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

Summer 2016 Goals

Pattern Cover SpectrumTo introduce my newest goal, I need to talk about my new pattern covers.  I made them in a new software I’m trying to learn, Affinity Photo, fearful that any day my upgrades on my Mac will render my old copy of Photoshop more obsolete than it already is.  And no, I don’t want to pay a monthly fee to use their software (are you listening, Adobe?)  I just heard that Affinity Photo is launching a beta version for PC users, too, although it was developed as a Mac software.  So this is the first of my summer goals.

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They also have Affinity Designer, which I’m also trying to learn, but since I don’t know Adobe’s Illustrator very well, it’s like banging my head against a wall.  When my friend recovers from getting her daughter married off, I’m going to bug ask her to teach me a few things.

Long Man Novel Cover

To keep reading is another summer goal, and this was the latest book I finished, while quilting up a few things for my Riverside Sawtooth post.  It set me down so carefully in time and place.  No, it’s not a grip-you-by-the-throat novel, but a quiet one, filled with well-drawn characters from a time in our past.  I listened to it on Audible, which I would recommend, as the narrator really gets the sound of the voices and it adds another dimension to the story, I think.

Cal Primaries 2016

Can I mention Summer Events?  Here’s about the only political statement I’ll make on this blog: we recently (and sadly) lost our ability to have a primary election here in California.  We’d all been so excited, actually asking everyone “who are you going to vote for?” and really getting interested in politics in general.  We are one of the final primaries on the Presidential Election Schedule, and for once, we were going to Have a Say!  Except now we aren’t, because of the recent events (which has made great theater, I have to say).  So, hope everyone else in the United States had a great time voting–as usual, our votes won’t count.  H o w e v e r. . . I will be watching the conventions. After teaching Critical Thinking a few years, and having my students watch the conventions and have them analyze the speeches, the rhetoric, looking for the logical fallacies and spotting all the weakness in candidates’ arguments, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  It’s going to be a long, hot summer out here, and hey! we need something to compensate us for not getting a Primary Election.

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And it that’s not enough excitement (!), we can always watch the Brazil Summer Olympics, although with all the talk lately, it may end up being like our primary.  Click on the link at the end of the post to see this colorful Olympics design in action.

In other news, my garden is growing well, I’ve got a few more projects in the pipeline, but my main quilty goals this summer are as follows:

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1. Finish My Small World.

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2. Quilt Shine: The Circles Quilt

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3. Quilt Riverside Sawtooth

Rosette #5

4. Keep working on this quilt.  Remember this?  It was one of the units in the New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt.  I’m halfway through, and my friend Laurel is all done with hers.  And her quilt is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous, so I need to perserve and Be A Finisher. (However, notice I didn’t say “finish this quilt,” but instead wrote “keep working on this quilt.”  I am reasonable.)

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5. Finish this quilt top, and if possible get it quilted, too.

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6. And… this one, too.
I am all done with the hand-stitching.  Now just to figure out the borders, and get it quilted.
Easy, peasy.  We are coming right along in our Quilt-a-Long, with Step 5 coming up on June 2nd.

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Other summer goals:

7. Be a good citizen and follow the national political process.  Every other week ought to be about right.
8. Visit my kids and their kids. And my parents.  And my husband’s family.  That’s about eight car trips right there.  I’d better work on #4–if only to have some hand sewing for car travel.
9. Celebrate my one-year anniversary of recovering from my surgery.  I think a night in front of the TV would be appropriate, in my nightgown with hand-sewing on my lap, to memorialize where I was last year at that time.

Voting booths
10. And oh, yeah.  Vote in California’s Primary.  I’m so excited, yes yes yes.

My Small World, June 2015 edition

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I don’t often jump on the Latest and Greatest Thing in QuiltLand, but this one called my name.  It’s Jen Kingwell’s My Small World and was printed in the oh-so-elusive QuiltMania Spring issue 2015 (picture above is from the QuiltMania website).  I don’t know why you are making it (there is a My Small World QAL on Instagram and other places), but I know why I am making it.

