Tuesday, May 31, 2022

More Doin's Than I Thought!

As I've continued to add long columns hand-stitching to my Kantha quilt, I haven't thought I was accomplishing much. I've stitched 27 of the approximately 175 columns I'll need to stitch to complete this! Since each column takes about an hour to stitch, I'll be at this for much of the summer. 

Though I've felt in a lull, when I work on "little things" in between, progress begins to be made.

First, I completed the keyboard cover for our son's electric keyboard. I'd taken measurements when I was visiting in Austin a couple weeks ago, so I raided my solids stash to come up with the "dusty blue" he requested. I wish I had a styled shot of the cover snugged over the keyboard (elastic along the bottom), to show you how it works. But you'll have to accept my description that it's put together with a top, a layer of flannel, a backing, and walking foot quilting.

This is the top part that lays across the keyboard. Using 12-weight thread, I hand-embroidered the letter "H" which is a nice decorative accent, right? If you can keep a secret, I'll tell you that it covers a spot where I accidentally nicked the fabric with small scissors. Yep, smack in the center of the cover. Mumm's the word, okay?

I zig-zagged a 21"-long "buttonhole" near the top, which is where the music stand will protrude, and added a"flap" that can be laid over the stand to keep it covered too. Though the exterior of the flap is plain, I snuck in some print by lining it with a musical fat quarter. 

When the cover is put on the keyboard, I hope to hear, "It fits!"

I made two sleep masks following a free tutorial: Adult Sleep Eye Mask. The inside (lining) part is soft white flannel. I've already found it helpful to put it on when I wake too-early in the morning (like 3:30 or 4:00 am) just as the sky is lighten-ing. With the mask on, I'm sensing "dark" and have been able to fall back asleep until 6:00 - 6:30 am.

I'm an avid follower of Jo Avery @joaverystitch and Anorina @sameliasmum. Jo made and shared Freehand Rainbow Appliqué that she created during a recent Making Zen Online Retreat, a series of virtual lessons from the UK. I wasn't able to participate because we were traveling.

Then Anorina shared a pillow she made... then another... Anorina's first pillow, her "Rainbow Cushion" made my heart pound! Gosh, I have to give it a try too!

These are my cut squares and rough appliqué shapes.

I'm hand appliquéing my third block now. And oh boy, it's as fun as Anorina said it was. I love this improv style of hand-appliqué! And I'm so happy I picked up that spool of 80-weight Aurifil when it was offered (free) at our Central Florida MQG meeting. I love 80-weight Aurifil for handwork, and must get more colors. 

Quilting Guild of The Villages (more than 1,170 members) of which I'm a member in the Big Cypress Chapter, is having its biennial quilt show in January 2023. Members may enter two quilts, and enter a challenge quilt.

This year's "Showcase" celebrates 30 years of QGOTV, so the challenge is to make a 24" square quilt with "30" in it. That's it! No other rules. Fabrics are maker's choice.

With masking tape I marked-off a 24" square on my design wall, and have begun improv-piecing from my neutrals scrap bin. The triangles are part of the QGOTV logo. For the first time in ages, I have an IDEA from which I'm working! Yay. 

Book Recommendation
I listened to so many good books during the month of May! This latest one, The Younger Wife, by Sally Hepworth, is a 2022 release that doesn't disappoint. Sally Hepworth is a great writer.

Sisters Tully and Rachel are shocked when their 63 year-old dad, Stephen, announces that he's marrying Heather, an interior designer who's younger than both of them. He's also still married to their mum! She's recently been put into a nursing home with dementia. So as the sisters are trying to work out why Heather would marry their dad - is she a gold-digger? - Tully deals with her two young sons (the author does such a good job describing the boy's antics, liking pooping on the Persian rug!), failing finances, and her own aberrant behavior; and beautiful Rachel is living with a huge secret from her past while baking and eating her way through life; it comes to light that Steven may not be the man they believe he is. They begin to wonder if mum's ravings about Stephen may have a spark of truth. 

