Triad Harmony Workshop

A song from my childhood always pops into my head when I start my Zoom classes, bright and early, on Saturday morning. It’s something about “bright, smiling faces” that are “all in their places,” and when you see that class portrait where I cue them all to look at the camera and smile, it certainly resonates. (I like to do a class portrait, giving the students time to compose themselves, so as to avoid that strange deer-in-the-headlights-slightly-tipsy portrait that can happen when we try to freeze a video feed with a snapshot.)

The portrait above is the Coastal Quilters from Santa Barbara, one of those Guild engagements that morphed from in-person to Zoom. Again, I have to say I’m really loving teaching this way, with everyone in their own spaces with their own equipment and fabrics. (Do we have to go back to the other way?) I did teach one Zoom class once where they all gathered in the back room of a quilt shop, masks in place, but there wasn’t the interaction; I really missed the individual conversations that the traditional Zoom set-up allows.

And this is what a busy workshop looks like in reality. Everyone is on task (since I took this unannounced, I have blurred out any faces), working hard at creating their own versions of Triad Harmony. This is later in the afternoon and they had all made incredible progress.

Something I do — which I think is unusual — is a Follow-up Workshop Session, one week later. It’s one of the best parts of the class, in my opinion.

In this Follow-Up class, the students send me photos of their quilts the day before, and I put them up into a slide show. This is my view from my computer, and we all engage in discussing the quilts, the fabric choices, successes, and challenges. It’s a lovely time to hear from the quilt makers, the quilters involved at a granular level in creating these masterpieces. It’s not often that we get to talk like this, and it’s a treasured time.

I wish I could have had you all there. More than once, someone said, I was scared to work with this precision, but it went together really well. Or they’d say, they had a stack of triangles cut and changed out. At that point, several people picked up their stacks and flashed them at the camera. A couple of people had theirs already quilted, some were still finishing up borders, and one quilter had printed off onto paper an image of the fabric she was missing in order to show us how it should look. All in all, the follow-up class motivated them to work hard, and finish up as much as they could.

Enjoy the show!

Karen B.
Sue B.
Margaret D.
Heather G.
Marcia G.
Ellyn H.
Gail B.
Ranell H.
Carole K.
Sue K.
(The black is for display only.)
Susan K.
Tami K.
Barbara M.
Polly M.
Sue O.
Karen P.
detail, Karen P: dimensional wedges
Bee S. (with bee fabrics!)
Rosana S.

I try to give something a little extra to each class, and for this class I included four different videos they could watch, with different tips and instructions for making the quilt, as well as a line drawing for use in coloring in preferences.

I also included pattern pieces that would make a larger size, shown here for comparison. I’ve updated the pattern in my PayHip shop, and the pattern now includes the larger size. The fabric line I chose for the larger size is Geo Stones, by Riley Blake.

Thank you all, Coastal Quilters, for a lovely experience!

Spectral Light

My husband is a photographer who specializes in small landscapes: detailed shots of flowers that he finds around our neighborhood. Since we live in a climate that is temperate, we have plants from Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and even Madagascar, and he finds and captures them all in their exquisite tiny details. The plant above is called Mother of Millions.

But sometimes when you step back, the plant just isn’t quite so lovely. And so it is with quilts.

I had challenged myself to make a larger version of Triad Harmony, which — when it’s figured out — will be added into the first pattern. I had spent hours drafting patterns, printing them out, perfecting them, and finally it was time to try it in cloth.

Fail.

I really thought it was a loser. I had great fabric, Gem Stones by Riley Blake (shown on this post). I thought, well…every quilt starts out as spindly Mother of Millions plant, with their virtues disguised in the making. I wondered if this smaller quilt just couldn’t scale up to the larger version. So I stepped away for a day, a bit grumpy about the whole thing. But I just needed to look at the details.

And the details came down — as so often it does — to contrast. The second tier of triad blocks needed contrast from the outer heavens in which this star lives. I needed to change out some pieces, but now I think it’s on track. I will soon get the borders on, then take it off my design wall to quilt it. The moral of the story? Keep working, make changes and soon the quilt will show itself.

In other news, I had a wonderful class last Saturday with the Coastal Quilters from Santa Barbara, a Zoom class of 19 students. We have our follow-up session this coming Saturday, and their quilt pictures have been coming in. I am most excited about this–this follow-up session is such a wonderful time where we talk about quilts. That write-up is coming soon, as is a giveaway for the new Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. So stay tuned!

colorful image from here

About the name: I had originally wanted to name this quilt Spectra, as that is plural for spectrum, or an array of light. But when I found out that it is the brand name for a breast milk pump (?!?), I quickly changed my mind. I read that car manufacturers go through this on a large scale, as not only do they have to check English, but the car’s name in many other languages as well.

