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.)

Happy Fifth of July Block!

I couldn’t just stop at one, could I? After all the original Shine quilt has sixteen. Let’s just say I have been busy, although given the CovidSludgeyFeeling that all of us have, it’s sometimes been difficult to power through.

But I’m feeling good this particular day (let’s not talk about last Thursday, shall we?) and so I am pressing forward with some Red, White and Blue creations to brighten up your mailbox.

I call this block Sunshine. (I’m sure that is a big surprise.) And we’ll get a lot of it with temps soaring into the near-100s this week.

I’m not shy, says Mr. Sunshine. I’ll show you my backside.

Pattern coming soon. Happy Fifth of July!

(Apparently this is also Mechanical Pencil Day, Bikini Day (invented in 1946), and in various countries, Independence Day.)

Original Shine: The Circles Quilt

Happy Fourth of July Block!

I decided to give my Shine: The Circles Quilt blocks another run, prompted by a backdoor agreement that won’t be mentioned at this point, but when/if it happens, I will be more than happy to splash it all over.

This time, the blocks will coalesce into one pattern, which will soon be available up on my pattern site, PayHip.

I remember my Clothing and Textiles teacher telling me that the inside of a garment is where the real story is. So here is the inside of this circle. Carol showed me her Red, White and Blue stack of Mackinac Island prints from Minick and Simpson, and yes, they arrived at my house probably only a day after they arrived at her house. (Quilt friends can be quite wicked that way.)

They, of course, are last year’s treasure, but I’ve been finding other prints that have been joining the stack growing to the side of my cutting table. And Minick and Simpson do have a companion collection coming out later this year, so we’ll see if I need any more.

I call this first block Swirlygig, but it floats a different direction than the original block.

This was the original Shine quilt. It’s time for a up-do-re-do!

Pattern coming soon. Happy Fourth of July!

This free tiny flag quilt pattern is up under the Tab: Past Endeavors -> Tiny Quilts
This free four-patch flag pattern available here

What I’ve Been Doing Lately • May 2019

Gridster_May 2019

Since I hadn’t posted in a couple of weeks, I did want to blog, but felt pretty scattered about what to write.  So here it all is: from finishes to starts, from garden news and quilting to a Trunk Show.

So, to start with, Simone and I got together to make blocks for Rachel‘s Queen Bee turn in our Gridster Bee: Scrap Jar Stars from Gigi’s Thimble.  We’d made them last year for another bee member, so these blocks, in the requested red and green, went together quickly.

May 2019 Gridster layout.png

Rachel laid out on her floor the blocks she’d received so far, and this is going to make a terrific quilt.  She blogs at The Life of Riley.

Rachel Beeswax.png

Something interesting about Rachel is that she raises bees.  This screenshot is from her ETSY shop, where she sells beeswax for hand-sewing.  I’m lucky enough to have one of these!

Shine Blocks in the wild

Imagine waking up one morning to a tag from a friend about this quilt.  I recognized the block immediately, as it was the final block I designed for my Shine: The Circles Quilt.  This man sells a shot cotton (in Australia), and they’d contracted someone to make a quilt showing their fabric line and that person used my quilt design.  After a few back-and-forths, I did get attribution for the design.  Peony_2019

Moving right along, the peony bush in the garden bloomed.  I have two exactly-the-same bushes and they each have a slightly different flower.  Just like people, just like quilters, who can make the same quilt and have it look quite different.

And…after a visit to my doctor and the A-OK from him and from Kris, my physical therapist (above right), I started using the Sweet Sixteen quilting machine again.  This is my first attempt at quilting, so I took it in to show her.  They chart everything you do, asking seemingly innocent questions like, “How are your household chores coming along?”  or “Take any long drives this weekend?” so they can monitor my progress in recovering from rotator cuff surgery in January.  Nearly five months out, I’m in the “danger zone” where most re-tears happen, so I’m very careful not to stress the repair, or mow lawns.  (Kidding.  I never mow the lawn, because my husband does a very fine job and I wouldn’t want to interrupt his successes.)

Prepping Quilts for Quilter_1

This past month I also proved to myself, once again, that texting can be a horrible way to convey complicated information, given the strange timing you get in texting (answering one text while that person is answering your text, creating an asyncronous conversation).  Because of this, I was unsuccessful in communicating with a new quilter I’d previously tried.  She was frustrated. And I was BEYOND frustrated.  (One unsolved topic: using vertical seams in your backing.) And yes, she only uses texts, so we parted ways.

Prepping Quilts for Quilter_2

I bundled up my three quilts and their backs and took them to my regular quilter, Cathy of CJ Designs.  I asked her about vertical seams on the back, and she said she had no problem with them.  And her costs were more reasonable. So what felt like a set-back  really turned out okay in the end.

