Something to Think About · This-and-That

This and That • August 2021

Oh my goodness. The brain is fried, the eyeballs are smarting because of smoke in the air and it’s too hot to move or do anything which explains my SECOND round of August This and Thats. What can I say?

I have finally OD-ed on podcasts (more on that later) and found myself a good book: another Maisie Dobbs novel. I have three hours left to go.

What I mean is, it’s the first one done of four I have to do for the first-of-nine giant Bear Paw’s Ruler-free block. I’m playing along in the FingerPaintsQAL on IG and had the opportunity to take a class with Laura yesterday morning (I scribbled on the pattern above to hide her work). It was fun to see people I recognized! Above this block are scenes from class: the fabric key at the ready, the stack of fabric (I took her advice and cut 5″ strips of fabric from all the colors: saved me a lot of time) and ruler-free cutting in process.

Like the lady says, it’s not a race.

Did I mention that California is having a gubnatorial recall? Like either of these goofballs will win my vote, but check out Mr. Drake. Wouldn’t it be cool to tell your kids that one time you ran for governor of California? Or drop that bit on a first date?

Just want you to know I still have a few things on my To Do List from March 2000. This is because we chatted about To Do Lists in the last post.

Occasionally I fall down the rabbit hole of art galleries on Instagram. Jim Isermann turned up. Quilters, start your engines:

I think this is a quilt…

We’ve had more than a few fires in our state this summer, but I loved the write-up about grabbing a quilt.

Generally, the news has been weighty and ponderous and horrifically sad, with covid, airlifts, fires, babies in hospitals, angry young men (and some angry old men), divisiveness, coupled with more suffering and death in country far far from here. I realize that this post could be construed as lightweight and frivolous. But all this news reminds me of old news: the fall of Saigon long ago, my father’s bout with polio and stories my mother told me of getting her first vaccines for Whooping Cough because her baby sister had died of that disease. That is why I have avoided podcasts: they are wearying. Add in the sorrows I read daily on Instagram in all your lives, the divisiveness in our families over vaccines and masks (and yes, I’m making more masks this weekend) and it’s no wonder I’m grabbing bits and pieces, sewing and quilting, poking fun at candidates for California’s governor when inside I’m weeping a bit that it has all ended up in a Big Fight All The Time.

Our individualism has run rough-shod over our ability to come together as a community and do what’s best, what helps those babies and children have a better world. And then I see little toddlers held tight in Afghan arms as they walk into the belly of a very big plane with no seat belts and no snacks and somehow they all don’t need to be ducktaped to their seats (what seats?) for their 3 hour flight to freedom, to what we have and what we fight over but somehow don’t understand how fragile it is. They leave everything behind: little treasures in their bottom drawer, ties to their communities, friends and that bowl that Grandma always had on the top shelf, and I snip off a piece of this hope, tuck it into my heart and keep going.

The other night I found a photo of the first sewing machine I ever owned: The Genie, by Singer. My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was a Freshman in college, majoring in Clothing and Textiles. I sewed on it forever, then passed it on down to my daughter. I have a lot of memories like this that are easily recalled when I see photos. I’m thinking on what I have that I could give up…give up to the refugees that are certainly coming our way. And to end this post on a better note (I’m not really going to jump out the window, I promise), I want to give something away to you.

I finally got all the bits from the last two giveaways mailed out, so before summer disappears, Shelley of Nanakaboodle (ETSY) and I are doing a teeny giveaway of Cluck, Cluck Sew’s Diagonal Seam Tape. I’ve ordered multiple times from Nanakaboodle and she always has really prompt shipping and a cheerful customer service.

UPDATE: Giveaway is closed, but thanks for reading!

To win this roll of seam tape, leave me a comment below telling me about your first sewing machine.

Think Good Thoughts & Let’s Share Joy and I don’t know what else, but you do.
Happy Quilting!

Gridsters · This-and-That

Rounding the Corner into Spring: This and That for March 2021

I’m leading with this photo, the green leaves just beginning to bud out on the airy branches at the park where I walk most days. It’s three laps, 2.2 miles, almost 4 km, then a stretch of the legs and I drive back home.

Sometimes I walk around the neighborhood, like my husband, who loves to photograph flowers (above). But this Spring, so many are tired:

So I am happy to bring you this one, that I found on an walk.