And now, a little light reading:

from here

Happy Quilting!

P.S. Did you notice I changed this triad piece, too? I subbed out the lightest piece for a really dark one — you know, more contrasting — and then I rotated it to put that darkest piece at the lower edge.

SHINE: The Circles Quilt • Collaboration with QuiltMania

SHINE: the Circles Quilt

First I’m going to tell you the short version.

Shine is going back out into the world again, this time in collaboration with QuiltMania Magazine. If you are a subscriber to their newsletter, you’ll receive access to the newly revised patterns, free, as a thank you for subscribing.

Block One: Swirlygig

Now the long version.

When Covid-19 hit the proverbial fan, one April morning in my mailbox was a heartfelt letter from Carol, writing in her regular QuiltMania Newsletter about some of the difficulties magazines like hers were facing.  I contacted them, offering my help in any way (you know I’m a fangirl).

Block Two: Sunshine

After some correspondence, it was decided that they would release SHINE: The Circles Quilt out into the world, bit by bit on their blog, and after further developments, as a thank you for subscribing to their newsletter.  I was happy with this, and thinking it would be released quickly, revised all the formerly free patterns on this blog into a new format.  I sent them to back to QuiltMania where they were translated into French.  

Block Three: Ljublana

Wondering if they’d be out by July, I started work on another set of the circles, this time in Red, White, and Blue.  You may have seen them here, here, and here.  I am still working on them, but am borrowing an idea from my friend Carol, who is also working on a Red, White and Blue quilt.  We hope to get these quilts finished in time for the Inauguration in January.  That gives me a little more time.

So here we go on a new journey with SHINE! Underneath each block is the name, and a link to where it lives on this blog. Each of these posts has detailed instructions and photos, which may prove helpful in your sewing. The full set is up above, in my header, under SHINE: The Circles Quilt.

This is how it looked on their blog this morning. 

Above is the teaser in their newsletter, which you’ll want to subscribe to.  

Here’s the scheduled release dates of the free quilt blocks from QuiltMania:
September: Blocks 1, 2 and 3
October: Blocks 4, 5 and 6
November:  Blocks 7, 8 and 9
December: Blocks 10, 11 and 12

In case you can’t wait, the complete pattern is coming soon to my PayHip shop.  Currently up up on PayHip are the last four blocks of SHINE (13 through 16) and the quilt’s finishing directions, which are written in Hobbit Elvish.  Just kidding (sort of), but certainly they are from my earliest days as a pattern writer and will soon be revised to my current format and standards. (When the new patterns drop, if you have purchased either of these, you’ll be able to download the new ones without additional cost.)

I used fabric from the Minick and Simpson recent lines of red, white, and blue, as well as other Moda and Riley Blake fabrics for the backgrounds.

Happy Labor Day this weekend. Here is a less-than-happy version of Work (Le Travail), by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (c. 1863) from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. I am happy that they worked in a woman in “travail” down in the lower right corner. I am beyond happy that my current work of quilting doesn’t resemble anything in this picture. (Okay, maybe sometimes.)

Keep stitching!

Triad Harmony • Quilt Finish

Triad Harmony, quilt number 234
33″ wide by 29″ high

Annularity now has a little sister, and her name is Triad Harmony.

Triads that harmonize are found in color wheels and in music. The Oxford Dictionary of Music notes that “Zarlino was the first theorist to accept the triad as a full-fledged consonance. Not only did he accept it, he dubbed it the harmonia perfetta—the ‘perfect harmony.’ He rationalized giving the triad this suggestive name not only on the basis of the sensory pleasure that triadic harmony evoked” but also because of reason and mathematical theory.

But that’s not why I named it that. I don’t really know why I named it this, other than my triad block is the basis of the design. Sometimes names just drift in out of the heavens, and there they are.

I was asked to speak to the Coastal Quilters Guild about a year ago, and my friend Susan wanted to make Annularity. When we all were switching to Zoom, I thought I should try to create a smaller version of that quilt, as small quilts are more easily created in a workshop setting. And I promised her I’d try it in Kaffe fabrics, her first love. So here it is, but it’s so hot off the press, that I haven’t had a chance to quilt this version. (Coming soon, and with a different name, I promise.)

The pattern is finished and can be purchased on PayHip, my pattern site.

I also drew up a bit larger version and I loved seeing some of the drafting details, so I took a screen shot. It is also when I found a significant error in my first quilt, but I doubt you’ll find it so I’m not going to tell you where it is. Humbling moments come at me from every direction.

