Creative Housekeeping

creativehousekeeping-blog

I read Grant Snider faithfully, as he is an artist who often captures the frustrations I feel in my creative world (while trying to juggle that OTHER world of job, laundry, etc.).  I thought his Creative Housekeeping a perfect illustration of some of the frustration I feel as I look around my house (and garden) and sigh, then immediately get back to the sewing machine.

I wrote to him and he gave me permission to post this here for all of you.  For more inspiration, visit his blog Incidental Comics, or head over to his poster shop and buy a poster to hang on your wall.  I especially love the Treehouse of Adulthood.

Yeah, okay.  I’m a total fan, but I thought you’d like seeing his Creative Housekeeping, especially in summer.  (He just needs a quilter in that last frame.)

Deep Summer

In deep summer, everything moves a little slower because of the heat.  The sewing slows down because we’re at the beach, or watching Endeavor on the television, or just lazily talking after dinner on the patio.  The dusk deepens, and we realize we’ve talked the evening away as we flip on the overhead twinkle lights and talk some more, maybe eating an ice cream bar.  Or something else cold and slippery and refreshing like a tall lemonade.

Backside Hills on EPP3

So I sip some lemonade while fighting the urge to take the scissors and whack off this veritable mountain of seams on the backside of Circles Block #2, which I’m currently working on.  I’ve made this section twice, and have now realized we need a Design Change.  It will work fine, but in Deep Summer, it’s best not to be thinking too hard.

BAckside of Large Circles Block#3

I finished the block this morning (this is the backside–full reveal the first week of August), went to add the background corners and realized I’d drawn the whole shebang one inch too large all the way around.  I slumped into my chair–it’s really too hot to do anything else, right?  Then after slumping for a while, I got up and redrew parts of it to make it conform to what we have going on so far in Circles Block #1 and #2.  I’m NOT remaking that center section, though, having already sewn it twice.  It will all be correct when I finally post it, and tested.

Retreat Ladies 2014

We had our annual Good Heart Quilters Retreat at Lisa’s house, and were joined by her two sisters-in-law, who traveled down from the Mountain West to join us.  This is just the first batch of quilters in the moring–more came and by evening, when the fudgy brownies came out of the oven, there were many more.

Jean and her quilt July 2014Jean was a phenom, getting several quilt tops to the finished stage so she can quilt them on her machine.  Others quilters were just as industrious, but I was head-down-fingers-stitching on the Circles Block and forgot to take photos.

4-in-art_3

I also finished my Four-in-Art quilt, but that reveal is not until August 1st, so check back then.  I really like this one and tried a new technique of printing on fabric.  I’ll share the quilt and all the “deconstruction” details next week.

And in Deep Summer maybe something we ought to do is read a poem or two, while sitting outside under the twinkle lights on the patio downing the last of the frozen peanut butter cookies — a poem like this one, by Susan Hutton, found *here.*

Falling Through

My neighbor, perched high on a ladder
one weekend afternoon,
trimmed the wrong branch and sent himself
slowly wheeling through the sky.
He curved through the air as smoothly
as if he’d been drawn with a compass,
a graceful inflection discordantly accompanied
by crepitating branches and breathy leaves,
and landed in a lush, bent sapling.
To call it beautiful misses the point.
To say he stood and walked away unharmed
is true. For fifteen years I’ve remembered that shape,
its pace, but it’s the moment when he understood
it would happen that I return to: that fear,
and whether he resisted it or surrendered.
How often it happens that we step, half-consideringly
into the impersonal forces at work,
unable to pull ourselves back.
The tread of the stair beneath our feet
the appalling speed of our own blood.
The fifty years of our working lives limit our thoughts
as the pyramids’ size was ultimately determined
by what they could build within the pharaoh’s life.
The arctic whale moves through the water
with a century-old, ivory spearhead buried in its flesh.
My son was born early, before his body had developed
the reflex to suck. He spent his first two weeks alive
covered in wires and tubes amid loud, beeping machines.
I did not know him yet, in the lasting way,
but I saw he had my grandfather’s face.
And oh I was afraid. And we moved through it.
SUSAN HUTTON
Michigan Quarterly Review
Spring 2014

 

summer_time_b+w

Pineapple Quilt Block (for Bee-mates)

Queen Bee

As my friend Susan of Patchworknplay says, I’m Queen Bee.  I wrote this post as I had both my bees,  the Always Bee Learning Bee (August) and the Mid-Century Modern Bee (November), make this block for me.

