Friday, January 14, 2022

Pluggin' Along

With no project deadlines, and therefore no purpose for any making, I've been stumbling from one project to another. 

I'm trying not to work on Kawandi all the time, which I'm tempted to do. Love the raspberry/violet colors, and now need to decide whether to complete it with these colors, or maybe switch back to yellow. 

I've done a little puttering on my Sherri Lynn Wood improv piece. Since I don't know where this one is going, it's not easy to work on. 

At Saturday's Central Florida MQG meeting, Beth presented a program on architectural shapes that have been turned into modern quilts, and how to pick out parts to use in a quilt design. She gave an excellent presentation, and concluded with a challenge to create a modern quilt from an architectural photo. The finished quilt, at least 20" X 20" is due at the April 9 meeting, and we're to show a picture of our inspiration.

This picture of a staircase is my inspiration... 

that I plan to turn into a minimalist quilt with Painter's Palette solids. 

Last year, when I offered to make a braided rag rug for my Texas friend Patty, she sent me a box of fabrics that included home dec prints; sheets; and a towel. This week I pulled out everything and started stripping.

Though Ilka (of Melbourne, Australia) taught us (in a two-part virtual workshop) to tear fabric strips as we go, I find it easier to braid from a pile of strips at the ready. Hopefully, these piles will become an oval rug. Because I intend to be very careful, I expect it to lay flatter than the first oval rug I made!

Book Recommendation
Well, I'm off and running with audiobook-listening in 2022. In case you're interested, I paused long enough to put my 2021 Reading List and ratings on this blog - see the tab at the top of the home page. I hope you make good use of it! I left the "month read" in one column, so if you want to read my review of the book, you can visit my posts from that month.

It's really interesting to know that I read 70 books in 2020, and 69 books in 2021. Though, with Outlander falling at the end of 2021 and going into 2022, it's long enough to count for at least two books! Actually three. 

Anyway, my first full read for this year was "meh." Learning to Speak Southern by Lindsay Rogers Cook is a story of a young woman, Lex, who is running from a past that's filled with unhappiness, growing up with her parents in Memphis. When Lex experiences a huge loss, and a family friend provides a ticket back to Memphis, Liz reluctantly returns. Expecting to leave again as soon as she arrives, when she is given the opportunity to read a sealed letter, written by her mother, she comes to realize she needs to stay to read all the letters. Hopefully she'll learn why her mother behaved toward Lex the way she did. 

This is a story of unexpected family secrets, and how Lex comes to understand that she's just like her mother, a mother she always disliked, but how family is the most important aspect of life. The best part of the book for me, was Lex's devotion to a book about the origins of words. Being a journalist, I love learning the meanings behind the words Lex talked about.  

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0

The "Collaboration" issue of Curated Quilts just arrived, and I was tickled to see OUR "Ad Libbing" quilt in the Gallery section.

Lora and I made this quilt in 2014, and had good success with it. It was juried into QuiltCon Austin in 2015; IQF in Houston; and earned third place at the AQS show in Daytona Beach! Here's my post with details about how I quilted it on my domestic machine. 

Also, in this issue is the "Harmony" quilt that Curated Quilt staff put together from blocks sent to them. I'm happy to have been part of that collaboration too. My block is at the far right end of the second row... not that anyone really cares! 😁

This week, when I visited my LQS to pick up a package of Bernina bobbins, I noted that the shop was selling small spools of 50-weight Aurifil. When I commented positively about that, I was told that they're phasing out Aurifil, and recommending Konfetti thread by Wonderfil.

For the second time, I was told that their sewing machine techs are seeing too much lint in machines using Aurifil, and that they recommend Konfetti, which is also 50-weight. Apparently Konfetti is double-gassed. Anyway, this is the rack at the shop, so the next time I need a color, I'm going to give it a try. At half the price of Aurifil, why not? Have you tried it? What do you think? 

This coming week I'm giving a What is Modern Quilting? presentation to Citrus Friendship Quilt Guild in Inverness, Florida, and really looking forward to that. I've updated my presentation to show QuiltCon Best in Show through the years, and include more about how social media has influenced the spread of modern quilting. I'll also get to share some of my modern makes in the trunk show at the end. It's fun for me to pull those quilts from the closet shelves!

Next Saturday, January 22, I'm teaching my modern wedge quilt workshop to members of Central Florida MQG. This is the "Carousel" quilt they'll be making. One of the best parts of such a workshop is seeing the colors and combos students come up with. 

