All done with Frivols 9

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Yippee!  Number nine is finished, and in the same month I started it. We had to take my car in to get fixed (see recent post) and I thought taking photos at the auto body shop would be something different.

First, a cool picture from @bymariandrew:

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It’s been this way this month.  I’ve kind been working all the time to finish up this and that.

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I’ve been helped by listening to this excellent book,  Forty Autumns, by Nina Willmar, about one family separated by the Berlin Wall.  I got down an old guidebook from the bookshelf in our family room, and sure enough, it shows the two Germanys, and the “island” of West Berlin.  The Forty Autumns cover photo shows the Brandenburg Gate trapped in East Berlin, a fitting visual reminder of the difficulties of this time.  I recommend it highly.

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The squares had no HSTs–hallelujah! so I whipped right through them, and the directions were easy to follow in both cutting and sewing.Frivols 9 _7

After switching  the blocks around a bit, I found an arrangement I was happy with.

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Now to mark off the triangles to make the flying geese borders.  I usually put on a gizmo on my sewing machine to make that sewing easier, but I was talking to my Mom, and it seemed a nice quiet way to keep my hands busy.

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And then, just like that, I had it quilted and done.  I did loopies in the octagonal parts of the block, filling in with little petaled flowers.  I kept the quilting to a minimum, so the quilt is soft.  I always think there is a baby coming right around the corner who might need this.

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When I sewed on the the snowball squares, I did a double seam, so that I was — in the end — left with lots of little half-square triangles.  There are four per block, and two per triangle in the border, so you can figure out how many I have.

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I’m now three-fourths of the way through, and I often wondered if I would make it this far.  Thanks to all those supportive comments; I do appreciate them.

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A Stack of Frivols.
One is missing and is now the property of a wee girl named Halle.

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It’s been All Frivols, All the Time.

Now for a break!

 

Frivols 8 ** FINISHED!** & Intro to Frivols 9

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Frivols 8_7 front

I finished Frivols 8, and haven’t yet named it, although Moda calls it “Brio” or something like that.  But all those Bear Paw blocks are so fun and alive, I need another name.  How about…

Charlie and Bear Earmuffs

…Baby Bear?, especially after my daughter-in-law posted this picture of her youngest son (my youngest grandson) helping with dinner, complete with bear earmuffs.  He’s a character.

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I finally was able to get to the quilting (see below).

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I found some old 1940s prints in the stash, and chose a blue to match the lightest blue in the quilt for the binding.  That’s one of the troubles with doing these frivols after the fact: the fabrics to complete them are AWOL, but I made it work.Frivols 8_6

Now the requisite Beauty Shots.  The print above is titled “She Will Find What Was Lost,” and is a print by Brian Kershisnik, a favorite of mine.Frivols 8_8a draped

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Eight are done!

But since this is your two-for-one post, here’s the intro for Frivols #9, our little box for September.

Look!  No Half-Square Triangles!  Okay, there are some triangles that are snowballed on, and a few Flying Geese, but hooray!  I couldn’t face making another quilt with prints on a white background, even though I do like the look, so the background for this one will be a peach woven-looking print fabric.

This collection is by Lella Boutique.  More info is found on Moda’s Blog.

And in other news this past while:

  • survived a “Meet N’Greet” when a young woman rear-ended me in stop-and-go traffic on the freeway.  After spending too many hours on too many phone calls with her insurance company, I called mine, and the car will go in next week to be fixed.  They’ll fight it out later who gets to pay what.
  • agonized when I discovered that all the patterns I’d given out in my workshop in August were too small. It was only after a phone call to corporate headquarters for the printing company, and two visits to the local outlet that I discovered what had happened: they had set the button to “Print to Fit” which ALL quilters know means at about 96%.  They graciously printed out new, accurate copies, which I’ll collate and get over to the Guild.  Then I’ll put a paper bag on my head and try to remain incognito.
  • created another tiny quilt in order to review a book by Kerry Foster, titled Paint-by-Numbers Quilting.  My day on the Blog Hop is September 24th, and we’re doing a digital giveaway that day, so everyone can enter — US and international quilters.  Check back then.
  • rearranged nearly everything upstairs in my house:Stuff in BathtubWe swapped the old guest room for the new office, which meant that all my stuff in the old guest room had to go in the hallways and the Master Bedroom, and the old office, and yes, even the bathtub. (I won’t show you the rest of the mess.)