Merrion Square2

Over the last few weeks, I have sewn three of these mini quilt tops.  At the Meet the Teacher event I recently went to, I signed eight contracts for teaching, and many of the guilds chose this as their workshop.  And everyone likes samples to be sent.  This is the second one I’ve quilted, and it made me feel more at home on the machine.  I still have to take frequent breaks and can’t go too long in any one session, but I’m making progress.

Backing of Merrion Square2

I think the backing fabric is awesome.

I’ve also been sewing up some of my new designs, working out the bugs and kinks of the patterns, but am not ready to launch them yet.

Sample Checklist for Guilds.png
Finally, when I was sorting out my contracts, I developed a form to help me keep track of critical information, which was missing from several of the contracts I signed.  Only one Guild so far (I’ve gone through about half my contracts) had everything I needed to know.  I realize that if I flew into a city, the Guild Minders would take me around, so I wouldn’t need all this info.  But since I drive to all my gigs, it’s critical to know.  If you would like an editable MSWord version of this for your own personal use (the above is only a screenshot), I’ll be happy to send it to you. Just leave me a comment on this post, or email me.

Organizing Blog Content

And even more interestingly, I couldn’t find a lot of relevant information on Guild Websites.  So, if you are a guild board member, please make sure that people (strangers) can easily find the time and date and place of your monthly meeting, and the same for your workshops.

I know how this happens, as I’m guilty of it here sometimes: you just start throwing up blogposts, forgetting that some visitors come for specific information.  I’ve revised the organization and wording of this blog mulitple times, always trying to make it easier for people to find my quilts (links and titles) as well as other info.  It’s a never-ending task: like trying to keep the junk drawer in the kitchen cleaned out.

Best Wishes on Trunk Show

My husband left this sign for me on the kitchen counter while I was at PT.

I’m looking forward to a lot of fun teaching and meeting people, beginning with tonight, at the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild in Temecula California.  I’ll be teaching a Merrion Square Workshop for them on Saturday.  Please contact them if you are interested in coming.

Temperature Quilt_April 2019.jpg
April’s Temperature Quilt Blocks are all done…moving into May!

A Bit Frosty this January

1shinecirclesquilt

Remember this?

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

And this?

This is Shine: The Circles Quilt, and I started it as a English Paper Piecing project, putting the free patterns up on this blog, beginning in 2014.  I also have a page dedicated to these blocks, giving out the patterns and tutorials for each, until the last four (which used to live on Craftsy, but that’s another blog post.  Coming soon.)

And then this new year, I opened up mail from one of my heros, Becky Goldsmith to see this:

Goldsmith Circles1.jpg

and this:

Goldsmith Circles2.jpg

all advertising her newest endeavor.

As near as I can tell, she has no idea I exist.  She is not copying me.  She has fancy borders, and has done the quilt twice.  I think this is a classic example of what the German’s call “der Zeitgeist” or “the trend of thought and feeling in a period.

But I am a bit frosty about this, for one reason only: she has a megaphone, and I have only this blog.  I used to have a blog and a Craftsy site (!), but I guess I also have Instagram, which might have a zillion followers if I unblocked all those creepy men or Quilt-Content-Thieves.  But is it really “frosty” or is it more that I’m jealous?  I think the latter. 

I still have my Shine patterns here, but really, I have to yield the selling floor to the firepower of Piece O’Cake Designs, in making a quilt with a grid of paper-pieced circles based on the traditional style of a compass rose.  I don’t have her readership, her TV show appearances, her mailing list.  She’s a tsunami.  I’m a wobbly sprinkler on the back lawn.  To be truthful, Goldsmith earned her tsunami status through hard work over many years; again, she did NOT copy me at all. I have all of her books, and have made a couple of her designs, so you do have to put me in the category of Total Admirer.  But that’s not the issue here.

My takeaway: when quilters come up with designs similar to one another, it’s not always a copyright issue, which is the usual scream that emmanates from the collective online voice.  Sometimes it just is the Zeitgeist.

Sometimes the Sew Together Bag is merely a copy of her grandfather’s toiletries kit (this fact mentioned to me while we were standing in line together at Market in Salt Lake City), and my Mini-Sew Together Bag was a version I was working on when I didn’t like the bulk of the original, and my Smile Bag came before byAnnie’s Clam Up bag and perhaps we were both inspired by the bag for the First Class United Airlines customers, and perhaps they were inspired by some ancient Japanese zakka.  That’s how these things go.

Scream

Edvard Munch’s The Scream

 

 

 

Okay, I feel better now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates to original post are in black text.