It's 32 days until QuiltCon! Linda

P.S. My programs and workshops schedule - see the tab at the top of the home page - is current. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

New Year; New Projects

Several years ago I started crocheting a teddy bear. I'm not a skilled crocheter, so bear parts - head, arms, legs - languished in a closet. After a recent clean-up, I took the pattern and parts to my friend Sandy K. and asked if she'd be willing to finish and donate it. She did, and gave me this picture to let me know that the teddy has been donated. Thank you, Sandy for saving my feeble crochet attempt.

Similarly, many months ago I shared a pile of no-longer-loved fabrics with Big Cypress Quilters. It included this border print that I bought in 2002 when I visited my Swiss friend, Edith. We attended Carrefour EuropĂ©en du Patchwork in St. Marie-Aux-Mines, France, and I bought a number of European-made fabrics. Joanne D. used this fabric from Amsterdam to make a table runner, and did a nice job! 

What I've been doing is making a name tag. Big Cypress Quilters asked me to teach a basic English paper piecing project - a simple name tag design. 

I made one EPPed Grandmother's Flower Garden patch entirely from a print with my name hand-embroidered in the center.
The other side is EPPed with solids-only, using my Bernina 770QE alphabet to machine-embroider my name. 

To hang the name tag around my neck, I used a 28"-length of wide grosgrain ribbon, folded in half and edge-stitched on both sides, then sandwiched between the two flowers.

I thought the solids were a perfect background for some of my quilting-related pins! I left the EPP papers in the solid hexagons, and poked each pin through the fabric and paper. Pin backs are in between the two flower garden blocks that I hand-stitched together.

I'll be teaching this to Big Cypress Quilters on Tuesday, February 8 at 1 p.m.
In my last post I shared the improv block I made after taking Sherri Lynn Wood's virtual Abstract Piecing Scrap Play workshop. I wasn't happy with the block, so after my South Florida MQG friend Maureen @maydecemberquilts suggested I add some "dark" to the block, I took it apart, inserted bits of royal blue, and... I love what it did to make the block pop!
Improv block approximately 25" X 25"

Wanting to keep up with improv "practice" as Sherri Lynn suggests, I have pulled out every bit of orange, blue, and yellow scraps (prints and solids) that I own! I thought I had a lot of scraps, but it's evident that I'm using them up. 

My intent this year is to continue improv practice, so I made this 12" X 13" block today.

I'm also continuing to use scraps to make my ninth Kawandi, the largest one so far, at 18" X 24". It's a bit of an experiment, changing colors as I hand-stitch toward the center using an aqua variegated Aurifil 12-weight thread. The next scrap color is raspberry/purple. 

My friend Patty @elmstreetquilts recently let me know that blogger Marie Bostwick wrote a post How to Make a Temperature Quilt and along with other makers, used my quilt as an example. I got a kick out of her description:
"Who doesn't love the Drunkard's Path block? This quilt from FlourishingPalms made my heart go pitter-pat!"

I'm flattered, and so excited about seeing my temperature quilt hanging at QuiltCon in Phoenix. That big event is only 38 days away! 

Book Recommendation
This is a repeat post about reading (by audiobook) - and finally finishing! - Go Tell the Bees That I'm Gone, the ninth book in the Outlander series written by Diana Gabaldon. It took me all of the 20 day check-out period to listen to 49½ hours of the story.

I wasn't disappointed in the book, but I think I expected more "happenings." It's been six years since Written in My Own Heart's Blood (book #8) was published, so in this one, Ms. Gabaldon often reviewed - through conversations between various characters - events that happened in previous books.

Character interactions were often among Jamie and Claire's descendants: Bree and Roger; Ian and Rachel; William (Lord John/Jamie's s
on) and Arabella; Jenny (Jamie's sister) and an Indian shaman, and other new characters. Time travel was talked about, especially between Bree and Roger. About half the book was spent with Jamie and Claire as they rebuilt their (previously burned) home on Fraser's Ridge, in Virginia.

Historically, a siege and battle takes place in Savannah. Having been in Savannah twice, I enjoyed that part. On Google Earth I found the house where Lord John Grey and his brother Hal lived: 16 Oglethorpe Street. Seeing this makes the fictitious history more real.
16 Oglethorpe St., Savannah, Georgia

The book concludes in 1780. Book ten is expected to be the last book in the series. 

Because the Outlander series is my all-time favorite book (series) ever - one step above Gone With the Wind - I'm giving this my highest score.

