Friday, May 13, 2022

A Mixed Bag

A “mixed bag” is what I received last week! A bag of Aurifil 50-weight thread, and a tube of five Bernina bobbins (on the left) from my local quilt shop, Sew Together!

I was given these as a thank you for recommending to a friend to purchase a Bernina Q20 (mid-arm quilting machine) from that shop. She had received a quote from a different place, and I suggested she check nearer to home. When Sew Together beat the price she was quoted, the deal closed, and I was invited to stop in for a thank-you gift. That was in February. A gift for a referral was the last thing I expected, imagining I'd get a ballpoint pen and notepad, so I didn't take time to stop by. A reminder phone call that my gift awaited, prompted me to visit. When the bag was handed to me, all I could say was... 

That's 58 spools of Aurifil! Thank you Al and Peter at Sew Together/Sharky's Vac 'n Sew!

Making progress on the Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along, I finished stitching words from Proverbs 15:13 - A glad heart makes a happy face. I'm pleased with how the lettering turned out. 

I layered the quilt top and backing, without batting, per Alison’s tutorial. However, when I saw big sections of shadowing (a dark blue patch on the back showing through yellow fabric on the front) I quickly decided I needed something between the layers. Two yards of 108”-wide white flannel, from Joann’s, was the right solution. Before layering, I washed the flannel in warm water to make sure it shrunk. 

Now I’m baste-stitching. I raised my IKEA Finnvard trestles so the table top is high enough that I don’t need to lean far over while hand stitching.

It’s slow-going to hand stitch the 75” length about eight times (at 5” to 6” intervals) but after I do, I’ll be able to remove it from the table to complete the stitching in my lap. 

Masking tape is my guide for stitching fairly straight lines.


After completing the last X blocks for my Prudence Quilt, I finally have all 121 units EPPed and ready to join together.

I think the layout looks mushy and too busy, but such is the nature of making a quilt from scraps. It will be months until the top is pieced together.  

I started this project in July 2019, after winning, on Instagram, the pattern, templates, and paper pieces from Sharon Burgess of Lilabelle Lane Creations. Though I also won a fat quarter bundle of Liberty fabrics, I don't care for Liberty fabrics so they didn't make an appearance in the quilt. 

And... from Curated Quilts blog, I was surprised to see my 2019 Temperature Quilt again being featured. The entire article can be read here: It's Getting Hot in Here: Temperature Quilts from QuiltCon 2022

Curated Quilts photographed my quilt at QuiltCon. It's nice to have it mentioned again.

Book Recommendation
The Maid
 by Nita Prose is a captivating book about Molly, a maid who works at a swank hotel. Fairly quickly, you learn that Molly is special, not only for her dedication to cleanliness (a trait I admire), but also for her quirkiness and tendency to misread expressions and  emotions. When Molly enters a finance magnate’s suite, to “return it to a state of perfection,” and discovers his body, her simple life takes a big turn. Because of her honest and innocent nature, she unwittingly makes herself suspect. She must depend on friends to get her through this, but who are her friends? Without her gran to guide her, Molly must figure out who to trust. 

Linda's score: 4.1/5.0


Now that we have two golf carts, I get to toodle to and from all my activities enjoying the fresh air and sunshine at 20 mph. Flowers near the round about are looking especially pretty and colorful (the real heat of Florida summer hasn't yet kicked in), so I pulled over to take this picture.

For Mother's Day, Dan made my favorite, delicious, albeit most-expensive-to-make "white pizza” - a scratch crust, my homemade pesto, zucchini, fresh mushrooms, and brie ($14.99 for a wheel!). I chatted with both of our children, and our Texas grandsons who shared a picture of what Austin (age 12) and Luke (age 8) think of their Nana. 

They couldn't agree on my age (I'm 69), with Luke suggesting I am 87 and Austin, 78. It's a good thing I love them! 😂 


They like my cookies, and "driving the golf cart around," but the real honor is in the last statement: "I love my nana more than 'video games.'" Wow! Now that's truly something! Linda

Friday, May 6, 2022

Life is So Full

A week spent traveling and visiting family in Kansas City, as well as going to Gainesville to give a "What is Modern Quilting?" program to members of Gainesville MQG, has kept me out of the sewing room. In between times, and while riding in the car, I managed to make progress on a few things.

Car time was spent finishing up these 18 EPP X-blocks for my Prudence quilt. Now to lay out and arrange all the medallions and X's. 
 

This was the view out the car window while going through Kentucky, near Paducah. (No time to stop for the AQS show that was going on. 😞) All that yellow is blooming canola which we saw in numerous fields in that area. So pretty!

