This and That • August 2020

I’m teaching another live-online class today, and placed the Criss-Cross Christmas on the design wall, then layered on the Criss-Cross Autumn, and when I started making colorful blocks for another version, up they went too! I like the look of them all together, but they really will be three separate quilts.

Here’s the final version of Criss-Cross Autumn, a bit more vibrant than what’s in the mash-up image. For the binding, I kept it simple: I sewed together the leftover strips, and used a simple single-fold binding approach.

I drew out some design ideas on a picture of my quilt with the photo lightened up, so I could sort of see what might work. There’s a lot going on in this quilt, and I didn’t want the quilt to overpower it.

I loved the idea from Linda of Flourishing Palms, where she mentioned she was including “Made during the Covid-19 Pandemic” onto her labels (or similar wording). So I added it to this one, too.

Speaking of labels, I finally finished the label for this one (my version of My Small World from Jen Kingwell), and got it sewn on. Obviously you can see that it took a hit during covid time–didn’t the earth sort of stop still in March? I finished this by the end of January, went to QuiltCon in February, came home and started buying truckloads of groceries, preparing for the pandemic, and just now got the label sewn on.

I’ve also been listening to this while sewing: I have Bette to blame as she recommended it, and I can hardly wait to keep listening.

I just finished The Authenticity Project, and can recommend it if you need a med-light read with interesting characters. It’s also set in London, which means we Americans get to hear a British accent while listening.

I happened on to this talk, presented by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and really enjoyed seeing Ms. Montgomery’s swing coats. There are other Textile Talks to listen to, if you are interested.

I finished up my Gridster Bee block, a free download, and Linda asked us to use cool colors and low volumes, and leave the four quarters unsewn. This was fun to do!

Moving right along with This and That, we first did the front of this puzzle (the Falling Water house by Frank Lloyd Wright), then tackled doing the reverse. We did okay on the center part, then floundered with all the blues. So I started flipping them over, grouping them by colors, and then flipping them back. We just have to DO the puzzle, right? There are no rules as to how you get it done, right?

New project, using Jennifer Sampou’s SKY fabrics. Luscious. Coming soon.

The above two images go together: the brown smoky skyline, which is not a beautiful sunset, but a layer of smoke drift from California fires, coupled with the line-up of temperatures coming our way. I’m not leaving the house on Tuesday.

The the following three images are linked: a countdown clock for the U.S. Elections, a visually interesting and textural image of Kamala Harris, and a Trump cartoon from 2018, which popped up in my Instagram feed today, strangely prescient for this year’s election.

from here
from 2018, from here

Brendan Loper, the artist, writes “Strangely enough this toon was featured in Russia Today comparing it to a soviet political cartoon about western voting practices.”

Lastly, this is where I’ll be today. I laughed when I saw this. This might be partly true for my Zoom-trunk shows; I usually put up a quilt behind me, blocking the view. When I Zoom-teach in my sewing room, however, everything has to be spic and span, because so much can be seen.

A big thank you to all who wrote such lovely descriptions of their gardens, their terrain and what they see around them on my last post. My husband and I took turns pointing out our favorites (which turned out to be ALL of them), and it was like a lovely armchair travel through all your backyards. Sigh. If only I could come and visit you all…I would!

Right now, my tomatoes are hanging on for dear life, and with the 111 temps coming this next week, I’ll have pre-cooked tomatoes to harvest (yes, we even tried putting cupcake wrappers to protect them–this last week we moved their pots into partial shade). Everything’s getting browner: the sky, the hills, the garden, and every day I see air quality advisories warning me that it’s probably not good to go outside and try to inhale the muddy-colored atmosphere. Our summer is like an East Coast winter: we stay inside, keep the A/C at a comfortable-but-not-too-cool level, and sew our brains out.

picture from the 1918 pandemic

I’ll be working on the project with the SKY fabric, prepping up another live-online class, and waiting for the “bers” in the calendar to arrive: September, October, November and December. I actually thought about Christmas today. This year has been so totally and completely crazy, I wondered if I would jinx the season of Let’s Be Jolly by even thinking about it.

So, let’s just keep going, putting right sides together and stitching memories into our quilts.

Christmas Criss-Cross Finished

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Christmas Criss-Cross, June 2019
Quilt #219 • 60″ wide by 66″ tall

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I started this for the 20th anniversary of a small quilters group I’d participated in, as we were given mini-charm packs of this print.  Of course, that only got my toes wet, as I soon ordered a Layer Cake.  Then yardage.  Then backing.

