First WIP Post of Summer 2013

WIP new button

It’s the first post of summer–the first Works In Progress post, thanks to Lee, of Freshly Pieced.

Trimming Up Ruler

I put together the sections for the Schnibbles block, trimming it up as the pattern recommended (we’re doing Dulcina this month–see Sherri’s blog for more info).

Trimmed UP1

Whoa!  Big Shrinkage.  (The trimmed up squares are on the right.)  If I make this quilt in the future, I’ll try to figure out the dimensions so that the trimmed up block doesn’t lose an inch in each direction.

Dulcinea Center

Final center section, all sewn together.  Now the borders.  Because I have so much going on in the quilt, I’m looking to build some quieter borders than are shown in the design.  But I’m putting this aside for now, to tackle my Big Project: Quilting the English Paper Pieced Quilt:

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.21.31 AM

Click back over to Lee’s blog to see other quilts that are in progress.  And happy summer!

This and That for a WIP Wednesday

WIP new button

Many thanks to Lee of Freshly Pieced Fabrics for hosting all of us quilters on WIP Wednesday.


Picked up this pattern at the Glendale Quilt Show and slid in one more project before my Spring Break ended.  I love the vinyl see-through fronts, so I can find those scissors. . . or spool of thread.  I’ve already packed up one with a hand-sewing project.


The project is a little bird pincushion made of felted wool fabrics.  Now to find some movie-watching time to work on it.


What else am I working on?  Our next Four-in-Art reveal is about a month away, and we had to move the deadline because some of us were panicking.  I resolve to not panic anymore.  (Which involves getting stuff done early.)

California Christmas Tree

I’m teaching a class for a local quilt shop (if peeps sign up. . .) and while it’s based on the idea of large globular shapes in a roughly floral design, I didn’t want to copy Kim McLean’s fine work.


So I pulled up the original quilt from the 1880′s, and tried to combine elements that had that funky vibe.  I just finished it, and after I order some kind of Kona red (do you know how many reds there are in the Kona fabric rainbow?), I’ll start constructing a vaguely Christmasy-Hollandish wall hanging for my sample in blues and greens on a red background.

Bit of EPP

I’m also working on this one — in my mind.  The quilt top is pinned to its backing and laying over the chair in our living room while my subconscious mind figures out a way to quilt it.

I’m trying to be patient.  Lollypop Trees isn’t even pinned to a backing yet as my subconscious can only handle one quilt at a time.  There are many other ideas working their way forward, but that’s enough for today, I think.  Click *here* to head back over to Freshly Pieced and see other fabulous Works-in-Progress.

More Projects?? Must Be Spring

What is it about spring that makes us open up our windows, welcome the sun and add more projects to our already stacked lists?  I played hooky from my stacks of grading by heading down to Sewing Party in Orange County and breathing in the delicious fragrance of a new quilt shop.  Well, new-to-me.  (Bet you thought I was going to say wildflowers, or something.)

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 10.32.58 PMIt’s in a business park, so look for the sign.

One of my Instagram pals had mentioned the Sewing Party quilt shop in her comments, then followed up with an email; I was interested in a class they were offering: The Bostonian Bag, which is really a small satchel with some flair.  Sewing Party is a modern-oriented store, with lots of favorites, plus some Kaffe, Kokka, Moda, and others.

SewingParty Purchases

I indulged in a couple of pieces, plus a few bits from the Comma line of fabric–all good basics.

Bostonian Bag Kit

Cecile (the owner) really knows the way to a sewer’s heart: this is the kit for the Bostonian Bag all in its little bag.  Very slick.

Daisy Chain canvas

She made an exception for me and let me choose the fabric I wanted for my satchel.  This Prints Charming canvas print (see selvage below) caught my eye, and she coordinated the stripe for me for other bits and pieces of this bag.  She has the vision.

diasychain selvage

Love the spelling.  (Kind of reminds me of the stack of Fiction Tests I just graded.)

EPP quilt angle shot

What else am I working on?  Well, I finished sewing all the moving pieces of my English Paper Pieced quilt together, and have one more border to add before I’ll show it off here.


I do believe this is the latest I’ve ever posted on WIP Wednesday over a Lee’s Freshly Pieced blog.  Here’s a shot of our spring Daylight-Saving-Time moon to prove how late it is.

WIP new button

WIP and FAL are real motivation!

WIP new button

I’ve been doing Lee’s Work In Progress Wednesdays for a long time now, and I love participating and reading her blog.  Head back there to see more of what others are working on.

FinishALong Button

And Leanne’s Finish-A-Long has certainly focused what I’m working on.  I’ll get back to posting up Road to California pictures next post, but here’s what I’m working on today.

