Saturday, July 11, 2020

Scrap Snap Quilt

Scrap Snap Quilt, 60" X 78"

I'd like to say that making the Scrap Snap quilt used up most of my scraps, but I can truthfully say only that the canvas scrap bins slide more easily into their cabinet slots. Ha, ha! Better. 

Thanks are owed to Kari, for the free Scrap Snap block instructions at The layout for my blocks is my own.

This past week I quilted Scrap Snap, choosing to making easy spirals. If you've never tried spiral quilting with a walking foot, I recommend it as a way to quilt a large area quickly - well, at least faster than custom free motion domestic machine quilting. I wrote a blog post with tips about how to spiral quilt: 10 Tips for Spiral Quilting Success.

I spiral quilted my first quilt on my Bernina 440QE with a 7-1/2" harp. That size is doable, but since getting my Bernina 770QE with its 10" harp, it's somewhat easier. Mostly I need to be sure everything is off the quilting table surface because the "fluffy" quilt can easily knock things off.

Quilting Scrap Snap began with one offset spiral in the upper left section. In the photo above you can see I used the Bernina walking foot guide (on the left side of the foot) to quilt spirals one inch apart.

When the first spiral was finished, I moved to the lower right section to begin another spiral. That's variegated-color thread. 

I quilted with two different variegated colors of 40-weight YLI thread. All bobbin thread was Aurifil 50-weight silver, color #2615.

When the second spiral was completed, I added partial spirals to fill in the upper right and lower left sections. In this photo you can see where spirals touched one another. 

Each time a spiral "bumped into" a striped setting triangle, I stopped. 

Lastly, I used a ruler to quilt straight lines spaced to follow the striped fabric. Easy work.

Binding is checked fabric. I thought about using the same stripe as the setting triangles, but knew it would drive me crazy if the stripes didn't match. 

Even though it takes more time to piece a quilt back, I am always happy to use up fabrics for a scrappy backing, which seemed appropriate for this scrap quilt. 

I still love seeing a colorful quilt hanging in a Bismarck palm!
Scrap Snap Quilt, 60" X 78"

As many of you know from reading previous posts, I'm participating in Kristy Lea's upcoming "Create Collection" launch. Create is the name of her new fabric line by Riley Blake. Here's the list of quilters participating in making a project, and when to see them on Instagram

For those of us who blog, we'll also write a blog post on our assigned date. Tuesday, July 21 is when you'll see the small quilt I designed, and find details and free access to the pattern. I appreciate feedback from those of you who have expressed interest in seeing my project.

This post wouldn't be complete without a book review, but leave it to me to select a book that was the second in a series! No, I didn't read the first one. Sigh. Love's Every Whisper is in Naomi Rawlings' six-book Eagle Harbor series that takes place in the late 1800s along the coast of Lake Michigan. It's an age-old love story involving two kids who grew up in the same town, but from diverse economic backgrounds - Victoria's as the daughter of a wealthy shipping merchant, and Elijah's as the son of a fisherman-fur trader. After the death of his father in a lake storm, Elijah devotes himself to building a rescue boat and putting together a team of volunteers who are ready to assist a floundering boat. Of course, Elijah's long-time nemesis, is around to make life as challenging as possible, including wanting to make Victoria his wife.

This is what I call a "beach novel" - the sort that's pleasant reading while lying in the sand, or lounging at the pool.  Linda's score: 3.5/5.0 


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Plodding Along

With the climbing number of Corornavirus cases, and hospitalizations in Florida, I'm feeling the weight of tedium. I'm plodding along. While other people are spending time with family again, I'm especially missing being able to travel to see my dad, children and grandchildren.

Last Monday, the Villages emailed residents to announce the latest change in plans - from reopening recreation centers on July 6, to recreation centers that will remain indefinitely closed. Without line dancing, ukulele club, quilting groups, and quilting workshops I was to teach, the days feel relentlessly the same. Initially, when plans were made to reopen, albeit in a new way, there was hope that life would eventually turn around. Now, the necessity of continuing to stay at home is testing my perseverance. 

Hubs and I have begun referring to 2020 as "the lost year."

