Summertime Quilt Fun

Hoffman Tour_1

Our quilt guild organized a tour of Hoffman Fabrics this past Monday. I jumped at the chance to go, as I’d passed up several other opportunities.  I decided that it was summer and it was time for some fun.  So I left the sewing chores behind and drove down to Orange County to meet up with the rest of the ladies.

Hoffman Tour_1a Hoffman Tour_2

We were ushered into a seating area, where a Hoffman employee gave a sneak peak at some of the lines coming out soon.  The one above is a digitally printed fabric, which allows for greater color variation than screen printing, and is done in Pakistan.

Hoffman Tour_3

I love their screen printing, which is done in Japan.

Hoffman Tour_4

They printed all their batik basic colors onto fabric, which someone cut up, interspersing with gray to create this quilt (below):

Hoffman Tour_4a Hoffman Tour_5

I liked a lot of their Christmasy Momento line.

Hoffman Tour_5a

This hedgehog is from the Forest Friends line.  Very cute.

Hoffman Tour_6 chop

We watched a video on how they make their batiks, which all starts with a design being translated into a chop (above).  This is then dipped in wax, applied to the fabric, then overdyed.

Hoffman Tour_8

Sometimes the fabric is dyed first, then stamped, then they remove the dye, as in the case above.

Hoffman Tour_7

I went gaga for their new Me + You line of batiks–so modern looking.  Here’s another view:

Hoffman Tour_7a Hoffman Tour_9 stack

Our group saw a lot of samples; here they are stacked up at the end of the presentation.

Hoffman Tour_10 receiving

Then over to the receiving section, where all these bolts come wrapped in plastic.

Hoffman Tour_10 bagsOne woman said she’d like to sneak out one of these scrap bags, maybe by stuffing it into her bra.

Hoffman Tour_10 more bolts Hoffman Tour_10 new bolts

Wherever you look there is beautiful fabric.

Hoffman Tour_11

I laughed when I saw this: fabric draped over shelves, hiding the mess from the world, like just I’ve done more than once.

Hoffman Tour_12

Lisa and I were on the tour together.  Here we are walking from the loading dock area down to the front of the warehouse.

Hoffman Tour_13

Such beautiful prints!

Hoffman Tour_14

The company’s batik lines got their start by a couple of the sons who were surfers, and who wanted to proudly wear their surf fashion.  The surfboards decorate their offices now.

Hoffman Tour_15

We all could have watched this all day long, but it was time to go.

MCM Bee Block July2105

In other summer fun, I finished my block for my Mid-Century Modern bee-mate Susan, of Patchwork’n’Play.  She chose the Stepping Stone block.  All of the links to the tutorial, plus tips are on our group’s blog, The Mid-Century Modern Bee.

Nightgown Pattern

It was waaaaay past time for a new nightgown, as you can see by the vintage pattern above (the last time I made this was 18 years ago!).

Nightgown yoke

Instead of tucks, I like to add braid.  This is also a vintage braid from my stash, with embroidered edelweiss flowers — a reminder of Austria, where my husband and I went on our honeymoon many years ago.  We’re coming up on twenty-six years of wedded bliss next month.

28090027We had our reception after the honeymoon, at a friend’s home.  If we look tired, we are, as we arrived home the day before from Austria and are majorly jet-lagged.  I still think he is the most handsome man around.  And yes, I did make my wedding dress, although it is not at all like the fashion today–it was made of French laces with entredeaux and ribbons and insertions.  I still have it and love to look at it and think of the girl who made it, so many years ago.

Rosette 3 someone elseAnd then I had another quilty issue that had stumped me for a while: why didn’t I like rosette #3 of the New Hexagon Millefiore Quiltalong? The above photo is someone else’s beautiful rendition, but somehow it just didn’t “work” for me.  I couldn’t figure it out.

