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.

Frivols 8_ little tin

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.

Frivols 7_30 back

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.

Frivols 7_31b

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.

Frivols 7_29bFrivols 7_29a

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:

Frivols_all_7Xs

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.

Camp Create_1

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.

Camp Create_4Camp Create_6Camp Create_7aCamp Create_7

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.

Camp Create_8

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.

Camp Create_9Screen Printing Cloth.jpg

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.

Camp Create_9a

Camp Create_9b

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!!

 

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:

Frivols on Sale_2

Frivols on Sale_1

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:

DOS star

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!

Practice Makes Perfect • Frivols #6

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Practice Makes Perfect
Quilt #204  • June 2018
26″ by 31.5″

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The requisite shot of the X-ed out Frivols tins show that I’m now halfway done with my goal.  I try not to set goals, as they just give me angst, but there’s just this lingering expectation: finish all the Frivols.

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I call this Practice Makes Perfect, as I’ve been thinking about the nature of work, and how much of it is repetitive, boring even, but repetition appears to be a necessary step on the way to mastery.  I think I can handle churn dashes, but it was learning the finer points of free-motion quilting loops that needed my attention.  Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect3

The freebie for tin #6 was this strawberry label with barely any room for a person with two long names.  It would have been better if my name were Dot Smith or something.Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect1Mothers Luncheon

I had started on this quilt at the end of May, after a long month of travel and serving and caring for people in my life, culminating with an intimate luncheon celebrating my mother’s 90th birthday in Ogden, Utah.  We rented a small conference room at a local hotel, and had the hotel cater the meal.

Mothers Flowers

We’d done this two years earlier for my father’s birthday, and had only my brother and sisters and parents there, with no spouses or great-grandchildren.  We were worried then (I was wondering) if if it would work without the supporting members, but we did fine two years ago, and again this year too.  The feelings expressed to my mother were tender, kind, showing her (and my father’s) careful influence in our lives.  Because of them there are amazing individuals in my family: strong men and women, who are good men and women, too.

Mothers Luncheon BrosSis

Some of you know that I’d been up in Utah earlier that month caring for my sister for a week; it was good to see how much progress she’d made in getting around with her crutches and wheelchair.  From L to R, around the table: Mom, Dad, Susan (child #3), Scott (#6), David (#5), Cynthia (in gold jacket, child #2), Christine (#1), and Andy (#7).  I’m child #4, yes, that infamous “middle child.”

Mothers Olive Oil

I had little bottles of specialty olive oil etched with the saying “Olive you forever” and “Happy 90th Barbara” (my mother’s name).

We drove home and two days later I quilted this, finishing  it the next day.  I was still putting away what I’d gathered on my trip, but needed a break, and Practice Makes Perfect was the tonic for what ailed me.

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John Piper wrote: “Work is a glorious thing. And if you stop and think about it, the most enjoyable kinds of leisure are a kind of work. Both these facts are true because the essence of work, as God designed it before the Fall, was creativity — not aimless, random doing, but creative, productive doing….
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“If you are starting to grow lazy, I summon you back to joy. God made us to work. He formed our minds to think and our hands to make. He gave us strength—little or great—to be about the business of altering the way things are.

“That is what work is: seeing the world, thinking of how it could be better, and doing something—from the writing of a note to the building of a boat; from the sewing of what you wear to the praying of a prayer.
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“Come, leave off sloth and idleness. Become what you were made to be. Work.”

excerpted quote found on @TheSmallSeed

Frivols! (Time to Do Another Undone Project)

I think I mentioned somewhere along the way, that I had collected a full set of Frivols tins, shown above.  Two other quilters, Kelley and Karen, mentioned that they had a full set, too.  I wrote back and forth with each of them, wondering if they wanted to liberate their Frivols from their tins and make 2018 the year that we finally get them done.

There is this temptation to leave them fully entombed, I realize.  They are so cute in their little boxes, and what will you do with all those little quilts?  (Well, some aren’t so little.)  But I can think of many places that you can donate these quilts, if you want (try starting with the Preemie unit at your local hospital, or a Domestic Violence Rescue shelter, or your granddaughter’s doll crib, just to name a few). The point is to have fun, to free up space in your sewing room and to get rid of Another Undone Project.

If you want to join in with us, too, we’re going to try to tackle one a month until all twelve are finished.  If you want to work ahead…well, you have the instructions and the fabrics.  You can still find Frivols tins if you do a search, so you can join in the making.

Here’s January’s: “Kindred,” using the Hello Darling line by Bonnie and Camille. The quilt finishes at 40″ by 40,” a perfect table-topper size.  And here is the Mode blog announcement for how the cutting directions are wrong.  It’s true–the quarter-square triangles should have been cut a bit larger; more on that later.  I’ll always try to link over to Moda’s blog so you can update any errata/changes in your Frivols.

I love how each tin has a little treasure inside.  This tin has some woven tape with Handmade with Love written on it.

And here’s the fabrics.  I started with their lovely diagrams, cutting the blocks into pieces:

I stacked up two stacks of “twin” blocks–the instructions say to cut using two of the same fabric blocks, and no I don’t know why I have extras (on the left).  In every Frivol there is a “bonus” block that you can make so you’ll have a sampler quilt.  I’m not doing that, so instead I’ll keep the extras in my stash.

