Friday, March 31, 2023

End of Month

It's been a healthy exercise for me to have begun fabric-tracking in 2023. No, I didn't inventory my entire stash to do this! I'm only monitoring, each month, any new fabric that comes into my sewing studio and fabric that goes out in a project.

Disappointingly, January and February saw fabric gains. That's because I used a fabric gift certificate, won two fabric bundle giveaways, and bought yardage at QuiltCon. Though I've been creating in March, I have no quilt finishes to show for my efforts. I am counting as "outgoing fabric" pieced blocks that will becoming my modified version of a scrappy Harvest Moon quilt. This is my March fabric output. Only 2¼ yards, but 'll take it!

I've continued to tackle scrap piles - I'm scarping away! - cutting them into pieces for an Unallocated QuiltHarvest Moon/yin-yang blocks; and a too-full basket of 1½" squares. Scrap reduction is visible, albeit still very messy!

Not wanting to separate any halves of the full moon (Harvest Moon) blocks I've already made, I've begun to lay out a combination of the full moon blocks, and the modified blocks I've dubbed "yin-yang blocks." I'm positing yin-yang blocks only along the outside. I've made 17 blocks so far. I think I want 32 blocks.

I prefer an on-point quilt layout because I think the design has more interest. Maybe I'll use a black and white stripe for the setting triangles. 

Also this week, during a long Big Cypress Quilters business meeting, I completed joining another row of  Prudence Quilt blocks. This is row five of 13 to be joined together. 

Prudence is a long-term EPP project started in June 2019 after I won Prudence Quilt EPP templates and papers in an Instagram giveaway from @lilabellelanecrations

Book Recommendation
The Paris Apartment
 by Lucy Foley (who also wrote The Guest List which I gave a score of 4.4) is a suspenseful story about a half brother and sister, Ben and Jess.

As arranged, Jess arrives at Ben's Paris apartment only to find he isn't there. She makes inquiries of the other building occupants, each of whom makes her feel unwelcome. They don't want her there. Everyone knows something about Ben that they aren't sharing. Even the building itself, with its posh units, hidden staircases and dumb waiter, and la cave full of vintage wine, gives Jessie chills. Only Nick, one of Ben's college mates living in the apartment above, sympathizes with Jess's concerns, and is amenable to helping her find Ben. 

The book gives readers a Paris vibe that's different from the colorful and charming city we imagine. A darker side is revealed. With each chapter written from the perspective of a key character - Jess, Ben, Nick, Sophie, Mimi, and the building concierge - the suspense builds. An unpredictable ending made this a very engaging read. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

A friend forwarded a subscription email to me, and I'm glad she did. Thanks, Ardie! In a recent message, Sheri Cifaldi-Morel @wholecirclestudio shared 15 of her favorite quilts displayed at QuiltCon. I was delighted to see that our group quilt - Patent Pending - was among them. (The block I made is at the top center, below the scissors. It's a wheel of Aurifil thread spools and a thimble.)
"Patent Pending by Patty Dudek, Charles Cameron, Kitty Wilkins, Linda Hungerford, Pat Cummins, Sarah Ruiz, Valerie Luberecki, Yvonne Fuchs 

Statement: Patent Pending offers a way to remove those unwanted stitches without touching a seam ripper. Since this my least favorite quilting task, I recruited friends to create a Rube Goldberg* machine in quilting form. Our theme was Teamwork. With only the entry and exit points provided, each quilter designed a block for the ball to travel through the quilt. Each block is as wonderful (did you see the bird?**) and as unique and creative as the artist who made them! Assembling the quilt was an enjoyable interactive process, adding details and the final block which actually removed the stitching. My hope is that you enjoy looking at the quilt as much as we enjoyed making it.

* A Rube Goldberg machine is a chain reaction contraption intentionally design to perform a simple task in an indirect or overly complicated way.

**No bird was harmed in the making of this quilt. 

Featured in the Group or Bee category."  

