Quilt Market May 2016 • Day One • Giveaway

QMarket1_sign

Yes! folks.  That is me standing under the sign, nervous and excited as all get out. Yeah, I know it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  And there’s a little bit of a giveaway at the end, just to reward you for reading all the way through.

QMarket_overlook

I’d entered the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City that morning, dazed and confused even though several people had given me good advice for Going to Quilt Market.  I came down the escalators to the left (out of sight), trying to figure out what to do next, when a lovely woman walked towards me.

QMarket_Claudia and I

Claudia, the owner of Snowed In Quilt Shop in Panguitch, Utah showed me where to pick up my badge.  She then told me to pay for SchoolHouse (all-day classes) and for Sample Spree (really?  I’m going to that time-honored craziness??).  I designated her my “Handler for Quilt Market,” and off we went to Schoolhouse.

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Wait, what?
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This is better.  We shared the building with burly guys wearing T-shirst that said Coal: Clean & Abundant, as they went to their meetings in a wing of the convention center.QMarket2

First up: a plenary session where the first 700 who picked up their schedules also got a ticket for a souvenir tote bag from Cotton and Steel.  I’d heard about the freebies here (actually less than you think) and was happy that I could get something fun right off the bat.  It opened with the officials telling us the stats: the industry has 3.76 billion in annual sales, 16.4 million quilters with an average yearly spending of $13,000 per quilter.  And then she said the average age was 64.  Whoa.  Really?  I asked Afton Warrick, who writes the Quilting Mod blog about it the next day (she was my appointed Friday Handler): as a younger quilter, did she believe that?  “Well,” she said. “That survey was taken in brick-and-mortar stores and believe me, they don’t want to see me with my three young children.  It’s much easier to get online at the 2 a.m. feeding of the baby and order up some fabric, than to take my gang into the shop.”  Thank you, Afton.

For the very next presenters were the Cotton & Steel gang, all young women, announcing their partnership with Rifle Paper Company, and the new fabric line where they showed us us this video.  We had a small sample of it in our freebie bags.  We weren’t yet allowed into the exhibition hall, as everyone was still setting up their booths.  It dawned on me only later that I had a badge that would let me in.  (Trying not to overuse my Super Powers, here. . .) However, I didn’t have time to go in until later, as I was busy going to Schoolhouse.  Claudia and I went back and forth between the two sets of classrooms, about a 3-minute walk between them, until we wised up and chose classes in a clump next to each other.
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This presentation by Ink & Arrow/Quilting Treasures was stellar.  I learned a LOT.  Every quilt shop should have attended this one.QMarket_Schoolhouse4

Plus the brownies in their little giveaway bag were a nice treat.QMarket_Schoolhouse5

Many of the Schoolhouse classes are like this one: an introduction to a new line of fabrics, in this case Frou-Frou, distributed by ClothWorks, Inc.  I liked what the head of Frou-Frou was saying about quilting being like cooking.  “Spaghetti” in column 2 is actually skinny tubing, suitable for spaghetti straps on clothing.
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I loved Maywood Fabrics’ presentation.  Claudia won a bundle of their fabric.  She actually won two times that day, which is nice payment for her having to drag me around.
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Somewhere in here, at the urging of my darling husband (yes, he is!) I went down to the floor to see my  quilt hanging up.  Sigh.  You read all about that yesterday, so I won’t bore you today, but it was wonderful.  (And yes, I’d finally figured out at that point that I had a badge that would let me do that.)QMarket_Schoolhouse6

After lunch it was more classes.  Here’s Anna Maria Horner’s Schoolhouse class, showing off her amazing quilt.  And skirts.  And fabric.  And more quilts. And her fine sense of humor.QMarket_Schoolhouse6a QMarket_Schoolhouse6b

(Reverse applique flower and leaves)
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So glad to see her in fine form.  We’ve missed you, Eleanor Burns!QMarket_Schoolhouse8_moda QMarket_Schoolhouse8a_moda QMarket_Schoolhouse9_moda QMarket_Schoolhouse9a_moda

The Moda Schoolhouse was all about their program starting in fall and continuing through next year: “Be My Neighbor,” where they will give out “blueprints” of blocks to fabric shops, where we plebeians can get them.  I’ve already made a house quilt, (click *here* to see and to get free downloadable patterns, too) but after looking at this one, it’s mighty tempting to try another.

By now Claudia and I are dragging and we have to muster up some strength to make it to Sample Spree that evening. QMarket_Schoolhouse10

So we stayed in our seats through another designer’s presentation (basically a demo of all her new products and how we could buy them) then went next door to Moda/Martingale’s presentation of the Match Game, featuring quilty terms, and a cast of brilliant stars (some lined up above).  It was really funny, and very high energy and we had a great time.  Some of the quilts featured in the book are below, slightly blurry as they were parading them before us at a pretty good clip:QMarket_Schoolhouse10a QMarket_Schoolhouse10b QMarket_Schoolhouse10c QMarket_Schoolhouse10d QMarket_Schoolhouse10e QMarket_Schoolhouse10f QMarket_Schoolhouse10g QMarket_Schoolhouse10h

There.  Now you’ve had your fill of eye-candy for one post. (I do think I’ll get this book.) We went to find dinner and I took a photo of the sample spree line from the second floor, where people had been lining up for hours:QMarket_SampleSpreeLineQMarket_exhibitor floor

And then I took one of the market floor.  See those people laying green carpet over to the left?  Stay with me now, there’s a story there.  Claudia and I grabbed a salad for dinner, and ate it quietly away from the Sample Spree line.  She agreed to watch my bags while I went in for one last pictureQMarket_onelastlookz QMarket_onelastlook