Rosette #3I went online and looked at lots and lots of other Rosettes on our Facebook group, and still just didn’t like it.  Then I found this photo:

ImageThese were made by the woman who makes samples for Katja’s shop in Canada, and look what she did with hers (on the right, above).  She simplified those outer blocks.  Bingo.

Rosette 3_1

So in the papers for Rosette #2, I found the shapes, and used them and loved what I saw.  Here’s the first version, above.

Rosette 3_2

Second version, with darker “middles.”  And below, in all its cluttered glory, is the design wall with the full shape.  I’m still not too sure about those far right-hand hexagons, but I’m withholding my judgement on those until I see how they fit with the rosette next to it. . . which is still a long way off.

Rosette 3_3I’ll work on getting these stitched together over the next few weeks.  Katja will be releasing Rosette # 8 in about a week.  That means that, wow, I’m only five behind!

4-in-art_3

Our Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal is coming up also in a week, and I’m not at all behind on this one.  I also have another tutorial for Circles Block #14 coming up as well.  So even though summer is a relaxing time, the quilting calls my name and brings an order to my life and to my days.  I feel fortunate to have some “summer” time with cloth and thread and design and stitching–hope you feel the same!

Mini House Quilt Finished!

Mini House_frontlabeledMy mini houses quilt is finished!  I know you’ve heard that line before, but let me go back in time to a galaxy far far away, to this:

Fail Mini House

Mini House Fail.  Yep.  That center certainly is puckery, demonstrating clear signs of the Training Bra Effect.

Something, somehow was just not right.  So back to the QuiltPro software I went, redesigning seams and adjusting tweaking.  Yes, I was a veritable Gepetto in my digital workshop, firm in my resolve to keep to the original Rolling Star Block with its Lemoyne Star (or 8-pointed star) center, as I liked the way it interacted with the “bushes” in my little village.

Sewing Skeleton

It feels like I’ve been sewing on this for ages. . .
(photo courtesy of The Quilt Loft, a local fabric shop)

Mini House Redo

Armed with new templates, I followed the directions (but NOT the dimensions) of the great tutorial from ever-talented Rachael of Blue Mountain Daisy. She has good tips on snowballing on corners (I oopsed and sewed on the bottom triangle — the “front yard” —  too early in the above photo, but still made the little doors and windows work okay.)

I am happy to provide this pattern at no cost, as I want to share this mini quilt design for anyone else who wants an interesting pattern to sew up on those days.  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: Houses Mini Quilt 18inch

Houses Mini Quilt

Fabrics:  You’ll need a few yellows, various reds and pinks (roofs); four different green fabrics will be the bushes.  Choose two bold colors for your center that really play against each other, but notice that mine are “calm,” and not busy, prints.  See earlier post for the pain over choosing those centers.

Houses Mini Quilt Template Code

Here are some notes to go with that pattern.

There are two kinds of houses: the one that begins with a square and the one that begins with a rectangle.
•  The base for the square (shown in the above photo with snowballed corners) is 5″ cut dimensions.  You’ll need four of those in different house fabrics.
•  The snowball blocks (bushes, roof and “front yard”) measure 2 3/4″ square and you’ll follow Rachael’s directions, remembering to put on your doors and houses before you sew on the “front yard” piece.
•  The flatter houses will use a rectangle (template D) that measures 2 3/4″ x 5″.  You’ll need four of these in different house fabrics.
•  I did apply SoftFuse to my doors and houses, a winner of a fusible product that everyone should have in their stash.  (I have a post coming up on August 1st that talks about it–check back for more info, or Google it.)  There is no template for those–just cut freehand.
•  For the half-square triangles (HST) used for the bushes and the center Lemoyne Star, cut squares 3 1/8″ (template A or C) then cut diagonally in half.  (Or sew two fabrics together 1/4″ on either side of the center diagonal line, then cut apart–there are many good tutorials online for making HSTs.)
•  For the HST used for the flat-house roofs and front yards and the sky triangles, cut a square 4″ then slice diagonally (template B).
•  Templates E and F are for the sky pieces, and H/G become a 3 1/8″ block when put together.  Use that dimension to make an HST.

