Friday, March 25, 2022

Good Week!

With my iron level restored, I'm feeling good, and it's been a good week. 

I'm still pressuring myself to keep walking foot quilting my Architecture Challenge quilt, and I'm making progress.

I've also had some excellent moments of distraction.

A small distraction has been to start another hand-stitching piece. Following a "Mary's Clamshells" tutorial by Sunny Day Supply, I enlarged a clamshell template to 3", made a plastic template, selected solids inspired by a piece of African wax print, and cut 50 or so clamshells. 

With 80-weight Aurifil thread, I'm needle-turn hand appliquèing. The top row of clamshells is done, and the next row is glued into place, ready for appliquéing. Eventually I'll finish the piece with big stitch quilting.

My thought is to combine the appliqué piece with curvy improv pieces (à la Sherry Lynn Wood) that I've made with African wax prints. It's all at the "thinking-about-it" stage.
Handwork is definitely in my future. Sunday (March 27) is when the first instructions will be given for the 2022 Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along. Anticipating that, I bought more pearl cotton, the arrival of which was a highlight this week. On the left is Alison Glass #8 Eleganza pearl cotton "Sun" collection by Wonderfil, from Snuggly Monkey; and on the right is Wonderfil #12 Spagetti "Tropics" collection from Red Rock Threads.

Have you noticed how much raw cotton prices are rising? When I first shared my concern about increasing cotton prices (on my blog, in May 2021), cotton was 90¢ a pound. Back then, I let you know the price would probably continue to climb.

This morning cotton was $1.32+ a pound. (I hate being right!) Before you know it, we'll see those higher prices reflected in our quilting cotton fabrics - $14 to $15 a yard for prints, I'm guessing. We're already seeing some fabrics at $13+ a yard.

Quilt batting prices will inevitably climb too. So, two weeks ago, when offered a 15% batting discount, I bought!

For at least six years now, my friend Karen and I have been buying a roll together. We agree on a batt we want and then split the cost. It's a great way to go because one of us doesn't end up with too much, and we share the shipping cost. This 93" X 30 yard roll of Quilter's Dream Cotton Select (white) was $242.21. We should be set for a while.

Another happy moment this morning was when I received email notice that my "Grandma's Leftovers" Kawandi has been accepted into the Gallery, in the "Utility" edition of Curated Quilts! Whoo-ee!

I'll soon be mailing it to Curated Quilts for photography. 

Book Recommendations
What are the odds that I'd pick up two books in a row, by two different authors, that both have storylines in the same place? Florida! And even more remarkable is that both books are excellent!

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews (this is my third read by this author; you can't go wrong choosing her books!) is about Letty Carnahan who lives in New York. When she finds her sister Tanya's body, Letty remembers a promise she made to Tanya - that if something ever happened to her, she was to take Tanya's daughter, grab the "go bag," and run. Letty isn't sure where they're headed until she finds a faded magazine advertisement for a motel, The Murmuring Surf, in Treasure Island, Florida.

Arriving there, Letty immediately encounters a police officer who happens to be the son of the motel owner. Yet the owner herself takes sympathy on Letty and Maya, and gives Letty a job in exchange for a room. Still, Letty must be cautious. Maya's father, Evan, may be looking for them. But as Letty discovers, Tanya was keeping secrets. 

I got a kick out of the senior snowbirds that wend through this story. Each one is a good amalgamation of senior personalities I've met since moving to Florida! 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood begins in 1969, in Massachusetts, where a happy family of three - Ab and Ginny, and their young son Peyton - await the birth of another child. When the baby, Lucy, is whisked away at birth, Ginny is told that she'll be put in a special school for retarded children. Lucy has a heart defect.

Ginny can't stop grieving. She never gets to see Lucy again. Until, in 1971, a newspaper reporter writes a series about Willowridge, and its squalid conditions, and Ginny goes to see for herself. It's as bad, if not worse than the reporter said. So Ginny takes Lucy for the Labor Day weekend. With help from her friend Marcia, they plan a fun weekend, but Ginny soon realizes she cannot/must not return Lucy to Willowridge. With Marcia driving, they head south, encountering adventures along the way that eventually decide their destination - Week Wachee, where the mermaids are. 

