Circles Block #9–EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

EPP Circles Block 9_OPQuilt

Sunflower, Circles Block #9

This is the ninth circle in a series of free English Paper Piecing (EPP) patterns available here, on OPQuilt.com.  I began the series because I needed another hand-piecing project and was tired from all the geometric shapes in the recently finished quilt, Kaleidoscope.

EPP Circles Block #9

Because I was recently given an updated quilt software, unlike earlier patterns, there are now no hand-drawn designs.  But Please: do attribute the source of this to Elizabeth at OccasionalPiece-Quilt  (or OPQuilt.com) and do not print off copies for your mother or your friends.  Please direct them here to get their free copies.  Many thanks.  Here’s the pattern in a PDF file for you to download:EPP #9_OPQuilt Circles Block

Print Settings-Nine

Print four copies of this page at 100% scale, then cut them out, but cutting out only one circle.  Sometimes I’ll staple them together and then cut them out, but they do shift slightly, if that bothers you.  Now that the business is out of the way, this was the easiest circle yet. . . and the hardest.  Easiest because there are fewer pieces, and they go together quickly.  Hardest because of that dumb center circle, which I tried to ease in a la EPP-style.  Mistake.  But remember that I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

Circles9_Fabric Choices

Picking out fabrics.  Yes, these do change as you go, but since there are fewer moving parts to this circle, it was easier.  I always wait until the last minute to choose the center circle.

Circles9_layout

I print out on 24 lb. paper, which is slightly heavier than regular computer paper, so I have good luck with just gluing my fabric seam allowances to my pieces.  I explained this on Circle Block #8 if you want to take a look.  There’s something new on every circle block so far.  What’s new on this one?  Keep reading.

Circles9_piecing

I’d say this is the faster circle yet.  All these pieces went together lickety-split.

Circles9_center star

Circles9_piecing2

Adding the outer blue wedges was easy, too.

Circles9_stitching on inner circle

Now I’m starting to add the center circle.

Circles9_stitching on inner circle2

Circles9_inner circle FAIL1

Whoops. What a mess.  Now I’m taking out the center circle.

Circles9_inner circle basted down

Now I’m starting again to add the center circle, this time basting the circle into place.

Circles9_inner circle FAIL2

Now I’m taking OUT the center circle and doing what I should have done in the first place: appliqué the center circle onto the sunflower.  That’s the something new.  Don’t try and force your EPP.  If it’s not working, move to a different technique.  I had no problem with the Christmas Star block, but this one looks hacked-up, messy, bleh bleh bleh.  Sigh.  It looks much better now that I’ve appliquéd it on.

Circles9_Background markers

For the background, cut a 14 1/2″ square, then fold in half and half again to find the centers; lightly press the marks (shown above).  I love this fabric!

Circles9_AlignmentA Circles9_AlignmentB

Decision time: Point UP? (top photo) or Wedge UP?

Circles9_loosening seam allow

Before attaching the circle, make sure you’ve popped out all your interior papers.  I leave in the outer wedges as it’s easier to appliqué the circle onto the backing with those outer papers in.  I take them out one by one, or you can just leave them all in until you cut away the backing, then pop them out.

Circles9_star pinned on

I decided Point UP.  I’ve pinned down the circle, and after hand appliquéing it on, I’ll cut 1/4″ away from the appliqué line, and cut off the backing to be used for another project.

EPP Circles Block 9_OPQuiltAnd there it is!  Another fabulous circle.

Nine Circles

And then there were nine.  I guess you could stop here, but I do have three more . . . see you next month?

Post-QuiltCon Musings

QuiltCon Buttons

This was QuiltCon 2015.

Girl w Pearl Earring Selfie

No, wait.  This was QuiltCon.

QuiltCon Selfies 2015What was interesting was meeting people that had been 2D to me, through correspondence and jpeg images, and having them become 3D persons.  I think that was my favorite part of QuiltCon, and as you know, the one keeping me up at night before I went.

As Leisa and I (lowerest left photo) walked into the Convention Center to register, the first person we met was Susan Katz from Southern California (photo just to the right of that).  Then in the lowerest right photo, I met TaosSunflower.  She was in line ahead of me and I put the description she’d given me in a 2D world together with the elegant, tall woman that I glimpsed, and asked her name.  We left Flatland together and smiled and hugged and talked.  I met her nearly every morning for breakfast, as she was staying in my hotel, and feel like I’ve deepened the friendship that we’d established through our correspondence.  It was she who asked me one morning if I was almost through my “Flat Stanley phase.”  I laughed out loud, for it was a perfect description of what I’d been doing.