Mini House Redo_1

First do the square houses, then cut out the rectangles for the flat houses.  Add windows and doors, checking you don’t have too much repetition, but a little is okay (ties the quilt together); stitch around each window and door.  Add on the front yards for the square houses, then the flat houses.  Build the roof/sky assembly for the flat houses, then lay everything out, as I did, above.  I think at this point, I had also sewn the HST for the bush/sky combos.

Now add the center pieces and see if you like them.  As you know, I cut six different combos before I was finally happy.  If the center fabric was too busy. . . fail.  If the center was too washed out. . . fail.  The yellow and the pink below are really strong colors, but the visual texture is “flat.”

Start sewing the pieces together: roughly divided into thirds from top-to-bottom, I sewed from left to right in rows, beginning with the smaller units of bush/sky and sewing them to the next largest piece, and so on.  In the top row, I pressed the seams toward the flat house unit.  In the middle row, I pressed the seams away from the pinwheel of the pink/yellow, and in the bottom row, I pressed the seams the same as the top row. (I thought of this as a sort of giant nine-patch.)

Mini House Redo_2

Everything seamed and pressed.

Mini House Redo_3

Cut a square of batting and a square of fabric (well-pressed), then layer up your quilt.  For such a small quilt, I use straight pins, sinking the point into the batting.  First stabilize the quilt by sewing the strong verticals and horizontals (think: nine-patch), then sew around the rest of the straight line pieces, using a walking foot and fine thread.  (I use Bottom Line by Superior Threads for this work as the thread is nice and fine and disappears.)

Mini House_front detail

I stitched in clapboard on the houses, horizontal on the flatter houses and vertical on the squares, but broke out into curvilinear on the dotty houses.  I swirled in a bush, did a curvilinear on the front porches and the yellow points of the Lemoyne Star, then outlined and stitched in the sky in a random fluffy cloud effect.  A strong binding finished it off.

EmmaOttoRussellJames

Here’s the book I was listening to while working.  While I usually never recommend a book until I finish it, so far this has been a lovely and quirky, a perfect summer read.

Mini House_back

I had some great little house fabric for the back.  This is for the Home Sweet Home Mini Swap and it’s okay to post photos of the quilt.  The surprises come in not revealing what extras you tuck into the box for your partner.

Mini House_back detail

I cut giant 6″ squares, folded them in half diagonally, then attached them in to the corners for easy hanging with a dowel cut to size.

Mini House_frontlabeledThis is quilt # 147 on my 200 Quilts List and is 18″ square. I haven’t shown you the label or the name as I’m keeping that a surprise, too.  I’ll update the post later, after I mail it off in early September.

Tiny Nine-Patch

Note: For an excellent video with tips for the traditional construction of the Lemoyne Star, head *here.*

Matrix and Offset Pattern Giveaway

Matrix

Sometime back I wrote about the Mid-Century Modern Bee and all the talented quilters there.  I also mentioned my friend Anne of SpringLeaf studios and how she is a pattern designer and maker.  This week she is having a giveaway of two of her patterns, and I thought you’d want to know.

Deister Mtrix2 blog

The first one is Matrix, a beautiful quilt using bold and bright colors as well as soft-toned grays.  It’s fun to make and easy too.  Head to Anne’s blog to leave a comment and enter her giveaway for this pattern and where you can see other versions of this quilt (she is very thorough).  Hurry! for the giveaway for a downloadable PDF version closes soon. You can also buy this in her Craftsy shop if you want (info is on her blog).

Deister tumbler bedroomThe other quilt pattern she is releasing is Offset.  Our group test-drove block patterns for her in the early stages of development, so it’s fun to see both of these patterns.  Head over to her Offset Giveaway to leave a comment and enter your name to win one of her patterns.

