Not All That Wanders Is Lost • Traveling Threads Bee Quilt is Finished

Not All That Wanders Is Lost
47″ high by 56″ wide
Quilt No. 186

In March 2015, Megan asked me to be a part of a Traveling Threads Bee.  My initial post about the process is here

…and shows my package (including little book, above) that was sent off to the person in line next to me, the idea being a circle — from one to another to another, roughly every month.

the logo I made for the group

Monthly was probably too ambitious, and at one point my package skipped a quilter because of time pressures, so in the end I had six lovely quilters make a block (or blocks) for me: Megan Evans, Amber, Emily V., Marci Debetaz, Toni Lovelady and Lisa Johnson. Our group on Instagram was #travelingthreadsbee and we all made such different quilts (click on their names to see their groups of blocks).

I love that it is a meeting of far away and close, new and old, friends.

I put my signature blocks on the front of the quilt, and in the lower right is the signature of the fabric designer, Alison Glass; all are contributors to this quilt. I put the label and a statement about the quilt on the back:I liked the idea that the quilt wandered, and then came home. This was the first project I started quilting this spring, using its beautiful qualities to help propel me back to my groove in free-motion quilting.  I posted each block on my Instagram feed as I finished it. I took it on the back patio, in the setting sun, so the slanting rays could amplify the quilting lines.

Luckily I caught the un-quilted section (blue triangle) before finishing it up with a faced binding.  I like to put that invisible binding on busy quilts, as it gives a clean finished edge (tutorial is *here*).  Okay, it’s the OPQuilt Summer Book Giveaway Time.

Third book is gone, given to Simone according to the guidelines of the Husband Random Number Generator.  I’ve already contacted her via email and it will go off tomorrow.  So, let me tell you about the next book, the Simple Simon Guide to Patchwork Quilting:

I took this photo from their site, a fun place to go and read and get great ideas for all sorts of homemaking-type projects.  Their tagline is “Two girls. Same name. One mission. Teach the world to sew.” and this book is a great example of terrific projects made simply, with a lot of pizazz.  To enter the giveaway for this book, please leave a comment below.  I’ll let it run for a few days then I’ll notify the winner by email.  By the way, this is a signed copy (both authors!).

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Another Mini and a few more things. . .

Simply Mini Swap_Jana

This very cute quilt arrived yesterday from Jana, my (secret) Simply Mini Quilt Swap partner.  Boy, was I bowled over–I love it!  I had to take it outside to my back fence photo studio today to get a good shot of it and I love the pinwheels and the colors and that perfect binding. Thank you so much, Jana!

Traveling Threads Marci w my blocks

This too-light, too-washed-out, picture doesn’t do the blocks from the Traveling Threads Bee justice.  They are a collection for Marci, who is making a sampler quilt.  As always, I tried to look at the quilt to see what it needs, not like I’m some quilt-whisperer or something, but just every once in a while, it can just pop into your mind.

TTBee_Marci2TTBee_Marci1

And since she specified she wanted a sampler quilt, I decided it needed some curves, as in a basket block and a Dresden plate block.  I cleared the Dresden with her, and just threw in the basket with that curvy handle.  I set it on some of Marci’s favorite fabric: the clothespins.  I think I only have one more to go until I’ve finished making for my bee-mates.  The regular delivery of these treasures seems to have bunched up somewhere; hopefully it will arrive before Christmas!Merit Badge SewingSome more sewing. . .I had fun sewing on the various badges and rank achievements for four Scouts: my eldest son and his three boys.  It was like deja vu to an earlier time.
Pattern_NYT_2015I clipped this out of the New York Times style magazine this past Sunday, as I loved all the texture shown, both in architecture/design and in fashion.  We who are doing the Millefiore quilts are right on trend!  Which reminds me that I need to get back to that. . .

4-in-art_3

. . . right after I finish up my Four-in-Art quilt, which is posting this coming Sunday, November 1st.  This is the last post of our literature theme, and I look forward to seeing all the creations of those in my group.

from here

I did finish up my Quilt Abecedary project: a way to teach myself how to make quilt letters, in preparation for the 2016 Spelling Bee, a group who will make quilty words for each other.  I hope I’ll improve in my lowercase k skills in the future.  That one was tricky.

fall 2015 garden

We think we are finally turning the corner on summer and finding our way to fall, which means get our fall garden planted: spinach, cabbage, lettuce (2 kinds), a Glacier tomato plant (trying it for the first time), oregano, chard, cauliflower and broccoli.  Some of these are new to me; we’ll see what survives.

Bunnyhenge circle bunnyhenge

Another sign of fall is the scheduling of my Fall Frolic trip to Orange County with my former colleague/now friend, Judy.  We hit the usual: Roger’s Gardens, ‘lette Macaron Shop, Wafu’s Sushi, South Coast Plaza, Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, Crystal Court, and IKEA.  This year we found something new and whimsical: a pocket park of sculpture next to the Newport Beach Civic Center and Fashion Island Mall, from where these bunnies — almost waist-high — were photographed.  They’ve been nicknamed Bunnyhenge by the locals.  I loved them.

Lastly, I have actually filled in some plans on my calendaring book.  This is revolutionary.  I often would rather write down what I did, then cross it off, than make plans that will never be achieved.  You can call me a goal-setting wimp.

halloween 2015

Happy Halloween!

Oktoberfest’s Blocks and Quilts and Plans

IMG_5162.JPGWhile I really love the festive cookies sold during Germany’s Oktoberfest, it’s the giant pretzels I really miss.

