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!