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It’s because in the 1960s, when wearing white socks with your loafers was considered cool and women always wore pantyhose with their bare legs, I came here.  Our family was on our way home from living for two years in Lima, Peru. It was in the days of Disneyland with tickets, and we seemed to have enough for our family of seven children to go on this ride.  Since I had a broken leg, I went on it more than once.

The ride, first fabricated for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, was installed in California’s Disneyworld in 1966, which will make it fifty years old next year.  I live about an hour from the original Disneyland, so it’s my patriotic duty to honor this institution, right?  Of course we all know THAT song:

“Children of the World” was the working title of the attraction. Its tentative soundtrack, which can be heard on the album, featured the national anthems of each country represented throughout the ride all playing all at once, which resulted in disharmonic cacophony. Walt conducted a walk through of the attraction scale model with his staff songwriters Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, saying, “I need one song that can be easily translated into many languages and be played as a round.” The Sherman Brothers then wrote “It’s a Small World (after all)” in the wake of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which influenced the song’s message of peace and brotherhood. When they first presented it to Walt, they played it as a slow ballad. Walt requested something more cheerful, so they sped up the tempo and sang in counterpoint. Walt was so delighted with the final result that he renamed the attraction “It’s a Small World” after the Sherman Brothers’ song.” (Wikipedia)

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While I have no idea if Jen Kingwell was influenced by the smart geometrics, towers and shapes (Tokyo Disney, above), to me there is a clear connection.

MySmallWorld_1Judging by the photos on Instagram, we all start here: cutting sky pieces.  I did neutrals for a while, then started adding in whispy blues, just to make it more interesting, as I’d seen others do it.  It’s that idea of collaboration, as expressed in my last blog post.
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Section One’s Sky.  I was listening to a book on Audible, that I finally had to turn up to 2x speed just to get through it.  I’m not recommending it.

Beautiful Mystery Gamache

Now I’m back to Inspector Gamache, written by Louise Penny.  I’m going to hate it when I get through reading this series!

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Buildings and some sky.  Now to start on the details.  I found reading Susan’s entries on her PatchworknPlay blog was helpful, too.

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I used some leftover leaves from the Pineapples and Crowns quilt to make this square.

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Susan’s idea to start the tiny pinwheels by cutting two inch squares, then making HSTs, then on to the pinwheel was a good idea.  I threw in some of my New York City fabric, with the words Radio City Hall to liven up this section.

It took me forever to figure out what text thing to put at the top of the building, but I went for this one, since Betsy is a childhood name.  I also had fun fussy cutting a hot air balloon in the Sky Section for Section 2.  You can see the bits of blue sky in the neutrals now.  Here is the progress I’ve made so far:

MySmallWorld1and2Churn Dash Diagram 12And here’s my contribution to the Errata: In section 2, the center square for the churn dash is incorrect.  It should measure 1 1/2″ no 2 1/2″.  Having said that, I have enormous appreciation to Jen Kingwell for this pattern–it has a LOT of moving parts and to even get some sort of pattern down on paper is amazing.

In my real small world, I’ve taken a couple of trips since the semester finished.

David Graduation

The first one was to Phoenix to see my daughter’s husband graduate from Dental School.  I think he had the oldest children of any of his fellow graduates there!  They have happily moved to their new city, and he has started work already.  But this week, they are on a trip to Disneyland to celebrate their achievement.

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And to start the summer off with a bang, I also took a couple of trips through these two machines as a spot on my lungs showed up in my yearly X-ray.  It is because of *this* that my oncologist checks everything.  Twice.  The diagnosis from these humming machines revealed it was nothing to worry about, although for three weeks I did — a lot. I couldn’t really talk about it at the time, so I’m glad it’s behind me.

Basket Blocks Quilt Top

However going through all that certainly made me feel like a basket case.  No, I didn’t know about this when I started this quilt, but it certainly is appropriate!  Now I should really get to the closets that need cleaning out, the papers that needs tossing.  It’s nice to think about regular life again.

I’ve also been busy sewing up more Circles Blocks as I want to finish that quilt and get it quilted.  I have one more to go, then I’ll have sixteen total.  Block #13 will be up on the blog in a couple of weeks.  Here they are stacked together:

Circles Blocks StacksWhat’s been going on in Your Small World?

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Next block is coming on July 1st!