Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Truth and Whole Story

My biggest dream is to have the modern quilts I make be modern enough to be accepted into QuiltCon. That's the truth of it.

But too often for comfort, I find out that I'm missing the mark. If my quilts aren't accepted into QuiltCon because QC receives too many entries, the fact remains that three jurors are choosing the quilts to be accepted. Many more quilts must rejected than accepted.

As much as I try to keep my expectations low, I've learned I'm going to be disappointed.

More than ever, I'm asking myself... Why do I enter QuiltCon? After my more than 40 years of making quilts, I think I enter to find out if my original designs are modern enough. 

This year I entered six quilts into QuiltCon 2020 at $15 an entry. While two entries were specifically designed to enter in the show, I submitted several entries because I thought: "What the heck? Why not try?"

QuiltCon accept/reject emails arrived this morning. It seems I must continue to look for that illusive "something" that makes for an amazing modern quilt. 

One quilt of my six entries was accepted.

It's the quilt I spent the least amount of time making! It's the quilt that thought I wouldn't make for our Central Florida MQG challenge!

It will be displayed at QuiltCon 2020, from February 20-23, in Austin, Texas. 

👍 "L Cabins" (name courtesy of my Ocala friend, Nancy) 43" X 48"
L Cabins is made entirely of solids, and is straight line, walking foot quilted. I like the way a picture makes it look dimensional, but in person I don't think it looks quite like this.

Five of my six rejected entries have already been seen in previous blog posts. 

👎 "Broke the Rule: Jewels" 32" X 39-1/2" 
This is the Indah batiks quilt I thought to make for the QuiltCon Challenge. Unfortunately, I didn't follow the rules - to add only solids to the prints that were provided. I added other prints. Too late I discovered my mistake, but entered the quilt into another category.

👎 "Artificial Sweetener" 31-1/2" X 31-1/2
I made this quilt for a Central Florida MQG challenge. It's the first time I've put together a truly improv quilt. I used colors I don't normally use, and some ombrés. It's ruler work and free motion quilted.

👎 "Carousel" 33" X 33"
This quilt is a result of playing with the ten degree wedge ruler and Christina Cameli's book Wedge Quilt Workshop. In fact, I've taught two workshops to make this quilt. I especially like this one because of the two-colors of hand-quilting in the center.

👎 "Owl Always Love You" 58" X 68"
This is the second time I entered this quilt into QuiltCon. It was also entered (and rejected) for the modern quilts display at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. 

Owl Always Love You holds a special place in my heart because it's based on grandson Austin's artwork. Here's the story behind it. I'll now finally give the quilt to Austin.

👎 "Motto" 63" X 66"
No one has seen this quilt. I made it in July and kept it completely under wraps because I knew its message would be controversial to some people. Whether QC jurors rejected it on design merit, or because of the message, I'll never know. But I am most proud of this quilt which was inspired after reading the news in June 2019, that South Dakota passed a law that our national motto was to be placed on public school walls by the fall 2019 opening of school.

Here's the description I submitted with this quilt:
In March 2019 South Dakota joined a growing number of U.S. states passing legislation that public schools are to prominently display our national motto. Visual reminders reaffirm our historical heritage, and encourage patriotism. Three fonts represent how we view these important words. Silver gray letters symbolize our nation's foundation; dark gray letters are those stenciled on public school walls; and green letters represent our currency. 
Motto letters are pieced and foundation paper pieced into an improv-pieced background. This is domestic machine quilted. 
I spent many hours making this quilt. The background is entirely improv-pieced. 

Two different fonts were foundation paper pieced. 

The currency print was the most difficult to make, as I used a basic foundation pieced alphabet and then individually added serifs to each letter.  

The quilting is a combination of walking foot quilting, ruler quilting, and free motion quilting. I used a difficult-to-quilt design as background behind each letter. Believe me when I say that I buried hundreds of thread tails because of so many stops and starts. 

