Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Scarp My Scraps

For the title of this post, I intentionally used a made-up anagram from the word "scraps." That's because a blogger I follow (She will remain nameless so as not to embarrass her - Hi Char! 👋) used the word "scarp" in a recent post title. I got such a kick out of the word - thinking when I saw it that surely I was going to learn something new, related to qiultmaking - that I'm using it intentionally, 

As you can see, all I've been doing lately is Scarping My Scraps

It's been a tedious, messy task. 

I've been handling leftover bits from projects made ten to twelve years ago. Certainly, I've made a number of scrap quilts during that time, but it's clear I've never dug to the bottom of each canvas bin. 

I am now.

Even hubs noticed, asking, "What are you doing now?" And later, after pressing, sorting and cutting for several hours, "Aren't you getting tired of doing that?" 

But I have a goal. I'm simultaneously working on three projects! 

The first continues to be Harvest Moon. To make these, you create fabric from your scraps and then use templates to cut two shapes. Free tutorial by Megan here

Then, thanks to a blog comment from my friend Anne @springleafstudio, who pointed me toward the Unallocated scrap quilt on Instagram - see @mckillopmichelle here - I'm cutting pieces for my own Unallocated. These are my test blocks that measure 4" X 4" unfinished. 

Believe it or not, I am feeling productive, though I don't have anything to show for it except sorted piles. 

Oh, and an ever-increasingly full basket of 1½" X 1½" squares! I need to change my rotary blade today.

Another bonus has been to find the bits of brown and black prints that have been lurking, unused, in my scraps. These are colors I don't use in my quilts, so I'll be taking them to Big Cypress to give away. 

I've also begun cutting some of my larger scraps to make a Posh Penelope quilt, a pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful that uses the Quick Curve Ruler.

After seeing two of these quilts made scrappy - the first at our QGOTV quilt show, and another on Instagram - I knew it would be another good way to use scraps. 
Made by Tammy Kaplan, QGOTV

Made by Chris Simon @thecolorfulom

By the time I'm finished with these projects, my scrap bins will be nearly empty! Right?! They will, won't they?

I will have Scarped My Scraps! 😁

Book Recommendation
When the Lights Go Out
 by Mary Kubica, is about Jessie Sloan whose mother is dying of cancer. Not knowing who her father is, Jessie understands how alone she is. Deciding she can no longer live in the house where she and her mother shared their lives, Jessie tries to go out on her own - applies to college, rents an apartment, and gets on with her life. But her inability to sleep is playing havoc with her thoughts: what she's seeing and hearing. When the college contacts Jessie, and she learns she doesn't have a social security number, she begins to suspect that she isn't Jessie, and that her mother kept dark secrets from her. Jessie finds a hidden-away picture of a man, and believes he could be her father.

This is one of those plot lines that goes back and forth, from present day Jessie to back-then Eden, Jessie's mom. Though I most often like Mary Kubica stories, this one wasn't quite up to her usual standards. 

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0


Friday, March 17, 2023

Judging, Scrapping, and Playing

QuiltCon emailed "Judge's Feedback" to those of us who had quilts in the show. Each quilt received positive comments.

I got a kick out of reading I have "great upper body strength." Ha, ha.

But two things are not clear: 1) what does N/A mean? Not applicable? Not available? Was there something I should have done differently to garner a comment in those areas? and, 2) "...may have fared better in Negative Space category." It's been my understanding that QuiltCon reserves the right to move an accepted quilt from one category to another, if it will "fare better." Couldn't they have done that?

I thought so until I read this blog post - My Experiences as a Juror - by Steph Skardal, who was a QuiltCon juror. She says QuiltCon does not move quilts in categories (unless it's obviously incorrectly entered) and she's as confused as I am about the difference between a quilt in the minimalism category and a quilt in the negative space category. Since I was part of an MQG committee that, last fall, reviewed the tenets (characteristics) of a modern quilts, I'm anticipating that in April MQG members will receive the updated definition in a "Modern Monday" email.

The upshot of reading Steph's article is affirming what I already believe... that in spite of every care and precaution to objectively select QuiltCon quilts,  a juror's task is subjective.

In my sewing room, I'm happily engrossed in a new project. Yes, I have about seven WIPs going simultaneously, but I function best like a hog in mud - deliciously wallowing in what feels good. 

I came across a tutorial for a scrappy quilt called Harvest Moon. Being well-aware that it's become more difficult to smash-down each of my scrap bins, to get them to fit into their cubbies, I decided to dive into getting them under control.

