Golden California (Small World) • Quilt Finish

Golden California_1

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).

March 2020 Advert_v2

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

Azulejos Quilt_2

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.

Azulejos Quilt_6 labelAzulejos Quilt_9

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.

Azulejos Quilt_9a

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!

 

 

Scrappy Quilts from Road to California 2020 • Road to California, Part II

Road to California had several special exhibits and the array of quilts in Sisterhood of Scraps reminded me of what the great architect Mies van der Rohe so exquisitely said: More is More.  Oh wait, did he say Less is More?  But I do know he did say “God is in the details,” and boy, do these scrappy quilts have some details.  Enjoy.

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And my favorite:

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Right after this I walked up the aisle and purchased a big stack of 5″ charm squares of shirting fabrics, inspired by this quilt.  If Primitive Gatherings had stocked orange 5″ squares, I would have bought them, too.  Now if I could only find them, but our house is a bit of a disaster, as we had five painters here for two weeks, scraping icky popcorn texture off our ceilings, and repainting nearly everything that didn’t move.

First they spray the ceiling with water, let it soak in, then start scraping.  Let it dry overnight, then “mud” or spackle all the divots, then spray on a light texture (I would have liked flat ceilings but that cost more).  I tried to sew in the kitchen the first week, but by Day 3, when I could draw a heart on the top of my Featherweight Sewing Machine case, I knew it was time to give up that idea.  So I gathered up some hand-sewing and  retreated to the garden, even though it was 65 degrees outside.  The lower left photo shows the progression of the mess in the front/living room by the end, and the the last photo on Day 11 shows them spraying my sewing desk in my bedroom, which by now looks a lot like the living room: a disaster.  My painter brought in a house cleaner for that last day, when they finished everything and took away all the plastic; I helped her get the initial cleaning finished, but I can tell I’ll be doing a lot more of it, as scraping the ceilings brings a LOT of dust.

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This is currently the sewing room.  Right.

I have to the let the paint cure for two weeks before I can put things on shelves, and of course, it’s appalling to see your fabric collection All At Once and in Boxes, so it become apparent that there will be some culling of the collection going on as I put things away.  I plan to be fully finished before we start on our kitchen remodel.

Oh, just kidding.

Heart Qult Goldsmith

Here’s your Valentine’s Day gift for today, found*here.*

Road to California 2020

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It’s here!  It’s here!  Road to California is finally here!  Or was there…because I’m writing about this event and it’s in the past, as is typical with reporting on news.  The bag this year was cute, using the Best of Show winner Janet Stone’s quilt from 2019–and it was sturdy as well as colorful (hooray for none of those cheesy faux fabric bags from years of yore), and has the ever-popular aqua-blue trim.  But enough on Road Fashion, and on to my experience at Road.

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First up was a class with Laura Heine, then two days of class with Jen Kingwell: Halo and Steam Punk.

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Simultaneously, my friend Leisa was headed to the hospital as her cancer had progressed rapidly and she was in for a wild ride.  I wrote about it on IG, and was grateful for Jen Kingwell’s kindness to me during a very stressful two days.  So if I look a bit wiped out in the photo above, it’s because I’d been crying on and off for two days.  All I have to say is if you are going through crisis, be sure you’re with Jen and her comforting brand of patchwork.  And the class–so wonderful, and so fun to be surrounded with like-minded soon-to-be friends, all doing patchwork.  It was mostly a hand-sewing class, but because my distraction level was sort of high, I did sneak out my little sewing machine and piece mine.  I need to make up a few more and make a small wall-hanging; such fun designs!

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But happy news was that Afton of QuiltingMod had decided that if half of the Gridster Bee quilters (photos below) were coming to Road, she wanted to come too.  So she roomed at my house, and rode back and forth with me for three days — a great companion and fun to be with.  She took the photo, above.  Because she’s a youngster (under 45), she was able to take part in a research project about younger quilters, and luckily her interview room had a great view of the retail booths in the large exhibit hall.

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Map of Road. Our quilts were all in the Ballroom to the right. The Pavilion (on the left) had a combination of grab-n-go food and vendors.

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I found Ladybird first.  I’d received a congratulatory note the night before from a friend about winning, but as we like to say in our house, I may have gotten the sign, but the neighoring quilt got the ribbon and the money.  By the end of the week, she had the sign, too, but it was fun while it lasted.  I was in there Thursday at lunch to try and find my three quilts in the Road Showcase.

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They had a new set-up this year at Road, and while there were a few lighting problems, overall I’m a big fan.  The quilting really pops, and we could lean in a bit closer to the quilts to see detail.  They had music going on (from a vendor selling harp and keyboard music) and while by the end I was wishing for some light jazz, that tunes weren’t too bad either.  The only complaint from everyone was how cold it was, but that’s not anything the Road people had control over (they were renovating parts of the Convention Center, so I chalk it up to that). Boy, you are getting ALL the details.  Sorry.Road2CA2020_2Road2CA2020_5
Cute signs showing the “streets” of this neighborhood, and that first time a contestant (that’s what we’re called) head into the room, they are sort of frantic about “Where’s my quilts?”  So I’m photographing this sign above, asking the White Glove Lady how to make sense of it, and I turn around to see this:Road2CA2020_6

Both of my other quilts, on the same row!  (Big grin)  On the left is All Are Friends in Heaven, and two down from that is Plitvice.

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Photo taken in front of Plitvice on Day One by a lovely white glove lady.

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Photo taken on Day Two in front of All Are Friends in Heaven by Catherine Butterworth, who I’d known, but met in person at Road this year (small world!).

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I went looking for Simone‘s quilt that Kelley quilted–it was just down the “street” from Ladybird, so easy to find.

