Happy August 2019 • This and That

When I looked outside in my garden today, the zucchini plant had wilted from the heat, mirroring how I felt inside.  However, unlike my spectacularly unproductive zucchini plant [we’ve only had ONE], I’ve been pretty productive.  Just not on quilts.

I’ve been working on prepping my upcoming Guild Workshops, getting the kits together (in wax paper bags instead of plastic, given my attempt to cut down on plastic where I can), and cute touches like place cards, so I know whose spot is whose once the class gets going.

Spectrum Pattern Revise

The pattern cover with thumbnails showing the pattern pages and revisions. Now it’s a pretty good guide to EPP.

I also revised a couple of patterns, the first one being Spectrum.  Inland Empire Quilters Guild contacted me for a program for their evening meeting, then they got together a group of women for a workshop who wanted to learn English Paper Piecing.  So I changed some things up in the pattern, added more content, and put it back up for sale up on PayHip.

EPP Spectrum Bag

One thing I made for a sample was this tote bag, splitting the main pattern in half and placing it on either side of the bag.  I wanted to show that a person can do more with a pattern than simply make a quilt.  That version of Spectrum is one of the variations in the pattern (bag pattern not included; I used the one in the October 2019 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting by Kristyne Czepuryk).

Kansas Sunflower Minimini

I also made a mini-mini to show them how to do the basics.  I’ll be passing out this pattern for a Kansas Sunflower block in class, show how to “batch-cut” pieces, glue and prep them.  They can then move on to Spectrum, or stay sewing up their mini-mini.  We’ll also do one hexie flower, because what’s a class in EPP without a hexie flower?

Hexie Flowers July 2018

(We’ll only do one; these are from my Field Flowers quilt.)

Merrion Square Pattern Revise

Another class I have coming up is Merrion Square and Far Away Doors, teaching it for the Pass Patchers Quilt Guild nearby.  For ages, I’d hand out the instruction sheet to Far Away Doors when the class was taught, but adding it to the original Merrion Square pattern was one of the revisions I wanted to make, in order to get all the variations in one place.  I took it offline, revised it, and now it’s back up for sale on PayHip, if you want all three versions in one pattern. [Note:  If you’ve purchased Merrion Square and haven’t received Far Away Doors from me in a workshop, please contact me and I’ll get it out to you.  Proof of purchase is required.]

Of course, all this is made easier by the fact that I’m getting the hang of the three pieces of Affinity Serif software that I purchased last fall: Affinity Photo (replacing Adobe’s Photoshop), Affinity Designer (replacing Illustrator) and Affinity Publisher (instead of InDesign).  I’m getting quicker at each one, knowing where the tools are and how to use them.

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

I also made three batches of low-sugar strawberry jam, after I tasted Laurel’s.  Laurel and her husband grow their own strawberries, but the ones from the market in our neighboring town worked well for us.  To go with it, I made a batch of zucchini bread with cranberries and left out half the flour (!).

My saintly husband declared it just fine, and takes chunks of this incredibly dense bread in his lunch every day.  He makes me look good, even on my very bad days (of fighting asthma), wilting in the heat (like the zucchini plants outside), and trying to get all the guild workshop stuff lined up from here to eternity.  I have to remind myself to take it one Guild and a time, and enjoy the process, which I genuinely do.

I finished The Night Tiger (I can recommend highly) and have started Little Fires Everywhere (so far enjoying it, but don’t give a recommendation until I finish).

I decided I was done waiting to start on this Halloween Banner project.  I layered the panel (if your store doesn’t carry it, it’s available here), quilted it, and cut out the flags.  I cut 1-1/4″ strips of stripey fabric from this line (called Costumer’s Ball by J. Wecker Frisch) cutting it across the stripe and bound the edges of the flags, sewing the strips first to one side of the flag, then the other.  After trimming the bottom edge, I folded it up and glued it all down with my trusty friend, a regular old gluestick.  Then I pressed and folded in the binding on the sides, again using my gluestick to keep it in place.  (Be sure to press after gluing in order to distribute the glue).

gluesticks

Hit those back-to-school sales, people!

I top-stitched down the striped binding, and am now waiting for the fabric to arrive to make the top part so I can get the banners all ready for October 1st.

August Gridsters_2019 trees

Lastly, I finished up August’s bee blocks for the Gridster Bee, using an original pattern designed by my talented beemate Kelley.  She’s getting ready for Christmas early!

