Guild Visits · PatternLite · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

Flowering Snowball Block • New PatternLite

One of the members of the Gridster Bee chose the Flowering Snowball for her block this month, and I was sort of: hmmm, nice block. But when I started playing around with the sewing of the curves, I became addicted to figuring out how to explain it. Then I drafted it up in my Affinity Designer software — nine blocks’ worth — and then it was oh, WOW! I love this block!

So here we go with a lot of things to help you, including a new PatternLite that has all the tips and tricks plus full-sized templates to make a 12″ block.

BONUS: At the last minute, I threw in the templates for a 6″ size block. That’s in case you want to make a mini version of this quilt.

Kelley chose a range of colors for us to work with, but I also loved Patti’s idea to make them all up in Anna Maria Horner with low-volumes for the petals. So I got out my stashed fabric, some going back for years, and started playing. I chose a neutral for the “petals” but I think Kelley’s and Patti’s ideas of a rich color palette might work really well for this block. Stay tuned.

Laying it out. Kelley had warned us about getting the light-colored petals flipped around, so I figured out how to explain that. Then I just started sewing it together willy-nilly, which works okay. When I went to write up the PatternLite, though, I took a more systematic approach, which I think works better. You’ll see.

First up: here’s the video I made of sewing these curves without pins.

Caveat: I never went to film school. I am not 27 years old. I don’t live on my phone. Some parts are blurry, but the professor in me just kept on going and kept on explaining. Hey, it’s free, and it has some pretty good tips, and it’s under three minutes.

And I decided to get organized on an idea I had: some of us more experienced quilters don’t really want to buy a full pattern, but we either a) like the block/quilt, or b) want the templates. So I am trying to put together a series of what I call PatternLite publications, which often will have the templates, but sometimes will carry the idea forward and have some tips for construction and finishing.

My first two: Build Me A House, and Sunny Flowers Quilt were like this. Or as I say on the pattern: PatternLite: not all-of-a-full-size-pattern for not-all-of-the-price. I still write complete patterns when I have a bigger idea, or I think the pattern might appeal to a quilter who wants step-by-step patterns. Most of my regular patterns have between 20-40 full-color illustrations and are very thorough; however, not every quilt or every quilter needs that. And rather than having them all different prices, I’m also pricing them all at one low price, which is less than the cost of a double-scoop ice cream cone (I checked).

In case you want to get the Flowering Snowball PatternLite, I promised you a coupon: it’s the same code — sunandsea15 — as the last post. It runs through June 20th and is good for any pattern in my PayHip Pattern Shop.

This week I spent a very lovely morning reading and thinking about all your summer experiences. Many of you have had similar ones to me, and others have been quite different; some were very poignant and some quiet and personal. But what they all had in common was a that feeling we all feel now (that we’ve been vaccinated) of freedom to do, to explore, to ignore the clock and to just immerse in the moment. I have contacted the winners; thank you all for entering my little giveaway.

Penultimate final note: This week I had fun learning how to make a sun filled with orange scribbles using Affinity Designer. They are a great replacement for Illustrator, if — like me — you hate subscription software; they are having a 50% off sale.

Absolutely final note: I am giving a lecture and teaching a workshop this week at Northern Star Quilt Guild. They let me know that if you want to join in this Criss-Cross Workshop, you are more than welcome to.

Head to their website and sign up, as they have made it very easy to do this through their website. My lecture, Abecedary of Quilts is Tuesday evening (East Coast Time) and the Workshop is Wednesday (beginning at 10 a.m., East Coast Time). As life moves on, it is probably the last time I will be teaching Criss-Cross, and really no prep is needed. So if you want to join in a fun workshop, go sign up and we’ll see you Wednesday.

May you have many more great summer memories!

