Stars in Alignment

For once, the stars were in alignment which made my technology work and me able to solve my template problem. As I mentioned, I was unable to locate my original EQ file. It has disappeared from my computer or was saved to such a weird location that I will only be able to find it by stumbling across it when I am looking for something else.

Since I had been researching the Cross Block’s real name, Flowering Snowball, I had found EQ’s version of the block in their database and had saved it to EQ6. I decided to try and print templates from their block to see if it would work with the piecing I have already done.

There were a lot of ifs in this little escapade. Since my printer was moved down to the laundry room, I haven’t been able to print from my computer. I thought I would need to get some boosters for my wireless network before printing would work again. In the meantime I have been saving to a flash drive, running downstairs and printing that way.

I forgot to change the printer to PDF and printed out templates in the correct size. I didn’t get an error message and that surprised me, so I went to the printer and, lo and behold, there was a template printout waiting there! What luck.

Daring not to hope that this could work, I went back to my work table, hauled out the other templates I have been using and measured the corner template against the printout. Yippee! The size was perfect! I was in business.

I made the template and cut out a couple of the middle squares and sewed them to a couple of the corner pieces as a test. All worked perfectly!

A Variety of Quiltmaking

Here are some Flowering Snowball blocks (Cross Block) in progress. Some of them you have seen before (many times?), but I put the new fragments with them to see how the piece can get away from the murky look. I felt it was a bit murky with the chocolate in the striped fabric and that particular orange.

I have lost the middle template for this block, which is holding up progress a bit. I looked at my EQ6 files and can’t find the project file, which means I have to recreate it somehow. I can cut most of the pieces and sew the corners to the middles, but at some point I have to deal with the loss of that template.

These are the fabrics from BatkisPlus and I think that the batik on the right is the same one I used on Sharon’s quilt.

Here are Pineapple blocks 9 & 10. They are the first one using my new system of organzing the strips. I can’t really see much difference, except, perhaps, that these blocks are a bit darker. I think it was the way the strips fell. In the last rows I skipped over the dark blues and stuck with turquoise.

Flowering Snowball (was Cross Block)

I am a researcher at heart. After Sarah started my mind spinning quickly, Leslie just added to the melee in my head about the real name of the Cross Block. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I started rummaging around in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and the Kansas City Star books to see if I could find the block. I hadn’t gotten very far when I decided to e-mail the AQSG list and see what they had to say. They found both blocks (mine and Leslie’s grandma’s) right away.

According to Barbara Brackman my block is called Flowering Snowball (#3081 in the numbering system of BB’s book). It is from Aunt Kate and has the reference 7/65 next to it. Accordng to BB, Aunt Kate’s Quilting Bee was published between July 1962 and July 1967. In is part of Pattern Category #16: Nine X.

The block that Sarah found and Leslie’s grandma made are Raleigh from Hearth and Home OR Tennesse Circles from Prairie Farmer, Bk.1, 1931 (#3083). There is another one (#3084) that is exactly like Raleigh from Hearth and Home with slightly fatter proportions called The Royal (Ladies Art Company #282) OR Grecian Cross from Rural New Yorker 5/23/31 OR [ta da!] Royal Cross from Carrie Hall.

I saw this picture of ladies working on a Cross Block/Flowering Snowball quilt. It is really the only piture of this block in a quilt on the web, though there is a ClubEQ project that includes the Flowering Snowball (Cross Block) block in it.

I am thrilled and I’d like to know more, but thanks for starting me on the journey!

Handing Out Medals

When a person needs a fabric fix, a person needs a fabric fix and here is no getting around it. I went on a small fabric buying binge this weekend in order to get my fix.

Fast Threads should be given a medal for the quickest service. I ordered fabric from them on Friday and here it was on my doorstep today. I found them through the search engine. I was looking for some new dots to add interest to the Pineapple. That project makes me feel cheerful, but it certainly is a fabric hog. Not in amounts, but in variety.

On Saturday, I stopped at Black Cat to get some rotary cutter blades and found 3 background fabrics for the Pineapple. The one on the right I already had, but think it will be useful in another dot quilt I have planned, so I bought some more.

Seams Sew Right
quilt shop, also on search engine, is in medal contention as well. I only got two fabrics from them, but probably should have gotten more of the background dot. Nothing stopping me, I suppose. I love the purple with the white dots and will probably have enough to choke a horse eventually. I like their tag line: the Quilter’s Candy Store. The dots sure look like candy!

I also bought some fabrics from eQuilter yesterday, but haven’t received them yet. One black on white I really liked is out of stock. Oh well. It sat too long on my wish list.

Cross Block and Royal Cross

The research of the real name of the Cross Block started with a stray comment I made on a list saying I wondered what the real name of my block was.

