Wednesday, January 26, 2022

13th Year!

Thirteen years ago today - Monday, January 26, 2009 - I wrote my first blog post!

Six people commented on it. Looking at those comments... only one person still follows and comments on my blog: Debbie J. Wow, Debbie! How fantastic is it that you and I continue to follow and read one another's blog posts after 13 years?! Thank you so much for that!

If I'd known I'd attain this blog-longevity, I might have written about something other than making my first Pavola to celebrate Australia Day (today).

Though in the first month of blogging, I wrote only four posts, in November 2009 I wrote 22 blog posts! Seems like a lot, but back then blogging was the primary means of communicating with other quilters. With the pervasiveness of Facebook and Instagram, many people withdrew from from blogging, and reading blogs.

Early-on, I followed more than 80 blogs. Though 75 blogs are still on my reading list, many of the makers that I still call friends have stopped blogging. I miss, and feel sad about no longer knowing that they're creating and doing. When they dropped the blogging habit, our closeness went away too.

In 13 years of blog-posting:
  • I've written 1,138 blog posts
    • on average, that's 88 blog posts a year
    • or, 1.7 blog posts per week
    • I wrote 163 posts in 2009, compared to 68 posts in 2021
  • since March 2019 I've written 124 Book Recommendations
    • thanks (blame?) for those reviews and ratings go to my friend Karen E.
    • refer to "Books List" (top of home page) to view and/or download those titles
  • received 13,100 comments, and replied to nearly all of them
    • "no reply commenters" can find my replies to them on that particular blog post
  • I documented the making and finishing of 156 quilts
    • quilts range in size from 10" X 10" to 98" X 109"

In 13 years of blogging, I've blogged about...

...visiting Australia four times, when our daughter lived in Five Dock, a Sydney suburb;

While in Sydney, I taught beginner quiltmaking at Darling Point Anglican Church, sharing the experience with these friends, Di B. and Di. J.;

...numerous quilting classes and workshops I taught, among them, 35 five-week beginner quiltmaking lessons;

...winning my first and only Best in Show at the 2012 Machine Quilter's Showcase in Overland Park, Kansas. 

My prize was a Bernina 440QE sewing machine;

...moved from our Iowa home of nearly 33 years to live in Florida ('nuf said);

...met my best Florida friend on July 10, 2012;

...welcomed five grandchildren into our lives by marriage and by birth;

...made and maintained special friendships through quilting and social media;
Deb @ireniebeanie24 in Iowa
Carla @lollyquiltz in Kansas;
Cindy@liveacolorfullife in California;
Doris @madebyabrunette in Iowa

... in 2013 was diagnosed. and received radiation and drug therapy for non-genetic breast cancer; and the same year was diagnosed with severe peripheral artery disease, caused by genetics. I've had seven angioplasy, three stents put into my femoral arteries, and live with PAD through drug treatment;

... in 2019 said a heartfelt good-bye to our dear Hogan;

On November 5, 2010 I wrote a post about The Modern Quilt Guild, a "new quilt guild." I encouraged readers to check out!;
I co-founded the Des Moines MQG in 2010

and when I moved to Florida, Central Florida MQG was founded in 2012 2013 I attended my first modern quilt show, QuiltCon in Austin, Texas...

And now I'm counting down the days until I will attend my fifth QuiltCon. In 21 days!

... along the way met some well-known quiltmakers;
Christa Watson

Angela Walters

Victoria Findlay-Wolfe

Christina Camelli

Lee Monroe 

Jo Avery 

Jacqui Gering, in her Kansas City studio

Alex Anderson

...had the pleasure of hosting two international friends, both met through the Internet and our blogs!
Edith from Neftenbach, Switzerland in 2013

Di @darlingdi from Sydney, Australia in 2017

... and could continue to reminisce about much, much more! Sewing projects, weaving, braiding, fabrics, techniques... dozens of events and activities that have happened in the past 13 years! Thousands of pictures have been uploaded to blogger!

Most of it has been good, and that makes me very grateful. Especially knowing that all of my family and I made it through the worst of the pandemic. I'm earnestly thanking God that the COVID-19 vaccine was created.

The last thing to share today is a Kawandi. 

This is the ninth small one I've made since learning this hand-stitching, scrap technique from Sujata Shaha, in a November 2020 virtual workshop.

 For the first time, I tried a planned layout of scraps. It finished at 18" X 24". 