OffsetI’ve sewn Anne’s patterns before and she is a ‘cut above’ in the pattern designing market.  She writes clearly and makes her illustrations easy to follow with clear directions.  I also like the “extras” she puts in her patterns, and it was from her pattern Facets that I finally perfected the miter when I end my binding.  Again, you need to hurry! to get in on the giveaway–head over to SpringLeaf Studios and have a look around!

Good Heart Quilters Quilt Retreat 2015

QuiltRetreat_2015_2

The Good Heart Quilters had their 4th annual quilt retreat at Lisa’s home this summer.  She is the smiling blonde marathoner in the lower right (I am in the yellow T-shirt).  Some of our group isn’t here, and we also had a couple of newbies join us this year.  We meet at Lisa’s home Friday morning, eat lunch together (Lisa gets it all beforehand) and this year, we went out for dinner, then sew into the night. Saturday the group meets up again (we always lose a few on Saturday) and goes again until they can’t anymore.

QuiltRetreat_2015_1

From this industry. . .

Quilters working on Quilts

. . . came these results.

EPP Laurel

We had some handwork going.  Laurel shows her Rosette #1 of the New Hexie Millefiore Quilt along, and the start of her third rosette is the inset.

House Block CentesrLisa was more than patient with me as I auditioned centers for this house block for her to comment on.  At 16″ it is to be a mini quilt for a swap I’m in.  While the easy way would be to use the popular Swoon pattern, I went back to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns and went to the source: a block titled Rolling Star from 1932. This brilliant little house idea came from Blue Mountain Daisy.

LemoyneSawtooth Star

(from here)

After setting in umpteen Y-seams and a billion more V-seams, I finished the mini quilt top.  I think using the Swoon Block method of half-square triangles would have been easier, but the center of the original Rolling Stone block is also a Lemoyne Star, rather than the a Sawtooth Star block, so inset seams it is (although I suppose I could subdivide them like the lower block on the right).  I like to try this original Rolling Star block again, now that I’ve got one under my belt.  We’ll see which one ends up going to my partner!

See you all next year!

Mini-Quilt Swapping

I know I’m late to this particular party on Instagram, but I have recently jumped right in and signed up for three swaps.  These are little groups of crazy people who have more than enough to work on but think it would be fun to make a gift for some unknown person, include a boatload of treats in addition to the mini and send it off, hoping it arrives.

So here they are:

HomeSweetHomeMiniSwap

Mini-house Swap.  This was started because the Denise, the organizer was moving and wanted to do a swap around the idea of a new house (blog post showing general info is *here*).  I like house quilts, and had never tried a swap, so decided to try it.  Then all these terms started floating around like Swap Mama, Swap Angel, Swap Moderator (which I think is the same as a Swap Mama).   I thought I would just sort of play along and pretend I knew what they were talking about.  Since I’m such a non-shopper, I’ve been taking screenshots of people’s “other extra items,” and will try to head out and find some since I’m such a newbie at this.  For this swap, we have an organizer, and a Swap Mama, who has sent out emails letting us know what’s up.

The first picture (above) is the confirmation I received after I signed up, then the logo for the main swap, then the logo for the group with our own “Swap Mama.” Believe me, the State Department has more code words than these do, but we do come close.

KaffeMiniSwap

Kaffe Fasset Swap.  How can you pass up something like this?  The sign-ups closed July 5th, with partners posted on July 13th, so I haven’t heard anything from Leslie Piper, who is the organizer.  Here’s their Facebook page, though.

 

SimplyMiniSwap

Simply Mini Swap.  This may turn out to be my favorite because all we can send is a mini quilt and a hand-written note to the recipient.  Brianna, the organizer has already sent out guidelines, and I love everything she is doing.  We have three check-in dates, a request to post a Mosaic, and shipping dates.  Above you see the interest post, then the IG post that the swap was a go, and the rest of the images are pretty self-explanatory.