I came out of the aisle just as three uber burley guys gave the green carpet runner a hefty yank to the left. . . and I fell down to the right.  Yes, so graceful, but the rug had been pulled out from under me, just like in the cartoons.  The burley guys to the right came running over.  One of them was the crew leader, and after watching me get up (again, incredibly graceful *ahem*) he insisted I go to the boss of the crew.  I followed him to the loading dock, where it smelled like brine, a storm coming in off the salty Great Salt Lake.  Kind of like being at the ocean, really.
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Then he insisted I go to the Floor Boss, who was driving around somewhere on a yellow cart.  You think if they were so concerned about my injuries that they would have put ME on one of those dumb carts and driven me around, but no.  I had to go with this guy, chasing around looking for the other guy on the dumb cart.  We found him, but I explained that I was going to miss my PARTY and that my friend had my bags and I needed to go and get them, and really I felt fine (but knowing the next day I was going to feel it).  He agreed to let me release Claudia so she could get in line.

Now I’m carrying all my loot from today, and following this guy around.  Back to the loading dock, where we get another boss, who determines that I should to see Security. (But my PARTY!! I want to scream, for that’s what Sample Spree was to them–how could I explain what would be the mad dash of frothing quilters straight for the Rifle Paper Company new fabric line by Cotton & Steel?)  He takes me along the back of the convention hall, to a wide gaping doorway and I realize I’m looking at Sample Spree and nobody is in here!!  Did I take advantage of this and grab a stack?  No.  Like a good little girl, I follow the guy through the other doors, out into the hallway, where everyone in line is looking me, like “How’d she get in there?”

We go down the lines of foyer-sitters, into the office.  He says “This is the lady who fell down.”  Wait.  I pipe up to say, “I didn’t fall down.  Someone yanked the carpet from under my feet!”  I was asked to wait while they called for an EMT, and while I was waiting, would I write a description.  The EMT guy arrives and wants me to go in an ambulance to the ER.

Meanwhile. . . I can see the lines start to move into Sample Spree.  I turn to him, and say “My Party is starting! I’ve got to go!”  He assesses me (no slurring of speech, no fuzzy vision, no impact to the head, appears to be somewhat sane and walking straight); I sign waivers to not to go the ER in an ambulance.  But by now, I’ll be at the back of the wagon train in the Sample Spree line.  So I look at him and say, “You look official.  Can you walk me to the front of the line and get me in?”  He smiles, agrees, and we pass by hordes of frothing quilters, and I slip in past the Quilt Police, into Sample Spree.  I’m still achy, my hip and ankle are sore, and I know I’m going to feel it in the morning, but hey–I made it it to The Party.

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This sort of image was not unusual.  I decline to show you my group of bags so as not to incriminate myself, but I got in about halfway through the long line, and no, at that point there were no Rifle Paper Company stacks to be had unless I bought ALL of the new Cotton & Steel lines for a mere $271, which would include their tote bag.  Um, no.  But it was fun going around, seeing the FQs (Frothing Quilters) grab and push and terrify those on the inside of the tables as they snapped up their stacks and bundles, and overheated their credit cards.

Basement apt

I did see Claudia later on, and she asked how I was.  She’s lovely and terrific and as she was still shopping, and I was pretty spent (in all ways), I headed home to my sister’s new apartment in her basement, where I had a lovely space all to myself.  I took some ibuprofen, and while I was uploadiong some IG photos, all the power went out around me.

I looked outside: dark.  I looked on IG: all the quilters in the hotels downtown were freaking out, saying “Way to go–the Fabric Geeks broke Salt Lake!”  Sounds like the party was still going on.  I knew the light would wake me up when it came back on in the middle of the night, but I rolled over and went to sleep.

Giveaway Banner

Because I was surprised at how little freebies there were (I had to purchase most of my souvenirs, except for the bag I mentioned), I have one giveaway here and a couple of more over the next two weeks, courtesy of the people I’ll name.

Felt Giveaway1

This first one is a charm pack with lots of colors of 100% wool felt, for those of you who are working on your tree (another one’s coming on June 2nd).  The colors are beautiful:

Wool Felt 3

It’s from National Non-Wovens, and they also donated some for our next Oh Christmas Tree post, just in case you don’t win this round. While this is a vendor, they will sell smaller quantities to us quilters at Commonwealth Felt.

In The Pines Book

The other item I’ll throw into the giveaway is this book by Carolyn Culling McCormick, In the Pines, from Kansas City Star Quilts.  This is a book of paper-pieced patterns so you can make the more traditional pine-tree quilts with tiny pieces.  The paper-piecing makes is manageable.  Leave a comment below and I’ll activate the Husband Random Name Generator and pick a winner (one winner will get both items).  This will close on Saturday, May 29th, my mother’s 88th birthday.  (Happy Birthday, Mom!)

Next Up: Day Two of Market

Starry Compass Rose

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Starry Compass Rose
Quilt # 156

Starry Compass Rose EQ7 sketch

I’d like to tell you the background about how I went to Quilt Market.  I was contacted by Paintbrush Studios in November of 2015 to see if I would design and make a quilt for them using their Painter’s Palette line of solids.  At first I was like, who is this? but soon got to corresponding with Anne, a delightful woman with a great sense of humor.  She turned me over to Deena in the design department, and I sent over a rough sketch.  Then another.  We soon had several renditions flying back and forth over email, which meant not only did I have to design a quilt for them, and sew it, but I also had to learn how to express myself in EQ7 (cue: grimace).  I learned it “enough” and produced the sketch you see above.StarryCompassRose_booth3