Guild Visits · Something to Think About

Who Gets to Make Art?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our world of quilts, and by that I don’t mean the larger world–just our own little world. I’ve made some hideous quilts, some use-up-this-fabric quilts (above), some quilts I consider my best masterpieces. Our own little world is echoed out into our guilds, our social media, our quilt shows, publications and then it echoes back to us in terms of the materials we can use. It’s a cycle, a circle, but at the nub of it is that one quilter looking at her one stack of fabrics, or the sketch she made while waiting at the doctor’s office and seeing the print on the back of the chairs. It could be she was messing around with a traditional block, or created one of her own. And from that nub, that spark, hopefully art begins.

from here

I’ve been thinking about this because of an article by Guy Trebay (found while cleaning out) where he asks straight off, “Who gets to make art?” Written about the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, it is an interesting overview of this age-old question.

from here

Do you get to create art? Do I? Or is it only relegated to that famous quilter that is all over Instagram? The lady who has her face on the ads of the sewing machine you like? Does more fame equal more entitlement to call it art? And then there is the pressure from the outside world, debating forever and ever if making a quilt is a craft or an art?

from here

Trebay attributes this question to Luke Syson, and says that “In asking [this question], Mr. Syson was adding his voice to a growing chorus of museum professionals who are challenging traditional hierarchies of art production. He was talking, in this instance, about the obscure craft of scrimshaw, subject of a fine study show at the Fitzwilliam, but more broadly about the importance of recognizing and celebrating those gifted artists whose work is so often relegated to the stepchild status of crafts.”

from here

Luke Syson, now the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge (Britain), shares his experience of having to address some of his biases about what iconic art is in his TEDTalk, which he titled “How I learned to stop worrying and love “useless” art.” It’s worth a listen, if you have a few minutes. In that afore-mentioned Instagram post about scrimshaw art, he asks “Who gets to be an artist?” In the text he writes ” I thought about the scrimshanders then – working class, almost entirely anonymous, using their time to making things that were beautiful and that documented their lives. Amateurs, yet completely excluded from the world of leisure that this word implies. But I’m guessing there was a collectors market for these objects early on – that these were a sideline rather than simply the making of personal souvenirs.”

Which leads me to think about the anonymity of women, making their art for years and years, hidden in plain sight. They were making that which was beautiful to them, and which represented their lives. And yes, amateurs, all. We’ll leave this discussion here, with a quote from Trevor Bell:

“Art condenses the experience we all have as human beings, and, by forming it, makes it significant. We all have an in-built need for harmony and the structures that create harmony. Basically, art is an affirmation of life.”

Today is Mother’s Day. My mother is on the left (c. 1948), my daughter (named after her) is shown in the center in a photo from high school (c. 1998). (I sent this photo to her when she complained about one of her children being always on her phone.) I’m on the right (c. 1972).

My mother made art: seven of us. She never quilted. She read. She never painted, as did my father. She did do dishes, laundry, dressed elegantly, organized us, kept us going. I owe her everything, and as she approaches her 93rd birthday, this Mother’s Day I celebrate her as a different kind of unsung, ungalleried, un-media-ed, unknown sort of artist, but she was significant and affirmed us all.

I’ll be in my happy place this week, hanging out with the Orange Grove Quilters. We’re making Merrion Square in our Workshop. If you want to hear my program of Abecedary of Quilts or participate in a live/online workshop, please contact Pat (the Workshop Chairman) at workshops@orangegrovequiltersguild.com or drop me a note (and I’ll check with Pat). I love teaching this little quilt, as there are as many different quilts and there are quilters. Each one makes this little village their own.

And as life moves on, it seems this will probably be the last time I teach this class. Let me know if you are interested.

Happy Quilting! (turn the sound on)

Red, White and Blue · Shine: The Circles Quilt

SHINE: QuiltMania Collaboration, part 2

When I searched this morning in Google for how many days until the United States Presidential Election, the questions it prompted me for were these:

So, if we are going to have a zombie apocalypse, let’s spend our remaining days doing some quilting. (By the way, it’s 32 days until the election, as of today.)

QuiltMania and I have collaborated on releasing revised versions of quilt blocks for Shine: The Circle Quilt, and they have released the next three blocks, if you are a subscriber to their newsletter (sign up here). Many thanks to QuiltMania for this collaboration–I’m enjoying re-working the blocks in Red, White and Blue.