I also saw this sticker on the ground. I didn’t get a sticker. Did you get a sticker?

To thoroughly give you seasonal whiplash, this month Marsha had us rummaging around our Christmas stash to make her block. She found the free pattern online from a fabric manufacturer, but I morphed it into a handout for a single block. You can download a free PDF of the directions ifi you want to make a wreath block:

She determined the overall tonality of the fabrics we would use, as she sent us the fabric for the banner across the wreath, the ribbon and the background. Then we could choose what we wanted to for the rest, staying within traditional colors.

I became confused when figuring out what to cut, as there are a lot of moving parts, so I wangled up this schematic to help me keep track.

It really didn’t take that long. I read about one of the quilters in the BeeSewcial group this month who spent twelve hours on her block for their group (it’s stunning–I always love her blocks). In our GridsterBee, we kindly request to keep it under a few hours. I’ve done a block once that took me 12 hours in a bee, and I swore never again.

Three more SHINE blocks have come back home. They are free EPP downloads, if you are interested. Start HERE.

My friend Cindy, of LiveAColorfulLife who found this photo, says “You have arrived. You have been ripped off.” Oh, boy. Here’s the original quilt:

I laughed because it looks like they used this EXACT PICTURE on their website. Not only are they thieving the quilt design, they are thieving the picture, too.

UPDATE: The website actually has two of my quilts. Go and see if any of yours are there, and then write them a letter telling them off, or something. So what do you think? I imagine that they just print the picture on a square of polyester, then quilt it. Interestingly in this second one, they rotated the photo and didn’t make it very large, so it’s a bit hard to see. The original is here.

Almost done clearing out the This and That box. Two things left — hang on for the finish.

I’ve been asked to keep making the graphics for the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild. The top one is the general info graphic about how to follow us and get the news. The lower one is the announcement for our Guild Challenge: Sounds and Voices. My entry is all done and submitted, so I’m looking forward to our meeting on Saturday to see the other entries. Here’s a teaser:

I had gifted one of my other small quilts that had the pop cans on the back, so when I put this one together, I used some more of the pop can fabric. It’s a favorite. I’ll show that in the next post.

Okay, I promise that this is the last thing. The fine people over at Electric Quilt have been revamping and changing and making a whalloping good piece of software to go along with the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman. I was able to be a beta tester, and will be doing a giveway of the software (both Mac and PC) the week of April 18th, as well as a couple of my observations (and a handout for a pattern) about the software (I love it) and how it can be used. Just wanted to give you a heads up.

And that’s it! Thanks for staying for the This and That Show, and thank you all very much for your comments on my last post. I loved reading about what you think about Craft (both noun and verb), and the assurances that you will keep riding your craft horse into the sunset.

Looking forward to this tomorrow!
And yes, I need to get this quilted.
Also: notice the watermark, bolder than I usually plant on my photos, thanks to the theives, above.
300 Quilts · Covid-19 Times · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

This and That • August 2020

I’m teaching another live-online class today, and placed the Criss-Cross Christmas on the design wall, then layered on the Criss-Cross Autumn, and when I started making colorful blocks for another version, up they went too! I like the look of them all together, but they really will be three separate quilts.

Here’s the final version of Criss-Cross Autumn, a bit more vibrant than what’s in the mash-up image. For the binding, I kept it simple: I sewed together the leftover strips, and used a simple single-fold binding approach.

I drew out some design ideas on a picture of my quilt with the photo lightened up, so I could sort of see what might work. There’s a lot going on in this quilt, and I didn’t want the quilt to overpower it.

I loved the idea from Linda of Flourishing Palms, where she mentioned she was including “Made during the Covid-19 Pandemic” onto her labels (or similar wording). So I added it to this one, too.

Speaking of labels, I finally finished the label for this one (my version of My Small World from Jen Kingwell), and got it sewn on. Obviously you can see that it took a hit during covid time–didn’t the earth sort of stop still in March? I finished this by the end of January, went to QuiltCon in February, came home and started buying truckloads of groceries, preparing for the pandemic, and just now got the label sewn on.

I’ve also been listening to this while sewing: I have Bette to blame as she recommended it, and I can hardly wait to keep listening.

I just finished The Authenticity Project, and can recommend it if you need a med-light read with interesting characters. It’s also set in London, which means we Americans get to hear a British accent while listening.

