Neonatal/Preemie Quilts with a Free Pattern

Neonatal Preemie Quilt

The Riverside Raincross Quilt Guild, to which I belong, has many community service projects, one of which is their making and donating neonatal, or preemie, quilts to the County hospital’s NICU.  I sat across from Mary last guild meeting, as she patted the stack of little quilts, and told us the story about how her friend, who is a nurse, lays them all around the layettes when she gets a new stack from us, and how she loves looking at them.  All those little quilts made with love.

Neonatal Preemie Quilt_1

They are 30″ square, lightly quilted (at least all the ones in the stack were, for that makes them more huggable and drapable).  I had some fabric I’d ordered last year that I wasn’t that fond of (the hazards of online-ordering, although the fabric itself was very popular and cute and I thought it would be good for a boy), plus I had a block I wanted to try out, which first surfaced in the 1940s.  Here is a PDF pattern for that block, a 15″ square Twin Darts: Twin Dart 15%22 block.  (Click on the link to download.) Make sure your printer settings are set to 100% and it should come out okay.  You’ll be making four large blocks.

It’s an easy pattern, but there are a lot of bias edges, so my advice (in hindsight) would be to give them a good shot of spray starch before piecing.  All the quilts are pre-washed before they go to the babies, so it will be washed out.

Then I wanted to try a Pillowcase Binding.  I liked Susan B. Katz’s excellent tutorial, found *here.*

But I ended up going the tutorial from Rita, of Red Pepper Quilts (found *here*), as it was not for an art quilt (which Susan’s is) and yes, I did baste the quilt top to the batting in a couple of places before sandwiching them all together, then turning.

I then top-stitched around all the outside edges to close up the opening, then quilted around all the arrows (or darts) and other main seams.  Done!  I have another one in the works, which I’ll post about, too, as well as give you the free pattern.  I put this up on Instagram, and many people had the same response I did–a good way to winnow down the stash as well as doing good.

While looking through the web for guidelines about batting (apparently polyester or cotton, no wool), I found this document and modified it to post here: neonatal_quilt_guide  Please check with your local guild as to size and other requirements, as they are obtained from your local hospitals.

New Hexagon Millefiore– Rosette #2 Started

Rosette #2 Starts

Well, I’ve started Rosette #2 of The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-A-Long, originated by Katja Marek.  We even have our own Facebook Group (link is also on Katja’s page), and now I’ve found something I can post there, having stopped putting anything personal on Facebook once one of my very scary students found me (getting past all the privacy controls, because we all know how Facebook loves to play with our privacy controls!).  Now there are nearly 3,000 people on this group, and I think a lot of them are actually doing this, not just Looky-Loos.

Plitvice2b_view up the valley

Plitvice3_two toned again

I’m basing the colors in this quilt on our trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, where we traveled last year.  The colors range from the greens and yellow-greens to the blues and indigos.

Plitvice2_green lake

There was also aqua, and turquoise.  It was a beautiful place, and we loved hiking throughout all the lakes and waterfalls one afternoon.

Plitvice ESE

Oh, and white and sound and green and water and trees and browns and rocks and everything.  What a place!  I had a hard time with that second round, trying out multiple bits of cloth where the yellow with dots ended up.  It just needed a lift, a happy spot that wasn’t too ornate or over-done with pattern.  Sometimes the eye needs a rest.  Even if I am making a quilt based on Plitvice.

Plitvice13c_lakeview

Rosette 1 on fence

So this was Rosette #1, where I went for the blues.

Rosette #2 Starts

Okay, one more time for the beginning of this green/yellow-green rosette.  I’m thinking violets/blue-violet/indigo for the next.  It took me a while to get going on this again, as I actually had to do some housework, and some cooking, and some grading.

Circles EPP Button

Then there was finishing up the circle block for the April 1st post–it’s our tenth! and I loved making it.  I moaned mentioned to my sister that I hadn’t been very productive lately in the quilt department as I wanted to be, and yet I realize that these hand-pieced quilt blocks do take some time in the designing, and making.  So I guess I haven’t been a total slacker, but there are days that I would like to clone myself, and knew which part of my life I’d be doing, while the poor clone would be stuck with a mop or a grading pen.  Oh, and I’d also be reading blogs, to see what you are all up to!

Flower Spring 2015

It’s been a lovely week of Spring Break here, and the weather is a bit too warm for March but the wonderful side effect is loads of flowers on all our bushes and trees, so that made me want to work in rosettes again, too.  School starts again Monday, then a stack of papers comes in a week later.  Where’s that clone, now I need it?