IMG_6234.JPGIMG_5545.JPG And who can forget the cute dirndls, wore by the most traditional Bavarian women? (I have three, all made by hand with fabric lugged home from Munich.)  But in honor of those weeks of partying they do in the Bavarian Alps, I’ve been partying here in my sewing room, finally gaining enough stamina to put in nearly a full day’s/several days’ worth of work.  In other words, it’s catch-up time.

Amber_before

A package of blocks from our Traveling Threads Bee finally caught up to me (we’ve had some delays) and I placed Amber’s blocks (she blogs at One Shabby Chick) all over my design wall to admire the handiwork of my beemates.  So often when I get a batch of blocks, I recognize that there is a different goal for those of us at the end of the bee.  Those at the beginning work on creating blocks and filling up the holes.  But if you are towards the end of the trading circle, a good look at the quilt is necessary, asking: what does this quilt need?  In this case, it needs some negative space, the hint given by that lone six-pointed appliqué star there on the turquoise background.

Starshine rays

The theme of this quilt is “I love you more than all the stars,” with the request to make pink stars on a range of blue backgrounds.  Amber also included this really cool lame cotton, which of course I couldn’t wait to use.  I kept singing the lyrics to Good Morning, Starshine in my head, and realized that’s where I needed to go.  So above, are three starshine blocks.Starshine on AmbersQuilt

I tucked them in around the edges of the quilt, pronounced it done, packed it up and mailed it off to the next partner in our bee.Detail Halloween Quilt 2015-2 Detail Halloween Quilt 2015

After two years of saving a few Halloween-themed Polaroid blocks, I pulled them out and put them into a random bordered square arrangement.  While I should be working on Halloween in March, or even April, I never feel like working on Halloween then.  Halloween Quilt 2015 Quilts for the Quilter

This, along with my basket quilt and another quilt Lisa and I finished for a friend, are now at the quilter’s.  Yes, I’ll enjoy my Halloween quilt NEXT Halloween.

Fabric for Halloween quilt

Except that there may be another quilt joining that one: this is our stack of fabrics from Primitive Gatherings quilt shop (and there are a few more from Temecula Quilt Company) that Leisa and I put together, so we can make this:

Halloween Quilt 1904

from the ever-talented Thelma, at Cupcakes ‘n Daisies

However I promised her we wouldn’t start on it until after the holidays, so the fabrics are stashed away until January.Alphabet to S

And I’ve made it up to T/t on my Quilt Abecedary project (T/t were too shy to pose for a photo).  Only a few more, then I’ll need to start really honing in on the theme of my quilt and what I want my Spelling Bee-mates to make for my quilt.  I’m first up in January, so I’d better get cooking.

And then after that finishes next year, I’m game to do another traveling bee.  And then after that. . .

It’s nice to be looking far forward once again, rather than just hoping I can make it through a day at a time.  I used to do quarterly goals for several online finishing collaborations, but have fallen out of the habit of looking ahead, bogged down as I was in this summer’s detritus of the here and now.  I still don’t fill up my schedule book too far ahead, not knowing if my stamina will hold out.

And does it really help to focus on your goals?  We’ll never quell that controversy, but according the article, How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back on the 99u blog, focusing exclusively on your goals may “spoil your experience of the activities you’ll need to pursue.”  Even the first article linked above notes that “relentless fantasizing may actually reduce one’s odds of achieving goals.”  But, rather, “adopting the mind-set that your strengths and abilities are not fixed, but can improve over time and with effort, can have self-fulfilling results” (99u — always a good site for reading about this sort of thing).

For this reason, I’ve found often that reviewing my achievements often provides motivation to go forward, a sort of “I finished that one, now I can finish this” one sort of process.  Or I can say to myself, “I like the feeling of having completed this,” and enjoy the feeling like when I walked out of the post office yesterday, having mailed off a bee-mate’s package of blocks.

To close, here’s one two more thoughts:

make a plan

from here

but don’t forget to. . .Happy Things

I plan to quilt.

Traveling Threads Bee

Traveling Threads_logo

Megan (MegsinCali on IG) recently got together a new group to try a traveling bee.  I’ve passed on these before, not trusting the universe — and other quilt makers — to execute my vision for my quilts.  This time, however, I was finally ready to lark about and see what others will do with my initial idea.

TravelingThreads BlockAnd that was it: my only idea was to use Alison Glass’ line of prints, mixed with other prints.  I knew I wanted a big block (above, taken from a vintage quilt book) to lead everything off, but then I had no idea past that.  I needed other quilters to help this quilt along, so I jumped in, and am now so excited about the whole process.

Book First Page

Book Second Page

Some talked about having a little book to go along with the quilt, so I put one together, complete with scraps of the cloth I was sending along, and the admonition of NO GRAY.  Well, no medium gray.  I hate what it does to quilts (washes it out, makes it blah), but I can handle light gray or charcoal.  But that’s another subject for another time.

TThreads Fabrics

And then I laughed when I realized that two of the fabrics in Glass’ line are a dark charcoal.  Oh well, let’s see what happens. I mixed in some more prints from other places, just for ideas or a resource.

TThreads packed up

 

And here it is–all packed up and ready to go (and sent!).  I have a Pinterest site where I’ve gathered some ideas from here and there, but Traveling Quilt Bees are pretty rare, I’ve discovered.  Round Robins, where a medallion quilt is created, are more popular, but I already have a medallion quilt or two, so I want that well-traveled look in this quilt top: an addition here, a block or four there, some flying geese strips — or not.

Our little group seems to gravitate towards Instagram with DM-ing each other, using the hashtag #travelingthreadsbee as the preferred way of communication. So look for us there!