Block Four: Red, White and Blue version
Block Five: Red, White and Blue version
Block Six: Red, White and Blue version
Blocks 1-6, RWB

I bordered that block to check for my Quilt Finishing Pattern, and then didn’t want to take it off for the picture. Soon, all of them will have their borders. I know these fabrics look a bit moody — but this line of Minick and Simpson that I’m using, augmented with a few more bits of Moda and M & S’s most recent line of fabrics — really is appropriately red, white and blue.

Block Seventeen: Red, White and Blue version

I’ve also worked up a new block, that is included in the Quilt Finishing Instructions as a freebie: Block Seventeen. I working on another new one, which will find its way in the panoply, as a freebie for the Finishing Pattern? Still working out the details, arriving hopefully before the Zombie Apocolypse.

I will be teaching Triad Harmony for the Coastal Quilters Guild of Santa Barbara next week, and while I have two of these wall hangings finished, I wanted to try it scrappy. As is always the case, I discovered some old favorites (the silvery leaves and the happy sun faces) and some new favorites (the plaid border) lurking on my shelves.

I’m currently quilting it, but stopped last night when I got to the borders. It was late, the book I was listening to got to a stopping point, and I was stumped by how to quilt the final section. Finding ideas of how to quilt something is always a challenge, but I’ll get back to it today.

My lecture with the Coastal Quilters is Thursday night, and I need to have this quilt ALL done by then. I’ll make it, as long as — you know — those zombies don’t show up.

Finally, this really great news. As many of my long-time readers know, I’m a huge fan of this book, but sadly it has been out of print for a long time. I was contacted by the new publishers, Electric Quilt, to provide a blurb for the new edition. You may see my words in their advertising, but the exciting thing was I was able to get a glimpse of the new edition and I was blown away! It’s a huge improvement to the original (although that will always be my first love). I just wanted to give you a heads up that they are having an introductory price that you may want to take advantage of.

I have had days like this — we all have — but with sewing my red, white and blue blocks, thinking up quilting motifs for borders, being pulled along by great fiction, and hanging out with friends like you: it’s all good. Yes, I take it day by day, but the whole concept of quilting is one of looking forward: from purchasing the fabric, to cutting, to stitching then quilting, to sewing that label on. We quilters are good at this.

Utah’s golden Aspens

Happy stitching!

Digital/Virtual World · Guild Visits · Trunk Show

Zooming into 2020

By now we all know what a Zoom conference is, we know not to angle the phone so people see up our noses, we know not to have a crunchy three-course meal on the Zoom chat, and we have learned the importance of the Mute button. That’s the participant side. This month I’ve been trying to learn what to do on the presenter’s side, getting ready to take my regular In Real Life (IRL) program to Virtual.

First up, gather a bazillion pictures of quilts and plop them into a PowerPoint slide program.

Secondly, do you-don’t-know-what and lose the last half of the slide program.

Third, re-construct what had been started and save it in TWO different places this time. It’s all a big fat learning curve. I did watch several different groups of people talking about going Virtual, and one common theme was the idea that when invited, they said “Of course, that sounds great! It’s very do-able!” Then the admission to those of us watching, was that they really had no idea what to do.

I can relate.

Here are some of the things I’ve been doing the past two weeks:
PowerPoint Slide program — luckily a lot of the graphic arts skills I’d picked up this past year while learning Affinity Photo/Designer/Publisher carried across onto this platform.

Buy a ring light and tripod. Figure it out. That’s me trying out light levels and light settings: White, Warm Yellow, Warm White. Or as I like to say, Death, Near-Death and Jaundiced.

In this view, there is a green border around the slide.

You can find that in the Advanced section of the Slide Share tools in Zoom. What that does is put a border around what the people on the other side of the screen can see when the desktop is shared. You can keep all your notes in a Word Doc if you want (see below).

Write notes for the program and rehearse. I did that last night, ring light on, running through the program, recording myself. With the ring light on, practicing looking at the camera, and trying not to freak out, I have to say I did okay. My husband is continually encouraging me onward; he used to coax his grad students through this ordeal. And by the way, the recording will be deleted, never to be seen again, but I’m glad we purchased a Zoom Pro account, so I can rehearse. I’ll make another one tonight, just to keep practicing.

