Liberty USA Mini Quilt, 2

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I’ve made some progress by getting the first (left) side sewn down.  liberty-usa_first-side-sewn1

It’s pretty wonky, but I’m leaving it as a testament to this wonky time in my life.

In my pain-killer-addled brain the day I mapped this out, I resorted to doing the freezer paper appliqué method, so everything looks pretty 3D-ish when laid out.  In hindsight, I probably should have done it differently, but the quilt will still get done this way.  Better to move forward, than to take too many steps back.

Chuck Nohara Quilt Blocks

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I have a new girlfriend and her name is Chuck Nohara.  Like all of my girlfriends, she is charming, sweet with a bite of spice, witty and oh! so clever.  This is her book, purchased from QuiltMania.  She’s also worth her weight in euros — er, dollars — so get ready for that part, too.  If you live near a quilt show that’s coming up, sometimes QuiltMania comes to quilt shows and you can escape the horrific international shipping costs.  I admit only to the fact that I was in recovery from surgery when I was shopping and perhaps the drug-induced haze had something to do with it, but now I’m having fun.
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I was suckered drawn into this by the adorably cute photos of her work on the #chucknoharaqal on Instagram, and as soon as I saw some of these blocks, I was hooked.ChuckNohara3

The hashtag sashing is also very cute.  I may or may not do this.  Depends on my current state of mind.ChuckNohara2

You can make over thousands of these blocks, hence the title “2001,” which does not refer to the year, but instead to the number of block drawings inside.  There have been other Chuck Nohara books, and they are scarcer than hen’s teeth.  QuiltMania republished her work (text is both in French and English) and so now we can get her designs.  Because of course you want a new girlfriend, too.ChuckNohara6 ChuckNohara5 CN606 prep

This is the one that drew me in.  I’m prepping up some of the blocks just to try them out.  Susan of PatchworknPlay and I are going to join the quilt-a-long and do some of the blocks, too. If you jump in with us, head to Instagram and post up your blocks there.CN969 prep1

I started by scanning the page I wanted, full-size.  I then cut out my block, placed it on the copier bed and enlarged it until it measured 6″ on a side.  For the birdhouse, I needed to enlarge it by 283%.  But the cherries needed 301%.  I have no idea why.  Those mysteries are way beyond my pay grade.CN969_prep3 CN969 prep2

A perfect little project to tote along to doctor appointments, on car trips, and on a journey to my father’s 90th birthday celebration.

And That Has Made All the Difference: a Four-in-Art Quilt

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And That Has Made All the Difference
Quilt No. 151, November 2015
#4 in the Literature Series

I close out the Literature Series with another poem, a famous poem, by Robert Frost.  You can even guess what it is by looking at the colors, and those leaves — yes, I chose “The Road Not Taken.”

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I chose a family group picture from the last time we were all together, almost 2 years ago this December, and cut-and-pasted it into a photo I grabbed from the web of a golden allee (which I think must be in New York’s Central Park).  I tweaked it, then printed it on some fabric I’d prepared with Bubble Jet (more info about that on *this* post).

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I let it dry from the printing, then set it with Bubble Jet Set, laid it out to catch the excess moisture (below), then hung it to dry.

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It needed more leaves.  So I cut out scads and scads of leaves from fabric that I’d backed with fusible webbing, and ironed them on.  I framed the photo with a partial log cabin arrangement, then quilted it.

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In conjunction with the making of this quilt, I read the book by David Orr, The Road Not Taken, which is an analysis of this poem, which apparently most of us get wrong (sorry to be the one to break this to you).  We think it’s about rugged individualism, of the choices that we make and how we come out on top.  That idea, apparently, is routed firmly in our American way of looking at things, which is to say, that as a country, America comes out on the top in scales ranking us as the most individualistic  (only the Czech Republic was tied with us.)  And it’s certainly part of the part and parcel of this poem, when we talk about it and think about ourselves as that individual (notice how there are no other people in this poem) striding through a dappled forest, making astute and informed choices.  But really, it’s about so many things.

While there are many threads in this book, I was quite intrigued with the idea of being at the crossroads.  And in introducing that idea, Orr wonders if it’s not about the final victorious moment, but rather it is about”[t]he moment at the crossroads”. . . “in which all decisions are equally likely. We haven’t moved, we haven’t chosen, we haven’t sinned” (51).  Orr quotes the introductory note on Frost in the second edition of The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry:” ‘The Road Not Taken’ seems to be about the difficulty of decision making but is itself strangely reluctant to resolve. It keeps us in the woods, at the crossroads, unsure whether the speaker is actually even making a choice, and then ends not with the decision itself but with a claim about the future that seems unreliable’ ” (70).

