Golden California (Small World) • Quilt Finish

Golden California_1

Golden California (Small World)
Quilt #229 • 55″ wide by 36″ high

I mean, you already know what this quilt looks like, having seen various permutations of this on my blog, on the web, on Instagram.  It’s kind of like the quilt that keeps on giving, rolling out forward from the talented mind of Jen Kingwell, and until we all finish up all those My Small World UFOs, it’s likely this quilt will become a quilter’s version of eternity.

[Aside: a cook’s version of eternity is defined as a ham and two people.  An old joke.]

I had a Before…back when the pattern was in the magazine and it sold out like hotcakes.  Then this quilt languished until I had vowed to make Three Hard Quilts in 2019.  It was mostly finished then, but I didn’t have binding sewn on until just before Road to California, where I was taking classes with Ms. Kingwell, herself, and wouldn’t you know it?  I don’t have ONE photo of myself with her and this quilt.  I thought I took one, but, nope.  Can’t find it.

Breaking News!!  My friend Lisa sent me a photo of the quilt with me and Jen Kingwell, so here it is.  Thank you, Lisa!

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To keep myself sane when working on a long project like this, I take little snapshots of progress, title and date them, and keep going.  It reminds me that quilts — like children — will one day be all grown up.

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My photo shoot locator (AKA my husband) suggested we head out to the neighboring town where they had some cool tile murals of different parts of that city.  We battled the shadows, however, but he was right: they were cool murals.

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For the backing, I chose something that had cities in it, and two pieces that represented quilters.

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See that golden sun?  One of California’s monikers is The Golden State, so Susan suggested to me that instead of just taking on Jen Kingwell’s name for the quilt (based on the drawings of the Small World ride in Disneyland), I should incorporate something to suggest this quilt’s origin.  So I did.

Each of my posts about this quilt have the tag “My Small World” so you can click on them to be taken to other posts about this, if you are still making yours.  Carry on!  Keep on! and soon yours will be finished, too.

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Show and Tell at our Guild’s February Meeting. Now this quilt will go for a long rest, while it waits for me to put on the label.

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Original magazine layout of quilt, from the QuiltMania Special Spring Edition, 2015 (now out of print). Kingwell sells the patterns on her website.

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Next week, March 10-11,  I’ll be at the Orange County Quilters Guild, giving my Abecedary of Quilts lecture, and teaching a workshop.  Here’s a screenshot from their webpage (kudos to the Communications people for this nice display).

March 2020 Advert_v2

This week I’ll be giving a hands-on lecture at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild, teaching them an abbreviated version of my all-day workshop on English Paper Piecing.  Excited to teach and meet new quilters!

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Temperature Quilt Top • January 2020

One-thousand-ninety-five triangles along with six rectangles make up the face of this heat map quilt, cataloging the temperatures and rainfall of Riverside, California in 2019.  I have no plans to make another, but I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up with this, faltering only in my crazybusy November to December (finishing those two months in the first few days of January — which is why I couldn’t get the holiday decorations down until January 7th).

temp colors and chart

Of the four numbers at the top of the fabric square, the color numbers are the three numbers written on the right side. The first number is for cataloging.

Here is the original Temperature Quilt Key, for those on IG who keep asking for it (it lives here, on the blog); it was first published early in the year, outlinging my intents and purposes.

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The un-adorned face of the quilt, today in my sewing room.

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I’m thinking of a narrow border before I begin to add other blocks around this quilt, to make it a bit larger.

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I embroidered the temps on the corresponding triangles in my Temperature Quilt Key.

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I have a lot of triangles leftover, so I thought I’d sew them together, fit them into a pattern, somehow, and sew them on the outside.Seoul Korea Triangle Doorway

I guess I have in mind the doorway we saw in Seoul, triangles everywhere.

ESE with 4 grands Dec 2020

Thought I’d flash up here a photo of me with four of my amazing granddaughters.  I have two more, just as far away.  They make me look young.

North Country Quilt with Dani

Danielle agreed to help me lay out the interior of my North Country Patchwork Quilt.  I finished all the interior pieces; now on to the rings.

