300 Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilts

Azulejos Pattern

There’s this interesting explanation in a Wrinkle in Time, or at least I remember it and hope it’s there, where the main character tries to help the children understand this concept of a shortcut in time, and she demonstrates it with a string and a crawling ant. Or maybe that’s not in the book at all, and I just remember if from somewhere, but at any rate, the point is that I’ve had a wrinkle in time with this quilt.

This photo was taken in January 2020 at the end of Road to California, where my quilt Azulejos hung in a special exhibit at Road to California. It was this one that recently prompted Catherine H, a reader, to get in touch with me asking for the pattern. I’d made several stabs at it, but now I really buckled down to writing. So there’s the shortcut — a bridging of time from January 2020 to July 2022 — a shortcut not unlike those found in novels with children (and where were their mothers??) and IKEA warehouses, where you are trying to get out of there and pay for all your impulse purchases, and yet you still have to go through chairs and desks and lighting and rugs…unless you can find the shortcut.

I had some other ideas about what this pattern could do though, so got busy and made this blue/yellow/aqua/sea/glints of sun wallhanging, calling it SeaDepths. I had fun making it in solids:

It’s still a flimsy, though. Looking forward to sandwiching it together and getting to the quilting.

This block was supposed to be another version of the pattern, done up in scrappy red-and-white, like this sketch shows:

But, alas, the sprained ankle/broken bone/cast-or-boot-or-what problem persisted, so instead of sewing up a storm at the machine (it’s a quick and easy pattern, with the cleverness in how you trim it up), I kept my foot up and edited photos of an earlier photo shoot of the first rendition of Azulejos, with photos taken near some of the old greenhouses and lab buildings for our university:

So, Catherine H, I’m finished!

I’ve already loaded it up on my PayHip pattern site, and it’s ready to go.

It has a basic set of instructions for the version of Azulejos above, as well as SeaDepths. I illustrate two other versions, one in Cheddar and Indigo, and the one you saw above in scrappy red/white. Or at least that’s how I evisioned it. So three sizes, three versions, two sizes of block templates and a wall-hanging. Not bad for one pattern, I’d say. A free downloadable Preview sheet on PayHip will give you the rundown.

The technical name for this shortcut between two different times is an Einstein-Rosen bridge, more colloquially known as a wormhole. Jody Foster, in her role as a scientist who hunted for “little green men” on a SETI project, famously traveled in one in the movie Contact, a film I can watch over and over again. Actually I have a whole collection of space movies, from the goofy one that got me through grad school, Galaxy Quest, to Interstellar.

Sometimes I have my own version of an Einstein-Rosen bridge when I un-earth an older project, abandoned for lack of time or interest (or both) and when I come back to it, I find it interesting or even something that juices up creative connections. When I first made Azulejos, I thought it was a one and done, as it was the shapes in the quilt that interested me. Then, taking it up two years later, I found my way to other variations and then to SeaDepths, whose colors I could get out of my mind. It was like there was a wormhole between those two variations.

I’m always surprised when a creative journey takes these kinds of twists and turns. It usually happens when I try to box something in, with a dismissive, “Oh, I know all about that,” with a sniff and a tilt of the head. To counter this attitude of immediately sizing something up prematurely, Xavier Encinas noted that “If there is something I’m learning over the years it is this: Take your time while setting up your ideas and take time to distance yourself from what you have done.” So maybe completing this pattern, finding the missing link to getting it done took some distance.

And maybe it just took some time.

Pattern available on PayHip.

Good luck with your wormholes and quilting this week!

300 Quilts · Quilt Finish · Travels

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).

Azulejos Quilt_10

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!