This quilt started on Zoom. Several weeks ago as our family was having their weekly Zoom get-together, my brother hinted (strongly) that he wouldn’t mind having one of my quilts, you know, in blues–lots of them. He just loved blues.
It began with a block writ large. I used a basic nine-patch (see details below) that measured 12″ per block, so 4″ parts. It was a joy to work with blue and white, a favorite.
I have the above blue and white currently on the bottom of my bed, and must admit to having a lot of blue in my stash, so it was easy to pull fabrics for this quilt.
We’re lucky in June, out here in California, to have two flowering trees at the same time: the purple jacaranda, and the yellow Palo Verde. And I wanted photos with both.
My quilt-holding husband obliged. We stopped on the way home from church, and here you can see our nifty quilt-holding contraptions: a clamp duct-taped to a sturdy stick (you could use a dowel).
He received it yesterday and is thrilled to have it.
The block, pulled from my BlockBase+ software, is the Double Hour Glass block with a bit different coloration. I enlarged it to 12″ size, then went to town piecing it. The quilting pattern is Belly Bop, and my quilter Kelley used a silver Microquilter thread (#7007) on the top, and barely off-white 401 So Fine in the bobbin. Both threads are made by Superior Threads. The batting was Soft and Bright, by The Warm Company.
This is Quilt #249 in my Quilt Index of finished quilts.
When you are stuck, it is. I love those houses, but…No.
New favorite. I ordered two more yards.
I love having scraps of batting that are just the right size.
Letting us both rest after a few hours of quilting.
Here come the beauty shots. (Isn’t that little bee with the branch arms the cutest?)
I quilted whatever came into my head.
I haven’t measured it, I haven’t labeled it, but the saga of the Orphan-Blocks-into-Table-Runner is now complete. I’m sorry to say, it didn’t empty out my orphan blocks bin much. Now I have to think up another way to use some of those up. And I have to think up a name. These orphan blocks came from when I taught the First Monday Sew-day class of beginners about Square-in-a-Square, or Economy blocks.
I still love these little houses. Now I have the beginning of another quilt! Get the Pattern Lite here.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend.
Or, as my mother would say, Happy Decoration Day (some fascinating reading in this link). The weekend before Memorial Day, my mother and father would go out and decorate the graves of their grandparents and great-grandparents with flowers, the cemetary made beautiful with pots of mums everywhere. This is the gravestone of my Scottish gr-grandmother. I have two namesake gr-grandmother Elizabeths and I remember them both on this Decoration Day. While the origins of Memorial Day are generally thought to be about the war dead, because of my mother, I remember it also as a day to honor those long gone.
Little three-year-old Gio came to live with my son Chad and his wife Kristen last year, and when this February rolled around, I decided that he had become, in effect, my grandson, and in my world grandchildren get quilts. I rustled up a stack of Hungry Animal Alphabet fabric by J. Wecker Frisch, figuring that my daughter-in-law was probably working with this little guy on his alphabet.
Kristen and Chad had first taken Gio’s mother under their wing some years ago (a complicated story), but soon Gio’s mom decided to go out on her own; it was heartbreaking. Fast forward two years, and Chad and Kristen got a call to come and get this cute energetic little boy. Without a moment’s hesitation, they did, and now he is in a secure home with a family that loves him.
This past Thursday, I had hit the Pandemic Wall, (and here, too) so we grabbed the quilt and jumped in the car and headed to the beach to take some photographs. Let’s go places, indeed.
Of course, this is my favorite block. That’s totally me, there, eating raspberries with racoons and a quail on my shoulder and a quilt on the table.
The back is an alphabet toss of black letters on white. I quilted it in a meandering stipple, bound it in red (Gio’s favorite color), and signed the back and sent it off that afternoon. Gio’s Quilt is quilt #244. It measures 45″ wide by 55″ high and I hope it makes Gio smile.
This past week I was also able to present and teach at Surfside Quilters Guild, out of San Clemente area (California).
I recently got a new laptop and am now able to use virtual backgrounds when on Zoom. I used to have to set up a quilt stand and clamp on a quilt as my backdrop, and one afternoon when I was auditioning backgrounds, Dave magically appeared. I ended up using the lower image with Plitvice and the backdrop of California poppies. I still think my hair looks like –and moves like — a bowl of Jello when a virtual background is used, but it’s easier than setting up quilt stands.
Surfside Quilters Guild is a collection with many powerful, talented and well-known quilters. I fall in love with every guild where I go and teach, but it was fun to circle back around to this one, and have Nancy Ota in my class (I took one from her when I first moved to Southern California). Nancy mentioned that she’d just heard news of the death of Roberta Horton, a silver star of a quilter. (I wrote about Roberta Horton here.) In 2019, when I’d gone to PIQF, I saw Roberta and she graciously agreed to a photograph together. The news of her death blew me away, much as the news of Gwen Marston’s had done a couple of years earlier.
Roberta Horton is one of a collection of BIG quilters, meaning Before Instagram. Before Facebook and before social media. You learned about these quilters — Roberta, her sister Mary Mashuta, Gwen Marston, Nancy Ota, Ruth McDowell, among others — by reading magazines, seeing which quilt shows where they would be teaching, and then trying to get there. The edges of our quilting universe seemed a lot farther away then and I was a roaming fangirl. I learned a lot from the women in that cohort, who, regretfully seem invisible to this new crop of younger quilters, quilters who somehow believe they sprang fully formed out of the social media earth without any quilting mothers. I have always believed that we quilters are richer for our heritage, and hope we won’t forget these giants.