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While this shows just the sky quilted, I have now finished the quilting on My Small World.  I’m still looking for a good title for this quilt, but My Small World is such a great shorthand.  I’m determined to have it finished by Road to California, as I’m in two different classes taught by Jen Kingwell, who created this quilt.  Yep, I want her to sign a label.  Which means I have to get the binding on, then make the label.

Circe book

Finished this, too, just about the time I finished up the quilting.  I could listen to narrator on this audio book read the phone directory, she’s that good, but the novel is wonderful by itself.

 

My Small World Top • flimsy finish

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It’s done!  I decided to forge with ahead My Small World because basically, nothing else in my life was getting done with that mess in the sewing room, and I wanted to be finished with this project, the Third Hard Quilt of 2019. Here, in my backyard studio, I’m showing the finished flimsy of My Small World, a pattern by Jen Kingwell.  I made some changes here and there, but it’s basically her pattern.  Began in 2014, I was nudged to completion by a new Instagram Quilt-a-long #mysmallworldsewcial, where many others are still working.  Let’s take each of the last two sections, one at a time:

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One late night I was thrilled to discover an Eiffel Tower in one of my fabrics.  I love the embroidery others had done, but it wasn’t for me.

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I took the hexie bubble with me to Guatemala last week, and stitched it up while chatting with my sister/BIL (who we went to visit) and on the plane home.  I brought home some illness, courtesey of the Chicken Bus airplane we flew home (kidding, it was a regular airplane but there were a lot of people sneezing, coughing, etc).

I made a teeny video of our visit to the bus depot in Antigua, where we saw a lot of Chicken Busses, so nicknamed because they can carry everything, including live chickens.  If I could have figured out how to add a chicken bus to this quilt, I would have; I fell in love with them, as well as Guatemala.

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I also fussy-cut a unicorn (just under the top rainbow, but everyone on IG called it a horse–his little white horn is hard to see).

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Underneath the arches and hexie-bubble are bigger blocks of fabric, as I figured I was going to cut them out from behind the two structures at the end, and why waste all that piecing?  I cut out the fabric from behind the rainbow (shown above) and the spikey arch and hexie-bubble:

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Those arches were a grind, but I did them.  I included other tips and tricks in this post.

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Section six was a relief to get to, after those arches.

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I liked the two blue silos, but they were a bit stark, so I added signs to them: a sewing chicken and the word Quilt.

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I changed the order of the bottom row of patches around, and I just couldn’t face another eight teeny flying geese, so I did a square-in-a-square with fussy-cut horses, since this is the farm section.

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I sewed those two sections together, then stitched it to the other part of the quilt I’d already completed.

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Yes, I’m pretty happy to be at this point.  My friend Laurel added a border to hers and I’m considering that, too.

My To-Do list of items is lengthy, all being held hostage by this quilt.  Now I need to go and clean up my sewing room, vacuum, clean some bathrooms, and try to find the extra furnace filter in the garage, as well as maybe take a nap. But I’m done!!!

My Small World • Section 3 & 4

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I know you are thinking, no — praying — that someday soon I will be through with This Quilt, and believeyoume, you are not the only one hoping and praying that I can add it to my list of Three Hard Quilts of 2019 to be completed.  I’ve finished two Hard Quilts and I’m determined not to put any other quilt up on that design wall until I slay this Patchwork Dragon.

So I’m here to report progress: Section Three AND four are finished, hallelujah, but I’m celebrating probably less than you are because I have two more sections to go and I get stuck on the smallest things.

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Like the flying geese in Section Three.

The approach I took the first time I made started this quilt was to pull every fabric out of my cupboards, strew them around and clip a square of this or a square of that and piece it into this quilt.

I occasionally try that approach again.  Which doesn’t work, again.

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The best approach is to see what you’ve already thrown into the first two sections, then replicate that, either via color/value or the actual fabric, if you can find it the mess. The completed flying geese, above — which you can see is sort of an amalgam of all the geese I tried.

I’m finding the paper piecing templates from Sarah of SewWhatSherlock very helpful, if you want to get yourself a set.

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I also learned that I am truly stuck, lunch helps.  And maybe read the newspaper.  And then start in on the big shapes, letting the detritus come later.

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I can work in new bits here and there, like this woman with her bird.

