Friday, January 8, 2021

She-Cave Refuge

In a week, when it feels like life in the US has blown up again, and Coronavirus numbers are ever-increasing, refuge in my sewing room/she-cave is where I feel safest... where I pray about concerns and fears, find solace in God's Word, and make. 

Scrappy inset circles that first received attention in December, have evolved. Experimenting with circles has been of great interest, after seeing (on Instagram) blocks made by @mariquilts. Marianne doesn't provide info about how she makes them, so I attempted to figure it out. I came up with this scrappy ring. It turned out okay, though I'll say that it takes longer to piece scrappy squares of fabric from which to cut concave and convex circles than it does to actually cut and sew an inset circle!

I wrecked the beauty of the ring when I set a striped circle into it. UGH! It looks like a woman's ugly purse! We learn from our failures, right? This will be discarded, or possibly put on the back of a quilt. 

You may have noticed that the first scrappy circles I made were were set into the background at angles. Well, I decided I didn't like that look... after making 11 blocks! Of course. That's exactly how I operate.

So, I took each block apart and reset every scrappy circle perpendicularly. I'll like them better because I want to try inserting vertical and horizontal scrappy strips. I don't know how the composition will evolve, but here I am. 

During the day, I seem to work best at the sewing machine. By evening I'm ready for hand work.

I love hand piecing, but have yet to finish a hand-pieced project. The last piece I worked on was this Starfish quilt. Progress came to a halt in September because I ran out of gray background fabric. Thus far I have been unable to determine which Kona (if it IS Kona) gray it might be. I bought the fabric in 2010 or 2011, because I began hand-piecing in March 2011. Yep, it's been around for too long and I'd like to finish it. But how to accomplish it. I'm thinking to introduce a different background color around the entire perimeter of the 53" X 55" piece to make it bigger - useable.

For now, I'm moving on.

About three years ago I bought Jen Kingwell's book Quilt Lovely, sole-y because I have always admired Glitter a pattern on page 7. After buying the book I made a test block using the book's paper templates to cut fabrics and machine sew. What a disaster! Another big failure. (Whew. Today's confessions are painful!

Below is Jen Kingwell's scrappy version of Glitter from the book. You can also see my Kiwi friend, Wendy's Glitter quilt here. She hand-pieced it and won an award!

When Glitter acrylic templates were recently on sale @sewmodernchicky - online here - in Jacksonville (Florida), I took the opportunity to start another hand-piecing project. 

Choosing fabrics from my scrap bins, I set myself to make a test block. It's nice to have templates from which to cut fabric, but especially to mark the seam intersection dots. Then it's connect-the-dots to draw a seam line. I do this line-drawing step on fine-grit sandpaper, so the fabric doesn't stretch while I'm dragging the pencil across it.

Each 13-patch Glitter block measures 3½" X 9⅛" unfinished.

Voilá! One down; 151 to go. My plan is to use solid and print scraps in a color combo that's orange, yellow, hot pink, and (maybe) red. Few reds are in my stash or scraps, so I'll see how that goes.

During "limbo week," between Christmas and New Year's, I started Kawandi #4 with more of my grandmother's vintage fabric. It's coming along nicely.

Book Recommendation

I'm happy to share my first 2021 book recommendation! It's The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Hiram Walker is a Virginia slave, and half-brother to Malcolm, the tobacco plantation owner's son. When Malcolm and Hi tumble into a river, Hi experiences a mysterious power that saves his life, and changes it. Though Hi has received some education, and is better treated than others, he wants to escape and take Sophia with him. But an unexpected intervention changes Hi's plans, putting him in a place where he can save others, and develop the ability handed down to him from his grandmother.

The author refers to slaves as "taskers," never using terms or language that I'm accustomed to reading in books such as Gone With the Wind. The story delivers greater understanding of the underground railroad, tasker families, their lives and an empathy for their desire to be reunited with family.

Linda's score: 4.3/5.0 

Through Lutheran Church of Hope (West Des Moines, Iowa) I've begun a six-week online Bible study called Get Out of Your Head with Jennie Allen. In the first video lesson, Jennie shared this nugget that is surely the only way to fix the world's wrongs.

