And here is a picture of Mary’s blocks, all laid out:
Okay, that mystery solved, and the Heart’s Garden Mystery QAL put to rest, what’s next?
June blocks, from Leila Gardunia, are a series of scrappy triangles, with white-on-white as the opposite side. Leila provides a free download of 52 of these blocks, plus a few bonus ones– a fun pattern to keep around when you have too many scraps and need a way to make them useful.
My friend Jean sent me a photo of her finished Polaroid quilt. Some time ago (2013), we’d had a Polaroid swap, and she was happy to send me a finished photo. The directions to make those little blocks can be found in this post. I don’t care when you start a quilt, it’s the finish that needs celebrating and I celebrate this!
Since bashing on Instagram is a favorite thing in this house — we love it and we hate it — I was interested in this advice from The Washington Post in their IG feed and more on the stranglehold they have on our data in an article on Privacy Policies. I’ve yet to convert my feed over, but do try to keep my eyeballs-on-screens time down to a manageable level.
Culture Department: This is the stage where the Ukrainian band, Kalush, won the Eurovision Song Contest. Now that song is stuck in my head, and I don’t even speak Ukranian. One of the members is known as Carpet Man, and he is covered in a patterned balaclava that looks like patterned carpet. You can listen (and see Carpet Man) in this video, a song that is a combination of rap, a plaintive melody and a chorus that is all too catchy. Be sure to admire the man with the one of the traditional Ukrainian woodwind instruments, a telenka.
And no, I haven’t forgotten about this horrendous week of news we’ve had, and the video that sums up all the horror of what our children are exposed to. I remember hanging out at school, playing ball on the schoolyard, and absolutely nothing like what this young woman in the video described. I voted by mail this week, giving a NO vote to a particular leader who didn’t represent my views on this, or on pandemic caution. I urge you to vote in your Primary if your state is having one, or will have one, and I thank those who did vote. Let’s leave our children and grandchildren a world where they have the freedoms we did.
Maybe it was in response to the oppressing sadness that I designed this happy little pattern? I don’t know, but for four Wednesdays in June I’ll put up a new block. Thanks to the nice comments you’ve sent to me, and hope you have been able to download it from my pattern shop (link to PayHip is on upper right).
Every Wednesday in June I’ll put up another block, and take down the previous. I guess I’m going through withdrawal after Heart’s Garden. But I want a 9-inch block. Most blocks are 8 inches. So there’s some splicing to do on a couple of pieces. But really–any project goes faster if it’s bigger blocks, right?
So you can put up with splicing together a couple of pieces? In thinking about the New York Beauty block…I mean there are a billion New York Beauty blocks out there on the web, free, in patterns, in a book, in several books. We must really love New York Beauty blocks, I think.
Let’s just start with one step. One block: Wild Sunflower. I did have fun naming all my blocks. You’ll see all the names in the pattern. Blocks? Names? Yes, I didn’t really stop playing around until I had designed eight blocks, and then I was tired (see cartoon, above). They aren’t fancy-schmancy with flying geese and everything. (THAT book has already been written.) But if you just want a fun June project, here ‘ya go. You can always save the patterns for later, if you are already up to here (makes motion at eyeballs) with lists of quilting projects.
Confession: I used to hate FPP: Foundation Paper Piecing. Then I took a class at QuiltCon from the Pride and Joy Quilting lady, Verushka Zarate, and a big lightbulb went on inside my head. This is her trick of ripping away the seam allowance paper if you don’t need it (but sometimes you do). She has an online course, if she isn’t appearing in person somewhere close to you.
And my trick is to draw the outside corner seam allowance 1/4″ past the pattern, so you have some scooch room when trimming up. Just place the 9-1/4″ mark on each end of the arc, then trim.
Wild Sunflower, done. And I actually had fun! I titled this series New York Beauties, and then subtitled it “for Barbara.” She’s my daughter and was born in New York and would live there the rest of her life, if she could–it’s such a strong attraction. So I think of her when I’m working on this.
Thanks to all who entered in the drawing for some Sew Sassy. I actually found extra spools, so I chose four winners. Check your email box for the email around noon. Tomorrow I’m going to sleep in!
Evergreen, EverLife • Quilt #263 87″ wide x 98″ high
Center Tree: Made from a kit from Edyta Sitar. I started this in December 2019, sewing with friends. I changed up the background to something lighter.