Below is the last last block in the Rube Goldberg chain reaction. It was made by our group quilt coordinator, Patty Dudek @elmstreetquilts. She quilted Patent Pending on her domestic machine. Correction! This block was made by Charles Cameron @feltlikesweets. Thanks for correcting me, Patty!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Lotsa Scarping, Palm, and Winner

My blog title is an intentional misspelling - scarping; not scrapping. I have adopted the word from Char at and made it mean "the chaos that results from delving into bins of scrap fabrics, and the efforts a quilter makes to press, sort, cut and organize those scraps into useable bits of fabric."

I've been scarping daily for more than a week now! I'm happy to say that as of Sunday, I've touched every single printed scraps that was in four aqua-colored canvas bins (on the left). All the pieces have been pressed and organized into color piles. 

Some have been cut into pieces for an Unallocated quilt - free instructions @mckillopmichelle on Instagram, here I'm prepping these pieces to take on Central Florida MQG retreat in May.

The littlest bits have been cut into 1½" X 1½" squares. My 6" deep Longaberger basket is nearly full. 

But my focus has been on making fabric from which to cut shapes to make Harvest Moon blocks. 

I've been making Harvest Moon blocks like the purple background one, on the right and have 11 such blocks now. But then I got the idea to swap out the arrangement, to make a sort of yin-yang block. I like it. But now I must decide whether to make them all like yin-yang, or keep going with the Harvest Moon block, or do a combo. I'm at a complete loss as to which is best.

As you can see, I have a lot of scraps to work with and will just keep making fabric until I decide which blocks to make. (Must share that I was able to take this picture using my tripod, my new iPhone 14, and the three second timer on my new Apple Watch. I just double-pinch my left-hand thumb and index finger, the timer starts, and the iPhone 14 snaps the picture. Cool, huh?!)

Each day finds me with a little hand-stitching time, so I've finished Kawandi #13. It''s 16" X 19½". 

This morning sunshine photo shows all the lovely texture.

Using only neutral-colored scraps, I stitched it with six colors of Wonderfil #12 Spagetti thread. 

Book Recommendations
Her Perfect Life
 by Hank Phillippi Ryan is about Lily Atwood, a celebrity journalist whose image is perfect. She has the perfect look; the perfect clothes; the perfect house; and is the perfect mother to seven year-old Rowen. Yet Lily has secrets she keeps even from her producer, Greer - the one who has worked behind-the-scenes to ensure Lily receives all the recognition and awards. Greer is secretly resentful and snarky about Lily's success.

A secret source is providing information that leads to legitimate stories, but Greer learns more about what Lily has kept hidden. What happened to Lily's older sister Cassie, who disappeared from her college campus? Who's Rowen's father? And how is the secret source involved in all this? 
Linda's score: 3.6/5.0

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain begins when it's time for Kayla, an architect, and her four year-old daughter to move into their new, ultra-modern 4,000 square foot home in Round Hill, North Carolina's development called Shadow Ridge Estates. Yet, as excited as they should be about the move, they're mourning the loss of their husband/father, who fell and died while working on the house.

The story line jumps between 2010 Kayla - her trepidation about moving; the exposure she feels because of the house's 50 uncovered windows; the dark woods; a strange, round clearing in the woods; and the proximity of a murky lake - and 1960s Ellie Hockley who grew up in Round Hill, in the old house next to Kayla's new home. In the 1960s, Ellie determines, despite resistance from family and friends, to participate in the S.C.O.P. E. project endorsed by Martin Luther King, Jr.  The program is meant to educate African-Americans about voter registration and civil rights, while the Ku Klux Klan is active, even in Round Hill. Ellie learns there are few people she can trust.

It took a while for the two storylines to merge, but I found that entertaining and enlightening. 

Linda's score: 4.1/5.0

Bad New/Good News
Last Friday was a bad news/good news sort of day.

The bad news came from a tree-trimmer we asked to take a look at our front yard Bismarck Palm, a palm that has been the site of many quilt photos - #quiltinabismarckpalm

In the past few months, Mr. B hasn't been looking very happy. We'd thought to have it trimmed, but then learned it has "twist," likely suffered last November when Hurricane Nicole came through our area with strong winds. Because the palm is above our roof line, it was exposed to high winds that twisted and broke the top center growth spike. 

Because the heart of the palm is broken, it's been rotting from the top downward. This is the rot that the tree man brought down to show us.