I had the chance to spend time with two of our four grandsons, attending soccer games, taekwondo, and a fifth grade school musical. Tay is 12 and plays soccer. 

Aesa is 11, just earned a blue belt in taekwondo, and was the production manager for the fifth grade performance of an original musical. 

On three occasions, I visited my 92 year-old Dad at his apartment - helped clean out a storage closet, and took him to buy new shoes - while spending time with our daughter, my sister, and a brief visit with my nephew at his store (Olathe Pet Shop). It was great seeing everyone!

As soon as I returned home, I prepared for my program and trunk show with members of Gainesville MQG. They may be a small chapter, but their interest in modern is huge! I was glad to be able to pull out and revisit modern quilts I made eight/nine/ten years ago.

Since the Gainesville meeting was in the evening, my friend Rosemary traveled with me. It was so nice to chat with her coming and going on the 80 minute (each way) car drive. Thanks Rosemary!

Being away prevented me from keeping up with the Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along, but I've made big steps toward catching up. Week two was to add hand-embroidered words/lettering, if desired. Well, "I desired," but spent way too long coming up with what I wanted to say! 

I finally arrived on Proverbs 15:13a: A glad heart makes a happy face. 

I'm paraphrasing it as: glad heart. happy face.

Using Alison's video tutorial, I hand-drew the letters onto the yellow linen part of the backing. As a template, I used a 1¾" steel ring from a set of Applipops, and drew around them with a fine Sewline pen.

Letters are stitched with a double strand of Wonderfil Eleganza, size 8, using a chain stitch. 

Once the lettering is complete, it's time to put together the front and back, and begin stitching. I'm looking forward to that! 

Thanks to a friend, Sherry, in South Florida MQG chapter, I learned about a new Bible that sounded worth owning. Since we don't have any Christian book stores in our area, when I was in Kansas City, I sought out a Christian store and was happy to find Mardel Christian Bookstore (owned by Hobby Lobby). There I found exactly what I was looking for - a large print, red letter (Jesus's words in red) Filament Bible in NLT (New Living Translation), and a new Bible cover.

 

What's special about a Filament Bible is that you can download, for free, the Filament app. When you open the app, take a picture of the tiny logo/page number at the top of each page.

Then, a whole bunch of information is at your fingertips! Just tap to study, reflect, or see/hear videos and worship music! I love it!


I'm really excited about using this Bible. I chose the NLT version because it's what's read at Lutheran Church of Hope (West Des Moines, Iowa). My previous Bible is NIV (New International Version). Oh! And while in Kansas City I worshipped, in-person, at Lutheran Church of Hope's satellite location in Shawnee. Loved that too!

We finally got our new golf cart! We ordered it November 15, and delivery was April 25, even later than anticipated. Turns out, our cart (as well of those of dozens and dozens of other customers like us) was assembled and only waiting for a turn signal handle! Yep, production of that small part, coming from China, prevented earlier delivery.  Just another incidence of supply chain problems since the pandemic. 

Hubs and I have shared one golf cart since moving here in 2013, so keeping the old golf cart (with 33,700+ miles on it!) means we each have a cart to use if we happen to be away at the same time. Yay!

Book Recommendation
I've been excited to share this book with you because it's one of the best books I've listened to in months! Definitely my best read, so far, in 2022. 

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle is the debut title from this author who lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

The story is about Summer and Iris, identical twin sisters from Australia, who take a long sailing yacht trip together from Thailand to the Seychelles. During the voyage, Iris reflects on her relationship with Summer, the twin who seems to have it all - good fortune; a gorgeous, doting husband Adam; a young son from Adam's previous marriage - while Iris is trying to pull her life back together from a failed marriage to Noah. 

On the voyage, Summer goes missing, and after searching for her, Iris fumbles her way alone to the Seychelles, where she's swept up in Adam's arms and concerns. He thinks she's Summer. As Iris wrestles about "the right thing to do," she becomes more embroiled in her lies.

I can't get this book out of my mind, which to me, is a sign of a great story. I hope Rose Carlyle keeps writing!

Linda's score: 4.6/5.0

Linda

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Seaglass Quilt #2

Just as I've done with making Kawandi, it seems that since learning how to make a Seaglass Quilt, I can't get this concept and technique out of my system!

We live two hours from either ocean, so the closest I am to a pretty water view is at one of the 89 swimming pools in our community! So that's where I headed for these pictures. Special thanks to my patient hubs Dan, for quilt-holding. 

Seaglass Quilt #2 is 35½" X 47". It was just as much fun to make as the first. (Here's my blog post about the first Seaglass Quilt.)