Of course I would love this book - Sally Hepworth! Australia! - but who wouldn't when it's also narrated by the talented Barrie Kreinik. I adore the way she accents and inflects voices. Perfectly.

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

Given that I've listened to a number of excellent books so far this year, I though it might be nice to do a little recap. These are the top nine of 29 books I've listened to. They've received scores ranging from 4.6 (Apples Never Fall) to 4.1 (The Maid). Hope you like them too!
  1. Apples Never Fall, Liane Moriarty
  2. Once Upon a Wardrobe, Patti Callahan
  3. The Girl in the Mirror, Rose Carlyle
  4. Mr. Nobody, Catherine Steadman
  5. Keeping Lucy, T. Greenwood
  6. The Firekeeper's Daughter, Angeline Boulley
  7. The Fixer Upper, Mary Kay Andrews
  8. The Younger Wife, Sally Hepworth
  9. The Maid, Nita Prose
Are you still playing the New York Times Wordle? I've been at it for 125 days now. Though I won't tell you about my dismal failures at guessing the word, I will mention my SEVEN two-guess wins!

The one this morning is the best reason for using a different first guess each day. I can't tell you why the word "molar" came into my head, but I'm glad I followed my instinct. 

Are you still playing? Linda

Thursday, May 26, 2022

What Others Make

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember that in October 2019 I designed and made this quilt using selvedges. My tutorial for making selvedge blocks is here

Not only was it great for using-up selvedges, but happy play was big stitch hand quilting concentric circles on it.

Recently, blog-follower Cary who lives outside Merritt, British Columbia, Canada, emailed these pictures to me, letting me know she'd made a selvedges quilt using my tutorial. Isn't hers gorgeous?!

The quilt is 59" X 70" and she quilted it herself on a Bernina 770 (like mine). Cary likes quilting with a combination of free motion and ruler work. You go girl!

Cary also likes to use selvedges to make postcards, and shared a couple of them. 

Such a great idea, don't you think?

In July 2020, I shared this quilt, my original design called "Jiggle-Joggle-Jee."

A friend, Dee @quilterdee who once lived near me but has moved away, made her version using my "Jiggle-Joggle-Jee" foundation paper piecing tutorial that includes downloadable foundation papers. 

Dee used fabrics she'd won in a giveaway to make it scrappy. She did such a nice job! I love the color arrangement.

It makes me happy to know my tutorials are being used. And I'm grateful that Cary and Dee shared these pictures with me. Thank you both!

I'm also glad to have these pictures to share because not much has been happening in my own sewing room. I'm hand-stitching my Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along, and it's slowly coming along - 22 passes along the 78" length, so far. And, I'm making a cover for our son's electric keyboard, using Painter's Palette Solid "Nautical," a dark, dusty gray-blue which will suit the room, but is ho-hum to work on. As I work, I've continued to listen to a book... 

Book Recommendations
Though it may look like I'm lying to you about these two titles (HA!), I assure you I'm not! It's totally coincidental that I selected two consecutive books with titles about lies. 

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle is about happily-married Iris and Will who live in Atlanta. They're completely in love and ready to have a baby. Will leaves to catch a flight to Orlando where he's to be the keynote speaker at a conference. Iris, who's a high school counselor, receives the news that Will has been killed in a plane crash - a flight headed to Seattle! Grief-stricken and confused, she tries to understand why Will was going somewhere other than Orlando. With her brother accompanying her, she goes to Seattle only to discover the truth about Will's upbringing. Yet, she doesn't understand. When Will's boss tells Iris about missing money, her disbelief grows. Will is not the man she thought knew. He's been lying, and she will get answers to her questions. 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

With this second book I've read by author Heather Gudenkauf, I definitely have a new favorite author. Her stories are spellbinding, and I thoroughly enjoy that they take place in Iowa. The locales, especially as they include Iowa's sometimes harsh climate, feel completely familiar. Though Heather changes the names of cities, there's just enough familiarity with the state to imagine the characters in Iowa.

