Sunday, August 27, 2017

Color Explosion

Sunday morning I walked into my sewing room and just had to grin at what I saw - a color explosion! I probably didn't notice it the evening before because the blinds were closed and I was focused on my work. But by the light of day... wow.

It looks pretty messy too, but I don't care a bit! And that's coming from a neat-nut. 😜

Every project has my avid interest. 

Since my left wrist is feeling better (for now, I am NOT playing the ukulele because that's what triggers the pain), I'm FMQing again. Hooray! Last evening I finished quilting this scrappy-strings quilt that was sewn onto telephone book pages. Binding up next!

I also progressed on my LindaNova EPP design. Love the addition of the striped fabrics to give it movement. I'm just finding it difficult to manipulate the piecing with all those stiff papers in the back.

On the design wall is this in-progress pieced backing for a quilt that five of us are making as our 2018 QuiltCon Charity quilt entry. All the fabrics - Painter's Palette Solids - were donated to us by Paintbrush Studios. We're short of the Rice Paper-colored solid for the vertical strip. Gotta get that ordered, but I'm waiting for a Labor Day weekend sale! I've also requested a donation of Aurifil 50-weight thread, but after sending the company three emails - one a week - I still haven't received a reply. Might have to give up on that idea.

And I resurrected this 17" X 17" Octagonal Orb quilt block that I will quilt for a pillow. I'd originally thought to make a whole quilt with this free pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, but after deciding it's a bit tricky to assemble, I settled for one. Love those colors though!

Even my breakfast is colorful! I'm still enjoying my new Fiestaware dishes. And I am very proud to say I'm now making my own yogurt too! It's topped with homemade granola, ground flaxseed and blueberries. Yummy in my tummy!

A colorful feast for my eyes - in a bowl, and in my favorite room! 🙌 Linda

Friday, August 25, 2017

York County and the Eclipse

On Monday and Tuesday this week I was in Rock Hill, South Carolina with York County Quilters. During the day Monday and Tuesday, I taught domestic machine quilting (both walking foot and free motion) in six-hour workshops.

A lot of this was happening...

... with a total of 38 quilters in the two workshops. I appreciated how this quilter tried to quilt a palm!

On Monday, the class agreed to shorten our lunch break so we would have enough time to go outdoors for the eclipse. At our location the eclipse was at 99.1% at 2:41 pm. Several of the quilters had brought along solar eclipse glasses, and were willing to share - as I hoped! I sure appreciated that!

I had only my Canon S100 point-and-shoot for picture-taking. This is what I got when I just aimed the camera toward the sky. 

However, when I put the glasses over the camera lens, the picture was much more distinguishable. 

Nice enough, but even when the eclipse reached 99.1%, my camera wasn't good enough to capture the moon blocking the sun.

One of the quilters used a hole-punch to make a perfect circle in a piece of aluminum foil.

Really, it was all quite fascinating. I feel privileged to have seen it. And it's remarkable too in that this is as dark as it got where we were. It was surprising to me that the sky wasn't darker with only .9% of the sun shining. Mark your calendars for the next eclipse on April 8, 2024! It will have a southwest to northeast course.

Monday evening was the York County Quilter's guild meeting with 80 in attendance.  

President Jane (in the blue top) was my friendly hostess for the four days/three nights I was there. She was generous to host me in her home. And boy, did we hit it off! So many things to talk about as she previously worked for Bernina, and YLI thread.  This whole event wouldn't have happened if Teresa (far right in the striped top) wasn't one of my blog readers! She's the guild VP, and is responsible for workshops. She too is friendly and made sure everything was pulled together for my two workshops. I owe heaps of thanks to Jane and Teresa - and really, all of York County Quilters. You made me feel very welcome!

York County Quilters are a generous bunch too, making shorts and pillowcase dresses by the hundreds for Little Dresses/Britches for Africa.

Since last year I've been hanging on to these six pillowcase dresses, meaning to make more to add to the pile. But rather than wait, as soon as I returned home, I boxed them up and sent them to York County Quilters. 

We traveled by car to/from South Carolina (Dan went on to visit a friend in Cary, North Carolina) and Hogan went along. He travels well!

Back at home on the 23rd, we had rain in the early evening. After the eclipse phenomenon, it was almost as surreal to watch the rain fall... while the sun was shining!
Sunny Rain, 16 seconds

I mean, I could have been out there tanning too! Bazaar.