Of course, all this is stuff I couldn’t mention on the blog, but I worked on this steadily from late November until mid-February when I sent off to them a quilt top, binding, backing and a label.  Someone else would quilt it.StarryCompassRose_booth1

As a thank-you for this experience, I made them Focus, a small quilt to hang in their booth at QuiltCon. While at QuiltCon, I screwed up my nerve to ask Sue and Deena if I could get a pass to see the quilt at market, and they arranged it.StarryCompassRose_quilting5 StarryCompassRose_quilting4 StarryCompassRose_quilting3

But I was most interested in seeing my quilt, all quilted up by Denise Marieno, at Quilt Market.  I was sad to see it go in February, but ecstatic to see it now, hanging in the Painter’s Palette booth.  I checked on the progress several times on Thursday as they set up their booth, watching as they moved it from an inner spot, to an outer spot.  They were very happy with the result, as was I.  Denise did a terrific job of quilting it.StarryCompassRose_quilting2 StarryCompassRose_quilting1 StarryCompassRose_booth2 StarryCompassRose_label

So now it’s gone, and who knows when I’ll see it again, but oh, what a high! to see it at market.  I hope I can work with them again sometime, as I thoroughly enjoyed the process and the people at this company.

I’ve spent my life in unheralded endeavors: a young bride having babies, a mother at home, a student, an adjunct professor, but no one praises your skill at loading a dishwasher, managing a complicated carpool schedule, or compliments you on the nice comments you leave on student papers.  So to come into Quilt Market and to see my quilt hanging there as a professional quilt designer was an experience I won’t soon forget.  It was like someone patted me on the head and said “You did great,” that my skills were recognized, instead of just giving service or being a cog in what passes for Higher Ed these days.  I certainly don’t regret being a mother-at-home, nor of my years of teaching.  I don’t regret being an older student, trying to fit in with the 20-somethings who were writing edgy short stories that included drugs and sex, while all I could come up with is little stories of mothers and fathers and families that somehow always included a quilt somewhere.

But to round that corner that first morning and see this quilt?
Oh, so satisfying.

tiny nine patches

Next post: Day One of Market, going to Schoolhouse, a Tumble, and a Giveaway

Beauty All Around

Beauty All Around Mini

Beauty All Around
Quilt # 162

Before I start on my market wrap-up posts (although Sherri of A Quilting Life has a nice array of photos of her Moda contemporaries), I wanted to show you some of the market sewing I did for Sherri.  She sent me some fabrics, I sent her an email with a design, then I got to work creating this little mini for her Moda booth.  She has the words “There is Beauty All Around” on the selvage of her one of her fabric lines, so I grabbed a bit of that for a title.  I got it wrong initially, thinking it belonged to this line, Desert Bloom, but it belonged to the previous collection.

She writes: “I love the name you gave your quilt, too; however, the selvage quote “There is beauty all around” comes from Valley…the selvage quote for Desert Bloom is “Nature’s beauty brings joy to the soul.”

Now you know them both!

Pattern 23 Beauty

It’s pattern #23 in my Craftsy Shop, and in my PayHip Shop (for EU readers).  It’s a fun little mini that makes up quickly.  Because it is a new little pattern and a wee little star at Quilt Market, it has a lower price for the first month, then I’ll put it back up to the regular price in my shops.

Beauty and Clutch

But that’s not all.  I also made Sherri a clutch out of her fabric, featuring a pinwheel to match the quilt.  I used Diane Stanley’s clutch pattern (she’s also known on IG as ylmommyx4), and it went together really quickly.Desert Bloom clutch inside Desert Bloom clutch back Beauty on Gate

Next up: my Starry Compass Rose at Market, plus a giveaway!

Summer 2016 Goals

Pattern Cover SpectrumTo introduce my newest goal, I need to talk about my new pattern covers.  I made them in a new software I’m trying to learn, Affinity Photo, fearful that any day my upgrades on my Mac will render my old copy of Photoshop more obsolete than it already is.  And no, I don’t want to pay a monthly fee to use their software (are you listening, Adobe?)  I just heard that Affinity Photo is launching a beta version for PC users, too, although it was developed as a Mac software.  So this is the first of my summer goals.

affinity_photo

They also have Affinity Designer, which I’m also trying to learn, but since I don’t know Adobe’s Illustrator very well, it’s like banging my head against a wall.  When my friend recovers from getting her daughter married off, I’m going to bug ask her to teach me a few things.

Long Man Novel Cover

To keep reading is another summer goal, and this was the latest book I finished, while quilting up a few things for my Riverside Sawtooth post.  It set me down so carefully in time and place.  No, it’s not a grip-you-by-the-throat novel, but a quiet one, filled with well-drawn characters from a time in our past.  I listened to it on Audible, which I would recommend, as the narrator really gets the sound of the voices and it adds another dimension to the story, I think.

Cal Primaries 2016

Can I mention Summer Events?  Here’s about the only political statement I’ll make on this blog: we recently (and sadly) lost our ability to have a primary election here in California.  We’d all been so excited, actually asking everyone “who are you going to vote for?” and really getting interested in politics in general.  We are one of the final primaries on the Presidential Election Schedule, and for once, we were going to Have a Say!  Except now we aren’t, because of the recent events (which has made great theater, I have to say).  So, hope everyone else in the United States had a great time voting–as usual, our votes won’t count.  H o w e v e r. . . I will be watching the conventions. After teaching Critical Thinking a few years, and having my students watch the conventions and have them analyze the speeches, the rhetoric, looking for the logical fallacies and spotting all the weakness in candidates’ arguments, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  It’s going to be a long, hot summer out here, and hey! we need something to compensate us for not getting a Primary Election.

