Love is Love by Ricky Tims
81"x81"

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Love is Love is the most unexpected quilt and pattern I’ve ever created. It happened when two significant events collided. June is the month for LGBTQ awareness and the perfect time for sharing this quilt and the story behind it. Many of you will remember the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre that occurred on June 12, 2016 where a gunman took the lives of 49 souls and wounded 53 others. For me, that day married triumph and tragedy. You see, I had become a huge fan of Hamilton (the musical). I was so inspired by the genius of Lin Manuel Miranda that I wanted to go to NYC and see him and the original cast before they left the show. On June 6, 2016, I did. Six days later I was back in Colorado and I was excited about the Tony awards which were to take place on the evening of June 12, 2016. Hamilton was the projected favorite to win Best Musical. I woke up that morning to the news of the shooting  in Orlando. It was such a shock—numbing. I wondered how it might affect the Tony awards, which would surely proceed as planned, but the mood would, no doubt, be somber.

 
Lin Manuel’s acceptance speech for Best Musical was poignant. It ended with this…
 
"This show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall and light from dying embers. Remembrances that hope and love live longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside." 
 
I was so moved by the words that night that I immediately designed Love is Love fabric and made it available for sale on Spoonflower.com. I ordered my own yardage, and when it arrived, I felt strongly that I needed to use it somehow in a quilt. I had little time, so I decided on big chucks. The diamonds of a Lone Star seemed reasonable. As I moved forward, it (the quilt) was begging for another round of diamonds to become a Broken Star. The quilt then pleaded for appliqué with the words, LOVE IS LOVE - and those became the feathery appliqué. The pattern is available. The Love is Love fabric is only available from www.spoonflower.com
 
The fabric sales allowed me to contribute to the LGBTQ community and to help raise awareness... that love is love is love is love is love and cannot be killed or swept aside. 
 

 TRY THE JIGSAW PUZZLE

Choose your own difficulty. Click the 9-patch grid to change number of pieces. Click the circle arrow to make the puzzle pieces rotating instead of stable orientation. Also, there are tips under the "?" on the upper right of the puzzle. If you'd like a full screen version, click the button below. Have fun!

  

 

2021 52 Week Challenge Class

 

52 Week Challenge Class: Loved Ones
Photo by Anne Meadows

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Anne says:

This opened up a whole new world! So fun to get an idea, not have any of the skills or equipment to do it but somehow get close. This is the one that my husband liked the best. The most interesting editing was playing with the color sliders after turning it into a B&W.

2021 Smart Phone Challenge Group

Challenge: Timeless
Photo by Gigi Kandler

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Gigi says:

Converted to black and white, added vignette, added texture, added border.

 

 

 

2021 Critique Group

Challenge: Black and White-High Key
Photo by Cheryl Franklin

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Cheryl says:

I enjoyed learning about high key this week. I was using a new lens and it started to rain. I was being watched by a protective motherly glance.

 

Ricky's Challenge Photos:

Challenge: High Key Black & White
from the 2021 Critique Group

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Ricky says:

This was a week where I managed to shoot a fair amount of shots to play with and see what might feel the best. Those shots are on my camera which was left behind in La Veta when I completed my quilt retreat yesterday. Somebody smack me. So it was back to square one and my iPhone. (insert sound made by a grumpy old man). Today I resumed the shooting. Later in the day the fog rolled in and I shot this from my terrace. I like the fading away and felt it would work.

 

 

Challenge: Timeless
from the 2021 Smart Phone Challenge Group

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Ricky says:

Home sweet home for me. This is the road heading toward La Veta as I approach the valley after topping a hill. It always makes me smile. We can only see a few structures, and the road, which dates it to time as "life with humans" - but otherwise, it could have been taken over 100 years ago. This road is actually the Taos Trail - which is a spur off of the famous Sante Fe Trail - and the stage coaches used this road back in the day.

 Lizzy Albright Quilt by Karen O'Brien and Grandchildren
 Click image for detailed view. 
 
I love it when people reach out to show me what they are up to!  Karen O'Brien recently sent me a photo of her completed Lizzy Albright quilt, which she did with her grandchildren after reading the novel. Her story touched me because this specifically was what I had in mind when Kat and I wrote the novel and, as many of you know, my dad and I bonded over a love of quilting (stay tuned for more on that next week!)
 
Wanting to learn more about how Karen integrated the Lizzy Quilt into quilting lessons for her grandchildren, I asked her a few more questions. I learned that Karen is teaching her grandchildren just as her grandmother taught her! Read on to learn about Karen and the Lizzy Albright adventure she and her grandkids enjoyed together. 
 
How did you learn to sew/quilt? 
Karen O'Brien (KO): Growing up in a large family, I enjoyed the special attention sewing with my grandmother. In the 1960's, in Kansas City, I sewed simple A-line dresses in the summer for school. I met my husband in high school, age 15 and he remembers the simple gray dress I was wearing when he first met me. We will celebrate our 50th wedding Anniversary in 2022
 
How long have you been sewing/quilting?
KO: I began sewing in the 1960's and quilting in the 1970's in Lawrence Kansas while attending graduate school in Nursing at KU. Kansas was quite progressive in bringing quilting back to life in the 1970's. I'm especially interested in art quilts which use fabric medium.
 