I happened on to this talk, presented by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and really enjoyed seeing Ms. Montgomery’s swing coats. There are other Textile Talks to listen to, if you are interested.

I finished up my Gridster Bee block, a free download, and Linda asked us to use cool colors and low volumes, and leave the four quarters unsewn. This was fun to do!

Moving right along with This and That, we first did the front of this puzzle (the Falling Water house by Frank Lloyd Wright), then tackled doing the reverse. We did okay on the center part, then floundered with all the blues. So I started flipping them over, grouping them by colors, and then flipping them back. We just have to DO the puzzle, right? There are no rules as to how you get it done, right?

New project, using Jennifer Sampou’s SKY fabrics. Luscious. Coming soon.

The above two images go together: the brown smoky skyline, which is not a beautiful sunset, but a layer of smoke drift from California fires, coupled with the line-up of temperatures coming our way. I’m not leaving the house on Tuesday.

The the following three images are linked: a countdown clock for the U.S. Elections, a visually interesting and textural image of Kamala Harris, and a Trump cartoon from 2018, which popped up in my Instagram feed today, strangely prescient for this year’s election.

from here
from 2018, from here

Brendan Loper, the artist, writes “Strangely enough this toon was featured in Russia Today comparing it to a soviet political cartoon about western voting practices.”

Lastly, this is where I’ll be today. I laughed when I saw this. This might be partly true for my Zoom-trunk shows; I usually put up a quilt behind me, blocking the view. When I Zoom-teach in my sewing room, however, everything has to be spic and span, because so much can be seen.

A big thank you to all who wrote such lovely descriptions of their gardens, their terrain and what they see around them on my last post. My husband and I took turns pointing out our favorites (which turned out to be ALL of them), and it was like a lovely armchair travel through all your backyards. Sigh. If only I could come and visit you all…I would!

Right now, my tomatoes are hanging on for dear life, and with the 111 temps coming this next week, I’ll have pre-cooked tomatoes to harvest (yes, we even tried putting cupcake wrappers to protect them–this last week we moved their pots into partial shade). Everything’s getting browner: the sky, the hills, the garden, and every day I see air quality advisories warning me that it’s probably not good to go outside and try to inhale the muddy-colored atmosphere. Our summer is like an East Coast winter: we stay inside, keep the A/C at a comfortable-but-not-too-cool level, and sew our brains out.

picture from the 1918 pandemic

I’ll be working on the project with the SKY fabric, prepping up another live-online class, and waiting for the “bers” in the calendar to arrive: September, October, November and December. I actually thought about Christmas today. This year has been so totally and completely crazy, I wondered if I would jinx the season of Let’s Be Jolly by even thinking about it.

So, let’s just keep going, putting right sides together and stitching memories into our quilts.

This-and-That

This and That • September 2019

Antelope Valley Guild Sept2019.jpg

Free Motion Quilting can be one of the main challenges we quilters face after we’ve gotten down the basics of piecing and other construction methods.  Now we want to stitch and shape and sculpt our quilts with thread.  This coming Saturday, September 14th, I’ll be teaching a Free-Motion Quilting workshop in Antelope Valley, and if you are nearby, come on down (up?).  You can find out more at their Quilt Guild Meeting, held Thursday evening, where I’ll present a show titled “An Undercover Traditional Modern Art Quilter.”  I’m bringing two suitcases of quilts, some stories and a sense of humor.  Hope to see you there!

Gridsters Sept 2019 Simone.jpg

Simone drew up another one of her fabulous blocks for us in the Gridsters Bee, and I got busy and did six of them.  I just kept wanting to try out different combinations.  More info (and a free download) of this block is available on her website.

Book 15 Gamache

I started a new Inspector Gamache book, #15.  Halfway in, and I can’t wait to get back to listening.

AustinTX_1BBQ

Over Labor Day weekend, we went to Austin, TX (common abbreviation, I found out, is ATX) to see my son and his family.  Here we are outside Coopers BBQ, where I’m going when I go to QuiltCon in February (well, both places: the BBQ, which is right downtown, and also to see the grandsons).

AustinTX_2pluginshoes

I always learn something new when visiting the youngsters: did you know you could charge up your shoes, and when you are at a dance, they will glow different colors?

AustinTX_3capitol

When the boys went back to school and their parents went back to their regularly scheduled lives, we did touristing at the State Capitol Building.