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And it that’s not enough excitement (!), we can always watch the Brazil Summer Olympics, although with all the talk lately, it may end up being like our primary.  Click on the link at the end of the post to see this colorful Olympics design in action.

In other news, my garden is growing well, I’ve got a few more projects in the pipeline, but my main quilty goals this summer are as follows:

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1. Finish My Small World.

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2. Quilt Shine: The Circles Quilt

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3. Quilt Riverside Sawtooth

Rosette #5

4. Keep working on this quilt.  Remember this?  It was one of the units in the New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt.  I’m halfway through, and my friend Laurel is all done with hers.  And her quilt is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous, so I need to perserve and Be A Finisher. (However, notice I didn’t say “finish this quilt,” but instead wrote “keep working on this quilt.”  I am reasonable.)

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5. Finish this quilt top, and if possible get it quilted, too.

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6. And… this one, too.
I am all done with the hand-stitching.  Now just to figure out the borders, and get it quilted.
Easy, peasy.  We are coming right along in our Quilt-a-Long, with Step 5 coming up on June 2nd.

ChristmasTreeLogoSM

Other summer goals:

7. Be a good citizen and follow the national political process.  Every other week ought to be about right.
8. Visit my kids and their kids. And my parents.  And my husband’s family.  That’s about eight car trips right there.  I’d better work on #4–if only to have some hand sewing for car travel.
9. Celebrate my one-year anniversary of recovering from my surgery.  I think a night in front of the TV would be appropriate, in my nightgown with hand-sewing on my lap, to memorialize where I was last year at that time.

Voting booths
10. And oh, yeah.  Vote in California’s Primary.  I’m so excited, yes yes yes.

Not $ewing in Geneva

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I know what you are thinking: what? more traveling?  Well, my husband Dave is a scientist who studies genetic toxicology and was asked by the World Health Organization to come and work on a committee to discuss some chemicals and they would pay his way.  And I could go and stay for free, and fly using frequent flier miles, so why not?  I thought it would be like Lisbon, where I’d find cute shops selling fun sewing stuff, and when we walked by Mercerie Catherine B (above) on Saturday afternoon, I could hardly wait to go back and explore.GenevaSewing4

First, we had Mother’s Day and when we went to church, they handed out roses and pieces of chocolate to all the Moms.  Score!  That was sweet, even if everything they said was in French.GenevaSewing5

And we had to go and see one of the two tourist attractions in Geneva.  Which I did. . . multiple times.GenevaSewing6

I did scout out a few textile shops.  This one was right across from the Manor department store, but because Geneva is a waaaaay pricey city, I chose not to drop my Swiss francs in that shop.GenevaSewing7

Instead, I thought this a better investment, until I could back to Catherine’s, which was closed until Tuesday (4-day weekend).GenevaSewing8I went out to this place, which was a long tram ride out of the center.GenevaSewing8a GenevaSewing9

Yes, that is five bucks for a fat-meter of outdated material.  The Liberty cottons were 35 bucks a meter.GenevaSewing10

And regular quilting cottons were around 20 dollars a meter (the franc is nearly equivalent to a dollar this year).GenevaSewing11

The Manor Dept. Store (my home away from home, because I ate there a lot–picking up sandwiches and meals in their food hall. . . and why doesn’t America have food halls?) had this array of fat meters.  I didn’t check the prices on them.GenevaSewing12

While standing admiring this display of bias tape and ribbons — wound neatly onto cards and not tucked behind cellophane wrappers — I met Roxanne, another quilter, and we had a great discussion.  Quilters, the world over, speak the same language.  She said most of the quilters she knew in Switzerland ordered their fabrics online.GenevaSewing13

I did have fun noticing the European-style fashions in the windows.  I think style this would make a great dress for summer.GenevaSewing14

Check out the knees of this pair of jeans–little kitty faces!
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So back to my story.  When Catherine’s opened up, I went up there, expecting to buy something, but everything was incredibly expensive.  GenevaSewing16

I did find this small needle minder that I loved, but they were out of the matryoshka kit.  Good thing, because the house kit was 65 dollars for a square of linen, a pattern and the threads.  Yes.  SIXTY-FIVE. GenevaSewing17

I took a photo of the pattern company who designed that matryoshka kit: Un Chat dans l’aiguille and had fun looking around their website, following some links, which led to more links, and which led me to discover that I’d been doing some of my tried-and-true stitches incorrectly, proving there is always more to learn, at any age.  Here’s a link to some of my favorite series of videos in French, and even though it’s not a language I speak, the videos say it all.  And some great English videos by Mary Corbet are here.  So I left that day empty-handed, but full of admiration for the traditional embroideries found in Europe.GenevaSewing18

I even went back another day, when I bought half-meters of three different Christmasy looking braids, which I’ll put on the back with my label of the Oh Christmas Quilt (more motivation to finish it!).  I still couldn’t bring myself to buy much more than that.  And I just looked and admired and loved everything I saw.

I peeked in on the class they were holding, and every woman in there had a portable light, a stand with a hoop for her embroidery and an attached magnifying glass for working those teeny counted cross stitches over fine linen.  It really was quite inspiring, and made me think of ways to incorporate more hand stitching into quilting designs.  I have a few ideas and will let them percolate, as is my usual after taking in the sights and colors of different places.GenevaSewing19

But check out what I saw at the flea market on Saturday, the last day before we came home: a Bernina sewing machine.  It ran, of course, on 220 voltage and besides that my luggage was already full, but wouldn’t that have been a great souvenir!

Hallowe’en 1904 QAL–Step Four

Step 4 halloweenQAL

It’s the WONKY STARS step!

If you are appliquéing your stars onto your smaller background blocks, go for it and we’ll see you next month.  For the rest of you, even those not making this quilt, I’ll walk you through a stack and slash version of a star, pioneered by Thelma of Cupcakes and Daisies.