MadeDifference_backEven Frost himself, in a note to Leonidas Payne in November of 1927, writes: “My poems—I should suppose everybody’s poems—are all set to trip the reader head foremost into the boundless. Ever since infancy I have had the habit of leaving my blocks carts chairs and such like ordinaries where people would be pretty sure to fall forward over them in the dark. Forward, you understand, and in the dark” (53).

Forward and in the dark is about how I feel about many decisions I make, but the quality of individualism whispers in my ear at all times: I am the one who can see clearly to choose, as if the “I” was unchanging, solid, rooted in bedrock.  Yet doesn’t the choosing change us?  And then doesn’t every choice become monumental?  Orr agrees, saying that “If we can’t persist unchanged through any one choice, then every choice becomes a matter of existential significance—after all, we aren’t merely deciding to go left or right; we’re transforming our very selves” (60-61), which is one aspect of what the poem is about: choice is slippery and transformative, yet a constant in our lives.

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However you think about it, I did make a significant choices some twenty-six years ago to marry my husband, to join with him in raising the four children I brought with me out of a period of loss and devastation, and in doing so I not only changed my life, but the lives of the children.

And that has made all the difference.MadeDifference_back

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“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Here they are together.  Somehow I need to stitch them together and meld them together into one quilt.

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About Us: We live all over the world, from Scotland and Australia to the continental United States.  Our blog is *here.*  Please visit the other members of our Four-in-Art Group and see their Literature Art Quilts:

Betty at a Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton (delayed by house flood; will post later)
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Susan at PatchworknPlay
Tiny Nine-Patch
Next reveal date is February 1st, 2016.  We have had a series of emails amongst ourselves, clarifying where we want to go in the next year, and found again our desire to keep working together.  Rachel is now the head of our group, and we will have a new theme and quarterly challenges.  Stay tuned.
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My Small World, June 2015 edition

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I don’t often jump on the Latest and Greatest Thing in QuiltLand, but this one called my name.  It’s Jen Kingwell’s My Small World and was printed in the oh-so-elusive QuiltMania Spring issue 2015 (picture above is from the QuiltMania website).  I don’t know why you are making it (there is a My Small World QAL on Instagram and other places), but I know why I am making it.

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It’s because in the 1960s, when wearing white socks with your loafers was considered cool and women always wore pantyhose with their bare legs, I came here.  Our family was on our way home from living for two years in Lima, Peru. It was in the days of Disneyland with tickets, and we seemed to have enough for our family of seven children to go on this ride.  Since I had a broken leg, I went on it more than once.

The ride, first fabricated for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, was installed in California’s Disneyworld in 1966, which will make it fifty years old next year.  I live about an hour from the original Disneyland, so it’s my patriotic duty to honor this institution, right?  Of course we all know THAT song:

“Children of the World” was the working title of the attraction. Its tentative soundtrack, which can be heard on the album, featured the national anthems of each country represented throughout the ride all playing all at once, which resulted in disharmonic cacophony. Walt conducted a walk through of the attraction scale model with his staff songwriters Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, saying, “I need one song that can be easily translated into many languages and be played as a round.” The Sherman Brothers then wrote “It’s a Small World (after all)” in the wake of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which influenced the song’s message of peace and brotherhood. When they first presented it to Walt, they played it as a slow ballad. Walt requested something more cheerful, so they sped up the tempo and sang in counterpoint. Walt was so delighted with the final result that he renamed the attraction “It’s a Small World” after the Sherman Brothers’ song.” (Wikipedia)

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While I have no idea if Jen Kingwell was influenced by the smart geometrics, towers and shapes (Tokyo Disney, above), to me there is a clear connection.

MySmallWorld_1Judging by the photos on Instagram, we all start here: cutting sky pieces.  I did neutrals for a while, then started adding in whispy blues, just to make it more interesting, as I’d seen others do it.  It’s that idea of collaboration, as expressed in my last blog post.
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Section One’s Sky.  I was listening to a book on Audible, that I finally had to turn up to 2x speed just to get through it.  I’m not recommending it.

Beautiful Mystery Gamache

Now I’m back to Inspector Gamache, written by Louise Penny.  I’m going to hate it when I get through reading this series!

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Buildings and some sky.  Now to start on the details.  I found reading Susan’s entries on her PatchworknPlay blog was helpful, too.

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I used some leftover leaves from the Pineapples and Crowns quilt to make this square.

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Susan’s idea to start the tiny pinwheels by cutting two inch squares, then making HSTs, then on to the pinwheel was a good idea.  I threw in some of my New York City fabric, with the words Radio City Hall to liven up this section.