Saturday, August 26 marks our 45th wedding anniversary. Gosh, we were such kids in 1972!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Feeling Sentimental

This past Wednesday, August 16, grandsons Tay and Aesa started school in Kansas City. It still seems too early to me, but here in Florida, local children returned August 10!

Tay began second grade.

Aesa began first grade.

What's tugging at my heartstrings is that this young lady is starting college, and those boys are gonna miss her.

Jill took Tay and Aesa out of school on Thursday and Friday, so all of them could load up a rented Nissan Qwest and drive Celina to Colorado State.

It was nice to see the family pictures loaded to the iCloud, so we could share their experiences setting up the dorm room.

Ahh. I remember those days... In 1994, taking Jill to Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois.

Move-in day was very hot!
Jill and my Dad
And then we left her there! I know I cried for nearly all the six-hour drive home.
Jill and her roomie, in 1994.
Saturday, that's what the family did. Left Celina. And said their goodbyes. 

I'm praying for everyone who will miss her at home. And for Celina's college success. 

I'm sure that was a long drive back to Kansas City. Linda

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What Keeps Me Busy

When I was on my way to teach quilting last Saturday morning, this was the view from the driver's seat. A gorgeous full rainbow, with all the colors entirely distinguishable, including violet. It was one of the best rainbows I've seen since moving to Florida.

Right after seeing that gorgeousness I met a fabulous class of students! Twenty of them were completely engaged in learning to walking foot and free motion quilt. In spite of some sewing machine challenges, every one of them persevered and later told me they learned something... always a good thing to hear when you're a teacher! They presented me with this bit of quilt sandwich, quilted by Donna. She FMQed this beautiful script, and the fabric was signed by everyone. Thank you so much! 

I must tell you that when I teach FMQ, after I've explained how to set up the sewing machine and then done a short demonstration on my Bernina, I ask quilters to quilt their name. I expect to evoke groans, and they never let me down. 😂 

English paper piecing has been my go-to handwork, and I'm loving where this one is headed. This is the Tula Nova pattern that I renamed Linda Nova because no Tula Pink prints are being used. Instead I'm using stashed fabrics, in a combination of prints and solids. When I complete this round, it will be about 21" across. The finished quilt is 56" X 56" when the EPPed medallion is appliquéd to a background. 
Linda Nova at almost 21"
When I was in Kansas City, doing a little shopping with Celina in old Overland Park, in a women's clothing store I saw a pretty cotton top for $54. It was a halter style top with a piece of string through the neck. Overpriced.

I decided to make one for myself. A search came up with a tutorial for a lined chiffon top. I learned that the tutorial's method for taking my own measurements to create a pattern worked beautifully!

However, these are the changes I made to the tutorial. My top: 1) is sewn with 100 percent quilting cotton (no chiffon and no lining); 2) has a front neckline that's cut one inch lower than the pattern measurements; and 3) has side seams that are sewn using a French seam.

In my stash of ribbons, I found an unused drawstring from a pair of pants that I turned into the 28"-long piece needed for the neck drawstring. I bought this "Soul Mate" quilting cotton, by Amy Butler for FreeSpirit fabric, at KC Modern Makers.

I was so pleased with how the top turned out - how comfortably it fits, and that I only need to pull it on over my head - I made a second one. It took only slightly more than an hour to sew! This fabric is "Lagoon" by Rashida Coleman Hale for Cotton + Steel, and also came from KC Modern Makers.

Now I've noted in my cell phone (ya never know when a fabric might jump out at you!) that I need a 1-1/3 yard to make a top - two lengths: one for the front; one for the back. And after cutting it out, I'll still have a nice-sized piece leftover for sewing into a quilt! Win, win!

The tutorial for the top is here. Follow those instructions for making a pattern. I created mine from two pieces of freezer paper taped together.

Other than what I've shared here, I haven't done my other favorite things like FMQ or play the ukulele. Though my carpal tunnel wrist is better, since it's still slightly swollen, I'm fearful I might reinjure it. I'm giving myself one more week. Linda

Friday, August 11, 2017

Return to Teaching

Since going to Kansas City I've had a respite, but the pace for the next few weeks starts picking up tomorrow. That's when I begin teaching again.