Working with scraps is inevitably a very messy task. 

I've spent more time pressing scraps than sewing.

My process is to press a few scraps at my TV tray pressing table, turn left to sew a couple bits together, turn left again to trim-up and square-off edges, and return to the pressing spot to prep more scraps for sewing. I'm also pressing pieces not being used. Those are stacked into separate color piles - whites and beiges; grays and blacks - all of which I consider "neutrals." 

The result of creating chunks of scrapped-together fabric is cutting out pieces from the two templates Megan provides in her Harvest Moon tutorial. 

These are finished blocks with many more half-circles made that I anticipate surrounding with a variety of colors.

Today I'm working on green. 

Not only are Harvest Moon blocks lovely, but so is the look of my scraps!

Here's my neutrals/yellow bin with everything all sorted - with space to spare in the bin! - and white neutrals ready to make into more half circles. Such a good feeling of accomplishment!

Do the pictures I've posted here look good? I think so! I couldn't be more delighted about them being from my new iPhone 14. After using an iPhone 8 for the past five years - and being so thoroughly dissatisfied with the poor quality of its pictures that I used a Canon point-and-shoot to take pictures - it's been a treat to now take photos that go directly into the iCloud without any need to finagle them there from a camera. I have an Apple Watch now too! I'm learning its capabilities, including a new way of taking a group photo. 

In the past, I've set up a tripod with the Canon camera, saved a spot for myself in a group picture, set the camera timer, and run over to be in the photo. With these new devices, I can set up my iPhone on the tripod, walk over to my spot in the group, then set my Apple Watch to take a picture in three seconds... and.. 

Bob's your uncle!

Such great birthday presents, right? On March 18 - also National Quilting Day! How perfect is that?! -  I'm 70. I couldn't feel any better about being this age, and it's definitely "old age." I don't feel it my age, and I hope I don't act it either! 

Book Recommendation

Because I haven't yet read a Charles Martin book I didn't like, I've been taking my time reading each title, savoring the chance to delve into another charming story. Listening to Chasing Fireflies, a title published in 2007, I initially thought I was hearing a story similar to others, but then... I was happily surprised.

Chase Walker, a journalist for the local newspaper, has grown up an orphan. Living in foster homes, and plagued by the fleeting remembrance of a father he cannot picture, he is finally taken in by a family who loves and cares for him. When he's assigned to suss-out a story - about a six year-old old boy who's been found near the site of a smashed-up Impala that's been hit by a train - he finds himself reliving his own, lonely past. Chase's foster dad, Unc, is quiet about his own troubled upbringing, and Chase's childhood friend, Mandy, has finally returned home though not quite person she used to be. 

I thought I had this story figured out, but again, Mr. Martin surprised me in a delightful way. 

Linda's score: 4.3/5.0


Friday, March 10, 2023

Two WIP Finishes

Last Saturday morning, as I was heading out for a four-mile power walk, my left leg gave way (due to oesteoarthritis in my left hip - the outcome of a couple decades of regular jogging) and I fell in the street. After two days of trying to staunch blood from wounds on both knees and right elbow - because who doesn't bleed profusely when on blood-thinners? - by Monday I knew it was time for urgent care. I was told I should have had stitches in my left knee, which was by then swollen and hot, and I was put on an antibiotic and a steroid for swelling.

The result has been a week spent at home, hobbling, tending wounds, sewing and handwork time, Bible study lessons, and watching recorded episodes of Midsommer Murders.

The first WIP I wanted to finish was my QuiltCon "Reimagine the Classic Tied Quilt" workshop piece. 

My Crosscut quilt (free tutorial on Debbie's @aquilterstable blog) finished at  21" X 21" and is tied with Iroiro wool yarn that's been felted into little puff balls. I used Funtack to temporarily hang the quilt on our living room wall - 21" feet of happy Sherwin-Williams Tangerine!

I'm pleased with how it turned out, and will try to find a permanent hanging spot in my sewing room. 

On February 11/12 I participated in the free Thread House Academy "Taster Weekend" where I watched a video and received instructions for the The Freehand Halo Appliqué project by Jo Avery @joaverystitch. While riding with two quilter-friends to Atlanta for QuiltCon, I hand-appliqued halo blocks.

Jo used linen to demonstrate her project so I scrounged through my limited linen stash to determine a color palette. I have since rectified my limited supply of linen colors by purchasing five more colors from QuiltCon vendors. 😀

As recommend by Amy Friend @duringquiettime, I've begun using Tulip brand #10 appliqué needles. Another QuiltCon purchase, from the Aurifil booth, meant I could use more thread colors than only grey Aurifil 80-weight. The needle and thread work well together with stitches simply melting into the fabrics. 

