Sewing, Tasking, Listening, Remembering

StarrySkyBlock

Sewing This: Sometimes you just need a new direction when you are sick of your own sewing.   The free tutorial for this block, from Sew Kylie, is found *here.*  My bee-mate chose it for her month, and it was a lovely change. UPDATE 10/18: The pattern in three sizes is now found on Craftsy.SewKylie StarrySky

Here are four blocks together.  The photo is from her blog and try as I might to try and leave a comment to ask permission, the little she-bang wouldn’t work.  So Kylie, can I post this here?

Early Sept Projects

Tasking This: Mostly I just sit around and stare at my Get To Work Book calendar (realizing that most pages have one entry on each: “nap”), but occasionally I can produce.  Above are a few recent successes (a label from my Mini House Swap that my partner received–made in June–and yes, she loved it!), two Dumpling Pouches (which take all of 45 minutes each) and a re-working of a quilt square (made in 2006–I simply backed it, quilted it simply and bound it)  into a flat pillow to cushion the pulling of the seat belt when I drive.  Doesn’t that all look so productive?

long way home

Listening to This:  Louise Penny’s tenth Inspector Gamache book.  Number 11 (The Nature of the Beast) was released this fall, so I still have another to savor. Here’s the order of the books (better to read them in order):

Inspector Gamache

Remembering This:

Ground Zero Mem13

Clutch Purse and Bee Block–Feb 2015

2015 MCM Block2 February

For February’s Mid-Century Modern Bee Block, Carla asked us to make the paper-pieced birthday cake found on the Ellison Lane blog.  If you decide to make this, note that the default printer settings are quite a bit smaller, so make sure your scaling is set to 100% when you go to print it out.  It went together really easily.  Carla’s going to have a whole quilt of layer cakes.

QuiltNight feb2015The Good Heart Quilters gathered together for our monthly get-together; it was held at Charlotte’s house (upper right) and we felt well feted by her hospitality.  Lisa (above left) wore her quilty socks, and finished up Diane’s Date Night Clutch.  We had others there, too, and we were all sewing on the Date Night Clutch, however, I got to hold Caitlin’s newborn baby so she could sew.  A good choice!

Date Night Clutch Purse_1

This is the version I made from Dianne’s pattern.  I had a box way up in the closet labeled “Japanese Fabrics,” and it held cloth purchased when I went to Japan and Shanghai China about fifteen years ago, a month after 9/11.  I had put up the fabric and pretty much forgotten about it, so when I decided to see what was in there, it was a lovely surprise.

Date Night Clutch Purse_2

Why did I only buy a half-yard of this amazing red/white cotton?

Date Night Clutch Purse_3

Diane has two different versions of her clutch and this one includes the inner pocket on one side, the insert that will hold credit cards and bills, and a small zipper pocket for small items (or change?)

Date Night Clutch Purse_4

Date Night Clutch Purse_5

I’m all ready for QuiltCon now, as I have a small useful clutch to tuck in the bigger tote bags we all carry around.

Grading Feb 2015And. . . I survived the grading of their first essay.  I could tell you stories, but I don’t want to upset you if you are eating.  I have one student that I’ve picked out as the One I Teach To.  He spent a year at Cornell University before decided that it wasn’t for him (he didn’t elaborate).  He’s always prepared for class, got an A on the essay, doesn’t fall asleep, and looks interested. . . like he values his education.  See why he’s the one I’m teaching to?  I generally like all my students, although Video Zombie Boy is getting on my nerves–turning in two paragraphs four days late and telling me it was his essay.  (Right.)  I’m leaving them all behind for a couple of days while I head to QuiltCon next week.  I remind myself of the student I was working with in conference about re-writes, and after we’d finished, she blurted out “I’m going to see Wicked next week and I can hardly sleep I’m so excited!”

Yep.  That’s me!

Queen Bee for Mid-Century Modern, 2015

Queen Bee

I’m Queen Bee again in my Mid-Century Modern Bee, and I know you are all surprised to see me again so soon.  We had a reshuffling of months and I moved from November to this spot.  Welcome to our newest members; I know you’ll enjoy the ladies in this bee.