She also gave us a link to a fine post about Rules for Swapping from Karri Garza.  Loved it.  If you click on Karri’s “swapping” hashtag on the bottom of that post, there are a few other posts she’s written about swapping.  From this I learned that some people sign up their dogs. (!!)  And their children. (!)  Hmmmm.  I’m hoping I’m on the receiving end from another grown-up human quilter, and that all these turn out to be a cool way to meet new people and create something fun.

If you want to try a swap, Amanda of Openquiltswap on Instagram has started a clearing house of swaps–such a great idea to help people like me find their way.  I did a search on other “swap rules” posts.  Here are some:

Katie Bastie on 52 Quilters

Schnitzel & Boo, who I think kind of pioneered this whole swap thing on Instagram

A Pinterest Board of mini quilt ideas from the New Jersey MQGuild

Be Nice or I will stab you

I also found out that there is an informal Black List that circulates among the swap organizers of flakey quilters who receive a mini quilt, but never send one out.  I’ve been in block bees like that, or have received quilt blocks that were at best questionable and at the worst, hideous.  So maybe being in a swap is like a big fun roll of the dice.

keep-calm-and-swap-on-3

Are you in any swaps?  Have you thought about being in a swap?  Any interesting stories to share?

Shine: The Circles Quilt

Shine-waving

Shine: The Circles Quilt
66″ square
First block started June 2014 • Top finished June 2015

I’ve finished my quilt top and am happy to release it into the wilds world today.  I started sewing these English Paper Piecing patterns after I’d finished Kaleidoscope and needed a new hand project.  I was also sick of straight lines, and though I’d do some circles.  Those of you who have followed along know that I took a lot of inspiration for the circles from a church my husband and I had visited while traveling in Slovenia, the art which found its way into fabric.

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

I named it Shine because of all those circles, those suns, those compass points, radiating out from the quilt.  I could see this all done up in solids, too.  I’ve seen a few of your starting your project.  Please tag me on IG (occasionalpiecequilt) or drop me an email with a photo so I can see what you’ve begun.

I’ve now completed the instructions for this quilt, and have priced it at six dollars for a PDF download.  It is in my Craftsy Store, listed as Shine: Circles Quilt Finishing Instructions and is available for purchase, so you too can finish off your quilt.

I know I haven’t released the last circles — numbers 13 to 16 — yet (well, you have one of them), but I’ve made up a pattern for the final four, which is also on my Craftsy store if you can’t wait through the end of summer to get them all.  The Final Four Blocks from Shine (I made the pattern earlier) is also priced at six dollars, for a PDF download.

I’ve loved creating these and sharing them for free, so I hope you’ve enjoyed grabbing them and making them.  At some point in the future, I’ll start moving the downloads to Craftsy, as I’m trying to gather all my patterns there for ease in locating them.  Sometimes it gets hard to navigate blogs, even with the excellent search engine that my blog software provides.

Shine Sashing inspiration

Where did I get the inspiration for the finishing?  One day when I was walking around San Diego, I looked up and saw the facade of the building and thought, aha! — those crosses with circles would be perfect in between my circles.  I ended up leaving off the circles as my quilt had a lot going on and they were just too much.  Your quilt may be different, so you decide (the option is in the pattern).

Zagreb doorway design churchAnd the border?  I started here, in this archway from the church in Slovenia, with those triangles.  But again, I wanted my circles — and all that handwork — to stand out, so I simplified it with trapezoidal pieces in between the triangles.

Now to quilt this, a good summer project since we’ll be local most of the time.  I’ll find the next Inspector Gamache book (I heard a new one is coming out in August) and sew my brains out.  Can’t think of a better thing to be doing when it’s scorching outside.   The tutorials for the final patterns will post regularly throughout the summer, but feel free to grab those final block patterns early, if you want to get going on them.

Thanks for all your support and EPP love while I’ve been working on this project. Happy Piecing!