When appliquéd blocks were finished, trimmed, and machine-pieced into a nine block layout, I pressed a fusible cotton batting to the back, and began big stitch hand quilting using a Bohin #7 crewel needle and several colors of 12-weight Wonderfil Spagetti thread. 

Again, it was like stitching through butter as I made running stitches, Xs, and Colonial knots.

I finished the 17" X 17" pillow with an envelop back and binding. Doesn't it look like it belongs in my sewing room rocker? 

An added embellishment, in the center of the lower right block, is a Spoonflower pin, received from the QuiltCon Spoonflower booth. The pin color coordinates beautifully with the pillow.

I'm very happy with how this turned out, and want to keep appliquéing! Handwork has become an addiction for me - more appealing, the older I get. I'll be 70 years old next week - on National Quilting Day - and I can't think of a better two-in-one-special day combination! 

Book Recommendation
Summer's Child
 by Diane Chamberlain is about a cul de sac of oceanside homes in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where year-'round and summertime residents share life. When on her 11th birthday, Daria Cato takes an early morning post-storm beach walk, she finds the lifeless-looking body of a newborn. Picking it up and running to her mother who's a nurse, the baby is cared for, eventually adopted by the Cato family, named Shelly, and the circumstances of her birth becomes a two decades-long unsolved mystery. 

Rory returns to the cul-de-sac from California - he's the host of a True Life Stories TV series - for a summertime vacation with his 14 year-old son. Shelly has asked Rory to find her mother. But Shelly's protective sisters insist that it's a mistake to pursue it - it could be hurtful to Shelly. Rory continues to probe, asking questions, receiving speculative thoughts, or being met with resistance. Several people are keeping secrets that could be devastating. 

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0  

I hung up the pretty little "L" embroidery that Clara @bimbambuki_blog made for me. As you can see, it's near the colorful sewing machine clock that Di @darlingdi brought from Australia, when she visited in February/March 2017. Such good memories! Di and I spent a wonderful time together, attending QuiltCon Savannah, and sightseeing. Eight blog posts about her first trip to the US begin here

Anyway, no worries about my knees and elbow. They're healing enough that this morning, for the first time since going to urgent care on Monday, I got out by golf cart to attend a weekly Bible study where we're delving into women of the Bible. Today's lesson was about Mary of Bethany (the sister of hard-working Martha and risen-from-the-dead Lazarus), who poured precious perfume on Jesus' head. My takeaway from that is: Don't try to do all you can do. Do what you can do. Linda

Sunday, March 5, 2023

QuiltCon Lectures, Workshops, More

At QuiltCon, I attended six lectures, and took two three-hour workshops.
Westin Peachtree Ballroom, Lecture Hall

I had two favorite lectures. The first was presented by Youngmin Lee @youngminlee_bojagi of California who spoke about the Korean art of Bojagi: The Art of Wrapping Cloths.

My biggest take-away is that Bojagi is a term that encompasses many forms of Korean handwork.

Two days later, I took Youngmin's workshop: Jogakbo with Ssamsol Technique

Here is Jogakbo (pronounced Jo-'gak-bo) as made by Youngmin. It's a single layer of silk fabric that has been hand stitched with silk thread to make flat felt seams.  

This is the class sample.

Jogakbo looks the same on the front and back. Youngmin's stitches are visible because she wanted us to see them. 

We stitched our pieces with matching silk thread colors. This was my stitching view as I worked on it. 

Though the silk fabric is okay to work with, I'm not fond of the kit colors (brown is my ick color). My plan is to try stitching Jogakbo using bright quilting cottons. 

If you're interested in knowing more about Jogakbo, here's a YouTube video about it made by Youngmin.

The other workshop I took was Reimagine the Classic Tied Quilt, with Laura Loewen @quiltfortco This is the workshop I prepped for by making an 18" X 18" sandwiched quilt using Debbie Jeske's @aquilterstable Crosscut tutorial. 

I bought Laura's kit with multi-colors of wool yarn used to make ties. The kit also contained a yarn needle, leather fingertips (for helping grab the needle to wrestle it through the layers),  and a roving/felting needle. 

Ultimately, we ended up with these little felted puff balls on the quilt surface. Though tough on the fingers trying to pull the yarn through the layers, the part that used water to roll the yarn, and then use the roving needle to felt each ball, was enjoyable. Not sure I'd ever consider tying a whole quilt this way though!

