Saturday, April 17, 2021

Modern Scrap Challenge Quilt

Modern Scrap Challenge quilt, 70" X 80"

I had to go back in my blog posts to find when I first I wrote about participating in the Central Florida MQG Modern Scrap Challenge. It was December 17, 2020! Four months ago was when I shared what our challenge was all about. 

Challenge criteria included:
  • making a quilt any size
  • using scraps no larger than 6½" 
  • creating a design with negative space
  • choose one of three personal options; I chose rainbow
Here are our challenge guidelines, in case you'd like info about challenging your quilting group. 

Between piecing and big stitch quilting, my Classic Curves Ruler and Quilter's Rule acrylic nested rings received lots of use.

I got pretty good at sewing inset circles... 
.... and ended up making:
  • 14 print scrappy-pieced circles in a variety of sizes; and
  • 8 solids-only scrappy rings.

When I saw that the design needed a little "something," I machine-appliquéd scrappy strips in assorted places. With right sides together, I sewed the strip to the quilt top, then folded it over, turned under the ends and long side, and straight stitched along the edge. My Bernina 10D foot, with the guide, came in handy for that.

Batting is white Quilter's Dream Request that I pin-basted in preparation for quilting on my Bernina 770QE. I started by walking foot quilting around the rings. Then, I spiral-quilted the scrappy circles. 
quilt back

Lastly, I randomly added big stitch hand-quilted rings across the quilt top, using these #8 pearl cottons - three different brands. With such large stitches, hand quilting went more quickly than I would have guessed.

I estimate I big stitch quilted 70 to 80 rings. And, I can always add more if I feel like it!
quilt back

In keeping with the mostly-circles theme, this spotted binding was the best choice. Of course, I used my favorite No Tails Binding: Mitered Corners by Machine. Find method instructions HERE if you're an MQG member; and HERE on my blog. 

Hubs has been keeping our Bismarck palm trimmed by removing the lower branches as the tree grows. Unfortunately for me, that means I can no longer use a step-stool to reach a branch! I had to bring out the six foot-tall step ladder to reach the lowest branch.

I'm showing my finished quilt at our Central Florida MQG meeting this morning. We're meeting in person at a local park. Plans changed! Due to rain, 15 of us met in a member's home. Yay! It will be great to be with friends again. It was truly great to be with friends again! Linda

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


It's been relatively quiet in the sewing room. For some inexplicable reason, motivation has taken leave. I've just been muddling. 

I used my Berninas- serger and sewing machine - to make this Morrison Top following a pattern by Blue Dot Patterns that's sale-priced at $8 through the month of April. The pattern includes a dress, but I didn't have enough knit yardage for it. The top sewed together quickly - no sleeves - and I really like the neckline with pleats that help cover the "fluff" I carry in front.

On Sunday I finished hand-stitching this Kawandi - the fourth one I've made using grandma's vintage scraps. My idea of making a round one started well enough, but the closer I got to the center, the more challenging it was to figure out how to cut each successively smaller piece. The center turned out a bit of a mash-up, but it's okay. 
Vintage kawandi #4, 17" diameter

When I make my next Kawandi, it will definitely be square or rectangle-shaped. 

These labels are on the back.

I sewed four more masks to send to our daughter, who requested these colors. Our family's favorite pattern is the free one by Orange Dot Quilts. Isn't it sad that we have a favorite mask pattern? I sure hope the day comes when we won't need to wear them anymore.

Last week two of our 10 year-old grandsons, one in Texas and one in Kansas, were exposed to COVID on the school bus, and in the school cafeteria. I'm praying they don't get it. 

My wonderful box of Benartex prizes arrived! (From a March Instagram giveaway to celebrate National Quilting Month.) Get a load of those 100 Superior Solids fat quarters! I haven't unboxed them yet, but I've been playing with an EQ8 design to use some of them. As they are, the hand feels good, but after washing, I'll be able to make a better assessment. 

Along with the fabric, I received the book A Quilter's Guide to Solids, by Ringle and Kerr. It contains some great modern patterns. 

Book Recommendations
I have two more titles to suggest for contented reading.