In November I spent most of an afternoon taking photographs of my quilts for submitting to QC. No fancy equipment here! I sat the camera on top of a pile of containers to get it level with the center of the quilt. 

When I say I put my heart into my Motto quilt - In God We Trust - that's the truth. The whole story. In God I trust is who I am. That's why today isn't an easy day. 

These rejections have me thinking about what quiltmaking means to me, and why I continue to make quilts when I certainly don't need them - 80 to 100 quilts are in the top of our closet. Making a modern quilt challenges me, and I embrace that aspect of the process. Making quilts also, for me, is about fulfilling a relentlessly strong urge to create. Will that ever go away? I guess today has made me pause to realize that there's no need to enter my quilts into shows, and it's probably time to stop throwing my money away on entries. 

The truth is, that above all, making quilts is about interacting with people who make the process enjoyable. The very best part of quiltmaking is the friendships I've made through the years.

Bless you all! Linda

Monday, December 9, 2019

Monday Melee

In the bustle of activities, particularly the pre-Christmas melee, it's almost astounding how the days fly by. As I remain on-the-go, it's still surprising and disappointing (in myself) that writing a blog post takes a back seat to other things. So many other things.

Like online shopping. I'm not one to enjoy shopping among crowds, so when online deals came to my attention, that's where I focused my time. Among Black Friday specials, weekend deals, and Cyber Monday sales, I found fabrics too good to pass up.

These fabrics are from two of the three places I shopped: and Another order is yet to come from

On the left, from Christa I bought five one-yard pieces from a couple of her Benartex fabric collections. Then, surely because she and I are friends, she generously included six-inch sample squares of each print from her newest "Gridwork" collection coming out in January. I love the bright boldness of her fabrics.

At the top middle are two wide backs for finishing already-made quilt tops.

All the remaining pieces are knits! Three double-brushed poly knits on the right to make legging. The plain aqua fabric has cutwork along the edge that will look nice around my ankles. This piece came from my Thursday, first-time visit to The Sewing Studio in Maitland. Poly knits in the lower center are to make swing tops to go with the leggings.

You might wonder that I didn't buy more quilting cottons, but honestly... do I need to make any more quilts?! Storage space is at critical mass, as our master closet is overflowing with quilts. Like about 80 or more of them. In the weeks ahead I'll be activity choosing places to sell or donate them. I have several outlets in mind.

When Jill visited over Thanksgiving, she brought with her the latest box of fabric found at my grandparent's farmhouse in Ohio. You may recall that in July, I handled the first round of fabrics, including quilt tops, which I shipped to Monica in Austin, Texas.

This box has more of the same vintage fabrics, many of which have been cut into squares, and a large pile of four-patch blocks. Note the piece of cardboard that says "1968." I can only assume that is the year these squares were cut and sewn. 

At first I thought all the four-patches were hand-pieced (left), but just as many were machine-pieced. If grandma machine pieced these, I'm sure it was done on her Singer treadle machine. 

Thanks to Monica's @ButtonCounter series of Instagram posts about how she washes old fabrics, I will use her detergent recommendation to hand wash these fabrics and blocks. 

These two new fabrics are what I'll use to finish the quilt top that belonged to grandma. 

Since one border is missing, and there's no fabric to match, I plan to remove the three borders, incorporate the blue print into each one, and re-attach them. The 108"-wide piece of white muslin is to put behind the hand-pieced quilt top, to add stability, as I make the quilt sandwich. I plan to machine quilt the piece which will be given to granddaughter Celina who requested it.

I made three more zippered snack bags, two of which have already been gifted. The Haribo Goldbears (gummy bears) bag and it's contents were given to my line dance instructor who has previously shared with our class that her Wednesday night card club eats gummy bears soaked in various kinds of alcohol. I understand that these bears have already been drinking rum!

