garden closeup.jpg

I watched this in process with the release of Sherri McConnell’s quilt, “Flower Garden,” in a magazine this week.  It’s the old hexie flower you have come to know and love, but Sherri gives it a modern twist, a new spin, and now I want to gather up hexies and start making my own.  She started this several years ago, once again giving me hope for my own long time lines for some quilts.

And, as usual, after a spurt of creativity, I take time to clear off my workspace, find the floor again (stacks of fabrics often migrate there when I am looking for a “certain piece”) and plan out time in my calendar.

Dilbert List.png

Manzanar Trip_1Manzanar Trip_2jpg

A change is as good as a rest, my mother says, so this past week we took a break from calendars and sewing machines and usual activities when we drove up to Manzanar (about a four-hour’s distance), to visit this National Historic Place.  The memorial is evocative, terribly sad, and enraging, all at once.

Manzanar Trip_2aManzanar Trip_3

The Mt. Whitney mountain range is stunningly beautiful, and we took some time that night to enjoy the sunset and rising moon.

.Manzanar Trip_Bottle Ranch

On the way home, we stopped at Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, a Mojave Desert attraction, all built by Elmer, a man who gets up in the morning, fires up his welding torch and gets to work.  Unless, of course, he doesn’t want to.

Thank You.jpeg

I have a re-cap post on the Mad for Solids 2018 coming, but I wanted to thank you all for the efforts you made to put my quilt design and curated stack of solids in the Winner’s Circle.  I enjoyed getting to know new quilters and their creative worlds, not only those who also had stacks, but you quilters, with your IG and FB and blogging sites.  Keep up the good work of interacting and supporting and cheering each other on.  I love this quilty world!

Escape to Texas • March 2018

TexasMarch_0

We escaped to Texas last week, to visit our son and his family, as well as head to San Antonio, where my husband participated in a scientific conference.  TexasMarch_1

Pico Iyer, a well-respected travel writer noted that “The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”TexasMarch_2

So I tried to grab some undistracted time with my grandsons; Alex and I made a Lego sewing machine.

TexasMarch_3TexasMarch_4TexasMarch_5TexasMarch_5aTexasMarch_6

“When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself,” noted Marshall McLuhan, over a half-century ago.

It was nice to get away.