Cara-Cara-Kumquat

Say that two or three times–it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Cara Cara is a type of sweet navel orange that has pinky flesh, and is an early navel variety.  Kumquats are a small sour orange fruit that you pop in your mouth and eat–skin and all–and although it makes your face pucker up when you first bite into it, it leaves your mouth feeling really fresh.  I pull one off our trees out front when I’m going somewhere as it freshens my breath.  Add them together and you get the name of my latest quilt: that pinky-orange 9-patch that I’ve been working on for a while.

My husband held up the quilt this afternoon in bright sunlight, so it’s really on full wattage.  It’s a little more mellow indoors.

The quilting, by Cathy of CJ Designs, is a heart-and-loops design.

The back is pieced, and is a Marimekko fabric from Crate and Barrel’s Outlet Store (which regretfully moved 90 minutes away from my house–how I am supposed to get my quilt backs now?).  This is supposed to be stylized fruits (see the grapes?) but sometimes I wonder if the people in Sweden have different fruit than we do.  Let’s be real: I chose it for the colors.

Yeah, okay.  I’m proud of those corners.

Had enough?

That’s all for Cara-Cara-Kumquat. It’s going on my bed for a while, so I can really enjoy it.

Orangey-Pink Quilt

When we dropped off my sister’s quilt at Cathy-the-Quilter’s, Cathy had my orange and pink quilt ready to come home.  I’m just now getting to it.

My original thought was to piece the binding, using fabrics from the quilt.  But after piecing upteem-jillion pieces on my Come A-Round quilt, I’m about up-to-there with piecing.

So I’m going with this strawberry print by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman.  I usually don’t like white-ish fabrics on a binding, but I’m more than happy to use this and not have to piece!  Cathy did a stars-and-loops pattern for the quilting.  She’s terrific.

Happy Old Year Ending

In the old days of travel, we had a travel agent who was charming, helpful, knowledgeable and had a lovely saying passed down to her from her grandfather.  He’d never say Happy New Year–it was always Happy Old Year Ending.

I really wanted to finish up the old year by completing this quilt.  But I had a touch of the flu, and so ended up out of steam, out of the energy to push it to completion.  But the bright side is, I get to say I finished a quilt on the first day of the new year!

I added another interior border with small blocks, then a blocky outside border–mainly to use up the stack of cut fabrics.

P.S. If anyone wants this stack of 3 1/2″ squares–probably about 100 of the pinky-oranges and about 25 of the white (I haven’t counted)–leave me a comment and I’ll send them to you.  BTW, I put the rotary cutter in front for scale. (That’s not included!)

I’ll work on the backing on Monday (some Marimekko fabric from the Crate and Barrel outlet store), and take it to the quilter (Cathy Kreter of CJ Designs).  A  good way to start the new year.

Working in a Series

Here I am again, with a bunch of pink and orange and some orangey-red patches.  I’d started this when the boredom and pressure of constant grading began to get to me earlier in the fall, when cutting and stitching and feeling the fabric under my fingers was a tonic for what ailed me.  I finally got back to it this week–Dead Week (bliss!)–and have finished most of the top.  I still have another narrow white (with teeny blocks) then that long blocky-piano key-type border on the left.  Just a little something extra to differentiate it from the one I made for my daughter (•here•).

I began this because I “knew” it–knew how to do it and didn’t have to think about it when my brain was really somewhere else.  But it’s been interesting to stitch the same thing again.  This repeating of a quilt is not a process I do ever, and yet I’ve always heard that “working in a series” is the best way to go.  Of course those who offer that advice mean it in service of the creative process–not making the same exact thing over and over, but sticking with a technique, a style, mining a vein of creativity to see where it takes you.  Knowing myself, I wonder if that might not lead to boredom on my part?  It’s the constant change of promise that keeps me going forward.  I’m guessing I’m not alone here, judging from the explosion of fabrics this past two years, put out in limited edition, one-of-a-kind fabric lines that quickly sell out, leaving room for newer arrays to tempt us quilters.

I did finish another quilt this fall, but I couldn’t really write about it because it was a Christmas gift for my daughter-in-law, Kristen.  I did give a sneak peek *here* when I held it up at Quilt Night,  but here’s a lovely picture of lovely Kristen on Christmas morning with her quilt.

She says she loves it, and that makes me happy.  I guess when I look back, I have worked in type of series, but just not a creative-push-the-edge type series.  I made the green quilt, then the pinky-orange quilt, then this blue quilt.  I went for the modern-style pattern of lots of “empty ground” with the white, letting the fabrics come forward.

Whether working in a series or not, perhaps the bigger and more important issue is to keep on working?

Time Flies

I made a quilt like this and gave it away, but thought I’d like one too.  I started re-collecting a few months ago, and now have enough for two quilts!  Doesn’t it always go like that?  At the rate I’m going this month, I’ll have it done by summer, but it is fun to look at such an explosion of color when I get bored with my grading.

On a related note, a friend bought two of these bundles to make a quilt for her granddaughters.  I couldn’t get them out of my mind.  So when Fabricworm had a little Black Friday sale, I bought a stack, too.  Do I know what I’m going to do with them?  No–but who could resist this luscious stack of turquoise and red/oranges?  I just noticed that they are sold out of them, so I’m hoping that I got one of the last ones.

And at FabricShoppe on Etsy, I found this coordinating fabric; I figured I could work the argyle in somewhere, and the zigzag might make an interesting binding.  Although we hardly ventured out, you could say I contributed to the American economy in my own way.

On a related note, I’ve been thinking about time–most notably the belief that I will have more time in some imaginary future than I do now.  Which is why I can’t seem to finish the quilt on the pin wall, but I’m happily adding to my stash via Black Friday sales on the web.  In an article in the New York Times, it notes that our perception of time is never accurate:

In fact, scientists are not sure how the brain tracks time. One theory holds that it has a cluster of cells specialized to count off intervals of time; another that a wide array of neural processes act as an internal clock.

Either way, studies find, this biological pacemaker has a poor grasp of longer intervals. Time does seem to slow to a trickle during an empty afternoon and race when the brain is engrossed in challenging work. Stimulants, including caffeine, tend to make people feel as if time is passing faster; complex jobs, like doing taxes, can seem to drag on longer than they actually do.

This would explain why when grading a pile of student essays, time slows to a deadly crawl.  But when shopping for shiny bright new fabric on the web or piecing a lovely hot pink and orange quilt, the time seems to gallop by–leaving me only an unfinished quilt on the wall.

I will have more time come the new semester as I’m only teaching one class–and it’s one I’ve taught multiple times so things are pretty well in place (unlike this past semester of two new preps).  The trick will be to discipline myself to use this extra time in a most rewarding way, which will definitely include, among other things, cutting into and piecing fabric.