 

Circles Block #13–EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circles Block 13 EPP_OPQuilt.com

Tiny Swirly Gig
Circles Block #13 of the Circles EPP Sew-A-Long

Since I so rationally decided that I needed SIXTEEN blocks to make up my quilt, all I can chalk it up to is summer heat (coupled with our drought, we are going to have so.much.fun), regular old garden variety stress (having cloth in your fingers lowers blood pressure so I heard), or a blissful existence of sitting on sofas eating bonbons while watching videos and stitching.  Choose one.

But here I am again on the Final Four of the Circles Blocks, created because I wanted something more than straight lines to English Paper Piece.

I have been giving away these patterns for free, as I want to share my designs for anyone else who wants an interesting pattern to sew up on those days.  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 Circles Block 13 from OPQuilt Printing for block 13

I print out my papers on 24-lb. weight copy paper, a bit heavier than the usual stuff, and make sure my printer scaling is at 100%.  Print off four copies of the pattern, and cut them out around all the lines. You only need one circle, though.

EQ7 Block 13I also print off a color picture of the block (this one made in EQ7) and keep it in my little baggie full of pieces.  It helps when my brain fades, or too much is going on around me, or I’m trying to remember what the heck all those little pieces are for.Circles 13_1fabric selection

Fabric selection is usually based on what falls out first of my stack, as I glance over at all my blocks up on my pin wall and try to find fabrics that I’ve used before, so the quilt will blend.

The other day I put a photo up on IG and someone asked me what my fabrics were.  If you’ve been following me for any length of time, while I am totally impressed that a designer can make up a line of 14 fabrics that all go together, and I love love love them, doesn’t mean I’m going to use them all in a quilt at the same time (although I have done it once.  Or twice.)  And I’m a selvage cutter-offer, so the chances of me knowing what they are might probably be very slim.  I’ll probably know the designer, but the name of the fabric?  I have a thing for using a LOT of different fabrics in a quilt.  I mean, it’s a great big fabric universe out there.  Why not have fun?

Color and Value Wheels

The other tip to picking good fabrics is to know your color wheel–how it works, as well as your value scale (light-to-dark).  (Illustration above from *here* which has a quick primer on color and value.) More quilts have been ruined by the inclusion of medium-value fabrics only, especially by the use of medium gray (ACK! ACK!).  Try to get a range of hues (colors) in light (tints) to dark (shades).

Circles 13_2Which direction do you want your swirls to go?  If you want it to look like the pattern, place the printing face down on the wrong side of the pattern.  Which ever way you do it, be consistent on both colors of swirls.  I pin the pieces, slice around them with my rotary cutter (no, I am not exact), then use the glue method of getting the fabrics on the papers.

Circles 13_3

Ta Da!

Circles 13_4

I like to lay out all the pieces to see how they play together.  I like this bunch.  Often this is where I’ll switch out fabrics, trying to catch it before I get everything sewed together and then hate it.  If haters gonna hate, let it be at this stage.Circles 13_5Sew a light swirl to a dark swirl, being consistent as to which color is on the left or the right.
Circles 13_6Sew the sets of two into sets of four.Circles 13_7Add the points to the sets of four, attaching the rounded edge of the pointy piece to the swirls.Circles 13_8Stitch the background points in between those.  I make sure that the “extra” background point always ends up on the same side, in this case, the right.Circles 13_9Don’t they look great?Circles 13_10Now join two sets of four to make a set of eight. Circles 13_11Beauty shot.  I stitch at night while watching movies with my husband and this dark leather foot rest makes a good backdrop.  I am NOT eating bonbons because a) my hands are busy, and b) it would get chocolate on the fabrics.Circles 13_12Now join the last two seams.  Yes, it’s okay to switch thread colors if you want to along one seam.  In this case I used yellow on the swirls and white on the points.Circles 13_14Another beauty shot.  Cut a 14 1/2″ square of background fabric, fold in fourths and lightly iron in the creases so they will serve as registration marks for aligning your circle.  Remove all but the outer-edge papers.  If you see some wild seam allowances, trim them now (you’ll do it again at the end).Circles 13_15You know the point-up or point-down drill by now. [If you don’t know what I mean, I have lots of tips and tricks in the other twelve circle patterns.  Click on the tab, above, to see the other circles.]  Take time to try yours out on your background.  Obviously I went with point up.  Now I am not liking the center circle I had planned.Circles 13_16I have a bag of Rejected Center Circles, and I’m trying more out now.  Circles Block 13 EPP_OPQuilt.comBut in the end, I went with this one, because often you just need a dark center to anchor the circle.  And sometimes you just need some dark chocolate to anchor a life.  But hold off, you are not done yet.  Applique the large circle to the background, then cut off the back, as shown in earlier circle posts (you can access them all by the tab up above).  Again, trim any wild-looking seam allowances.  Now appliqué on your middle circle, using tiny stitches.  Press face down on a well-padded ironing board (or a folded towel, if your board isn’t padded).