HalloweeenQuilt 1008dollars

You’ve seen this before; this is an image I found on the web some time ago of the quilt we are making, Hallowe’en 1904 by Blackbird Designs.  Yes, we are again hard at it for the Hallowe’en 1904 Quilt-A-Long.  All of four of us will have quilts ready for Halloween, so I’m excited about that prospect. Well, maybe it’s more than four of you out there in the Internets, but at least two of us — Leisa and I — will be among those finished in time for that fall celebration.

Again, Leisa and I are making NINE blocks, down from the original twelve in the pattern.  I posted a version of smaller quilt *here,* using all twelve blocks and formulated by Mary Burton.  But we’re doing nine, with four appliqué and five star blocks.

A recap of last month’s sewing:

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Yes, all four are done, even the one with the weird-o leaf.  It’s staying put for now.

touching up stitching

Here’s my tip for touching up those stray bobbin threads that work their way up if you are doing satin stitch: get out a Sharpie marker in the color of your thread and color it in.  I also use it for errant free-motion-quilting oopsies.

And this time, we’re heading right into How to Make A Wonky Star.  If you want to go the traditional route, of cutting and appliquéing your stars down to your background, go ahead and get going, and we’ll see you next time, on June 13th.  Anyone else who wants to learn this technique, stick around.

crazy nine patch block

(from here)

It’s not a new technique as we used to use it to make things like nine-patch blocks: stack up a bunch of fabrics, cut, swap out the fabrics and sew.  I also found a version of this stack-and-slash used in a star block, and the copyright on the page says it’s from 2000-2005. And Bethany Reynolds is credited with the first national use of the technique known as Stack-N-Whack.  I tell you all of this to say there is nothing new under the sun, especially in quilting, but only new turns at an old technique or form or idea.

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We’ll get this far this month, but will do five of these blocks, saving the points around the outside for next month (although you are free to move forward if you want). Halloweenqal4_1

Get out your strips of fabrics, cut according to the chart.

halloweenqal2_wonkystar1Halloweenqal4_5

Different versions of the Stack & Slash Star pattern. Halloweenqal4_2I drafted and revised this star block multiple times, trying to get the proportions of the Stack & Slash pattern correct. For this reason, please print off only enough for your own use.  Please don’t print off enough for your mother or your girlfriend; send them here to get their own.   Download the PDF file here: Stack&Slash StarEastmondHalloweenqal4_2a

You’ll notice on the pattern that there are lots of little diamonds and slashes.  (These are your notches to help you get the thing back together.  It doesn’t matter if you use mine, or make up some marking system of your own, but please do this!)  Lay some clear template plastic over the pattern and trace.  Looks like mine got reversed somehow, but really it just doesn’t matter one way or the other.  Now pay attention to what is the center of the star (A1, B1, B2 and C1) and what is the background (all the rest).
Halloweenqal4_6

Working with a single layer of fabric (yes, you can stack them up, but don’t put the fabrics back-to-back unless you want to have some “regular” stars and some “reversed” stars.  It will drive you a bit crazy, but it’s do-able, in case you forgot), lay out the background templates. (See example below)

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If you do the usual cut of WOF, you’ll have part of the fabric facing you and part of it will be facing down to the cutting table, because of that fold.  Unfold it before cutting and you’ll avoid this problem.  I just had to go back in and cut some parts “backwards” and I made enough for a star or two.  So  you’ll notice that some of my stars are wonky to the left, and some are wonky to the right.  It just doesn’t matter.  Really.

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Cut around them.Halloweenqal4_8

Start stacking up your pieces underneath the templates as you cut them

VERY IMPORTANT:  To get the appropriate amount of wonkiness, you’ll need at least FIVE different background fabrics, because there are 5 different pieces to the background.  If you want to have the star pieces all different, you’ll need FOUR different star fabrics, because there are 4 different pieces to the star.  Confused?  Just walk yourself through one and you’ll see what I mean.  I only had four different background fabrics and you’ll see some repeats, but I did have the five different star fabrics.Halloweenqal4_9

You’ll need to do some shuffling as you sew.  Notice how all the fabrics are the same up above–all the star points are the same fabric and all the backgrounds are the same.  In this stack and slash method, you will think of them as separate stacks.  From the picture above, take one of the star points (start with B1) and move the top fabric to the bottom.  Then move the next star point (B2) and move the top TWO fabrics to the bottom of the stack.  Repeat for C1–moving the top THREE fabrics to the bottom of the stack.  Now all the star sections will be different in your block.  If you cut in layers and have multiple layers, just follow the instructions, treating the same fabrics as “one” and shuffling them all to the bottom. If this is all too confusing, on YouTube there are multiple videos — just type “stack and slash,” or “stack and whack.”  If you have a lot of time, *this* one is in four parts, but it’s very thorough.

Repeat that process of shuffling the top fabric to the bottom of the stack for all five background pieces.
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We’ll assemble this in three sections: A-section, B-section, C-section.  First sew A2 to A1.  Concentrate on that lower edge–keeping it aligned (where it butts up against the B-section).  Press toward star.  Sew A3 to A1/2 section, again, concentrating on that long straight edge.  Press.  Trim up that long edge, if necessary.

Repeat for the B-section: This time sew B2 to B3, concentrating on the long edge against the B1 piece.  Now sew that unit to B1.  Trim the edge where it will join up to the C-section if necessary, erring on the side of too little, rather than too much, trimming.

