Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Last week was hectic... but it really wasn't. It just felt hectic because QuiltCon was happening for four days in Pasadena (Thursday through Sunday), and the Olympic games were wrapping up.

Even though I didn't attend QuiltCon, I followed along very closely via Instagram. Lots of quilt pictures were posted, and even more quilters I know were in attendance and meeting up with friends.

My Australian friend, Di, who spent a month with me last year (her arrival on February 2, 2017) was able to attend QuiltCon, but shortly after the show began she was felled by the flu!

Here's Di on the first day of the show, doing her volunteer shift and posing in front of one of her two gorgeous entries into QuiltCon. This quilt is "Shining Through." Last November, it received 2nd place in the Modern Traditional category in the Modern Quilt Show Australia.

As lovely as Di looks here, it was just as this volunteer shift ended that she was laid low with the flu! The poor dear! She retreated to her hotel room, started taking Tamiflu, and slept. Though she was weakly back on her feet by Saturday afternoon, I can't imagine how disappointing it was for her to anticipate such a fabulous event and then be sick. She's a trooper, for sure. She let me know she still enjoyed herself... seeing the show, visiting the vendors, and connecting with other quilters. I'm so glad.

To participate in QuiltCon myself, I joined in #quiltconfromhome, posting a few pictures of what I was working on during those four days. I started something new using Christina Cameli's new book "Wedge Quilt Workshop," stashed solids, and a long-unused 9-degree ruler.

While piecing lots of these wedges, in between I sewed leaders and enders. My pile of 16-patch blocks (4" X 4" finished) has passed 90 now!

Last Saturday was our Central Florida MQG Sew-In at the Belleview Public Library. Though our group was small, we had a great time! Not only were each of us able to work on whatever we wanted (I was hand-sewing binding on two quilts), we had fun with a fat quarter swap of solid fabrics. I'm ever-grateful for quilting friends.
L-R: Karen T., Beth, Linda T., Karen E., Ruth, Dee, Edith, and me
As for the Olympics, watching the final of men's curling was by far the most fun sporting event I've watched in a long time. These guys made quite a comeback after several failures early-on in the round robin games.

It's the first time the US has won gold in curling!

During many hours of watching, we got acquainted with these fellas. Matt Hamilton of McFarland, Wisconsin (third from the left) was estimated to have played on the Olympic ice for slightly more than 40 hours. John Shuster, the skip (far right) from Duluth, Minnesota is given much credit for the team comeback, and his own high accuracy rock-delivery. Such a Cinderella story. Ahhh. It's great to be an American! I can't imagine what a wonderful homecoming it was for all these guys.

This morning, my neighbor-quilter-friend, accompanied me on a photoshoot to take pictures of a couple finished quilts. I encouraged her to bring along one of her own quilts for a photo. We headed to Brownwood, one of the three squares in The Villages. In Paddock Square there's a statue of a cowboy. Since Becky's quilt is small, we thought he would make a good backdrop.

Turns out, every cowboy needs a little quilt! 

The statute has a smooth finish, so there wasn't any way to get the quilt to stay laying across his lap. So Becky put the quilt through his arm, hung on, and stood behind him. Perfect, isn't it? I think Mr. Cowboy may be modeling more quilts in the future!

By the way, if you like that little quilt, it's a design by Missouri Star Quilt Company called "Trail Blaze." How ironic that it's a name that suits a cowboy?! Find the tutorial for a larger version of it here.

This picture of a long line of parked golf carts was also taken at Brownwood, last Saturday morning when we went to Farmer's Market. It's definitely snowbird season!

But when the weather's gorgeous like it's been, with the sun shining and the temps in the mid-80s during the day and 60s overnight, it's tough to begrudge anyone else wanting to enjoy it as much as we do.

The AQS (American Quilter's Society) show opened today, through Saturday, in Daytona Beach. I'm boarding a bus - one of three buses of Quilting Guild of The Villages quilters - early tomorrow morning to spend the day.

"Florida" 3rd place, Quilting Guild of The Villages, January 2017
My Florida quilt is in the show.

It didn't win anything, but I get free admission to the show! I'm looking forward to spending the day with quilt-y friends. Linda

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Progress, a Near Finish, and More

Year of Scrappy Triangles
This post is my link-up to SewnbyLeila's post for the Year of Scrappy Triangles. I've now made all 20 foundation paper-pieced blocks (plus one bonus block for newsletter subscribers) that she has given away on her blog. Since this will eventually be a whole year's worth of scrappy triangles, that means we have 32 more blocks to make. Unlike many other quilters who are making multiples of each block, I've been making only one.