As before, I used mostly scraps, though to get enough of each of the six colors, I also had to dig into stash and cut off chunks. In my quilting world, and sewing room, what I refer to as scraps are often the really bitty pieces that many quilters call crumbs. To make a Seaglass quilt, crumbs aren't large enough.  

For Seaglass quilt #2, rather than using a quilting cotton background, I used linen yardage in the color natural.
Seaglass Quilt #2, 35½" X 47"

Right away I learned that the fusible doesn't like to stick to linen as well as it does to quilting cotton. That's why when I did the free motion quilting, beside quilting around the outside of each shape, I also quilted a snail-trail swirl into each piece. I used 80-weight Aurifil thread on top which I like because it's practically invisible. On the back is 50-weight Aurifil.

I chose this gray, gold-spattered fabric as backing, mostly because it was one of the few single pieces of print yardage I have left in my stash. I finished the quilt with a faced edge using Hayley Grzych's "Easy Quilt Facing" tutorial on the Bernina/We All Sew website. 


If you haven't yet made a Seaglass Quilt, here's why I enjoy it so much, and recommend making one:

1) it uses scraps that are about 3" X 3" or so;
2) it's really fun to experiment with color arrangement and flow;
3) machine appliqué and quilting happens all in one step, so if you like free motion quilting, this will be right up your alley; and
4) if you have odds and ends of various brands and colors of thread, a Seaglass quilt is a great way to use them up! 

I bought video instructions from Allie at www.exhaustedoctopus.com to learn to make this. If you want to do the same, go here. (I am not compensated for providing this link!) Linda

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Sashiko, and Temp Quilt

Last week I finished the Sashiko sampler I began in my April 12 virtual workshop with Claudia Martinez of Snuggly Monkey. Design dimension are 10½" X 11½". I don't know what I'm going to do with it.

Sashiko is stitched, most often, through only a single layer. I'm a bit chuffed about how nice the back looks, having learned how to start and stop stitching without using knots. 

Two hanks of Olympus Sashiko threads in a dusty blue, and orange/blue variegated came with my kit.

I didn't master using the palm thimble, but I haven't given up!

The palm thimble is best-used with a long needle when stitching long straight lines. As you can see, this sampler didn't have many long straight lines, so I used the shorter needle (of two needles in the kit), loading only two to three stitches at a time because of the curves.

I definitely want to stitch another one though, perhaps after buying the book Claudia recommends. Apparently in the back of this book are ideas for drafting traditional patterns. 

My friend Maureen @maydecemberquilts who's a member of the South Florida MQG, recently attended the Modern Quilt Exhibit at the Bailey Contemporary Arts Center in Pompano Beach, Florida. Maureen was thoughtful to take and share pictures with me of my 2019 Temperature Quilt that's part of the display through June 16.






It looks like a beautiful display. 


The quilting shows best in this photo.

Book Recommendation
It was a pleasant surprise to come across this book/story that takes place in Iowa. The Overnight Guest is by Heather Gudenkauf who was raises in Iowa. Her books take place at different locations in the state. Though all the cities have fictitious names, she real Iowa cities are also part of the storyline. 

The Overnight Guest takes place in Burden, located near Algona and Spirit Lake in northwest Iowa. Wiley has left her home in the Pacific Northwest to get away from her difficult 14 year-old son, and finish writing another true crimes novel. Staying alone in the rural farmhouse where gruesome murders took place, Wiley has just begun editing her book when a typical winter blizzard arrives, forcing her to stay on the farm. But when she finds a small child laying in the snow, and bloody, outside the house, she realizes the only way the child has come from is the distant road. Searching through the blizzard, she finds a woman who's been thrown from a truck - an accident, and there's no way to reach help. When the woman disappears, it turns out there's more to this mystery than an accident. It's about what happened more than 20 years ago.

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

Linda

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Makin' Progress

Seaglass quilt #2 is coming right along! I'm having so much fun quilting this 36" X 48" quilt than I did the first! That's because, instead of starting and stopping after quilting each seaglass piece, I'm quilting right across the linen background to the next seaglass piece. 

Quilting this way is much more efficient, and possible because I'm using Aurifil 80-weight thread. It's nearly invisible on the front, against the linen background. I'm also more heavily quilting this time because the fusible doesn't want to stick to linen. Hence my decision to quilt a snail-trail design in each seaglass piece. 

The 80-weight thread was a freebie from Aurifil Thread because I attended the February 12 Aurifilosophy program that Cassandra Beaver presented to Central Florida MQG. The program was interesting and informative, and everyone who attended received their choice of a thread spool. So glad I picked 80-weight beige! 