The thing is that people whose books I’ve purchased, people I’ve been reading, people whose blogs I’ve commented on and whose bees I’ve joined were all so accessible.  I’d never ask Alex Anderson or Ricky Tims (two traditional quilters) for a dual selfie, but I walked right up to Malka Dubrawsky and Heather Ross and asked them for one. . . and they happily smiled and posed.

I met other 2D quilters, and we again left Flatland as we figured out that we read each other on blogs, or knew of each other on Istagram.

QuiltCon2

Here are Cindy (LiveaColorfulLife), Anne (SpringLeaf Studios), me and Leisa.

Quiltcon3

The two tall women in the back are Nicole (MamaLovesQuilts) and Ginny (Minnowpeck).  They are who I’d invited to lunch, along with the cute short quilter in the back, Christa (ChristaQuilts). I’d met Heidi (front left) in class on that first day, and I already knew Cindy (center).

QuiltCon4

That luncheon swelled to ten happy quilters.

QuiltCon5

And. . . this was QuiltCon.

I hadn’t seen many of the quilts from the 2013 version, and was curious at what was there, what was deemed to be “modern,” since no one really knows, or could seemingly articulate.  I was happily surprised.  I think we’ve all conquered the deconstructed Log Cabin or Square in a Square, as there were several of those, so it’s probably time to move on from that block.  And I glimpsed another faction within this faction, shown in the photo above, as the modern-traditionalists are on one side of the floor, and the modern-moderns are on the other.

I’ve been putting the photos of the quilts up on my Instagram (button to the right), blowing up my children’s feeds in the process, and still have quite a few to post.  But I wanted them up there for others who were in my position last time–so they could see the quilts that made it in.  To be truthful, there were a few I would pull out and put in some of those QuiltCon rejects.  (You know I’ll write about them in the days to come.)  But for the most part, I was happy to see such fine quilts of such high quality.

Sewing at CS BoothThis was QuiltCon.

This felt different than a “regular” quilt show, as there were many vendor booths with things to do, such as the Cotton and Steel Booth, above, where I sewed a patchworky square (okay–I confess–it was a wonky Log Cabin).  They also had many “Demos”: half hour (or shorter) talks from Famous Quilters.  Sometimes it was an out-and-out pitch for a product, but other times they talked about their process or their designs.

I enjoyed my classes, trying to find at least one thing that was new to me, and I really loved the lectures, proudly letting Bill Volkening know (he, of 1970s quilt-collection fame), that I made my first quilt in 1973, out of sheets, calicos and a poly-cotton blend solid.  I still have that quilt (and perhaps moderns would like to know that even though I pressed the seams to one side, all the seams are now flat flat flat after so many years).  I laughed and smiled through the Luke Haynes lecture (where someone really did ask him how often he changed his needle), and was fascinated by what Bill Kerr had to say about noticing details.

I met Claire, another digital pen-pal of mine and regretted terribly that I didn’t get a selfie of us together.  Next time, Claire.  Maybe even in Pasadena in 2016?

I realize that I may have participated in something that cannot ever be duplicated, as they are now splitting the convention into two geographical halves: Pasadena in 2016 and Savannah in 2017.  And I’m a bit saddened by that.  Austin is pretty darn perfect for this sort of thing, with good hotels with close proximity to the convention center, delicious food in the restaurants (we never ate the same place twice), terrific vendors  and superb lighting for all the quilts.  But it was the mix of quilters and Famous People who were happy to talk to you and visit with you that made it so enjoyable. I am looking forward to the West Coast version of QuiltCon in Pasadena, and maybe I’ll see more of you there.

Bring your buttons, and let’s trade.  Let’s leave Flatland together!

 

Sips and Gulps, Digital Style

I’ve been preparing for my unit on Digital Media and how it affects our critical thinking, as that’s my students’ next paper.  I’ve read a ton of articles, and read a lot about how relationships formed via the digital medium are different than those formed in person.