If the photo above looks familiar, that's because it's almost like the one in my last post. The only difference is the block in the lower right corner (see below). It's the 20th block that I made to complete Leila's challenge to us. 

Since I won Leila's January giveaway of fat quarters - for those who had made the first nine blocks - I'm sure I won't win again. But, this is a reason to maintain the weekly pace.

On my Janome 1600P, this week I quilted Slopes. After considering many possible quilting designs, I knew that whatever I quilted wouldn't be very visible - lots of busy-ness already with all those prints and colors - so I decided to walking foot quilt it with trips of wavy lines back and forth across the width. Basically, it's quilting to hold the whole thing together.

My only concession to the quilt top was to coordinate the top thread colors. I used each of these Aurifil 50-weight threads on the top, with white on the bottom.

And let me reiterated how much I enjoyed using homemade basting spray! No pins! The spray works so nicely with cotton batting.

Scrappy binding is machine sewn to the quilt front, so hand-sewing to the back is next. I'm not happy about having to wash every quilt when it's done, but that's the trade-off for using homemade spray. The mixture shouldn't be left in the quilt to attract bugs or grow mold.

Quilting this was easier than anything I've quilted for a long time.

Pre-Washing Solids
I also want to reiterate how much I like Painter's Palette Solids! I had a couple of fat quarter bundles that needed washing, so yesterday I sorted the colors and put all the darker hues into the washing machine, along with a color catcher. See that white color catcher after the fabrics were washed? That's right! Not one bit of color bled out! Paintbrush Studios is doing something right with their fabrics!

I sure can't praise other brands of solid fabrics like this! Kaufman Kona is the brand I've had the most problems with in the past. As proof, in April 2016 I took this picture of color catchers used with Kona. See the aqua and yellow in the catchers?

Though I do have quite a bit of Kona in my stash, my plan is to stay with Painter's Palette as much as possible.

A Special Quilter
I've gotta point the spotlight on my blogger-friend, Karen (KaHolly), a quilter with an extremely generous heart. Last year, after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, she wanted to help an outlying pet farm. She did so by requesting fabric dog blocks for her birthday. I made several and sent them to her in Texas.

Karen and her daughter Kirsten went to work, putting together the blocks, sandwiching quilts, quilting, and binding. Karen wrote a lovely blog post about delivering the quilts. It's heart-warming to see how quilters find ways to let others know "I care."
QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena
While I am wishing I was at QuiltCon in Pasadena right now (February 22-25) - my Aussie friend, Di, who visited me last year at this time, is at QuiltCon! - it helps being able to see these winning quilt. I'm proud that I know several of the quilters who won: Anne Sullivan (Playcrafts) and Debra Jalbert (MadeofHonor) from the Orlando MQG, Charlotte Knoll (Kirkenoll) from the South Florida MQG, and friend Paige Alexander (QuiltedBlooms).

Seeing these quilts is a good reminder that a modern quilt doesn't necessarily have to be intricate to win a prize. Stephanie won $5000 for this Best in Show!
QuiltCon 2018 Best in Show: "Going Up", 52" X 64" by Stephanie Skardal
Dan and I are still enjoying watching Olympic curling. While we were disappointed that the US Women's Curling team didn't make it to the semi-finals, we've been happy about the impressive come-back of the US Men's team, winning four games in a row to make it to the finals! I'll be at the Central Florida MQG Sew-In on Saturday when the gold-medal game is played between the US or Sweden. Go USA!  Linda

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fly By

Once again the week flew by in a flurry of activities. Happily, via the golf cart I was able to enjoy the gorgeous weather we've been having that has been cool at night, and very warm during the day.

For instance, on Thursday I carted to line dancing at 7:10 am, then carted to Panera Bread for a Central Florida MQG executive committee meeting, and then carted to another rec center where I ate a light lunch while sitting in the golf cart before heading in to Ukulele Players Club! By 2:45 I carted home again. It was a lovely day.

Or maybe it has seemed busy due to so much TV-watching. Curling must be watched! Of course! This past week there was even more of it to see as both the men's and women's teams started round robins - ten teams playing one another with ten ends to each match.

I've been trying to not completely waste that time though, and have again picked up crochet to occupy my hands. This is the 2017 "Moorland Blanket" designed as a crochet-along by Lucy (Attic24). I changed-up her colors to those I consider more Florida-like. I'm about a third of the way through.

I have to say that I really like the colors, though I haven't yet used all of them in the piece. Even though I've had to un-crochet a few times because I've mis-hooked the pattern, I do love those ripples. Looks like I should take some time to bury tails again. 