I cut them according to the sketch.  So far so good.

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I stacked up the pieces of one block, with the exception of the Half-square Triangles on all four corners.  Then I kept going:

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But I should have checked the Mode blog first, as I cut some of the white side triangles too small.  You can see the problem here:

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Block, untrimmed

I will simply true them up a little smaller when I finish all of them.

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Six down, ten to go.  I’m making good progress while listening to the sixth book in the Maisie Hobbs series:

Among the Mad Maisie Dobbs

I’m hooked on this series!

If you want to join in, dig out your Frivols tins and let’s get going.  If you leave me your name and blog address or Instagram name, I’ll start making a list at the end of each final monthly Frivols post, with links.  Lisa Bongean, of Primitive Gatherings, has a great write-up about “her” tin with her fabric line.  Have fun hunting your tins down, getting ready to join up with us.  I’ll do an introductory post near the beginning of each month, as well as a final post, on the last day of the month.

I would like to commit to getting the quilt top finished each month, with quilting, if I can.  As I mentioned, the quilt tops are not too big that you can’t finish them on your domestic machine, and that will give us all a chance to practice our quilting.  I’ve got a good start for January’s block, but I’m taking a break to go to Road to California, where I’ll have two quilt tops hanging in the show.  I’m also taking three classes, so it will be a busy week.

January 2018 • No. 1 – Hello Darling by Bonnie & Camille
February 2018 • No. 2 – Polka Dots & Paisleys by Minick & Simpson
March 2018 • No. 3 – Eliza’s Indigo by Betsy Chutchian
April 2018 • No. 4 – Windermere by Brenda Riddle
May 2018 • No. 5 – Petite Prints Deux by French General
June 2018 • No. 6 – Strawberry Fields Revisited by Fig Tree
July 2018 • No. 7 – Songbird Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings
August 2018 • No. 8 – Bread ‘n Butter by American Jane
September 2018 • No. 9 – Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique
October 2018 • No. 10 – The Cookie Exchange by Sweetwater
November 2018 • No. 11 – Sew & Sew by Chloe’s Closet
December 2018 • No. 12 – Blue Barn by Laundry Basket Quilts

February’s Procrastination

Giveaway picking a winner

I did the Husband Random Name Generator today and Diane Nelson is the winner of the pearl cotton bubbles.  Congratulations, Diane!  I mailed them off this afternoon to you.  Glad you are making good progress on your Oh Christmas Tree.

Frivols Feb 2016

I received my latest Frivols tin, with the cutest little scissor holder–it will just fit nicely over my embroidery scissors.  I signed up for a year of these as a retirement present to myself.  So far it’s going along nicely: I have a stack of seven tins on my sewing room shelf (they have numbers on the side to keep track of them), with none of them made.  I think I need to stop putting this off.

Laurel's puzzle

Laurel let me stipple on her quilt for her yesterday.  Isn’t this just the dream of a mini quilt?  It’s for an auction for Autism Research.

Bee blocks are in my life right now.  I was Queen Bee for January in two bees, and they are rolling in–one batch of words for Spelling Bee was held up by a snowstorm in the midwest, and the rest of the words are being held back by my procrastination (see notes at the end of this post).
MCM book block_2

I finished this book block for Cindy’s granddaughter’s quilt last night, and there’s my signature block.  I love that in our bee we do signature blocks for each other; we also do them in The Spelling Bee too.

Chuck Nohara Feb 2016 Blocks

Time to gear up for February’s Chuck Nohara blocks.  Looks like we have more piecing than appliqué this time around–should go quickly together.  Susan has already started hers: here and here.  She’s quick!

Maybe not getting to them until now means I’m just taking to heart the advice from Adam Grant in his recent New York Times article “Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate.”  He wrote that “while procrastination is a vice for productivity, I’ve learned — against my natural inclinations — that it’s a virtue for creativity.”  There’s a term for that process of always working to finish things early.  It’s pre-crastination.  Grant notes that  “Pre-crastination is the urge to start a task immediately and finish it as soon as possible. If you’re a serious pre-crastinator, progress is like oxygen and postponement is agony. When a flurry of emails land in your inbox and you don’t answer them instantly, you feel as if your life is spinning out of control.”  Some of this is to reduce “working memory loads,” because, as Grant reports, “psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that people had a better memory for incomplete tasks than for complete ones. When we finish a project, we file it away. But when it’s in limbo, it stays active in our minds.”

Yes, apparently putting things off can make you more creative.

How can procrastination help?  Grant writes that “[o]ur first ideas, after all, are usually our most conventional. . . . When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns.”  Of course, as anyone knows, especially my daughter who was helping her son with his last-minute science project  (how do these things slip our children’s minds until the due date??), excessive procrastination can also work against creativity, forcing you to choose the easiest route in order to get things done.

And today, this day in the first week of February, when I’m tired from chasing January’s deadlines and putting away the Christmas tree lights and mailing back all the things that were left in the house over Christmas vacation and summer is too far away to be of any help and QuiltCon is looming so how can I possibly concentrate, it might be helpful to realize that sometimes it’s really okay to put things off, as well as knowing that procrastinators have lots of good company.