That sent Sarah on a frenzy of Googling, where she found that the Library of Congress has quilt photo called Royal Cross that has similar bones to the Cross Block. Sarah also found that Tazzie has a pattern for the Royal Cross.

Then Leslie chimed in with the sudden realization that she had a quilt from her Grandma in this [Royal Cross] pattern. She posted the pics, which I have reproduced here.

Full quilt


Comparison between the Royal Cross and the Cross Block.

Blocks are constantly modified to suit the needs of the maker and I am sure that these blocks are no exception. My block and the Royal Cross look similar in the middle, but the outside of the Royal Cross looks like it is meant to draw attention to those squares in the corner. I can’t say much about that as I went on and on in one post about the center of this, among other patterns, not actually being the center. I’ll have to look through the Barbara Brackman book and the Kansas City Star books and see what I can find. If all else fails I’ll post a picture on the AQSG Yahoogroup and start sending photos around to various quilt historians.

What to Do When you Win the Lottery

The lottery is up to $25 million, so I guess I didn’t win on last week’s ticket and will have to buy another one. If I had won, I would do the exact same thing that I did this weekend: sewing, visiting with quiltmaking friends, writing about quiltmaking and more sewing. I could have done without the proposal writing and the cold I have been fighting off, but you can’t have everything.

You may notice that these blocks look very like the blocks that JulieZS showed me on Wed. I looked the block up in Around the Block, a very useful book by Judy Hopkins from several years ago. I was sort of inspired to try the block, so I made the big one for Julie and the 2 6″ blocks for two different friendship quilts that someone requested. The small ones are smaller than I anticipated, but perhaps I will make a couple of more in order to fill in more space in those friendship quilts.

It was Mav-Week as well. In addition to seeing Julie, Mrs. K was in town, so we met over in Oakland and went to lunch at a nice little vegetarian place (excellent lemonade) down Washington and around the corner from the 10th Street convention center entrance. Mrs. K was visiting the Bead Expo. I thought about going, too, but decided to sew and try to shake the cold instead. Of course, she and Vicki had to show me their purchases and, among other things, Mrs. K had bought a strand of gorgeous millefiori (according to St. JCN) beads.

I had to have them. Mrs. K was kind enough to sell them to me and go back and get another set for herself. I am thrilled. Mrs. K puts them on the ends of the ties to her prayer boxes and I will have to find something equally fantastic to do with them. I hope you can get a sense of what they look like from the photos above.

As I mentioned, I also pressed the fabric that St. JCN sent me. I am quite proud of myself for not letting it languish for months unwashed and then pressing it right away. To add icing to the cake, I cut pieces out of the new fabrics as well: strips for the pineapple and corners for the Cross Block. Below are the corners for the Cross Blocks (perhaps called Royal Cross! More on THAT later) that I cut out of those fabrics.

Dots and Denyse Schmidt Join the Party. Fabric Leads to Sainthood

In a effort to update the Catholic Church and make it more appealing to a younger audience, I think that requirements for sainthood should be eased. Sending virtually unsolicited fabric to people really should count towards the sainthood list of requirements.

A nice box arrived on my doorstep on Thursday (accompanied by my taxes, which was not so nice) literally stuffed ot the gils with fabric and little prezzies. St. JCN had gathered together my post-Birthday box and it finally arrived. The fabrics above were in it.

I needed a little infusion of new dots for the Pineapple and St. JCN supplied that for me. I am also ready to do the Chocolate Box with the addition of the Denyse Schmidt pinks.

I washed them yesterday (along with some stragglers that had been laying around) This morning I am pressing them and cutting pieces for the Cross Block quilt. Since I am there, why not?

The Art of Quilting – REVIEW

Being in the dark ages has its drawbacks, especially when quiltmaking shows come along on cable. I am lucky enough to be friends with people who are willing to tape shows and send them to me. That was the case with the Art of Quilting, a special on PBS.

Melody Johnson and Pam RuBert show up right away in the show as does Quilt National. It is a show trying to explain what makes up art quiltmaking and who the players are.

The show starts out being a slideshow of many art quilts with a voiceover by Hilary Fletcher. The introduction is followed by videos of the work of various artists including Jane Burch Cochran, Bob Adams, Pam RuBert, the Chicago School of Fusing, Carol Krueger, Kristin Hoelscher-Schacker, as well as descriptions of their work. The show also watches the artists working and listens as they talk about their work. I was surprised that there weren’t any California art quiltmakers. In between segments the slide shows continue.