All day Saturday, August 12 I'll teach Domestic Machine Quilting to quilters from Quilting Guild of The Villages. I haven't been told how many signed up for this workshop, but my max is 20. I'm ready, and excited to teach again!

On August 21 and 22 I'll lead two Domestic Machine Quilting workshops for York County Quilters in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I'm also looking forward to sharing my Domestic Machine Quilting program at their regular monthly guild meeting on the 21st.

Then on September 5 I'll give the same program to Quilting Guild of The Villages, followed by two more workshops on September 6 and October 14. I already know that both of those workshops are maxed out at 20 students. Makes me very happy to know there are that many quilters who want to learn how to quilt their own quilts!

My blogger-friend Elizabeth in California, recently posted information about the upcoming, August 21 solar eclipse, so I thought I would too. This map of the eclipse path is from

This link to www.vox provides information about the path of the eclipse, including how close you are to it, based on your zip code.

Here in Florida, I hadn't thought much about viewing the eclipse. However, I'll be in South Carolina teaching that quilting workshop! Turns out I'll be only 27 miles from the apex of the path of the eclipse! Ideally - if the sky is clear and cloudless - I'd like to step out of the workshop at 2:41 pm Eastern time, to take a look, wearing special glasses of course.

I'm still mending from carpal tunnel syndrome, but last weekend decided to try some rotary cutting. It went pretty well. No pain. I cut out fabrics to make five 10-1/2" unfinished half-square triangle blocks for the QuiltCon charity quilt that five of us are making for the upcoming February 2018 show.

I pieced these blocks on my Featherweight while my Bernina was at the LQS for three weeks, getting it's annual tune-up.

Then I decided to try English paper piecing. With occasional stops to do wrist stretches, it went fairly well until I had a twinge up my left arm. I stopped for the evening, and the next day returned to complete it to this point. This is my Linda Nova project, based on the Tula Nova pattern. I'm using light gray-colored Bottom Line, 60-weight polyester thread for the piecing. It's downright invisible!

These are the makin's of the dozen star shapes that will be the next round. 

I'm glue-basting with Fons & Porter glue stick, and it's working nicely. I do love the neatness of English paper piecing.

Back to the charity quilt... On Wednesday, my friend Karen came over so we could arrange the half-square triangle blocks pieced by four of us. That evening I pieced the quilt top. It's about 70" X 90".

Karen's piecing some of the backing now, using up every bit of the Painter's Palette solids that were donated to us by Paintbrush Studios, a division of Fabri-Quilt in North Kansas City, Missouri. Thank you, Fabri-Quilt!

Now I've emailed Aurifil to ask if that company will donate three colors of 50-weight thread for domestic machine quilting. We hope they contribute too. Our plan is to quilt mostly with a walking foot - three of us will do that - and fill in with just a little FMQ. 

No FMQ has happened around here though. My #summerofFMQ is totally blown now due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Nor have I played the ukulele. I'm just singin' the same old tune (HA!)... my wrist is still swollen, and occasionally tender. I'm hesitant to do anything more than machine sewing and EPP. Maybe that's all I can/should do for a while. Boo! 

For the past month I've been making coffee using a French press rather than the Keurig single-cup machine. Something about it tastes better. Well, part of it is that I've discovered a to-die-for decaf coffee! I brought it back from H.E.B. grocery store in Austin, Texas. The brand is Cafe Olé, and the flavor is "San Antonio." It has a hint of vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon. Smooth, and simply divine. I drink it with a splash of Half-and-Half.

After making a press pot of it, I pour the coffee into my new Fiestaware teapot for an easy warm-up later.

All this talk about coffee, mostly on Instagram, opened my eyes to the fact that coffee can be made "cold brewed," meaning that grounds and cold water left to sit for 18-24 hours steeps a milder, less acidic coffee. An Internet search led me to this information by Jamie Oliver and now I'm making cold brew too. I do believe it's gentler on my stomach. Have you tried it?

When I saw Hogan sitting on the window bench while I was sewing, I couldn't resist taking a picture of him. Doesn't he look good?! After being diagnosed with cancer in January 2016 - and the vet was pretty dire about it - we just marvel at how he's doing. He'll be 14 years old in October, and though he's slowing down, is missing an eye (since 2014), and can no longer hear (not even the doorbell), he still has his frisky moments. And that dog loves his green beans! Goodness! We now buy three quarts of fresh green beans at the Farmer's Market every Saturday and keep a back-up stash of frozen green beans, from Sam's Club, so you know that's a big bag! Hogan barks at us to tell us when it's time to feed him... dog food and green beans!

