Monday, October 16, 2017

Blogging and Miscellaneous

One of the reasons I'm posting today is to say how grateful I am for Blogger (  the online program that started on August 23, 1999. It turned everyone in the quilting world into my next door neighbor! I can't begin to count the people I've come to know through blogging since I began my own blog in January 2009. At one time, I was following and commenting on more than 80 blogs. Sadly for me, many of those bloggers are no longer posting, likely because of the prevalence and expediency of Facebook and Instagram.

To date, I've written 876 Blogger blog posts. According to Bloglovin', I have 476 followers.

Though I have no doubt I've written 876 blog posts (Each year I have a years worth of blog posts printed into a hard cover book.), I am skeptical that I have that many followers. For one thing, I never receive the quantity of comments that come close to making me believe that's an accurate number!

But for me, the good news is that people who follow my blog and do comment, have become friends. I reply to their comments, and that often prompts a conversation.

Those I have come to know through the emails we exchange (and in some cases, with whom I Skype) are people that I would feel comfortable asking to meet-up with me sometime... when I visit their area of the country, their community, or a quilt show. Likewise, I think they'd feel as comfortable letting me know when they're in my area.

My point in mentioning all this is that I've come to depend on virtual friends when I need an opinion, or a second opinion on a project.

Over the weekend, Paige ( and I swapped several emails about our respective MQG guilds' quilt challenges. Neither of us can publicly share because there's a big reveal at an upcoming guild meeting. At least for me it's been helpful to have another quilter's eyes on my work, especially because I was struggling. In my case, I pieced a top and then was stumped for quilting ideas! Ha! Paige came through with a drawing of her suggestions, and they were most helpful! Thank you so much, my friend!

After now admitting that I sometimes struggle to come up with quilting designs, in the next breath I'll say that it is true that I am a domestic machine quilting instructor! My forté is in implementation.

On Saturday, at the Eisenhower Rec Center here in The Villages, I taught domestic machine quilting to 20 quilters from Quilting Guild of The Villages.

This is the third full class (20 students) I've taught in the past three months! From my perspective the classes keep getting better and better. The students impress me with how savvy they are about quilting and what they want to know, and I've gotten better at sharing essential information.
My friend, Patt
My friend Becky who is also a neighbor and pattern-tester for my "Florida" quilt.
I learned something in this workshop too! Kim (formerly from Des Moines, Iowa) shared that she bought her Bernina Aurora 440 (exactly like mine), from the Quilt Block in West Des Moines. Small world. And, she showed how she improved her Bernina knee lift. She put an 8"-long pool noodle over the gray handle of the knee lift and zip-tied it in place. The extra "puff" adds stability, and makes the knee lift a little closer to her right knee. Such a genius idea!

For the Wayward Transparency Quilt-along being led by Yvonne (QuiltingJetGirl), I think I've settled on these three solids - dark, medium, and light values of orange. The test to determine if the contrast is strong enough, is changing the color photo to black and white. 

Mine barely passes the test. We're supposed to be cutting into fabrics now, but if I can work out a better combo with greater contract, I'll go for it.

Not quite two weeks ago, a Walmart Neighborhood Market - means it's a grocery store and pharmacy/personal care store only - opened about a mile from our house. It's so handy, and golf cart assessable! Our area has sure changed in the past 5-1/2 years. I took this photo because I like the Walmart bicycle rack.

I have been worshipping all summer at Lutheran Church of Hope online in West Des Moines. I miss my home church, and for the time being, had given up on finding a church in this area. Well, at Bible study last Friday morning - we're doing Priscilla Shrier's seven-week study called Armor of God - the woman who sat next to me told me about her Lutheran church. It's Missouri Synod, so it's one that never appeared on my radar. However, on Sunday morning we attended Amazing Grace and were pleased. Not only was the service nice, with an appropriate focus on "grace" as part of a sermon series on the Reformation (Martin Luther), but we were (surprisingly) welcomed at the communion table! I'm being prayerful.

