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 started this: Ring Cycles on Steroids, a version of a popular quilt made huge by Lorena of Sydney. She sent me the pattern ages ago, and I finally started putting it together. I do love me a nine-patch block.

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!

Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

June Fun • Why not?

This is the final pillow of the series of twelve from Riley Blake and I was supposed to make it for June. Except I got sidetracked:

I decided to make this instead. Much more interesting, less anemic.

Then I went here in my brain:

And then I wised up:

Focus. So how about one block at a time?

Free?

So you could make a mini-quilt or a pillow?

Block #1: Wild Sunflower is in my pattern shop if you want to go and get it.

Every Wednesday in June I’ll put up another block, and take down the previous. I guess I’m going through withdrawal after Heart’s Garden. But I want a 9-inch block. Most blocks are 8 inches. So there’s some splicing to do on a couple of pieces. But really–any project goes faster if it’s bigger blocks, right?

So you can put up with splicing together a couple of pieces? In thinking about the New York Beauty block…I mean there are a billion New York Beauty blocks out there on the web, free, in patterns, in a book, in several books. We must really love New York Beauty blocks, I think.

Let’s just start with one step. One block: Wild Sunflower. I did have fun naming all my blocks. You’ll see all the names in the pattern. Blocks? Names? Yes, I didn’t really stop playing around until I had designed eight blocks, and then I was tired (see cartoon, above). They aren’t fancy-schmancy with flying geese and everything. (THAT book has already been written.) But if you just want a fun June project, here ‘ya go. You can always save the patterns for later, if you are already up to here (makes motion at eyeballs) with lists of quilting projects.

Confession: I used to hate FPP: Foundation Paper Piecing. Then I took a class at QuiltCon from the Pride and Joy Quilting lady, Verushka Zarate, and a big lightbulb went on inside my head. This is her trick of ripping away the seam allowance paper if you don’t need it (but sometimes you do). She has an online course, if she isn’t appearing in person somewhere close to you.

And my trick is to draw the outside corner seam allowance 1/4″ past the pattern, so you have some scooch room when trimming up. Just place the 9-1/4″ mark on each end of the arc, then trim.

Wild Sunflower, done. And I actually had fun! I titled this series New York Beauties, and then subtitled it “for Barbara.” She’s my daughter and was born in New York and would live there the rest of her life, if she could–it’s such a strong attraction. So I think of her when I’m working on this.

Totoro and Maya are helping out

Thanks to all who entered in the drawing for some Sew Sassy. I actually found extra spools, so I chose four winners. Check your email box for the email around noon. Tomorrow I’m going to sleep in!

Just breathe…then quilt!

300 Quilts · Giveaway · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt-A-Long

Heart’s Garden • Quilt Finish

This weighty world needs a tender, light touch this week, so I thought I’d finish up my Heart’s Garden with you today.

Heart’s Garden in my garden, with the flowers of the silk oak in bloom above it.

I thought this quilt might be a fun place to try some embellishments, including these wooden buttons I purchased at a quilt show from a booth with Japanese fabrics, patterns and notions.

The birds now have eyes.

I quilted around a heart shape, trying this out.

Sew Sassy thread is a quilting thread developed by Jane Sassaman with Superior Threads. Since it is polyester, it doesn’t fray out as badly as floss when I’m stitching with it, and leaves a line like 3 strands of embroidery floss.

This is me, ordering colors online (and on sale) so I can do some more stitching. I’ve picked up spools here and there over the last few years. Obviously I have a couple extra: one in pink and one in spring green. Leave a comment below and I will pick two winners from the comments and send them out.

One of my constant helpers at the computer. The other one is Totoro.

I was able to cross off a couple of more things this week. No way I’m going to get this all done by the end of June, but it’s okay. Time for good vibes to go out into our fragile world.

Recently on the PBS NewsHour, they had a discussion how many people are going online to try and back up Ukranian digital assets before they might be destroyed. In the middle of this serious business, I noticed that behind the librarian from Stanford was a Bernina sewing machine and a serger. Even in the hardships around us, we can find common ground.

I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know that Affinity by Serif is having a 50% off sale. I had my husband download Photo for his computer today (steal at about $27) and then had my daughter download both Designer and Photo for her computer. It even got a mention this week in the Craft Industry Alliance newsletter this week, as another way to get your digital artwork made.

So, this is the last of Heart’s Garden. I will post photos from our other makers in a future post, as I so appreciate all the beautiful quilts they are making, and believe they are worth letting you know about. I’ll have some time in the next little while to do more hand-stitching on this quilt, so I decided not to rush for a blog deadline. It will evolve and change, but I don’t feel like I have to do too much. . . just enough fun stitches to make me happy.

The pattern is up on my PayHip shop. I will leave Part 5 (heart border) up in my shop for another week or so, but the other patterns have been merged into the full pattern (I hope you were all able to grab them when they came out). Since there are tons of photos and illustrations, and PayHip has a download limit, I broke the pattern into two parts. Be sure to download both segments.

Affinity Photo helped me try this out in a different color.

