Thursday, December 7, 2023

'Tis the Season

It's that time of year! Quilt-y stuff, QuiltCon emails, and things to do. 

Tuesday evening Quilting Guild of The Villages hosted a modern maker, Cindy Grisdella, from Reston, Virginia. She gave a program about her quiltmaking journey. I found several similarities in our quiltmaking stories, including that she too began making traditional quilts 40+ years ago. Unlike me, she has evolved into a renown art/contemporary quilter whose style is improvisational. 

Wednesday I was fortunate to take Cindy's "Fearless Curved Piecing" workshop, in person! Locally! Haven't done that since September 2019. And yes, I've already made many quilts with improv-cut curves, but it's good to get reinforcement, and there's always a tidbit to pick up. While Cindy's project was squared blocks on a grid, she allowed us to do what we wanted.

My quilt shapes are rectangles that I plan to puzzle together, rather than set in a grid. My color palette was driven by the yard of Kona Crush recently gifted to me by my friend, Candi @candipursuits. Then I went into my bin of (dwindling) fat quarters, choosing several odd colors that seem to work. Most of these fat quarters are what remain from a box of 100 Benartex Superior Solid fat quarters I won in an Instagram giveaway in 2021. It's nice to again have improv on the design wall. Those darks are charcoal gray, and a deep grape purple. Skinny inserts are aqua.

It was a sad-happy Monday, December 4, when four emails arrived from the MQG. Two emails informed that quilts were NOT accepted into QuiltCon 2024 (Raleigh, NC), and two emails congratulated me on quilts that WERE accepted!

QuiltCon 2024 had 2,342 entries; 470 quilts were accepted (20% acceptance)

QuiltCon 2023 had 2,089 entries; 444 quilts were accepted (21%) acceptance)

My two #QuiltConRejects (that Instagram hashtag is a great one to browse!) are Alternate Route and Balance Beam.

Alternate Route was NOT accepted.
Alternate Route, 57" X 67"

I've felt a little disappointed about this one because this quilt marks the first time that making an improv quilt "felt right." It was begun in April in a virtual "Dancing With the Wall" workshop with Irene Roderick who I credit for finally getting through my thick head (my words; not hers!) that to make improv I need to trust my instincts. 

I'm guessing Alternate Route wasn't accepted because: 1) there were too many entries in the Improv category, so competition was extra-stiff; and 2) it was identifiable as a two-color "Dancing With the Wall" workshop project, several of which have appeared at previous QuiltCons. In any case, I still love it. It's the only quilt I stated on my entry form as "Not for Sale."

Balance Beam was NOT accepted. I entered it in Modern Traditionalism.
Balance Beam, 65½" X 83"

A shock - because it was an, "Aw, what the heck" entry - was having Polka Dots and Moonbeams accepted in the Scrap Challenge category. It's a quilt I finished in 2021 for our Central Florida MQG "Chips and Charms" Challenge, using charm packs, mini charm packs, and yardage. I hand-appliqued those 98 circles (traced from a prescription bottle lid!) onto machine pieced blocks. Blog post about it here  and here (The latter post includes a life lesson learned when submitting a quilt for magazine publication).
Polka Dots and Moonbeams,  52½" X 60½"

My elation ran high when I learned Feelin' Groovy was accepted for display in the Maximalism Exhibit. It won't be judged, and since I will never win a QuiltCon award anyway, that's fine by me. Feelin' Groovy does have a "For Sale" price. 😀
Feelin' Groovy, 67½" X 84"

I'm already super-excited for QuiltCon which is February 22-25, 2024. But I mustn't get ahead of myself! I still have hanging sleeves to make and hand-stitch to the back of these quilts before packing and sending them to Austin, Texas by January 10!

While in Cindy Grisdela's workshop, she shared a quilt that she too just learned was accepted into the Maximalism Exhibit at QuiltCon 2024! It's fun knowing whose quilts will be shown alongside mine. 

Book Recommendations
The Last Remains
is the latest book, published in February 2023, in the "Ruth Galloway" series by Elly Griffiths. It's also the last of 15 books - the final episode about Ruth's career as an archeologist, professor, and police liaison that began in 2009 with The Crossing Places. 

Working with DCI Harry Nelson, Ruth is called in on a case that turns out to be more recent; a missing college student. People who knew the missing girl are reinterviewed, including Ruth's druid friend, Cathbad, who is still recovering from a severe case of COVID. When Cathbad unexpectedly goes missing, and his partner Judy comes across his hand-written will, all of his friends and the police search for him. Even Ruth and 12 year-old Katie become involved. 