This has been on my mind because this week I’m headed to QuiltCon with my friend Leisa (our relationship formed in person).  I will be meeting lots of “digital” friends — not that THEY are digital — but that our friendships were formed in  bits and bytes of media exchanges, over Instagram, emails, blogs and Flickr.

Gulp

In one part of the excellent video above, Turkle recounts being asked if all these little “sips” of interaction ever added up to a big gulp?  She thought not.  This has gotten me thinking about how we conduct our quilt conversations over the internet.  I have some “sips” that have been converted into gulps. I talk often with Betty in Virginia, Cindy in Fresno, and Anne in Colorado and all were started by comments left on blogs, or by being together in an online group.  I have others I converse with less, but still we have made the jump to real time, and gotten past the awkward moments.  However the truth of it is that some sips can’t always convert to gulps.

I’ve put together a couple of meet-and-greets at QuiltCon.  The first one I organized gave me a stomachache for a day, as I was so nervous and scared about making that jump.  But we found a time to meet, to see each other, and I’ll just see what happens. It’s part of our culture, I think, that instead of names exchanged across a stamped-letter distance, creating a pen-pal relationship, we now form those loose ties over photos and quips and blogs and Facebook pages.  Whether or not these sips will translate into gulps remains to be seen, but I’m looking forward to seeing if they can.

Clutch Purse and Bee Block–Feb 2015

2015 MCM Block2 February

For February’s Mid-Century Modern Bee Block, Carla asked us to make the paper-pieced birthday cake found on the Ellison Lane blog.  If you decide to make this, note that the default printer settings are quite a bit smaller, so make sure your scaling is set to 100% when you go to print it out.  It went together really easily.  Carla’s going to have a whole quilt of layer cakes.

QuiltNight feb2015The Good Heart Quilters gathered together for our monthly get-together; it was held at Charlotte’s house (upper right) and we felt well feted by her hospitality.  Lisa (above left) wore her quilty socks, and finished up Diane’s Date Night Clutch.  We had others there, too, and we were all sewing on the Date Night Clutch, however, I got to hold Caitlin’s newborn baby so she could sew.  A good choice!

Date Night Clutch Purse_1

This is the version I made from Dianne’s pattern.  I had a box way up in the closet labeled “Japanese Fabrics,” and it held cloth purchased when I went to Japan and Shanghai China about fifteen years ago, a month after 9/11.  I had put up the fabric and pretty much forgotten about it, so when I decided to see what was in there, it was a lovely surprise.

Date Night Clutch Purse_2

Why did I only buy a half-yard of this amazing red/white cotton?

Date Night Clutch Purse_3

Diane has two different versions of her clutch and this one includes the inner pocket on one side, the insert that will hold credit cards and bills, and a small zipper pocket for small items (or change?)

Date Night Clutch Purse_4

Date Night Clutch Purse_5

I’m all ready for QuiltCon now, as I have a small useful clutch to tuck in the bigger tote bags we all carry around.

Grading Feb 2015And. . . I survived the grading of their first essay.  I could tell you stories, but I don’t want to upset you if you are eating.  I have one student that I’ve picked out as the One I Teach To.  He spent a year at Cornell University before decided that it wasn’t for him (he didn’t elaborate).  He’s always prepared for class, got an A on the essay, doesn’t fall asleep, and looks interested. . . like he values his education.  See why he’s the one I’m teaching to?  I generally like all my students, although Video Zombie Boy is getting on my nerves–turning in two paragraphs four days late and telling me it was his essay.  (Right.)  I’m leaving them all behind for a couple of days while I head to QuiltCon next week.  I remind myself of the student I was working with in conference about re-writes, and after we’d finished, she blurted out “I’m going to see Wicked next week and I can hardly sleep I’m so excited!”

Yep.  That’s me!

New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt Along

That title is a mouthful.  Did I get it all?

New Hexagon Book

Katja Marek, who wrote this book, is hosting Mother Hen to all of us as we work our way towards having a new version of a millefiore quilt, based on the blocks in her book.  Laurel and Rhonda and Cindy and about 1500 of my other closest friends are doing this.  It’s fun to see the rosettes pop up on Instagram and in my Google Images when I search for them for inspiration.

Millefiore Quilt Alonginspiration

I’d pulled these pages of a Morocan town out of the travel magazine, with all their aquas and moody blues, yellow-greens and dark blues as inspiration, then pulled a bunch of fabrics.