This is How I Lied takes place in Grotto, Iowa, in and near caves. Fifteen year-old best friends Eve and Maggie are each having personal guy problems. When Eve is murdered in a cave, Maggie's world nearly comes to an end. Except Maggie stays in Grotto. Now, 25 years later, she's is a detective on the Grotto police force,  where her dad was once chief of police and investigated Eve's death. The case has been reopened by the new police chief who believes that advances in DNA testing will identify the killer. But as Maggie is eager to take on the investigation, she's also dealing with her late-stage pregnancy, a dad with dementia, and Eve's younger sister Nola, who is not only crazy, but determined to pin her sister's murder on Eve's boyfriend. 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0


Friday, May 20, 2022

Back Home from Texas

We're home again after a week away. This time we drove to/from Austin, Texas to visit family, and spend time with our other two grandsons: Austin (age 12) and Luke (age 8). These are the boys who gave me the "My Nana" paper (see previous blog post), and think I'm either 78 or 87 years old! 😂

They aren't much for posing for picture-taking, but I managed to catch them enjoying each other's company in the community swimming pool. 

It was so nice to spend time with them... take them to school, play UNO and Jenga, watch movies, read aloud to them (The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis) and cuddle a little.

With so much seat time in the car, I needed to work on something. This trip, I knitted five dishcloths, four of which I left in Austin. Two of them were knitted with this new-to-me "Scrub Off" Sugar 'n Cream yarn I picked it up while at Joann's a few weeks ago. It's interesting stuff. 

In between yardage of regular soft cotton yarn is this rough texture that proved a little tricky to knit. It will be interesting to see how it cleans up dishes and countertops. 

Joining medallions and X's for my Prudence Quilt began while on the road. I managed only to complete the first row, and most of the second. This will be a long-term effort!

Now it's back to my Kantha quilt for the Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along. I've finished table-basting columns (75" top to bottom) about 5" to 6" apart. Working on my lap, I will next stitch a column in between these columns, and continue similarly to make dense stitches. I'm looking forward to this relaxing evening activity. 

Book Recommendations
The Talented Miss Farwell
by Emily Gray Tedrowe is a book that's difficult to explain and score. The writing style seemed different than I'm accustomed to, yet I can't put my finger on why it didn't "feel" normal. 

The story is about Becky Farwell from Pierson, Illinois who grows up without money. After high school, she goes to work at city hall. Her innate talent with math helps her excel at managing the city's finances. When she accidentally comes across an art exhibition, and a piece that she must own, she figures out how to acquire the money to buy it. And thus begins Becky's double life as a small-town girl, and Reba Farwell, art investor. 

She lives on the edge, so I kept expecting a crisis, but her story continues over decades, until...     

Linda's score: 3.6/5.0

The book When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel is about Emily who's living in Orlando. Her life is solitary, and full of regrets... that her father left her and her mother; that she left her high school sweetheart; that her mother died; that her grandmother died; and that she's lost her magazine writing job. 

When a painting unexpectedly arrives with a cryptic note, and the girl in the painting looks exactly like Emily's grandmother when she was young, Emily determines to learn who sent it - and who painted it! She reaches out to her father, and together, they travel to Germany, Savannah, and Atlanta learning bits of an unimaginable story as they go. A wartime romance between an American girl and a German P.O.W.

What I liked about this book was the historical information I learned about Florida! During WWII, German P.O.W.s were put to work on Florida farms, harvesting vegetables and sugar cane. Readers get an inside look at life spent working in humid, swampy conditions.

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

I've missed reading blogs, so if you haven't received a comment from me for a while, know that I plan a good catch-up this weekend! Linda

Friday, May 13, 2022

A Mixed Bag

A “mixed bag” is what I received last week! A bag of Aurifil 50-weight thread, and a tube of five Bernina bobbins (on the left) from my local quilt shop, Sew Together!

I was given these as a thank you for recommending to a friend to purchase a Bernina Q20 (mid-arm quilting machine) from that shop. She had received a quote from a different place, and I suggested she check nearer to home. When Sew Together beat the price she was quoted, the deal closed, and I was invited to stop in for a thank-you gift. That was in February. A gift for a referral was the last thing I expected, imagining I'd get a ballpoint pen and notepad, so I didn't take time to stop by. A reminder phone call that my gift awaited, prompted me to visit. When the bag was handed to me, all I could say was... 