EPP outer pieces

I’ve finally figured out the outer pieces of my EPP quilt.  And the border after this, too.  Now just to sit and watch something interesting on television, so I can finish it up.  What to watch now that Downton Abbey’s all finished, and the Oscar broadcast is over?  I do have some interesting Netflix coming.  By the way, if you like quirky movies, I can recommend Moonrise Kingdom.

Lollypop Tree Border Blocks2

And I finished appliqueing all the pieces on my Lollypop Tree Border Blocks.  Now I have to cut away the backs of those that have freezer paper in them, pull out the paper, then press them.  When that happens, it means that all the components of the Lollypop Tree quilt will be ready to be put together.  I first saw Kim McLean’s pattern on the blog for Material Obsession–a blog you should defininitely have in your Reader.

Lollypop Tree Border Blocks3

A few of my favorites.  Happy Quilting!

Quilting Along

This is a picture of my latest start of my hexie blocks series, taken in my super-duper photo studio: a piece of batting laid down on the kitchen counter, making sure that I don’t put it near the dishes, or onto any stray bits of gravy.  Other times my photo studio is a bigger piece of batting, laid down on the guest bed upstairs, or if it’s medium-late in the afternoon, I can smooth it out on my pinwall, drag in the torchiere from my husband’s den, prop the other light up on the small stereo speaker on my desk, and make sure I turn on the camera’s flash.

Actually, considering my week, this is a stupendous output.  You know, some weeks are GetMoreDone and some weeks are BarelyQuilting.

Now you know way more than you want to about how things are at my house, but I do want to thank Lee of Freshly Pieced for hosting us on WIP Wednesday, where we all scramble to get something done–or partially done–so we can post it up here and say Yes!  I’m still quilting along!  (I love WIP Wednesdays.)  Click on her name to head back to her blog to read about others who got way more done.

But don’t forget to enter the Almost to 100 Followers Giveaway, on the post just below.  I’m giving away two sets of fat quarters–in black and white–perfect to rustle up some Halloweeny quilting!

EPP, the Sixth

Finished up tonight, while watching Doc Martin on Netflix (recommended).  The first date I have on this project is February 21, 2012, so obviously I started sewing these at the beginning of the year sometime.

Here’s all six of them together.  I think they look like slices of a kaleidoscope.

Don’t know what I’ll do with them, really.  Just following this journey wherever it goes.

Long Beach, Part 3

Let’s see if I can roll these out for you.  I’m watching the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics and all this music has me typing quickly.

Karen Eckmeier’s quilt, Aegean Memories, was a masterpiece of tiny pieces, yet it really evoked the Greek Isles, fresh in her memory from a recent visit.  She used collage, paint, machine quilting and couching to make this.

She used the applique-under-tulle netting approach that she did in her other quilt (Black, White, READ).  I think this would be a really good way to control all all those tiny pieces.

Detail.  Maybe this is where she used the paint?  But no, all those little squares look like scraps of cloth.

Harumi Asada had her first granddaughter (her son’s daughter) and she made Happy Birthday to commemorate that first year.  There are growth records, pictures of the baby throughout this first year and flowers flowers flowers!  I was happy to get a nine-patch quilt made when my grandchildren were born.  This was really a stunner.

Here you can see a couple of the baby’s photos at different stages of that first year.

All those circles!  My Karen Buckley circle templates would have gotten a workout. I turned off the flash to show the hand quilting, but it does produce a slightly soft focus.

Here’s some of aforementioned flowers.  All hand appliqued.

But this wasn’t the only Asada quilt.

In this quilt, Harmony in Nature, she wanted to express that all living things are linked.  She made it for a conference on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan.

I could have taken billions of photos, but mostly I just stood with my jaw dropped and sighing at her exquisite details.  This is the central medallion of a large quilt — close to a queen size.

Since I spent a year in Washington, DC, I fell in love with this depiction of when cherry trees bloom. The title is Spring Blossoms by Terry Aske.  If you look in the background, you can see a row of trees, as well as the soft carpet of pink blossoms under the tree–so very typical of what the blossoming trees are like.  Aske, however, is from the West Coast of Canada.  I guess cherry blossoms are a universal.

An excellent use of floral fabrics to suggest the individual blossoms.

Here’s another quilt from Terry Aske, titled Spring Beauties.  It’s those stripes that pull me in, as well as the plaid leaves.  Such inventive use of fabric to depict a “local patch of tulips.”

And look at this “border”– outlined, subtly, with the use of the striped fabric again, and the background flowing over into that border area.

Cricket on the Radio, by Elizabeth Bren.

Sometimes simple quilts can be very effective.

NASA Wind Tunnel, by Linda T. Cooper.  Highly graphic use of shape and color.

