Fun with Other Quilters at Valley Modern Quilt Guild

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Last week I had the chance to head over to Los Angeles, and speak at the Valley Modern Quilt Guild, held at HighTech LA, a very cool building (with great gates).

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They had these signs all over the school, which I think is a good motto for retreats and workshops, right?

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The place we met was one of those classrooms that can be changed around to suit the needs of those using it, and it was a good space for giving a talk: well lit, comfortable with a good microphone.  I stayed until the end of their Guild, as I was curious to see what they were working on.  I especially liked their Challenge for that month: Curves.

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Saturday, I headed back to teach a workshop for them at a local high school; the workshop was held in the costume department of the high school, and the teacher worked on costumes for an upcoming production while we used her room.

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First up, a little show and tell.  The woman holding the quilt is the principal of the school, and I’m happy to be in her company, along with the other fine members of this guild.

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It’s always fun to see what gadgets people bring, and I loved this one: a veritable traveling trunk of supplies, that you just unzip and Voila! it is available.  No more packing up and forgetting something.  (I don’t have anymore information on it, but I know she purchased it online.)

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As soon as we finished the center block, it was photo time.  I love how some centers come forward and some recede.  Such a creative group!  I didn’t do a very good job on taking a picture of the group, but there might be more on their Guild Website.  They decided on the Two-For-One class: a quilt in the morning, and free-motion quilting in the afternoon.

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Thank you, Valley Modern Quilt Guild–I had a great time!

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And in other news…  It is the ONLY reason I did an update on my iPhone this early.  Usually I wait a while until they get the bugs out, but I couldn’t resist.  They also have a ball of yarn, if you are interested in that.

Gridsters 2018_November blocks

And I finished my November Gridsters Bee blocks early this month and am sending them off to Allison of Quilt Studio 62, who is our Queen Bee this month.

In addition, I’ve had a question or two about what paper I use in the foundation paper piecing I did for the recent Crazy Cushion Class. I recently purchased a ream of paper from them (after 10 years of using the first one), so I took some photos in the store.

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It’s a vellum from Neenah.  I updated this post, where you can find more information.

Don’t know what to do with all those real “decorator” pumpkins you buy for fall? A recipe for Stuffed Pumpkin is a good way to enjoy them one more time.

Fall Leaves

The year we lived in Alexandria, Virginia I brought home handfuls of leaves from my walks and scanned them for the future.  I love looking at them at this time of year, as we here in Southern California don’t have fall color like this.

Happy November!

Annularity

Annularity_May 2018LabeledAnnularity
Quilt #203
Began October 2017 • Completed May 2018

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I use Magnifico thread as it has a nice sheen without being shiny, and it lays down a lovely line of stitching.  In the bobbin is So Fine thread (both by Superior Threads).

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I made a duplicate of  Annularity II — which was a quilt I designed and made for Paintbrush Studios (which hung at QuiltCon, and most recently, Quilt Market) — because I thought the first version had been lost in the mail en route to the quilter. It hadn’t, and now I had my own top.

Then I decided to quilt my own, trying out different ideas as explained in an earlier post. But thanks to my quilt holder Dave, I can now reveal the fully quilted version to the world, as well as deliver some great news about this quilt.

Recently I’d been talking with Rick and Dot Kimmelman of Pineapple Fabrics about this quilt, hoping they’d want to use it for their booth, as they carry the full line of Painter’s Palette Fabrics. In between Point A and Point B of our discussions, they purchased Keepsake Quilting, which made many of us in the QuiltWorld very happy.  And so, beginning this summer, Keepsake Quilting and Pineapple Fabrics will be the exclusive sellers of my Annularity pattern.   Both Keepsake and Pineapple will also have kits available that include all the fabrics for the top and binding.  (You can check Pineapple Fabrics.com to purchase within the next month, and see Keepsake Quilting’s Fall catalogue, due out the second week of August.  You can bet I’ll put something up on here when I first lay eyes on my quilt in their catalogue!)