Because Surfside began in 2009, and because their website is a strong compilation of their history as a guild, I had fun exploring their Blocks of the Month. I chose their Freddy Moran Garden Lady block (2012-2013) for my block this year for the Gridster Bee, and hope to make many of the accompanying sewing-related BOM blocks for a quilt in 2022. [Freddy Moran is another heritage quilter, seen here and here.]
This block, however, is not from Surfside, but is the block one of my beemates chose for her turn as Queen Bee, and is a free pattern from Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt. I am doing all my blocks for the above quilt with red backgrounds, so tried it out in the block you see above.
These are what I made for Susan. The scissors are there for scale (blocks finish at 3 1/2″).
And last but not least, here are some textures drawn by Mother Nature and her helping flock of seagulls, seashells and edges of waves. If you need more beach, I put a Beach Highlight on my Instagram; make sure the sound is on for full effect. I plan to keep my finger on that play button often in the next few weeks, trying to get through pandemic life, and as I get my second dose of vaccine this morning.
It’s nice to feel a bit of hope again around the edges of life. I wish this for you, as well.
Choose Something Like a Star Quilt #238 29″ high by 33″ wide
Biography of this quilt
Titles considered Choose Something Like a Star (from a poem by Robert Frost) Playful Star (from a haiku by Tada Chimako) Double Star Binary Star Twin Stars Eclipsing Binary (I really fell down a rabbit hole on this concept)
I don’t often give individual titles to quilts made in a series, but all of the Triad Harmony quilts have such a different look, that I wanted to distinguish them by name.
Fabrics used All from the stash
Batting Soft and Bright polyester. I buy it by the roll and cut off what I need for each quilt, but this time I made a “frankenbatting,” pieced together from scraps. This post talks about how I do that.
Thread used in piecing Masterpiece, by Superior Threads Color: Granite #156 Sometimes I use other threads. As long as it is good quality (not the cheap stuff from the sale bin) I’m happy with it. I am, however, incredibly specific about what I quilt with.
Thread used in quilting Magnifico, by Superior Threads, various colors (top thread) So Fine, by Superior Threads, (bobbin thread) coordinated to top thread
Quilting Patterns After racking my brain, and browsing all the patterns in Lori Kennedy‘s books and my saved Instagram posts, I went with loops in the stars, ruler work in some of the triangles, and a wonky starry border pattern (which doesn’t really show up, which is fine). Choosing a quilting pattern is always a challenge. I have to repeat to myself: The perfect is the enemy of the good. Seeking for the perfect can also be the enemy of the done.
Binding Method Single fold binding method I did use the glue stick method: after ironing it into place, I stroke it with a school-supply glue stick, pressing it to distribute the glue. Then I topstitch it with some Magnifico thread, matching it to the binding/border.
Book listened to while I worked I am working my way through the series by Julia Spencer-Fleming, featuring the Reverend Clare Fergueson and the police chief Russ Van Alstyne, solving mysteries, and set in a small town in upstate New York. These were recommended to me by my friend Bette.
Inspiration Desire for a cousin to Annularity, to make a smaller version that can be used for workshops.
As you can see, it takes a village to make a quilt.
I still like the name Eclipsing Binary. Below is a sketch of this effect, of one star eclipsing another.
Other Triad Harmony quilts:
Pattern can be purchased on PayHip. Thanks also to my angel friends from Berlin, for holding up the quilt for me. I turned off the comments, as this is just a biography post.
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!
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.
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.
For the backing, I chose something that had cities in it, and two pieces that represented quilters.
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.
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).
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!
Azulejos • Quilt #227
61 1/2″ wide by 75 1/2″ long
It was a rainy, wet day in Lisbon, and we’d made our way by bus to the Lisbon National Museum of the Azulejo, or the Tile Museum. We were rewarded for our efforts as I began to call it the Quilters’ Resource Center. If you are a grid enthusiast, as I am, it was heaven to walk through, with all sorts of interesting ways to think about what’s in a grid, as well as how to use color and negative space to make a design. And so, from a small sketch on that day in 2016, I created this quilt.
I was also inspired by a beautiful fabric created by Alison Glass from her Handiwork Collection. It was just so….azul (or blue, in Portuguese). I filled in with other treasures from my stash, and got to work trying to make it easier to construct.
Cathy Kreter, my quilter, did a nice tight design for the quilting.
So why if I finished it in November, have I not put it up here until now? Two reasons: one is I was seeing if my favorite magazine was interested (not this time, they said), and secondly, it was slated to hang at Road to California with a collection of modern quilts made by my guild, the Inland Empire Quilt Guild. We were honored to be able to have our quilts hung in the atrium as quilters entered, so I kept it quiet. There are more pictures on our Guild’s blog, taken by our President’s husband, a professional photographer.
On Sunday after Road was over, I had to wait like forever to pick up the three quilts I had at Road. My husband snapped this as we were leaving, Ladybird in my hands (well, the backing for Ladybird — a stellar print by Jane Sassaman).
Today I took some more photos of Azulejos, laying it down by the tools of the painters who were working at our home that day, scraping popcorn ceilings painting. It’s nice how a quilt can brighten any corner!