AustinTX_4

Then up to the University of Texas at Austin, where I visited someting I’d been wanting to see for a very long time: Austin, by Ellsworth Kelley.  Kelley gave the design for this chapel-like space to the Blanton Museum, which had it built.  It’s just over 2700 square feet, so not huge.

AustinTX_4a

But inside…

AustinTX_4cAustinTX_4dAustinTX_4e

We went in the morning, and then back again after lunch and a walk through the next door Blanton Museum.  I want to come here again, in February, when they say the light comes in the grid over the front door.  Hope it’s not cloudy at QuiltCon!

AustinTX_5art

Another Ellsworth Kelly.  We call this Couple Self-Portrait in Kelly’s B.  Occasionally if you spend too much time in museums you can get a bit goofy.  We also went to the LBJ Presidential Library after all this.

AustinTX_b

But this — a dance of color and light — is what makes my quilty heart sing!

Books · This-and-That · Tiny Quilts

Happy July 2019 • This and That!

Teeny Tiny Flag Quilt_3

In this episode of This-and-That posts, I wanted to lead off with a little freebie for your Fourth of July: the instructions for a Teeny Tiny Flag quilt.  You can whip this up quickly, and it slips over a dimestore 4″ x 6″ acrylic frame.  I made one recently for a friend in the hospital: no flowers or balloons were allowed.  This brought some cheer to her stay as she loves red, white and blue.

Teeny Tiny Flag Quilt Illustration

I thought you might like the how-to’s, so download the PDF file (please re-download this new file–earlier this morning, there was a glitch):

Teeny Tiny Flag Quilt

I finished it off with some cute buttons.  For more Tiny quilts (and Teeny-Tiny quilts), visit the Tiny Quilts tab, above.

Sunday Best

Here’s a new favorite book of mine, Sunday Best Quilts, by Sherri L. McConnell and Corey Yoder.  Sherri and I have been friends for a while ever since we shared English assignments for the classes we were teaching, at two different community colleges in two different states.  I also appreciate her wonderful quilt designs, and have enjoyed her fabric lines (favorites are Bright Sun, Creekside and Front Porch).

I expect certain things out of books these days.  I’ve stopped buying everything that’s new as I was pretty burned out with what I call “vanity” books — a famous quilter gets a book and really, it was nothing new under the sun.  So now I am pretty selective about what I’ll add to my quilt library.  The book has to have 1) a new way of looking at familiar quilts, 2) a thorough (but not mansplained) direction section, and 3) great photographs, plus 4) the writing has to be pristine and readable, no small feat.

This book fulfills all four of those criteria. If you are looking for a new book to add, I can recommend this one.

Scissors and Negative People

Truth.

Guild Rummage Sale_3

So our Guild had a rummage sale this month, well, really it was a Clean-Out-The-President’s-Sewing-Room/Garage sale.  Evidently people had been bringing her stuff for many years; husbands would call when their wives had moved to Assisted Living, and leftovers from classes all just sort of congregated in her garage.  Time for it all to go.

Guild Rummage Sale_2

I am always fascinated by what quilters used to do Back in the Day.  Like these vests.  Did we really a) have haircuts like that, and b) dress like this?

Guild Rummage Sale_4

Another binder had templates with lots of code numbers on them, and then these illustrations.  I loved “Home Grown” #8, and think it would make a great block in a quilt.  No, I didn’t bring that one home.

Guild Rummage Sale_1

But I felt like I scored with this box of “vintage” magazines (really, they are just 20-30 years old–how is that vintage?).  I’d bought a few things here and there, stuffing my dollars in the Rummage Sale Jar, but at the end of the night, when so much was left, she said, “Take it all away!” So we did.

Ladybird Prep_2

I wanted to post some construction images from Ladybird, the quilt from the last post. At this point I was thinking: what am I doing? This was the quilting after the first day. I threw it on the spare bed and left it there for two days.

Ladybird Prep_3

Better.

Ladybird Prep_4

In the end, I was pretty happy with it, finding lots of ways to be creative with mostly straight lines.

SAVE ME THE PLUMS -- cover

Finished this book.  I loved it and I’m not a New Yorker.

I had wanted to leave you with my larger flag quilt, all quilted and bound, but it didn’t happen.  So Happy Fourth of July, with a quilt top:

BetsysCreation_4thJuly

Long may it wave! (click to see it in action)