May’s Blocks (and some of June)

Random Number 6

Because my husband is busy this afternoon recovering from our trip (see below), I used an online generator to pick a winner today for the felt, and it’s Elizabeth (what a great name, eh?) who goes by catskillquilter.  Congratulations, Elizabeth!  I’ll be in touch to get that sent out to you.  I have two more giveaways lined up in the next couple of weeks, one courtesy of Uppercase Magazine, and the other from the Steam A Seam people (that one’s on June 13th–in conjunction with our continuing Hallowe’en 1904 QAL).  I’ll have some great news as well about that fabulous pattern.

MCM May 2016_Carla

Here we go, first with quilt blocks from our Mid-Century Modern Bee: Carla of Grace and Favor asked for a modern churn dash block, saying she likes mustard and plum.  Above is my block, but I was tempted by this, from @myquiltdiet:
Sawtooth Churndash

I thought it would be fun to try, but Carla said “Too much work!” I could hear the laugh in her voice, so I smiled and went with tweaking the center bars to give it a bit of a twist.  I hope she likes it.

Spelling Bee May

In our Spelling Bee Quilt Bee, Susan of PatchworknPlay asked for words to make up her saying, which she’ll reveal on her blog.   I first took three words with “w’s” but then Simone had none, so I gave two back, leaving me with the above.

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Since NOT staying at home seems to be the thing I do the best lately, we headed out Friday for a mini-reunion with my husband’s family in Zion National Park, about 7 hours away.  You can tell who has been coming there for ages (this makes about trip #20 for me) as we say “heading to Zion’s” as if there’s a possessive element there.  (However, I do feel like it’s “my” park.)  To try and catch up with my patchwork, I took some Chuck Nohara blocks on the road, stitching them in the car and in the park.
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We invested in new air mattresses this year, twin blow-up beds, and those of you who have slept on a queen air mattress with another person while it slowly deflates all night long, know exactly why I replaced our aging air mattress.  It also helps that my favorite camp quilt, Hearts in the Pines, is made for a twin.  The pattern is out of print, but you can find the blocks in this previous post.  My husband’s bed later on got a green nine-patch, but he left it off because it was. . .

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…pretty dang hot this weekend. Snapshot was from the next day, where it turned out to have a high of 103 degrees F (about 40 C.)Zion16_3

My husband and I, my son and his wife and boys always go out to dinner at Zion Pizza and Noodle Company the first night, as we all love their pizzas, and who wants to cook after setting up camp? I love their scallopy crusts.
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We were tasked with getting the S’more supplies.  I cracked up when I saw a whole section just dedicated to this.Zion16_5

We rejoiced to have my husband’s niece (shown here in the Virgin River with the  youngest of her six children) join us.  Several weeks ago she underwent surgery for a brain tumor, and while under anesthesia, had a stroke.  She awoke to a mostly paralyzed left side and has undergone significant physical therapy just to be able to walk with occasional hesitation.  But she’s walking! She’s our own little success story, and she and her husband and family are our very own heroes.Zion16_6 Zion16_7

Throwing rocks in the river was great entertainment for my grandson and the other small cousins. (No, he couldn’t lift that one.)Zion16_9

I left the river early because it was too hot, and went back to camp.  I picked up my Chuck Nohara stitching, sitting quietly in the shade, watching (and chasing away) the squirrels.  All of a sudden I hear a sound directly behind me, and using the reverse camera on my phone, caught this shot.  One of the other little cousins came running over, saying “Bambi’s here! Mom, Bambi’s here!”

Because of the above sitting quietly, I’m all caught up with my Chuck Nohara blocks from April and May:

April 2016 Chuck Nohara May 2016 Chuck NoharaNow to head into June!

What Was Old is New Again

Venice Floor Gone Bad_large

After a trip to Venice one year, I got the bright idea to re-create the magnificent floor in the cathedral, but with subterfuge.  Some of the sections would bleed into the others, and others into others, and all of a sudden it got very complicated very fast.  Either this is a really good example of Deconstructionist quilt style, or it’s a Venice Cathedral Floor Gone Bad.

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I’d also taken a class from Hollis Chatelain at Road to California, and had come under the spell of her close, narrow quilting.  Now it’s called matchstick quilting, but then, we didn’t give catchy names to rows and rows of thread, narrowly spaced. The back:

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I used to hate it, but I must admit, given the hundreds of quilts that are now using Hollis’ matchstick quilting, the quilt is growing on me.  The reason why I’m revisiting this quilt’s new-again-technique, is to also look at this one, too:

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Every Common Bush Afire, No. 31

A sampler quilt, made when I trekked up several weeks in a row to take classes from Carolyn (of Road to California fame) it hangs every fall in our upstairs hallway, reminding me of fall colors in cooler climates.  I love looking at it, and love the colors.