Three borders (ric-rac squares, Sawtooth Stars, red with vines); designed and pieced/appliquéd by Elizabeth Eastmond. Binding on and finished this past week.
Quilted by Kelley Bachli.
The game: Find pine trees at quilt level in Southern California without going into the mountains. I think we did okay.
Title: The reason why the evergreen (or pine, fir, what-have-you) tree is around at Christmas is because it is ever green. I’m sure there is the bit about adopting it from pagan festivals, etc. but whatever the original reason, it has become a lovely symbol of enduring life. So I connected those two: ever-green and ever-life in the title, reminding me that I have life forever because of Christ’s birth. The trick is, of course, to do something worthwhile with that life that’s been handed to me. (Working on that.)
Either I’m very early for Christmas this year, or very late for 2019, 2020, and 2021.
We reached a sad milestone this past week: we have decided to stop receiving paper copies of one of our three newspapers. It’s the newspaper we get every day on our driveway, and I read it while having breakfast and eating my granola. We also get a national Sunday paper, and then subscribe to another national one online.
First stop, always: the comics. Then, the advice column, the horoscope. Headlines come next, and then I go through it skimming, catching the tidbits that fall into your lap when you have a paper-paper and there is no algorithm trying to force you into reading what THEY want you to. I read opinion editorials of all stripes, Letters to the Editor, and the regional news (this isn’t our local paper which went off the rails several years ago). This particular morning, I found three comic strips which seemed just for me:
And for that last one, I nominate the people who thought it was a good idea to jack up the prices our “introductory offer” to this newspaper of several years ago. We are diehard newspaper supporters, but when we recently did the math, the price over the years had crept up to nearly $800/year (!) for the subscription price. So good-bye to a life-long tradition, planted in us by our parents. I will miss you. (But don’t you love these comics?)
I MADE A DRESS. SHOCK.
It’s an EVA dress, and I’m wearing it today, accessorized with beads and lightweight jacket (you know — the air conditioning — even though the high today is supposed to be in the upper 80s). I put on 3/4-length sleeves, faced the neckline and put bias trim on the hem because it is a lantern-shaped dress. It’s a pattern from Tessuti Fabrics.
This was my first rodeo with online patterns. I was apprehensive about getting the pattern printed so I inadvertently ordered a hard-copy of the pattern in one size, and a downloadable copy of the pattern in another size (they have two sizes with lots of other sizes on it). I ended up using the paper instruction booklet with the downloadable pattern, getting it printed off at my local Staples/OfficeMax store.
Susan of Patchwork and Play is also my inspiration, and I’ve since ordered the Sawtell pattern from In the Folds. That’s waiting in the wings, but I don’t have much to say about this as I’m still figuring it out.
Working on another holiday quilt. After this one, I only have two more to sew that are in the closet (that I know about). I seem to collect Christmas quilt fabrics and ideas.
Pinned up Spectral Light, the bigger version of Triad Harmony. The pattern name is Triad Harmony, but you can see I have other versions: one is called Secret Garden (Kaffe fabrics) and one is called Stella di Natale (Christmas, again). I need to quilt them all.
She describes this phase of my life pretty perfectly.
But don’t we pressure ourselves to do the first, and beat ourselves up a bit if it’s the second? These dots circle (haha) back around to the thoughts at the top, and about doing something worthwhile with this life I’ve been given.
I’ve always loved C. S. Lewis’ quote (below) about recognizing the potential in others, rather than snubbing or diminishing them. And the Arthur Brooks observation of David Brooks’s column reminds me to pursue that which is important, has value, and not only that which is popular or culturally driven. This is a constant struggle sometimes, and I seem to waste a lot of time, by my own assessment.
I’ve taken to asking myself: What do I want to have finished before I go to bed tonight? My bedtime is earlier now than it used to be, Mary Englebreit notwithstanding, so knowing I’m going to have flat-lining brainwaves at a certain time can help me choose wisely. Sometimes in my days I’m only a quarter-full dot, but other times I’m there all the way. But when it is time to stop, it is time to stop.