Basket of fabrics

For a long time they were pinned into my design wall, but then I needed the wall, so they now live in this basket.

Millefiore Quilt Along1

The very middle six triangles are the center, and here you see round one, of Rosette One.

Millefiore Quilt Along1a

Katja sends us an email every month, telling us about the next rosette.  I act like we’ve done this for years, but really we all started in January.  Well, people who weren’t trying to get a college English class up and going started January first, but the others of us began like, last week or so.  Here I’m plotting Round Two.

Millefiore Quilt Along2

Still plotting.  I ordered the templates from Paper Pieces, as suggested, mainly because my brain just couldn’t handle one more decision.  A good choice for me, but I know others are tracing them off.  Definitely do the glue stick thing when you attach your fabric to the paper pieces.  It’s brilliant.

Millefiore Rosette2

Tonight, as I watched The Muppet Movie (the most recent one with Tina Fey, who made me laugh), I finished off the third round of Rosette One.  I have one more round to go.  This thing is getting really big, so I decided to pop out the interior papers.

sliding out papers

I loosen the edges by sliding underneath them with my stiletto, and they pop right out.

Rosette Closeup2

Fun to be at this point.  Tomorrow, after I grade six more essays (I had a batch come in on Wednesday and I’m doing six-a-day until they are done), I’ll pull all those fabrics out of my basket and make a bigger mess in here (see photos below).

Goals 1stQtr2015

I also wrote up my goals for the quarter, conveniently skipping January because we all know what that month was like.  I can already see some holes in the quarter, like where are the Circle Blocks?  One a month?

Papers on ironing board

My horoscope, which I read faithfully and believe about 10% of the time, said I was spending too much time on things that would not matter in the long run.  This is one of those 10% times it actually coincided with what was going on in my real life.  Like lining up the readings for the next unit on the ironing board.  I sent eight more readings off to the printers today.  I have to get this unit ready because I’m headed to QuiltCon in about (wait, let me get my phone out of my pocket because QuiltCon has its own app that tells me how many days. . .)

QuiltCon App

Okay, this was a couple of days ago, but you get my drift.  They have thought of everything to make us freaked out, excited quilters.  It’s like it’s more than a Quilt Show…it’s a Life Changing Event.  I think of it as a way to party with quilters, and certainly these young’uns will be a different bunch than the usual staid quilters.  I knew this because one of the items in their scavenger hunt is to find someone whose tattoo I love.  Right.

Messy RoomOkay, so between the prepping, grading, planning and working on everything else, here is a Truthy Moment: the mess at my sewing desk.  I expect it will be clean, say, about July.

4-in-art_3button

I loved reading all your comments about our recent Four-in-Art quilts, and am slowly working my way through them.  Somehow the internet swallowed a few comments, so I have to go and find them.  I can see them on the website, but not in my email, where I usually answer them.  Thank you all for the lovely things you wrote.  I think we were energized by new members, the new yearly theme and the added bonus of choosing our own quarterly theme.  Now you know why I ordered my papers for my hexagon.  Way too many decisions!

Magnolias

P.S.  I think Spring is trying to happen out here!

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, a Four-in-art Quilt

4-in-art_3

StoppingbyWoods_front1

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
#1 in the Literature Series
Quilt #142

Moving a different direction, the Four-in-Art quilters have chosen a year-long theme of Literature for this current series, and within that, we each have chosen our own way to think about literature.  Some have chosen to focus in fiction or non-fiction or others have chosen children’s literature.  I have chosen poetry.

StoppingbyWoods_detail

Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” is one that I taught in my literature class at school, which gave me a chance to really research it, to hear a recording of him reading his work, to explore what others have thought about it.  Depression runs in our family, and many writers have commented about the intimation of suicide — the struggle over this — buried deep in the implied meaning in many of the lines.  Frost, of course, has denied that, but I think that while the writer may write the lines, it’s the readers who get to interpret what they see in the poem.  Time for you to see the poem:

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

In class we study the iambic tetrameter, the rhyme scheme, the internal rhymes and then focus in on those repeated lines.  When you watch Frost read his poem, the first line of that last stanza really comes through that the woods are dark and deep, although lovely, and then he raises his eyebrows, almost in a shrug, saying he has promises to keep, as if that prevents him from exploring the darker woods before him.  And many times our obligations do keep us on a certain track, keeping us from veering off into depression or getting lost in other ways.  When you have to put food on the table for your young family, you have fewer minutes to ruminate or cry or sit in the corner and stare out the window.