Carlas Quilt-smaller

from *here*

 Carla, of Grace and Favour, had us all make a block in 2013 so she could make her own version of a  Mid-Century Modern Sampler.  I loved her quilt, so I’m asking you all to make a block for me so I can have a quilt like hers. As you can see she has both pieced blocks and appliquéd blocks–both are fun to have.   The blocks should be in increments of 6″ or 9″ or 12″ (if you do a 6″ block, maybe you could do two?), and would like them with either a text, or a light background.  Just pick your favorite block, in similar colors to the above, and have fun.  I do have some fillers in the works, just like Carla. Here’s some color ideas (I couldn’t just pick one):

Sampler Quilt ColorsRoundup of preferred colors: clear tones of yellows, oranges, pinks, blues, aqua, bright greens.
Roundup of colors that aren’t my favorites for this quilt: gray, muddy tones.  Darker tones for accents (stems, etc.) are okay.

Bascially I’d prefer the palate of  Carla’s quilt with light/brights and clear tones all on a text background, but no blocks that feature grey or “muddy” tones predominantly.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me, or refer to our Flickr page where there is more information.  Thank you all very much.

 I look forward to Mid-Century Modern 2015!

MCMBee Button

Happy to Be Home

Croatia Trip 2014

Well, the laundry is done, but I’m still walking into walls, as the jet lag recovery seems fiercer this time, perhaps complicated by the arrival of my son and his family 24 hours after we arrived home, but who can say no to seeing the grandchildren?  The trip, above, was delightful, with the appropriate number of highs and lows.  If you want to see some of my photographs, there is a pretty extensive collection of them on my Instagram feed (button to the right), and once I start posting about the trip, many more will be on my travel blog.  One of the positive things is that I now know where Croatia is.  And Slovenia.  And know that Hungary has this massive lake in the middle of it that stretches for miles and miles, or at least it felt that way, as our train from Zagreb (Slovenia) to Budapest (Hungary) stopped at every single station along that lake. And I also know that I need to figure out how to make gulyas (goulash) the Hungarian way.  It was amazing.   I was able to read all your comments while I was gone, and hoped you enjoyed the continuing posts.  Thanks for the messages you left.

MCM Block July 2014

I pretty much did nothing for the first few days home, but then eased back into sewing with our Mid-Century Modern’s Bee block for this month.

3b64dee956d73308ff5c5fb9a6c80a42

Susan, of PatchworknPlay liked this quilt, so asked us all to make a 12″ star with a black background to begin her collection.  Beginning with one that I liked from my Jolly Old St. Nicholas quilt (post *here* with lots of 12 blocks with templates), I subdivided and added, so it would be more snazzy, with more colors.  You can download a PDF file of the templates by clicking on this link: Snazzy Star.  Enjoy!  It’s my welcome home gift to you, making up into a 12″ block.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 5.20.44 PM

I used my QuiltPro program to do this–it’s a simpler, older version of an electronic quilt program, but it works great for me.  So, cross two things of my list: a Bee Block for July, and Getting Back Into Sewing!

Circles EPP Button

I picked up lots of ideas for the Circles blocks–a richly decorated church in Slovenia had them painted everywhere–so right now I’m working on the EPP Circles block #3 (named “Ljubljana”) and will post that the first part of August.

4-in-art_3

I am also working on our Contrasts challenge for our Four-In-Art reveal August 1st, so keep your fingers crossed that I’ll make my deadline (I’m starting earlier this time, as my jet lagged brain is still fogged in).  In keeping with the laundry-list theme of this post, I’m also the Queen Bee for the Always Bee Learning Bee in August, and in this bee, fabric is mailed out along with the block, so that’s in the works as well. And I’ve just got to get to the beach this summer, don’t you think?

There's No Place Like Home

But as Dorothy found out, there’s no place like home. I’m glad to be back.

Oh, The Places I’ve Been!

Well.  I’m exaggerating a bit.

Saperstein

I went into Los Angeles to meet my sister, who was accompanying her husband for his treatments here, in the Saperstein Center, at Cedars Sinai Hospital.  I’m including this photo so my mother will know what it looks like.  It’s a comfortable room, with private bays all along the sides of the main room.  My sister and I curl up in the comfy chemo chairs (that aren’t being used, of course) and talk while we wait to visit with him.  But this time while he was in treatment and couldn’t be visited, we first went to lunch at a favorite place of mine:

Sycamore Kitchen Yummies

Sycamore Kitchen, which has very inventive and delicious food.

Then to The Grove, where we hit Barnes and Noble because I was looking for Quilty Magazine, because I’d just hit print:

Gingham Quilt

My gingham quilt was featured in “Girls on Film,” paired with Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ.

Gingham Quilt front

Here’s a better look at it, and here’s the blog post about it.  We didn’t find the magazine; my issue came a couple of days later in the mail.