I'm continuing to make, digging up self-motivation to continue WIPs, and a few new things. 

Like... the quilt I'm making from Kristy Lea's "Create" fabric collection. Using the 27 fat-eighths that were sent to me by Riley Blake, I created a design that's 44" X 44" - meant to be a baby quilt.

For the quilt sandwich, I made myself puzzle together batting scraps, trying to use up. Unlike the last time I joined batting with fusible interfacing strips, this time I slightly overlapped two batting pieces, rotary cut gentle curves, and used the widest zig-zag stitch on my Bernina to piece them together. I'm very pleased with the result.

Quilting this (so far, unnamed project) on my Bernina 770QE, I used a combination of walking foot quilting, ruler quilting with a Sariditty Cinched Arc ruler, and free motion quilting. 

I'll take several pictures of the finished quilt, write the foundation paper pieced pattern, and all will be revealed on Tuesday, July 21, the date I've been assigned for sharing on my blog and Instagram. I plan to make the pattern available as a free download.

A few more Prudence Quilt blocks have been pieced, and I'm cutting fabric to make more. I like the challenge of coming up with fussy-cut pieces from my stash, which does not include Tula Pink fabrics, the fabrics that seem to be most-favored by English paper-piecers. 

I'm curious... do you know anything about twining? (Pronounced twine-ing.) I saw Victoria Findlay Wolfe's Instagram picture of her twining loom project, and it captured my attention. 

After watching BluPrint videos about rigid heddle loom weaving - even entertaining the idea of trying it though I'd need to buy a loom AND yarn - now I wonder if twining might be more up my alley. I'd need only a loom (by Lilly Lula), and definitely would not need fabric.

Even though I am able to entertain myself at home, I miss interaction with my modern-making friends. So, when the South Florida MQG (Boca Raton) publicized their July through December schedule of online presenters and workshops, and pro-rated membership dues for anyone to join, I did! I'm now a member of South Florida MQG! The chapter sent a lovely welcome email with information about all their activities, and where to find information about their Beatles challenge and BOM.

I was also welcomed on Instagram!. 😊 

I am looking forward to the next six months of membership that includes program and workshop guests Amy Friend, Timna Tarr, Teresa Duryea Wong, and Malka Dubrawsky! 

Reading audiobooks continues to be my favorite multi-tasking activity when making. 

I'm so glad I picked Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. If you've read Unbroken, the true story of Olympic runner, pilot, and WWII P.O.W. Louis Zamperini, then you'll understand when I say that Boys in the Boat is a similar, true narrative. It's about the University of Washington nine-man rowing team, from 1933-1936 that overcame hardships (dust bowl, depression) to make it to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. I didn't think I'd care to read a sports story, particularly about rowing, since I know nothing about it. But after following the difficult childhood and endurance of rower Joe Rantz, I have much respect for the sport. It takes more than hard work and spirit to participate in such a precise and demanding competitive activity. Details about rowing events and strategies that I expected to be boring were completely captivating. Historical information about these times in the US, and economic challenges, were fascinating.
Linda's score: 4.7/5.0

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) was recommended to me by friend Deb, and I'm so glad she did! The premise is: What story might be told if Jesus had been married? I'd never given the possibility a thought, but the manner in which the author presents Jesus (before his ministry began), Mary, James and Simon... in the times, places, and circumstances he would have been in, and saying what we know from the Bible, makes the answer seem possible. The story follows Ana, a teen with scholarly aspirations not in line with Jewish culture, that dictates an arrange a marriage. Ana, who does not want to marry, then encounters the captivating 18 year-old Jesus. 

If you listen to this book, don't miss the author's own commentary at the end - about the four years she spent doing meticulous research to weave cultural norms into the narrative, including the demeaning of women.

This book is excellently read by Mozhan Marnò - though she pronounces locations and names differently than I learned in church. Examples: I learned: Ca-PER-num; she says: CAP-er-num. I learned: TAB-i-tha; she says Ta-BEE-tha. I remember Pastor Mike saying no one knows for sure how Biblical names were pronounced, so her pronunciation doesn't change the story. It's still great!