StoppingbyWoods_detail2

I think the first line, “And miles to go before I sleep,” might refer to the tasks we all face: the laundry, work, family and social obligations, that daily list of compiled chores that pile up before us.  I know I certainly had a week like that, and even though some were delightful obligations that brought great pleasure, there was no extra space on the calendar, no breathing room to stop and look at woods filling up with snow.

Perhaps that second repeated line refers to the longer view, past calendars, past busyness, past the To-Do list.  We all need purpose in our lives as it is the engine that drives us to get up and get dressed, to engage with the world and to lay out our days in ways that not only contribute to the lives of those around us, but more importantly, lets us focus on the miles both behind us and in front of us.  Frost’s genius lay in crafting the lines that cause us to reflect on the bigger picture.  His poem reminds us to pay attention to the journey of our lives, rather than than the mere detritus of our lives.

StoppingbyWoods_back

While some may think of the quilting as just a hobby, for me it has become part of my purpose in life: to explore and to create, to reach across the world or country and build friendships, like this small art quilt group.  Certainly I can outline the big ideals that inform my choices, but when traveling miles to bring a quilt to fruition, I take heart in Frost’s reminder to keep to the journey.

I like this new challenge for this year.  I’ve already chosen my poem for the next reveal, which is in May, and yes, all mine this year will have a seasonal theme.

Tiny Nine-Patch

Please take time to visit the other Four-in-Arters, who have also put up their Challenge Quilts today
(just bits and snips of their quilts are shown–be sure to see the full quilt at their sites):

Betty Lit1
Betty at a Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com
Katherine Lit1Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Elizabeth at opquilt.com (you are here)
Jennifer Lit1
Jennifer at her Flickr account
Nancy Lit1
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel Lit1
Simone Lit1Simone at Quiltalicious
Tiny Nine-Patch
PS: My blogging software places ads here so I can use this site for free.  I do not control the content of these ads.

Circles Block #8, EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circles Block 8_OPQuilt1

This is Circles Block #8 of my EPP Circles Block Sew-A-Long.

CirclesIt all started way up there on the really tall archway in the church in Ljubljana, Slovenia where I first spotted this lovely circle.

Circles Block_Ljubljana I just had to have it.  And my sweet husband helped me out by giving me Electric Quilt 7 for Christmas–the version that works on a Macinstosh.

Circle 8 block_EQ drawn

I got to work and failed miserably.  Then I got back to work and learned a few more things, and a few more things after that and above is the result. Since I have a lot of experience on QuiltPro (which I still use) I didn’t find it hard to figure things out, Googling for specific instructions when I became stuck.  I went on to design all the rest of the circles, completing the set of twelve, but you’ll have to wait for them, as I haven’t stitched them up and I like to do that before giving you the patterns.

You’ll notice a difference in this pattern: no hand-drawn designs.  But Please: do attribute the source of this to Elizabeth at OccasionalPiece-Quilt  (or OPQuilt.com) and do not print off copies for your mother or your friends.  Please direct them here to get their free copies.  Many thanks.  Here’s the pattern in a PDF file for you to download:EPP #8_OPQuilt  Print three copies of this page, then cut them out.  Sometimes I’ll staple them together and then cut them out, but they do shift slightly, if that bothers you.

Printer Settings #8

Remember to set your printer to 100% scale; everyone’s is different — I can only show you mine.

Circles Block 8_pattern fits onto circle

I must admit to being a bit nervous about this new process, so I drew up a circle and then tried to fit the pieces into it, making sure that they were all the same size as the other circles.

Circle Blockk 8_New EQ patternAnd then I didn’t like how the pattern looked, so I went and redrew it (you have the latest version).

Color Variation 2_OPQuilt

Remembering the nightmare of trying to get all those points to fit into the center on a previous block, I added a small circle, and changed the pattern to the one you have now:

Circle Block 8_cutting out pattern

For this project, I use 24 lb. paper, a bit heavier than the usual copy paper, which can either be 18-lb. or 20-lb.  Yes, I am a stationary/paper nerd, too.