I have never seen the detail of Jane Burch Cochran’s quilts and really enjoyed seeing the hidden messages she incorporates into some of her quilts. She said that she is playing with the idea that you are not supposed to touch quilts, but you have to touch her quilts to find the hidden messages. She had one about peace that grabbed my attention. She also gave some hints about being inspired as you work and how to work to facilitate inspiration.

Pam RuBert has a fabulous studio that I covet. I will think of a way to incorporate her lovely large walls in my workroom. Seeing the details of PaMdora’s world is so fantastic. The pieces of PaMdora’s world were on full display during RuBert’s segment, which was fun. I also liked the humble way in which she described her work.

Laura Wasilowski sings along with Frieda Anderson, Melody Johnson and Emily Parson in the segment on the Chicago School of Fusing. The School is fully described and each of the members of the School have a bit. I do like the clear colors that Melody Johnson uses, though she has moved on to more nature colors: fawn, stone, beige, etc. Frieda Anderson gets inspiration from nature. She also said that until recently she carried her Featherweight around in her car. Emily Parson likes the impact of large flowers and their effect on viewers. Some of the designs I liked were their machine quilting designs and the leaves as well as the smaller flowers. I also the simpler designs rather than the really detailed designs. They disparage piecing a bit, but I looked at it as of their progression.

Philadelphia Quilt Art is discussed as the next up and coming venue for art quilts. I want to say that the quilts they discuss are not quilts. I mean paper clips and candy wrappers…really? BUT, I am not going to say that, because the next thing I know, I will be making quilts out of candy wrappers and paper clips. WE must keep an open mind. Still I want quilts to have three layers and be made out of fabric. I can’t have everything. 😉

I like the way the show introduced me to lots of different artists. This is definitely a show that you have running without the sound and just have a great show running. The nice thing, aside from showing lots and lots of fabulous art quilts is that they touch on a lot of different techniques including beading, discharging, machine embroidery, fusing, painting, etc. There is a lot more to quiltmaking than just piecing. But can’t they all coexist without paper clips and candy wrappers?

It is a show worth watching and by which you can be inspired.

P.S. I struggle all the time with the whole art thing. Am I an artist? Am I not an artist? I don’t know and after hearing Wayne Thiebaud, a long time ago, on City Arts and Lectures saying that he is a painter and history can judge wheather he is an artist, I have decided to adopt this as well. I just want to do my work and grow and change my work as I progress.

I think that at heart I am an art quiltmaker, but at the moment I am in an art quilt fallow period where I am sewing with colors and patterns that I enjoy, but that are not necesarily Quilt National quality. What Comes Next and Blood and Oil are both art quilts. They will have companion pieces to follow them at some point. Just not today.

Random Photos and Bits of News

Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors have merged with or been bought by Interweave Press. Apparently, I am the last to know. I read a brief blurb in QNM of all places, then Nina directed me to the blog entry over at the Quilting Arts Blog. I hope Interweave Press doesn’t ruin QA and CPS like they did to Piecework.

In the meantime, Pamelala is busy creating some gorgeous stuff. She posted a ton of pictures of postcards to her website. It is great to see a bunch of her work all together. Then, as an added bonus, she has put together a little online demo showing how her postcards (and, I assume, her quilts) evolve. You can actually see them come to life.

Reorganization of Strip Project – Housecleaning

You may remember the post from February 18 where I talked about the perils of strip piecing. My librarian side took over this weekend and I created a new system for organizing and using my strips for the pineapple project.

The above shows my neatly organized strips. I have divided them into color piles, as you can see. The idea is that I will start from the left and select one strip/fabric for each color I need in the pineapple block. When I am done with that color, I will put the strip on the bottom. I will move across the range of piles selecting one from each pile until I need to start from the left again. For the backgrounds, I will just take 4 at a time and put them on the bottom when I am done. We’ll see how it works.

My other challenge today was in the fabric closet.

I came home after a meeting to a fabric avalanche. It is not quite all picked up, but will be soon. I wonder if the fabric goddess is telling me something.

Google/Blogger notified me that I am using 65 MB of my 1024 MB. I guess I will have to include fewer photos, make them smaller or find somewhere else to store photos. The latter is ideal as I think all 7 of my faithful readers enjoy the photos.

Pineapples are Pretty

The title was inspired, for no particular reason, except that it struck my fancy, by a poster at the Castro Theatre advertising Pretty in Pink, the 1980s movie. Molly Ringwold’s hair was precious.

I finished two more Pineapple blocks for a total of 8 now. I feel like I should have more, but I don’t. As I keep reminding myself this is an ongoing project with no deadline. I am enjoying seeing the evolution of the piece.

The blocks, all together, look pretty good.

I notice an interesting secondary pattern developing. I knew i would, but am just surprised at how much I like it.