Pioneer Cosplay

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Logo by Simone

Recently a few of us here were involved in the Heritage Day Celebration, honoring the early pioneers in this valley. It happened last Saturday, on a mildly hot day.  Good day to be wearing all these layers, right?

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Didn’t Thoreau say something like “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”?  I think the dress looks like a cross between Mary Poppins and the mother from Little House on the Prairie, an ancient TV show that forever colored our view of what women in the 1850s wore around the farm, and notable for the final show: they blew up all the set houses with dynamite to keep them from the local evil corporate guy.

We hosted a “quilting booth” but instead of that tired old trope of setting out a quilt top so people could mangle it with their stitches, we ran a hexie booth, based on the research I found that quilters at the time were doing English paper piecing.

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We had some work to do.  We, meaning, several of us who have attended our quilting group for many years, plus some others we conned into asked to participate.

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First, combine four patterns to make a pioneer outfit (seen above). Then start working on the demo goods: hexies.

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I appliqued them to a tote bag I picked up a couple of years ago at Quilt Market, figuring the “maker” theme was a good fit for hexies.

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l to r: Julie, Melissa, me, Laurel, Simone, Lisa. (PS Simone doesn’t really look like this. She likes to pull faces. Her texts always make me laugh.)

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We figure we glued up about 500 hexies, total, between this and what Leisa did later on.  It was so good to have these!

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It was a team effort: our friend Dennis brought us tables and chairs, and Leisa was the “set decorator,” using quilts from near and far. We arrived at 7:10 a.m. and left at 2:20 p.m., the right amount of time.

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We also had some modern hexies there to entice the participants; that is Laurel’s beautiful Modern Millefiore Hexie quilt on the left, with Simone’s hexie pillow (pattern here), and other props.

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We had Color-A-Quilt pages for the littlest visitors, as well as create your own quilt block (below).  We had to remind them that it was a visual treat–take a photo with your phone sort of thing–as people kept walking off with my design boards.  That is Julie’s hand you see there, making a mock-up.  She kept these two sections rolling the whole day.

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from l to r: Cindy, Julie, Denese, me, Laurel and her husband Ralph, Leisa, Simone

The original crew, plus my husband, Dave (who is taking the photo).  We swapped out two for four others mid-day; we were swamped, so were glad to have them.  Here are some photos from our day:

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We were suprised by the number of teens — and teen boys — who sat down and made a three-hexie patch from start to finish.

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Most did not look like this–they sewed them up properly, although sometimes with an interesting twist or two, but we thought this won the prize for “Most Interesting Hexie” of the day.  We had to teach many how to tie knots (about half had no idea how to do that), and we saw that lots of youngsters (and oldsters) liked to be able to sit and sew, a skill not often available to them in other places.

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We had a sample quilt set up in a hoop in case anyone wanted to try hand-quilting.  Most were more fascinated by the hexies.  And most wanted to pick through the baskets of cut fabric squares and glue their own shapes, too.

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Wee Pioneers

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I love sharing our craft with some new quilters!

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Stats: 3,000 paper hexies purchased
60 needles (only 35 were brought home–don’t know where the rest went)
3 needle-threaders: one from Clover, my friend Laurel, and my husband Dave
2 ten-gallon jugs of water
4,000 cut squares prepped up: fabric donated by Paintbrush Studio and Primitive Gatherings
Project boards that are not dusty: 0
Number of pioneer outfits that will never be used again: 7

Six Ways to Blue, a Four-in-Art quilt for November 2016

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Six Ways to Blue
Quilt #169, November 2016
19 1/2″ high by 21″ wide
#4 in the Color Series: I’ve Got the Blues

Blues can mean too many things, all at once.  Peacefulness, depression, sadness, the thrill of a line of music (a wailing saxophone), my favorite crayon in the box and the color of my husband’s eyes.  I could think of references to blues six ways to Sunday and never run out of things to link that color to: ocean, sky, geysers, crystals, ice, flowers.

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Blue also has a powerful connotation to mood.  The other day when I was feeling a bit blue, my blue-eyed son surprised me with a FaceTime call from London, just before he was calling it a day (having traveled through the blue skies and over the big blue ocean to get there). We chatted about his recent travels to Madrid, our travels to Lisbon last year, where we together with my blue-eyed husband saw the azulejos (blue and white tiles) of that country.  It lifted my spirits, and I was thankful for his true-blue devotion and caring.