A juggling act, but I keep at it–
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit…— C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
When the New York Times columnist David Brooks talks about the difference between “résumé virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” he’s effectively putting the ashramas in a practical context. Résumé virtues are professional and oriented toward earthly success. They require comparison with others. Eulogy virtues are ethical and spiritual, and require no comparison. Your eulogy virtues are what you would want people to talk about at your funeral. As in He was kind and deeply spiritual, not He made senior vice president at an astonishingly young age and had a lot of frequent-flier miles. You won’t be around to hear the eulogy, but the point Brooks makes is that we live the most fulfilling life—especially once we reach midlife—by pursuing the virtues that are most meaningful to us. (Arthur Brooks, from here)
Many years ago, my mother stayed up all night on the 24th of December, worried that the child she was carrying would actually come on the due date of Christmas Eve. Who would help the other three young girls? Who would get the ironing done? But I did not arrive on my due date. Nor on New Year’s Eve. But I came 12 days later on Twelfth Night, and dodged forever having my birthday on Christmas. (And she did get up early that morning to get the ironing done before she went to the hospital.) Now I share a birthday with Richard Nixon, the arrival of the Three Kings and the Storming of the Capital.
Why do I bring this up? Because Tannenbaum will most likely suffer the same fate, arriving somewhere around Twelfth Night. It’s because I wanted a longer drop on the sides, and didn’t have enough of the beige fabric (earlier version is seen here). So as long as I was playing around, what would the quilt look like with red? I quite liked it. Many iterations and consultations with my quilt gurus (I have a couple) and I ordered some red fabric from Laundry Basket Quilts. Like me, in my almost early days…this probably won’t be done by Christmas.
This is where I am now, with the two borders attached (big smiles), the wrinkles that will need to be quilted out in the center, and sideways on my design wall, because it’s too big now to go vertically. (In other words, it looks like it needs its make-up put on, the lipstick applied, and good blow-out for the hair. You know, like all of us in the morning.)
I’m working on the pattern now, and that’s coming along too. But what has arrived?
Several of my Piece Maker Quilt Ladies have arrived from the Gridster Bee, along with their cloth sewing treasures, like buttons and rotary cutters and topiary trees. You can read more about this project, written a few whiles ago, but basically I got the idea from Surfside Quilters, from their Blocks of the Month page. I’ve always wanted a Freddy Moran-style quilt, and now it looks like I’ll make one.
To help further this quilt along, I’ve been collecting black-and-white prints to go with other 400 black-and-white prints (dear, I’m kidding). I have discovered there’s a particular kind of black and white print that works with Freddy Moran style quilts, and I think I probably have enough now. Too much white? It bleaches it out. Too much black? A blot in the quilt. Black and white — that when you squint your eyes — turns into grey? Nyet. I think two of the prints above are perfect (on the outer edges) and we’ll see where the others may go.
In keeping with the red theme of today’s post, here’s a treat I want to try: Cranberry Lemon Bars, from New York Times Cooking.
And I’ll see this, next week. First airplane ride in over 20 months (better get it in before Omicron shows up).
But before that, we have to finish putting out my husband’s nutcrackers, arranging the lights on the mini-tree, switching out the quilts, and generally getting ready for the Christmas season. Another work in progress.
In case you want something fun, here’s a free pattern to make this little tree on a frame, from my earlier days of pattern making; still good to go, but not quite as fancy.
And here’s a sneak peak of what I’m working on for 2022. I’m thinking a monthly quilt-a-long, sort of easy, no sign-ups, free patterns, work together, have fun, make a nice-sized wall hanging. And if you can’t deal with any more outside pressure to produce, it’s okay if you just want to grab the patterns and squirrel them away. That’s fine, I’m fine, you’re fine.
I also always make colorful quilts, and this one may go there yet, but I was gifted a little stack of Sherri and Chelsi’s newest line (thanks, Sherri!), and I’m starting there, because — oh my gosh — I do need a cool Valentine-y quilt. So that’s my starting line. I’ve got the first month’s pattern done, but I want to make samples, so you won’t see it until after the holidays. Maybe even by Twelfth Night!
Although the title has three subjects and in a particular order, I’m going to reverse them, starting now.
We need a Halloween quilt and this one, made by Tracy Cox using my Sun and Sea Pattern, catches the mood of the day. I love her use of spooky prints! I have corresponded with her for some time, and met in person at PIQF held before the world shut down. She lives near my old stomping grounds in the Bay Area, so it was fun to hang out with her and admire her prizewinning blue ribbon quilt.