When I'm not watching TV, I've taken snatches of time to be at my Bernina, catching up on two quilt alongs (QAL) begun in 2017.

This week, for the Bernina Zen Chic Triangle QAL I made these appliquéd blocks using my punch color - fuchsia. Otherwise, all the triangles are jade- and teal-colored prints.

Last night I completed the last of 12 different blocks to make a total of 66 triangles.

I'm happy to be finished making triangles and am looking forward to Brigitte's (ZenChicModa) instructions for putting the quilt top together.

Leila's "Year of Scrappy Triangles" QAL continues. All the blocks are foundation paper-pieced. This week I completed blocks 13 through 19.

Along with the bonus block, I now have 20 blocks. Only 32 more to go!

I like the chevron layout and am thinking that to end up with a larger quilt - all the blocks are 6" X 6" - I'll make 52 half-square triangles with a combo of solid gray and text print. I'll have to try it out, but alternating plain half-square triangle blocks with these might create a nice, contrasting restfulness against the busy-ness of the pieced triangles.

This morning we went to the Farmer's Market, as we do every Saturday morning to stock up on a week's worth of veggies for daily juicing, and for Hogan (the dog). He gets all the green beans, and some of the carrots. The bounty was so pretty this morning! That's $35.50 worth of vegetables. I always include turmeric root in our juice as it's purportedly beneficial for preventing tumors.

The only negative about so much goodness is washing, cutting, and putting away everything. That usually takes a couple hours, so I'm not in my sewing room until noon.

But the pay-off is worth it. And, Hogan loves me even more. 😍 Linda

Monday, February 12, 2018

What I've Been Up To

Every day last week I meant to write a blog post, but it's not unusual these days to be so busy with extra-curricular activities and interests at home that I don't take time to post. Last week was especially so.

Of course, there was the usual line dancing, quilting groups (read about our Central Florida MQG meeting here), ukulele players club, and Bible study. But add a few other activities like the Ukulele Performance Group's visit to a nursing home, Iowa friends for dinner, an afternoon at Lakeridge Winery with my friend Karen, a second Bible study group, and whoops... there's a busy week!

Early last week I spent three days making sourdough bread. I don't know if you've ever tried to make the real thing, but sourdough bread-making is quite a complicated process. While I'm definitely pleased with the results - it was as crusty and tasty as it looks - the starter-making, leavening, waiting, proofing, refrigerating, resting and baking in dutch ovens at varying temperatures made for lots of work. Now that I've done it once, I'm happy to pay whatever a bakery charges!

Both of the Bible studies I'm participating in are offered through The Villages recreation department, and are just two of the offerings among the 2,700 different clubs and activity groups available here!

I am gleaning so much from each study. Our Nehemiah study is on Friday morning, and it's especially meaningful. Years ago, an Iowa friend and I together did a self-directed study of Nehemiah, and though I think we flushed it out pretty well on our own, we wished for a directed study. Kelly Minter's study definitely fills the bill.

"Entrusted" is a Beth Moore study I've done before, though my first go-'round didn't include group discussion. This time, on Monday mornings, I'm sharing it with a small group of eight women, and that makes it more enlightening. This is a study that's definitely meant for seasoned believers though.

Also, the Olympic winter games have captured my attention. When I want to watch in my sewing room and FMQ, I do so through my computer because NBCSN isn't available through my TV's cable box. I'll be sharing this quilt finish in another few weeks.

We've been recording and watching all the mixed doubles curling. I'm completely smitten with curling!  It's disappointing that our American brother-sister team, the Hamiltons, didn't make it to the finals but it was a pleasure to watch. I think I'd like to try curling, though finding a curling facility here in Florida isn't very likely... nor can I ever imagine me being able to hunker down so low to the ice to release the rock! Well, I might make it down, but getting up...  oof. I'll just keep watching.

Sewing-wise... I completed the 60" X 72" "Slopes" quilt top. My version is different from the one in Amanda Jean's book No Scrap Left Behind, and I love it! It's all about color!

I inserted teeny contrasting strips in three places. Amanda Jean used one strip in her version.

Still sticking to my 2018 plan to use only stashed fabric, this is the backing I pieced.

I'm pleased I could use up the rest of that multi-swirly print as well as make use of the pieced triangle blocks I first tried to use on the quilt front. No waste here!

I'm so proud of me to have arrived at February 12 without a fabric purchase. 😇

My friend Karen has suggested that some of my quilt-y friends might be placing bets to see how long I can hold out! 😄 Linda


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