Today I've also prayed for two special quilting friends who asked me to do so! Debbie (aQuiltersTable) and Paige (QuiltedBlooms) have both been invited to speak on Pat Sloan's AllPeopleQuilt podcast at 4 pm Eastern time today. They're each a little anxious about how they'll do, and want to sound coherent for the 12 minutes they speak! I hope you'll listen-in live, or catch them on the podcast. These are two very talented quilters who have good information to share. Linda

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spiders, and Leaders and Enders

I think leaders and enders is a fairly commonly-used term among quilters.

Bonnie Hunter of is credited for coining the term that's used to explain how to piece together fabrics, using a quarter-inch seam, in between other sewing. She even wrote books about it! Adventures with Leaders and Enders, and More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.

The idea is that while you're sewing at the machine, you don't let any unsewn thread go to waste, or let it get caught in a thread nest on the underside of fabric.

If there's always a piece of fabric in the sewing machine, those threads don't make trouble. Back in the 1980s I learned to sew over a scrap of fabric, over and over again, to ensure all the threads were engaged. It's called a "thread spider" because of the way it looks. (Internet photo.)

Bonnie taught us that instead of wasting thread on a spider that didn't serve any purpose, we should be piecing another quilt!

  • leaders - the little bit of piecing you start with before sewing the primary project you're working on, and 
  • enders - the little bit of piecing you shove in at the end of your primary project. 
Doesn't knowing you can make a "free" quilt make you feel frugal?! 

Since beginning to sew leaders and enders in October 2011, between my own scraps and those of friends, I've been well-supplied. Most quilters don't keep fabric bits smaller than 2" X 2". My size limit is 1-1/2" X 1-1/2", so it's no surprise that friends are happy to pass their smallest scraps to me.

Thus far, I've made more than 200 16-patch blocks that measure 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" unfinished. Last year I gave 115 of them to Big Cypress Quilters who turned them into quilts for Project Linus. This is one of the tops that was sewn by two quilters who donated the finished quilt.

Now I've accumulated another 80-plus 16-patches and have been wondering how I'll use them.

Then I read this blog post with a picture of a little quilt called "Palmateer Point," learned it was made with 2" squares, and decided to work-up the design with my 1-1/2" squares.

So I took some of my 16-patches,

and some 4-patches that hadn't yet been sewn into 16-patches,

used the Magic 8 Method Craftsy tutorial to make 2-1/2" unfinished half-square triangles using Kona White and Sunflower Grunge by Basic Grey,

and put together this 8-1/2" high X 20-1/2" wide sample. I like it!

Perhaps once this row is complete - I'm aiming for 60" wide - I'll change the half-square triangle colors. Maybe white with orange. 👍 You know I like bright!

And, don't you agree that it's good to get in the habit of sewing leaders and enders? I'm looking forward to the long-term piecing this will take, in between other sewing projects.

And I have been sewing! I'm just not able to share the new project I'm excited about. It's for the Central Florida MQG Challenge which is due November 13. As always, each quilter's challenge piece is to be kept on the down-low so members can blindly choose their favorite at our November meeting. For this challenge, the only guideline is to choose a colors or an element from a non-quilting magazine - between pages 48-52 - that inspires a quilt, of any size!

Also, five of us have been working on the next QuiltCon Charity Quilt that we're sending to Pasadena, California in February 2018. That big quilt deserves a blog post of it's own. Linda

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hangin' With CrazyMomQuilts

Amanda Jean Nyberg from Minnesota, who blogs and Instagrams as CrazyMomQuilts was in The Villages on Sunday and Monday. A group of us from the Central Florida MQG executive committee, and committee chairs, went to dinner together at the Mallory Hills Country Club.

These gals are some of my best friends in The Villages: Dee; Karen (formerly from Iowa); Amanda Jean; Debbie; Cindy; Jane; and Cathy. I'm on the far right.

We learned what a personable, lovely, and talented quilter Amanda Jean is. We like her, and we're pretty sure she liked us too! Karen drove to and from dinner in the golf cart so Amanda Jean could have that fun Villages experience.