Linda's score: 5/5

Some Best Buy shopping has me owning this 58" tall tripod for my Canon point-and-shoot camera. I'm looking forward to taking pictures with it, especially photos of groups like Central Florida MQG, and quilts on my design wall, photos I previously took using a tabletop tripod.

I shared the conversation below on Instagram, so forgive me if you've already seen it.

On Saturday evening, Dan was making dinner for us - grilled salmon with a BĂ©rnaise sauce - when we had this exchange.

His response had me laughing out loud, and somewhat in astonishment of his knowledge! Who would have guessed he's picked up on my thread preference?! What other things does he know about quilting? 

Well, my Dad has told me several times that from reading my blog, he knows more about quilting than most men. If these fellas have been paying attention, Dad's absolutely right! Linda

Monday, January 3, 2022

From 2021 to 2022

I haven't posted for a while because between December 26 and January 1, seven extra, very special people were at our house. Unaccustomed as we are to spending holidays with family, it was a bit of happy chaos to have them here from Kansas City, New York City, and Austin (TX). 

We rented a second golf cart, a four-seater, so everyone had a chance to enjoy our most popular form of transportation. 

Golf-carting was the only way to go when it came to geo-caching, which we did on several occasions. 

Our four grandsons love geo-caching!

With temps in the 80's every day, pool time was another good outdoor activity, along with shuffleboard and boccé ball.

Indoors, finding treasures in our bin of toys is a fun activity.

In particular, 58 empty yogurt containers, saved since 2012-2013 (yes, I ate every single one of them, and do so daily) are age-resistant entertainment. 

There were also games of UNO, Bingo (for dollar bills!), Rummikub, and puzzles. This is a 1000-piece one that I received in our Central Florida MQG Chinese gift swap.
"50 States Quilt Blocks" by Cobble Hill

In anticipation of the family's visit, my sewing room, which has been known to look like this... 

...had to be "torn down" to reconfigure into a bedroom with air mattresses. It's fun to choose quilts for each bed. On my design wall I pinned up a Christmas quilt embroidered and made by Jenny Renolds of Queensland Australia. I was the high bidder on it in 2011, in a fundraiser for Bush Fire Relief. It's a special quilt to me.

Even the guest room was reconfigured for another air mattress and quilt. 

The only social media thing I did while family was here was manually tally my most-like Instagram posts from 2021. Oddly, the #1 most-liked post, with more than 1100 likes, was an unfinished Kawand! I sure don't understand how that happens, especially when the same finished Kawandi received less than half as many likes, and placed third in the most-popular order. 

Otherwise, all three of my quilts that have been accepted into QuiltCon 2022, appear in my "Top Nine," with my QuiltCon reject (#4) and my Zing quilt (#9) also making appearances. This is always an interesting review. 

As much as I'd like to join the crowd of quiltmakers who have posted their 2022 quilt-y goals, I'm not participating. When it comes to quiltmaking, I've never been a goal-setter because I don't like the pressure I put on myself to achieve those stated goals. Failure isn't an option so I stress-out myself, trying to accomplish them. 

Rather, I enjoy the freedom of choosing to work on whatever I want.

Possible projects include basting and quilting the Finger Paints quilt top (left) I finished in November;

continuing this improv play (right) using solids and African waxed prints;

"Sea Glass" by Exhausted Octopus

making a Sea Glass quilt on the order of what Allie of ExhaustedOctopus makes;

starting a lap-sized Kawandi;

and braiding a rag rug for a Texas friend who, early last fall, sent me a large box of fabrics with which to braid a rug. 

I have several teaching and speaking gigs in the upcoming months (listed on the "Programs and Workshops" tab on my blog home page) that are always enjoyable for me, as well as QuiltCon 2022 in Phoenix coming up February 16!

So, to start in good order, once family left on New Year's Day, I've set my house to rights. Re-building my sewing room was a high priority. That's because on Sunday afternoon, for a couple hours, I attended Sherri Lynn Wood's free virtual workshop: Abstract Piecing Scrap Play

I pulled out the same fabrics I had used in an October 2015 in-person workshop with Sherri Lynn, when she taught in The Villages. I'm not any happier now with my results than I was then. This 15" X 18" piece isn't to my liking, but I plan to try again.

If you think improv is easy, I'm pretty certain you haven't tried it yourself. There's more than a knack required, and practice definitely plays a big part in being successful. In spite of taking workshops with a half-dozen (or more) improv instructors, I haven't mastered it. Perhaps I never will. But it's good to be challenged. 