I also caught up to December 2 on my 2019 temperature quilt. It was a couple months worth of cutting and piecing, and what a relief to see a return to some cooler temps! The top right block represents an overnight low of 35F, a refreshing color change after a long summer of hot pink, red, and burgundy. Two more columns of drunkards path blocks will go onto the right-hand side, and will include a color key to the temperatures ranges, so the quilt should end up at around 72" X 84". For backing, a rainbow ombré wide back print is coming from Pineapple Fabric. 

Otherwise, I've been sewing clothes again. This is how my sewing room looks, rearranged so I can turn between my Bernette serger and Bernina 770QE. This past week I made three leggings, and three swing tops.

For leggings, I used this free online pattern. For tops I've made several modifications to Kwik Sew pattern #3766. I've added width and length for "swing," switched from short to 3/4 to long sleeves, and changed the neckline from low to regular, and even boat neck. Google has all the answers for this kind of pattern hacking! Drawing on freezer paper that's been pressed onto pattern pieces is how I keep making changes. Now to have more cool weather so I can wear these things! 

This is the 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, Seashore, that Jill bought at Barnes & Noble when she was here. We worked on it together, and while I love working on a puzzle with others, I'm very slow on my own. Still, I finished it Friday, and felt satisfied to re-box it and put away the card table until another visit.

We've noticed that one of our two Hawaiian Ty plants, outside the front door, has begun to bloom! We've never seen this, even though we've had them for six years. Blooms in December?! Does anyone know what prompts these blooms? The colors are gorgeous!

I've listened to two more books, and have reviews for you.

Lies by T.M. Logan is a story that takes place in the UK, and is about a happily married man, Joe Lynch, whose life changes when he and his four year-old son follow "mom's car" into a hotel parking garage, and stumble into her volatile meet-up with another man. From the husband's point of view, everything that happens is a mixed-up misunderstanding, even when the police are interrogating him. The storyline uses Facebook and lots of technology to explain what's happening. From the reader's point of view, we "get" what's going on. But in the end, reality surprises everyone! This is a who-done-it without a body, or much evidence.

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

This is a psychological thriller that also takes place in the UK. I found Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall to be very frustrating. It's about a man, Mike Hays, who is obsessed with his girlfriend, Verity Metcalf. During an eight year relationship, Mike and V come to love and know each other so well that they create signals and a pick-up-a-man game they call Crave. When they break-up, and V subsequently marries Angus, Mike accepts the blame for their failed relationship and assures himself that V is surely continuing a version of their Crave game. The story is told by Mike, and I kept wanting to yell, "You're wrong, wrong, wrong!" He's a man who is delusional... obsessed... scary... I disliked the story because I strongly disagreed with his point of view, but the author had me in her clutches. Hence...

Linda's score: 4.4/5.0

I have another book to recommend. Though I haven't yet finished it, it's perfect for the season, and for quilters.

The book is Wrapped Up in Christmas by Janice Lynn. It's about a man who's honorably discharged from the Army. After receiving a Quilts of Valor quilt, he goes looking for the quilt maker so he can tell her how much the quilt means to him.

This morning I'm off to Peace, Love and Ukulele Club, to play and sing my heart out. 🎵 It's always a cheery time, starting with our opening song: "With a Little Help From My Friends." Linda

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Moroccan Tiles Quilt

Another bonus of having our daughter visit over Thanksgiving is that she could get her Moroccan Tiles quilt, that I rushed to finish and gift-wrap for her.

Moroccan Tiles finished at 65" X 72".

I walking-foot quilted a diagonal grid "behind" the tile designs, and free motion quilted each tile.

For the first time, I made two sided binding, also called double sided binding. I used vanilla Grunge for the front side, and that teal floral print for the back side. That meant I cut a 1"-wide strip of front binding and 2"-wide strip of back binding, and joined them to make 2-1/2"-wide binding. This is the tutorial I followed.

In an attempt to use up all the fabric we'd bought for this quilt, I designed the backing to sort of compliment the tiles on the front. The side arcs aren't as round as those on the front because the quilt width didn't allow for it. The idea still comes across though, I think. 