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Lately, I wake up every day feeling like I have about 400 things to get done that day, and fall into bed exhausted, having only accomplished a few of the things on my list. I know this soon will end, once my home is back in order, the big projects finished, the trips taken, the car fixed, the weeds pulled, next month’s Frivols finished, and everything crossed off my To-Do list.  Right.

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Frivols 8 • August 2018

 

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September’s box is Frivols #8 and is a tin from American Jane, with a whole host of fancy and fun prints.  The Moda blog notes that:

“There is a correction to the pattern – Background, Sashing, and Borders.  The first line should say 3 – 5 1/2″ x width of fabric strips.  From the strips, cut 18 – 5 1/2″ squares.”

Duly noted. I’ll figure it out when I get there.

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Here’s the layout of prints from their blog–colorful and charming. And I was happy to see that there are fewer half-square triangles in Sandy Klop’s quilt design.

The freebie for this Frivol is a sweet little tin with this month’s quilt design, that is just about the size of a charm square, perched up there by the bigger tin.  I also love the quote on this month’s card: “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.”  While it is attributed to Oscar Wilde, this attribution — as in so many other quote attributions — is a little squishy.  For more discussion on this, visit the Quote Investigator.  In fact, if you read this article, it seems like Wilde was a bit more pessimistic about this whole idea of authenticity:

It is tragic how few people ever “possess their souls” before they die. “Nothing is more rare in any man,” says Emerson, “than an act of his own.” It is quite true. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some one else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. (c. 1900)

I happen to like the Thomas Merton version:

“In an age where there is much talk about “being yourself” I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody else. Rather it seems to me that when one is too intent on “being himself” he runs the risk of impersonating a shadow.” (c. 1967)

I have to say my favorite instance of this idea is from Gordon B. Hinckley, an earlier president of my church.  He writes about discouragement when he was called on a church mission at age nineteen, feeling like he could never do what was required of him:

I wrote a letter to my father and said, “I’m wasting my time and your money. I don’t see any point in my staying here.” And in due time a letter came back from him in which he simply said: “Dear Gordon. I have your letter of [such and such a date]. I have only one suggestion: Forget yourself and go to work. With love, your father.” [from here]

So often we can focus too much on ourselves, and how we feel from moment to moment. While this aesthetic — to “forget yourself and get to work” — seems to hail from another era, I like to think about it sometimes, when I often can’t find the energy to finish up the chore, to get the work done, to complete the task.  I felt that way with Frivols #7, as you probably know.  And somedays I have to ask myself: “What do I want to have done by the end of this day?”

Perhaps all this seems so far from the supposed Wilde quote of “being yourself,” but for me they are linked.  Perhaps the work is me, the getting done is the shaping of who I am.  And hopefully, in forgetting myself and getting to work, I will become my best self.

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Onward!

 

Bread with Every Meal (Frivols #7)

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Bread with every meal • Quilt #207 • 24″ square

Ta-DONE!!!

With great relief and happiness, I present to you: Bread with every meal.

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The title comes from the back of this quilt, a tea towel my sister gave to me when she was doing the Great Purge and downsizing her life. Frivols 7_31a

And in that grouping of statistics about what was eaten, was this phrase, “Bread with Every Meal.”  Weird to take this for a title, I know.  I don’t usually like to be that obtuse in the naming of my quilts.

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But it reminded me of the dailiness of quilting, for me.  That nearly every day I am at a small feast at my “table” — my sewing room — partaking of the goodness of cloth and patches and stitching. It makes me happy, and so it’s not a far leap to think of this as my daily bread.

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Even when I intensely dislike what I’m doing.