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But this is why it’s being revisited: the large maple leaf on the back.  I made this in the year 2000, but now you see fancy pieced quilt backs everywhere.  I still am of two minds about pieced backs, as getting it on straight seems to be a challenge, as well as dealing with the many seams.  Obviously pieced backs have evolved and it’s more like pieced strips-on-a-back with bits of extra blocks rolled in.  But it’s fun to realize that at the time, I’d given something new a try.

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The label is underneath three overlapping leaves; the quilt shows this has been in are below on little labels from those shows, which lately I haven’t seen given out.  I should still make my own labels, if only to properly identify the quilt’s provenance. Last blast to the past:

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Nihondaira, No. 53 (2003)

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I’m revisiting this one for the hand-quilting coupled with the machine quilting.  This one is specific, using sashiko thread, a thicker embroidery thread from Japan.  I began this in a class taught by Roberta Horton, a true master of quilting.

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She talked about not fretting if you didn’t have enough of the specialized yakuta fabric, but instead to be creative, finishing the shape with the hand-stitching.  So I did.

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Another pieced back, using a gradated fabric (aren’t you seeing those again?)

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Yeah, I realize I sound like a quilt geezer.  But this might explain why I don’t get all in a froth when I see these techniques *burst* out into our quilt world as the newest! greatest! most amazing! thing.  I had a conversation with Debbie of A Quilter’s Table not too long ago, and we discussed how some of these people–like Hollis, or Roberta Horton, or even Nancy Crow–seem to have faded into the background of our quilty life.  I love the new and the novel as much as anyone, but I also recognize my debt to these amazing women, who were innovating, even before social media’s sticky grasp.  Do we exist if we are not on Instagram?  Or Facebook?  Or run a blog?  Do techniques from a decade or so ago remain hidden, except when those of us who have done them, bring them out into the light of the internet?

You know the answer.

Cross-X Swap, January Update

KristaDecOct Blocks

Krista sent me these too close to Christmas to post (and besides, no one was reading any blogs that week anyway), so here they are on the New Year, now that we’ve all put away our decorations, celebrated, vacuumed and have actually resumed some sense of order in our lives.  Or at least pretend we have.

CrossX all Together 12_13

We are in the (I can never get this right) the Plus and X Friendship Swap.  Or the X and Plus Swap.  I just call it the Cross-X swap, as noted in the title, and all our blocks — thus far swapped — are on my pinwall, above.  Cool, huh?

Cross-X So FarB

As of this post, she is all caught up, but I’m now 4 blocks behind for January.  I can just hear her saying “Neener, neener, neener!”  I’ll catch up, Krista, I promise.  I notice that usually we try to make the background all the same, but in her blocks sent for January, she’s varied the backgrounds.  I’m trying to decide if I like her new twist, but she’s very creative and a really wonderful swap partner, so I need to be open to new ideas.  We try to blog the last Fridays of each month and hey–it’s only the 10th, and I need to get out several blocks promised for a cooperative group quilt, two bee blocks, and I’m working really hard on my Amish With A Twist-2 quilt, too.

Quilt Frolic_front

Quilt Frolic has a new home. During Christmastime, all our children and grandchildren came home, and my youngest, Peter, and his wife, Megan, stayed with us the entire week while waves of family moved in and out of the two other available rooms.

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I had this quilt on their bed, and one morning Megan was relating a conversation she had with Peter about how much she like this quilt.  “I mean, I really like it,” she said.  And she asked my son if she thought she could, like, borrow it, or even have it.

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Megan, that is music to a quilter’s ears!  I gave it to her on the spot.  I was thrilled that she liked it well enough to want it, and I think she was thrilled to take it home.  Megan really liked the fabrics in it–a combo of Amy Butler and some Anna Maria Horner–a kind of fabric that suits Megan well.  She did get it into her teensy little carryon for the trip across the United States, to their home on the East Coast.

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I am glad that this quilt has gone to someone who loves it!

Harvest Weekend

pumpkins

With pumpkins and tawny hues and brown grasses prevalent in the colors at this time of year and in the Northern Hemisphere, falling temperatures, it triggers the idea of harvest: cutting the wheat, gathering the last of the fall vegetables,  All Is Safely Gathered In, and that sort of thing. Well, what constitutes a harvest?

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It all starts with seeds, a planting of an idea, a sowing of labor with the yield some time off in the future.  An idea, like beginning to learn how to make Amish quilts from a book, as I sat in the scorching heat of a Dallas Texas summer many years ago, sweat running down my back reading Roberta Horton’s Amish Adventure.

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I had escaped to the back porch for three minutes peace from the marauding hordes of hot tired children in watching some movie on the VCR, steeping my mind in the stillness of these stunning quilts.

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Strong graphic design and the muted, yet brilliant, colors enticed me, and I began small, with doll quilts, experimenting in the shapes, the colors.  At that time the best we could hope in terms of solid fabrics was a mix of cottons and polyester-cottons.  Purists would gasp now, but we had just barely graduated from using cardboard templates with taped edges to cutting out the lids of margarine tubs to use instead.