HighHeeledShoes

And then Nordstrom’s where just seeing these makes my feet hurt.  The heels on the left remind me of my mother’s “spectator” pumps, worn for years and very stylish.

Tennies

Better.

Then back to the hospital.  We later had dinner at a lovely little Italian place, then it was home for me, as we were both tired and she had to drive to her hotel.

Students

Another place I’ve been is my local community college, where school started.  (The white blobs are where I whited out each student’s name.)  This ought to give you a representative sample of who is in my classroom. I finally have a great class! (Intro to Literature) and I’m more excited to teach this semester than I have been in a while.

Square-in-Square Blocks

I’ve also found a few minutes to spend in the sewing room.  No, I’m not playing in the Economy Block Sew-a-Long.  The pretty pink, yellow and chocolate square-in-a-square blocks are for a friend’s baby quilt, and I’ve already sent them to the quilter who is putting it all together.  We used Red Pepper Quilt’s tutorial *here.*

Into the Woods front

I’ve  already made a quilt out of the (officially known) Square-in-a-Square block, in my quilt “Into the Woods,” (number 103 on the 200 Quilts list, shown below), so I’m squared out. The block in my quilt above is 9″ square, larger than the baby blocks, and I drafted it in my quilt software, QuiltPro.

ABL Jan14 block

This is the block for January for the Always Bee Learning Bee.  Toni of Hoosier Toni wants to make Christmas quilts for her children’s bed, and I thought her choice of the SpiderWeb block was great.

ABL Block with extra Jan14

This is like the one we made a couple of months ago for another bee; the tutorial is found *here.*

MCM January14 Block

This is for the Mid-Century Modern Bee, for Linda of Buzzing and Bumbling.  Her house burned to the ground right before Thanksgiving last year, so we were happy to make her house blocks to help her re-create her life in a new fashion.  This is my own design.  I’ve got a PDF file of the templates here: *Hyde Park House*, but I have to warn you that since it’s a 12″ block finished, some of the templates “fall” off the page, and you’ll have to figure it out the measurements.  What I did was measure the templates, then write the measurements down on the paper.  Then I used that as a guide for cutting out the pieces.  Somehow I ended up short on the height and had to add another strip of green on the bottom.  Just don’t be too precious about this and you’ll get through.  Hey, it’s free and untested, so Buyer Beware.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 5.08.48 PM

Lastly, my mind has been in Budapest, Croatia and Slovenia, places I hope to go to this summer.  The challenge is when you are in lots of places, it’s sometimes hard to figure out where you need to be.  Today I needed to be here in my sewing room, finishing up the Amish With A Twist 2 quilt top (next post).

And often when you are too distracted with your head in many places, you fall into the procrastinating habit.  I had a student from my last class write to me, as she was worried about trying to overcome her habit of procrastination (although her habit is very slight, truthfully). I told her I sometimes ask myself “What do I want to have done before this day ends?” and sometimes that helps.  Other times it is just not wanting to face that dreaded task every day, so you finally find the resources to get it done.

Although you might think this doesn’t really apply to us quilters, I think it does.  Sometimes we put off tackling the really hard tasks and instead do our bee blocks (Ahem.)  Other times we have sketched out a terrific quilt, but are seduced by the latest trend on Instagram (Economy Blocks) and let that pull us away from doing the hard work of designing and figuring out the quilt in our head.

An article in the New Yorker noted that “The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy.”

So I’m trying to figure out which place I should go next, which direction I should head in my quilting.  Shall I fall back on something easier to do than what I have to (“we often procrastinate not by doing fun tasks but by doing jobs whose only allure is that they aren’t what we should be doing”) , distract myself by buying more fabric (judging from the recent Instagram De-Stash, a lot of people have been doing this one!), or simply surf the web some more to get so many ideas, I can’t possibly make them all in my lifetime (“many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle”).

Ultimately, it comes down to Getting The Work Done: “Since open-ended tasks with distant deadlines are much easier to postpone than focussed, short-term projects, dividing projects into smaller, more defined sections helps.”  And aren’t most of our UFOs the result of procrastination?

So get yourself a notebook, break down the quilt you want to make into smaller steps, and check them off as you go.  It also helps to set a deadline–try the Finish-A-Long if you need a little help with that; because of that I finished several dead-in-the-water quilt tops, surprising even myself with twenty-four completed quilts in 2013.  Not all of these were begun and finished in that calendar year, but that’s when they came alive.    I’ll close with some lines from one of my son’s favorite books, “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss:

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.

parr

Happy Quilting!