Yes, making this quilt was one moan after another, working on it, wadding it in the corner, avoiding it.  These are not my kind of fabrics, and making teensy 1-1/2″ half-square triangles is not my favorite thing to do.  But I adore the designer (Lisa Bongean) and so I was determined to be a Brave Girl and finish up this quilt.

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It won’t win any awards for piecing, or for that matter, quilting, but it will win prizes for being DONE.  So now I can post this:

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That’s 7!

Yep, seven down and five to go.

In other happy news, we had Camp Create last weekend.  For years a group of us had gotten together regularly, the first Friday of every month for the Good Heart Quilters.  It came time to end that monthly gig (no short story on this tale, so I’ll skip the telling), so we went out with a bang, with Camp Create.

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I put up a bunch of photos on Instagram, but for the historial (hysterial?) record, I’ll post them again here on the blog.

 

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Amy, in the green shirt, above, teaches classes on handmade books at the local art museum, and came to teach us the Coptic Stitch and how to make a book from scratch.  I could go on and on about her, but she is waaaay talented, as are all the ladies above.  She anchored the first half of Camp Create, held in Leisa’s (air-conditioned) garage.

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Claire bundled up her wee daughter, Jane, as she worked on her book next to Leisa.

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All our books.  One of my favorite lines of the day was when one of us hadn’t finished up our binding and laid it down with the rest.  Amy carefully tucked the threads underneath saying, “We can hide our secrets.”  Yes, indeed.  Mine is the green one with the butterfly (click the link for the video).  Amy had the best papers from which we could choose.

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Then we had lunch and switched gears to screen printing.  Both Simone and I had taken Karen Lewis’ class at QuiltCon, and Julie was also experienced at this technique, so we taught the technique to these fine crafters.

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For those of you wondering where to get the screen printing cloth, I found this “utility fabric” at JoAnn Fabrics, and it seemed to work great.  It’s not 100% cotton, but I did all my printing with this and I’m happy with it.

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Amy was experienced in screen printing, and knew to wear gloves.

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Claire’s cupcakes

Hexie Flowers July 2018

In other news, I’m making progress on my Hexie Flower quilt, a design by Sherri McConnell.  (More info on her blog.)

And here’s my contribution to Hexie Lore: punch a hole in your paper.  You can anchor your hexie with a straight pin while you stitch (so the fabric doesn’t move around), and at the end, insert the tip of your scissors into the hole and pop it out.  I use the basting method where you don’t take out your stitches, and I use a hexie template to cut out the fabrics.

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Lastly, we had some visitors.  I set up the grandchildrens’ beds downstairs in the dining room, and Maddy’s bed was taken over by their dog, Cookie.  Really, it’s more like their younger sibling, Cookie.

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A summer treat: frozen yogurt.  We miss you already–come again!!

 

Getting the Work Done: Artist vs. Addict

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A recent reviewer of Steven Pressman’s book Turning Pro, pointed out that:
“What is distraction, if not self-sabotage, sabotage of one’s future self?”   Pressman, who wrote the War of Art, a must-read for creatives,  writes about about the difference between being an artist and being an addict, about the difference between being a professional (focused on the work) and an amateur (talking about the work, but not really doing it).

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Pressman has written three books, and as another reviewer described them:

The War of Art discusses the decision to start, while [his second book] Do the Work takes on the concept of sustaining the discipline it takes to finish a piece of work. Turning Pro takes things up a notch by insisting the artist must establish a rigid discipline and trust the Muse.”

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It’s easy to forget why we work at something.  There we are, putting our focus on our machines and in our sewing spaces, cutting and sewing, and all of a sudden, it’s oh wait a minute, let me check what my friends on Instagram are doing.

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According to Pressman, that doesn’t get the work done.  What it does do instead, is turn our work, our lives, our posts into an endless loop of sort of getting things done, but not really forging ahead into new places.

As Jocelyn K. Glei put it, “I was particularly struck by his distinction between “the artist” and “the addict,” wherein the former is living out a productive, creative career, while the latter is caught in an endless loop of aspiration and yearning that never gets backed up with meaningful action. Glei also noted that: “The amateur is an egotist. He takes the material of his personal pain and uses it to draw attention to himself. He creates a “life,” a “character,” a “personality.”  Using the term “shadow novel,” he draws out the life of a person is sort of working towards something, but not really.  Like I was after grad school: wanting to be an author, but not writing a word.