The first is The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg. It's a charming story about a lonely teenaged girl, and an elderly man, Arthur. She hangs out in a cemetery to avoid school; he visits the cemetery every day to have lunch at his recently-deceased wife's grave. A rainy encounter one day leads to an unlikely friendship that proves mutually helpful. When a nosy neighbor lady experiences a devastating loss, she joins Arthur and the girl to form an even more improbable arrangement.  It's hard not to adore Arthur, and my heart was warmed by the grace and familial love they show toward one another. 

Start with this book because it's the first in a three-book series. The next one is Night of Miracles. Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

by Maggie O'Farrell takes place in the 1500s, and is about Hamnet, the son of William Shakespeare. Though the author never refers to Shakespeare by name, the story is about him as a young Latin tutor, living under the abusive hand of his father, a glover (person who makes gloves). Shakespeare falls in love with Agnes who has a healing touch using herbs and flowers, and an unnatural ability to see what the future holds. After giving birth to a daughter, Agnes delivers twins - Judith and Hamnet - who experience the horror of bubonic plague transmitted by fleas. Though that part of the book rang too-familiarly, and in a couple places the story moved slowly, it was interesting enough to keep my attention, and feel like I had a look into Shakespeare's life.

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0 

By the way, for those who are interested, the fabric postcard I mailed to my dad with only a 36-cent stamp (see last blog post)... arrived safely! It wasn't in an envelope, and didn't have any bends or creases. What a happy surprise! I bought more stamps for future birthday postcards. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Happy Day!

Knowing that my Dad reads my blog, I'm saying, "Happy 91st birthday today, Dad!" 

Isn't it nice of him to take time to read all the stuff and fluff I write about in my blog posts? He's often said that for not being a quilter, he knows a whole lot about making quilts! Isn't he the sweetest?

Last week I made and mailed this birthday postcard to him. I was skeptical about sending it through the mail without an envelope. But at the post office the fella made sure it fit through his "slot" template, and then measured and remeasured it before sticking a 36-cent stamp on it. I hope it arrived okay. 

I've continued to work on my Scrap Challenge quilt, and finally reached a point in adding big stitch quilted circles to it that I thought "enough." The quilting isn't very visible in this picture, but trust me, it's all over the quilt.

I couldn't begin to count the number of full and partial circles I hand-stitched across it, but if I were to guess, I'd say 70-80. 

Initially I'd thought to bind it with a black and white striped fabric, but black and white polka-dot seemed more suited to all those circles. I'm hand-sewing down the binding now. 

Happy news has been rolling in for the past several days, the first being that I was notified on Instagram that I won this Benartex giveaway. 
The company let me know I would receive the book A Quilter's Guild to Solids, written by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr; and 100 fat quarters of Benartex solids! Wow, huh? These are right up my solids-loving alley! Being a die-hard fan of Painter's Palette solids by Paintbrush Studios - I buy PP from The Quilt Place for only $5.96 a yard - it will be interesting to compare Benartex solids with PP. 

I was also asked for permission to share my Scrap Snap quilt in an upcoming issue of Make Modern, an Australian digital quilting magazine.

Since Scrap Snap blocks were designed by Kari Vojtechovsky @quiltsforthemaking, I asked Kari for permission before submitting photos and a blurb about the quilt. My quilt will appear in the gallery section of issue 40 that comes out in May. The issue is about color wash quilts. 

Zappy Dots, an apparel, accessories, and notions company invited me to choose any of their leggings and t-shirts to have sent to me in exchange for wearing them and posting selfies on social media. I declined that one, as I'm not comfortable having my face everywhere. Does anyone besides me worry about security?

Easter Sunday worship was again online with Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. Pastor Mike delivered a beautiful, meaningful message

Since it was just the two of us celebrating the day, Dan made what we wanted. He wanted traditional deviled eggs, and made them for himself. But of course, we both ate his delicious homemade pizza. It's an interesting Easter meal, isn't it?

