Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees, final

Lollypop Trees Quilt_final Front

Elizabeth’s Lollypop Trees
began May 2011 • finished April 2014

Lollypop Trees Quilt_final BackA Kaffee Fassett Lotus Blossom print for the back, and I am finally done.  I know you’ve seen an overabundance of photos of this quilt, so this is just a simple, abbreviated post to say I’m finished.  (Or should I say: I’m FINISHED!!!)

Lollypop All Quilted

Lollypop Tree 1Some time ago, my granddaughter Keagan saw my blocks up on my design wall, and quietly made a picture for me of what she saw. (I think it’s the block in the lower righthand corner of the quilt.)  I love it, so I put it on the label.

Lollypop Trees Quilt_labelQuilt #132 on my 200 Quilts list
73″ square

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚
This blog software has an excellent search engine box.  If you want to see details about this quilt, type “Lollypop Trees” in the search box to the right, and you’ll get more posts than you know what to do with.  If you have specific questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.  Thank you to all who cheered me on and kept me going, in spite of days of wondering if I’d ever finish.  It’s very satisfying to see that quilt, to run my fingers over the quilting, and to know that I did it.

That’s three finishes in two weeks.  Now to grade research papers until my brains fall out and my fingers fall off.

Counting Down

 But look!  Only four more days of teaching in this semester!

Quilting the Lollypop Tree Quilt, I

Still working on the lollies, or my Lollypop Tree Quilt.

Lollypop Tree Quilt Block_2

Quilting Lollypop Tree Quilt_1

I took the quilt to my quilter and she basted it together for me, which has actually worked pretty well.  Usually I crawl around on the floor on my hands and knees and pin the quilt sandwich to within an inch of its life, but went this direction this time.  It’s been nice not to have to navigate those safety pins, but I still don’t want to sew over the basting thread, so I’m pulling it out as I get there.

Lollypop Tree Quilt Block_3

Finished up this one last night.  I’m trying to do a different filler in the background of each block.  It may not last, but this one is leaves.  The background filler on the first one is a rounded double loop in all directions.  When I look at these photos, it reminds me that there are still some details to go over (like the brown stems need to be quilted down at the trunk), but I’ll do the brown thread quilting all at one.

Lollypop Tree Quilt Block_4

And then I started on this, and got almost done, but had quilted myself into a corner with extra fluffiness.  After I quilted a tuck into the quilt, I stopped and unpicked for a while, and will take it up again today in better lighting, and when I’m not so tired.  This background is an oval double teardrop.

Lollypop Tree Quilting detail_1

Diane Gaudynski advises free-motion quilters that a little marker now and then is a quilter’s good friend.  Like in that run of white thread on the blue batik.  The thread I’m using is So-Fine white #401, and in the bobbin, I’m using the Bottom Line in a soft yellow.  I’ve lowered the tension on the top to nearly half of normal (2.2 or 2.0) and I have really good balance in the thread.  This thread from Superior Thread is quite fine, as the name states, and it just sews up beautifully. I switched to a size 14 topstitch needle which allows lots of thread movement, so no shredding.  (I had been using a size 12, but the 14 is working better.)

Lollypop Tree Quilting detail_2

Lollypop Tree Quilting detail_3I like the way the appliquéd pieces pop up.  This *post* by Sandra Leichner is invaluable for explaining the process.  I have a permanent link to it from the home page of my blog, as well as to Diane Gaudynski’s website.

I figure I still have about 5 days left of quilting time in my February/March goals, which clearly states: “Quilt Lollypop Trees.”  I’ve been able to cross of all but one of my projects, so am still trying for a completion here.

Linking up to Lee’s Freshly Pieced blog.

 

FMQ Lollypop Tree & A Beauty Shot

FMQ Lollypop Tree

I started free-motion quilting my Lollypop Tree quilt.  It has sat for nearly a year while I did Life and thought about how to start.  I had quilted my Christmas Treat, but the spaces there were more wide open with fewer appliqués, so this one was a bit of a challenge, managing the quilt bulk and keeping the density of the stitches evenly spaced.  I still have a few more details to take care of, like stitching around the trunk of the tree and across the leaves where they join the trunk, but after two-and-a-half hours, one block is done.  Look at the tab above if you want to see the entire quilt.

Helpful sights: a Pinterest board with lots of filler ideas, Leah Day’s commentary on filler backgrounds, and multiple videos (not linked).

And I promised you a beauty shot.  Here’s my Sol Lewitt’s Patchwork Primer quilt top, in my outdoor “photo studio.”

Sol Lewitt's Patchwork Primer

I also put this as my home screen on my phone.  It makes me smile.  Hope you are smiling, too, as you enjoy your weekend.