I can't imagine what the next 13 years has in store, but I hope it will continue to be about family times spent together, friends, and sharing quiltmaking with others. For sure, I plan to blog about all of it! Linda

Monday, January 24, 2022

It' Been a Full Ten Days

It's unlike me to go ten days between blog posts, but my schedule of activities has kept me either preparing to go, or on the go!

Two Saturdays ago we had special guests. Julie and her husband Doug came for dinner. 

I like setting our table for four, using all the bright Fiestaware dishes, scrappy placemats, and peg loom woven chair pads. Dan made a fantastic vegetarian lasagne especially for our guests, and along with a tossed salad and my homemade French bread, a lovely pinot noir, and homemade key lime pie, the meal couldn't have been better. 

Julie @consistentlydifferentdesigns and I met through Instagram! I began following her account after seeing the clothing she makes featured on @sewover50. She's so talented, and often dyes or prints fabric that she makes into clothing! Julie lives in Rochester, Minnesota, so with a mutual appreciation for life in the Midwest, our first FaceTime call lasted for two-hours! I told her about life in our retirement community, so they planned a January escape to sunny Florida. It was during their week-long "lifestyle visit" that we had them over for dinner, and hit it off so well that four hours passed in a blink!
It was wonderful to meet both of them, and find so much to talk about! We will definitely stay in touch!

Last Thursday I drove to Hernando, Florida to give my What is Modern Quilting? slide program, and trunk show. 

More than 50 members attended the Citrus Friendship Quilt Guild meeting. I really appreciated their generous feedback and thank-yous afterward. It's always fun for me to giving this program and share my love of modern quilts, especially to a traditional quilt guild. I've been told that Central Florida MQG may see some visitors at our February 12 meeting!

On Saturday I taught ten members of Central Florida MQG what I know about how to make a modern quilt using a 9° or 10° wedge ruler. 

If you're noticing that it looks like we're in a kitchen, you're right! Our chapter president, Karen, opened her home for our workshop, and we really appreciate that! Typical workshop venues have either not re-opened, or are too expensive for our chapter. 

Everyone followed my Carousel Quilt pattern that makes into a 33" X 33" quilt. Most of them went home with a wedge circle ready to appliqué to a background. I loved seeing the bright colors everyone chose!

This is the braided rag run I've begun making for my Texas friend, Patty, who sent me a box of fabrics in her home decor colors. I started braiding four strands with home dec fabric and a kitchen towel. 

As the rug grew, I added braids and am now working with ten strands of home dec fabric, flannel shorts, a cotton sheet, and a man's dress shirt (the dark red). Patty's giving feedback and says these colors are in her wheelhouse. That's the affirmation I need! 

Many of you commented on my last blog post about the staircase photo I chose as inspiration for the next Central Florida MQG challenge quilt - use a photo of architecture to inspire a modern quilt. I thought I was good to go until Patty (the same friend I'm braiding the rug for) reminded me that when we were on a cruise together, I'd taken a picture of a colorful building I thought would make a great modern quilt. 

Whoa! I'd forgotten it. I quickly changed gears! The building I photographed in 2019 is the Miami Children's Museum. I pulled these ten Painter's Palette solids for my quilt. I'm much happier with these because the colors are "me." Though I don't have a design or plan, I've begun cutting and piecing fabrics, and arranging them on the design wall. 

Book Recommendation
Early Morning Riser
 by Katherine Heiny is another "okay" story, enjoyable for its gentle humor and entertainment value.

Jane is a second grade school teacher who falls into bed with Duncan when he comes to her house to do some repair work. He's a notorious Wisconsin womanizer. After his failed marriage to Aggie, he's also an avowed bachelor. Yet, Jane finds him particularly attractive and engaging. Because of her attachment to him, she meets and becomes friends with the people he knows - Aggie who is ever-present because Duncan is everyone's handyman; Aggie's eccentric husband Gary; and Jimmie, Duncan's slow-minded employee in the furniture refinishing shop. Add to the group, Jane's girlfriend, a music teacher/mandolin-player, and you've got a mix of unique personalities. Their interesting interactions create a story about making amends, and accepting life's circumstances. 
Linda's score: 3.6/5.0

I don't know who wrote An Iowa Poem, but it's funny - particularly if you've ever been in Iowa in the wintertime (I lived there for more than 35 years). Stay warm, my northern friends!


Friday, January 14, 2022

Pluggin' Along

With no project deadlines, and therefore no purpose for any making, I've been stumbling from one project to another. 