Annularity_4Back_fixedThe wild and crazy back.  It’s “prairie house” from the De Leon Design Group, for Alexander Henry Fabrics.  I thought it might disguise any oopsies, but I was happy to note that I actually had very few.  I guess maybe after ten years I’m getting better at the quilting?  Much credit belongs to the Sweet Sixteen machine I use, and the threads, which always seem to balance so well.Annularity_4bBackScrap

After one quilting session, when I turned it over to check the back, I noticed I had quilted in this wedge-shaped scrap onto the back.  I started to try and cut it out, then decided I kind of liked this nod to the process, so left it in.  Really, you can’t see it, when looking at the overall back. (Well, NOW you do, but you didn’t at first, right?)

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So, thanks for being my cheering squad, motivating me to finish up my quilt.  And I hope you enjoy making yours!

Quilting Annularity–an update

My version of Annularity sat rolled up on my guest bed for ages, until I realized it wasn’t going to get quilted that way.  There are no Quilting Fairies, not that I know of. (Shucks.)

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Where does quilting begin?  It begins in the tortured anguished cry of “How am I going to quilt this thing?” an endeavor I described in this blog post titled Don’t Let the Process Overtake the Purpose— a terrifying something about careening off a mountain cliff sort of feeling.  Yep.  That’s how it starts…or doesn’t.  But finally, using some advice I’d been given at QuiltCon, I started drawing and drawing (above). It got me through the center.

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Then the outer ring of colors.  I opened any random artsy book in my house, pulling up the one from an exhibit of Japanese screens from the Smithsonian, which prompted those bold ribbon designs in the upper right, which looked to me like the ribbons at the end of a piñata.

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No.

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But that same book gave me the idea to think of those shapes as fans, and to fill in the design as if someone had opened one of those and was showing me the designs.

Japanese Fan

It became easier to visualize the design that way.

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Am I 100% thrilled with this?  No, but I am 100% happy that I’ve figured it out enough to get the quilt quilted, knowing — again — the truth in that old slogan I repeat to myself more than once a day: The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. (or Done.)

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I had purchased a number of spools of Superior Thread’s Magnifico, which is my go-to thread for quilting.  It lays down a lovely, slightly thicker, line of thread, but it doesn’t sit on top of the quilt like some thicker threads.  I’m always trying to match the thread well, taking photos of the colors to keep myself on target.

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So I wouldn’t get discouraged over taking this in small bites, I took a photo at the end of each quilting session, threw it into my Snapseed app on my phone and labeled the date and the progress.  Above is the first grouping.

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It was celebration once I quilted out of the reds into the yellow, which you can see happened last week.Quilting2 _AnnularityQuilting _Annularity6

Here’s where I am now.  I’ve got to take a break for a while (some traveling and family stuff), but look forward to getting back at it.  The dark outer quadrants have already been planned, mostly quilted in black thread, letting them recede away from the rainbow of colors.

Rose Window • Four-in-Art Quilt

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It’s Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal day today, the penultimate challenge in 2017.  We began this art mini-quilt group in November of 2012, and we are in our fifth year.  Bette, Rachel and I have been with the group since the beginning, with additions and changes here and there.  It’s been wonderful to have this to look forward to four times a year, a chance to stretch and try some new things, all contained in a mini-quilt (we are more flexible with the size now, but originally, it had to be contained in a 12″ square).

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Rose Window
13 1/2″ wide by 18″ long
Quilt Number 185

Since I chose the challenge of Stained Glass Shadows, obviously I’m in love with the highly saturated blocks of color left on the floors of cathedrals and churches when the sun shines through stained glass windows.  I originally thought I’d try some figurative work, but the colors are what always catch my eye.

So I began with the warm tones, adding the layers of earth-colors as they moved toward the bottom, and celestial-colors as it moved upward.

I also knew that somewhere on this quilt there had to be a Rose Window, that enormous circular window high above entryway doors.

Then it was quilt the background, and I went with the idea of the rose window as the center, with thread-streams of color coming out from there: navy and deep colors from the top and the warmer yellow-orange-red tones as the sun filters downward through the stained glass. My solid fabrics are Paintbrush Studio Solids, and the thread is Magnifico by Superior Threads (with Bottom Line in the bobbin) with some So Fine here and there, as the color dictated.