Linda's score: 4.8/5.0


Saturday, June 27, 2020

E-Zine and Other Stuff

Do you read e-zines published by fabric companies? I recently discovered Modern by the Yard e-zine published by Benartex.

Issue #14 of Modern by the Yard, the free Benartex publication was released today. Inside are a couple of free patterns, and a closer look at several Benartex fabric collections. 

Along with two other quilters (Cheryl Brickey @meadowmistdesigns,and Laura Piland @sliceofpi), last month I was invited to peruse the Benartex online fabric collections to put together, and name, a fabric bundle for a section of the e-zine called "Mix & Match." 

On page 7 of the e-zine, you'll see the fabric bundle I put together and named "Tropical State of Mind." No surprise there, I'm sure. I was attracted to the palm frond print, and aquas, and sunny yellow... basically, beach colors. 

This is the screen shot I created to see what the fabrics look like together. That palm print! 😍 I think I need it for a face mask. 

I hope you'll enjoy looking through the e-zine, and past publications too! You'll find quite a few lovely, free quilt patterns. 

Last week I had the opportunity to join a Zoom presentation hosted by the Broward Quilt Expo (Boca Raton, Florida). About 80 of us attended to see and hear a program about Hobbs Batting, led by Stephanie. She sure knows her stuff! Being a Quilter's Dream fan myself, and assuming I knew everything about batting there is to know (Ha!) I learned how much I didn't know! Stephanie definitely knows her wadding, and provided information about different types (poly, cotton, wool, blends), uses (kids, charity, heirloom, quilt show entries), and how to work with them.

Since I often choose wool batting for a quilt I will enter in a show, I was interested to learn about Hobb's Tuscany 80/20 cotton/wool blend - a nice fiber combination with the stability of cotton and the loft of wool. Thinking I needed to try a batt, you can imagine my delight when the next morning I discovered that the daily batting sale (emailed to me) by was for Hobbs' Tuscany Cotton/Wool blend! This is the king-sized batt I'm looking forward to trying. Apparently it's a favorite of Edyta Sitar. 

In any case, should you know of a quilt guild that's looking for a educational program, and a free one at that, I suggest you get in touch with Stephanie at Hobbs Bonded Fibers

I've continued to work on the quilt I'm making for the upcoming release of Kristy Lea's @quietplay new "Create" fabric collection by Riley Blake. My design uses foundation paper-piecing. 

This week I tried the tutorial to make a 7" X 7" Nine Patch Wonder Block Potholder. It's easy to put together! Basically, start with a three-color nine-patch block using 4" X 4" patches; sew the block to itself along the sides; insert a double layer of Insul-Brite; hand-sew to close the opening; and run a few lines of walking foot quilting across it. I'm definitely making more of these. 

Mask-making was once again in my purview as my hair-stylist admired mine and asked me to make her a black one. I made her two, several for family, and more for us. Wanting to keep ours handy, I hung two 3M hooks on the laundry room wall: His and Hers. We'll be able to grab and go out through the garage, and then toss them in the washer when we return home. 

It certainly looks liking we'll be wearing masks for months to come! Florida COVID-19 cases are exponentially increasing - 8,900 new cases on Thursday alone!

Though the majority of new cases are in the Miami and Orlando areas, on Thursday, nine more people in The Villages tested positive.

This chart, from the Florida Department of Health, provides excellent information about cases, hospitalizations, and deaths reported until June 26. Note how each increases as age increases. 

Florida is heading the wrong direction! Re-opening our rec centers July 6? Reopening Disney World July 11? Starting school on August 6? Can these things safely happen? If they do, I'm pretty sure I'll be staying home. Yay me - and you! - for having a healthy hobby that keeps us contentedly occupied!

And yay for reading a very satisfying book!

Ordinary Grace
 by William Kent Krueger undeniably transported me to another time and place - New Bremen, Minnesota. Perhaps because that state has many similarities to Iowa, the author managed to evoked all the sensations of summer in the Midwest - the feeling of dirt under my feet; the oppression of hot, humid air; and the smell of creosote on railroad ties. The story belongs to 13 year-old Frank who, in the summer of 1961 is thrust into the world of adulthood, and looks at deaths. Frankie's 9 year-old brother stutters; his sister is a gifted musician and composer; dad is the Methodist church minister, and mother is an accomplished choir director and vocalist. The is the summer that will shape and change all their lives forever.

