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Perhaps the UCR Science News was looking for something other than Nobel-prize generating stories or research about saving the world from cancer, but I’m happy that the editor liked my quilts, sent to him by my favorite guy (my husband).  The quilts were displayed around University of California’s campus near some of the science buildings (and in the Botannic Garden).  Thank you!

DAR Library.jpg

In other news, we visited the (tiny) exhibit at the DAR museum this past week (their library, above) in Washington, DC.

DAR exhibit sign.jpg

More on the exhibit in another post, but I met three quilters while I was there:

From the top left: Beth, a long-time friend (we always meet together at this particular science meeting of our husbands), Rhonda (who I met when I lived in D.C at the local quilt guild), and Bette (who I met online and since have become good friend with via correspondence and phone calls and occasional meetings). But that’s not all the news.

National Press Club

I spoke at the National Press Club, after I was proclaimed Queen of England.
Full story, below.

Headline Queen Elizabeth

Kidding, of course.  I merely posed, and the other photo is a leather-embossed rendition of a famous headline, one in a row of famous headlines.

Climate Change Protest

We’d done most of the museums in December when we last visited, and I was wondering what to do one day when the Climate Change Activists staged one of their protests right outside my hotel.  I threw on my clothes and went down to watch.  I remember how the police used to break up other protests long ago, with tear gas and heavy-handedness.  This experience was more like a garden party, as slowly, they encircled the boat parked in the middle of 16th and K. While the activists moved on to march around D.C. the police cut the handcuffs and tethers of those who remained, then towed away the boat.  I was quite impressed with the whole experience, both of those who felt strongly about making a statement, and the police officers taking good care of those who they serve.  Another reason why I love D.C.

Okay, I promise more serious quilty stuff soon.  I’m coming home tonight from my niece’s wedding in the Bay Area, hoping to dive into what I’ve left undone while traveling.  Before I left, I did get one quilt to the quilter’s, after auditioning, digitally, many different designs for quilting.

North Country Sept 2019I also cut more pieces to keep going on my North Country Patchwork Quilt, eeking this one out, bit by bit (photo of what I have so far, above).

Temperature Quilt Sept19.jpg

I did get caught up with my temperature quilt, which is turning out to be very different colors than what I expected.  I find it’s easier to do a whole month at a time, than piece-mealing it, day by day.

IE Modern Quilt Guild.jpg

Lastly, this coming Saturday, October 5th, I’ll be presenting a (mostly) modern quilt program at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild in Riverside, California.  They are a small modern guild, with a whole group of interested, dedicated quilters. Maybe you’ll be there?

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!

Temperature Quilt, Etc.

Temperature Quilt_11

I’m making progress on my temperature quilt.  I don’t attach the months together until they are complete, so what’s shown is only January and February.  In my garden.  Of course.

Temperature Quilt_12

The Los Angeles Times published the unique factoid that our past February was the coldest it had been in 113 years.  I was remembering back to last year when we had a high of 84.  We get cranky in Southern California when it is that hot, that early in the year.  So we’re all loving this year, of course.

Wunderground, which is owned by Weather.com, has changed up my easy-access for looking up past weather.  So, after some searching, I found the Time and Date had the information I needed.  Their information for March for my area is not presented in a neat little calendar, but in a scrolling graph.  It works for me, though.  (Don’t know why Wunderground changed everything–now it only gives forecasts, not history, and yes, I sent them an email.)

Temperature Gauge for quilt

I finished my “Temperature Gauge” block, to go on the back of the quilt.  We had hail (!) the other day, and I wished I had some sort of indicator for that.  But my choice is to keep it simple.

Bee Happy Week 2

I finished Week One’s blocks of the ancient-history Bee Happy Sewalong Quilt, or as I call it, Being Trapped in the Dungeon of Cute.

