Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees Hit Print!

Eastmond_QuiltMania_1

The Lollies hit print!  Diane, a reader of this blog, recently sent me a note telling me that my quilt was in QuiltMania’s May-June issue.  I thought it might be a pitch for Kim McLean’s fine pattern, so at first I didn’t think it was mine.  She wrote back: “It’s yours!” and then she sent me photos to prove it.

I about fell over.

Eastmond_QuiltMania_2Bless you, Diane, for letting me know (as I received no notice from the magazine).  It was a part of a spread for Road to California this past year, and I was thrilled to be included in this article.  I ordered a copy from Fat Quarter Shop and it arrived via post today.  What a lovely surprise!

 

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.

 

Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees, final

Lollypop Trees Quilt_final Front

Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees
began May 2011 • finished April 2014

Lollypop Trees Quilt_final BackA Kaffee Fassett Lotus Blossom print for the back, and I am finally done.  I know you’ve seen an overabundance of photos of this quilt, so this is just a simple, abbreviated post to say I’m finished.  (Or should I say: I’m FINISHED!!!)

Lollypop All Quilted

Lollypop Tree 1Some time ago, my granddaughter Keagan saw my blocks up on my design wall, and quietly made a picture for me of what she saw. (I think it’s the block in the lower righthand corner of the quilt.)  I love it, so I put it on the label.

Lollypop Trees Quilt_labelQuilt #132 on my 200 Quilts list
73″ square

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This blog software has an excellent search engine box.  If you want to see details about this quilt, type “Lollypop Trees” in the search box to the right, and you’ll get more posts than you know what to do with.  If you have specific questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.  Thank you to all who cheered me on and kept me going, in spite of days of wondering if I’d ever finish.  It’s very satisfying to see that quilt, to run my fingers over the quilting, and to know that I did it.

That’s three finishes in two weeks.  Now to grade research papers until my brains fall out and my fingers fall off.

Counting Down

 But look!  Only four more days of teaching in this semester!

Quilting Makes/Breaks the Quilt

As you know, I recently finished quilting the Lollypop Quilt that I’d been working on for about two hundred years or so, and so appreciated all your comments about taking time to sit back and live with the quilting before I made any rash decisions to become a Quilt Surgeon and slice and dice up the quilting I didn’t like.

Quilting ESE_1

Showing you pictures of my quilting close up is like agreeing to pose, at my age, in a bathing suit.  Probably not a good idea, but I wanted to show you how even rank amateurs like myself can be pretty happy with how things out.  I am even learning to like the quilting spots that I thought were a total fail.

Quilting ESE_2

Radiant mushrooms with echo quilting.

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A feathery sort of stitch.  Every day when I’d start quilting, I type in “background FMQ filler” and read on the internet for a while, gleaning from the Master Quilters.

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A sort of swirl-this-way-then-that sort of stitch.  Of course those long-armers make it look easy with their stitch regulators and space and ability to clamp down the quilt so it doesn’t move.  And I love learning from them and admire so much of what they do.  Which brings me to the title of this post.

One longarmer I dote on, learn from, admire immensely, and generally adore is Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts.  She is a master–all her stitches are perfect and even, and she has fabulous designs, and a terrific book.  So I was more than excited when I noticed on her IG feed that she was quilting a Kim McClean pattern quilt, Kim being the woman who designed my Lollypop Tree quilt pattern.  Zounds!  I’ll learn from the best, I thought, because she is the best.

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This picture is a snapshot from her blog post about the quilt, and I only insert it here to give you an idea of her style of quilting.  Really, I can’t say enough nice things about what she does.

??????

You’re waiting for that other shoe to drop, aren’t you?  Okay, here goes.  These quilts are tough to quilt (why do you think I waited a century or so?) and so I was hoping that Judi, with her infinite skills and talent, would figure out a different way to enhance the quilt, to work with the quilt, to augment the quilt.  But I started to feel, as I looked through her post, that the quilting overpowered the quilt.  She even alluded to this same idea in her blogpost, a comment left somewhere by some random person, who was promptly tarred and feathered by all the blog commenters (one of the nicer names she was called was “blind critic”).  {Note: I found it curious that everyone leapt into action to defend Judi against this random contrary comment, but had no problem dumping vitriol and shame on that poor quilter who dared to say what she thought.  But that’s another post.}

My reaction came more slowly. A sort of creeping feeling that maybe I’m just not in the Great Big Quilter’s Loop or something, but I didn’t (can I say this?) like the quilting on this quilt.  It was stunning.  It was stellar.  It was perfection.  But I remember when making my quilt, spending hours on each block, choosing all the florals, working with the sinewy forms and floral blooms that I was thinking about nature and form and randomness.  And I guess I was hoping that Judi would find a way to make those shapes and forms burst right off the top into a new space.

IG Comments

Couple that feeling with a comment left on Instagram (above):  “Your quilting is prettier than the quilt.”  Hmmm.

Has the maker been eclipsed by the quilter?  Certainly quilting has become its own art form, in a way, but if the quilting is what matters, why not just send a pre-printed panel over to these long-armers and let them go to town?  Does it matter what we, as piecers and top-makers, do?  Is it necessary for our art and design to be subsumed into theirs?

I’m shaking my head, still trying to figure it out.

Dones and Do-Overs

Lollypop All Quilted

So, is the Lollypop Tree Quilt all done?  Was it completed by the goal date?  Yes. . . and no.  Last night about 9 p.m. when I couldn’t quilt one more stitch, I laid it out on the guest bedroom bed: my go-to flat space in my house.  I was content.  It was complete.  I had quilted all nine blocks, all twenty of the border blocks, the sashing, and the only thing that remained were a few details.  Until I woke up too early this morning thinking about it.

Lollypop Quilt Square_blue

I had done a curvy pattern in the sashing blocks, but am just not happy with it.  I am not crazy about the thread color, and let’s face it, my curvies could use some help.  So now I’m really thinking about unpicking all the sashing and trying a different approach.  My husband suggested one that might work.  So even though it’s finished — it needs a do-over.

Colorwheel Bloom

Lisa dropped in yesterday to show me a couple of her quilts — amazing — and while we were talking we were looking at the Colorwheel Bloom (how about that for a title?  I keep working on it).  She agreed that the bright yellow petal wasn’t quite right.  I’d saved all the earlier incarnations and pinned this one on top.  Yep, yep.  Another do-over.

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But first I have to go and read one hundred or so pages of this book in order to write the quiz for the students today, plus grade a stack of précis, plus prep for class.  So the do-overs will have to wait.

Giveaway Banner

In honor of hitting 250 followers, I’m planning a little giveaway mid-April.  Anyone can throw their name in the hat, but followers get an extra chance to win, in order to say a big thanks.  I’ll post more details in a couple of days.  I’ve got a quilt book, some fabric, and thread that need to go to a new home.  I’m still photographing the goodies, but will post soon!