Thursday, March 21, 2019

This Week

Monday was my birthday. I received some lovely cards, emails, text messages, three phone calls, and one FaceTime. My two Texas grandsons FaceTimed to wish me happy birthday, and sing! It was the first time I'd heard the Birthday Song with the lyrics, "Happy birthday to you. Cha, cha, cha! Happy birthday to you. Cha, cha, cha!" and so on.

Monday morning was spent attending my Beth Moore Bible study: "A Woman's Heart;" the afternoon was spent rotary cutting in my sewing room; and dinner was spent with Dan at Oakwood where I had my fill of pulled pork and corn fritters. Definitely diet-smashing, but good. 

Also on Monday I learned that I won two Instagram giveaways! One was for a small enamel sewing machine pin, and the other, from @lysaflower, was for a one of her PDF patterns, and issue 70 of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

As if that wasn't enough, on Monday Curated Quilts posted this on their Instagram feed. It's a reminder to enter their Well Said Mini Quilt Challenge - entries accepted until March 25 - with a photo showing four entries they've already received. One of them is mine... "Quilt" in the lower right. It's nice to be selected and featured on their IG account. Now to wait to find out if "Quilt" is accepted for publication.

The rotary cutting I did on Monday actually went on for several days, as I dug into my stash to cut prints for my Cascade quilt. I put adhesive grippers on the curved braid specialty ruler and went crazy cutting a total of 540 of these shapes - 270 are right-sided; 270 are left-sided. You can see that I'm sort of sticking to a color palette - blue/aqua, orange, yellow, green, and low volume white/gray. 

From the oddly-shaped leftovers, I also cut 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" squares and then 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" squares. Of course, this extra cutting is what made it all take so long.

But now I have a replenished basket of baby squares for leaders/enders.

All this cutting was so I can put together my Cascade quilt top while I'm on the four-day Central Florida MQG annual retreat that begins tomorrow.

I also anticipate making another wristlet, and working on my "It's All About Color" challenge quilt. This is how far along it is.  

And, I need to make a small wedge quilt project because I will be giving a six-hour modern wedge quilt workshop to members of the Jacksonville (Florida) MQG on Saturday, April 27. (See my "Speaking and Teaching" schedule on the tab above.) I plan to teach how to make a pillow, or small wall hanging.

Since I haven't mentioned Hogan for a while, I thought I'd share a picture I took today. He is doing pretty well for a 15-1/2 year-old, and is in what Dan and I call a "rally mode." Though he sleeps a lot during the day, and his walks take interminably long because he's slow, he still exhibits a little evening perkiness and wants to play. His diet is now strictly prescription dog food - Royal Canine dry and canned. Gone are the days of cleaning and steaming pounds of fresh green beans, and making homemade cookies for him.

Last night (March 20-21) was the super worm moon. This is how it appeared from our front door at 6:15 am this morning. Gorgeous. The lower right beam is our automatic lamppost light. 

My latest audiobook finish is "Becoming Mrs. Lewis," by Patti Callahan. It's historical fiction based on the writings, correspondence, and life of Helen Joy Davidman, the woman who became the wife of C.S. "Jack" Lewis. I enjoyed learning about their relationship - based on many years of corresponding - their conversion experiences, and philosophies on faith and life. This book piqued my interest in C.S. Lewis, as I haven't read any of his books. "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" might be good to read to my grandsons. Linda's rating: 4/5. 


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Makin' and Planning

On Saturday, National Quilting Day, I finished making an Essential Wristlet. This pattern, by DogUnderMyDesk, has become a favorite. I have made it for myself, family and friends... about ten times.

The two I made for myself are now worn out and faded, so it's time to make replacements using the vinyl I bought at QuiltCon.

For the first-time, I used my Bernina 770QE to make that decorative blanket stitch between the fabric (Effervescence by Robert Kaufman) and vinyl. When I made a test sample, I discovered that the 20C embroidery foot - or any regular machine foot, for that matter - wouldn't move at all on the vinyl. The vinyl is too sticky! So I placed a strip of Golden Threads paper (a tear-away quilting paper I once used for free motion quilting) over the vinyl. Then I stitched through the paper along the edge of the vinyl. It worked! The only extra step afterward was to tear away the paper, and use tweezers to pull tiny paper bits from beneath the stitches. It was worth the effort because I love how it looks!

For the first time, I used the larger wristlet pattern to accommodate my larger iPhone 8. As I have done before, I added this exterior zipper pocket - lime green! It's a handy place for keys. And you can see in the first picture (at the top of this post), on the opposite side, I also added a clear vinyl pocket for my Villages ID card.

Inside the wristlet is an open pocket for a cell phone (bottom of the picture below). I used the last of my favorite Maxine print that says, "blah, blah, blah" to make that pocket. (Anyone know where I might find more?) I also added an inside zipper pocket (not called for in the pattern) as it's a safe place for money and a charge card.