Last tip: I set up another screen right in front of me when I was rehearsing (an iPad will do) so I could see what others could see. I doubt I’ll do that when presenting (I want to focus on looking at the camera), but it was helpful when figuring out how all the parts go together.

If you are a Guild, there are an equal number of tasks for you, too. In working with the current guild, the Program Chair has been terrific, as we worked to move this forward. Not only do they have to worry about getting the Speaker situated with Zoom codes, timing, technology, they also can’t just hand them a check when it’s over; payment has to be worked out as well, and not everyone has a PayPal or Venmo account.

And getting the patterns to them is also a challenge, because of that “not everyone has a PayPal account” thing. My patterns are digital downloads from PayHip, which requires either a PayPal or Slice Account, which has been a trouble for some of their members. So we worked out that the member would give a check to the Guild, the Guild would alert me and give me the guild member’s email address, and then I would send them a “how-to” PDF document and a code to enter to get their pattern. I plan not to do this again, if I can help it.

The contracts have to be re-written, or an addendum provided. I ended up scanning in the originals, adding the addendum and emailing them over. Some of the language I used in the addendum is in the “Zoom Explained” document below, available for download.

All of this post is to say, that we are headed over a cliff into the digitalized 21st Century, and we have to be our own superhero and figure it out ourselves. I plan to do that Lecture next week, the Workshop the next day (more on that, later), and keep going. I plan on my vehicle sprouting wings so I can zoom out over the landscape, and enjoy the view.

Nuts and Bolts of Presenting

After reading extensively, I wrote up a document outlining how I wanted to work my virtual teaching and presenting. You can download it below.

There are plenty of sources out there for the physical space you’ll need to set up. At the very least, invest in a ring light so it will throw an even cast of light across your face. Others have fancier set-ups. Try not to be overwhelmed.

In working with my fantastic Program Chair for the upcoming Guild, I thought it might be helpful if they had a checklist they could consult to make they had all their ducks in a row. You can download it below.

I have so much to learn, as do we all. But I’m actually pretty excited to go forward. In putting together my presentation I could include lots of views of my quilts in the slide show, things I normally wouldn’t be able to show them (like mood boards, quilts in settings, interim steps). There will be good and hard things about our quilting lives in the next two years. Let’s make getting together one of the more lovely things!

Guild Visits · Travels · Trunk Show

Orange County Quilters Guild Visit • March 2020

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All the news is filled with Social Isolation and Keeping Your Distance due to the Covid-19 (Novel Corona Virus).  Yet before they lowered the boom on small gatherings, I was able to visit the Orange County Quilters Guild, the first guild I’d every joined, way back in the day when I first moved to Southern California.  Remarkably I recognized one of the members from that time, and I still remember how nice she was to me in welcoming me then…and now.

First, it’s check-in to the hotel, which was right across from Disneyland.  I loved the welcoming rubber duckie, the pictoral reminders of what was across the street.  I saw these as I met the Guild leaders for a lovely dinner … across the side street, and walkable.

After dinner, we headed to the meeting site, getting set up, with the President and the Program Chair threading my two quilts up on quilt stands for me.  I then visited all the different tables: Show and Share, Raffle Prizes, Workshops, Welcoming Table, and the Block Party.  Since they are beginning their new year this month, this was the debut for the Block Party team, and apparently they are all planned out — with blocks made up — for the entire year.

This guild strings a clothesline around the meeting space, and clothespins the Show and Share quilts to this line, then asks the quilter to fill out a short form giving the highlights of the quilt; it reminded me of when I used to attend here (it was done the same way).  Because Southern California had been treated to a deluge of rain that day, the attendance was down, but the President told me they usually have all the walls covered in quilts, bringing a nice atmosphere to their meetings.  The quilts that were there were stunning and beautiful to see.  I also had to take a photo of Betsy–that was my childhood nickname!

Because it was their Guild’s birthday month, these quilters had made a “cake” with fabric-wrapped candles, which they shared with everyone.  We also had two cakes at the beginning of the meeting (I had chocolate–no surprise there!).

