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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What I’ve Been Doing Lately • May 2019

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Since I hadn’t posted in a couple of weeks, I did want to blog, but felt pretty scattered about what to write.  So here it all is: from finishes to starts, from garden news and quilting to a Trunk Show.

So, to start with, Simone and I got together to make blocks for Rachel‘s Queen Bee turn in our Gridster Bee: Scrap Jar Stars from Gigi’s Thimble.  We’d made them last year for another bee member, so these blocks, in the requested red and green, went together quickly.

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Rachel laid out on her floor the blocks she’d received so far, and this is going to make a terrific quilt.  She blogs at The Life of Riley.

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Something interesting about Rachel is that she raises bees.  This screenshot is from her ETSY shop, where she sells beeswax for hand-sewing.  I’m lucky enough to have one of these!

Shine Blocks in the wild

Imagine waking up one morning to a tag from a friend about this quilt.  I recognized the block immediately, as it was the final block I designed for my Shine: The Circles Quilt.  This man sells a shot cotton (in Australia), and they’d contracted someone to make a quilt showing their fabric line and that person used my quilt design.  After a few back-and-forths, I did get attribution for the design.  Peony_2019

Moving right along, the peony bush in the garden bloomed.  I have two exactly-the-same bushes and they each have a slightly different flower.  Just like people, just like quilters, who can make the same quilt and have it look quite different.

And…after a visit to my doctor and the A-OK from him and from Kris, my physical therapist (above right), I started using the Sweet Sixteen quilting machine again.  This is my first attempt at quilting, so I took it in to show her.  They chart everything you do, asking seemingly innocent questions like, “How are your household chores coming along?”  or “Take any long drives this weekend?” so they can monitor my progress in recovering from rotator cuff surgery in January.  Nearly five months out, I’m in the “danger zone” where most re-tears happen, so I’m very careful not to stress the repair, or mow lawns.  (Kidding.  I never mow the lawn, because my husband does a very fine job and I wouldn’t want to interrupt his successes.)

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This past month I also proved to myself, once again, that texting can be a horrible way to convey complicated information, given the strange timing you get in texting (answering one text while that person is answering your text, creating an asyncronous conversation).  Because of this, I was unsuccessful in communicating with a new quilter I’d previously tried.  She was frustrated. And I was BEYOND frustrated.  (One unsolved topic: using vertical seams in your backing.) And yes, she only uses texts, so we parted ways.

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I bundled up my three quilts and their backs and took them to my regular quilter, Cathy of CJ Designs.  I asked her about vertical seams on the back, and she said she had no problem with them.  And her costs were more reasonable. So what felt like a set-back  really turned out okay in the end.

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Over the last few weeks, I have sewn three of these mini quilt tops.  At the Meet the Teacher event I recently went to, I signed eight contracts for teaching, and many of the guilds chose this as their workshop.  And everyone likes samples to be sent.  This is the second one I’ve quilted, and it made me feel more at home on the machine.  I still have to take frequent breaks and can’t go too long in any one session, but I’m making progress.

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I think the backing fabric is awesome.

I’ve also been sewing up some of my new designs, working out the bugs and kinks of the patterns, but am not ready to launch them yet.

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Finally, when I was sorting out my contracts, I developed a form to help me keep track of critical information, which was missing from several of the contracts I signed.  Only one Guild so far (I’ve gone through about half my contracts) had everything I needed to know.  I realize that if I flew into a city, the Guild Minders would take me around, so I wouldn’t need all this info.  But since I drive to all my gigs, it’s critical to know.  If you would like an editable MSWord version of this for your own personal use (the above is only a screenshot), I’ll be happy to send it to you. Just leave me a comment on this post, or email me.

Organizing Blog Content

And even more interestingly, I couldn’t find a lot of relevant information on Guild Websites.  So, if you are a guild board member, please make sure that people (strangers) can easily find the time and date and place of your monthly meeting, and the same for your workshops.

I know how this happens, as I’m guilty of it here sometimes: you just start throwing up blogposts, forgetting that some visitors come for specific information.  I’ve revised the organization and wording of this blog mulitple times, always trying to make it easier for people to find my quilts (links and titles) as well as other info.  It’s a never-ending task: like trying to keep the junk drawer in the kitchen cleaned out.

Best Wishes on Trunk Show

My husband left this sign for me on the kitchen counter while I was at PT.

I’m looking forward to a lot of fun teaching and meeting people, beginning with tonight, at the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild in Temecula California.  I’ll be teaching a Merrion Square Workshop for them on Saturday.  Please contact them if you are interested in coming.

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April’s Temperature Quilt Blocks are all done…moving into May!

Utah Valley Quilt Guild • National Teacher

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This is the Utah Valley, where the Utah Valley Quilt Guild lives, meets and has way too much fun (check their website to see what I’m talking about).  In April, I was invited as their National Teacher, an annual honor, to present and to give a workshop.  As I was born and raised in this valley, it stands to reason that I would know some people here…

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…like Lisa, my “minder” and a sweet friend who recently moved here from SoCal.  I was actually invited by Brenda S., who is serving an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have looked forward to coming to speak to this guild for over a year.  Thank you, Brenda!

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First up: teach a Workshop for their Guild.  They actually wanted two combined into one, and I loved seeing all the different houses-on-a-square that resulted from this class:

Scenes from class that day.

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I knew that Leslie (L) was a total geneology expert, so we figured out (via an app that we are both registered on) that not only was she my 9th cousin, I was also ninth cousin with another quilter (R), too!

Lisa took me to The Quilter’s Lodge, where I indulged, and where we saw Simone’s fabric.  Truth: I went back two days later.  Actually, you should all go!

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Next up: the Trunk Show, where I was to give my Abecedary of Quilts lecture.

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Because they have their lecture after their workshop, all those class ladies when home and sewed their brains out, and came up with the beginnings of their Home, Sweet, Home and Merrion Square mini quilts. Impressive!

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Lisa, as Quilt Minder, had too much on her mind and left hers at home–she later sent me a photo of how cute her quilt had turned out.  I love this version!

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The guild was really responsive, and we laughed together–I was so appreciative of their keen interest.  I was also impressed with all the good projects this guild is doing, so much that I joined the guild before I left!

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While I was at the Workshop, my husband went to an art museum in Salt Lake City, that because he is also a well-trained quilter’s husband, zeroed in on these two pieces that were there.  It’s nice to know that others see our art in cloth and thread, and want to include it in their exhibits.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this quild; they are incredibly friendly and welcoming.  Thank you, Utah Valley!

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.

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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!

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