While I was in a label-making mode, creating labels for six QuiltCon entries, I made this label for Jill's quilt. I've begun adding quilt dimensions to all labels. That information often comes in handy. 
Jill seemed very pleased with the quilt and was excited to take it home. Her house is undergoing some updating - new kitchen cabinet doors, paint, and new carpeting - so Moroccan Tiles will suit the colors and style well. 


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving with Family

Time has flown by, and so did a Thanksgiving visit from our Kansas City family. Between preparation for their too-short five-day stay, and returning our house to normal post-visit, more than a week has passed quickly!

My sewing room undergoes a big changeover whenever more than two people come to visit. Granddaughter Celina slept here.

I was happy to make up the air mattress with my recently-finished Cascade quilt

And I was more than thrilled when she said "yes" to my question, "Would you like this quilt?"

I even managed to whip up a label, sew it on, and happily send the quilt back to Kansas City with our daughter, for Celina to get the next time she returns home from college.

They drove here, traveling with their ten-pound dog Milson. We all liked having him around.

We played a lot during their short visit: Boccé ball, shuffleboard, swimming, archery, UNO, geography, Clue, Catapult, a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and chess. Nine year-old Aesa is definitely the family game-player, and game-winner!

Not surprisingly, it's golf carting that everyone most enjoys. We used both our two-passenger cart, and a rented four-passenger cart during their visit. 

Since Celina turns 21 years-old on Monday, and Tay and Aesa had October and November birthdays, we shared birthday/welcome-to-Nana-and-Bapa's presents. For some reason, we decided to pull out "touchdown Santa," a family favorite Christmas piece that hasn't seen use since living in Iowa. 

While Santa presided, gift-opening was just like Christmas!

This is when I gifted zippered snack bags to the kids. I love making these!

A couple months ago, I asked which candies were favorites, bought them, saved the bag contents, turned them into fabric-lined zippered bags, and refilled them with the candies. 

In case you missed my earlier blog post about these, you can find video tutorials on Youtube, like this one. To make mine, I use glossy fusible vinyl from JoAnn Fabrics.

We're glad the weather cooperated during their visit, so we could enjoy sunshine days. I know they all thought it would be difficult to return home. For Celina, that was going back to college in cold Colorado!
Tay, daughter Jill, and Aesa
I've completed three audiobooks since my last blog post.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman is a story about three children whose parents have forbidden them to do many things, including wear black or use an Ouija board. From experience, their mother knows the power of magic - how it can hurt and kill people, even those she loves. She wants to prevent their involvement in magic, however, the kids being to discover their undeniable, innate abilities. During a visit to their aunt's home, they learn what they're capable of. I thought this was a strange story, but perhaps my impression is such because, to me, stories about magic aren't believable. Well, other than the old TV show "Bewitched." :-)

Linda's score: 2.8/5.0

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a sad look into the conditions of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942. When Lale, a Slovakian Jew, is delivered by cattle car to the camp, he discovers what he must do to remain alive, while trying to help other prisoners. Becoming the camp tattooist - carving permanent numbers into the skin of new camp arrivals - puts him in a highly visible position, but one where he can collect information and ask for more. He meets Gita, the woman of his dreams when he tattoos a number on her arm, and together they vow to survive and make a life for themselves after the war.

Linda's score: 4.1/5.0

If you're interest in a book about books, then I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel is the book for you. Anne is an author herself, and a fanatical reader who delves into the why's of reading - what we learn, how we choose books to read, where we go to get our books, and who should and should not be recommending titles to you, or anyone else! (ME!!) This is a short read, but packed with mentions about books you might want to add to your reading list, so keep a pen and paper handy for jotting down titles!

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0

Are you doing any online shopping over this Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend? I didn't miss the chance to buy some needed quilt backing fabrics, and a couple reproduction pieces to finish one of my grandmother's quilt tops. I sure don't need to be making more quilts, so I treated myself to some knit fabrics for leggings and tops - clothes for myself. We'll see how long it takes until I return to quiltmaking! Linda


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