I think my holidays are all mixed up, because I’m working on Christmas blocks, Halloween Banners, and my Fourth of July quilt just came back from the longarmer, needing binding.  I hope you are able to keep your days and events and sewing projects straight.  Happy Quilting!

Scrappy Radiant Star

scrappy radiant star_1

Mary, of NeedledMom, chose this block for her June turn as Queen Bee of the Gridsters.  Originally found on Wombat Quilts website as a free illustration, I redrew the block to Mary’s specified 6-inch (finished) size.  Four of these blocks are put together to make Mary’s larger 12-inch block.

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Scrappy Radiant Star Illustration

Click on the download PDF file here:

Scrappy Radiant Star

You’ll need four copies to make one 12-inch block, as shown below:

scrappy radiant star_4

sketch I made to keep the colors organized

Notice there are FIVE colors per Mary’s larger block.  Four corners have the same color, which when sewn together make that center star.  But in looking at the way she designed it, the colors are to be distributed throughout the quilt.  You can see her initial thinking about this version on this blog post (where you’ll also get a glimpse into her gardens and cooking.  I love reading her blog).

Peek Marys Chart

Just a peek–download below.

Mary gave me permission to post the chart she drew up to keep her ideas straight.  You can download this as a PDF:Mary’s Chart_ June Gridster Bee

You can see that she’s diagrammed the main stars (in the center), and the secondary stars in the corners.  We Gridsters each chose two blocks, identifying our choices using her coding on the sides and are now sending them to her.

scrappy radiant star_5

To further my tributes to Mary today, I’m making her bread recipe to go with my version of Italian Wedding Soup.

Have fun making these blocks!

Bee Blocks, Etc. * March and April *

Bee Blocks, yes.  But first:

Dream Big Bag_2

I recently asked Lisa to make me a tote bag out of a Dream Big panel by Hoffman.  I ordered everything, and the bag turned out to be a good size, one that could hold a queen sized quilt, perfect for taking along binding projects. Dream Big Bag_1

I chose a summery floral for the inside (I like bright colors inside my purses/bags, so I can find things).

Dream Big Bag

Beauty shot in the flowers by the front door.  Thank you Lisa, I love it!

March_2019 Gridsters

Now, here are my bee blocks for the Gridster Bee. Here are March’s blocks, requested by Marsha @quilterinmotion on Instagram.  We used this pattern, and it worked up quickly.

March_2019a Gridsters

If you decide to make these, I’d suggest switching up the order–put #9 on first, then #8.  It’s a sturdier constuction that way.

March_2019b Gridsters.png

But here’s the cool thing: her center will be four “straight” Flying Geese blocks, with our curvy ones being added to it, for lots of motion in her quilt.

April 2019_Gridsters Bee

Nancy who blogs at Patchwork Breeze, and is on Instagram @patchworkbreeze, asked for a patriotic block for a summer quilt.  I guess it’s not too early to get started on the  red, white, and blue, a good reminder to work ahead of the seasons and celebrations (anyone for Halloween quilts?  Christmas?).

Finally, I decided to tally up what I accomplished last year, in terms of completed quilts.  If you remember (or are hoping to forget), it was the Year of Frivols.  So here’s the totals:

• Twelve Frivols
• Three Mini-quilts
• One Baby quilt
• One Small quilt
• Two large quilts
• One large quilt that will show up in Fall 2019 Simpy Moderne

Number Twenty

And for 2019? It’s hard right now because while I can sew the tops, I can’t quilt them myself.  Quilts are only being finished when I can send them out.  But here’s the list of projects so far:

•  Plitvice (finished)
•  Chuck Nohara quilt (binding being sewn on as we speak)
• Nameless other large quilt, being kept under wraps/headed for publication
• Home-keeping Hearts (top only at this point)
• Merrion Square–there are three of these small quilt tops in circulation, and are samples at guilds where I’ll be speaking
• Basket quilt is still on the design wall, as I audition borders.

When I finish them, I’ll catalogue them, above, on the 300 Quilts list.

Speaking Teaching Events
Meet the Teacher for the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds
Utah Valley Quilt Guild, Utah–Trunk Show and Day-long workshop
Valley of the Mist Quilt Guild, Temecula, CA–Trunk Show and Day-long workshop

If you are in Utah, they still have a couple of openings for the workshop on April 16th.  If you are new to this blog (welcome!), you can meet me digitally in my Happy New Year post.

I leave you with a few shots of our California Superbloom.  Happy Spring!