Circle Block 8_layout of fabric

Laying out the fabrics. This was the easiest one yet.

Circle Block 8_small points trick

I also used the technique of seaming together my two fabrics, then cutting out the pattern piece, lining up the center lines.  I’m not a purist–I don’t need everything to be hand-sewn and doing this step this way will make your circle more accurate and save you a lot of headache.

Circle Block 8_trimming sa

Trim out the seam allowances at the tip.

Circle Block 8_layout of pieces

I sometimes get confused whether the pieces should go printed side up, or printed side down, so my usual recommendation is if they are bi-directional — meaning it doesn’t matter — then it doesn’t matter.  But if you need your yellow on one side and your gold on the other and you don’t want to have to figure it out, then put the printed side down, for that’s how you see it.

Circle Block 8_using a glue stick

I tried a new-to-me technique this time: glueing down the seam allowances.  I had purchased the narrow glue stick for the The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt Along and thought it was time to learn a few new tricks.

Circle Block 8_glue tecnique

I’d read that it was not a good idea to go all the way to the edge of the paper when glueing, that it was better to leave a small bit unglued.  Then I just smoothed the seam allowance up over the glue.  It was easier to keep the pieces centered (sometimes I put a dot of glue on the piece before putting it down, but not always) and I love how they look.  (And it saves time and energy!)

Circle Block 8_pieces all glued laid out

I laid out all the pieces and I liked what I saw.  With the glue stick, I wasn’t too worried about re-doing any pieces as it was so quick and easy.

Circle Block 8_beginning piecing

I first sewed the gold/yellow together, then added the blue diamondish-square (I call it a square, but it is slightly wonky).

Circle Block 8_middle of piecing

Then I added two blue sections to that one, then started joining them all together.

Circle Block 8_interim piecing

Sometimes there is some interesting bends that go on while working.  Every once in a while a seam allowance would work itself loose from the paper but I treated it like an envelope: I licked the paper and stuck back the seam allowance.

Circle Block 8_interim2 piecing

Circle Block 8_interim3 piecing

I was watching Gravity with Sandra Bullock with my husband while I worked on this.  I love having handwork to do an night while we watch movies.  Or Downton Abbey.

Circles Block 8_back with papers

Ah.  The best sight in EPP-land: all the papers on the pieces, from the back.

Circle Block 8_papers popping out

Time for the $64,000 question: can you get the glued papers off the circle block? Yes. Here you can see they are starting to pop off already.

In my new project, I am now working with the card stock versions of the papers for the Millefiore quilt and I’m sure the answer is the same, but they do seem to stick more to the rougher surface of the card stock, with no papers trying to escape, like mine are, above.

Circle Block 8_detail center circle

I like to appliqué on my center circle as I think it is a cleaner business (shown here from the back).  I use really teeny stitches and stitch length, putting way more stitches in there than I do for regular appliqué, as it stabilizes the whole block and anchors the center.

Circle Block 8_detail background

As usual for these blocks, cut a 14 1/2″ square, fold it into fourths and press lightly so the creases can serve as registration marks for centering your circle.  Here’s your choice: point at the 12 o’clock mark. . .

IMG_4418

IMG_4417

. . . or not?  Try them back and forth until you settle on one.  There is no wrong or right — just what is best for your block.

Circles Block 8_EPP_OPQuilt

The block looks more relaxed with all those papers out.  I loved fussy-cutting the X in the aqua, and love-love-love this circle.

EPP 8 Circle Blocks_OPQuilt

So here they all are–aren’t they fine looking?  I’m posting this a bit early because of the February 1st reveal date for our Four-in-Art quilts.  Come back then to see a lovely array of art quilts using the theme of Literature.

4-in-art_3button

Until next month, happy EPP-ing! If you finish any of your circles, send them over and I’ll do a post.

Circles Block 8_OPQuilt1

 

A Lovely Time at Road to California 2015

St Nick and Me

This was my big weekend at Road to California where I got to see three of my quilts hanging at the Road to California quilt show.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  Above, St. Nicholas and I are whooping it up.

St Nick Hanging

When I wasn’t there checking on him, he hung out with two other really cool Christmas quilts.