OCGuildvisit_11

Because the hotel had warned me that thieves target parked cars in resort areas (and loved the last line of the sign about removing the third row seats), Julie, the Program Chair, graciously offered to take home my quilt suitcases so I wouldn’t have to lug them up to my hotel room.  I accepted, and was grateful and happy she was willing to do this.

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As I was calling my husband to tell him good-night, the fireworks went off right across the boulevard–a whole show of them.  So nice of the Orange County Quilters Guild to arrange this for my visit!

The next morning, I headed over to their workshop, held at the Orange Quilt Bee quilt shop in Orange, and our classroom was a wonderful space perfectly set up for classes: electrical outlets at each seat, lots of space for cutting and ironing — a dream for teaching. It was a full class, and I shared this day with these lovely women; Pam was right across from me (lower left) and I appreciated her sharing stories of her life with me in the quieter moments.

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Once they all finished their center blocks, I had them come up for a brief look at how differently they chose fabrics, and to applaud them for getting started.

Home Sweet Home pattern front 2020

The pattern they’d chosen was recently revised, and they were good sports about the typos that had slipped through the revision process.  I appreciated the input many gave me.  They were really prepared sewers, having cut out and labeled all their pieces so they could just get to stitching.  Many of them finished up their quilt tops:OCGuildvisit workshop_6OCGuildvisit workshop_overall

I so appreciated being invited to Orange County Quilters Guild, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with these great quilters.  Thank you so very much!!

Guild Visits

Citrus Belt Quilters Guild Visit • October 2019

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The Citrus Belt Quilters Guild offered their members one of my Two-for-One Classes this week, and since it was October, several of the workshop members went for a Halloween themed mini-quilt. We worked on Merrion Square and Home Sweet Home, which are available in my PayHip shop. Below are some of the quilts in progress:

When Hollie started hers, it became a challenge to see how the value was spread around the circle of house blocks: orange and purple can both read as medium-valued when you look at them.  By switching the camera’s settings to Noir or Silvertone, we could spot the value shifts and distribute them more evenly.

CitrusBeltGuildWS_1

Linda brought a pile of door pieces, and we had fun distributing them around her circle of houses.

CitrusBeltGuildWS_2

Tessa had pre-cut all her pieces, and was nearly done by the end of class.

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Now Linda has added her bushes, using her own hand-dyed fabric.  That green — a perfect floating of a color — livened up her composition.

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By the end of class, Lorraine, with nails to match, had created a spooky Halloween neighborhood, with lots of really fun details.

Citrus Belt Quilt Guild Workshop

We had a great time in class–thanks, ladies!

CitrusBeltGuild_1b

I arrived about 45 minutes early to the next day’s guild meeting, and the nice ladies there set up the quilt frames and my quilts for me while I put all my programs out on the chairs.  That done, I walked around to see all the program tables.

This Guild, which is celebrating its 39th year this year, runs a full and varied program from “Sew What” (sewing items for sale) to a Charity program with this month’s Angel Tree for foster children, to the other items seen here.

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Because their workshops are the day before their meeting, a group of quilters finished their house mini quilts and showed them off to the guild.  Of course, I loved this part!

CitrusBeltGuildWS_4b

Some made Home, Sweet Home.  Here is Sheryl’s; while she wasn’t able to come yesterday because of worries about the fires in the canyon near her home, she sewed along with us in spirit, using vintage fabrics.  I’m glad her electricity stayed on — because of the fires, many are losing power.

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Linda finished up her Merrion Square, minus a border of the aqua dot and binding of the stripes.  She has been to Merrion Square in Dublin, and used the stripes to echo the wrought iron fence that runs around the square.

Well done, everyone!

CitrusBeltGuild_3a

After hearing from all the Program Chairs, they broke for birthday cake.

I liked the tiny hats women wore in honor of Halloween.  I need to get one of those, for sure.  And then it was my turn.  This guild was most responsive and enthusiastic, and I appreciated the interest they had in my quilts and my stories.

CitrusBeltGuild Sign

Thank you Citrus Belt Quilters for inviting me!