It took me forever to figure out what text thing to put at the top of the building, but I went for this one, since Betsy is a childhood name.  I also had fun fussy cutting a hot air balloon in the Sky Section for Section 2.  You can see the bits of blue sky in the neutrals now.  Here is the progress I’ve made so far:

MySmallWorld1and2Churn Dash Diagram 12And here’s my contribution to the Errata: In section 2, the center square for the churn dash is incorrect.  It should measure 1 1/2″ no 2 1/2″.  Having said that, I have enormous appreciation to Jen Kingwell for this pattern–it has a LOT of moving parts and to even get some sort of pattern down on paper is amazing.

In my real small world, I’ve taken a couple of trips since the semester finished.

David Graduation

The first one was to Phoenix to see my daughter’s husband graduate from Dental School.  I think he had the oldest children of any of his fellow graduates there!  They have happily moved to their new city, and he has started work already.  But this week, they are on a trip to Disneyland to celebrate their achievement.

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And to start the summer off with a bang, I also took a couple of trips through these two machines as a spot on my lungs showed up in my yearly X-ray.  It is because of *this* that my oncologist checks everything.  Twice.  The diagnosis from these humming machines revealed it was nothing to worry about, although for three weeks I did — a lot. I couldn’t really talk about it at the time, so I’m glad it’s behind me.

Basket Blocks Quilt Top

However going through all that certainly made me feel like a basket case.  No, I didn’t know about this when I started this quilt, but it certainly is appropriate!  Now I should really get to the closets that need cleaning out, the papers that needs tossing.  It’s nice to think about regular life again.

I’ve also been busy sewing up more Circles Blocks as I want to finish that quilt and get it quilted.  I have one more to go, then I’ll have sixteen total.  Block #13 will be up on the blog in a couple of weeks.  Here they are stacked together:

Circles Blocks StacksWhat’s been going on in Your Small World?

Circles EPP Button

Next block is coming on July 1st!

Pineapples and Crowns–Blogger’s Quilt Festival

AmysCreativeSide.com
Pineapples and Crowns made it into the Viewer’s Choice section of the Festival.
Please remember to vote for your favorite this week!
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Pineapples and Crowns, 61″ square
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I am entering in Amy’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival, and I apologize for my regular readers who have already seen this quilt.  But she requests a blog post written the week of the festival, so as some one who is totally rule-bound (*cough, cough*) I am writing a new post.  The original post is *here.*
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The inner pineapple blocks were made for me by two sets of bees, but the outer border, of the pineapple crowns is all hand-appliqued.  I went back and forth between all the categories, looking for the “mixed technique” category, but finally entered it in the appliqué category, if you want to help this quilt become a winner–that’s where to go (*shameless plug*).
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It could have gone in “scrappy”  or “large” for just like our children, we can categorize our quilts as one thing or another, depending on if they’ve kept us up all night, sick and crying, or if we see them decked out in their Sunday best, playing the timpani drums at the end-of-school concert, like my eldest granddaughter just did. (Way to go, Keagan!)
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But, as always, the best thing to call quilts is done, ready for display or enjoyment or to take to a botanic garden and take pictures of them, which I did recently.  I love the mix of scrappy white-background fabrics and the rainbow of brights.  I placed warm bright petals in the outermost border, and cool petals in the inner border.  It’s not really noticeable overall, but I needed to organize these blossoms somehow, and I chose to do it with color.
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I hope you’ll take a few minutes and head back to Amy’s Blogger’s Festival to see all the other terrific quilts that are showing up there, and to vote for your favorite in each category.  The voting begins May 22nd, and you can also vote for Viewer’s Choice as well.  Enjoy the online quilt festival!

Colorwheel Blossom–Blogger’s Quilt Festival

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Colorwheel Blossom, 48″ square

AmysCreativeSide.com

Welcome to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!  I’m entering ColorWheel Blossom in the ROYGBIV category of Amy’s online contest.

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 The original finished blog post is *here.*

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It took me forever to find the right colors for the center of the blossom, and I haunted several quilt show booths, combing through their Kona Cottons to find just the right shades, then visited Purl Soho–Irvine to get the right inner petal shades.  I appliquéd it to the white background, and then it took me several months to get up the courage to quilt this.  I settled on a curvilinear emphasis in the middle field and an angular emphasis in the borders.

It now hangs in our hallway right by the front door, a rainbow greeting all our guests, lighting up our home.

Thanks for stopping by to see Colorwheel Blossom. Be sure to head back to Amy’s Blogger’s Festival to see the rest of the quilts, and to vote for your favorites!  Voting begins May 22nd for each category, as well as Viewer’s Choice.