And the C-section follows the same process: C1 gets sewn to C2; press.  Then sew that to C3; trim if necessary to get a long straight line where it will join the B-section.Halloweenqal4_12

Join the sections together, pressing the seams to one side.  All the outside edges are skitty-wampus.Halloweenqal4_13

Trim up the block to a 5 and 3/4″ square, REMEMBERING TO TRIM ON POINT,  so the main star tip is pointing UP to the corner.  Yeah, I know mine got turned around pointing to the right, but I think you can figure it out.  It’s the star point sitting on top of that long B1 piece.  Repeat this over and over.  You can cut and sew a bunch and it goes much faster.
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Add on your outside large triangles, varying them from orange to black, as are your star points.  We’ll save the outside HSTs for next month.  So, get busy making wonky stars and we’ll see you on June 13th!

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Here’s our schedule:

Step 1 (Preparation): February 2016–buy all the fabrics and find the pattern.  Mine was purchased from Common Threads in Waxahachie, TX (www.commonthreadsquilting.com).  The quilt measures 90 by 90, which is too large for me, so I’m only doing nine blocks.  Each block is 20″ square, and with the outer borders, that should come to roughly  65″ square.  I may change my mind, but this looks good from here.

Step 2: March 2016–Cut out the quilt: the tan backgrounds of the squares, the border triangles, the smaller half-square triangles, strips for the wonky stars, but save the piano key border for later.

Step 3: April 2016–Assemble four blocks and add large appliques; use Thelma’s method (of Cupcakes and Daisies) for adding the curlicue stem. Make and add half-square triangeles (HSTs) around these blocks, using the 8-at-a-time method of HSTs.

Step 4: May 2016–Cut and make the wonky star blocks from templates and strips.  I’m doing five blocks, so will need to make twenty wonky stars and true them up.  Add on the large outside triangles.

Step 5: June 2016–Assemble the rest of the star blocks, by adding their HST borders. In the pattern, they are mixed up and varied, but also harmonized (some have a mix of orange and black, some have just black, some have just orange.)  Make your own rules and go with it.

Step6: July 2016–Arrange the blocks on your design wall and stitch together.  Cut the pieces for your borders.  Make the four corner pinwheels.

Step 7: August 2016–Sew borders together and attach them to the quilt.

Spectrum: A Colorwheel Quilt

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Spectrum: A Colorwheel Quilt
Quilt No. 153

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You’ve seen this beauty before, as I’ve been working on it steadily since last summer.  Since this summer is about to arrive, I thought I should finish it up and get it up in my shops at Craftsy and PayHip (for EU quilters), in case anyone wants a colorful wheel of color on their sewing studio wall. Spectrum_detail

It’s also great for quilt swaps, or special gifts.  I started on mine for a swap, but soon realized I wasn’t going to finish it in time, so made for her instead another colorful creation of mine, Colorwheel Blossom.  (It was a colorful Kaffe Fasset fabric swap.)  But then I had two quilts, so I gifted one to someone who loves and uses Kaffe Fasset fabrics, keeping one for myself. Stack of colorful quilts

Before I sent my swap quilts off, I took them outside for some photos, and love this stack of fun (colorful?) quilts, a prism of quilty delights.

The pattern has templates for English Paper Piecing, if you like to do that sort of thing (I do!) and full instructions for how to put your quilt together.  While the color wheel is 16″ in diameter, the quilt can measure up to 18,” depending on the size of your background.  It is stunning made up in Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and I’m teaching it that way this Spring in classes at my local quilt shop.  Enjoy!

Riverside Sawtooth, a finished quilt top

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Riverside Sawtooth, the name I’ve given for this original block of mine, has been finished — or at least the top has. It is a compilation of bee blocks from the Mid-Century Bee, as well as several of mine.  I started making these in the Alison Glass blues fabric, but trying to describe what color of blue that was to people all over the United States was a challenge: I finally settled on “painter’s tape blue.”  I like this quilt not because of that color and that block, but also because it’s a scrappy two-color block.  Have a bunch of greens, or pinks, or reds that need to be gathered together into a quilt?  This would work great.

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Through the process of arranging and cullling and making more blocks to balance colors, I had enough blocks for another small mini.

The genesis came from seeing a similar antique quilt, but that maker had done a more traditional construction (and sorry–there was no name on that old quilt).  I wanted to see if I could make it as a block, the sawtooth incorporated into the construction process.  It took me several weeks of working on it, then testing it.  I wrote up the pattern and sent it as a test block out to my beemates and incorporated their tips and tricks into the pattern wording.  Now thoroughly tested, I tweaked the pattern and at long last, have it available for download in my shops at Craftsy and PayHip (for EU customers).  The pattern includes lots of detailed photos and walks you through it the process, so it’s good for anyone’s set of skills, beyond the what-is-a-rotary-cutter-and-how-do-I-use-it barely beginning level.
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Here’s another mini full of full dotty blocks.  I loved working in this tonality of blue — hey, I love blue in any tonality — but the inspiration of Alison Glass’ fabrics kicked me into finding blue fabrics that coordinated with hers.  The large quilt (72″ square) is in the line-up to be quilted, and then I’ll probably label it and get it up on the 200 Quilts list, but for now, I wanted to make it available to you, if you want to try your hand at an updated fun version of a block.

Riverside Sawtooth_detail1 Riverside Sawtooth_detail2 Riverside Sawtooth_detail3a Riverside Sawtooth_small3I’ve been working on a few more patterns and I’ll roll them out one by one over the next several weeks, as I get the typos expunged, the photographs completed and then uploaded for purchase.Riverside Sawtooth_small4

tiny nine patches

Oh Christmas Tree QAL –STEP 4

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Today is Step 4 of our Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-a-Long (#ohchristmastreeqal), following a pattern by Wendy of FlyingFishKits and which was published in Simply Moderne issue #3, by QuiltMania. As always, we have an assist from Wendy of  Wendy’s Quilts and More (blog) and wendyquiltsandmore (IG), as she is slightly ahead of us in her creating.