From the back, where I used 50-weight gray Aurifil thread, quilting is more obvious, and not quite as pretty. But I love quilting like this (not stopping as each piece is quilted) because it's so fast!

On Tuesday the first instructions for the Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along were released. I was ready with my stack of 22 prints and new Wonderfil Eleganza (size 8) perle cotton threads. 

Explicit instructions, with diagrams, were given if you chose to piece patchwork squares, or jelly roll strips. Disappointingly, for improv-piecing there was nothing more than a written description. Not even a picture!

So I got to it on Wednesday, and by bedtime I'd completed this 58" X 76" top. It's a happy mash-mash of colors and prints by some of my favorite fabric designers: Christina Cameli, Alison Glass, Brigitte Heitland, Sally Kelly, Jenean Morrison, and Christa Watson. Also, a special thank you to Deb, my Council Bluffs, Iowa friend who sent me some of her stash/scraps that included two pieces in this quilt top! (See the orange and aqua large scale print in the center, and bright yellow to the left of it.) 

Last Friday I received a good news email, so this is my PSA (public service announcement) to all you solid-loving quilt makers. Paintbrush Studio Fabrics @pbsfabrics will be releasing 42 new colors of Painter's Palette solids! Whoo-ee!

Along with other quilters, we've noticed that the 168 colors currently in the collection have had some "holes." These new colors should rectify that, and will bring the total number of colors to 210.

If you'd like to view the 42 colors, individually, go here. One of my friends has already written her new color shopping list! 

Another friend shared this BBC article with me: How Instagram Opened a New World for Welsh Quilting." Below is a quote from it: 


As far as I'm concerned, Instagram is where it's at for quilters! I've thought that since I joined in February 2013, and I'm glad to know it's as true now, as it was then. All quilters -  traditional, art, and modern makers! - can find information about quilting, and be in the know, through Instagram. If you haven't yet joined, I highly recommend it: https://www.instagram.com

Thanks to a friend in Central Florida MQG who subscribes to The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Timms, I learned that my "Playin' Around" quilt (recently displayed at QuiltCon in Phoenix) was featured in The Quilt Show newsletter that was delivered to email boxes on Easter morning.

 I wouldn't have known anything about it if this email hadn't been forwarded to me!



This is not the first time its happened that one of my quilts has been shown by someone else, and I didn't know anything about it. 

During the pandemic, I came across an in-person/virtual instructor, Scarlett Rose, whose presentation on "Modern Celtic Quilting" includes a photo of my "Shapes" quilt (seen at QuiltCon 2014 in Austin). Scarlett's presentation credited me with making the quilt, though I never have called what I created "Celtic." 

When I nicely asked her about using my quilt design without me giving her permission or letting me know, she replied that she had contacted the MQG who gave permission.

I've since come to understand that once a quilt is entered in a show, it may be publicized as desired. Surprising, isn't it?  But I am grateful that people who share pictures like this are most often giving credit to the maker. But there may be many other instances I don't know about! I sure appreciate those friends who let me know!

Book Recommendations
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr was a disappointing read for me. Though it has a high score on Goodreads, I found the storyline rather disjointed, and esoteric for my tastes. 

By my count, this book is composed with at least five storylines - some different characters, and some a single character at different life stages. One scenario happens B.C. and is about a young girl who scrabbles for food and knowledge - stealing ancient manuscripts - while her older sister embroiders fine linens for clergymen. Another scenario is futuristic with a few dozen people on a space mission to another galaxy, and a young girl and her parents who experience an onboard plague that isn't supposed to happen. Yet another scenario is present day, of children at a library, rehearsing for a play scripted from an ancient manuscript, while an overzealous autistic teen engages in detonating a bomb to blow up the real estate office next to the library. Oh! And another storyline is about the ancient manuscript/story that all the characters keep encountering!

It's likely a better book than I can credit it with, but it had me missing the simple pleasure of a straightforward story. 

Linda's score: 3.2/5.0

Irish Eyes is the third Mary Kay Andrews book I've read. I enjoyed this one too, though was disappointed to learn after the fact, that it is book #8 in the "Callahan Garrity" series.

Callahan is a single, middle-aged former police detective who, with her mother, runs a small Atlanta house-keeping business called "House Mouse." She goes to a St. Patrick's day party with her former partner Bucky. While stopping at a bottle shop on the way home, Bucky is shot in the head. When the only witness to the shooting disappears, along with the store's surveillance tape and cash; and Bucky is suspect in the case, Callahan's indignation rises. Some police officers don't appear to be as honorable as they profess. She won't leave the case alone until she finds the truth. 

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0

Linda

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