Prints Charming and QuiltCon

Michael Levine's stripes I admit it–I was in two fabric stores today: Michael Levine’s in Los Angeles (where they had 10% off all quilt fabric) and Sew Modern (always a treat to visit).  I went to Los Angeles as part of my week-long This-Will-Matter-Spring-Break experience, which also means I’m trying to avoid cleaning out the garage, or other household chores, but I did love Lily van der Stoker’s take on housework, seen at the Hammer Museum at UCLA: Lily van der Stoker Charles Gaines I’d gone to see Charles Gaines’ work, as he’s all about the grid, but the pieces I really wanted to see were in an area of the gallery that was roped off because of maintenance (which made me a bit crazy).  Above is a schematic of fallen leaves off a tree (you can see the branches in the background), but it’s something you just have to see–I can’t explain it.  And then I topped that all off with four hours of LA traffic (Motto: You Aren’t in a Hurry, Are You?) and a fun night at my local quilt guild. And all around was pattern.  The stack of fabrics I bought were prints.  The art I saw in the gallery was based on the grid and time and three-dimensions and it was all this idea of marks on paper, on photographs. . . no blank space unless it was part of the idea of his work.  But the filled–in little squares defined those blank spaces. QuiltCon Solids Now look at this.  This is predominantly what I saw at Quiltcon: solids.  Yes, chopped up, sliced, diced and pickled, but all solids (kidding about the pickled part).  Over and over.  And straight lines.  Over and over.  Don’t get me wrong–I really enjoyed the show, only tiring of the square-in-a-square or rectangle-in-a-rectangle when I saw it too often (time to move on now, peoples). Where were the prints?  There’s been a healthy discussion going on on Instagram (just click on the button on the right to be taken to my feed, where you’ll also find the names of the makers of the following quilts) about what happened to the prints? AlisonGlass_QuiltCon I was a total fan-girl for Alison Glass and her prints. AlisonGlass_QuiltCon2 Heather Ross Selfie And here is Heather Ross, she of print fabrics fame, agreeing to a selfie with me (yes, I’m a fangirl there, too).  But I did find some prints, and I thought I’d show you them.  Notice also how many straight lines there are.  Yes, there seems to be a bias against curved seams, with a few notable exceptions (Leanne Chahley’s fine work comes to mind), but here’s a few quilts that had print fabrics: QuiltCon_1 QuiltCon_2 This was a small quilt–maybe 24″? QuiltCon_3 QuiltCon_4 Lee Heinrich also does excellent work with prints, making them modern by her treatment of them through repetition and color-shifting. QuiltCon_5 When there were prints, they were more like this one, where the print “read” as a solid, disappearing. QuiltCon_6 Caught in the QuiltCon wild: a quilt with prints AND curves. QuiltCon_7 And another, with detail shown below. The prints aren’t try to disappear, they are there in all their patterned glory. QuiltCon_7a QuiltCon_8 Here’s another great use of prints, by the talented duo of Lora Douglas (piecing) and my friend Linda Hungerford (quilting).  Again, click on Instagram and scroll through the photos, then click to see the captions, where I identify all these quilts and their makers (offending several in my family with my quilt-heavy feed–cue eyeroll). QuiltCon_9 Final print-prominent quilt of QuiltCon for this grouping.  Like I said, the majority of quilts were solids, pieced and quilted in straight lines.  Glorious, but there is obviously a bias.  Now take a look at what WE, the QuiltCon attendees were wearing: Brightly Colored Tote A mix of solids and prints. CharlieHarper backpack Charlie Harper on a backpack. Show Attendees Her scarf? Print.  His body?  Print. Storybook GirlI wish I’d had the guts to ask Storybook Lass for a photo showing the front of this dress.   And here was a quilt by Windham Fabrics, a manufacturer: WindhamFabrics Chairs Stitching Jessica And the lovely young woman who sat manning the Sit and Sew Booth, with a lot of fun PRINT fabrics (her creation after sitting there for four days). Malka Dubrawsky Malka Dubrawsky, who has wonderful bold prints (yes, I was shameless in asking for selfless), as well as Vanessa Christensen (below) of V and Co. with lots of fabulous prints in her line of fabrics (although she is showing a solids quilt example for our class). Vanessa Christensen In talking with the saleslady at Sew Modern today, she saw some of the same thing (as she cut my yardage of. . . what else. . . prints), but here’s hoping that the Modern Quilt movement will start to branch out as the skill level grows of these quilters, finding ways to incorporate print into their modern version.  Next show is in a year, in Pasadena.  Stay tuned. Giveaway BannerI was totally impressed with all the things you readers have been doing, from cleaning out cupboards, to fixing computers to making blankets and quilts. Since today is March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, I chose the 17th commenter for one prize, then did a double-algorhymic interpolation to pick the second winner.  Just kidding, I picked the first person who wrote, because Vanessa Christensen was the giving away tons of cool stuff in her class, but I was number 1 and NEVER got picked.  Ever.  So I thought that our Number One should win something.  Congratulations–I’ll send you an email to get your mailing addresses.

