Northern Star update

Northern Star Medallion v3

The last time I worked on this, Neanderthals worked on chipping rocks for tools.
The last time I worked on this, Bing Crosby was crooning White Christmas.
The last time I worked on this, I had straight cut bangs and was in fourth grade.

Kidding.  But it has been a while.

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This is the fantasy version, done up in my favorite quilt software, Quilt Pro.

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The next ring was a series of Flying Geese.  I got the geese done and they didn’t fit.

Typical Medallion Quilt nonsense.

Those solid-color bands in between the pieces sections have many names, but Melanie, of Catbird Quilt Studio, also calls them Spacer Borders, and has a great blogpost on working with your pieced border and spacer borders to put the quilt together.  Another post of hers talks about designing medallion quilts in general, and is another great reference.

I wrote to her for advice (she really does know EVERYTHING about medallions and her blog is full of wonderful writing), and sent me a tiny example of how to do the math to figure it out:

Spacer Border Math.png

I did follow her instructions, trimmed some of the blue adjustment/spacer border, and the geese fit perfectly.  I also pinned them on a flat surface, working to keep the quilt square and not make any bubbles in the surface.

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Lovely night shot. It’s always late, lately.

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As per her advice, I cut the next border larger, and am now working on trying to get that last border to fit.

But this process this week has not been without some angst, as I first thought I was so smart to make a HST, cut that in half and then half again.  But that won’t work, as these last blocks have the colors in very specific places.

So I pulled out my triangle maker from Bonnie Hunter and started making the size I needed (I learned how to use her tool when I made her En Provence quilt in 2016-17).  Never let a new skill go wasted, or at least use it once in a while to keep it from totally slipping out of the old brain.

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In looking at the unit, I thought I would make the four-patch center, then adjoin the larger top/bottom triangles.  No.  It worked out better to create the unit above and sew them together.

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I splayed the back seams so the joins weren’t so bulky.

Now I’m auditioning adding another teal border on top of the green, or cutting down the green adjustment border to fit the pieced border.  I’m leaning toward the second one.

I thought these last sections would go more quickly, but I was quite bogged down the other night, trying to figure the dang thing out.  I’m back on track now, I guess.  Medallion quilts are one of my favorite quilts, but they can be tricky.

Last weekend we spent a few days up in the mountains of Southern Utah, feeling a bit too hot in the day, but blissful at night as we enjoyed the quiet and the breeze and a rare double-rainbow.  I also taught Free Motion Quilting to some of my relatives, as well as how to sew hexies.  They were receptive, and it was a weird thing to be sewing out in nature, but the cabin had electricity, and they wanted to learn.

Here’s to summer. Let’s hope I get this Northern Star Quilt done before the snow flies.

Bread with Every Meal (Frivols #7)

Frivols 7_28 front

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.

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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.

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.

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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!!

 

Pioneer Cosplay

Heritage Day Logo_SB

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!

Pioneer_0

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.

Pioneer_2

Pioneer_1

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.

Pioneer_3

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!

tiny nine patches

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

six-ways-to-blue_front

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.

tiny nine patches

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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