Back in the lecture hall, I'll have to say that the lecture that gave me the most food for thought was presented Sunday morning by Sam Hunter (Sam is a woman). Her talk was What's a Quilt Really Worth?

QuiltCon makers have the option of putting NFS (not for sale) or a dollar amount on their quilts. The MQG takes 15 percent of the sale price. 

Your decision, whether to sell your quilt or not, happens at the entry stage - when you don't even know if the quilt will be accepted into QuiltCon.

Not wanting to continue to keep and store dozens of quilts, and full of self-doubt about whether a quilt entry will be accepted into QuiltCon, I put a price on each of my entries, so my quilts were for sale at QuiltCon.

Sam began her lecture by putting a price on a typical quilt. One that's a basic design - most quilters could look at it an recreate it - and it was longarm quilted. This was her starting point.

Then she factored-in other aspects like equipment costs. Lastly, she added skill into the equation, asking: How many years have you been quiltmaking? How many workshops have you paid for and attended to develop your skills? 

And this (picture below) was just the START of factors to consider! I learned that "sewlebrities" charge a much higher rate. And while I certainly don't consider myself in their league, I am also understanding that my 40-plus years of quiltmaking is worth a little more than the 10¢ I was asking. 

This is likely the reason two of my three QuiltCon quilts sold. Lesson learned. Valuing my work was my biggest QuiltCon take-away.

And when it comes down to it, the fun-est part of QuiltCon is meeting up with old and new friends!

These are just some of them who met at the Westin's 210 Bar for an All-Florida meet-up. Unfortunately, not all Florida quilters attended, but it was still a fun reunion with quilters from our own chapter, Gainesville MQG, Orlando MQG, South Florida MQG, and Sarasota MQG. My dinner that evening was one glass of pinot grigio that cost me $16.28. Atlanta is not an inexpensive city to visit! 

Another sort of meet-up was Saturday morning Leadership Mix and Mingle for those who hold leadership positions in their MQG chapters. I'd guess that 40-50 leaders were in attendance. FreeSpirit Fabrics was there and it's where I won the 18-count fat quarter bundle of Anna Maria Horner fabrics - for being involved in the MQG for the longest time. I started Central Florida MQG in November 2011.

Running into Instagram friends is fun too! This is Elaine @messygoat who was working in the Cherrywood Fabrics vendor booth. Just the evening before she'd finished hand stitching down the binding on this quilt that I watched her make on Instagram. It's her own beautiful design.

I'll leave the topic of QuiltCon 2023 behind with this last photo. 

These are a dozen of our Central Florida MQG members (of the 20 who attended QuiltCon) who were able to meet-up at our QuiltCon Charity quilt for a photo. They're a great group of quilters who are friendly, kind, sharing, and loads of fun to be around. 

I am blessed. Linda

Saturday, March 4, 2023

QuiltCon Use of Negative Space and More

In this my fifth installment of 2023 QuiltCon quilts seen at AmericasMart in Atlanta. In this post, I'm sharing quilts from the Use of Negative Space category, and several others - challenges, piecing, and handwork.

It wasn't until I perused the QuiltCon app that I found this change to the description of Use of Negative Space. The word "expansive" was replaced with "creative." No doubt this change will be addressed in April, when The Modern Quilt Guild is expected to shares changes and additions to the definition of a modern quilt.
Reverb, in the Use of Negative Space category, was foundation paper-pieced by Amy Friend @duringquiettime, and is a study in her method of improv paper piecing. I took Amy's Improv Paper Piecing workshop, virtually in 2022, and admire the designs she achieves. I'm still working on mine! I was also privileged to enjoy dinner with her during QuiltCon. She's a lovely lady. 

Amy most often walking foot quilts on a domestic machine. 

Structures #1 was made by Bill Keller @billkellermaker of Illinois and appeared in the Use of Negative Space category. 

It was machine and hand pieced, and longarm and hand quilted. 

This Use of Negative Space entry was All Are Welcome by Charles Cameron @feltlikesweets of North Carolina, who says he wants "to live in a world where all are welcome - where Xs and Os are seen, no matter their shade of gray." 

It was longarm quilted by Cara Cansler.

Strokes appeared in the Use of Negative Space category. It was made by Augusto Garcia @capaquilts of Spain. It was English paper pieced.

Domestic machine quilting was done on a Bernina, and I'd guess he changed directions each time he quilted across the surface.

Moving Parts, in the Use of Negative Space category, was made by Claire Victor @cvquilts of Arizona. It was designed in Procreate and English paper pieced.