Amen. Linda


  1. I have felt very sad to see the events at The Capitol this week Linda. Then I shook my head at the President's address the next day implying it was time to move on. Anyway, let's not dwell on that. Let's pray for peaceful and healthier times ahead. I admire you for committing to all those hand pieced Glitter blocks. I enlarged my pattern and only ever made about 12- on the machine! For someone with lots of gadgets I'm surprised you don't have a sandpaper board. I bought my many years ago and it comes in handy for all sorts of things. My suggestion for the Starfish quilt would be be purchase a lighter grey to act as a border for the rest of the quilt. I love where your scrappy circles are going!! Stay safe, S

  2. I've seen Wendy's Glitter quilt too and it is lovely. The colours in yours sound like they will be fabulous - I have no doubt that you will do a lovely job of it. And that first red circle of yours -- LUV!

  3. Love both pieces, and I agree with Susan about the gray. I think another shade would really set it off. Love the circles as those and leaves are what draw me in.

  4. Stay in the quilt cave! The numbers make me shudder. You are a problem solver for sure with your circle blocks. They do look nice with the new setting. Oh my-Glitter. The templates may just be the saving grace for them. It's a beautiful quilt. Keeping with good spiritual input is certainly a good use of time. I'm trying to do the same.

  5. I love your circles! Be still my heart! While I just finished my inset circle project, seeing yours makes me want to do more. Love the ring circle and wouldn't mind giving that a try as well. Marianne is the master!!

  6. Your block looks like a padlock. So call it 2020. LOL. (not funny though) Glitter is a project I won't tackle but I will enjoy seeing your progess. Your Kawandi.... heart heart heart!!!

  7. I got headphones for Christmas and started listening to my first book while sewing. I’m not sure I will finish this book (I picked one that I thought would be easy to listen to and it’s boring LOL) excited to look at your recommendations and chose a better one next time.

  8. Lots of nice things going on. It's so hard to stay in a happy place right now with what's happening in the country and the world. We each need to do what is best for us to stay positive. For me it's cutting back on social media and delving into my projects. I happen to like your "purse block" and it's graphic quality. Perhaps adding another smaller circle will add the punch and diminish the purse look. Don't give up on it yet.

  9. Replies
    1. And amen. I'd reply to you directly, but your Google profile is set to "no-reply commenter." If you change your profile to show your email address, when you comment on a blog post (anyone's blog) you will receive a response. At least you will from me!

  10. Such a good post to read, Linda. Thanks for sharing. Jen Kingwell's patterns are interesting, aren't they? I do like them, and I have that book. I bought it for a pillow pattern, so now I need to dig it out. Those circles are so fun. As to the "purse" block, I'd play with it a bit, maybe slash it a little off center, then flip it, add a stripe through it. Just goof around and see what happens.

  11. I love those circles, no matter how you set them, Linda!!

  12. The she-cave is definitely the place to be for the time being! Here in the UK we are in lockdown #3 with Covid infection rates averaging 1 in 50 people carrying the virus.
    I admire you being able to puzzle out quilt blocks and designs - the circles all look very interesting to me. I am finding it difficult to get absorbed in a project at the moment.

  13. Oh Linda, I feel your pain. Just when there's a glimmer of hope on the horizon, 2021 veers off the rails, just as 2020 did. You clearly have maintained your sense of humor despite national events, though, and I appreciate that -- I laughed out loud more than once while reading this! Best wishes on all these beautiful projects!

  14. Such pretty projects you share. I absolutely am enthralled with the circles and the touch of interest in some of the background fabrics. Your choice of fabrics and design are so eye catching and what I consider joyful. Its a shame we can't instill in people causing havoc in our country with the peace and joy that comes from making something beautiful.

  15. Fun post. I enjoyed reading it. I bought some Glitter templates a year or so ago. I've made one block but have plans to make more. Your block turned out really nice.

  16. Haha. Of course you wanted those scraps perpendicular! But looks like the project is coming along nicely. I really like the idea of putting in some strips on their own, too.


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