Now you can hit the chocolate bonbons!

Ready, Set, Begin: Summer Fun 2015

Lake Fire June 25 Map

To truly begin summer off correctly in Southern California, you need a fire, and we have a doozy of one going on right now, only a few miles from my house.  The above map, from today, shows 21% containment, and I could see clouds of billowing smoke yesterday when I went to the grocery store.  Usually we like to END our summers with a fire, but not this year, the fourth year of the drought.

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So my friend and I decided to hit the road this morning, in order to recover from the ardor of Registering for QuiltCon 2016 (no, I didn’t get the Gwen Marston class), and visit the newest shop not too far from our town in the neighboring city of Temecula: Needle in a  Fabric Stash.

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Our only other dedicated-modern-shop is in Los Angeles, way too far away for a casual stop, so it was nice to find out about this place.

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Sue Stone, the owner, has a well-curated selection of fabrics, from Alison Glass to Cotton and Steele to Dear Stella, and isn’t locked into one line too heavily, but instead displays them to encourage mixing between the designers.

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Some fun displays and stacks of fabrics.

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The displays and patterns are well organized and encourage browsing.

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Here Sue is helping a young customer choose fabrics for a quilt.

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A nice selection of solids, plus more lines.

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Needle in a Fabric Stash is owned and managed by Sue (above).

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She’s been in operation about 7 months, and has already set up some great classes.

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We grabbed some lunch and kept going. . . over to Primitive Gatherings Quilt Shop, not located in Wisconsin (that would have been QUITE a road trip) but in the next town up, in Murrieta.

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This friendly fellow, an import from Wisconsin, helped us get signed up in their store system, and showed us around.  Since I used to live in Wisconsin, we traded that old joke about there being two seasons in Wisconsin: Construction and Winter.  I knew the one about three seasons: June, July and Winter.  He admitted that he would like to be back there during summer, but come winter. . . he was happy to be in California, where the car doors didn’t freeze shut.

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As the name of the shop implies, the bulk of their fabrics are Civil War era prints, and they have lots of very cool displays.

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The Modern Section.

IMG_5073 IMG_5074I was amazed by the teensy tumblers quilt they had on display–along with teensy precuts to go with it.

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We both liked their mini tote designs–they had several.

IMG_5076 IMG_5077All in all, a good outing on a hot summer’s day!

My Small World, June 2015 edition

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I don’t often jump on the Latest and Greatest Thing in QuiltLand, but this one called my name.  It’s Jen Kingwell’s My Small World and was printed in the oh-so-elusive QuiltMania Spring issue 2015 (picture above is from the QuiltMania website).  I don’t know why you are making it (there is a My Small World QAL on Instagram and other places), but I know why I am making it.

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It’s because in the 1960s, when wearing white socks with your loafers was considered cool and women always wore pantyhose with their bare legs, I came here.  Our family was on our way home from living for two years in Lima, Peru. It was in the days of Disneyland with tickets, and we seemed to have enough for our family of seven children to go on this ride.  Since I had a broken leg, I went on it more than once.