We're as heart-broken as the palm, saddened to know we'll no longer enjoy this special palm that we've loved since it was planted on August 14, 2013. It will be removed April 15, 2023. 

In good news, I learned I won an Instagram giveaway for National Quilting Month!

Missouri Star Quilt Company hosted an Instagram giveaway of a "Jenny Bundle" - a can of spray starch; a tube of iron cleaner; a wool pressing mat. Oliso iron! I'm so excited! Thank you Missouri Star Quilt Company!

Not only is March my birthday month (this year my birthday fell ON National Quilting Day) but in March 2021, I won 100 fat quarters of Benartex solid fabrics in their National Quilting Month Instagram giveaway.

I like the month of March. Linda

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Scarp My Scraps

For the title of this post, I intentionally used a made-up anagram from the word "scraps." That's because a blogger I follow (She will remain nameless so as not to embarrass her - Hi Char! 👋) used the word "scarp" in a recent post title. I got such a kick out of the word - thinking when I saw it that surely I was going to learn something new, related to qiultmaking - that I'm using it intentionally, 

As you can see, all I've been doing lately is Scarping My Scraps

It's been a tedious, messy task. 

I've been handling leftover bits from projects made ten to twelve years ago. Certainly, I've made a number of scrap quilts during that time, but it's clear I've never dug to the bottom of each canvas bin. 

I am now.

Even hubs noticed, asking, "What are you doing now?" And later, after pressing, sorting and cutting for several hours, "Aren't you getting tired of doing that?" 

But I have a goal. I'm simultaneously working on three projects! 

The first continues to be Harvest Moon. To make these, you create fabric from your scraps and then use templates to cut two shapes. Free tutorial by Megan here

Then, thanks to a blog comment from my friend Anne @springleafstudio, who pointed me toward the Unallocated scrap quilt on Instagram - see @mckillopmichelle here - I'm cutting pieces for my own Unallocated. These are my test blocks that measure 4" X 4" unfinished. 

Believe it or not, I am feeling productive, though I don't have anything to show for it except sorted piles. 

Oh, and an ever-increasingly full basket of 1½" X 1½" squares! I need to change my rotary blade today.

Another bonus has been to find the bits of brown and black prints that have been lurking, unused, in my scraps. These are colors I don't use in my quilts, so I'll be taking them to Big Cypress to give away. 

I've also begun cutting some of my larger scraps to make a Posh Penelope quilt, a pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful that uses the Quick Curve Ruler.

After seeing two of these quilts made scrappy - the first at our QGOTV quilt show, and another on Instagram - I knew it would be another good way to use scraps. 
Made by Tammy Kaplan, QGOTV

Made by Chris Simon @thecolorfulom

By the time I'm finished with these projects, my scrap bins will be nearly empty! Right?! They will, won't they?

I will have Scarped My Scraps! 😁

Book Recommendation
When the Lights Go Out
 by Mary Kubica, is about Jessie Sloan whose mother is dying of cancer. Not knowing who her father is, Jessie understands how alone she is. Deciding she can no longer live in the house where she and her mother shared their lives, Jessie tries to go out on her own - applies to college, rents an apartment, and gets on with her life. But her inability to sleep is playing havoc with her thoughts: what she's seeing and hearing. When the college contacts Jessie, and she learns she doesn't have a social security number, she begins to suspect that she isn't Jessie, and that her mother kept dark secrets from her. Jessie finds a hidden-away picture of a man, and believes he could be her father.

This is one of those plot lines that goes back and forth, from present day Jessie to back-then Eden, Jessie's mom. Though I most often like Mary Kubica stories, this one wasn't quite up to her usual standards. 

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0


Friday, March 17, 2023

Judging, Scrapping, and Playing

QuiltCon emailed "Judge's Feedback" to those of us who had quilts in the show. Each quilt received positive comments.

I got a kick out of reading I have "great upper body strength." Ha, ha.

But two things are not clear: 1) what does N/A mean? Not applicable? Not available? Was there something I should have done differently to garner a comment in those areas? and, 2) "...may have fared better in Negative Space category." It's been my understanding that QuiltCon reserves the right to move an accepted quilt from one category to another, if it will "fare better." Couldn't they have done that?

