Rainbow Gardens, redux

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Rainbow Gardens (the original) was made for a swap back in 2015, and I always wished I’d kept it for myself.  So this week I did the next, best thing: I made a new one.

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I had all but one of the fabrics for this 18″ mini quilt still in my stash, as I pretty much hoard my Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  I tried to quilt it the same, too, using my favorite Magnifico Thread from Superior Threads. But the backing is different, as is the label:

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The backing is “pindar paisley” from Alexander Henry, from 2012.  The front of the quilt is all Kaffe Fasset fabrics, some new, some older.

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I also updated the pattern, trimming out this and that, and editing it more tightly, and it is up on Craftsy for sale, if you want to replicate this.  And even though it feels strange to say this, I’m going backwards and keeping  the number from the original make: this is quilt #148 of mine.RainbowGardensLiberty

I so rarely duplicate my quilts, that this feels a little odd.  I have plans to remake one more, but that will come later this summer.  After sending off these two quilts to their owners, I wised up and began duplicating everything I swapped from then on.  I rather like my quilts, I guess.  Have you ever swapped a quilt, and then wished you had it back?

I also finished another quilt this week.  Stay tuned.

Mini Madness Wrap-Up (Mostly)

This past summer, I joined four swaps, then had my head examined and swore never to do it again.  It was sort of a good thing to have some small things to try out my design skills and to keep me quilting, so I guess another title for this post is “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”  I do plan to do individual posts on a couple of them (so you’ll see them again), plus I have one more mini quilt that I made with quite a story (not shown, but soon).  But so far, here they are, in the order they rolled out from my house.

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The Heart’s Solace: Home, Sweet, Home (No. 147)

House Mini Gift

Although a little bit late (she had fabric and pattern issues), Emily sent me mine and I am so in love with it.  I ended up drafting her a pattern on my QuiltPro quilt software, which I’m happy to share with you.  It’s in a PDF file: Emily’s House  On the first page, the piece for the narrow sashing around the central patchwork square is cut off.  I’d recommend using the width of the pattern piece as a guide and cutting a strip to fit your work after you start sewing it together.

Rainbow Gardens

Rainbow Gardens, No. 148

This post has links to my Craftsy/PayHip store where you can purchase the pattern.

Kaffe Mini Gift

Here is the creative and beautiful quilt I received from that swap–a lovely Dresden-plate type circle of houses.  I love them all and love the variety of sewing machine fancy stitches that my partner used.  I hear there is a pattern out there for it called Dresden Neighborhood (by Persimmon Dreams) and you can buy it from Craftsy.

Little pouches for swaps

One hallmark of swaps is the little gifts that you send, although I did join a swap titled “Simply Mini.”  (More about that one later.)  I made two of my swap partners Dumpling Pouches and filled them with interesting PostIt Notes, some washi tape and quilty trinkets.  I’ve seen some swap loot that is over the top; I hope my partners aren’t disappointed (all of them have received their packages).

Rolling Rainbow sent off Rolling Rainbow_front

Rolling Rainbow Star–I made one for the Simply Mini Swap and then had to make one for myself.  I changed up the binding on it to tell them apart.

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I love this backing.

Flying Geese

Flying Rainbow.  The last one I made was for the Schnitzel & Boo swap–the grandmama of all swaps on Instagram, now in it’s fourth year.  I wanted to say I did that one, and now I can.  The quilter I was to send to liked bowling, cooking and classic comic books, so I bought her some bowling score fabric to use the quilt, and backed it with fabric showing wee chefs and bakers.

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Now my To-Do list looks like this:

Mutts To Do Lists 10_8

 Just kidding.  Now I have to clean out the garage before our hoped-for El Nino rains arrive.  (Fingers are crossed!)

Rainbow Gardens

Stauffer SewJo(from here)

Sometimes I feel like this lady here, moving at snail’s pace, trying to make my entrance, but know I’ll miss it somewhere.  Slow-jo, or Missing the Sew-Jo seems to be a topic of conversation on Instagram and on blogs.  It’s the end of summer for the northern hemisphere, and we’re all a little out of sorts with the hot weather and all.  Frankly, I’m just happy to be on the snail these days, as for a long time I wasn’t doing anything but Recovery (it gets a capital letter around here).  So here’s some of my snail-sewing for the last while.Rainbow Gardens

Rainbow Gardens
Quilt #148
18″ square

This started when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to finish the block I had planned for the Kaffe Fasset Mini Quilt Exchange. My friend Lisa and I had been talking about patterns that were from the 1960s era, and this morphed off of that, as I wanted to subdivide the center to allow for greater color gradation.  I have the pattern and templates for sale in my Craftsy shop (European customers will find it in my PayHip shop), so if you can’t figure it out, you can head over there to grab it.

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I had fun customizing the quilting, using floral motifs in the floating center square, and geometric designs in the outer corner backgrounds.  Someone on Facebook said it looked like the glowing camera lens from Hal in Space Odyssey, which is a completely creepy thought, if you’ve ever watched the movie.  I prefer to think of it as walking through a large botanic garden, the rows of plants giving way in color as the varieties change, hence the name, Rainbow Gardens.

Unnamed

This was the original block, “Unnamed” from Woman’s Circle in 1963.  This is from Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, which has been out of print for ages.  However, the other day I noticed on her blog that she now has an e-book version of this amazing publication (scroll down on the left of HER blog for the link).