The ride, first fabricated for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, was installed in California’s Disneyworld in 1966, which will make it fifty years old next year.  I live about an hour from the original Disneyland, so it’s my patriotic duty to honor this institution, right?  Of course we all know THAT song:

“Children of the World” was the working title of the attraction. Its tentative soundtrack, which can be heard on the album, featured the national anthems of each country represented throughout the ride all playing all at once, which resulted in disharmonic cacophony. Walt conducted a walk through of the attraction scale model with his staff songwriters Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, saying, “I need one song that can be easily translated into many languages and be played as a round.” The Sherman Brothers then wrote “It’s a Small World (after all)” in the wake of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which influenced the song’s message of peace and brotherhood. When they first presented it to Walt, they played it as a slow ballad. Walt requested something more cheerful, so they sped up the tempo and sang in counterpoint. Walt was so delighted with the final result that he renamed the attraction “It’s a Small World” after the Sherman Brothers’ song.” (Wikipedia)

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While I have no idea if Jen Kingwell was influenced by the smart geometrics, towers and shapes (Tokyo Disney, above), to me there is a clear connection.

MySmallWorld_1Judging by the photos on Instagram, we all start here: cutting sky pieces.  I did neutrals for a while, then started adding in whispy blues, just to make it more interesting, as I’d seen others do it.  It’s that idea of collaboration, as expressed in my last blog post.
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Section One’s Sky.  I was listening to a book on Audible, that I finally had to turn up to 2x speed just to get through it.  I’m not recommending it.

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Now I’m back to Inspector Gamache, written by Louise Penny.  I’m going to hate it when I get through reading this series!

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Buildings and some sky.  Now to start on the details.  I found reading Susan’s entries on her PatchworknPlay blog was helpful, too.

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I used some leftover leaves from the Pineapples and Crowns quilt to make this square.

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Susan’s idea to start the tiny pinwheels by cutting two inch squares, then making HSTs, then on to the pinwheel was a good idea.  I threw in some of my New York City fabric, with the words Radio City Hall to liven up this section.

It took me forever to figure out what text thing to put at the top of the building, but I went for this one, since Betsy is a childhood name.  I also had fun fussy cutting a hot air balloon in the Sky Section for Section 2.  You can see the bits of blue sky in the neutrals now.  Here is the progress I’ve made so far:

MySmallWorld1and2Churn Dash Diagram 12And here’s my contribution to the Errata: In section 2, the center square for the churn dash is incorrect.  It should measure 1 1/2″ no 2 1/2″.  Having said that, I have enormous appreciation to Jen Kingwell for this pattern–it has a LOT of moving parts and to even get some sort of pattern down on paper is amazing.

In my real small world, I’ve taken a couple of trips since the semester finished.

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The first one was to Phoenix to see my daughter’s husband graduate from Dental School.  I think he had the oldest children of any of his fellow graduates there!  They have happily moved to their new city, and he has started work already.  But this week, they are on a trip to Disneyland to celebrate their achievement.

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And to start the summer off with a bang, I also took a couple of trips through these two machines as a spot on my lungs showed up in my yearly X-ray.  It is because of *this* that my oncologist checks everything.  Twice.  The diagnosis from these humming machines revealed it was nothing to worry about, although for three weeks I did — a lot. I couldn’t really talk about it at the time, so I’m glad it’s behind me.

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However going through all that certainly made me feel like a basket case.  No, I didn’t know about this when I started this quilt, but it certainly is appropriate!  Now I should really get to the closets that need cleaning out, the papers that needs tossing.  It’s nice to think about regular life again.

I’ve also been busy sewing up more Circles Blocks as I want to finish that quilt and get it quilted.  I have one more to go, then I’ll have sixteen total.  Block #13 will be up on the blog in a couple of weeks.  Here they are stacked together:

Circles Blocks StacksWhat’s been going on in Your Small World?

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Next block is coming on July 1st!