Pineapple Block August ABL

When thinking about what I wanted, I thought I’d try a Pineapple Quilt Block, but use a paper foundation piecing technique to keep everything true and accurate during the process.  This is an 8″ block when finished (8 1/2″ when you finish your block for me), and I’m using solid fabrics coupled with small print fabrics with a WHITE background — no grey, no tan, no beiges, just white.  In this bee we also mail out fabrics, and some of my bee-mates have already received theirs; I mailed them out early because of traveling and family visits in the last half of July.  Idid this as well in November for the Mid-Century Modern Bee, but for that bee we typically don’t mail fabrics, but simply provide descriptions and examples.  **NOTE: If you feel you have too many of the same prints, feel free to substitute in any from your stash, as long as the print background is bright white, and the figures are small rainbow-colored designs.  Ditto for the substituting the solids. I tried to distribute them randomly, but you know how things go.**

I’ve written up some step-by-step directions (below) but I got the paper foundation from Generations Quilt Patterns, another website with a really good tutorial on Pineapple Blocks. (They have a discussion of setting the blocks on this page.)  Their ideas and explanations are top-notch, so if you find my step-by-step confusing, feel free to step over to that site and take a look.  If you want the pattern, head over *here* and download the 8″ size of the Pineapple Quilt Block.

Cutting Chart Pineapple(Chart modified from Generations Quilt Patterns.  Used with permission.)

Using the diagram above, which is modified from Generations Quilt Patterns *here* cut your pieces to size, keeping track of which is which (solids vs. light bright prints). I cut all my strips 1 and a 1/2″ wide as I didn’t ever want to have to mess with unpicking if it went on slightly skewed.  (NOTE: for the outer corners (#38-41), sometimes I just cut a 3″ piece of fabric by 6″ piece of fabric.  I know the corner will be on the bias that way, but that’s okay with me.)

5_ Pieces Lined Up

Here they are, all cut out and ready to go (I am doing multiple blocks, so don’t get confused by what you see above).

Step One

1_Center Square affixed

Using a glue stick, dab a small amount of glue on the small square and glue it to the back (unprinted side) of your paper foundation chart.

Step Two

2_Beginning of First Row

One by one, align, then sew on the first set of print strips, using a 1/4″ seam.

3_ Beginning of Stitching Line

When stitching on this, and all other rows, start your stitching a couple of stitches before the line, and finish a couple of stitches beyond the line, so as to secure the sewing.

4_Ending First Row

I sewed on the first two, pressed them to the side, then did the next two.  I learned to pin the fabrics so as not to have slippage.

Messy Ironing Paper

I printed out your parchment paper on my Laserjet, which can leave a residue on the ironing board, so I put down a piece of paper and pressed on that.  This is the messy paper at the end of my pressing session (sorry about all the transfer stuff).

Step Three

6_Cutting and Folding_1

Fold back your parchment paper in order to trim it up.  I sketched in the first fold, above, in pink.

6a_Cutting and Folding

Lay your ruler so that 1/4″ peeks out, then trim.  Again, I used Generations Quilt Patterns as a reference, if you need to read or see it differently.

7_First Row On

All four sides have been trimmed (those fold lines look so crisp in this paper!).

7a_Stitching First Row

Here’s what the stitching looks like from the printed side.  Notice I’m a couple of stitches over the line every time.  Generations recommends a full quarter-inch over, but it tore the parchment paper too much.  Two or three stitches will be fine.

Step Four

8_Second Row

Repeat this process, using the solids this time.  At this point you can do two at a time (opposite sides, like the yellow and green shown above).  Stitch those, press out, then add on the remaining two solid strips.  Stitch, then press open.

9_Cutting and Folding

You’ll turn the paper and fold back again, as shown this time by the green line, above.  Trim as in the previous step, all four corners.

10_Second Row Sewn

It’s looking pretty cute!  I like how now I start to see blunt ends on the corners.

Step Five

11_Third Row Beginning

Add on the next row of light bright print strips, again doing two (only) at a time.  Soon you can do all four, just not yet. Trust me on this.

12_Third Row Sewn and Pressed

Press open, then trim.

13_Third Row Trimmed

One nice thing about paper-foundation piecing is how nicely the points come out and how it is all perfectly aligned.

Step Six

14_Fourth Row

Still doing only two at a time (opposites) add on the next row of solids.

15_Fourth Row Sewn Pressed Trimmed

All pressed and trimmed up.  The blunt end is becoming more pronounced.

Step Seven

16_Fifth Row Pinned

Okay, now!  You can now pin on all four light bright print strips onto your pineapple, and lifting your needle/presser foot in between to pivot the paper and move to the new stitching place, then begin sewing again.  Clip through the traveling threads after you are finished sewing.

17_Fifth Row Sewn Pressed

It’s pressed.

18_Fifth RowTrimmed

And now, trimmed.  Keep going, keeping track of which row is solids and which row is light bright prints until you only have the corners left to do.

19_Penultimate Row Sewn

Step Eight

20_Outer Blocks placed

Some of you have 4 1/2″ triangles in your packet and some of you have 3″ x 6″ strips.  I show both in the following photos. To figure out the alignment, Generations Quilt Pattern uses a nifty trick of letting the point of the triangle guide you.