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Roberta Horton’s book, first published in 1983, rocked my tiny isolated world of quilting.

Amish Nine-patch

I moved from doll quilt-sized quilts to a larger wall quilt, still unfinished.  And then to a larger quilt, laid out in rows in the corner of my bedroom for weeks, while I refined the gradations of color.

Amish Sunshine and Shadow

I had drawn out Sunshine and Shadow on graph paper, trying to figure out the coloration, mimicking what I saw in fabric. This was early in my quilting career: all of my quilts on this post are numbers 10 and 11 quilts on my 100 Quilts list.  I also made a faceless doll to match what I’d heard were common in the Amish country.  And then, Amish Quilting was the first quilt class I ever taught, in a small shop in Arlington, Texas, now defunct, and yes, we made a doll quilt, and yes, we used Roberta Horton’s book.

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Back to the Sunshine and Shadow, I figured out the borders, sandwiched with flannel (as she noted that Amish quilts were flatter than our fluffy renditions) and I began quilting it by hand, criss-cross, and then cut paper patterns for a twined-vine border design.

Amish Quilts Adventure Continues

The seed planted by Horton and her quilts and her book is now in a second harvest, if that’s possible.  Last summer, C & T Publishers put out a call for Amish quilts of all types to be considered for a new rendition of An Amish Adventure. I submitted my photographs and had one quilt accepted.  The book has now been released and is titled Amish Quilts–The Adventure Continues, and it as much a celebration of that first book in C & T’s publishing history as it is the style and cultural contribution of the Amish quilt–certainly a forerunner to today’s modern quilts.

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Here’s my doll quilt, made so many years ago.  I now consider it as an entry in the first round of strong bold graphic designs and solid fabrics.  In the book, mine is right next to Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, of the Modern Quilt Studio and Craft Nectar blog.  I certainly did do a happy dance in the kitchen as I opened up the package.

You can get the book from the C & T Publishing website and from Amazon.com.  My mother already has her copy, so I know it is shipping.  If you haven’t had a chance to make yourself an Amish quilt, perhaps now is the time, before too many more harvests stride past.

Amish Doll Quilt

I like to think about harvests, as to me it always indicates a leap of faith somewhere.  At some point I made a quilt, and now can “raise the song of harvest home.”

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As a reminder, occasionally my blogging software will include an ad at the bottom of my posts; however, I receive no monies from their ads.  Since I use this software for free, I consider it a fair trade.

At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night

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 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, front

I’ve written about this quilt on this blog before, where I referred to it as Hunter’s Star, a description of the block.  But now it is finished, binding and all, and has a new name: At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night.

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I’ve done a couple of “under the starry night” experiences this past week, and there’s also been some bandstanding, or music.  The photo above is of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, where they have an LED art installation, The Bay Lights, which makes patterns with fish swimming across the bridge, clouds, waves, shooting lines, sparkly doodads and all sorts of patterns.  We drove up to San Francisco to see this, as it’s only here for two years.

SFO City LIghts

And here’s The City’s lights, with the Ferry Building in the foreground.  I had first made this quilt for my youngest son’s college quilt.  He was enamored of music of all kinds, acquiring the nickname of Audioman, so I incorporated music-themed fabric into the Hunter’s Star design, a personal favorite.

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 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, back

However, he took one look at it and kind of squinched up his eyes, subtly shook his head and didn’t say much.  I figured it out, and made him a different one (#43 on the 100 Quilts List), which he liked much better.  This one sat around.

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I pulled it out because I’d put it on my Finish-A-Long list, rummaged through my fabric stash, finding the borders already cut out.  I slipped in the yellow inner border for some variety (funny how your quilting tastes change), found a large piece of IKEA fabric and put a back on it so my quilter could get it quilted for me.

BandstandStarryNight_back detail

Back detail

As you all know, it had been a beyond-stressful week for me not only for my own puny reasons, but troubles within my larger circle of people I love.  And then the landline phone on the house telephone went out.  That’s it, I said.  So I sat down and put on the binding, and Friday morning found me traveling north with my husband to a scientific conference.  I happily stitched as he drove.

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 quilt on a large cypress tree, outside our hotel room

So we found ourselves here in Monterey and it’s the jazz festival — a Big Deal, with Big Names — jazz in the lounge, on the stereo, musical instruments being seen everywhere.  And I thought of the best kind of music, being played with great affection and intensity under a starry night, perhaps even by a band on a bandstand on a summery night, and so the quilt found its name, and its finish.

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FinishALong Button

This is one of my project on the Finish-A-Long list, and quilt #47 on my 100 Quilts List.  Yes, I went backwards.  (Although now I only list them when they are completed, earlier I slipped in a couple of tops only.)