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Or some fun repeated shapes, the appliquéd half-circle echoed in the fabric.  I can’t decide if this yellow is a fancy front window, or two hidden doors, camoflauged, or a re-planted tunnel under this European-style gate to the city.mysmallworld2019_4_2.jpgmysmallworld2019_4_3.jpgThen I charged into Section Four — and why not? the whole sewing room is already a disaster — hand-sewing clamshells and fussy cutting blocks, and cutting multiples of the lower section strips but finally deciding, and now these sections are sewn together: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4.

Seam Presser

New notion: this little seam presser, purchased at PIQF from Edyta Sitar‘s booth.  I’ve tried the roller ones, and this one’s on par.

To recap:

My motto: Making progress, square inch-by-square inch.

My Small World Quilt, a pattern by Jenn Kingwell.
Mess in the sewing room, by Elizabeth Eastmond (me).

My Small World 2019, sections 1 and 2 finished

Cartoon_playwith the puppy

In my Instagram search box, sometimes the bots throw interesting things up there for me to see — like this cartoon of the sad, then very happy dog, courtesy of a little tender care from a young child.  Coming into the year 2019, I had three quilts who were like the dog in the first frame of the cartoon: miserable, the quilts quite possibly headed for the dustbin to be put out their misery.  But like the young child who was “on it,” the first (Plitvice) has been completed, the second (Sing for Joy) is finished and awaiting photography and a blog post.  The third…well, here’s the first frame photo of it, when I left it several years ago:

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First, a detour.

Intrigued by what qualities would most accurately predict outstanding achievement, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth isolated two qualities:

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So what does it take for a quilter to look at a seemingly failed project, and decide to figure out how to redeem it, to re-work it, to finish it up.  Sometimes I don’t have a clue why we finish some quilts.  I’ve seen a lot that might have better been abandoned, mine own included.  But perhaps the idea of “grit,” which Duckworth articulated so well in her TED talk, might have something to do with it.  For what we do in our workrooms is somewhat about thread and cloth, but other times, it’s a microcosm of the world outside our sewing room doors.  Okay, back to gritting my teeth and tearing apart a half-built, unhappy quilt.

Moving On...Part I

The first step is to balance the value of the buildings.  If you see the first example, they are all about the same value (light-to-dark) grey fabric, even though they are different prints.  And too many different windows!!  In the new version, I used the same fabric for the bulk of my windows (excepting the “apartment” on the lower left), cutting from different places in the fabric to get a different look.  I’m much happier with this.

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I found some pictures of Small Worlds I liked on the web and on Instagram, and pinned them up in the corner for inspiration, as I worked through the next section.  I took apart my existing under-the-building-shapes and re-used some of them, yet adding others.  I also moved around the shapes to suit what I liked, deviating from the Jenn Kingwell pattern.

mysmallworld2019_5 DUOThen there was this choice: in the lower left, which little large-door shed should it be?

UPDATE: I should also note that I find the My Small World Templates from Sarah Bailey to very helpful.  If you head to Sew What Sherlock? you’ll find instructions on how to obtain them.  I printed them out on my favorite vellum paper, but also printed them on cardstock, for tracing in some sections. 

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Finally I declared it finished, posted it up on IG to check in with the organizers of the My Small World.  I passed.

Moving On...Part II

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The before of Section Two.  Ugh.  Too much of everything.  It’s like I opened the doors to my cupboard and tried to put one of every color, every value and every fabric in this thing.

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Auditioning–trying to keep it to a limited palette of colors, trying to repeat fabrics or mimic them in other sections, all the while listening to this:

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I’m learning a lot about grit from the four presidents discussed in her latest book.

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The little record was from a Polaroid swap some time ago: I took apart the Polaroid block and inserted it.

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I wanted the Art Gallery Maker fabric in this section, but it was too blah next to the pinwheel underneath.  So I bordered it with a bit of blue.mysmallworld2019_8

Section Two: Finished!