Why has it been important to you to teach these skills to your grandchildren?   KO: I have such fond memories sharing special sewing time with my grandmother and want to share this gift with my 5 grandchildren. Even if they don't pursue the skill, hopefully, they will remember time we spent together. My grandchildren's guest bedroom is also my quilting room.
 
How did you go about teaching them to sew/quilt?
KO: Start with asking the child their favorite colors or design, such as mermaids or animals. Even preschool age children can sew a simple patchwork doll quilt or a pillowcase. My 10 year old granddaughter sewed "dog" theme quilt to enter in the Sisters Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon. Unfortunately, the Pandemic put this trip on hold.
 
Did the Lizzy quilt lend itself easily to teaching a child how to quilt?
KO: The Lizzy book was such a great inspiration and a great introduction to "traditional quilting."  I used Ricky's recommendations on which blocks would be easiest for children. My 10 year old granddaughter completed the "Rail Fence" block and the 14 year old grandson completed the "Sawtooth Star."  It was very helpful to have a sewing machine with a button to control the stitching instead of a pedal on the floor. Many children cannot reach a floor pedal. The quilt, as well as the Lizzy novel, lives in our family cabin in Wahatoya Canyon Colorado near La Veta. 
I hope future generations will enjoy reading the book while sleeping under the Lizzy quilt.
 
Do you have a favorite block from the quilt?
KO: My favorite block is the Mariner's Compass. I made the quilt during the 2020-21 Pandemic and the North star pattern served as a constant stabilizing force, plus I learned I like paper piecing!
 
Does your grandchild have a favorite block?
KO: One 12 year old granddaughter likes the "Snail's Tail" as it reminds her of ocean waves and the youngest 4 year old loves the "Scottie Dog" MacDougal.
 
Click any image for detailed view.
   
The O'Brien family cabin in Wahatoya Canyon, where the Lizzy quilt will live for generations to come!   The O'Brien grandchildren, all being very creative!   Karen and her 14 year old grandson with co-authors, Kat Bowser and Ricky Tims, at a Lizzy Albright promotional event in Colorado Springs.

 

 

Pink Flower Prelude by Ricky Tims

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 Improvisational Patchwork has been a part of my quilting experience from the onset. Quilting Caveman Style is just that - improvisational patchwork. There's no quarter inch seams - no rulers - no measuring - and no templates. I love it so much it is the first session in Virtual Quilt Luminarium and the students feel so free learning it. This quilt was made without templates - just doing it as I go. The scrolls are appliqué, but the rest is all just flying by the seat of my pants. The fabrics are hand-dyed and this quilt was made in 1998.
 
The title, Pink Flower Prelude, is a nod to one of the tracks on my first solo piano CD - Heart and Soul.
 
If improv instrest you, consider signing up for Virtual Quilt Luminarium. There are 24 sessions. Over 11.5 hours of fun, learning, and inspiration.
 
 

 

 

 

 TRY THE JIGSAW PUZZLE

Choose your own difficulty. Click the 9-patch grid to change number of pieces. Click the circle arrow to make the puzzle pieces rotating instead of stable orientation. Also, there are tips under the "?" on the upper right of the puzzle. If you'd like a full screen version, click the button below. Have fun!

  

 

2021 52 Week Challenge Class

52 Week Challenge Class: The Road
Photo by Kathleen Madden

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Kathleen says:

This is a rail "road" along Turnagain Arm, Alaska. With the traffic, it wasn't possible to get the actual auto road without risking my life. This is one of the spectacular drives along water and mountains in our state.

2021 Smart Phone Challenge Group

Challenge: Movie Title
Photo by Hannelore Nunn

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Hannelore says:

Let's pretend that my watch is a clockwork piece.

 

Did you guess the movie?

A Clockwork Orange

 

2021 Critique Group

Challenge: Weathered
Photo by Mary Degreef

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Mary says:

This is some of the hay bales we put up last fall. We didn't use a lot this winter because we had plenty of grass. The ends of the bales that are stacked along the sides of barn are open to the rain and sun and will weather quite a bit before use. These haven't been here long enough to show too much weathering but it is beginning. The barn itself is probably about 50 years old and shows some pretty good weathering. I like the way I was able to frame the bales with the barn posts. I gave the photo a gradient using one of photographic toning choices for a sort of vintage look. Simple, but I like it.

 

Ricky's Challenge Photos:

Challenge: Weathered
from the 2021 Critique Group

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Ricky says:

This old wagon wheel table sits outside not far away from my house—24/7/365. Every year I give it a bath of linseed oil. But it never looks fresh and new. Mother Nature takes her toll. Fortunately, it still holds together and makes for a nice place to sit amongst the oaks that managed to survive the fire.

 

 

Challenge: Movie Title
from the 2021 Smart Phone Challenge Group

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Ricky says:

Just trying to spice things up a bit...he he he.

 

Did you guess the movie?

Some Like It Hot

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