Claire free motion quilted on her Bernina domestic machine. 

The Goose Drank Wine by Jenny Haynes @pappersaxsten of the UK was in the Use of Negative Space category. It was machine pieced with skinny inset strips. 

Longarm quilting is by Christine Perrigo @ccpquilts. 

This Small Quilt is Morning at the Lake, by Joanne Jellison of Florida, who was inspired by the colors of Gull Lake, Michigan. 

The quilt is the result of a QuiltCon 2022 workshop with David Owen Hastings. It is improv-pieced, and domestic machine and hand quilted.

Leaves of Grass, in the Minimalism category, was made by Heather Pregger @heapregger of Texas.

She used hand-dyed fabrics to recreate the September colors of Massachusetts salt marches. The piece was longarm quilted. 

Carolina Oneto @carolina_oneto of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is the maker of One in Every Four in the Improvisation category. The quilt represents the poverty and marginalization of people in South American countries.

Carolina improv cut and pieced, and domestic machine quilted.

Fiona Johnstone @spunstraw of the UK made Tiny Snakes that appeared in the Small Quilts category. Inspired by the Snake Trail pattern by Denyse Schmidt, Fiona used more than 800 pieces to create her design.

All the curved arcs were hand-pieced. Blocks were machine-pieced together and quilted on her domestic machine. 

Wavelengths was an entry into the Windham Fabric Ruby + Bee Challenge. It was made by Linda Branting of California.

For those of us who have taken Mel Beach's Interleaves workshop, this design will be familiar. It's constructed as quilt-as-you-go on a domestic machine. 

Another Windham Fabric Ruby + Bee Challenge entry is Rising Tides, made by my Jacksonville, Florida friend, Candi Lennox @candipursuits. You saw her in an earlier QuiltCon post, HERE, holding the travel tray I gifted to her. 

Though Candi tells me that this is her least favorite of quilts she entered in QuiltCon, it's certainly creative. She machine-pieced all those checkerboards, and spent much time quilting on a domestic, and by hand. 

Hyperspace by Sam Hunter @huntersds of Oregon was in the Group or Bee Quilts category. It was foundation paper pieced with credit to another piecer Chris Batten.

The longarm quilter was Nancy Stovall. 

Prairie Light: Dusk was in the Piecing category and made by Scott Murkin @quiltdoc16 of North Carolina. It's one of the few quilts I saw at QuiltCon that included prints - these prints are by Jane Sassaman.

Scott domestic machine quilted. 

Also in the Piecing category was Paint Chip Love, made by Emily Parson @emilyquilts of Illinois. Who doesn't love the colors of paint chips?!

Emily domestic machine quilted. 

This one grabbed my attention, also in the Piecing category. It's Up Cake Down Cake by Ann Feitelson @feitelsonann of Massachusetts. 

Her colors are a delicious combination of striped, polka-dot, and solid fabrics. She machine quilted on a domestic.

In the Handwork category is this lovely quilt made by my South Florida MQG friend, Maureen Drudi @maydecember quilts. My Boro was begun in a Blair Stocker workshop and uses "found" fabrics - a vintage sugar sack, homespun, antique quilt blocks, and old fabric pieces.

Maureen used many techniques to create this quilt - machine and hand piecing; appliqué; embroidery and domestic machine and hand stitching. There was a lot to look at in this quilt!

Pieces of flannel are in the backing and binding. 

In the AP&Q (American Patchwork and Quilting) Log Cabin Quilting Challenge category was this quilt - Thirteen by Deborah Krajkowski @deborahkrajkowski of Florida. She named it this because when she was 13 years old, she chose "glaring technicolor flowers" wallpaper for her bedroom walls. 

Deborah longarm quilted it. 

I thought Thirteen bore some resemblance to my own AP&Q Log Cabin Quilting Challenge entry Log Jam that is 68" X 70". If I'm looking a bit sad here, it's because Log Jam sold at QuiltCon.

Though I'm pleased that someone else will enjoy it, I put a lot of effort into this quilt - so many tiny inset strips! - and will miss it.

A blog post about my QuiltCon entries is here. 

An update on the continuing unavailability of spice drop candies!

My local friend, Jody; has a sister, Putz; who has a friend, Linda; who "imported" spice drops from Virginia! Yesterday I collected a large gift bag containing 10 correction! 11 - 10 oz bags of Coastal brand spice drops from Dollar Tree. I accidentally left one bag of spice drops in the gift bag! 😲

Yay! Don't I have great friends?! I think I'm good for a couple weeks. 😂 Linda


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