Thursday, September 25, 2014

Away and Back

Being away from home for a week, on the heels of having company for a week, hasn't left time for sewing, let alone composing a blog post. So this post is mostly about my week in Kansas City, visiting our daughter and her family, and making a one-day trip to Iowa for a family wedding.  

In KC, not only did I get to spend time with my grandchildren, but I spent much of one day with my dear friend, Carla. Did you know we met through our blogs? She's Lollyquiltz. But now, after admiring the be autiful quilts and children's clothes she sews, and getting to know her well, I can't imagine not being friends. No trip to KC is complete without seeing her! 

We went to Modern Maker's a new quilt shop on West 12th Street, on the second floor of an old warehouse. Of course, we found fabrics to buy! I bought voile so I can make a couple tops using Jennifer Paganelli's new Sis Boom tank pattern, Tortola

And I spent time with family. As wonderful as it is to spend time with these two, it's impossible to get a decent picture of them. They're always on the move!

Tay, on the left, will be five years old on Sunday; Aesa will be four years old in November. 

Taking them out and about as I did, on several occasions - for breakfast, to Monkey Business, bowling, McDonalds, and the new Prairiefire Natural History Museum - I learned how frequently people mistake them for twins.

This was the best pose I could get, with the promise I'd take them into the Prairiefire Discovery Center.
L-R: Aesa and Tay

The main reason for my trip to the Midwest was to attend my nephew's September 20 wedding in West Des Moines. However briefly we could be together, this is my family - younger sister and brother, and our dad who's 84, and looking great!

While I was away, my friend and fellow quilt collaborator Lora, texted to say that our quilt, Ad Libbing won first place in the medium-size/duet category at QuiltFest Jacksonville (Florida)! What a marvelous surprise, especially from a show that predominantly displays traditional quilts! 
Ad Libbing, 71" X 71"
The Jacksonville quilt show opens today, Thursday, September 25  and runs through Saturday, the 27th. Lora and I haven't talked about the prize money yet, but I'm pretty sure we're splitting the $300 prize. :-)  Yay us! Linda

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunshine, Rainbows, and Palms

It's been a week since I've posted because we had company for six days. It was tons of fun having two of our closest friends - Jim and Cathy - visit us from Iowa. Our first Iowa house guests!

Because there are so many things to do in The Villages, we were on the go, even renting a second golf cart to get to all our activities. Our comprehensive list of fun included: yoga, tai chi, line dancing, swimming, boccĂ© ball, lunch out, dinner out, and evenings at two of the three squares. It's always good to dance, even if one person doesn't like to dance!
Jim, Dan, Cathy, and me
We've been long-time friends. Dan and Jim met in college in 1973, and Cathy and I got to know each other in about 1984. Here's a throwback picture of us, from 2009, tailgating before a University of Northern Iowa football game. 

While out and about, one evening we came across this stupendous rainbow. The picture doesn't capture the brilliance of it, including the unusually intense indigo color. Really breathtaking.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Sewing-wise, before company came, I was able to make two more skirts to complete six consecutive weeks of "Sunday Skirts" that I posted to Instagram. All of them were from the book "The Essential A-Line."

For my fifth skirt I inserted an off-center selvages panel. I'm still a fan of selvage sewing, and was glad to use up a few more. As with every skirt I've made, this one is lined and has an invisible zipper. I call this skirt "Made in Japan" since several of the selvages say that.

Then, thanks to my friend Emma Jansen, a favorite Australian pattern and fabric designer, I made the sixth skirt - two layers, with bias trimmed edges. Emma had been watching my Instagram feed and asked if I'd like to make a skirt using fabric from her Terra Australis 2 collection. Well, of course!

Emma sent three fabrics, and the best use of her pretty prints was this style. See how the bottom layer of the skirt is sewn to the lining? It made up very nicely, and I just love the fabrics.

In a moment of craftiness, also before company arrived, I re-painted this thrift shop $5 pink (?!) palm to hang on the lanai wall.

I'm still a bit crackers about palms, and can name most of the varieties that are grown in this part of Florida. Sunshine, rainbows, and palms... almost paradise. 

Last Wednesday was the fifth and final class of First Time Quiltmaking lessons for these ladies. It's so rewarding for me to share quilting with those who want to learn, and then see the spark of excitement in their eyes as they realize they can make a quilt.

I'll be teaching Beyond First Time Quiltmaking starting Thursday, September 25. If you're local, I'd love to have you join us! For details, click on the "Schedule" tab above. Linda

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Attempting to reduce the fullness of my scrap bins, I've been doing lots of rotary cutting. From fabric pieces, I begin by cutting 5" squares. Then, 3" squares, 2-1/2" squares, 1-1/2" squares, and 1" strips. Those sizes have pretty much used up lots of my non-yardage prints. Slow progress.

The 3" squares and 2-1/2" squares are in this old sewing machine drawer. 

I'm making those patches into this block that I saw on Instagram. Victoria, who lives in Scotland and is @sewgoclimbing on IG, is making hers with 6" blocks. Following the photo of her quilt, and using EQ7, I designed my own version with 2" patches. My test block measures 12-1/2" X 12-1/2" unfinished. I love it... and now need only 29 more blocks to make a decent-sized quilt! I'm excited about using up those scraps, though.

From a bin of strings - 1"-wide to 2-1/2"-wide fabric strips I've collected over the years - I made six more 8" blocks to contribute to the donation quilt being made by the Central Florida MQG.

And, I got right on the Mid-Century Modern bee September block for Mary on Lake Pulaski. Mary asked us to make a Union Jack block (8" X 15-1/2" unfinished) following the tutorial by Mollie B. Sparkles. I'll admit that this one got the best of me! Those diagonal quadrants... let's just say I had to make more than one two of them before I got it right. After this, the Union Jack block is officially out of my system!

This quilt top is the second 54" X 60" design I'm offering to students in this fall's (September 25) Beyond First Time Quiltmaking class. I've named the pattern "Make it Easier," because it's a simplified version of the other pattern I'm offering. Lots of negative space that will demand some creative quilting. 

My Flower Ball quilt top is also done at 42" X 42" and is ready for basting and quilting. I finally decided to put the flower ball on a Kona Azure background. So, that means two more quilts need quilting...

...after this one is done. I've made very little progress on Happy Together, and what I've done I don't like. The curves aren't even. I've decided to move on to another block, and will revisit this one later. I sure love the texture that I get with double batting though! This is Quilter's Dream Wool on top of Quilter's Dream Request Poly. I'm quilting with Marathon iridescent thread and that's giving this a lovely sheen.

At the moment, I'm not my usual self. Sunday evening I was bitten by an insect - perhaps a mosquito. I'm having an allergic reaction. You're looking at my right forearm. The bite is oozing now. The hot, red, swollen area is about 4" across, and 6" from elbow to wrist. My skin feels oddly taut, and the itching is driving me crazy. Monday afternoon (Labor Day) I phoned a 24-hour nurse hotline, and am doing as suggested - icing it; putting on a paste of baking soda; elevating my arm; and I've taken some Benadryl. Don't like the pills though as they give me an upset stomach.

I know this will pass, though it has become apparent that my reaction to bites have been getting worse. Apparently, Florida's mosquitos are different than those in Iowa. Diligence about wearing repellent is needed. Did you know that Listerine is a great insect repellent? Just splash original, gold-colored Listerine on yourself. The bugs won't like you, and, you smell pretty good too! I need to take my own advice! Linda


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