Book Recommendation

This book, Something Beautiful Happened, by Yvette Manessis Corporon took me by surprise. First of all because it's a true story that occurred on the beautiful Greek islands of Corfu (Did you watch The Durrell's of Corfu on public television?) and Erikousa. Second, because the author ties into the story a personal family experience that happened on Palm Sunday, seven years ago, in Overland Park, Kansas. A shooting. When it happened, our daughter called to tell us about it happening at the Jewish Community Center. The family, who lost a father/grandfather and son to the shooter, belongs to Methodist Church of the Resurrection where we worship whenever we visit our Kansas City family.  (Here's my blog post about the church and its "world's largest stained glass window.") So, not only is the story interesting - about the author's grandmother who helped hide a Jewish man and three young girls during WWII - but it's factual, about a tragedy that hit a Midwest community. This isn't an uplifting story, but it's about lessons-learned, and hope. 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

Though Central Florida MQG is no longer meeting on Zoom, I'm still Zoom-meeting with South Florida MQG. In fact we have Sip 'n Sew Thursday evening, a time I always look forward to. SFMQGers are chatty, entertaining and just plain fun! And, I've heard similar remarks coming from them. 

😂 Ahh. Good times and, someday, good memories of pandemic times. Linda

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Slow Stitching

Not much new has happened in the past week. I've just continued to big stitch circles on my Scrap Challenge quilt. Lots of circles - at least 50, by my lost count. 

Nine different thread colors, and eight or nine different sizes of circles.

Last Friday I received an unexpected happy-news email from Curated Quilts letting me know that my 14" X 14" Dance Around quilt was accepted in the Mini Gallery for the upcoming "Stripes" issue #16.

I quickly set aside time to make a label for the quilt, and will mail it to Utah where it will be photographed for publication.

In case you aren't familiar with Curated Quilts, it's a quarterly quilting publication that's printed on really nice paper (not at all like regular magazine paper), and doesn't have a hint of advertising! That's my favorite part. Here's where to go to get info about obtaining Curated Quilts.

This European fan palm is in our front landscape bed. Can you see what we noticed? Along the trunk? 

A pink flower is blooming! Since this palm doesn't bloom, we determined that vegetation is growing in the trunk! 

Somehow, this nearby begonia seeded in the palm trunk. Isn't that odd? But it's pretty, so we're leaving it there.

Since being able to return to twice-a-week line dancing, I've upped my exercise regime. Funny, but exercising five days a week, for more than an hour at a time, hasn't helped me lose pandemic pounds! With my 50th high school class reunion coming up in June, I have good reason to work harder.

Book Recommendation
The Children's Blizzard is a sad, but true story of a freak winter storm that blew through the Midwest Plains - NE Nebraska and SE South Dakota - on January 12, 1888. The blizzard began just as prairie school children were being let out to return home. 

This fictional story is based on reports of that day, and focuses on:16 and 18 year-old school teachers, sisters Raina and Gerda Olsen - one of whom makes a wise decision and the other who does not; and 11 year-old Anette who, as a servant in the Pederson family household since her mother sold her to them, must leave school, no matter what, and return to the Pederson house.

Accompanying several characters through the storm experience gives the reader an empathy for hardy prairie dwellers to who must be self-sufficient through isolation and hardship. This wasn't an uplifting story to read, but mind-opening to understanding and appreciate the challenges faced by those who accepted the chance to live on 160 acres, prove-up the land, and own it after five years. 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

This past week has found me often "in refuge," praying. Sadly, my prayer list grows ever-longer as I pray for friends with health-related concerns, and ask for comfort for those whose loved ones have died. These are tough times for too many people.

Like many of you, I'm remembering Holy Week, and Jesus's sacrifice for each of us - his trial, conviction, suffering, pain, and death. May we all rejoice in the blessedness of Easter. He is risen! Amen. Linda

Friday, March 26, 2021

Quilting Circles

The entire focus of sewing time has been on my Central Florida MQG Scrap Challenge quilt that's due to be shared at our Saturday, April 17 outdoor meeting at a local park. 

This is the 71" x 80" quilt top. 

Last weekend was spent machine quilting.

I spiral-quilted the 14 scrap-pieced inset circles by walking foot quilting along the outside edge of the circle, spiraling to the inside. When the space remaining to be quilted inside the circle was about 4" to 5" - because the interior of the circle was too tight for a walking foot - I used an air-erasable marker to free-hand draw the remaining spiral that I free motion quilted after switching to a quilting foot. 

When the scrappy circles were quilted, I quilted the inside and outside of each of the seven inset rings.