Sew Sassy threads.jpg

I used Sew Sassy Threads on the detail stitching on the Flower Pot.  It’s a thicker thread, made by Superior Threads, and it sews really easily.  Sometimes on thicker threads I like to use sashiko needles, but I this time used a regular needle with a slightly larger eye and it worked just fine.Bee Happy March 2019

Here they all are together, and yes, they are cute!  Leisa made me promise that there was no deadline for getting this done (we are doing this in tandem), so I’m taking it slowly.  It’s a good project for me to have as I like to have handwork at night to do while I watch Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up episodes.  I live in dread that she is going to ring my doorbell and make me pile up all my fabric on my bed, then make me give away all that doesn’t spark joy, saying thank you to each fat quarter that doesn’t make my heart sing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  

Dublin and Fish and Chips

I leave you with this image of my husband standing out front of a genuine Fish and Chips shop in Dublin, Ireland, when we visited last September.


May your heart sing everytime you touch fabric.

Dublin Fabric Shop

This was right across the street from the Fish & Chips place.

 

 

Temperature Quilt Key

I’ve been thinking hard about how I want to record the colors I used in my Temperature quilt.  I’ve seen lots of different kinds (on Instagram use the hashtag #tempquilt, or some variation of it, to see more), so it directed my thinking.

I wanted one that showed all the colors and left me places where I could embroider or write on it what that color meant, in terms of the temperature scale.

Temp Quilt Key.png

I decided on this: Kelly Liddle’s Goosed Up pattern, now on PayHip. I only have 23 colors in play, but I’ll figure out that last color, plus there’s lot of room to mark it up somehow.

Temp Quilt_key1

I colored in the triangles and labeled them to make construction easier.  I also pulled out my thin LED light box, which helps in placing the fabrics. Temp Quilt_key2

Three more sections to go.

Gridsters Feb 2019_1

My little houses are coming in from the Gridsters already, and I’ve lined them up like the Victorian Ladies on San Francisco street. I plan to make this into a pattern; I’ll let you know when it’s up online.

I’ve finished January! Now to wait for some days to pile up so I can start on February.

Temperature Quilt & Giveaway

temperature quilt_10

I’ve jumped on that colorful bandwagon and am making a Temperature Quilt, or as my scientist husband likes to refer to it: a Heat Map.  And, I’m hosting a

giveaway-banner

…so keep reading for how you can win. Teaser:

tempquiltgiveaway_1

No, it’s not a Featherweight…

Giveaway now closed.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

screen shot 2019-01-25 at 8.03.43 pm

Here are some examples of heat maps:

heat map_world touristiness map

World Touristiness: in other words, where the most photographs are snapped.

heat map_gym locations in dc

Gym locations in Washington DC

heat map_natural gas prices

Gas Prices 2014

heat map_tornado watches

Tornado Watches, 20 year average

heat map_australia 2017 feb

And one we are most used to: temperature heat maps.  By the way, between the polar vortex and Australia’s heat waves, the heat maps this year are really getting quite the range.

Over the space of a few days, I’d looked up the range of temperatures in my area, chosen my colors, and then set to choosing colors.  I had bins of my favorite solid fabrics: Painter’s Palette by Paintbrush Studio and what I didn’t have, I found at the Pineapple Fabrics booth at the Road to California, which just happened to be open this week. (See below for more information and the giveaway).temperature quilt_1temperature quilt_2

temp colors and chart

This swatch line-up is mostly accurate, but I have made some changes, reflected in the chart, although I did swap out Beryl 095 for Agave 094.  

I made myself a preliminary chart, but by looking at Weather Underground’s calendar for this month for my city, I could see I would need to add a couple more lows.  The chart on the right is the final one, and I added a color for rain, since that’s a Big Deal around here. Here’s the website for my city; you can type in yours and get your own calendar.