I like these wristlets so much! The size perfectly suits my needs because carrying a large purse or tote isn't my thing. 

My next wristlet will use this Tula Pink fabric with lime green vinyl, and pink zippers. That colorful shell print will be the lining. Though I really wanted to use orange zippers, I'm out of them! Gotta get that remedied!

I'm keeping up daily with my temperature quilt. The far right column, going from the bottom up, are high and low temperatures for the past week. Can you tell that it's been in the 80s every day? All those reds make me happy to have that bit of royal blue on January 31, when the low temperature was 36°. 

The Central Florida MQG quilt retreat begins next Friday, until Monday, March 25. I have some planning to do, as I've only today decided what I will work on.

Now I need to get crackin' on using my curve braid strip ruler to cut prints from my stash. I hope to piece the Cascade quilt top, a pattern from Victoria Findley Wolfe's book, Modern Quilt Magic.

I deliberated for a long time about which sewing machine to take. I've decide my Bernina 440 will suffice, because it has it's own table, and for the piecing (only) I will do.

My English paper piecing will probably go along too, for a change of pace. Only the last round remains to be added to my TulaNova (LindaNova) medallion.

On March 5 a new great-niece was welcomed into our family. This is a picture of my 88 year-old dad holding her - his 12th great-grandchild. I think it's the sweetest picture, and only wish our mother was still here to be part of it. 

This morning, after church, I came home and made waffles. Dan doesn't eat them, so I knew they'd just be for me. What better way to enjoy these big, naturally-sweet, Florida-grown blueberries than on top of banana-wheat waffles? Blueberries are in season, and I adore them. Also in-season are strawberries, but I haven't yet tasted one as sweet as those grown in Iowa. So for me, it's blueberries all the way. 

I have another book recommendation. I finished listening to The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth. It's a heart-warming story about a single mother, Alice, who's diagnosed with cancer, and Zoe, her 15 year-old daughter with severe social anxiety disorder. I gleaned insight about both illnesses, and how humans rise to meet difficult situations. The narrator did a fantastic job portraying each character. Linda's score: 3.75/5. (That's 3.75 stars out of 5 stars.)


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Challenge Entries

For some reason, I've lately felt compelled to participate in challenges. Maybe it's because two different challenge quilts I made in 2018 were juried into QuiltCon. Perhaps I need the push of a challenge to force some creativity?

I recently submitted these two items.

This quilt block is made using an eight-piece 5" charm pack of Painter's Palette Solids. We were challenged to design, make, and photograph a block (no size requirements) to upload to social media.

I designed this 6-1/2" X 6-1/2" block in EQ8, printed templates, and then cut and hand-pieced it using Painter's Palette colors abyss, marine, aquarius, clementine, amber, and burnt orange. I really like it, but not enough to piece more of them! By the way, the winner of this contest receives 25 yards of Painter's Palette Solids.

My second submission was this project, my 16" X 16" entry in Curated Quilts (magazine) mini challenge: "Well Said." Using the assigned fabric colors, we were to make a mini that evokes a thought or emotion.

Nothing says "quilt" to me more than quilting stitches. Or rather in this case, the quilting behind the word makes the word stand out. The lovely puffiness of wool batting really helped make the word stand out. Then after free motion quilting, I added hand quilting with DMC orange pearl cotton. 

The winners of this challenge have the honor of having their quilt published in the next "Well Said" issue of Curated Quilts. 

Now to wait for outcomes.

I moved on to catch up on my temperature quilt, since I hadn't made daily blocks since before QuiltCon (February 17). Happily, it doesn't take too long to choose and cut fabrics to make these.

To make real progress, I needed to decide how I wanted to label each month. I thought I wanted a special "marker" for each month, and went ahead and hand embroidered extra blocks for January, February and March. But when I placed them among the other daily blocks, I didn't like that they stood out so much.

So instead, I'll embroider a little number on the first day of each month.

The numbers are small. Simple. And unobtrusive. I'm all caught up to March 11, even to chain-piecing together the columns. I won't join the rows until the year is done. I'm sure loving this look!

Since I frequently listen to an audiobook while sewing, or walking, or doing laundry, I often have books to suggest to friends. One of those friends, Karen, asked me to share titles here, along with a little review. Here's the latest book that I'm giving 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

"Three Things About Elsie," by Joanna Cannon, resonated because it's about elderly people living in a semi-dependent living community. (Not quite me yet!) The main character, Florence, is in her 80s, and her best friend is Elsie. Flo's observations, her activities, her forgetfulness - typical senior moments and remarks - along with an old mystery, kept me guessing and giggling through the story. The narrator did a great job giving voice to each character. I bet you'll like this book too. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Getting Better

I can't believe how long it's taking to get over this bronchitis and chest infection. In fact, I got even more sick after last Thursday's treatments. By Sunday I felt like crawling in a hole. Monday and Tuesday were much the same, though I dragged myself to obligations, assured by the doc's office that I wasn't contagious. I've felt bad enough that I haven't been doing my usual exercise activities.