Linda's score: 4.7/5.0


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Eighth Anniversary

Eight years ago today we moved into our brand new home here in The Villages.

I blogged about the entire move:
It took us a while to understand Florida weather patterns which come from all directions, and accept that June/July are basically the rainy season. Still, we embrace the warm weather (don't miss snow, ice, or freezing temps even a bit) and love being able to go almost everywhere locally in our golf cart. 

Then, in spite of my knock-you-flat breast cancer diagnosis in February 2013 followed by the October 2013 diagnosis of severe peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.) in my legs, I've come through these conditions with appreciation for the skilled doctors and progressive medical technology. Both of us are more physically fit than ever, and other than Coronavirus changing our lives (everyone's lives!), we enjoy our favorite pastimes. Only being too-far from children and grand-children in Kansas and Texas makes me me second-guess moving here. 

From My She-Cave
You-all know what I think about spending time in my wonderful she-cave! I clock more hours in my sewing room than any other. Yay for a husband who cooks!

I'm really hesitant to show you the status of the improv quilt that's been on my design wall. I'm not at all satisfied with it. While I like the yellow X's and how they draw the eye around the quilt, the rest of it - particularly the center - looks like mush. It's now pieced together at 55" W X 53" L and definitely needs something more.  

I've auditioned several fabric colors, thinking to insert a huge X or other shape - triangle? - right through the middle of design. This Painter's Palette solid iris looks good, but I'm hesitant to take the next step.

In the past months I've made a few masks for friends and family, using the free pattern by Orange Dot Quilts. After my hair-stylist admired mine and asked for a black one like it, I made more. With Florida's cases of Coronavirus on the rise, quite honestly, I think we'll be wearing masks for months and months. The more masks we have to wash and wear, the easier it will be to have a clean one at the ready.

You can guess which three fabrics are mine. Yep, the tropical prints on the left. Hubs prefers this style mask (not smooth-fitting) and the 1/8"-wide elastic that he thinks is more comfortable than 1/4"-wide that I tried.

Last week, a long awaited parcel arrived from Riley Blake fabrics with 27 different prints/colors. These are a new collection called "Create," by Kristy Lea @quietplay in Australia. Bright colors and prints include hexagons, stripes, stars, diamonds, triangles, and bees with rainbow-colored wings! Fabrics will be available in the US in July; in Australia in August. 

Kristy invited me to be part of an upcoming blog hop, so I have until July 21 to complete my creation with fat eighths. I came up with a design using EQ8 and have begun cutting and sewing. More to come!

Interesting Tidbit
Though I'm not a rugby fan, Dan is. He records Australia and New Zealand matches and watches them at his leisure. He pointed out what the NRL (National Rugby League) has done in Australia, and I think it's genius! "Fan in the Stand" is an initiative at Westbank Stadium in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. Since, due to Coronavirus no one is permitted to attend a match in the 30,000-seat stadium, for $22 a fan can have a life-sized picture of themselves seated in the stands! I took this photo of our TV screen when players in the foreground allowed a close-up of the stands. Isn't it a clever concept? A fan is positioned in every other seat in the lower deck, and randomly positioned in single, double, triple and quadruple groups, presumably social-distancing, in the upper decks. As well, matches include crowd noises and music during breaks. All for the sake of the sport, right?  Read about it and see more pictures here

Book Reviews
I apologize for the odd formatting here! I am using New Blogger, and am unable to get it to format with the book picture on the left, and the text on the right - as it appearing (properly) in the second book review. It simply won't work here! Very frustrating. Google/Blogger continues to do an excellent job of attempting to push me away from blogging. Another complaint is that pictures are uploading, but then cannot be found to insert into this post! All I can see is pages of blue question marks. Ergh. WordPress is looking better and better!
After last week's story about a Jane Austen book club, I decided to listen to a Jane Austen title: Emma. While I'm glad to have read such a classic, I can't say I was enthralled with the slow-moving plot. Maybe it's because I knew what to expect, based on seeing the movie. Otherwise, I would have been somewhat lost. Maybe you'll be surprised when I say that it was difficult to understand the archaic language, the formality of conversations, innuendos that escaped my understanding, and even the occasional unfamiliar vocabulary word. "Approbation" was such a word, repeated often enough for me to gather the meaning based on the context. I'm glad I read it, but it certainly wasn't a compelling escapist-type book. I guess I prefer contemporary books. 