I was following along with Michonne’s Instagram posts for her Temperature Quilt last year.  Like me, she’s not a fan of the heat (she lives in a hot climate, too) and since I didn’t want a whole quilt of reds and oranges, I switched up my colors.  I don’t think it matters what you do, just keep a chart and be consistent.

temperature quilt_3

Because I recently had rotator cuff repair surgery (aha!  you knew it had been quiet around here…well that’s why), I was back to drawing lines on cloth and cutting them apart with scissors. It’s my right arm that’s out of commission, so no rotary cutting for me for a while.temperature quilt_4

I put them all in little baggies, labeled with their place in the chart, the color number and name, and the temperature degrees spread.  I went with a three-degree spread because I wanted a lot of variation and colors.temperature quilt_5temperature quilt_3atemperature quilt_6

I only made a few of this color, because if it’s over 115 for too many days, I don’t know what I’ll do.

temperature quilt_7b

If the day is warmer than the day before, the middle arrow points upward.
If the day is cooler than the previous day, the middle arrow points down.
If it’s a tie, I’ll look at the day’s low temperature and let that be the deciding factor.
If everything is a tie, then it stays pointing up.
Rain triangles always go on the left side of the big triangle when it’s pointing up (even if it is flipped around).temperature quilt_8

I penciled in the date in the seam allowances.temperature quilt_8a

It’s interesting sewing with the dominant hand mostly out of commission.  I’ve gotten better at wrangling the iron left-handed.  And I iron in steps, as shown above.  Everything is  s l o w e r.

temperature quilt_9

I was excited to get this to use for tracing around for cutting, but whoops. This just won’t do.
I corresponded with the company and apparently I need to iron the seam allowances toward the smaller triangles to make it work.  I haven’t done that.  Those of you who are long-time readers know I appreciate the sculpting that can happen with the direction the seam allowances are pressed. Because I want the larger triangle to pop, this won’t work, but I’m keeping this ruler around anyway. (I ended up using a smaller 4 -1/2″ ruler with a rough undersurface to help things from slipping around.)  [And no, I’m not obsessing if the tip of a triangle is cut off a bit.  There’ll be over 365 of those in this quilt, and since I’m working left-handed, it’s a miracle they are even sewn.]

temperature quilt_10

And so here I am on this nearly last day of January.  I planned this so I’d have pinks in the scorching temps and lots of blues in the moderate temps, but was surprised at the combination of oranges and greens in January’s temps.

 

It reminds me of the citrus bushes next to my driveway (kumquats) and if you ever drive by, you are welcome to pick some.  It’s citrus-picking season around here (Valencia oranges come on later in the season).  But no worries, I’ve lived before in Wisconsin in during one of the coldest-it’s-been-in-80-years winters, so I am familiar with how it feels be up North.  Obviously their temperature maps this year will be blasting open the lower ranges of possibility:

heat map jan 2019

(By the way, more than happy to see the National Weather Service and NOAA back up and running!)

giveaway-banner

Pineapple Fabrics is the place where I buy all my Painter’s Palette. (If you use that link, you’ll be taken right to the place to purchase the fabrics.)  There are several of us who are total manaical fans of this fabric and after you try it, you’ll be converted.  Linda has written about why you should try this fabric; I’m in love not only with the colorfastness, but the silky hand and fine weave.

I’d like you to be able to try some.  Because I can’t get to the Post Office (not cleared for driving yet), and because my husband is the one doing all my errands, I’m going to limit this to U.S. readers only.

And you’ve got to get your quilts quilted, right?

Colorwheel Blossom_quilting

Quilting _Annularity4a thread

When I did the top quilt, all in a rainbow, Magnifico was just new on the market.  Some of those sections are Magnifico, some are So Fine, both threads by Superior Threads Company.

 

But when I quilted my two most recent quilts: Northern Lights Medallion and Annularity, it was Magnifico all the way for one reason: it makes your quilting look great.  Superior Threads has graciously agreed to give away some thread, too.

tempquiltgiveaway_2

If you want to win this bundle, leave me a comment about the hottest day you can remember and where it was.

tempquiltgiveaway_3

If you want to win this bundle, leave me a comment about the coldest day you ever lived through and where it was.

Both bundles have one spool of Magnifico Thread, and two yards of Painter’s Palette Solids.  Yep — you have to choose: either the Hottest or the Coldest.  If you write for both (always interesting) I’ll use the first comment you left for your entry.  If you are a follower, you get two double chances.  I’ll close the giveaway February 1st.

And many thanks to our donors:

superior threads

pineapple fabrics

Leave me a comment!

Giveaway now closed.  Thank you for entering!