WIP Wednesday (Selvage Blocks)

Selvage Quilt Block_yellow

Okay, these 20″ blocks are addicting.  Someone on IG commented on my selvage stash, but the whole thing could fit into a gallon ziploc bag.  There are all those selvages on my stash, however. . .

Other Works in Progress, this Wednesday morning:

Rainbow Petals.v2Rainbow Petals–the more I type that name, the more I realize it needs to be changed

LollypopTree Top FinishedLollypop Tree Quilting.  It’s such a big project, I keep waiting for the decks to be cleared to start on it.  That’s always a bad idea if you are trying to get something done, but a good way to procrastinate.

February CrossX blocks_2

Cross-X Quilt Blocks. That’s February’s installment on our Friendship Swap to the left.

Cutting out the quilt with the Mirror Ball Dots fabric.  Let’s just make that THINKING up the quilt with the Mirror Ball Dots fabric.  (No photo)
That’s enough for now.

Linking up to Lee’s Freshly Pieced blog and her WIP Wednesday.

WIP on

FAL Progress: not much

This is one of those I-think-I’ll-beat-myself-up posts.

I’m participating in the Finish-A-Long this quarter, after having such a gang-busting last quarter.  Really, I was hot hot hot.

FAL Q2_2013These were my goals.

1. I glimpsed the Hunter’s Star quilt top when I was finishing up the vacuuming after my sister and her husband left (they stayed with us for a few days and we had great talks).  It’s still hanging there, waiting for a border or two and then a trip to the quilter.

2. Hey! I finished something–the Four-in-Art * Fire quilt, titled Doloket.

3. Hey!  Something else was completed.  Guess I might not have to hate myself so much.  Yes, I did finish the Italy quilt — a Schnibbles quilt — part of Another Year of Schnibbles on Sheri and Sinta’s blogs.  Title: Take Me Back to Italy.

4.  I can’t finish this one, as the sample is hanging in the shop — the shop owner likes it unfinished so she can show people what machine appliqué looks like from the back.

5.  Oh, right.  Next.

6. Finished this one, woohoo!  Title: Lollypop Treat.

7.  What was I thinking even listing this?  Next.

8. Sigh.

Spoolin Around1

So, I guess it’s not total loathing here in Riverside, just partial.  But the one good thing about this FAL is that keeps me honest, and usually focused.  But I had to add in another Schnibbles (above, as I know no post is good without photos), and I slipped in Christine’s Philadelphia because the idea was burning in my brain.  Okay, confessional over.  I guess I should get to work.

Christmas Treat Wallhanging

Christmas Treat front

So, out here on the old sewing ranch-a-roo, I finished up Christmas Treat (name is courtesy of my husband–thanks hon!) and took it outside to pose for pictures.  The front.

Christmas Treat back

The back is an old Alexander Henry fabric with quirky angels flying everywhere.  I’ve hoarded this and now only have about a yard of the black colorway.

Christmas Treat label

The label.  I like to print mine out and border them before I stitch them on.  If you do a search for “labels” in the search box on the blog, you’ll find posts about how I do my labels.

Christmas Treat final

The final full shot.  It’s #111 on my 200 Quilts list.  It’s a big day because of the following four reasons:

1–this is my first Finish a Long completed.  Today Leanne posted the winners from the first quarter over on her blog, and if you want a fun quilt show, spending a few minutes looking at all the entries will give you enough ideas to make up all that fabric you’ve been collecting (Did I win?  No.  I never win, but that’s just my life).  I probably won’t finish the blue flowers at this time as the shop owner likes that it shows the back;
2–I actually did some free motion quilting on this that I’m not mostly ashamed of.  Don’t look too closely, as I don’t do enough of it to show it off, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out;
3–I took this sample (above, of Christmas Treat and below, of Lollypop Tree block) to Bluebird Quilts & Gallery, my local quilt shop, and she booked me in to teach two classes!  I’m so jazzed!  Now, to see if they carry. . .and. . .

Lollypop Block

4) my husband took a new picture of me that I think is a pretty good rendition of who I am at this point in my life.  As the Mid-Century Moderns know, we scrupulously monitor our images, preferring instead to be behind the lens instead of in front of it.

ESE April 2013

About photographs: we swim in a sea of digital images, and most are out of our control, as was demonstrated by the plethora of images that came forward about the Boston Marathon tragedy.  Our grandparents had a handful.  Our great-grandparents had, like, maybe three.  So does having so many pictures make it any easier to find one you like of yourself, especially if you don’t look like Gyweneth Paltrow or George Clooney or some other cinema god/dess?  If you’re like me, my husband took about ten shots before I got one that I liked–one that represented on the outside how I generally felt on the inside.  So, here it is.  Banish all other images to the dustbin.  This is the me as I am this week, all sunny yellow in sunny Southern California.

