Field Flowers • Quilt Finish

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One of the challenges of finishing a quilt is figuring out where to photograph the thing.  So one night last week my husband and I went over to University of California-Riverside (UCR) to find some places that would set off the two quilts I was toting around.

I’d originally thought about the Botannic Gardens, with all their lush greenery and wooden benches; I’ve snapped photos in this place before, and Field Flowers, with its scalloped edges is so old-fashioned looking I wanted to head there.  It was closed.  As we walking back to the car to leave, I spotted this old greenhouse.  UCR is noted for its agricultural emphasis, as we breed a lot of the oranges you are eating now (Cuties, anyone?).  This greenhouse seemed the perfect place, for my husband, with three broken ribs, to be able to hold up the quilt.  (By the way, he has a Qh.D: a doctorate in Quilt Holding.)

Renaissance Figures Holding Ladybird

I also recruited two bystanders from the museum in Berlin to help me show off Field Flowers. Although their expressions are a little wooden, they held it in place without moving, so I was able to get a good photograph.

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The center of this quilt was quilted by my regular quilter, Cathy of CJ Designs.  She left the basting in the borders and then turned it over to me to finish up those scalloped edges.  Since the pattern is by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life, I knew she’d have good ideas of how to finish the quilt, so I pretty much mimicked what her quilter did.  More information about the pattern can be found on *this post.*

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I followed Sherri’s directions for cutting bias binding, but used a 20-inch square as I’d added more hexies to my quilt.  I needn’t have, as her directions would have provided enough length.

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The single fold binding went smoothly around each curve, and didn’t add too much bulk.

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Earlier that day, we’d gone over to Gless Ranch, a local purveyor of oranges, as they had old farm equipment around their property, and lots of (newly trimmed) orange trees:

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Still my favorite place.

 

When we got home, I noticed it had gotten dirty from traipsing around, so threw it in a cool-water wash with a couple of color catchers (first invented in the UK, by the way), and dried it until almost dry on a low heat.  Like all other quilters everywhere, I love how the washed quilt looks (although I also like unwashed quilts).  Lay flat to dry, so there is no transferring of ink to other damp spots.  (As me how I know this.)

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Me, standing with Field Flowers in a field of ferns.

Happy Photographing!

Ladybird • Quilt Finish

Ladybird_1Ladybird is finished.

Ladybird_2Ladybird, the name a shortened version of ladybird beetle (or ladybugs as we call them in the States), has a rich folkloric history, with allusions to religion, good fortune, death, and old rituals.  This original quilt, with its split block design, evoked the tiny beetle, a godsend to gardeners everywhere.

Ladybird_7We’d had a bumper crop of their babies around the yard when I started this, little crawly things that my husband identified as the early stage of ladybird beetles (the official name).

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I don’t know how I came up with this original pattern, but the colors and the accents just sort of found their way to this quilt.  I also don’t know how I figured out the quilting, but like anything in my life, the starting is the hardest.

Finishing is easier.

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Background fabric is from Jane Sassaman.

Of course you are familiar with the rhyme:

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home,
Your house is on fire, and your children will burn.

There are multiple, maybe even a hundred, versions of this rhyme in many different languages and countries.  The one I quoted above is dated to 1744, and is often thought to reference the burning of stubble in the fields after harvest, a practice discouraged now because of air pollution, but common in early times.

Ladybird_8My husband found the photography site for us at University of California-Riverside.  It’s the artwork on the front of the Genomics Building by Jim Isermann, the sculpture influenced by geometric shapes of molecular structure and its illustration. Yeah, I’m in love with this.  And did I mention my husband broke three ribs last week?  Yet he still helped me schlep around the quilts (and holding one up for me in another upcoming post), even clamping on one side where I couldn’t reach.  (It was a small household altercation with a huge yard waste container; he will be fine in about six weeks, but for now I do the trash.)

After dinner at our newest Vietnamese restaurant, we flew away home. Thankfully, our house is not on fire, but, regretfully, our children are gone.

Pattern will be coming soon.

Bluebird of Quiltiness

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Another Tiny Quilt was hatched today, and its this Bluebird of Quiltiness.  Based on a 1-1/2″ block size, I figured it out and made it up, finishing it with the perfect faceted black bead for the eye.  There are multiple patterns out there for pieced birds, and while I changed this one up enough that I consider it my pattern and no one else’s, I’m not putting a PDF out there.  Just in case.

Bluebird on Nest

However, this one is different enough that I’m posting up a PDF of the pattern pieces, in case you want to make a bird on a nest for your next Tiny Quilt.  Grab the PDF file here: Nested Bird pattern and have fun making another little Tiny Quilt.  (I have a listing of all the Tiny Quilts on this blog, in case you’re interested.)

After you create the bird (with, or without nest), then you sew on borders until it’s large enough.  See the first Tiny Quilt for more instructions.

 

Wanting to finish this today made me leave the house, avoid the parking lot also known as our Memorial Day freeway gridlock, just to get over to WalMart to buy a landscape-oriented frame. It’s those cheesy plastic frames, nothing fancy.   To modify this one, I laid the frame down on my quilt, traced around it, and used those lines to create the backing and put the binding on.

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I also finished this bird-themed stitchery, purchase eons ago at Primitive Gatherings.  I took it with me to Berlin, but finished it up here.  Now to find a frame for this.

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The other day I pin-basted three wall-sized quilts, and started stitching on the first one:Quilting with no direction

Right.  I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m having fun.  I think am hoping it will make more sense when I get the whole thing done.  Stay tuned; it will be long while, as I still limit my daily quilting minutes.

Bindings Needed_1

And the three quilts came back from Cathy of CJ Designs, my quilter.  One is in Active Binding Mode downstairs by the TV, and two (above) are waiting for binding.  The whirly-gig backed quilt is also waiting for more quilting along the borders.  The fun thing was that I’ve had a number quilts done by her, and so I hit the magic number and the last one was done for free.  It’s her way of saying thank you to her customers.  (Thank you, Cathy!)

Mom and her quilt

But I’m leaving all this behind this next week, as I head up to my Mother’s to help celebrate her 91st birthday.  (I do like to remind her that if you turn the numbers upside down, she’s a girl of 16.)  She’s shown above with about the only quilt I can remember her making: a cross-stitched top which was sent out to be hand-quilted.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom on young birthday SM

Mom, around age 12, holding her birthday cake

 

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

Annularity_3DetailAnnularity_1DetailAnnularity_2Detail

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.

Quilting _Annularity2

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.)

Quilting _Annularity4 thread

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.