That's 58 spools of Aurifil! Thank you Al and Peter at Sew Together/Sharky's Vac 'n Sew!

Making progress on the Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along, I finished stitching words from Proverbs 15:13 - A glad heart makes a happy face. I'm pleased with how the lettering turned out. 

I layered the quilt top and backing, without batting, per Alison’s tutorial. However, when I saw big sections of shadowing (a dark blue patch on the back showing through yellow fabric on the front) I quickly decided I needed something between the layers. Two yards of 108”-wide white flannel, from Joann’s, was the right solution. Before layering, I washed the flannel in warm water to make sure it shrunk. 

Now I’m baste-stitching. I raised my IKEA Finnvard trestles so the table top is high enough that I don’t need to lean far over while hand stitching.

It’s slow-going to hand stitch the 75” length about eight times (at 5” to 6” intervals) but after I do, I’ll be able to remove it from the table to complete the stitching in my lap. 

Masking tape is my guide for stitching fairly straight lines.

After completing the last X blocks for my Prudence Quilt, I finally have all 121 units EPPed and ready to join together.

I think the layout looks mushy and too busy, but such is the nature of making a quilt from scraps. It will be months until the top is pieced together.  

I started this project in July 2019, after winning, on Instagram, the pattern, templates, and paper pieces from Sharon Burgess of Lilabelle Lane Creations. Though I also won a fat quarter bundle of Liberty fabrics, I don't care for Liberty fabrics so they didn't make an appearance in the quilt. 

And... from Curated Quilts blog, I was surprised to see my 2019 Temperature Quilt again being featured. The entire article can be read here: It's Getting Hot in Here: Temperature Quilts from QuiltCon 2022

Curated Quilts photographed my quilt at QuiltCon. It's nice to have it mentioned again.

Book Recommendation
The Maid
 by Nita Prose is a captivating book about Molly, a maid who works at a swank hotel. Fairly quickly, you learn that Molly is special, not only for her dedication to cleanliness (a trait I admire), but also for her quirkiness and tendency to misread expressions and  emotions. When Molly enters a finance magnate’s suite, to “return it to a state of perfection,” and discovers his body, her simple life takes a big turn. Because of her honest and innocent nature, she unwittingly makes herself suspect. She must depend on friends to get her through this, but who are her friends? Without her gran to guide her, Molly must figure out who to trust. 

Linda's score: 4.1/5.0

Now that we have two golf carts, I get to toodle to and from all my activities enjoying the fresh air and sunshine at 20 mph. Flowers near the round about are looking especially pretty and colorful (the real heat of Florida summer hasn't yet kicked in), so I pulled over to take this picture.

For Mother's Day, Dan made my favorite, delicious, albeit most-expensive-to-make "white pizza” - a scratch crust, my homemade pesto, zucchini, fresh mushrooms, and brie ($14.99 for a wheel!). I chatted with both of our children, and our Texas grandsons who shared a picture of what Austin (age 12) and Luke (age 8) think of their Nana. 

They couldn't agree on my age (I'm 69), with Luke suggesting I am 87 and Austin, 78. It's a good thing I love them! 😂 

They like my cookies, and "driving the golf cart around," but the real honor is in the last statement: "I love my nana more than 'video games.'" Wow! Now that's truly something! Linda

Friday, May 6, 2022

Life is So Full

A week spent traveling and visiting family in Kansas City, as well as going to Gainesville to give a "What is Modern Quilting?" program to members of Gainesville MQG, has kept me out of the sewing room. In between times, and while riding in the car, I managed to make progress on a few things.

Car time was spent finishing up these 18 EPP X-blocks for my Prudence quilt. Now to lay out and arrange all the medallions and X's. 

This was the view out the car window while going through Kentucky, near Paducah. (No time to stop for the AQS show that was going on. 😞) All that yellow is blooming canola which we saw in numerous fields in that area. So pretty!