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY FINISHED. Leave a comment if you want to win a spool of Sew Sassy Thread (US domestic only). I’ll pick two winners this week.
Then take a breath, and quilt!

Other Posts About this Quilt • Quilt #264

All of the individual posts are linked on the Heart’s Garden Info Page
Did I mention who quilted this? It was Krista of KristaStitched. She is delightful!

300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt Finish

Eris • Quilt Finish

Eris • Quilt #265
54″ wide by 48″ tall

label on the back
photos taken at the California Air Resources Board, Riverside, California
sculpture is titled: Spatial Echoes of Breath, by Tomás Seraceno, 2021

Title of Sculpture: There Are Many Idioms About Breathing And Yet
by Kameelah Janan Rasheed, 2021

Since this photoshoot was at a facility that studies the quality of our California air, it was fitting that the idea of breath, or breathing, or air, was prominent in their public art all around the building. We toured the building, picked up the swag from the vendors and displays in the parking lot, the solar panels overhead shading us from the sun. Rasheed’s artist’s statement includes this line: “As a meditation on pacing and temporality, the artwork is a form of preparedness for the hard work ahead.”

Pacing — a steady pace? Don’t overreach? Don’t run faster than you have energy for? Keep up the pace?

Temporality— the state of existing within or having some relationship with time. Lived time (as opposed to clock time or objective time). Temporality is a term often used in philosophy to express the way time is understood, often as a straightforward procession of past, present, and future.

Some background: Love us or hate us, we here in Southern California are keenly aware of our air, and the effects that pollution has on our health. Too many of us live in communities polluted by automobile exhaust that combines with the moist air that comes in off the ocean: smog. Some communities are polluted by idling train engines. We have seen a distinct uptick in air pollution due to our online shopping habits from the pandemic. An increase of warehouses built at the eastern edge of our city, only a few miles from our home means the freeways are now clogged with semi-trucks bearing goods from the ports to the ocean of warehouses that have been built in this area in the last few years.

I have an asthma inhaler in my bathroom drawer; today in the exhibits in the parking lot, one vendor displayed about 10 of these devices, encouraging us toward cleaner driving, cleaner air, and an awareness of our temporality. Keep up the pace. But maybe…move a little faster.

About a year ago, I felt as if I were drowning. I couldn’t keep up the pace. I felt disconnected from time, certainly an effect of the pandemic in our lives. I know I wasn’t alone in these feelings. I tacked a giant calendar on the wall of our garage, and took to marking it off one day at a time. Keeping track. I pared down all interactions and responsibilities to almost nothing. I was choking in sadness, bad air, political pollution, weary to the bone. I am usually the biggest Pollyanna you’ll every see, but at that time there was no breath in me.

When we are stressed, we often say Breathe in, Breathe out. Take in good, let go of that which is exhausted. Find fresh, expel the stale. I decided to make space for new things (Heart’s Garden?), to re-examine what I had in my life, and what I could let go of. I have taken steps to regain my health, and finally feel as if I’m making my way back to myself.

I also found my way back to this quilt. It has been a satisfying period of finding quilts made in a rush, and now taking time (pacing?) to sit with the quilt, find the way to quilt it, to finish it. My husband Dave always finds great places for us to photograph, and willingly holds the quilt, a support in all ways. So it was fitting to photograph this quilt at a place which is concerned with breath, with air. The title, Eris, was a parallel to my inner world last fall, and the discord seems to continue into this year as well, with its Ukranian war, the J6 Committee findings, the ongoing pandemic (and now we are returning to using our masks).

But I worked in Harmony. I appreciated the safety of Order, the constraints of Geometry, the goodness of Grace. But most of all, I acknowledge the gift from the One who loves us all: Creativity.

Take a breath!

Other posts about this quilt:

Pattern is found in my PayHip shop and includes two different sizes.

This quilt had a working title of Spectral Light.
I write about the fabric in this post, stars shining brightly.
There are other, smaller versions of this quilt: Choose Something Like a Star.
Some of the quilting was written about in this post.
The original Triad Harmony Quilt Finish (quilt #234).
I taught a workshop for Coastal Quilters, and they produced a lot of amazing Triad Harmony quilts.

You’ll probably see this design again. I made a total of five different quilts for teaching, and have quilted three of them.

Free Quilt Pattern · Heart's Garden · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

Heart’s Garden Mystery QAL • Part 5

Heart’s Garden
57″ square• Quilt #264

Gardens can be mysterious. In our case we planted the melons and the round cucumbers and some nocturnal visitor came and dug it all up. Will those seeds pop up somewhere else? Were they get eaten? What’s in the heart can also be mysterious, even to those who might have some experience in the matter. Are we charitable? Are we passionate? Are we kind, snarky, tough or tender?

But in the case of the QAL for Heart’s Garden, the mystery is now solved!

This is the final free pattern for the 2022 Mystery Quilt-A-Long. I will have a Part 6 that will show some embellishments, but that will be a post, and not a pattern release. Heart’s Garden Part 5 will remain free until early June when all the patterns will be combined into one that can be purchased. So make sure you download Part 5 quickly.