Sol Lewitt and Me

Here I am with Sol Lewitt, who so graciously provided an idea for me to work with in cloth.

Sol Lewitt hanging

He was tucked into a corner among the Modern Quilts — a lovely home.

Lollies and Me

After seven tries the nice lady who took my photo finally got it.  Here I am, coaching her from behind my plastered on smile, “The white button on the screen. . . the white button on the screen.”

Lollies hanging

All those Lollypop Trees were on a side aisle, which was consistently busy.  I had many nice conversations with people who stopped by when I was standing there.  One pair of women had made the St. Nicholas quilt, asked me who my quilter was.  “Me!” I said.  “Then that’s the difference,” one said.  “I sent mine out for an edge-to-edge long arm quilting design and it just doesn’t look as good.”  We had a nice conversation about the lovely green and white blocks from all my Mid-Century Modern Bee Mates.

Good Heart Quilters Road 2015I went Thursday, Friday and Friday night all my local quilting group — the Good Heart Quilters — came to a Road Potluck at my house.  After we finished, we sat around the table chatting, trading stories and enjoying each other’s company.  We had some hard news: one of our members starts chemo next month for her newly discovered cancer and I was quite touched by the offers of help that came willingly, to assist her in any way she needed.  I sat and listened, looked at these beautiful women and felt incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful quilting friends.  They have cheered me on, and celebrated my successes.  I can’t imagine my life without them.

I’ve put a TON of photos up on Instagram, if you want to click over there on the right on the icon and scroll through them.  I hope to get some more up in a week or so, but first, I need to address the upcoming Four-in-Art challenge and get that going.  The deadline is in about a week!

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January’s Odds-N-Ends

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One of the Christmas gifts I gave was a Snap Bag, which uses lengths of metal measuring tape to keep it closed.  I had wanted to try these snap bags forever, so I bought a cheap-o metal tape measure in 3/4″ size (and also one in 1/2″ size) and went to town.  It was really fun.  One tutorial that I looked at was from Wilma’s World.  But I tended to follow was Paulett’s at Sweet P Quilting and Creations, as she had placed batting in hers.

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The one that that I found confusing was how to place the measuring tape.  So here it the answer: like this: ) (  with the curvy sides towards each other.  [NOT like this: ( )]

UPDATE: I was referred to the Gourmet Quilter’s video where she places the tape exactly opposite.  Before trying to decide I’d read probably 20 tutorials on the web and watched a couple of videos and had tried to decipher it from that.  Rose Smith has a video where she places it exactly opposite (like I’d done).  However, I like how the one I made fits together, so I give up!  Maybe it doesn’t matter which way you place it.

I put the little tabs there to help pull it open, but really, that measuring tape made it pretty hard to get open, so I just used my fingers.  I wouldn’t use the 3/4″ tape on anything smaller than a finished size of 6″ by 9″ or thereabouts.  Use the narrower 1/2″ tape.  I expected it to be hard to cut with my old scissors from the kitchen drawer, but really it cuts easily, so I don’t think you need tin snips or anything heavy duty.  DO use the tape on the ends (I used duct tape) to protect it from poking through.

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This past summer my husband and I did some traveling to Croatia and we picked up a ton of postcards from the Naive Art Museum in Zagreb, Slovenia.  He kept talking about trying to find a way to display them, so for Christmas I made him this bulletin board.

I went to my local hardware store and asked for “acoustic ceiling tiles,” when come as a unit of two.  I cut it in half so I’d have two squares.  How did I cut them?  The man who helped me recommended a steak knife with serrated edges, but I found a linoleum blade on our work bench (it’s kind of like a Pirate’s Chest out there–you’ll never know what treasures you’ll find) and made that work.  After cutting I sanded the edges to smooth out any bumps from the cutting, then hid one behind the laundry room shelves in case I needed to make him another (in case he didn’t like the fabric I chose).

IMG_1452I placed the ceiling tile face down on some batting, then tacked that in four places to keep it on.  My husband’s favorite color is blue, and all the postcards had a bluey color in them (wonder why?) so I chose this muted leaf print.  Really, the limiting factor was the colors of ribbon at JoAnn’s.  You think it wouldn’t be that hard to go and get a couple of spools of ribbon, but those of you who have to shop there know it’s an Eye-Rolling Experience at best.