I sewed the two sections together, and am now back where I started long ago.  But I like it much better.  I really like the small pinwheels section, the same print in different colors (from a purchased charm square pack) used with the same background print.  I studied many peoples’ Small Worlds to see how they were harmonizing, and where it was okay to throw a ton of stuff at the quilt to see if it stuck.  The hashtags #mysmallworldsewcial and #mysmallworld have been really helpful.  (The first one is the current one; the second from long ago.)  And the two leaders, Nicola and Paula have been great, too: it’s always fun to see their comments on my posts, encouraging me on.

Gridster October 2019

As my buddy Linda noted, once you get going on Small World, it’s hard to do anything else, but I did get my Gridster block made for Lisa and sent off.  She’d met Jenn Kingwell (there seems to be a theme, here) and Jenn had given her permission to send patterns out for our group make Steampunk blocks, for her turn at Queen Bee of the Gridsters. Lisa also sent us some of Jenn’s fabric, asking us to go wild.

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Here’s the first batch of blocks to reach her.  They do play well together.

Lastly, I had a nice time visiting the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild.

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Simone (on left), helped me set up.  This is before it started.

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Some scenes of the Guild Meeting.  They are a small (50 person) guild, but have such lovely people.

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I’m headed here this week with Leisa–can’t wait!

Hope your small worlds are harmonizing, your colors singing together, and that your sewing places are fun and cozy places to be!

My Small World, redux

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It’s not often I get to have a re-do on Quilts-I-Once-Started-But-Abandoned, but there’s a fresh breeze in the air this fall, with another go-round of Jen Kingwell’s My Small World quilt.  Paula James (@the_secret_sewer) and Nicola Kelly (@nicola_picola_) have joined forces under the IG banner of #mysmallworldsewcial on Instagram, getting us started and keeping us going until we all finish, some nine months later.  The experts all say that we’ll agree to anything that has a finish date in the future because we think we have all the time in the world in the future.  This proves it.

I love Paul’s opening line in her recent post: “Over 60 awesome quilting friends have foolishly offered to join Nicola and me in a special sewalong to create our very own #mysmallworldquilt by genius @jenkingwell.”

And Nicola writes: “The fabulous Paula and I were beyond inspired by Jen Kingwell’s #mysmallworldquilt at last weekend’s retreat that we decided to make one in our inimitable style! 😂. If you would like to join us in a friendly, motivational and slightly bonkers sew along we’d LOVE to have you onboard….Thank you for the phenomenal response already to Paula’s post last night and let me know below if you’ve reconsidered your WIP pile and fancy another little addition.”

These are my kind of leaders.

I dug in the boxes at the bottom of the heap, to drag out this woe-be-gotten piece of piecing, folded up some four years ago (that’s 1460 days, if you are counting) and set aside.  The last post I can find says something like “My Small World, June 2015 edition,” like there was going to be something else after that.

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I’d made a copy of the pattern from my Quilt Mania Special Issue Spring 2015 (which isn’t for sale anymore), and made all my errata and corrections on this, so I’m somewhat ahead of the game.  I guess.  And there was an earlier sew-a-long; see my Posts for Reference, below.  The IG at that time was #mysmallworldqal and it can be helpful to look at that feed for ideas.

I also have a bazillion 1 1/2″ squares of ivory-colored sky cut up.  When I saw this in a comment on the #mysmallworldsewcial feed, I had to laugh:mysmallworld2019_2.png

You can purchase the pattern at Jen Kingwell’s Shop, Amitie, if you want the booklet, but you can also find some online, if you do a search.  So, get out your orphaned Small World and get back in the game!!  Below are screenshots from their feed, reminding me of what I need to get done by what date:

IG sewalong SMall World

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Other Posts For Reference
VeryKerryBerry — Kerry ran an IG sew-a-long in 2015.  On this post she has info about each section, links to Errata (Corrections) if you have the magazine pattern, and tips and tricks.  Very helpful.  [Warning: Any link back to QuiltMania does not work.  I think after a year, they relinquish rights and responsibilities back to the pattern writer.]
Patchwork ‘n’ Play — Susan’s Melbourne Town, where I found out that Jen Kingwell based this quilt on the artwork of Mary Blair, a Disney artist.
Live A Colorful Life — Cindy’s My Small World: The Disney Version
Wendy’s Quilts and More — Wendy writes about re-starting a stalled Small World
Another post from Wendy with more tips