21_Outer Block Aligned

Line up the outer raw edges of the diagonally cut triangle, with the point centered in the square, as shown by the bright blue (above).  Stitch.

22_Outer Blocks Pinned

For the 3″ by 6″ strip, fold in half to find the center, then line that up with the center square, as shown.  Pin, then stitch.

22a_Outer Blocks SewnPressed

Corner blocks pressed.

Step Nine

23_Trimming

Okay, I know this ruler isn’t perfectly aligned (the phone rang right as I was going to snap the photo and startled me, and I didn’t find out until later how crooked it was). So, don’t do as I show, do as I did: make sure to only trim 1/4″ outside the solid line, all the way around.  DON’T TRIM ON THE SOLID LINE.

Ripping Off Paper

Once trimmed, turn it over and use Katie Pasquini-Masopust’s famous “Fatty Thigh” method for removing foundation papers (I learned this from her at Houston one year).  As she instructed us: lay it over your fatty thigh, and pop the papers off, starting on the outside, working in.  The parchment paper comes off so much easier for me than regular paper, so I hope you have an easy time of it.  Thank you, thank you!!  You are done!

Final Four

Here are four together.  I look forward to seeing all of yours!

–Final notes–

Boys in the Boat

I listened to The Boys in the Boat while working on this project, a fascinating story.  I’ll never look at this sport the same way again.

Parchment Paper

And the paper? Here’s a photograph of the information on the edge of my ream of paper.  I bought this paper several years ago, beginning with my Come A-Round quilt (below), a foundation-pieced quilt, and have used if for several other projects (including Scrappy Stars and I am currently using it for my selvage quilt).  It will probably last me until I die, and although not cheap (I think I paid 35 bucks for this ream) I feel like it was a great investment.  I bought mine at my local Kelly Paper store.

Come A-Round, full SM

Yep,  all those spiral dotty circles in the middle were arcs that were paper-foundation pieced on this paper.  The pattern is a Piece O’ Cake Design, titled Everyday Best.

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

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Happy to Be Home

Croatia Trip 2014

Well, the laundry is done, but I’m still walking into walls, as the jet lag recovery seems fiercer this time, perhaps complicated by the arrival of my son and his family 24 hours after we arrived home, but who can say no to seeing the grandchildren?  The trip, above, was delightful, with the appropriate number of highs and lows.  If you want to see some of my photographs, there is a pretty extensive collection of them on my Instagram feed (button to the right), and once I start posting about the trip, many more will be on my travel blog.  One of the positive things is that I now know where Croatia is.  And Slovenia.  And know that Hungary has this massive lake in the middle of it that stretches for miles and miles, or at least it felt that way, as our train from Zagreb (Slovenia) to Budapest (Hungary) stopped at every single station along that lake. And I also know that I need to figure out how to make gulyas (goulash) the Hungarian way.  It was amazing.   I was able to read all your comments while I was gone, and hoped you enjoyed the continuing posts.  Thanks for the messages you left.

MCM Block July 2014

I pretty much did nothing for the first few days home, but then eased back into sewing with our Mid-Century Modern’s Bee block for this month.

3b64dee956d73308ff5c5fb9a6c80a42

Susan, of PatchworknPlay liked this quilt, so asked us all to make a 12″ star with a black background to begin her collection.  Beginning with one that I liked from my Jolly Old St. Nicholas quilt (post *here* with lots of 12 blocks with templates), I subdivided and added, so it would be more snazzy, with more colors.  You can download a PDF file of the templates by clicking on this link: Snazzy Star.  Enjoy!  It’s my welcome home gift to you, making up into a 12″ block.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 5.20.44 PM

I used my QuiltPro program to do this–it’s a simpler, older version of an electronic quilt program, but it works great for me.  So, cross two things of my list: a Bee Block for July, and Getting Back Into Sewing!

Circles EPP Button

I picked up lots of ideas for the Circles blocks–a richly decorated church in Slovenia had them painted everywhere–so right now I’m working on the EPP Circles block #3 (named “Ljubljana”) and will post that the first part of August.

4-in-art_3

I am also working on our Contrasts challenge for our Four-In-Art reveal August 1st, so keep your fingers crossed that I’ll make my deadline (I’m starting earlier this time, as my jet lagged brain is still fogged in).  In keeping with the laundry-list theme of this post, I’m also the Queen Bee for the Always Bee Learning Bee in August, and in this bee, fabric is mailed out along with the block, so that’s in the works as well. And I’ve just got to get to the beach this summer, don’t you think?

There's No Place Like Home

But as Dorothy found out, there’s no place like home. I’m glad to be back.

Independence Day

Fireworks

Happy Fourth of July!

WpreInaug-Capitol

I just returned from a long trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Budapest, and am still trying to figure out what time zone I’m in.   As soon as I do, you’ll be the first to know.

Jetlagfrom *here*