I had ironed the heck out of my fabric so it was flat flat flat, and then I began the process of stapling it down.  I cut the batting out of the corners, then carefully folded and stapled the fabric down, trying to create the flattest corners I could.

I criss-crossed the ribbons at even intervals, stapling them down as I went.  At the hardware store I had purchased some furniture tacks (or brads) and hammered them in where the ribbons crossed.  On Christmas morning, I don’t think he was all that crazy about the color/fabric choices I’d made, so I showed him the extra and said when he decided what he really wanted, I’d make him another one.  Within a week, he’d propped this up against the wall in his study, the postcards artfully arranged (better than I’d done, above).  Within another week, it was propped up on his chest of drawers in our bathroom, where I thought it might go.  He and I talk about it often, so I’m guessing it’s a keeper!

New Classroom

For those of you who are following the saga of my classroom, here is the new one.  It’s dimmer than this photo shows, and is complete with a “stage” where I stand and blather on about Critical Thinking.  It’s a step up from the old one, but still not as great as a regular classroom.  And I had NINE students add on Wednesday.  Nine.  Where were all these students when everyone was registering before the semester started?

Pineapple SpearsAfter Brenda commented on eating pineapple spears (last post about my pineapple quilt–I’ve got to get a name for that one), I found myself wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s, looking for pineapple spears.  Now if it would only help me finish that quilt.

Button for QuiltShowsI’m going to QuiltCon in a month (a MONTH!!) and I’d read about people and their buttons.  So I worked up this incredibly ornate design with my magnificent Photoshop skills (*cough*) and sent it off to WackyButtons.com to make me some cute little one-inch buttons to trade.  When I get them, I’ll figure out some giveaway so you can win one.  In the meantime, I’m finishing up my next Circles Block post (which will be early) and hoping to finish up my still-to-be-started Four-in-Art quilt, although I do have a sketch.  That’s progress!

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Four-in-Art Art Quilt Group, with reveal coming on February 1st

Limping Along, Pineapple-Style

Pineapple Quilt Before

Take 1 (really it’s about Take 23).  While it’s fun to look at, I think it looks like I stuck the quilt in a light socket or something.  The petal/leaf things are like right on top of the pineapples and those tropical fruits need some breathing room.  But I’m loathe to mess with those borders, so I try something different.

Falling Pineapple Leaves

What if I organized the leaves by color: cool in the middle, warm on the outside?  Still not liking it.  This is a Truth-in-Advertising shot, showing how I load up the edges of my pin wall with related and unrelated junk.  Can’t help myself.

Pineapple quilt Borders Flipped

Leaves off.  Flip borders, so narrower light part (next to the green vine) is out and wider is next to the pineapples.

Pineapple Borders

More borders cut and sewn on.  I’m constructing the borders separately from the pineapple centers.  I made the fatal error of hand-appliquing on the vine.  I wanted to see what would happen if it were sewn down–it was really puckering before (it’s fine now).  But does that mean I have to hand appliqué all those sprightly leaves onto the thing?  (AAAAGH!)

Pineapple Quilt leaves

Poking the leaves/petals/whatever back on.  Trying to adjust for balance in size, number and color.  I feel obsessive.

PIneapple Quilt in Process Jan12

I think I’m pretty much there with the arrangement.  By flipping the borders, it gave the flowers more room, so they are not crowding the pineapple blocks anymore.  I’ll trim down the outer borders, but just that little bit gave the design some breathing room.

Classroom Corner A

I started back to school on Monday.  This is Corner A of my classroom, a windowless affair with a high distraction rating.  The computer is behind that roll top desk, next to the TV with the dinosaur.  Doesn’t every college classroom have a dinosaur?

Classroom Corner B

This is Classroom Corner B, with split personality model.  We are in the Respiratory Therapy classroom.  As Rachel noted on Instagram: “At least she’s wearing a shirt.”  Yep.

Chocolate from Around the WorldSo when I got home, even before we’d had dinner, I’d eaten most of Tanzania.  This lovely little box of chocolate is from Trader Joe’s and was a stocking stuffer gift from my husband.  They only carry this at Christmas, so I feel lucky to have it just for such emergencies as this.  Sao Tome may be gone after my next class.  I’m thinking I might have to take it with me and put it in the car, to have it as I drive home through the LA bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Yes, I might.