Mini Quilt hanging

Here’s I how hang the minis: cut a large square and fold diagonally in half (this one is 6 1/2″ for an 18″ quilt) and sew it into the two seams top and side.  Cut a dowel to fit across–it works great.Rainbow Gardens_back obscured

And the back of the quilt.  I love this cheery print. Yes, I’ve obscured the name of who gets this, as we don’t send it out for a couple of weeks, and it’s forbidden to tell who our partner is.  I hope she likes it, though.

Spectrum blades finished

I had intended this one to be made for  the swap, but when I got to here, realized I just didn’t want to push forward on this, so went with the Rainbow Gardens design.

Back of Spectrum

Love the back, with all the papers.  This is an enlarged version of one of my circle blocks, and as soon as I get the mini quilt finished, I’ll put the PDF up on Craftsy.

Kaffe Circle Mini

Of course, once the pressure is off, the sewing can proceed apace, so then I was able to put the outer arcs on the design.

Spectrum

Then I got this far: center circle on and the background chosen and just didn’t like it.  But since I’m not under a deadline, I had time to un-pin, re-think.  I had put up this photo on social media with its twin (but with a different center circle), asking which center circle people liked.  It was so evenly split, it told me that I hadn’t hit the home run on center circle choices.  Back to the drawing board. . . and the quilt shop.  (Can you tell I’m still riding a snail?)

Rosette #4 partway done

I did get this far on Rosette #4 of The New Hexagon Millefiore block, then stalled.  Later, ‘Mater.

Bibimbap bowls

Bibimibap serving

The one day had a craving for Bibimbap (recipe *here*) and no energy to drive the hour to Orange County to get it, so had to make our own.  While it sounds complicated, dicing and slicing and blanching all those vegetables, it took way less time than driving to my favorite restaurant and back, and now I have another recipe conquered.

Mini House_frontlabeled

Earlier I’d written about my mini-quilt for the Houses swap, posted a pattern and a brief tutorial, keying off another popular tutorial online.  I’m sending off the quilt today (one day early–I just can’t stand waiting any more!), so here is the label for my quilt, a clone of the mini I’m mailing off to Indiana:

Houses Label

It was finished in that anxious week before surgery, and boy, was I weepy and sentimental, not knowing if I’d survive the surgery, or be diagnosed with cancer, or if they’d carve something up they shouldn’t.  I just wanted to hide in my lovely home with my beautiful quilts and out-of-control vegetable garden.  Yes, my mind can ruminate and imagine Worst-Case-Scenarios like no one else.  So this is how I felt, and six weeks post-op, I still like the message.  I’ll tell you what I put on my partner’s label. . . later.

Barbie dolls

And when really, it all is just too much, there’s always a spin through your Instagram pictures. . . or someone else’s.  This is from a new follower of mine.  I love all her knitted clothes for Barbie, plus all the cool poses in which she places Barbie.  I say, let the fashion doll come up with the moves.  I’m headed back to the snail while we get through the last hot month of summer.  Yes, here in SoCal our summer always lasts until the middle of October.  Can’t wait for fall, y’all!

Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees-Final Photos

Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_5I wanted to take some final photos of my Lollypop Trees quilt, partly because I didn’t feel like I’d done an adequate job posting about it when I had finished it (and did worry about overkill in writing about it).  But in writing this post, and taking some final photographs, I also wanted to think about it again, to interact with it.

Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_3This quilt had been a part of my life for three years, and I worked on it fairly constantly, with a all-out blitz of quilting at the end.

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Quite frankly, it may be one of the best creative works I ever make, and I didn’t want to rush by it in a hurry.  So I pulled it out again, and photographed each block (see tab above for close-ups) and spent one pleasant afternoon hour in our local university’s Botanic Gardens, pinning it up, draping it over benches, finding that place that would make me satisfied, and would do the quilt justice.

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The gardener at the Botanic Gardens even stopped and sat on a nearby bench, watching me drape the quilt, I’m sure partly to see my reaction if I would drop it into the stream below.  I didn’t, keeping a good grip on it while I binder-clipped it into place.

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I used to walk over this bridge when I went to school here, first getting my undergraduate degree, and less often, when I was working on my graduate degree.  I felt like I was revisiting a crossroads sort of place where I had existed as a younger woman, all full of spit and polish and fire and vigor.  Today, with the heat nudging up to 90, I felt more spent, less sure of myself even though I am several years past that point when I used to bring my lunch and sit on one of the benches.  Often my husband, himself new to this university, would walk up from his office and join me.

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We’d sit on one of these benches, always planning to buy one for the university if ever either of us should pass on, with the inscription: “Elizabeth and Dave loved this garden,” — an idea which seemed light years into the future.  Less so, now.

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I walked up the hill past the lath house shielding plants from our hot Southern California sun, past the rose garden, up through the arbor. Just past the iris patch I found this gazebo.  Like a bride in her glory, I arrayed the quilt, primping and draping and spreading out the bouquet of appliquéd flowers.

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Sunlight illuminated the quilt from the back, a bee settled in to buzz around my head, and a slight breeze blew the quilt to and fro. . . time to go.

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There is an old saying that goes something like this: “When the house is finished, the man dies.”  I don’t think that applies to me, finishing this quilt, but there is something of a finality when a quilt that has extracted lots of creative energy is finished.  It’s an ending, with the quilt becoming its own memorial, its own momento mori of that three years of my life, gone and never to be seen again.

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I fold up the quilt, dodge that bee one more time, and head down the through the shaded gardens.