I personally enjoyed this book's references to many 1971 specifics - news items, advertising, billboards, motel rates, gas station attendants, and the like.

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

The most wonderful thing that happened today was at the conclusion of Bible study, when I gave away the Seaglass Quilt I recently finished. Today concluded our eight week study of Revelation.

Several weeks ago we talked about "the sea of glass," Rev. 15:2, and I immediately knew who I wanted to have the quilt I'd made - Judy, who leads a weekly Bible study each fall and spring.

I am grateful I know how to make a quilt like this, and even more grateful I could give it to someone special who deserves it. Judy puts a lot of research and study time into every lesson. I'm blessed to have been in every study she's led in the past seven (maybe eight?) years.

The wonderfulness doesn't stop! On Saturday I'm taking a six-hour virtual workshop with Amy Friend

: Improvisational Paper Piecing. Members of Central Florida MQG are going to learn how to design improv paper pieced blocks. 

Can I just say how much I love taking a workshop from home?! It's so handy to have supplies at hand, and switch-out fabrics or tools as needed. I'm looking forward to this one! Linda

Monday, March 21, 2022

Quilting Only

Only machine quilting has been happening here. I feel like I'm dragging myself to my sewing machine to work on my Architectural Challenge Quilt. It's due at our April 9 Central Florida MQG meeting. I say "dragging" because my heart isn't in this kind of quilting. That's because: 
  1. I haven't been able to settle on the overall quilt design; 
  2. and, I'm trying to do only walking foot quilting (not my favorite), because I want the quilt to read "minimal."
Ugh. Between these two challenges, progress has been very slow.

But on the positive side, I'm trying-out combining three different weights and colors of Aurifil thread on this quilt: 28-weight and 40-weight on top; 50-weight in the bobbin.

Because I've used Quilter's Dream Puff batting, the loft makes the quilting highly visible. 

I still need to figure out what to quilt in between the channels because that puckery puffiness just won't do. While I'd like to free motion quilt - it's faster! - I'm thinking that more straight-line walking foot quilting is needed. Yuck.
For Blog Post Writers

I follow, read, and comment on about 70 quilting blogs. Reading some of them can be difficult. What I mean is... Some bloggers write posts that I struggle to get through because the text format is center-justified like these paragraphs.

Do you too have a hard time reading center-justified blog posts too?

Did you know - or have you discovered for yourself - that it is more difficult to read a blog post that's centered?

For those who don't know, and may want to make it easier on their readers, left justification is the best format. I learned this in college, in journalism school.

Now I'm off my soap box. 

Book Recommendation
Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave is about Sunshine Mackenzie, a wildly popular social media cooking success with millions of YouTube and Instagram followers. The trouble is, Sunny doesn't cook!

When her media sites are hacked, photos and secrets are revealed that can't be undone. She not only loses her fans, in one swoop, she loses her condo, her husband, and her career. With nowhere to go, she takes off for the last place she wanted to see again, her hometown, where she must confront the sister she left behind. She also begins to face the ways she's lied her way through life, and while she wants to starts over again, this time she has to do it by being honest. Along the way, she comes to realize that learning to cook might not be a bad way to begin again. Linda's score: 3.9/5.0
A couple weeks ago, at my annual oncology check-up, an iron panel revealed that for the second time, my iron level was low.

Like hair turning gray, and bones becoming brittle, apparently this is what happens when we age. I turned 69 last Friday. 

While am certain I take in the recommended daily requirement of iron by drinking fresh-pressed green vegetable juice, and eating salads made with red leaf lettuce and spinach, after talking with a nurse, it's likely that absorption is the problem. Eating strawberries, cranberries and mandarin oranges has been recommended, to aid with iron absorption. Who knew?!

In any case, within a ten day period I had two iron infusions and I am feeling better, though I didn't know I was feeling "low" until I'd received the first infusion!

Actually, the day after each infusion, I felt like the Energizer Bunny! When I mentioned this to the nurse she explained that a steroid is administered first, to counteract the possibility of an anaphylactic reaction. The steroid is followed by iron, then saline. But it's the steroid that "wires" me!

I'm telling you this because everyone should have the opportunity to have such a positive medical experience! Go for an iron infusion if you are told you need one! Linda 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Showing Off!