Then I used a Hera marker and these nested acrylic circles to draw different-sized randomly-placed double rings (one inch between each ring) across the entire quilt - mimicking the quilting around the rings. These were walking foot quiltedwith white thread.

The machine-quilted rings can be seen here, on either side of the pieced ring.

Now I'm big stitch hand quilting, again using a Hera marker and an acrylic circle to draw different sized circles to quilt with one of nine colors of size 8 pearl cotton.

I'm lovin' the effect! The design, with all that negative space, seemed empty before. Big stitched circles add more interest and dimension. I'll keep going until I think I've quilted enough. 

Circles are quick to stitch when the length of each stitch is ⅜" to ½". 

I'd thought to use black and white striped binding to finish the quilt, but a friend (Judi @willwork4fabric) pointed out that black fabric with white circles would be more appropriate. I found these at my LQS, Sew Together. Now to decide which looks best. 

While the dot fabrics were being cut, I spied two wide-back bolts that had just arrived. Two yards of each of these came home with me because I'm out of wide backs. Darn, but I wish I'd had that circle print, on the right, to use as backing on this circles quilt! It would have been too perfect.

Book Recommendations
You can tell it's been nearly a week since I posted because I have three books to recommend! All three were pleasant entertainment. With the first two titles, you'll think I've been on an Australia kick, as they both take place there and are narrated with the best Aussie accents!

I have listened to other books by Sally Hepworth, and like those, The Family Next Door is one that keeps the reader guessing. The story is about several families who live on the same street in a Melbourne suburb. Readers get to know three women in particular - one who is happily married, but has struggled with postpartum depression; one who is happily married, but has a big secret; and one who has recently moved into the neighborhood, and is suspiciously single. Stories revolve around infidelity, raising babies, and the angst of infant abduction. I didn't see some of it coming, and some of it I did. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

The Shepherd's Hut by Tim Winton is crude and simultaneously, interesting. Jaxson is a teenage who's lived a hard life with an abusive father. Upon finding his father dead, Jaxie flees on foot, entering desolate and threatening land in Western Australia. But he wants to be far away from people. When alone, he often thinks of Lee, the love he vows to return to. In the meantime, he fends for himself, hunting emu and 'roo in a rugged and unforgiving environment... until he encounters another man who's more alone and isolated than Jaxie. 

My big forewarning about this book is language! Jaxie swears. A lot, and frequently. And he uses Australian slang. Having been to Australia myself, I came home with my own "dictionary" of Australian lingo - like "arvo" means afternoon; and "bitumen" is a road. But Jaxie's narration had me stumped a few times. I had to look up words like "manky" which means dirty or filthy. But most of the slang can be intuited by context.

I'd call this book raw. But it's also insightful. If you can get past the language, it would be a good one for discussion.

Linda's score: 4.4/5.0

The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson takes place in the US. 

Angie and Paul Glass are recently married and living with their infant son in Door County, Wisconsin. When Paul's brother Henry, in Stonekill, New York is found dead (an apparent suicide) and Henry's wife Sijla is missing, Paul and Angie fly to New York to help 17 year-old Ruby through the devastation of being parentless. While staying in the Glass family's ultra-modern home at the edge of the woods, Angie makes discoveries about the Glass boys - including her own husband! - that have been kept quiet. And Angie learns that Ruby knows more than she's letting on. 

Given that the story takes place from the 1940s to 1960, it includes: the audaciousness of a career woman; being suspicious of everyone because they might be a communist; building a bomb shelter; and smoking on an airplane in a movie theater.
Linda's 4.0/5.0

While Face Timing with Texas grandsons last week, I got to watch Max the dog loving-up our youngest grandson, Luke. Don't they look sweet together?

I've gotten out of the house a little more this past week - going line dancing; golf-carting to a specialty store for much-needed clothing; and visiting my LQS - and have continued to take "refuge" (my 2021 word of the year) in devotions, and Sunday morning online worship with Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa.

I'm noticing that churches are welcoming its members back into their sanctuaries for in-person worship. Although we've attended 14 different churches through the 8½ years we've lived here, we haven't found a local church to call home. So, I'll keep attending online, and appreciate this pretty, spirit-filling Sunday morning view. 

It's particularly appropriate that Sunday morning is Palm Sunday. I've got palm fronds! Linda


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