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Here’s the twist: instead of creating the under-the-tree scene this month, I’ve gotten so many queries about sewing these things on to the background and the tree, that I think we’ll head that direction instead.  Go with the flow, right?  Above is my tree, everything sewn on.  I’m heading this direction because a lot of those questions have to deal with the idea of how much embroidery to put on that outer edge?  Should you leave a space for attaching and more embroidery?  Should you go right to the edge?

The basic idea for attaching is this: lay out your circles, birds, and leaves to your liking, using the pattern and photos as a guide.   As I go through the rest of the flower photos, I’ll have some tips, so please read through to the end.  But first! Wendy has some tips for us about what’s ON the tree:

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She writes: “I thought I had too much white space in certain areas.  I’ve added 4 more small leaves and 4 more small circles, keeping the additions symmetrical because the gaps were symmetrical.  I just felt some areas were less densely filled than others and I didn’t want gaps in the middle of my tree.  That’s probably because I didn’t exactly follow the pattern for the size of my leaves and flowers, but also because things move slightly as you sew them on.”  She sent me two photos.  The “before” is above.

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This is the after.  You can see extra circles and extra leaves.  (And yes, I love her under-the-tree scene!  Next month, next month.).  In addition to adding these extras, she attaches them differently than I do.  First she lays them all out, takes a photo so she can remember where they are, and then takes all off but the items closest to the tree trunk.  She sews those down first then adds in the decorations bit by bit, moving from the center to the outside, because she said she got tired of being stuck by pins.

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I couldn’t face the thought of re-attaching the flowers after I’d gotten them arranged, so I used appliqué pins (shorter than usual) and sewed on the decorations moving from the outside toward the center. Since I use really small pins, and put my hand around the flowers and birds as I sew, I didn’t have too much trouble.  One IG reader said she used a bit of glue to secure the decorations and from her photo it looks like she’s attaching them from the inside to the outside. Again, try what works for you.ohchristmastree4_11

You can see me scrunching things up in my hand.  Since I worked from the outside in, I had very few pin pokes.  I attached the leaves by using the same stitch I used on the trunk: a separated back-stitch (refer to this post for more info).

ohchristmastree4_14I was intent on getting them all on, and doing it quickly.  You could take more time than I, adding an extra embroidery stitch, if you wanted, for it’s YOUR tree.ohchristmastree4_12

I also learned to put a regular pin right in the middle of my decorations just before I started sewing them on, so they wouldn’t buckle.  I have one bird who looks like she is expecting, as the wool can shift as you are attaching, bubbling up.  I’ll show the Mama Bird to you later.

Now for some general tips about attaching the flowers and birds.  Before we talk about different ways to sew them to your tree, here’s a couple of photos of circles before attaching, showing various state of “close-to-the-edgeness” of the embroidery.ohchristmastree4_1flowers

After I pinned these to the tree, I went in and added another circle under the red one, giving it a bit bigger presence.  Ditto on the purple circle below.  You may find yourself making small alternations after you get everything pinned down, either adding leaves and circles as Wendy did, or giving another border to a too-small/wrong-color flower, like I did.ohchristmastree4_1flowers2

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I group the way I sewed these down into two categories: A) snuggle a stitch in or around the existing embroidery, or B) adding another ring of decorative embroidery to affix it to the background.  Let’s do the A-category first.  You saw the flower medallion above; I attached it with tiny stitches at right angles to the outer edge in a matching thread.
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Wendy often leaves the wings undecorated, using the “attachment phase” to put the stitches on, but I’d already embroidered them when she told me this, so I sewed it down to the background by using a small matching (green) thread in between the existing decorative (pink) stitch.

ohchristmastree4_5eI used the small perpendicular stitch again here in matching (blue) thread, but varied the length of them slightly, so the longest are between the yellow stitches and the shorter stitches are near the yellow.

ohchristmastree4_15I also decided to keep some flowers simpler, and did a simple backstitch around the outside edge.  Keep it smallish and even, and you’ll get questions like I do: “Did you do it on the machine?”  No, and if you look closely, you’ll find the bobbly places.  Remember, this is folk art and we aim to enjoy ourselves!  More backstitching:ohchristmastree4_6 ohchristmastree4_6aohchristmastree4_6bohchristmastree4_6c

Now for some B-categories: adding another bit of embroidery to attach them.ohchristmastree4_5b

This is a slanted buttonhole stitch.  It’s done exactly the same as a regular buttonhole, but instead of keeping the needle perpendicular to the outside edge, you slant it.  I like the look of this one a lot.ohchristmastree4_5c

Regular buttonhole.  I used matching thread if I thought the flower was busy enough.ohchristmastree4_5d

Here’s where I used the backstitch (on the small yellow flower, left) and then used a different color of thread in a buttonhole stitch (magenta flower, right).ohchristmastree4_5f

Here’s an “un-even” buttonhole stitch, with shorter and longer “legs” of the stitch, co-ordinating with the existing embroidery.
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This bird was sewn on with a matching yellow thread, buttonhole stitch.  But I slipped a smaller seed (or regular) stitch in between the existing red buttonhole stitch on the yellow bird’s wing to sew that down.  ohchristmastree4_7a

Photography of women depends on flattering angles, but I dropped the camera down low so you could see my pregnant bird.  She didn’t start out that way, but the wool shifted.  The bubbling up is exaggerated from this angle–it’s not really noticeable from the front, but now you know why I started putting that pin in the center of my birds and flowers as I stitched them down.  Didn’t have that trouble with the leaves, for some reason. She’s attached to the background with a simple backstitch.  I also did a line on the birds’ beaks.  I tried to make them happy birds (It’s Christmas, remember?) by the slight curve of the stitching, but some of the birds turned out a bit moody.ohchristmastree4_8

This is another where I snuck a small stitch in between the existing embroidery (A-category), and below, the last photo (!) where you can also see detail on the bird’s beak.ohchristmastree4_9

We are definitely getting closer to the end, now, and I’m pretty excited.  Next month (June 2nd), I’ll have an alternate scene for you for under the tree, and then we’ll roll out from there.