Here’s my version of this…of course! you say. I remember. It’s just so different in different fabrics, which is one of the magic tricks we quilters do. We are really good at this particular trick and don’t even need a magic wand, unless that’s what you want to call our rotary cutters.
The next one is Riverside Sawtooth, a quilt that was featured in QuiltMania in issue #163 (July/August 2020). It’s finally time for it to hit the pattern shop!
I was asked by Brenda if she could purchase the pattern, and I realized I hadn’t put it back up when it was time to do so. And then it was revise revise and spruce up, because I’d also made it in the Before Times — before I knew sort of what I was doing in Affinity Publisher. Both the program and I have made strides, so I updated what I could. It’s for sale in my pattern shop.
Lastly, it’s Crossed Lilies. This is probably the most complete pattern of my Pattern Lite series, and could probably sell for more, but it’s the same price as all the rest: less than a bag of Halloween Candy, less than an upscale chocolate bar when you are sick of eating all that candy, and way less than the price of a good rice bowl, when you are totally sick of eating sweets.
I had many inspirations, but mostly this stems from the pillow series I’ve been doing this year. You know I wasn’t that keen about October’s pillow kit that came in the mail, so I made Mister Pumpkin. And then I kind of liked this month’s kit, but it was a pumpkin (again), so I had to do something different.
I like the mixing of the fall tones with the deep aqua blues, and these pillows are all fun to quilt, before I back them and bind them. This pattern is also for sale in my PayHip shop, if you need a fall pillow.
But I could wave my quilter’s magic wand, spend an afternoon, and have something completely different for spring, or Christmas, or in red, white and blue for summer.
I had a great visit to Santa Clarita Quilt Guild this past week, presenting a new lecture: Exploration Through Modern, Art and Traditional Quilts. I then taught a Workshop on 9-11 (!) using my Blossom pattern. I’ve worked with this Guild before and they are delightful. I thought I would share (with their permission) some of the quilts they made for our Follow-Up meeting about a week later.
The pattern has three sizes of blocks, and some quilters chose the smallest size, and some chose the largest, but the impact is great with whichever size was used, as the basis — the Flowering Snowball block — is really adaptable to many different fabrics.
Carol C. used the smallest size, wanting to make a quilt in autumn colors. I think those oranges fairly glow against her dark border.
Jean C. chose dark tone-on-tone batiks for her petals, and backed them with brights. I love that grayed aqua border. While you can’t really see it here, she used a flanged binding, so outside the burnt orange is the dark color again.
I think Joan used the small block again, and I love how the bright cranberry background is balanced by the soft floral petals and the muted green border.
Kristeen D. started out with a white polka dot fabric at our workshop, but by the time we met again, she’d swapped all of that out for the black/white polka-dots. That was a really great choice, along with that border.
Melissa N had pieces of three different black florals, which she combined to great effect for the backgrounds and border. Several quilters finished their quilts completely and she was one of them.
Vickie R used the smallest block in a limited palette of yellows and blues. But she finished hers into a pillow–a great use for this mini-mini quilt.
Usually we have a full week in between, but we shortened the interval to five days. Sue B. was able to get her quilt pieces cut out and arranged on the wall — I am happy to see quilts in progress in our Slide Shows, as that reflects Real Life. I love that border she chose, and it’s a perfect foil to the bright colors in the center.
Robin T. was at the Guild Meeting and once she heard that I have several videos in the class materials, she realized she could sign up even though she couldn’t attend the Workshop. She used autumn tones again, and then brought the center petals forward with her bright pop of yellow. We all liked how she stepped down from that to the polka-dotted half-petals, then out again to another muted floral fabric.
And this is my mini-mini, made in the smallest size. I had decided I’d better try the quilt myself, in preparation for teaching. I loved using the subtle stripe in the border, and rotated the corners 45-degrees so the pattern would continue around the outside. I also demo-ed on this fabric, so this is the front and a large version of the block is the back. Note: the tiny lavender flowered fabric in the outer border is one of the oldest in my stash, as I think it’s about 25+ years old, and was used in a quilt for my then young daughter.
Thank you to the women in the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild for their creativity and imagination and quick work. Hope you enjoyed the Blossom Quilt Show!