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I soon figured out that being a fiction writer was not the direction I was doing to go. I was able, however, to take my MFA training and love of the written word, combine it with sewing, in order to write about quilting — a completely unplanned, but incredibly satisfying endeavor.

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Frivols #7, in process

Cindy and I have talked more than once about the world of social media (namely Instagram) and how it sometimes interferes with getting the work done.  I love a good stroll through the posts as much as anyone, and I love to read blogs and see what creative juice is running through my community.

I recently watched the entire launch video of IGTV, that futzy little button in the top right of your screen.  As they went through all the scenes of creators (our new name, I guess), I realized that they were all barely older than my grandchildren…and with that realization came the understanding that IG “allowed” me to have my community, but what they were really about was the selling of “new media,” geared to “young influencers” gaining followers, gaining media attention and earning money.  Hence, the screwed up IG feed for the rest of us.

Chronology is out.  Connectiveness is in (which is different from “connections”).  Process is out.  Profits are in, including the data mining of all our click and taps and touches.

July 2018 Gridsters _ Leisa

Gridsters Bee Block for Leisa–July 2018

What does this have to do with artist/professional vs. addict/amateur?

As Pressman states, “The artist and the professional, on the other hand, have turned a corner in their minds. They have grown so bored with themselves…What were once their shadow symphonies become real symphonies. The color and drama that were once outside now move inside….When we [choose being an Artist], the energy that once went into the Shadow Novel goes into the real novel. What we once thought was real – “the world,” including its epicenter, ourselves – turns out to be only a shadow. And what had seemed to be only a dream, now, the reality of our lives.

It’s all about where you focus, where you put your attention.  Make use of the tools that help you, but don’t let them dominate allotted time, or dilute creative energy.

 

 

Frivols 7

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It’s the first of July, so you know what that means.

I pulled Frivols Tin #7 out of the closet, and about fell over.  There are a billion little triangles in this quilt, well, okay, maybe only a couple of a hundred, but they are teensy weensy (each HST measures 1 3/4″ square, unfinished).  Yes, I am beginning to question my sanity.  Especially since, when I was in Utah, I saw Frivols tins for sale:

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See that quilt there on the right?  I should have just bought it, and saved myself the trouble.  But making these Frivols experience is a learning experience, or so I keep telling myself.  I’m starting early this month, as it may take me a while.

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Luckily in the tin, they have included a sheet to copy so you can just sew through the lines and have perfect triangles, also available on their Moda blog.  Good thing I really like that lovely Lisa Bongean and her shop near me, Primitive Gatherings (also in Wisconsin).

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Here’s the cute freebie: a scissors “keep” with the polka dots on one side, and Moda’s name on the other.

[Note: I won those scissors last month while visiting Corn Wagon Quilt Company in Springville, Utah.  My husband, who is used to being in quilt shops, got a Hundred Grand Candy Bar, just for coming in (very nice of them).]

Okay, so if you are doing this Frivol, download Moda’s triangles sheet: Frivols7-songbird-triangle-papers  [NOTE: Please be sure to download first, print a test page, making sure the measurements agree with what is written on the pattern, and print at 100% (of course).] I’ve printed mine out on vellum, which is easier to rip off than regular paper.  Since we have to do eleven sheets worth of these triangles, I figure it’s four pages a week, in order to finish.  I’m just hoping that with the special stitch-and-sew technique, I won’t have to be truing them up.  That chore is right up there on the Hated Chores List with folding laundry and emptying the dishwasher.

Happy Fourth of July to you as well, a day to celebrate the birth of our nation.  Here are some photographs I took when we lived in Washington, D.C. for a (most memorable) year:

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Department of State, Star

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial, with Declaration of Independence on the wall

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

USA Capitol Ceiling

from ceiling in the United States Capitol

Happy Sewing and Happy Fourth of July 2018!