Another Whimsical Garden, by Tina Curran

Fused flowers, but they are all different and wonderful.

Bodil Gardner must be a favorite of those who put on the show, because I’ve seen her quilts multiple times.  Always interesting, though, with her free-form shapes and almost troll-like faces and bodies. This one’s titled Nine girls a dancing.

Spiral Fever, by Jane Lloyd

Spiral Fever, detail.  She says she likes to work in a series, and the ideas for the next quilt come to her while working on her current project.

In the center of one of the areas, they had this display of a little village of houses, organized by Kathy York.

I’m convinced some of these quilt artists never sleep.

And now it’s time for the Ugly Quilt Award.  Again, this is only my very subjective opinion (and certainly some of mine could qualify.)  To protect the innocent, no names are revealed.

It’s not necessarily the head-on shot that reveals its place as the winner this time.

It’s the side view (and I realize it’s a pretty ugly photo, but again–the lights here are challenging), that shows the 3-D effect of purple pipe cleaners.  I know nothing about the quilt artist and I do have to applaud her inventiveness, but maybe some things just shouldn’t be tried.

YoYo2: Trip Around the World, by Helen Remick

Native Market, by Phyllis Cullen and Annie’s Star Art quilt group members. This is one of those quilts where they take a photograph and cut it into pieces (in this case, twelve) and each member interprets the section s/he has.  I like how they sliced this one into irregular pieces, rather than the usual strips.

Native Market, detail.

Watt & Shand # 6 is by Sue Reno, who was documenting the conversion of an old department store into a convention center and hotel in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  These images  are from her own photographs of the reconstruction.

Reflections, Glass Walls, La Defense, Paris, France var. 3 by Barbara Schneider.

This quilt was in the quilt show booklet, as it is such an interesting quilt.  It is dyed, overdyed, painted, collaged, fused and machine stitched in order to show “the contrast between the patterns in the glass and the structural gridwork” (artist’s statement).  The quilt below is another variation in her series, but I couldn’t find the title in my notes.

This one’s for all the hexie fans out there.  This is the popular rose block that is being constructed by many quilters, using hexagons (or parts of hexagons) in the English Paper Piecing method of construction.  The title of this is Rose Garden and it is made by Ardie Skjod and quilted by Dorothy Burnett.  She used a pattern from an Australian magazine, designed by Dale Ritson.

Here’s another one by the same quilter, Ardie Skjod, but this one is quilted by Debbie Blair.  Star Garden is inspired by a photograph she saw in an old magazine, but designed it herself.

I had to zoom in on that one block, as the use of the stripe really skewed it visually for me, but I think it makes the quilt more interesting.  Some blocks look like Tumbling Blocks and some have those diamond stars, but all of them are a large hexagon.  It didn’t say if this was hand-pieced.

Springtime in the City, by Cynthia St. Charles.  Her city of inspiration? New York City.  This quilt is hand-painted, block printed and machine quilted.  It’s really quite full of beautiful springtime colors.


Portraits of Flora, by Timna Tarr originally started out to be done in taupes and neutrals, but then her “love of color took over.”  The circles are hand appliqued onto a square, and these squares were pieced together to make the quilt.

I hope you don’t find these detail shots tedious.  Used to be in the OLD days of blogging, you could click on a photo and it would enlarge, but now I find that lots of blogs limit the size, so a detail shot is needed in order to see what’s going on in the quilt.

Her tight quilting made the circles pop into a bas relief.

Baskets Made With Love, by Connie J. Watkins.

I haven’t figured out yet how these quilts come to be displayed — is there some entry form I don’t know about?  Are these quilts from another show merely transported into the Long Beach festival?  It might be interesting to know as we Southern Californians don’t see a lot of coloration like the browns palette in the quilt above, which speaks to the idea of “importation.”

One more post and then I’m done.  School begins today so I really need to get going on that, but to close, here’s what I finished during the Olympics:

WIP Wednesday

I went to see my mother and father over the weekend, and it’s taken me until now to catch up.  The visit was well worth it, however, as there’s always something interesting and unique that’s happening at their house.

Like Dad’s painting of the Sideways Man in his painting studio.  My father keeps a journal of his inspiration and creative journeys, and this was inspired by an advertisement in the New York Times for a series of lamps–a woman was lying down underneath the hanging globes.

And fragrant lilacs in bloom. I grew up with these flowers and they are some of my favorites.  Only certain varieties will grow in our quasi-desert climate. The bush I planted once was not one of those varieties.

Scenery from a mountain trail just behind their house.

Still working on my EPP Rose blocks.  This is the fourth one and I’m almost done.  (That’s why it’s known as  Work In Progress.)