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When class was out, I went to see some of the vendor mall, as the crush dies down mid-afternoon.  There were lots of fun things to see and to buy.

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And I had one more quilt to find: Azulejos, my newest quilt, all the way at the end of the Atrium.  Close-up, below left.  (More on that in an upcoming post.)

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One of the fun things was the meet-ups of the Gridsters.  Clockwise, from above left:

  • Jennifer (local) and Carol (Boston)
  • Afton (New Mexico) at In-N-Out Burger (I made sure she tried our Southern California burger)
  • Lower row: Lisa (Utah), Kelley (Palm Springs), Afton (NM), Simone (local);
    Back row: Me (local), Carol (Boston)–all of us at our traditionl Mexican place we dine at every year.
  • I also saw Janice (in class with me), and we had a group picture of others, also at El Torito on Friday night:

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Others at our dinner were Kim, Lori, Betty (Utah), then Carol’s daughter Hayley and her granddaughter, Maddy, who was very shy.  Laurel (next to Carol on the left) is also one of our regular “Roadies.”

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Many of us then headed over to Jenny on the Road, an evening presentation with Jenny Doan.  We went two years ago, but this year we were handed some swag: a tote bag, a T-shirt, and some fun notions.  It was a nice evening, but after being on the go for a few days, I was ready to head home and crash. Afton kept me entertained, and kept me awake, and I was glad she’d come to Road.

I’ve posted numerous quilts that were in the Showcase on Instagram @occasionalpiecequilt and used the hashtags #road2ca2020 and #roadtocalifornia2020.

Next post: Road to California, Part II
Last post: Road to California, Part III

 

Sawtooth Mania • Queen Bee February 2020

Sawtooth Overview Screenshot

I sat down one day to draw up a simple sawtooth block.  Thirty-five variations later, I got up.  Really, it’s all the same 8-inch block, but it is what’s inside that 4-inch square in the middle that makes it fun.  As Queen Bee of the mighty Gridsters this month, I am looking for some Sawtooth blocks from my bee-mates.  I’m calling it:

Sawtooth Mania Finalists

And like any beauty pageant there’s always a first phase; after looking at all of the first thirty-five, I’ve winnowed it down to these 25 semi-finalists.

I’ve left more explicit directions on our Bee Spreadsheet, but have fun choosing your favorite block to draw. Indicate which one it is on our sheet, and I’ll send you some templates.  Remember, I only want ONE from you, so choose your favorite.  And the reason why?

Tiny Envelope

Not only do I have a specific layout, involving just twelve blocks, it’s also because I want a different signature block: a Tiny Envelope block (also found here). More instructions and information are given on the spreadsheet, but here’s the download for the instructions for the 6-inch envelope block:

Tiny Envelope Flier

Gridsters: Remember to make it in the same color as your Sawtooth Center, but to use PRINTS that match your solid, with the exception of the white center.  Cut that from the fabrics that are coming your way for your Sawtooth Stars.

Everyone else: Feel free to use or borrow these sawtooth ideas.  Pattern coming soon for all of them.

Fabric Collage at Road

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books.  He painted representations of these objects on the canvas, arranging them in such a way that collection of objects formed a recognizable likeness of the portrait subject. (found online)

Azulejos at Road

Above, the main hallway, with quilts from our Inland Empire Modern Quilt guild.

I had my own turn at playing Arcimboldo this past Monday at Road to California, in a collage class taught by Laura Heine.

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We arrived at the hotel ballroom, purchased our kits, and started fusing fabric to Steam a Seam 2. But of course, only one iron worked.  Soon, Laura had rustled up irons from ballrooms that were vacant, so we were in business.

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Then we started cutting and cutting and cutting.  After lunch she showed us how to start laying out our cut pieces using the pattern shape to help keep us organized.  It was a challenge.  It made me think of Arcimboldo, but I also remembered when I was a teenager in Lima, Peru and the only way we could decorate our walls (big posters hadn’t really been invented yet, for teenagers’ rooms) was to lay out cut out pieces from fashion magazines onto a piece of newspaper, and carefully cover the newsprint to create some sort of art, one piece at a time.  My sister, Christine, excelled at this, but soon all four of us were creating collages, guided by her teaching.

Tokyo Face Collage

Here are two more collages that my husband and I glimpsed in a store window in the Ginza area of Tokyo a couple of years ago.

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Here it is, from the side.

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Slowly, the bears around the classroom started to take shape.

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This is Arcimboldo’s portrait titled “Flora,” a lovely lady made all of flowers…just like I was trying to do with my bear in a classroom at Road to California.

Arcimboldo Winter

His Four Seasons are some of his more well-known works; above is Winter.  I kept thinking of the version I’d seen in more recent memory: a giant sculpture in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  Arcimboldo in 3D, rendered by Philip Hass in pigmented and painted fiberglass.

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This is probably 20 feet tall.

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And here is my bear.  Arcimboldo would be proud of me.  However, I still have the backgrounds to do.

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Here’s the class sample.  It is evident I have a lot of work to do yet, but Heine’s artful versions of fabric collage are much more inticing that stacks of vegetables, or retail items.  It was a good but busy day; Heine was a lovely teacher who encourages her students onward.  

Monday marked the official opening of Road to California 2020.  I have two Jen Kingwell classes (Wednesday and Thursday) and Thursday is the day that the show opens, and I’ll be able to finally glimpse my three quilts hanging in the show this year!  Then Friday is the night I get to hear Jenny Doan in an evening lecture.  Lisa and three friends are coming in from Utah, Afton is arriving tomorrow from New Mexico, and I’ll get to meet up with lots of new and returning friends from around the area.

I love Road week!