I thought so until I read this blog post - My Experiences as a Juror - by Steph Skardal, who was a QuiltCon juror. She says QuiltCon does not move quilts in categories (unless it's obviously incorrectly entered) and she's as confused as I am about the difference between a quilt in the minimalism category and a quilt in the negative space category. Since I was part of an MQG committee that, last fall, reviewed the tenets (characteristics) of a modern quilts, I'm anticipating that in April MQG members will receive the updated definition in a "Modern Monday" email.

The upshot of reading Steph's article is affirming what I already believe... that in spite of every care and precaution to objectively select QuiltCon quilts,  a juror's task is subjective.

In my sewing room, I'm happily engrossed in a new project. Yes, I have about seven WIPs going simultaneously, but I function best like a hog in mud - deliciously wallowing in what feels good. 

I came across a tutorial for a scrappy quilt called Harvest Moon. Being well-aware that it's become more difficult to smash-down each of my scrap bins, to get them to fit into their cubbies, I decided to dive into getting them under control.

Working with scraps is inevitably a very messy task. 

I've spent more time pressing scraps than sewing.

My process is to press a few scraps at my TV tray pressing table, turn left to sew a couple bits together, turn left again to trim-up and square-off edges, and return to the pressing spot to prep more scraps for sewing. I'm also pressing pieces not being used. Those are stacked into separate color piles - whites and beiges; grays and blacks - all of which I consider "neutrals." 

The result of creating chunks of scrapped-together fabric is cutting out pieces from the two templates Megan provides in her Harvest Moon tutorial. 

These are finished blocks with many more half-circles made that I anticipate surrounding with a variety of colors.

Today I'm working on green. 

Not only are Harvest Moon blocks lovely, but so is the look of my scraps!

Here's my neutrals/yellow bin with everything all sorted - with space to spare in the bin! - and white neutrals ready to make into more half circles. Such a good feeling of accomplishment!

Do the pictures I've posted here look good? I think so! I couldn't be more delighted about them being from my new iPhone 14. After using an iPhone 8 for the past five years - and being so thoroughly dissatisfied with the poor quality of its pictures that I used a Canon point-and-shoot to take pictures - it's been a treat to now take photos that go directly into the iCloud without any need to finagle them there from a camera. I have an Apple Watch now too! I'm learning its capabilities, including a new way of taking a group photo. 

In the past, I've set up a tripod with the Canon camera, saved a spot for myself in a group picture, set the camera timer, and run over to be in the photo. With these new devices, I can set up my iPhone on the tripod, walk over to my spot in the group, then set my Apple Watch to take a picture in three seconds... and.. 

Bob's your uncle!

Such great birthday presents, right? On March 18 - also National Quilting Day! How perfect is that?! -  I'm 70. I couldn't feel any better about being this age, and it's definitely "old age." I don't feel it my age, and I hope I don't act it either! 

Book Recommendation

Because I haven't yet read a Charles Martin book I didn't like, I've been taking my time reading each title, savoring the chance to delve into another charming story. Listening to Chasing Fireflies, a title published in 2007, I initially thought I was hearing a story similar to others, but then... I was happily surprised.

Chase Walker, a journalist for the local newspaper, has grown up an orphan. Living in foster homes, and plagued by the fleeting remembrance of a father he cannot picture, he is finally taken in by a family who loves and cares for him. When he's assigned to suss-out a story - about a six year-old old boy who's been found near the site of a smashed-up Impala that's been hit by a train - he finds himself reliving his own, lonely past. Chase's foster dad, Unc, is quiet about his own troubled upbringing, and Chase's childhood friend, Mandy, has finally returned home though not quite person she used to be. 

I thought I had this story figured out, but again, Mr. Martin surprised me in a delightful way. 

Linda's score: 4.3/5.0


Friday, March 10, 2023

Two WIP Finishes

Last Saturday morning, as I was heading out for a four-mile power walk, my left leg gave way (due to oesteoarthritis in my left hip - the outcome of a couple decades of regular jogging) and I fell in the street. After two days of trying to staunch blood from wounds on both knees and right elbow - because who doesn't bleed profusely when on blood-thinners? - by Monday I knew it was time for urgent care. I was told I should have had stitches in my left knee, which was by then swollen and hot, and I was put on an antibiotic and a steroid for swelling.