Two Lollypop Blocks800

Okay, class info:
Class will be taught at Bluebird Quilts & Gallery, at 22320 Barton Road, Suite A, in  Grand Terrace, California (just north of Riverside).

I’ll teach Wednesday, May 22nd from 10 to 3:30 p.m. and July 29th, from 10 to 3:30 p.m.

I need at least four, preferably, five people to carry the class.  I’m including the pattern (my own, drawn from the original Lollypop Tree quilt from the 1880s), and freezer paper (have you priced this stuff lately?  Whew!).  Cost is $50/full day class, including pattern.  Call the shop (909) 514-0333 to sign up, if you think you’d like to take the class.  They’ll have class supply lists for you when you sign up.  Their hours are Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Closed Saturdays.

Christmas Lollypop Tree Wallhanging

Christmas Lollypop Tree Wallhanging

I finally was able to stitch down the petals, dots and branches of my Christmas Lollypop Tree Wallhanging, figure out the borders (I referred to the antique Lollypop Quilt for ideas) and get it all stitched together.  Lacking: quilting, and a border, so it looks a bit incomplete, but like I always say, it’s nice to be at this point!  I think I’ve cornered the market on red and white and kelly-green and white fabrics.  Funny how our stashes will tilt one way while we’re working on a quilt, then veer into another direction when the next project comes along.  This is one thing I’ve been working on for this Works In Progress Wednesday Post, hosted by Lee of Freshly Pieced.  Thanks, Lee!

WIP new button

Earbud Zipper Pouch top

Another thing that has been in the works, but couldn’t show before is the little earbud holder.  I used Dog Under My Desk‘s pattern, and it went together pretty quickly.  I gave it to a friend, for she and I have what we call “sushi therapy,” where we get together and vent about our students (she’s a professor, too). I think between the sushi and the venting, we maintain our sanity (but this semester is really trying our patience!).

Earbud Zipper Pouch

I fussy cut out a bit of fabric that has a piece of sushi saying “You’re really really rice” and appliqued it on to the inside bottom of the pouch.  My friend laughed.

Tote Bag

And I made her a bag from my favorite pattern by Grand Revival: “Practical Bag,” with some book fabric that she gave me (I’m such a nice girl, that I’m sharing!).  I’ve made this pattern a ton of times.  I made it in New York fabric for my sister who lived in New York for 18 months on a church mission, so she could carry her groceries back home after shopping.  I made it for a friend who came to visit from Iowa and whose husband is a pastor (BTW, they just got a call to move to Brisbane, so she’ll be joining all my Australian friends very soon).  I’ve made a couple for me, and a bunch for I don’t know who else.  I originally purchased it for my daughter to make and traced off the pattern for me in case she had questions.  But soon, I bought my own and an extra.  What will I do with this?

Grand Revival Practical Bag

(They are much better at styling their photo, I think.)  So. . . I think I’ll drop it into the mail to one of my readers!  As usual, readers get one chance and followers get two chances, but leave a comment if you’d like me to mail you my extra pattern. But to qualify, tell me what you’ll make your bag to hold. . . or to who you’ll give it away to if your idea is to make it for a gift.

I can make this bag up in under an hour, and it holds quite a lot of groceries, or sewing for a doctor’s office trip, or snacks for the kids, or things to return for your errands.  I’ll use the tried and true husband-pick-a-number method of selecting someone (although if you’re very clever in what you say, I might have to override him).  Giveaway will end Friday morning when I drag myself out of bed, so make sure to leave your email so I can contact you.

And if you want to know what I’ll be doing while you write interesting things?  I’ll be quilting my Christmas Lollypop Tree and grading Drama tests (grading is NEVER done).  Thanks for reading, and Good luck!

Cranking out those Lollies!

Cranking is probably the wrong word.  It takes me the better part of a day to get one of these pinned, just because I have to leave time for pulling out all of the Kaffe fabrics I own, distributing them around on every flat surface in my sewing room (I have been known to pull out the portable tray tables for another surface) and then finding NOTHING I want, make a run to the fabric store for more. (Oh, and by the way, there’s news about my tiny giveaway at the end.)

Lollypop Tree Wallhanging ESE_1

So maybe cranky is a better word.  That’s always I how I feel in the middle of one of these blocks.  And also when I look up at the one that’s All Done and I realize the mauvey pink leaves are all wrong all wrong.

Lollypop False StartAnd so were these attempts to fix the problem.  I was able to find these because in the middle of all this angst, when my entire color-themed cupboard was exploded, I decided to tidy up.

Cleaned Closet

Pretty, right?  Notice I didn’t show you the other closet.

But I persisted, cranky or not.

Class Sample Lollypop Tree Block

By switching out some of the larger circles it finally came together, so cross that one off my list.  I’m also trying to pay attention to how I begin and work through these knots just in case my class carries and I will actually teach it.  I’m going to bring chocolate for when they hit the cranky part–that ought to help.