At Saturday's Central Florida MQG meeting, some of the 12 quilters who took my January 22 "Modern Wedge Quilt" workshop, returned with their completed tops and finished quilts. Marcia is making her two sections into bolster pillows. It makes me so proud to see the results of a day of teaching and learning, and appreciate the colors and prints each quiltmaker chose to use.
L-R: Courtney, Karen T., Bonnie, Barbara, Marcia, and Donna

And though Becky wasn't in my workshop, she made a wedge quilt top too. 

I'm also sharing that my 2019 Temperature Quilt will soon be on display at the Bailey Contemporary Arts Center in Pompano Beach, Florida. 

My temperature quilt is centered in the advertising graphic! 

The exhibition begins Friday, April 1 with an opening reception from 6-10 pm. It continues through Thursday, June 23.

Plan a visit if you're in the Pompano Beach area - see the red marker on the southeast coast of Florida.

Besides me, featured artists (and their Instagram handles) are:

Patricia Auten @pattimakesquilts
Sarah Cain @sarahjeanmakes
Brigit Dermott @brigitgail
Barbara Garvine @bgarvinemiami
Jacquie Gering @jacquietps
Valerie Goodwin @valeriegoodwinart
Nicole Kaplan @patchworkduck
Deborah Krajkowski @deborahkrajkowski
Sarah Lebebvre @sidestitchesdesign
Charlotte Noll @kirkenoll
Heidi Parkes @heidi.parkes
Sherry Pacquariello @otterbeequilting
Diane Paquin Provost @dianepaquinprovost
Carole Lyles Shaw @carole_lylesshaw
Kelly Spell @kellyspell
Cheri Ucci @cheriucci

This afternoon, I presented "Big Stitch Quilting and More" to 21 members of Quilting Guild of The 
Villages (QGOTV).

My program began with more than 80 slides that touch on the differences in various types of handwork - Boro, Boho, Kantha, Sashiko, Kawandi, big stitch quilting, and visible mending. 

Then, students had a chance to try big stitch on linen, using sizes 8 and 12 perle cotton. 

This is a lovely group of quilters, and it warmed my heart to hear them as they left... making plans to stitch together again at one of the QGOTV monthly open sews. Mission accomplished! A few more quilters excited to big stitch quilt! 

Since discovering how much I enjoy hand stitching, particularly Kawandi, I'm open to all excuses to do more handwork.

So when I saw that Alison Glass is offering Stitch Club 2022 as a Kantha Sew Along, I registered (only $18)! I'm looking forward to this!

If you're interested too, go here. 

I've also registered for an April 12 virtual Sashiko 101 workshop with Claudia Martinez of Snuggly Monkey @snugglymonkey

While I think I've done Sashiko before (self-taught) it will be good to learn the right way of doing it.

If you're interested - this wonderful shop focuses on hand-stitching supplies - here's the link to Snuggly Monkey, located in Durham, North Carolina.

Book Recommendation

Mary Kay Andrews is a prolific author, and Spring Fever was just as entertaining as the first Andrews title I read: Fixer Upper. Spring Fever is a long listen at 15½ hours! But, if you're in the mood for a light, engaging story, this is a winner. 

Annajane is sitting in a packed church with her best friend, preparing to witness the wedding of Mason and Celia. When the flower girl, Sophie collapses while walking down the aisle, Annajane rushes to take care of her, and engages in conversation with the groom who just happens to be Annajane's ex-husband. 

Annajane and Mason have a long history that goes back to their teens, when Annajane's first job with Mason's family's business - Quixie, a cherry-flavored soft drink company. Even though she's now VP of marketing for Quixie, she's ready to move on. She's engaged to a musician, and preparing to move from Pasco, North Carolina to Atlanta. But with things unsettled with Quixie, and Celia seeming to too-perfect, and with suspicious motives, Annajane isn't prepared to simply walk away.

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0 


Friday, March 11, 2022

Seaglass Quilt Finish

My 34½" X 50" Seaglass quilt is finished. 

Already, I want to make another one!

It was fun choosing fabric scraps (and cutting into some stash) to come up with as many different prints, and a few solids, as possible. No print or solid is used more than twice. 

It's sandwiched with Quilter's Dream Cotton Request. Quilting was easy... just free motion quilt around each shape. This video plays back at double-speed, so you can imagine how much slower I actually FMQ.