My quilter, Cathy Kreter, finished this up quickly and I put the binding on this past month (so, while I finished 12″ of the binding in June, technically it was finished in May, when I sewed the label on).

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It will be hanging out in my closet, waiting for the holiday season to arrive, a nice lap-sized quilt to use when watching all those holiday seasonal specials.  It doesn’t require a Quilt Ph.D to make this.  I walk you through the steps on an earlier post.  There are many variations of the block in my reference book, but I can’t give you a name for the block outright, as there are two basic blocks in this, both four-patch variations: one is cut on the diagonal and one on the straight.

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tiny-nine-patches

Get to Work Book 2019

In other news, my Get to Work Planner arrived and this time I ordered the elastic band to put on my old one, as I tape in all sort of things and the book has kind of expanded.

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Recently I had an interesting letter in my emailbox.  A young professor asked if he could use the image of this quilt in a project he was working on for his English class.  Since I’d taken it in to my class when I taught the short story Everyday Use, I quickly acquiesced.ESE Utlity Quilt_2

Yep, it’s pretty wonky.  It was designed that way in a class I took with Roberta Horton in Houston, eons ago.  I treasure the quilt for that reason alone.  It’s #37 on my Lifelong Quilts lists.ESE Utlity Quilt_3

I think at one point I wanted to put an epigram on every quilt label, but in a quick survey, this is the only one.

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Lastly, such happy news arrived with the announcement of Affinity Publisher‘s public release on June 19th.  I’ve been a Beta tester in my own weasley and squirrely fashion for the last several months, sending in comments and notes on using the software.  While not a difficult software, there is a learning curve which is when I searched their tutorials and forums for help.  I use this to write my patterns, and I’m currently working backwards through the MSWord versions, and converting them one by one to a more professional look.

The introductory discount is 20% off the price, and there are NO SUBSCRIPTIONS to deal with (you know which company I’m referring to).  So mark your calendars, if you’ve needed software that can help publish documents at a higher level than a word processing program.

Betty Crocker Takes up Quilting

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Betty Crocker Takes Up Quilting, quilt #199
36″ square

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It all begins with digging deep in the stash closet for fun, familiar fabrics…Betty Crocker Qlting_3

..with some quilting to show off the two different sections…Betty Crocker Qlting_4

…to make up another sample for a class I’m teaching in August, for the South Bay Quilters in Torrance, California.  I’m really excited to head out there to the coast in the middle of August, and to spend some time with their guild.  The smaller version is 27.5″ and the larger is 36″ square.

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We’d switched up our classes to this one, which is a Two-for-One class: a quilting/making component in the morning, and a free-motion primer in the afternoon.

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I will also be teaching at Valley Modern Quilt Guild this fall, with the trunk show/lecture on Monday, October 29th, with a workshop on that Saturday, November 3rd.  I’m excited to teach there, although they haven’t told me which workshop yet.  We have all summer to decide that, but here’s a quilt they may want to consider:

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Improv Appliqué, taught in a demo at QuiltCon 2018.  Or…

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Criss-Cross, which if done in these colors, is right in time for Christmas.  Or…

Sky Rocket Variant

Sky Rocket, using just eight colors to make up into a bold, punchy mini-quilt.

I love meeting new quilters, having a chance to talk to people, and later on, sitting in a room full of quilters intent on their projects, their sewing machines humming along.  Can’t wait!

Criss-Cross Quilt Top

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Criss-Cross Christmas Quilt, top finished December 2017
59 ” by 68″

It all started when my friend Leisa gave me a mini-charm pack of Merrily fabrics by Gingiber.  Then the Fat Quarter Shop had the fat-eighth stack, and then when my making dictated more, I scooped up a layer cake of the line, and I was set (and I still have some left). I added Kona Snow, and got creative.

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I just started making…and putting them up..and making…and deciding to enlarge it…

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Then I moved around the blocks, making sure the light of the mini-charm-square blocks were balanced against the heavier “filled-in” blocks.  At some point I decided I was done.

I sewed them together, stopping mid-way to celebrate Christmas and get the flu. Because the flu shot is only partially effective this year, more people will probably get the bug.  The good news, though, that by having had the flu shot, the duration and intensity will be lessened.  I hope so.

I’ve got some year-end sewing to do!

UPDATE:  The pattern for Criss-Cross is available on PayHip.