The only ancient people who had the word blue in their vocabulary were the Egyptians, largely because they had developed a blue dye.  In 1858 a scholar named William Gladstone, who later became the prime minister of Great Britain studied Icelandic sagas, the Koran, ancient Chinese stories, and an ancient Hebrew version of the Bible. Of Hindu Vedic hymns, he wrote: “These hymns, of more than ten thousand lines, are brimming with descriptions of the heavens. Scarcely any subject is evoked more frequently. The sun and reddening dawn’s play of color, day and night, cloud and lightning, the air and ether, all these are unfolded before us, again and again … but there is one thing no one would ever learn from these ancient songs … and that is that the sky is blue.” (from here)

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Wikipedia notes that the clear sky and the deep sea appear blue because of an optical effect known as Rayleigh scattering. When sunlight passes through the atmosphere, the blue wavelengths are scattered more widely by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules, and more blue comes to our eyes. Rayleigh scattering also explains blue eyes; there is no blue pigment in blue eyes.

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We’re not the only artists inspired by the blues.

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Untitled Blue Monochrome (1960)

Yves Klein (1928-1962) was a French artist who worked with a chemist to create a startling Ultramarine Blue when he mixed powder with synthetic resin.  He patented this as IKB: International Klein Blue, and became known for his use of this color.

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When Klein came to California to work as a visiting artist, Edward Kienholz “gave him this kit as a welcome gift, providing Klein with tools to create…while away from his home studio.”  The valise, which has a tag that reads “resident of the universe,” includes “such things as a spray can of IKB paint, a page of instructions, [and] a jar labeled GRIT” (text taken from National Gallery of Art label next to painting).

“Klein’s attraction to blue was rooted in his belief that it was the least material color: ‘All colors bring forth associations of concrete ideas, while blue evokes all the more the sea and the sky, which are what is most abstract in tangible and visible nature.”

I love blue in all its variants, and enjoyed bringing the abstract to the tangible in cloth and thread.

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We will begin again next year with a new challenge, going on our fifth year.  We have people who join us, leave us, but a few of us keep going on.  Please visit the other members of our group and see how they interpreted this challenge:

Betty         on Flickr

Camilla         faffling.blogspot.co.nz

Catherine       www.knottedcotton.com

Janine      www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         patchworknplay.blogspot.com

We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

FYI: The next post talks about the construction, the pattern I used, and the next challenges,
and why I want to make this all over again (because some parts really bug me).

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I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Rosette #6 for the New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-A-Long

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Here’s my rosette #6 for The New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-Along.

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And here is the original.

Why did I change it?  I started looking at all the composite views of the rosette and just thought the star was too prominent, that it started a new conversation in the middle of the living room when the party around it was already having a nice chat, thank you very much.  While I thought the original design was very clever, I needed it to change.

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Here are the changes I made:

In the black Circle #1, I created a new piece — that of two tall 30-60-90 triangles merged into one equilateral triangle.  I studied my friend Laurel’s rosette (she is all finished with her quilt top) and noticed that in hers, as well as in many others, the right triangles of 30-60-90, when placed back to back with another, create a third pattern.  It does the same thing in the original block, above.  But I wanted to use this bargello/flame fabric and I only had a little bit, so that made my decision for me.

In the dark pink Circle #2, I looked at other blocks that I’d sewn in my previous rosettes, because I wanted to nab their papers and re-use them.  I found this shape in an earlier rosette, figured out that it would work, and am happy with the “ribbon” the multi-colored light-green fabric made.

I had to sew on my equilateral triangles on the center section first, then the next inner row of partial hexies, in order to make it fit (the ones with the bold radiating circle design).  Then it was add the last round, alternating the birds and the citrus fruit hexies.

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Here it is, laid out in Photoshop, which isn’t really the greatest approximation of how it looks in real life, but I’m not yet to the sewing-it-together phase. I’m still not 100% sure about the colors of Number Six, but I will try to bring in one more yellow spot somewhere — maybe in 10a — so I can balance those brights.

Stay tuned.

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free.  
I do not know about, nor choose the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

Hexies, Bee Blocks and Betty’s Tile Quilt

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I finished sewing this together during the last Downton Abbey.  I love it.  But now what do I do with this?  Moving on. . .

Cindy's Block Feb

Cindy, of Live A Colorful Life, asked us to make this block from During Quiet Time’s tutorial for her turn in our MidCentury Modern Bee.  Today, after taking a nap (really, I just couldn’t go any further and I have a life where I can take a nap if I want–that’s why I am in the Mid-Century Modern group, as all of us are over the mid-century mark on the old birthday calendar), I plowed into it.  The tutorial is very clear and easy, and it was fun to draw from my stash.

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Signature Block for February’s block.  We are each including one of these smaller blocks along with our square.  Tutorial is from PS I Quilt, but I won’t call it a “siggy” block, for the same reason I avoid the word “veggie” (instead vegetable).