Winner #1Winner #2

Sampler Quilt Top & Rosette #1 Finished

Rosette 1_OPQuiltcom I’m slowly making my way through the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-Along, and have finally finished Rosette #1. Rosette 1_OPQuiltcom_detail Rosette 1 on fence Because of the deep colors, it’s a bit harder to photograph than I’d thought, but here it’s tacked up on my fence, in the daylight.  I’ve got the template ready for the next partial rosette, but will get to it a bit later, as there are some projects in the line-up ahead of it. Wall of Blocks This was the beginning of my Mid-Century Modern Bee Sampler, with all the blocks from my bee mates, plus a a couple I’d sewn together. Not Working was what I called it over the last few days.  Definitely Not Working at all.  I kept in all the bits and pieces of extras they’d given me, then I’d take them out.  I’d move them around some more; this quilt was more challenging than I’d thought! The last post talked about the basket block, but I pulled out a vintage quilt block book I’d purchased at a garage sale, to find another. Vintage Book Road to California Block Four blocks of Road to California it is, as all my mates had to send blocks to California. Sampler Quilt 2015 Finally it came together and I declared the top done.  I sewed all the pieces together while I listened to the next book in my Inspector Gamache series: Brutal Telling Gamache Sampler Quilt Backing Today I used the bits and pieces my bee mates had sent on the back and got it ready to go to the quilter’s.  It’s the first one headed over there since October of 2014.  How had it been so long?  Teaching had taken a lot out of me, and I left room for church service, teaching Sunday School, going to QuiltCon, and my family: PeterMeganMove2015 My son, Peter and his wife, Megan moved back to California from Betheseda, MD.  They did the cross country trip in 3 1/2 days.  You can tell they are young. Clearing Garden SPR 15 And I left some time to clear the garden, with a few cabbages, Swiss Chard and Brussels sprouts left. Cleared GardenWe planted seven different kinds of tomatoes, but are waiting for the weather to stop being so hot and dry before continuing.  My lettuce isn’t going to be happy this weekend that California has skipped winter, skipped spring and gone right to summer. quilted toteBut this cute tote and fabulous card arrived today as if to celebrate with me that I’d finally finished up.  Rachel, of The Life of Riley, sent them over as a little gift.  Her timing is impeccable! Giveaway Banner And so, to continue the celebration, I have a little giveaway.   I actually have two: Quilting Book The first is this little book of Quilting Techniques.  I’ve actually enjoyed looking through it, as I picked it up at a recent quilt show. Quilting Book pages Flip Flop GiveawayAnd since California thinks it’s summer, it must be time to spruce up those toes with a weensy cute pedicure set in a flip-flop case, a Passive-Agressive notepad (in honor of our freeways) and a wee pair of Itty Bitty Scissors, for those summer trips you are planning.  I’ll pick two winners.  Just leave me a note telling me your latest success and somehow I’ll randomly draw a name and send off these gifts.   International is okay, but I’ll just send one overseas (the other one is domestic).  I’ll let you know the winner in the next post.  Giveaway will close Tuesday evening, SoCal time.

Patchwork Blocks and Ennui

Basket Quilt Block

In a recent email exchange with my father, he mentioned the idea of ennui.  It’s not quite boredom, nor fatigue.  It is more of a lack of interest in what lays before you, a dis-interest, if you will.  The dictionary goes one step further: “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest.”  We quilters often describe it as “lack of sewjo,” playing off that phrase of “lost my mojo,” which after reading about in Wikipedia, all I can say is I had no idea.

Essay 2 Grading

Of course, having a stack of grading doesn’t help the ennui, but with the students dropping like flies (long story) I had fewer to grade and they actually performed really well, so it went quickly.  (Bad essays take longer to grade.)

Grandsons

And this lovely distraction also came for a couple of days while the family was moving between houses.

Block part 4

But as Susan of PatchworknPlay and I chatted on Instagram, I noted that sometimes just sewing a block or two can help beat the ennui.  Here’s a new one from the ever-talented Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company, from her latest magazine BLOCK.

Block Magazines

I get these every couple of months as I signed up for the subscription and I always enjoy reading them.  At QuiltCon they gave us all a copy of MODBLOCK in our swag bags.

Disappearing Hourglass

Here’s how you cut it.  She has the measurements in her magazine.  But when I posted it on IG, Krista of Poppyprint mentioned that at their guild sew day, lots of quilters were making the same thing into a star block.  I found that tutorial online *here.*

More Bird Blocks

Bird blocks which can be maddening, but also fun, once you get the hang of it.  I’m using a tutorial for “free-form” birds from my friend Rhonda, which she gave out to her class.  There’s also a tutorial online, which is much more orderly, and if you are into the cookie-cutter precision of paper-piecing, there’s also one of those.

Basket Quilt Block

The last block I made last night, while listening to my latest Inspector Gamache mystery, was this basket block, also shown at the top of the post.  It was late and I was tired, knowing that I’d lose an extra hour of sleep due to the dreaded Daylight Savings Time switch (I need to live in Arizona where they never switch). I found *this tutorial* and modified it the measurements I needed, plus used extra leaves from the Pineapple Blocks quilt border (yes, still working on that) to fill the basket.  I needed the block to measure 9″ finished.  One detail is those lower snowball corner on the basket: they were 2″ squares that I snowballed on.  The rest was done by cutting as I went, loosely following the tutorial.

All PatchesThis is why I’m making blocks to beat ennui.  My Mid-Century Modern beemates sent me a whole wall of blocks in January, and I’ve been adding to them, having no plan, but only relaxing fun.  I added the Disappearing Hourglass, the Dresden Plate, the basket, the birds and a couple of fillers. I’m still playing, still arranging.  Happily, the ennui is slipping away.

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!

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!