Today, Wednesday, is the first I've felt that the end might be in sight. I see the doc again Thursday morning, and hope I get an "all clear."

Updates on recent activities...

Saturday was the Quilting Guild of The Villages annual "Closet and Notions Sale" - really, a garage sale. This is the third time I've participated, paying $5 to have a six foot-long table of my stuff - books, patterns, fabrics, and the odd notion or two. Whether due to my tired-looking fabric selection.... (my table ended at that lady wearing the green vest)

...or the abundance of other quilters who were also selling their cast-offs - 57 sale tables - this is the first time I didn't do well. I couldn't even manage $100 in sales. One large bin of fabric has been returned to storage until I figure out what to do with it.

On Tuesday, my chapter of Quilting Guild of The Villages - Big Cypress Quilters - had a guest speaker from Children's Homes of Florida. The fellow came in to tell us about this organization that helps families (75 percent are single parents) during pregnancy, and with children under the age of five.

As a surprise, we decided to host a baby shower with items to send back with him to the Children's Home. Our quilters brought in a huge assortment of needed items - quilts, afghans, receiving blankets, diapers, onesies, sippy cups, toys, and book. Six large tables of donations was a sight to behold!

My contribution was three quilts and a book. I made these quilts when we lived in Iowa, and was holding on to them for the right occasion. This was it. I'm very happy to know they're going to a worthwhile organization. 

I'm proud to be a small part of the generosity that often defines Big Cypress Quilters. 

In conjunction with the baby shower, quilters were invited to bring a baby picture of themselves, for a game. Of course, I couldn't figure out who anyone was! Here's the picture of me, in 1954. 

In my sewing room, the going is slow, in between days of not feeling well. 

First, to fulfill the "It's All About Color" challenge for Central Florida MQG, due in June, I selected this color palette from @DesignSeeds...

Then, from Melanie Tuazon's workshop at QuiltCon where I learned to piece "fingerprint curve" improv blocks, I started making these.

As this challenge includes trying something "new to us" these improv shapes are different for me, and this is a color palette that I wouldn't otherwise use - I seldom intentionally use blues in a quilt. I like that I'm able to use fabric from the 2017 Kona color of the year: Pink Flamingo.

I've also started the Curated Quilts "Well Said" challenge that's due March 25. The word I'm conveying is "quilt." I guess you might say that I've sort of "cannibalized" it by making the word appear by the free motion quilting that's around it. I used wool batting for the "puff" effect. This isn't finished yet, but I'm happy with where it's headed. 


Friday, March 1, 2019

QuiltCon: Workshops and Vendors

I took two QC workshops, the first with Mel Tuazon @melintheattic

These were my results from her improv "Fingerprint Curves" three-hour workshop. She taught us four ways to make improv curves.  (Fourth method not pictured.)

Others' improv-piecing in the workshop.

My second three-hour workshop was "Deconstructing Design" with Sarah Nishiura @sarahnishiuraquilts

My design start was an Ohio Star.

Then we learned how to create multiple iterations of it to come up with completely different, modern designs. I took photos of many variations, and could just keep playing.

I didn't go too crazy in the vendor booths, though 19 yards of fabric came home with me. Most of it was different colors of Painter's Palette Solids. The prints on either end are fabrics I plan to use to make new wristlets...

...using the new corks and vegan leathers I came home with. No one around here sells anything like these, so I thought it was a good time to stock up.

I also added to my neutrals/text print stash, after is was decimated last year when making the Comfort Quilt. 

Later this year I'm giving a big stitch hand quilting program, and want to talk about different types of threads. This is a 12-weight Wonderfil thread that's been recommended to me.  

Four challenges are coming my way, though I don't anticipate making items for all of them.

"Well Said" and a "Black and White" challenge are being sponsored by Curated Quilts.

PBStudios/InspiredbyFabric is behind a design a "Quilt Block Contest."

And Central Florida MQG is doing an "It's All About Color" Challenge which is the one I've started working on.

I'll really dig in soon. A routine visit to the doc Thursday morning left me with a diagnosis of bronchitis and a chest infection. After a breathing treatment, a steroid injection, and starting a course of antibiotics and Mucinex, I'm hoping for a quick recovery. I had to cancel Thursday and Friday activities because the doc said I'm contagious!

But I'm cleared for Saturday morning, from 9 am to noon, to have a table in the Quilting Guild of The Villages' annual "Closet and Notions Sale." Maybe I'll finally sell the last of my traditional fabrics and not-modern patterns. Just gotta gather my energy to get everything prepped.  Linda


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