Carla Block Jan

This Churn Dash was made for Carla of Lollyquiltz, by following her tutorial.  She uses the two squares-sew the edges method of the half-square triangle.  I found it easy, but did think that the block was a little more fluid because of all the bias edges.  She calls this block Juicy Fruit, and her quilt is something to behold (click on the link to go to her Flickr photo pool).

Signature Block Jan

And this was her signature block–requested in colors from her quilt.  I ironed freezer paper to the back of the white section to get it stable enough to write on.  Okay, that’s where I’m at so far this month, but the really exciting thing was hearing from Betty just before I left last week.  She’d made up my Harvesting the Wind in her own colors and had just gotten it back from the quilters.  She gave me permission to put up photos on my blog.  So. . . here they are!

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She used all solids, but added that pop of tangerine to really set off the tile block.  I was smiling and grinning from ear to ear, because I loved seeing what she’d done!

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Betty, it’s wonderful.  She’s one of the Four-in-Art members, so it’s fun to have another connection with her. I think we are Quilting Twins in some ways, and I keep trying to figure out a way to get to the East Coast to meet her.

Okay, not done yet.  I mentioned I wanted to make the Sunshine and Shadow in another colorway, this time for my grandson.  Here’s the initial mock-up for the quilt.  It looks really different in such bold “boy” colors (he likes blue, red and black but I couldn’t resist lightening it up with those white patches), but I know it will go together quickly.

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Have a nice Presidents Day Weekend!

WIP and Scenes from Italy

I think we are all breathing a sigh of relief that we can answer our phones again without being assaulted during dinner by robo-calls from a candidate.  Or go to our mailboxes without needing a forklift for the thousands of pounds of campaign fliers.  I live in California and thought I had it bad until we talked to our son who lives in Ohio.  My sympathies to all who live in swing states; thanks for participating in the process.

So it is so nice to return to a routine, and today is Works in Progress Wednesday, hosted by Lee over at Freshly Pieced. Actually today it is being guest-hosted by Svetlana, and she echoes my sentiment of enjoying the weekly accounting that we do every week to keep us on track.

Last night as I watched the election returns come in with my husband, sister and brother-in-law (who are visiting), I was able to finish up this seventh hexagon.  I just keep the basket of pieces downstairs by the television and work on it whenever I am parked in front of the tube.  This hexie I could christen the political hexie, for it seemed like that’s what I was watching most as I worked on it.  I don’t know what I’ll do with them all–Downton Abbey starts up in January so maybe I’ll have some more completed before I have to decide.

But I have just returned from a trip my husband and I took to Italy, where he participated in the Collegium Ramazzini, a scientific conference in Carpi (a little town northeast of Bologna).  Not only did we visit Carpi, but also Bologna, Padua (and the Scrovegni Chapel), Venice, and Burano–a colorful island near Venice of brightly painted houses.

This is a wall from the 11th century in a church in Bologna.  Love those patchwork designs.  Everything old is new again, isn’t it?

I can’t believe they let us walk on this ancient stone floor from the Peter/Paul Cathedral in Venice, but here it is.

My husband found this fabric shop for us to look at (Bologna), but I only bought fabric in a shop across from the two (slightly leaning) towers.  Below you can see the man cutting my wool challis.

I’m thinking a scarf or something.  Fabric was really expensive over there.

But they do wrap it up nicely to bring home.

I’ve been collecting tea towels for use on the back of quilts, and here’s the one from Padua.  We thought it interesting that the thing we went to see most — Scrovegni Chapel with Giotto’s frescoes — was not even listed on the back.

In sunny Burano, we saw a woman sitting out by the canal making lace.  By hand.  Burano is known for its lace and lacemakers, and apparently it’s a dying art because none of the young woman want to learn it.  We watched her for a while, as she used her needle and thread to create tiny stitches and knots over a paper pattern.

Here’s a close-up of her pattern.  She’s created the main flowers, then will come back in and create the webbing to hold it all together.

I found the quilt shop in Venice!  This is right as you come off the Ca’D’Oro vaparetto stop.

But the prices are enough to make you swoon.  Twenty-one euros a meter (39″) works out to about 25 bucks per yard.  I try to remind myself of the luxury of all the fabrics we have here in the States at about half the cost.  I’ve learned not to buy quilt fabrics imported from the United States when I’m traveling, but if I have time, I’ll duck into a shop for a pattern or an interesting notion.

I’ll leave you with three photos: the first two are from the island of Burano and the last is from our final, foggy, morning in Venice, before we headed home.