I'm trying not to work on Kawandi all the time, which I'm tempted to do. Love the raspberry/violet colors, and now need to decide whether to complete it with these colors, or maybe switch back to yellow. 

I've done a little puttering on my Sherri Lynn Wood improv piece. Since I don't know where this one is going, it's not easy to work on. 

At Saturday's Central Florida MQG meeting, Beth presented a program on architectural shapes that have been turned into modern quilts, and how to pick out parts to use in a quilt design. She gave an excellent presentation, and concluded with a challenge to create a modern quilt from an architectural photo. The finished quilt, at least 20" X 20" is due at the April 9 meeting, and we're to show a picture of our inspiration.

This picture of a staircase is my inspiration... 

that I plan to turn into a minimalist quilt with Painter's Palette solids. 

Last year, when I offered to make a braided rag rug for my Texas friend Patty, she sent me a box of fabrics that included home dec prints; sheets; and a towel. This week I pulled out everything and started stripping.

Though Ilka (of Melbourne, Australia) taught us (in a two-part virtual workshop) to tear fabric strips as we go, I find it easier to braid from a pile of strips at the ready. Hopefully, these piles will become an oval rug. Because I intend to be very careful, I expect it to lay flatter than the first oval rug I made!

Book Recommendation
Well, I'm off and running with audiobook-listening in 2022. In case you're interested, I paused long enough to put my 2021 Reading List and ratings on this blog - see the tab at the top of the home page. I hope you make good use of it! I left the "month read" in one column, so if you want to read my review of the book, you can visit my posts from that month.

It's really interesting to know that I read 70 books in 2020, and 69 books in 2021. Though, with Outlander falling at the end of 2021 and going into 2022, it's long enough to count for at least two books! Actually three. 

Anyway, my first full read for this year was "meh." Learning to Speak Southern by Lindsay Rogers Cook is a story of a young woman, Lex, who is running from a past that's filled with unhappiness, growing up with her parents in Memphis. When Lex experiences a huge loss, and a family friend provides a ticket back to Memphis, Liz reluctantly returns. Expecting to leave again as soon as she arrives, when she is given the opportunity to read a sealed letter, written by her mother, she comes to realize she needs to stay to read all the letters. Hopefully she'll learn why her mother behaved toward Lex the way she did. 

This is a story of unexpected family secrets, and how Lex comes to understand that she's just like her mother, a mother she always disliked, but how family is the most important aspect of life. The best part of the book for me, was Lex's devotion to a book about the origins of words. Being a journalist, I love learning the meanings behind the words Lex talked about.  

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0

The "Collaboration" issue of Curated Quilts just arrived, and I was tickled to see OUR "Ad Libbing" quilt in the Gallery section.

Lora and I made this quilt in 2014, and had good success with it. It was juried into QuiltCon Austin in 2015; IQF in Houston; and earned third place at the AQS show in Daytona Beach! Here's my post with details about how I quilted it on my domestic machine. 

Also, in this issue is the "Harmony" quilt that Curated Quilt staff put together from blocks sent to them. I'm happy to have been part of that collaboration too. My block is at the far right end of the second row... not that anyone really cares! 😁

This week, when I visited my LQS to pick up a package of Bernina bobbins, I noted that the shop was selling small spools of 50-weight Aurifil. When I commented positively about that, I was told that they're phasing out Aurifil, and recommending Konfetti thread by Wonderfil.

For the second time, I was told that their sewing machine techs are seeing too much lint in machines using Aurifil, and that they recommend Konfetti, which is also 50-weight. Apparently Konfetti is double-gassed. Anyway, this is the rack at the shop, so the next time I need a color, I'm going to give it a try. At half the price of Aurifil, why not? Have you tried it? What do you think? 

This coming week I'm giving a What is Modern Quilting? presentation to Citrus Friendship Quilt Guild in Inverness, Florida, and really looking forward to that. I've updated my presentation to show QuiltCon Best in Show through the years, and include more about how social media has influenced the spread of modern quilting. I'll also get to share some of my modern makes in the trunk show at the end. It's fun for me to pull those quilts from the closet shelves!

Next Saturday, January 22, I'm teaching my modern wedge quilt workshop to members of Central Florida MQG. This is the "Carousel" quilt they'll be making. One of the best parts of such a workshop is seeing the colors and combos students come up with. 

It's 32 days until QuiltCon! Linda

P.S. My programs and workshops schedule - see the tab at the top of the home page - is current. 


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