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Starry Sky Mug Rug

Starry MugRug_4Starry MugRug_3

This summer, my niece Abby, let me have one of her hand-thrown mugs, of which I was thrilled to get (I love hot chocolate).  I meant to send her a little quilted mug rug in return, but that project seemed to get stalled for one reason or another.  But last week, I decided not one more thing would be done until I finished it and sent it off.  (Sometimes you just have to give yourself a little talk.)

I used the Starry Sky block pattern, by Kylie Kelsheimer (a downloadable pattern from Craftsy).  In this new version of her pattern, she has three sizes, and the 6″ size is perfect for a mug rug.   Note:  It has been taken down from Craftsy/BluPrint.

UPDATE June 2019: The pattern is now up on PayHip, in three sizes.

Starry MugRug_1Starry MugRug_2

My niece likes to go hiking, and lives up in the Northwest, so I used colors of purple mountains, green hills and aqua-and-blue waters.  I bound it in navy.

Starry MugRug_5

I used an agate-stone looking print for the back, one of my favorites lurking in my stash.

It took me a couple of hours from start to finish.  It’s a paper-pieced pattern, so all the star points are sharp and it goes together easily.  I kept a photo of the block near me when putting the pieces together, to keep myself straight.

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I listened to the latest Bruno, Chief of  Police book, The Resistance Man, and that kept me going.  Then I ran it to the Post Office, and off it went.  I hope Abby likes it.

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A couple of days before I’d made Simone’s blocks for the Gridsters Bee, a wee bit late, but she forgave me.

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And then I got right on October’s blocks for Joan, for the Gridsters Bee.  She asked for a black-and-white New York Beauty block, with a touch of solid color.  Hope she likes these.

Irish Women Sewing.jpg

I liked this old photograph of women sewing, found on the website for the National Gallery of Ireland, reminding me of my travels (I’m finally over the jetlag).

Perfection vs Good.png

Here’s your reminder: the perfect is the enemy of the good, Stephan Pastis style.  As some long-time readers know, I believe in this quote and used to keep it on my syllabi when I was a teacher.  Sometimes it’s good to just be *good,* and not strive for perfection.  Hope that idea helps you “lead a sane and balanced life.”

Northern Star Medallion Top Finished

 

Northern Star Quilt TopIt was a lot of mind over matter, but I finished the borders, worked out the measurements and sewed everything together.  There seemingly was a big canyon between where I was last post and where I am now: getting it ready to quilt, but really, it wasn’t that hard once I settled down, stopped freaking out and followed Melanie’s advice.

Aug2018_Gridsters.jpg

I finished the Gridster Bee blocks for Linda for August.  I like her idea of lots of churn dashes all the same size, but in a variety of fabrics.  If you head to our hashtag on IG, you can see that Linda has already received some of the blocks.

Fire1 August 2018.jpg

The same night I finished the Northern Star Medallion top, I stepped outside to see this.

Fire August 2018.jpg

We drove up to the top of our neighborhood to see where the smoke was coming from–way over yonder in Orange County on the left bumpy mountain.  California is burning up, and it’s only the beginning of August.  When I first moved here 27 years ago, we only had fires in September, just like clockwork.  Every year there would be one big one, and then it would be done.

2018 Fire Map.png

Tonight the fire map looks like this and it’s not even September.  Oh yes, we also have an earthquake map, a smog map, but we don’t generally have snow or flood or tornado maps, like some of you do.

Free Scissors.jpg

This morning I had to have a couple of stitches taken out from a recent procedure, and the doctor was about to throw these into the sharps container.  When I asked, he gave them to me.  I washed them up and put them in my sewing supplies–those tweezers are great for grabbing the end of the seam of an HST to keep it from going wonky, and I’ll find a use for those scissors. Yes, I’m still sewing on my hexies.  I think I’m halfway there.

 


NorthernStar_front yard

Look at that yucky sky in the background–seems like it will be a good idea to stay inside and start quilting!

Gridster Bee Begins 2018

Carol kicked off the Gridsters this year, doing a little throwback to fall, for she said she wanted to make herself a quilt for autumn.  She asked us to use this tutorial from The Cloth Parcel. I had fun finding orange fabrics that would work, and picked up some bold orange Grunge dots to work into the pumpkins.  She had mailed us the navy Grunge for the background, and after I finished my first pumpkin, I found I had enough for another, so I sent two.  These come together quick and easy, so if you are thinking ahead…or behind…it would be a fun quilt for fall.