I had the chance to spend time with two of our four grandsons, attending soccer games, taekwondo, and a fifth grade school musical. Tay is 12 and plays soccer. 

Aesa is 11, just earned a blue belt in taekwondo, and was the production manager for the fifth grade performance of an original musical. 

On three occasions, I visited my 92 year-old Dad at his apartment - helped clean out a storage closet, and took him to buy new shoes - while spending time with our daughter, my sister, and a brief visit with my nephew at his store (Olathe Pet Shop). It was great seeing everyone!

As soon as I returned home, I prepared for my program and trunk show with members of Gainesville MQG. They may be a small chapter, but their interest in modern is huge! I was glad to be able to pull out and revisit modern quilts I made eight/nine/ten years ago.

Since the Gainesville meeting was in the evening, my friend Rosemary traveled with me. It was so nice to chat with her coming and going on the 80 minute (each way) car drive. Thanks Rosemary!

Being away prevented me from keeping up with the Alison Glass Stitch Club Kantha Sew Along, but I've made big steps toward catching up. Week two was to add hand-embroidered words/lettering, if desired. Well, "I desired," but spent way too long coming up with what I wanted to say! 

I finally arrived on Proverbs 15:13a: A glad heart makes a happy face. 

I'm paraphrasing it as: glad heart. happy face.

Using Alison's video tutorial, I hand-drew the letters onto the yellow linen part of the backing. As a template, I used a 1¾" steel ring from a set of Applipops, and drew around them with a fine Sewline pen.

Letters are stitched with a double strand of Wonderfil Eleganza, size 8, using a chain stitch. 

Once the lettering is complete, it's time to put together the front and back, and begin stitching. I'm looking forward to that! 

Thanks to a friend, Sherry, in South Florida MQG chapter, I learned about a new Bible that sounded worth owning. Since we don't have any Christian book stores in our area, when I was in Kansas City, I sought out a Christian store and was happy to find Mardel Christian Bookstore (owned by Hobby Lobby). There I found exactly what I was looking for - a large print, red letter (Jesus's words in red) Filament Bible in NLT (New Living Translation), and a new Bible cover.


What's special about a Filament Bible is that you can download, for free, the Filament app. When you open the app, take a picture of the tiny logo/page number at the top of each page.

Then, a whole bunch of information is at your fingertips! Just tap to study, reflect, or see/hear videos and worship music! I love it!

I'm really excited about using this Bible. I chose the NLT version because it's what's read at Lutheran Church of Hope (West Des Moines, Iowa). My previous Bible is NIV (New International Version). Oh! And while in Kansas City I worshipped, in-person, at Lutheran Church of Hope's satellite location in Shawnee. Loved that too!

We finally got our new golf cart! We ordered it November 15, and delivery was April 25, even later than anticipated. Turns out, our cart (as well of those of dozens and dozens of other customers like us) was assembled and only waiting for a turn signal handle! Yep, production of that small part, coming from China, prevented earlier delivery.  Just another incidence of supply chain problems since the pandemic. 

Hubs and I have shared one golf cart since moving here in 2013, so keeping the old golf cart (with 33,700+ miles on it!) means we each have a cart to use if we happen to be away at the same time. Yay!

Book Recommendation
I've been excited to share this book with you because it's one of the best books I've listened to in months! Definitely my best read, so far, in 2022. 

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle is the debut title from this author who lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

The story is about Summer and Iris, identical twin sisters from Australia, who take a long sailing yacht trip together from Thailand to the Seychelles. During the voyage, Iris reflects on her relationship with Summer, the twin who seems to have it all - good fortune; a gorgeous, doting husband Adam; a young son from Adam's previous marriage - while Iris is trying to pull her life back together from a failed marriage to Noah. 

On the voyage, Summer goes missing, and after searching for her, Iris fumbles her way alone to the Seychelles, where she's swept up in Adam's arms and concerns. He thinks she's Summer. As Iris wrestles about "the right thing to do," she becomes more embroiled in her lies.

I can't get this book out of my mind, which to me, is a sign of a great story. I hope Rose Carlyle keeps writing!

Linda's score: 4.6/5.0



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