Details of Rose Window quilting.

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Back of quilt, with standard label, and added corners for easy hanging.

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Please visit the others in our Four-in-Art group, and see how they interpreted the Challenge of Stained Glass Shadows:

Betty        Blogpost on Four-in-Art

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

Our next challenge is Illumination, and will post on November 1st.

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National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

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Stained glass window from Prague Cathedral, by Edward Mucha

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Rose Window, Italy

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Not Waving, but Drowning

notwavingdrowning_front2Not Waving, But Drowning
Quilt #173
39″ high by 43″ wide

This quilt began its life in a quilt block I designed, which I call Semaphore.   My friend Cindy saw that and made a version for a fabric manufacturer, who then put it on a world tour (see a photo at the end).  I saw it again at Quilt Market in May 2016, and decided I wanted one myself, only larger.

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I purchased several charm packs of solids, and arrayed them all out by color family and from dark to light, using several color groupings.  There were many duplicate squares, but after I felt I had a good amount, I went to work.  More information about the layout and design ideas as well as how to quilt this can be found in the pattern, for sale on Craftsy.

I titled the block Semaphore, but always in the back of my mind while I was working on this quilt was the poem titled “Not Waving, but Drowning,” by Stevie Smith, about a man who gets in trouble while out in the waves.  He drowns because people think he was waving, but in reality, he was signaling for help.

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I think the half-square triangles look like a series of nautical flags, waving in the wind.  I decided to quilt it also in a wavy pattern, but didn’t want a tightly controlled wave.

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I wanted those waves loose and lanky, wild and woolly, just like those ones that come up and splat you in the face when you are wave-jumping in summer.

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I love the colors in this quilt, and the up and down fluid movement of the quilting. It calls me to remember that our lives, like the ocean, can lift us high, can hit us in the face, can overwhelm (as in Stevie Smith’s poem), yet also can bring a lovely memory of a summer’s day. In a nutshell, it reminds me that life is full of ups and downs, a blend of dark and light.  It’s also a reminder that, in spite of what we post on Instagram and Facebook, we all aren’t having tons of fun and radiantly happy all day long.  But we also don’t want to be drowning when we are in reality signaling for help.  So, take care of your loved ones and friends, and please please…take care of yourself.

And keep quilting.

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Cindy’s quilt at Quilt Market, using the Semaphore block.

 

(NOTE: This post has been updated with different content after original publication.  It was originally about depression.  Thank you all for your comments; I have them saved and will reread them often.)

tiny nine patches

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free. 
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Shine: The Circles Quilt, finished

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Shine: The Circles Quilt
Quilt #170
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This quilt finally finished, I took it out for a photography session with the help of my husband.3shinecirclesquilt

I started sewing the first block in June of 2014, and finished the top a year later.  The quilting was finished at the end of September, but it wasn’t until now that I could get time to take it up to our university’s Botanic Gardens to get some photographs.
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My husband’s favorite block.  As some of you know, many of these blocks were inspired by art in a church in Slovenia, as well as designs from our travels.  Most of the patterns and accompanying tutorials are free on this blog, found *here* as well in a tab labeled Shine: The Circles Quilt.  4shinecirclesquiltl 5ashinecirclesquilt

This shows the quilting.  I was trying out double batting (polyester with wool), and found it was a challenge to move the heavy quilt around on the machine.  It took me nearly 4 months to quilt this thing, as I was hobbled with a shoulder injury.  But I was able to finish it!7shinecirclesquilt_label

As I quilted, I thought a lot about my brother-in-law Tom, who passed away a little over a month ago.  He maintained a beautiful small garden in his backyard, and so in one of the corners I quilted in a flower in his memory (shown below).  Many offered advice and help while I was quilting: thank you, everyone.6shinecirclesquilt shinecirclesquilt_detailback

detail of quilting from the back

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This closes a chapter in my life.  Lovely to see you here, Shine!

tiny nine patches

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚
My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free. 
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