There are worse things he could be eating, so we indulge him. He is a sweetheart after all.

Now I'm off to double-check that I have everything ready to take to teach tomorrow. Did I mention that I'm excited about it?! Linda

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Friends Time in Kansas City

While the primary reason I went to Kansas City for two weeks was to be with family, I did set aside a few hours to spend with friends. 

It was a real treat to spend several hours over coffee and in great conversation with my friend, Carla. We met through our blogs - she is LollyQuiltz - though I'm sad to say that she is no longer blogging. I always liked her excellent photography, and humorous writing style. In person, she's as sweet and lovely as she came across while blogging. I'm so grateful we had a chance for a good catch-up. 

Jacquie Gering also graciously set aside time for me. After we chatted briefly at QuiltCon in Savannah in February, and I told her I would be visiting KC a couple times in 2017, she said to call her up when I was in town. So, I did.

I visited her studio in the River Market area, enjoyed a delicious lunch at a nearby café, and returned to her studio... all the while talking about the Modern Quilt Guild and her participation in founding it, QuiltCon show quilts, MQG chapter activities, Bernina sewing machines, quilting styles, and more! I'm sure I could have way overstayed my welcome. As it was I took 90 minutes out of her precious workday.

Yes, Jacquie views quiltmaking as a job, which is why she moved all of it out of her home and into this building which she shares with four (maybe only three) other artists. Jacquie puts in regular hours in addition to extensive traveling. No doubt her book Walk (all about walking foot quilting), which is in its third printing, has much to do with that. To cut back on travel, her goal is to offer, in the studio, teaching quilt retreats to groups of eight quilters. She'll set up sewing space and offer side trips in the KC area. Quilters would get a full weekend of lessons and activities. Sounds like lots of fun to me!

My last stop in KC was on my last day there. I paid a visit to KC Modern Makers. I love Elizabeth's little shop. She carries so many things I like! It's always hard to narrow down my purchases. She has a wonderful collection of solids that include several types/brands: shot cotton, Kona, Free Spirit, and my new favorite Painter's Palette. It always happens though that I look at this wall and wonder, "Which colors do I already have a home?"

In addition, she carries a great assortment of garment patterns (not like those found at JoAnn Fabrics), and a variety of different weight fabrics: knits, voile, double gauze, decor weight, bottom weight. Also, Aurifil thread in several different weights, and Mettler thread.

What I'm saying about KC Modern Makers is that it's not just about quilts, and that really appeals to me.

I did come home with some quilting cottons though. I'm planning top two in this photo will be sewn into drawstring neck halter tops (still looking for a tutorial after seeing a ready-made top that I loved). I also bought one knit for a sleeved top, and one bottom weight for a pair of shorts. Obviously, all this will happened when my wrist is healed and I'm free to sew again!

It's probably just as well that I'm without my favorite sewing machine right now. My Bernina 440 has been at the local vac and sewing store since July 18, just for it's annual tune-up. I'm hoping to hear soon that it's ready!

On August 3 I started this six week online Bible study: We Saved You a Seat. The series is about friendships - how to be a better friend, and to make friends - and how Jesus modeled friendship for us. I sometimes think I'm a better on-line friend than an in-person friend, so I'm looking for ways to improve. I am definitely not doing well at keeping my Iowa friends. 😟

Getting to go to a Lifeway Christian Bookstore is something I look forward to when I'm in KC. When buying the "We Saved You a Seat" study, I also preordered Beth Moore's newest study: "Quest." I'll have my eyes open for a church that may be offering that video series.

You might guess that I'm trying to stay in the Word each day, and I am. Since living here for five years, worshipping every Sunday, looking for a church to call home, and attending a dozen different churches, I recently decided "I've had enough." I made the decision to return to worshipping with Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. While I can't go there physically, I can attend each Sunday morning NOON (Eastern time) via Hope's online simulcast. The sermon is dependably Bible-based, and the message always comes through loud and clear. If you'd ever like to join me, and receive the same blessings I do, here's the Sunday morning worship link. Linda


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