I’m sure you’ve seen these images of Part Four on Instagram. Joan’s quilt is a brilliant range of hues from yellows to pinky purples. Lisa has used a wonderful selection of blues, pinky reds and tans to great effect. Linda’s quilt took a different turn when she used the borders from my Evergreen, Ever Life quilt, amending them to fit the center, and Susan (on Instagram or at her blog) has also made changes, using five flowers on two sides. I love them all! [As I receive updated photos, I will post them.]

Heart’s Garden finishes up with a row of heart blocks, like a happy picket fence around our garden. Generally I used medium-dark fabrics with a scrappy low-volume background. All fabrics are by Sherri and Chelsi, from their Sincerely Yours line. I love the brightly colored prints from peach to purple and think this makes a really happy quilt. Sherri is a friend of mine (we both taught English Composition classes) and I think this quilt would also be great in her newest line, Seashore. One reason I love showing all the quilts at the beginning of the post is for you to think of different colorways for your quilt than the one on the front of the pattern.

And speaking of the front of the pattern, Part Five is ready for a free download at my PayHip shop. (Reminder: In case you didn’t get any of the other parts, they are there for sale as well.) But, again, in early June all the parts will disappear to be replaced with a complete Heart’s Garden Sew-A-Long pattern for sale. Now let’s talk construction.

I started with the corners, making a Log Cabin block with darker outside corners.
Then I discarded this block and made the ones you see in the quilt. That’s why I have a full box of orphan blocks!

I like to sew Log Cabin blocks from measurements, but in case you like paper piecing, that option exists for you as well in this pattern. In fact, I made up FPP options for all parts of this border: the log cabin corners, the heart block bottoms and heart block tops.

I ended up using the paper piecing for the heart block tops and was happy I did.

There is a slightly different proportion on these hearts than usual, as I wanted a certain look for the border. I cut out backgrounds and tips and triangles. Detailed instructions for how to do this accurately and carefully are in the pattern. (Tips to make wonky hearts are also there.)

I smoothed out the center onto my design wall, then as I made hearts, I arranged them around the quilt.

There’s always this moment that you wonder: was this quilt worth it? I had only seen it inside, in my room and a lot of time I was sewing at night during winter.

But when I took it outside and saw the natural light hitting all those fun hearts and flowers and birds and patchwork, I was really glad I persevered. And I love the stained-glass photo of the quilt from the back. Sigh. I was content.

When the top was finished, I sent it off to Krista of KristaStitched, who used the Bebop e2e panto at my request. I used a neutral backing and Soft and Bright polyester batting. She did a great job. I bound it with a narrow strip of the geranium color that was in the fabric line. I did have to send away for the half yard, as I’d pretty well used up all my fabrics.

I have one more post about this quilt, showing a few more bits in Part Six, but there won’t be a download for that one–it will live here on my blog. So head over to my pattern shop and get your free pattern. If you don’t have time to sew it now, feel free to save it for later. But please–do not share the patterns with your friends or families. I did this free sew-a-long as a thank you to all my blog readers, and do want you to download your patterns in my shop, not post or share them without permission. Thank you 🙂

For those who have been following along, I hope you’ve enjoyed this Heart’s Garden Mystery QAL. See you soon for Part Six!

Hope you can occasionally piece and quilt–

Something to Think About

Happy Mother’s Day 2022

Well, Happy Mother’s Day a bit early, actually, as tomorrow we are headed to Los Angeles to celebrate my sister’s newest grandchild. We’ll probably wear masks. Our luncheon is outside. Life goes on. Mother’s Day is a day to honor our mothers, and I’m lucky to have a great one. She turns 92 years old at the end of this month, and I am fully in Abraham Lincoln’s camp: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

I’ve had a great mother-in-law, and a mother-in-law that wasn’t so great — or at least that’s how I viewed things in my earlier life. Now that I’m a mother-in-law, I understand the not-so-great woman much better and hope she will forgive me for my failings. I’ve had great women who taught me how to quilt, mothering me into a craft that has sustained me for years. I owe them a great debt.

Where does the beginning start? We think this weekend of mothers and how they give birth to us and raise us. If we are fortunate we have a good mother. If life throws you a brutal curveball, you had a terrible mother. Reams of paper have been used in writing about those two polar opposites; I will not add my words to that pile today.

But somewhere we all had a beginning. Some beginnings are early, and we can locate the source and revere what gave us our start. Other beginnings come later, often after tragedy, pain, death, or divorce, and the reins of life are picked up again in a new beginning. I think it appropriate that whoever you decide is your mother — whether it be a birth mother, or an adoptive mother, someone who took you in, or someone who freed you to grow and fly — I hope that this day you are able to honor and remember them.

I also honor the mothers of all these grandchildren in our laps, a photo taken years ago, those young children giving us such delight (three are missing!). My daughter and daughters-in-law are all devoted to their families. I also love and respect my sisters, my in-laws, aunts, grandmothers. While there are always a few ringers, women who are best at a distance, I am fortunate to have such a great circle of love from women in my life, examples to follow and people from who I can pick up advice about teenagers, babies, husbands and daily living. And quilting.

I wish the same for you.
Happy Mother’s Day!