The result has been a week spent at home, hobbling, tending wounds, sewing and handwork time, Bible study lessons, and watching recorded episodes of Midsommer Murders.

The first WIP I wanted to finish was my QuiltCon "Reimagine the Classic Tied Quilt" workshop piece. 

My Crosscut quilt (free tutorial on Debbie's @aquilterstable blog) finished at  21" X 21" and is tied with Iroiro wool yarn that's been felted into little puff balls. I used Funtack to temporarily hang the quilt on our living room wall - 21" feet of happy Sherwin-Williams Tangerine!

I'm pleased with how it turned out, and will try to find a permanent hanging spot in my sewing room. 

On February 11/12 I participated in the free Thread House Academy "Taster Weekend" where I watched a video and received instructions for the The Freehand Halo Appliqué project by Jo Avery @joaverystitch. While riding with two quilter-friends to Atlanta for QuiltCon, I hand-appliqued halo blocks.

Jo used linen to demonstrate her project so I scrounged through my limited linen stash to determine a color palette. I have since rectified my limited supply of linen colors by purchasing five more colors from QuiltCon vendors. 😀

As recommend by Amy Friend @duringquiettime, I've begun using Tulip brand #10 appliqué needles. Another QuiltCon purchase, from the Aurifil booth, meant I could use more thread colors than only grey Aurifil 80-weight. The needle and thread work well together with stitches simply melting into the fabrics. 

When appliquéd blocks were finished, trimmed, and machine-pieced into a nine block layout, I pressed a fusible cotton batting to the back, and began big stitch hand quilting using a Bohin #7 crewel needle and several colors of 12-weight Wonderfil Spagetti thread. 

Again, it was like stitching through butter as I made running stitches, Xs, and Colonial knots.

I finished the 17" X 17" pillow with an envelop back and binding. Doesn't it look like it belongs in my sewing room rocker? 

An added embellishment, in the center of the lower right block, is a Spoonflower pin, received from the QuiltCon Spoonflower booth. The pin color coordinates beautifully with the pillow.

I'm very happy with how this turned out, and want to keep appliquéing! Handwork has become an addiction for me - more appealing, the older I get. I'll be 70 years old next week - on National Quilting Day - and I can't think of a better two-in-one-special day combination! 

Book Recommendation
Summer's Child
 by Diane Chamberlain is about a cul de sac of oceanside homes in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where year-'round and summertime residents share life. When on her 11th birthday, Daria Cato takes an early morning post-storm beach walk, she finds the lifeless-looking body of a newborn. Picking it up and running to her mother who's a nurse, the baby is cared for, eventually adopted by the Cato family, named Shelly, and the circumstances of her birth becomes a two decades-long unsolved mystery. 

Rory returns to the cul-de-sac from California - he's the host of a True Life Stories TV series - for a summertime vacation with his 14 year-old son. Shelly has asked Rory to find her mother. But Shelly's protective sisters insist that it's a mistake to pursue it - it could be hurtful to Shelly. Rory continues to probe, asking questions, receiving speculative thoughts, or being met with resistance. Several people are keeping secrets that could be devastating. 

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0  

I hung up the pretty little "L" embroidery that Clara @bimbambuki_blog made for me. As you can see, it's near the colorful sewing machine clock that Di @darlingdi brought from Australia, when she visited in February/March 2017. Such good memories! Di and I spent a wonderful time together, attending QuiltCon Savannah, and sightseeing. Eight blog posts about her first trip to the US begin here

Anyway, no worries about my knees and elbow. They're healing enough that this morning, for the first time since going to urgent care on Monday, I got out by golf cart to attend a weekly Bible study where we're delving into women of the Bible. Today's lesson was about Mary of Bethany (the sister of hard-working Martha and risen-from-the-dead Lazarus), who poured precious perfume on Jesus' head. My takeaway from that is: Don't try to do all you can do. Do what you can do. Linda


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