By the way, I don't have a book review yet because I've got three days to finish listening to 156 chapters of Go Tell The Bees That I'm Gone by Diana Gabaldon. I'm on chapter 124. 

I hope, wherever you are, that you're having a lovely transition into 2022 with sewing and quiltmaking that's satisfying and fun. Linda

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Days Before Christmas

Still in pre-Christmas prep mode, beside cleaning house, I'm also making handwork ready, in case I have quiet sit-down time. With four young grandsons in our house, who am I kidding? Right? 

This past week's free time was spent cutting fabrics - enough to prepare 40 more glitter blocks to add to the 152 blocks I'll need to put together a Glitter Quilt. The pattern is by Jen Kingwell. 

Here's a picture of my New Zealand friend, Wendy's, award-winning Glitter Quilt.

Several options are available for putting together blocks - EPP, hand-piecing, and machine-piecing. I'm going with a combination of techniques.

You can see, left to right, that I'm machine-piecing the center section, and hand-piecing to add four outside corners. For accuracy, hand-stitched Y-seams are best for me.

I just can't seem to keep from making Kawandi! I've begun my ninth small one, though larger than others at 18" X 24". My plan is to graduate fabric colors as I place scraps and stitch toward the center. 

Instagram giveaway wins arrived promptly! This pattern and bundle of FPP papers came from Erica Arndt. I can see myself using the papers and scrap fabrics to make a scrappy quilt. 

Bethanne Nemesh sent the quilting rulers I selected from her website. Her quilting designs are rather elaborate. 

I'm looking forward to trying these rulers, particularly the ultra-curvy one called "Lotus Lines" (bottom center). It's meant to be used to "steer" a quilt around particular shapes (appliquĂ© for Bethanne), and do something with the concave part of the ruler that she calls "needle entrapment." It's new to me. 

After watching her video, I could appreciate the ruler's application to quilting around modern shapes too.

Last Saturday afternoon was my final 2021 virtual meeting as a member of South Florida MQG (SFMQG). I'm not renewing my membership because of time commitments with two other guilds, not because I didn't enjoy being part of the group. I did! I made many new friends in SFMQG, and thoroughly enjoyed chatting and making friends during monthly Sip-and-Sews. It wasn't an easy decision to not renew.

The meeting was also the culmination of SFMQG's year-long "Curve Around Challenge" of which I was chair. In November, members got to see 19 finished entries in the challenge, and cast their votes. These are the award-winners.

First place received a $50 gift certificate to The Quilted Peacock. In the spirt of paying it forward, I've donated it to the SFMQG charity committee.

The "Cassandra Beaver Award" (chosen by Cassandra herself!) is a $50 gift certificate to Feel Good Fibers. Two awards! I'm completely humbled, and honored. Thank you SFMQGers! 

Book Recommendation

Sadie by Courtney Summers is an audiobook that's presented as though it's a podcast. The male narrator is the person who's a podcaster, looking to uncover information about the death, in a small town in Colorado, of 13 year-old Maggie, and help in the search for Maggie's missing 19 year-old sister, Sadie. 

Story narration passes between the male podcaster and Sadie. But mostly, the story is told in recorded, live interviews, with dozens of characters telling their stories. It's an unusual way to present an audiobook, but very engaging.

It's only sad that the main thrust of the book is about real and unsettling situations for vulnerable young girls. There's no happy ending, but it's well-written.  

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0

I'm glad I could share this book review because after I posted on December 15 that I was third on the waitlist for book nine of the Outlander series: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, and that my turn would be coming soon, the next day I received my "it's your turn" notice from the library! I immediately stopped listening to a Vera book by Ann Cleeves, and started 49½ hours/156 chapters of Go Tell... I have 20 days to listen.

So far, even after a long interval since book eight, Written in My Own Heart's Blood, I was able to get right back into the story. Hearing narrator Davina Porter, who has acted all the Outlander books, is like visiting a dear friend. And author Diana Gabaldon has sprinkled-in enough conversational refreshers about past experiences that it's been easy to recall significant events in previous books. 

I know I'm being premature in giving this my "Linda score," but... 

Linda's Score: 5.0/5.0 

This is my 70th book-listen for 2021. 

Christmas blessings my friends! Linda
Holy Family made in 2011 from a design by Dilys Fronks
in the 2006 issue of Quilt It: For Christmas magazine


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