Linda's score: 3.0/5.0

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris was the antidote to Emma. It's about a Depression-era newspaper photojournalist who begins to receive feature article assignments and recognition after taking a picture of two boys by a sign that advertises them for sale. Though the picture works to the journalist's advantage, the ramifications of the photo appearing in print haunt him. He becomes involved in finding two children who were sold - a compelling story that gives a glimpse into the hardships of life in those times and the challenges faced by those without resources or a voice. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Village Quilt Finish

Village Quilt, 63-1/2" X 77"

This design is by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company, but when I saw a picture of these "Village" blocks posted to Instagram, I did my own calculations to figure out piecing sizes for these houses. I began cutting-up my solid scraps back in October 2019, anticipating this quilt as a long term project for my away-from-home-sewing hours with Big Cypress Quilters and Central Florida MQGers. When those activities stopped, I kept sewing.

In April, Moda made the Village pattern available for free (verifying my calculations) and offering a giveaway to those who posted an Instagram picture of themselves with a block. I did so on April 15, but didn't win the giveaway.
April 15

Being quarantined, I kept piecing. Notice that my houses do not include random chimneys, as in the pattern. Nor did I follow layout instructions about spacing between houses, or the addition of a border. Since "going modern," I rarely border any quilt design.

Quilting was done on my Bernina 770QE entirely with a walking foot. Straight quilting at half-inch intervals is across the houses. One #719 scallop stitch is between the roof and house; and all the roofs and "sky" are quilted with the #4 serpentine stitch, also at half-inch intervals. 

Quilting took only ten hours or so. 

Having bought several wide backs early this year, a perfectly colorful one was in my stash. Batting is a compilation of four different pieces of Quilter's Dream Cotton that I joined using Bosal Batting Tape. In the future, I'll just cut my own fusible interfacing strips. 

Binding fabric is by Henry Glass. The stripe design is on a diagonal, so cross-cutting binding strips makes for a bias stripe. I love that. Of course, I used my No Tails Binding: Mitered Corners by Machine method of attaching binding and machine-joining all four corners. If you're a member of the Modern Quilt Guild, you have access to my No Tails Binding: Mitered Corners by Machine webinar. 

I intend to give away this quilt, because, as all my friends know, I do not need another quilt!

Hopefully, the recipient will appreciate all the bright colors. And isn't our Bismarck palm the perfect quilt-hanging site? This palm delights us, and passersby, everyday. Linda

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

She-Cave Activities

Long Distance Quiltmaking
Granddaughter Celina and I have spent several hours on FaceTime as she begins to make a small quilt for Curated Quilts. The magazine/journal's latest challenge is Youth Mini Quilt Challenge. A newer/younger quilt maker is to work with a more experienced quilt maker to design a 10" to 16" square quilt using designated colors and a theme. The challenge concept was meant as a collaborative effort through quarantine.

After discussing possible themes, we settled on "distance" - she lives in Kansas, attends college in Colorado, and I'm in Florida. Then she drew a couple designs. When the fat quarter bundle of fabrics arrived at her house she colored the design we liked best - roads across the miles between us.

Since the design definitely had an improvisational feel to it, that's how we started. She's sewing in Kansas on my old Bernina 153 that I gave to our daughter after I won my Bernina 440 for Best of Show in the 2012 Machine Quilter's Showcase.

I've been sewing along on my side of the computer too. I'm cutting background fabric, and inserting strips along with her, thinking my block will work into the improv piece that's on my design wall.

Through FaceTime, the curves have proven most tricky, especially as I've had to explain how to line-up the raw edges, rather than pick up her fabrics to show her how to slide and manipulate fabrics edges to make them align. It's been a bit frustrating!