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No giveaway this month, but here’s a recap of our schedule:

January, Step “prepare”: buy the magazine, books, gather your fabrics, buy the felt/wool, buy/find the pearl cotton.
February, Step 1: Make the tree on the background and stitch it down.
March, Step 2: Make 21 flowers.
April, Step 3: Make 10 birds and all the leaves.

May, Step 4: Appliqué down the flowers and birds.

June, Step 5:  Scene at bottom of tree–make, then appliqué onto background.

July, Step 6: Sawtooth border (reds); sew together and attach.

August, Step 7: (finish up Quilt-A-Long): Make wonky star blocks, sew them together and attach border #2.

September, Step 8 Show and Tell, just in time for school starting again.

Yes, we cut a month off our sewing, so you’ll have plenty of time to finish your quilt before December.

Happy Stitching and we’ll see you in June!

Good Friday: Four-in-Art Challenge • May 2016

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Good Friday
Quilt No. 164, May 2016
#2 in the Color Series: MusicFourinArtMay16_2 FourinArtMay16_3

This quilt was inspired by time spent in Antonio Gaudi’s magnificent creation of La Sagrada Familia, a basilica in Barcelona, Spain.  We visited there in March of 2016, on Good Friday of their Santa Semana (Holy Week).  It was a fitting capstone to our visit to Spain, and to other of Gaudi’s architectural buildings, and from the moment we walked in, we were overwhelmed.  Gaudi based a lot of his structures on natural elements, curves inherent in draped forms, local mountains, rock and nature.  So I took my cue from the same, as well as trying to weave in a representation of my experience there with color, music and the Spirit.FourinArtMay16_SagradaChristIn most of the Catholic churches we visited on our trip, the center crucifix of Christ was based on what we perceived as physical pain: the suffering that Jesus as a mortal man endured on the cross for all those many hours of the crucifixion, his head bowed, the expression on his face, agony. Yet in Gaudi’s church, Christ was under a canopy that appeared almost like upside-down blossom of a trumpet flower, surrounded by a vine laden with clusters of grapes, the expression on his face transcendent, his eyes focused upward.FourinArtMay16_La Sagrada FamiliaAnd high above him, nearly 200 feet in the air, is a golden arrow or tree that points to a further high point, a representation of his ascension to heaven.  The symbolism is rich and layered for those who are familiar with the story of Good Friday.  I sat down in the chairs in the nave to think and to let myself fall into what I was seeing, and surprisingly, hearing.  As I sat there I became aware of music, just below the level of hum of the crowd.  It was hard to decide what the score was, whether it was some oratorio like the Messiah, or a choral rendition, such as Ave Maria (which was later played at noon).  The beauty of the stained glass, the unique and thoughtful Christ in the unusual baldacchin, the representation of the Resurrection by this golden motif pointing upward and the music were a fitting celebration of the events of Good Friday.

FourinArtMay16_SagradamotifLaSagradaFamilia_13 LaSagradaFamilia_12On a more practical level, during our entire trip I had been puzzling what I would make for our May Four-in-Art art quilt, with its dual themes of color and music; I knew that day that I wanted to attempt to recreate some portion of what I had experienced, however puny my attempt might be.FourinArtMay16_5

This is my third try at this structure.  I had started out with the swirly pink, yellow and blue batik, but first used a yellow solid.  Then when we went to visit my son in San Diego, I found a fabric store that sold silk shantung, and a bit of the glistening crisp fabric came home with me.

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I worked those diamonds multiple ways, but finally had to settle for a tepid reference to the intricacies of Gaudi’s design.  I’m not too happy with the blue pieces, wishing I had instead something more grayed to bridge the swirling pastel batik to the outer gray, but again, I was aiming for a representation of the experience.
FourinArtMay16_7 FourinArtMay16_8Because of the lattice shape, the dimensions of this quilt are quite different than the usual 12 inch square quilts I’ve been making in this series.

FourinArtMay16_9I backed it with more of the batik, quilted it up on my new quilting machine, and bound it in more batik, wishing to let the edges flow, not constrain, the design.
FourinArtMay16_10 FourinArtMay16_11 FourinArtMay16_12 FourinArtMay16_13 FourinArtMay16_14I was surprised when I laid it out on my flagstone for a photograph in the sun, how the sheen of the silk echoed the glinting bits in the rock underneath it.  The label reads: “The intense spiritual experience of Good Friday in Barcelona, as I sat in the nave, with color, sound and Spirit blending around me, prompted this quilt: an attempt to recreate one of Gaudi’s motifs.”

Perhaps to someone who wasn’t there, it may seem puny or very far from that design motif high above the nave.  I agree.
But it will do.

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Please visit the other quilters in the Four-in-Art group, so named because we work towards quarterly challenges (next challenge will be August 2016):

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla     http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine    http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone       (sitting out this round–her daughter’s getting married)

Please also visit our blog: Four-in-Art Quilts.

tiny nine patches

5XmasTreeMaySee you tomorrow for STEP FOUR of the Oh Christmas Tree QAL.