Elly Griffiths is an entertaining author whose writing I admire, and in this book, does an excellent job of wrapping up character storylines for this series. While I'm sad to leave behind these interesting people and their quaint villages and ancient histories, I'm happy with the outcomes. 

Linda's score, for the entire series: 4.4/5.0

Author Rhys Dylan was recommended to me by a British friend, so I decided to begin with The Engine House, the first book in the "DCI Evan Warlow Crime" series.

The story takes place on the west side of the UK, in Wales in the rugged landscape along the cliffs of the Irish Sea. Cliffside paths run through several villages, like Cardiff. I looked them up on Google maps, and was delight to find they're real places!

At the age of 50, and for unrevealed reasons, Evan Barlow has left a vibrant career as a DCI. Since inheriting his uncle's ramshackle fishing shack, he's spent the last 18 months doing home reno to turn the place into a charming, habitable home for himself and his black lab, Cadi. 

When two bodies are literally unearthed along a cliff path in Cardiff, Evan's eight year-old missing persons case is resurrected. He's is asked to return as a consultant, joining a team of four with newcomer DI Jess Allenby in the lead. Evan is reluctant to return, but remembers his promise to the daughter of the missing couple - that he'll find her parents. Now that their bodies have been identified, it's time to reopen the case. That means returning to the cliffside home of the deceased couple, where a young couple now lives; and revisit the Gower family who farm next door.

Linda's score: 4.1/5.0 
As I was golf-carting home from ukulele club, I noticed I was following a UPS delivery vehicle. Yep, that's a golf cart pulling a wagon full of parcels! It's a local "sign of the season." 

Not a sign of the season, but typical for our area, are frequent sandhill crane sightings. Once again, as I was power-walking and concentrating on an audiobook, they caught me unawares. Goodness, it's a shock to have these big fellas seem to pop up right in front of me! They act like they own the ground they're on. 

Gift-wrapping has been in full swing. Is anyone else being naughty like me, and using their rotary cutter to cut wrapping paper? 😬



  1. I’m feeling the cute aqua strips, nice. Your feeling groovy quilt should win!!!🏅 😻🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰

    1. Thanks for noticing the aqua insertion strips. Yep, I'm hoping they're the little "pop" this quilt will need. As for "Feelin' Groovy," there's no chance of it winning anything, as it's not being judged. But gosh, I'd sure be happy with an "award" of it selling!

  2. Rosemary B here
    congratulations on the entries for whatever reason. It is great to have your creations on display.
    I do have ONE rotary cutter clearly marked "paper only" because that is where the blades go when they start to get bad. Then they cut paper.
    blades are expensive so it is good to treasure the ones that still cut perfectly.

    1. Thanks Rosemary! It's very nice of you to be so positive about my entries, even one that will be "display only." Yay you for having the foresight to label a particular rotary cutter as for "paper" use. Great idea! Will have to keep that in mind, though I DO resharpen my rotary blades. Since investing in a Colonial brand "Turn-Sharp," I've paid for the sharpening with the blades I've been able to reuse.

  3. Congrats on the two quilts that are heading to QuiltCon!

  4. Congratulations on your quilts being accepted to QuiltCon. That's an early Christmas present for you! I hadn't thought about using a rotary cutter for Christmas wrap but I do have an extra one designated for paper! Wrapping is on tomorrow's agenda though so will give it a try.

  5. Congrats on your QuiltCon accepts! Looking forward to seeing the quilts in person.

  6. Oh yes, congrats on getting your quilts accepted for QuiltCon, quite an achievement!

  7. Congrats on your acceptances. I'm esp glad your Maximalist quilt will be shown. And I love Cindy's entry, too. The colors in your new curved improv are luscious. It's somehow soothing and vibrant at the same time. That's quite the efficient delivery wagon for The Villages!

  8. ohhh . . . I like those improv curves. Look forward to seeing where this one goes. The workshop must have been a good one. I enjoy Cindy's work and use of color. I'm really happy for you that 2 or your quilts were accepted into QuiltCon. I assume you will be attending?

  9. I love the polka dots and moonbeams. And I'm always happy to see your Sandhill Cranes. When we're in New Mexico we go to see them hanging out in a marsh during migration.


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