Christmas Start

I wanted to try to make a RED-background Lollypop Tree for the holidays.  I pulled out my Piece O Cake books and patterns as Becky Goldsmith does such wonderful things with red backgrounds, but whatever I worked with didn’t look holiday-ish enough to suit me.

Lolly Christmas Start

Better.

Lolly Christmas Start1

Christmas Lollypop Tree

So I made it to here, and am going to let it rest.

Giveaway Spring 1

When I was a local quilt show, I picked up a few fun buttons to giveaway on my blog that have sewing-related themes.

Giveaway Spring 2

And because I cleaned out my sewing cupboard, I’m throwing in a bit of fabric to go with them.

Giveaway Spring 2 back

The second group, with the “power tool” button is a few larger squares of boy-oriented fabric for those quilts for sons or grandsons, or an I-spy quilt you may want to make.

Giveaway Spring 1 back

The first batch of fabrics (“Hot Stuff”) has couple of fat quarter solids and a trio of fun novelties.

Name Game Button

Cindy, of Live a Colorful Life, is hosting me on her Name Game on her blog on April 8th, Monday.  To win one of those buttons, and the bits of fabric that go with them, check back on MONDAY, the same day her feature will post.  Don’t leave comments below for the giveaway, as I’ll only draw from Monday’s comments.  As usual, you get one chance for your comment, and one more chance if you are a follower of this blog (and leave a comment).  I’m hoping you’ll head over to Cindy’s blog and see what she has written (thanks! Cindy), and you can also leave a comment on Cindy’s blog for her buttons (she has two different ones).

Okay, now I have to go and clean up my sewing room.

Really? It’s Wednesday?

I’m not yet “jammified” (in my p.j.’s) but I could be, for how energetic I (don’t) feel.  Bob Hope noted that “You never get tired unless you stop and take time for it.”  So I’ve taken some time for it this week, after my Ta DA! post of earlier.  I also heard Joyce Carol Oates once talk about how, after a novel was newly finished, she took her time to coming back from working–she read poetry until she felt sufficiently ready to start work again.

I was asked to teach a class on the Lollypop Tree quilt, as I’ve noted before, I made up my own pattern, and thought I should get going on the class sample.  It was intended to be a Kaffe-fabricked Christmasy design on Kona red.  What it ended up becoming was a whimsical Kaffe-fabricked design on aqua polkadots.  The red one is still in my future. . . perhaps tomorrow, after I grade some of the late essays and finish up prep for class.

Leaf Progression LollypopI became stuck on this one leaf.  You can see the progression, of trying desperately to become unstuck, and I just noticed I put two of the same in the photo.  Ignore that.

Lollypop Tree Wallhanging ESE

I finally got to this point, and although I’m still not happy with parts of it, most of it is coming together.

Eric Maisel said that “If, because of anxiety and self-doubt, you procrastinate and only think about working, you’ll feel more exhausted than if you’d created for hours.” I certainly had a lot of that going on today, but I think it was also because I was listening to the end of a Graham Greene novel, which was driving me a bit batty.  Then I switched to This American Life and listened to the two-part episode about Harper High School, which starts *here* and ends *here,* which I’m still thinking about, and which should be required listening for every American, no matter where you stand on the gun-control debate.  It was sad, frustrating, illuminating and it got me working through my puny problems of how different pinks should go where.  Perspective is always a valuable thing.

Then I went downstairs to the kitchen and made two dinners: tonight’s and tomorrow’s, as I don’t get home from class until later and my husband and I just aren’t up for cooking, or for going out.

Leon Golden Egg

After dishes, I finished off a good book–the latest Guido Brunetti mystery–and then traced off and cut out another Lollypop Tree, ESE-style, to begin again tomorrow with a red background, for my  shop sample for the class.

I was talking to a biologist friend once, describing how sometimes I felt as there was nothing creative coming forward (this was when I was an undergrad in Creative Writing) and yet the deadlines didn’t seem to go away.  “Ah,” she said.  “You’re in lag phase.”  I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but the gist of it was that while I felt like I was doing nothing, my ideas were percolating, growing, or “metabolically active” as a biologist would say, before I entered a time of real growth (log phase, if you must know).  I’ve experienced this more than once.  During that time, I feel unfocused, blasé, wiped out, or just plain stupid, if you must know the truth.  I ingest vast amounts of silly internet videos, or lollygag through quilt images online, or read blogs without commenting.  Then slowly, something shifts, I become truly bored with being bored and I get back to work.

“If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.” –Sister Corita Kent

WIP new button

 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

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.

IMG_7352

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.

IMG_7354

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

IMG_7357

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.

originalLolly

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.