Though it isn't necessary to change colors for every print, I used this opportunity to empty a few thread spools! Such a good feeling.

In the bobbin I used Wonderfil 100-weight Invisifil thread. One of the empty spools (above) was Invisifil.

When Seaglass was quilted, I cut fabrics to make a faced finish. My favorite facing tutorial is on the Bernina, We All Sew site. It calls for 2"-wide strips folded in half, and four 5" squares folded into triangles for each of the corners. 

Though I always hand-sew down facing, for this quilt I left the four corners unsewn. That's so a dowel rod or curtain rod can be tucked under two triangles, and used to hang the quilt. 

I have someone in mind to gift this to; it will be perfect for her. In the meantime, I'm plotting my next Seaglass quilt, thinking to use some orange, or maybe pink, or maybe even purple in the accent area. So many possibilities! 

This is the closest I've been to water since being in the Atlantic Ocean last June. Thanks Flo, for being a great quilt-holder!

If you're interested in making a Seaglass quilt, like me, you'll have to register and pay for the www.ExhaustedOctopus Seaglass course. Darn it. Instructions are not sold as a pattern. Linda

Monday, March 7, 2022

First 2022 Finish, Kawandi

I have definitely been slower about making this year, and that's a good thing! I don't need more quilts, so it's been fine with me to not have a finish yet this year... until now. 

I began this Kawandi about a week ago. Fabric pieces around the outside edges are Candlelight Woven Mountains print in the color Ocean, the fabric designated for this Curated Quilts mini challenge. 

To meet the theme challenge of "utility," in addition to Candlelight fabric, my 14¼" X 14¼" Kawandi is made with my grandmother's vintage scraps. Each scrap print has a little bit of a similar ocean-aqua color in it. The piece is stitched with #12 Wonderfil Spagetti, color SP57. 

If it isn't accepted into Curated Quilts, I won't be unhappy. Because I'm sharing my "Big Stitch Quilting and More" lecture/workshop a couple more times this year, this piece will be another lesson sample. 

In addition to quilting and binding my Seaglass quilt, over the weekend I pin-basted two large quilts. 

This is my Finger Paints quilt top basted with Quilter's Dream Cotton Request. I finished the 67½" X 67½" top last October, during Laura Loewen's quilt-along. I'm thinking to quilt an all-over design on it, perhaps like Baptist fans or clamshells. 

And this is my 70" X 80" Inspired by Architecture Challenge Quilt basted with Quilter's Dream Puff. I'm much more unsure about how to quilt this one because the design is mostly minimal. But I must start it soon because the finished quilt is due at our Saturday, April 9 Central Florida MQG meeting. 

Book Recommendation
A Different Blue by Amy Harmon is the story of Blue Echohawk, a two year-old who was abandoned by her mother, and taken into care by Jimmy Echohawk. In his quiet way, Jimmy taught her everything he knew, including how to turn desert mesquite into sculptures. When Blue is in her last year of high school, a young British history teacher arrives who becomes influential in Blue's life, helping her past grief, anger, resentment, and a very bad attitude. Through her friendship with him, she learns to provided for herself. When her life takes another unplanned turn, she comes to realize that it's important to know who she is. It will take personal resolve and courage to face the future, and accept the family she comes from. 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0
One of my blog-readers, Dar, recommended the author Mary Kay Andrews, and I'm so glad she did! The Fixer Upper was a delightful listen.

Dempsey Jo Killebrew is a young lobbyist who loses her job after a company trip to an island resort, and the subsequent political scandal. When her dad suggests she go to Guthrie, Georgia to refurbish a home he's just inherited - Birdsong - Dempsey finds herself facing a once-grand, decrepit, Pepto-pink house and neglected property. While learning about and tackling home renovations, she finds herself also tolerating an aged and eccentric distant cousin who refuses to leave Birdsong. Dempsey comes to value the support of the local father and son attorneys who handled the inheritance, especially when the FBI comes looking for information from her. Dempsey has a chance to redeem her career, and help see that justice is done, all the while wondering what she'll do when the work at Birdsong is complete.

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

I find it extremely interesting that I seem to be in a Wordle scoring rut. As much as I try, I cannot get a word in two tries - and I have seen more than one person who has been successful at that. How are you doing at Wordle? 



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