My mother showed me a quilt shop I never knew existed in their town.  Gardiner’s Quilt Shop, and look for a post on it later.  I guess I’ve forgiven Kate Spain, because there’s some of her fabric at the end–those gorgeous flowers in periwinkle and blue.

This is a new project, to sandwich in between the grading of my last two papers (research papers come in on Monday!), making the back for Scrappy Stars and getting that pinned as I’m pretty sure I want to quilt it myself.  This summer.  After school ends.  And Jury Duty (yes, the week after school gets out).

My son and his family went to Hawaii and they were smart folks and DIDN’T bring me back a T-shirt.  Instead Kristen spent “about an hour in some shop,” according to my son, and picked out these bundles of fat eighths for me to enjoy.

A veritable Hawaiian garden growing up in my fabric stash!  Thanks!

And many thanks to Lee, of Freshly Pieced Fabrics for hosting this WIP Wednesday, a weekly event in my life, reminding me I DO know how to blog and write and talk quilts. Head back over there to see what everyone else is working on.

Happy Quilting!

English Paper Piecing, continued

I’m leading with the same photo I did yesterday, the very first English Paper Piecing Block (EPP) I’ve ever done.

But here’s the beginning of my work in progress: block two, all looking like a set of green and blue flower petals, waiting to be joined into a rosette-like flower.  It has  a different background border.

Block Three is in progress, as I cut my fabric full of swiss-cheese-like holes.

And it’s only as I begin to work on Block Four that I’m beginning to see that it’s really no use to get too much of a blender series of kite shapes there at the outer edges.  Otherwise you might as well cut a giant triangle and piece into place.  What makes this form of patchwork beguiling is the ability to incorporate different fabrics to get a mosaicky look to it, like it’s a kaleidoscope or tumbling pieces of glass.

I realize that some of it is the fabric I’ve chosen.  If I’d gone more the color route, drawing different colors form here and there and making them into a rose, I wouldn’t have had to worry so much about getting too much blending.  Typical of me to think of a hard way to do something easy and beautiful.  But I like this challenge, and how the project is teaching me as I work through it.   And in searching for different darker borders, I found two one-yard pieces of this fabric, but I don’t know how many more flowers I want to make.  The first took me about two weeks of TV and conversation time; it measures over 17″ from point to point.  Jumbo.  That small center hexagon on the desk is out there to remind me of Block Two as I work on 3 & 4, as Block Two is usually tucked away in the basket downstairs, waiting for conversation with my husband.

Or  a good show–like the Academy Awards, which is coming up this Sunday. (Go *here* to How About Orange to download the Oscar Bingo cards and Ballots. Her photo, above, is used with permission.)

What else on this WIP Wednesday?  Finishing up the label for the red/white quilt I’ve been working on.  Which is less than wonderful (more on that on Friday), but I love love the quilting.  So isn’t that how it goes?  Sometimes you love the whole of something, and other times you only love parts of it.  Just like toddlers.  Or teenagers.  Or teaching.  Or just like life.

Many thanks to Lee of Freshly Pieced Fabrics for hosting WIP Wednesday.

Head back over there to see other works in progress.

EPP: A Shared Gift

Because I am a complete quilt dork, loving nearly all things quilting, I love looking at my very first completed English Paper Piecing (EPP) block.  I love how I can use the fabric to make a secondary design.  I love how I can sit and watch Downton Abbey or a movie or talk to my husband, and at the end I have another something to show for the time. I love how I learned it from Krista, and how she shared with me how to put it together, and how I went to other blogs and quilters and friends, enjoying the fruits of sharing from this community of quilters.

I suppose my enjoyment is kind of all stitched together with the trip to the surgeon’s office today, and when he said, “Have a nice life.  You’re all done,” I thanked him, hopped off the table, got dressed and zipped out the door, with only a bandaid (instead of a bulky gauzy dressing) on the healing wound site.  I called my husband to tell him the news as I sat in the parking lot.  I know I’m an easy-to-cry person so I wasn’t too surprised by the tears that followed, streaming down my face as I sat there in the warm sunshine, thinking about my little journey of the last two-plus months, and getting that advice from the doctor.

So, I pass it on to you.  Have a nice life.  Finger some cloth.  Sit in the warm sunshine for a few minutes.  Enjoy those skills that you are developing, or have developed, in making something of yourself to leave behind if the have-a-nice-life line doesn’t materialize at the surgeon’s office, and you realize, like Sir Launfal, that all we ever have in this life is what we share.  So, just today, I share my first EPP block with you on this very normal, this very poignant day.


Lines from James Russell Lowell’s poem: “The Vision of Sir Launfal:”

Not that which we give, but what we share,–
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who bestows himself with his alms feeds three,–
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.