Still, she's remembering some of her first quiltmaking lessons when she was eight years old. The difference now is that she's not sewing in a straight line. We'll get through this!

When the mini top is done, she's sending it to me for layering, quilting and facing. She's already pointed out where I am to add big stitch hand quilting in navy-colored perle cotton.

My Quilty Stuff
As for what I've been doing, I needed to get a couple quilt tops sandwiched - Villages, and Scrap Snap. Because I've been out of large batting, and thinking to piece some of the dozens of batting leftover I have, I bought Batting Seam Tape, by Bosal from my local shop, Sew Together. Usually I've sewn batting pieces together, so this was something different for me.

It worked very well, but after I'd pieced four batt pieces to make one quilt, I ran out of tape to piece together eight batts for the other quilt. 

That's when I pulled out some Pellon interfacing, SF101, that I cut into 1-1/2"-wide strips. It worked just as well as the tape, so I know what I'll be using in the future. 

I'm so glad that about 25 years ago I bought a Kwik Klip to close these one-inch safety pins, as pinning two large quilts, one right after the other, can be hard on the fingertips. 

My Villages quilt will be given away, so it didn't take much time to decide I'd walking foot quilt the whole thing. Using silver-colored YLI polished polyester thread, I started quilting at 1/2" intervals on the "building" parts of the houses, reminding me of concrete foundation blocks. 

Next, I used Bernina stitch #719 to quilt a scallop along the top of the house, where the roof meets the building. And finally I quilted the roofs/sky with serpentine stitch #4. Quilting took only two days to accomplish.

This is the backing fabric, and a diagonally-printed black and white stripe, by Henry Glass, for binding. 

My improv quilt blocks continue to languish on the design wall while I occasionally move around blocks, piece another improv block, and take another small step toward what this thing is gonna look like when it's finished!

Sunday Online Worship
Lutheran Church of Hope sermon, One in Ten, was especially meaningful and effective as Pastor Mike began with a clip from of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. In episode 195 Mr. Rogers invites Mr. Clemmons to take off his shoes and join him in a wading pool to cool his hot feet. 

Scripture accompanying the message was Luke 17: 11-19, the story of Jesus healing ten lepers of their leprosy, and only one of them - a Samaritan, no less! - returning to thank and praise Him for healing. 

Pastor Mike concluded with a reenactment of the same episode.
Valley High School (West Des Moines, Iowa) Principal David Maxwell and Pastor Mike Housholder

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly (Are you fair in your dealings with people?) and to love mercy (Do you show mercy to those who wrong you?)
and to walk humbly (Are you learning humility?) with your God - Micah 6:8

I certainly need to hear and follow-through.

I've not much been in the mood for book-listening lately, but managed this one in the last week.
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler is mostly a compilation of insights about the six characters - five women and a man - who belong to the Jane Austen Book Club: two best friends; a school teacher; a talkative woman; a lesbian; and a single man. Each character has a story - about how they know one another, and their current challenges. Some characters bored me.

If nothing else, this book made me realize... I don't recall ever reading a Jane Austen book. But I've seen every movie based on a Jane Austen book! My favorite is Emma with Gwenyth Paltrow. Now I want to read Jane Austen and have begun with Emma. Happily, many classic titles can be found on RBDigital through my public library.

Linda's score: 3.5/5.0

Away From Home Activities
In post-quarantine news, our local recreation centers will reopen the week of July 6, but with limitations. Room capacities have been lowered, and no drinking water will be provided as it once was. While you're expected to wear a mask into the building, once you're in your room, masks are no longer required but may be worn at personal discretion. This means my twice-weekly line dance class at 7:30 am will begin with 30 people permitted in the room. No masks required.

As Florida Coronavirus cases are increasing, including a few in our county in the past week, I think I'll  decide the day before line dance class whether I'm going the next morning.

In addition to weekly Zoom get-togethers with Big Cypress Quilters, next Wednesday Big Cypress Quilters are gathering at the rec center to spend 90 minutes together outdoors. We're to bring a lawn chair, drink and bag lunch for a social distancing lunch. I'm looking forward to actually seeing quilters IRL!



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