It’s been an intense two weeks filled with smoke from fires in my lovely California, watching most of the Democratic convention and parts of the Republican convention, worrying about people I love, dealing with asthma and a reaction to a Shingles vaccination, writing up this pattern, quilting the first quilt, cutting and sewing the Kaffe version, moving my in-person Guild Visits to Zoom visits, trying not to be cranky when we had ten days of 100+ temperatures, along with the usual.

I didn’t have to deal with sending children back to school in masks, a stressful essential job where I had to risk the covid-19 virus, money troubles (thinking about my early days when I didn’t have two quarters to rub together in my pocket), locating a good fabric shop, teenagers, car or computer troubles.

I have some observations about the conventions, a thought or two about some of the other things, but today I am tired, so I’ll close it out here.

Take care, everyone. Keep quilting. Keep bringing the beautiful into your lives, one stitch at a time.

Happy Seventh of July Block!

Yes, it’s Happy Seventh of July!

On this day in 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time. What other significance does this day hold? It’s National Chocolate Day! I could just stop this silliness there, but it’s also National Strawberry Sundae Day. The moral of this is if you don’t have sliced bread, you can head to chocolate or strawberry sundaes. Or chocolate-drizzled strawberry sundaes on top of sliced bread.

I don’t have a back of this block to show, but the title of this block is Provoslavni Park, named for where that beautiful church was located in Ljubliana, Slovenia.

Here’s the back of the 6th of July block, shown yesterday.

My mother always says that doldums come predictably after Christmas: in January you can expect a little mopiness as you clean up the glitter and tinsel. It’s just that living such a sustained high — in terms of activity and expectations and hopes and fun and parties — will inevitably result in a series of days where you can hardly drag yourself around.

So what are we to expect after having a series of days, in this Covid-time, where we have covidistraction, covidsludgenergy, or general covidecline–what can we expect after that?

I know we all looked forward to the 4th of July with all that hullabaloo, but given our numbers, if you stayed in the house and didn’t breathe you were to be commended. So that’s why I thought a little silliness these past few days might provide an occasional snort at a bad joke, a roll of the eyes, and yes, I do want to see pictures of your chocolate-dripped strawberry sundae on sliced bread.

And as usual, Pattern Coming Soon. Stay Sane.

The Original Shine: The Circles Quilt, just hanging out.

And that’s it for the Shine re-do-up-do for a while, while my fingers catch up on the rest of the blocks. Happy July, everyone. Only two more years of — what my science-y friends call — mitigation (masks, etc.)! By then this pattern will be out and I’ll have the quilt made, with any luck.

Stay safe and figure out how to do a social distance gathering, so you won’t feel so isolated as we wait out/suffer through this pandemic. And please keep the parts of the country that are exploding in cases in your hearts, and if you are so inclined, in your prayers. And please wear your masks. We’re all in this together by ourselves, Lily Tomlin used to say.

Never truer.

Happy Sixth of July!

I think I sense a pattern here…

Yes, you do. I’m working on re-doing my Shine: The Circles Quilt pattern in red, white and blue, and this is the third block, titled Ljublana.

I was inspired to make this pattern after visiting a church in Slovenia, and after getting permission from the Guy-in-the-Booth-at-the-front-of-the-Church, I snapped a couple of photos. Many of the blocks in this series are inspired by that exquisite church in that beautiful country.

Now comes the dream story.

In this dream, I was traveling with my husband in a foreign place and it was like, last week — you know, during Covid-time. I couldn’t understand the people and they couldn’t understand me (both wearing masks), and on the bus, people were just too close to me, and I carried giant canisters of sanitizing wipes in my suitcase, and it was all just so unpleasant. Has Covid-19 ruined us for the typical jostling and hustling and bustling of travel?

Don’t answer that. I want to imagine that it hasn’t, and that one day we will all board what my sister calls germ tubes and fly to far-away places and be jostled and bustled and hustled.

Until then, I will do my traveling through specials on TV, through watching videos from our past trips, and by re-visiting amazing painted churches in Slovenia with my quilt blocks, where cheerful and friendly guards encouraged me to take photos.

In Lithuania, the 6th of July is King Mindaugas’ Coronation Day, or Statehood Day. Kind of like our Fourth of July, only not the same day. And their colors aren’t the red, white and blue of this block. This is also National Air Controllers Day, and International Kissing Day…which don’t, unless the person you want to kiss is related to you, or in your pandemic bubble. (I only mention that because the theme of this post is travel.)

The original Shine: The Circles Quilt

Pattern Coming Soon.

A finally, a reminder: there is one week left on the discount for this pattern. Until July 14th, the pattern will be sold at a discount of 20% with the code: minidoublepocketbag20 — that’s all lower case, with the number 20 at the end. When you check out over on PayHip, you’ll see a place to put your code.

(I have turned off the comments on this post.)