All day Monday, October 2, I was in Amanda Jean's "Spin" workshop. Our group met at the newest rec center - Moyer Rec Center - to choose and start making a scrap quilt from Amanda Jean's book No Scrap Left Behind. In this picture, she posed with my "Ring Me" blocks that I'm piecing from a huge bag of solid scraps.

I'm thinking to make these 7"-inch blocks two ways - in cool and warm colors. But her version with all the colors mixed up is great too. See below. This photo is from our Central Florida MQG meeting on Monday evening. To read all about Amanda Jean's visit to our chapter, go here. 

By the way, I have to say that I loved Amanda Jean's Washi dress. She's made five of them now, from different fabrics - this one was double gauze. Seeing it on her and hearing how comfortable she says it is, I might have to make one for myself.

After seeing all the quilts from Amanda Jean's book at our meeting, members who have made Amanda Jean-inspired projects were invited to show them. These are what I've made:

A couple works-in-progress (WIP) bags

Two 12" x 12" ticker tape on canvas pieces that hang in our bathroom. Tutorial here.

Making those for the wall inspired what I did to a plain white desk that's now my "War Desk" (after seeing the movie "War Room.")

Amanda Jean inspired me to save fabric strips - she calls it "fabric yarn" to crochet a rug. I chose to make mine oval-shaped. A rectangle-shaped tutorial is here. I'm current saving and sewing strips together to crochet another one.

Over the summer of 2015, Amanda Jean hosted a quilt along to make a Scrap Vortex Quilt. I absolutely love this 90" X 92" quilt which is stored in the top of my closet because I don't have a place to use it! :-(

Lastly, my "Slopes" quilt from Amanda Jean's book is a WIP. She made hers with solids. I'm using prints. I've had to stop working on it because I've run too low on print scraps to keep the color rows going! Are you as reluctant as me to cut into yardage to "make" scraps?

I have to add that it was a real treat to finally meet Amanda Jean in person! We have mutual friends - MadeByA Brunette, RenéCreates, LiveAColorfulLife, among others - and I've been following her blog since 2010 or so. I felt like I already know her! If we lived any nearer to each other - and if she had the time! - I'd sure try to spend time quiltmaking with her. I'm a big fan of her scrappy style.

Oh, and one more thing that happened on Monday... during the workshop, a roving broadcaster from WVLG radio in The Villages, came in to ask about doing a live, on-air interview about what we were doing at Moyer Rec Center.
This is the WVLG radio station at Lake Sumter Landing.
Of course I obliged! He and I went into the kitchen of the Moyer Rec Center for the interview. He introduced me, said where I moved from, what village I live in, and how long I've been quilting.... Eek! Since 1975! Then he asked about modern quilting - what makes it different (That's always the first question about modern and it's tough to answer because modern isn't completely defined, and is so subjective!), and the sewing machine I was using. Wouldn't you know that this was the workshop where I decided to use my antique black Featherweight!

On a more somber note, I can't not mention my sadness and disbelief of the shooting of 59 innocent people outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. You'd think I'd be removed from it here in Florida, but then I learned that Michele, my friend and former editor at American Quilter magazine (AQS) who is now a professor in Illinois, was in the crowd during the Route 91 Harvest Festival country music concert. She posted this photo on her Instagram account...
... and wrote:
*GRAPHIC* These are the new shoes I bought in Las Vegas to wear on the final night of the Route 91 Harvest festival. I’ve left them behind, hoping they hold the memories I don’t want to carry with me. Too many bodies, too much blood, and I still feel like a remote viewer. I thought it was fireworks until the girl next to me was covered in blood and I felt a burning sting on the top of my thigh. The bullet broke skin but did not lodge because it didn’t have enough velocity—that girl caught the worst of it. My mind keeps wondering if she made it out alive; I pray that she did because unlike me, she wasn’t old enough to have really lived yet. 💔 #rt91harvest
Like most of you, I am grieving for the people who lost their lives, the families they left behind, and the senselessness of this insane and cruel act. It's difficult to accept that we'll never know why. We must keep praying. Linda


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