Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Travel, and Hancock's of Paducah

We made a trip to Kansas City last week, sharing a great time with my sister and her husband in Olathe, and most of our time with my dad who turned 94 years old on Sunday, April 7. Sunday afternoon, at Dad's assisted living facility, 24 members of our family gathered to celebrate. Dad likes the apple crisp they serve, so we requested it, and had salted caramel ice cream on the side. I took lots of pictures, but decline to publicly share them. Suffice it to say we had a wonderful day, and Dad did too (though we would have enjoyed seeing the Iowa Hawkeye women win the championship basketball game.) I loved getting to see my siblings, their families, and our daughter, son-in-law, and two teenaged grandsons. 

We spent as much time driving to and from Kansas City as we did being in Kansas City! This time though, while enroute, we arrived in Paducah, Kentucky in time for me to visit Hancock's of Paducah, just down the road from the Drury Inn we stayed in.

I've visited this store several times before, but this is the first time I was there when it was nearly empty of customers, yet very well stocked. My goodness! They're definitely prepared for QuiltWeek, April 24-27! 

I’ve never seen so many fabric bolts in one place!

For solids, it’s a Kona-lover's dream, with all colors stocked. Moda Bella solids too. 


"The back room" was full of pre-cuts - charms, layer cakes, jelly rolls - and all manner of bundles and kits. I have never cared for these, but I could sure imagine quilters going crazy here!

My purchase was one yard of Kona Cheddar, a color I love (and cannot get in Painter’s Palette solid); a rotary blade; one 12-weight Aurifil thread; and two packs of sewing machine needles. 

While in Kansas City, I had my most-anticipated, favorite food - a pork tenderloin from Hy-Vee Market Grill. Only $8 for this deliciousnes which was thick and huge - far larger than the bun. I am proud to say I ate it all, and was contentedly stuffed the rest of the day. 

We left KC early Monday morning, so we were on the road during the eclipse. We thought we might get to see it, and apparently so did LOTS of others!

It might not be able apparent from this picture, but as we headed south on I-555 (in Arkansas) everyone was going north, from Memphis (Tennessee) toward the path of the total eclipse. Their side of the interstate looked like hurricane evacuation, while we had southbound lanes almost to ourselves! By the time we were in the eclipse it was pouring-down rain. My friend Elizabeth remarked, “Maybe next time.” My response was, “Ha! If I make it to 92!” 

An abundance of car-riding time meant hand-piecing time.

I took along 28 Glitter blocks prepped-for-hand-piecing and stitched them all. 
That means I have pieced all 152 blocks needed for my Glitter quilt. You know what I'll be doing next!

Book Recommendation
I finished one book while on the road, The Seven Year Slip by Ashley

Clementine has her dream job as a book publicist, and is living in an apartment bequeathed to her by the aunt she adored and traveled with extensively. Her aunt always said her apartment was a place where time slipped, so Clementine is only slightly taken aback when one evening she returns to her apartment to find all her aunt's things in place (things Clementine had donated after her aunt's death), and a strange man, Iwan. He tells her that her aunt said he could stay in the apartment until he finds a place of his own. Clementine realizes she has stepped back seven years in time. 

As Clementine comes to know and like Iwan, she remembers her aunt telling her to never fall in love in the apartment. But love has a will of its own. For the sake of her job, Clementine realizes she must meet and win over the different, future Iwan - now known as James, and reconcile James with the Iwan she knew in the past.   

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0

My last blog post, about March fabric-tracking prompted a comment from Becky Pitt who mentioned that Karen Brown did a YouTube video inventory of her fabric stash. If you're interested, you can view this 13-minute video here. Karen Brown's fabric stash total is... 

Wowsa!

I am certain I have less than one fourth of the stash she does. I don't have any fabric precuts, bundles, or kits. She mentions not counting leftover fabric/fabric she has cut into. When I take into account how little of my stash has NOT been cut into - I estimate that at less than 5% of my stash - she makes me feel good about what I've been doing! Whoo-hoo! Maybe I AM on my way to using up my stash! Linda

Monday, April 1, 2024

End of March

With Easter on the last day of the month, this end of March review sort of snuck up on me.

This month was moderately productive, with no new fabric purchases. Outgoing yardage was 7.14 yards  (yay!) and that number includes a completely finished, albeit small, quilt I have yet to share. I'll do so after it's gifted.

Other than the finished quilt, all other outgoing fabrics were used to make blocks. Some people who fabric track don't count yardage as "out" until a quilt top is finished. But that's not me. I consider the fabric "out"  or used when it's cut and pieced into its intended purpose, even if that's just a block. For example, my Glitter quilt blocks (not yet pieced into a quilt top) are in my March count.

However, the exception is if I'm making an improv quilt. I do not count ANY yardage until an improv quilt top is assembled. That's because with improv, it's all about making changes as you go. My friend Debbie at A Quilter's Table has been fabric-tracking for several years, and she suggested how to calculate yardage used in an improv quilt: Multiply the quilt top dimensions by 25 percent (to allow fabric for seams). So that's what I've been doing. 

As I've been anxiously waiting for a few remaining blocks to arrive from quilters who are participating in my Modern Potholder Group quilt project (due date is April 12), I've passed time by working on a project begun in a QuiltCon workshop: Large Scale Minimal Improv. I've simply been cutting and piecing more components, and arranging - rearranging and rearranging - them on my design wall. None of this fabric has yet been counted as outgoing. By the way, components are made not only with quilting cotton, but denim (from hub's blue jeans), and linen.

Being the circle/round-shape-lover that I am, I used my Classic Curves ruler to make several inset circle blocks. The light blue fabric at the bottom left, and beige fabric top left, are both linen. 
As is the nature of improv, I find it brain-taxing to work out what to do next. But I will persevere! 

Book Recommendations
Somehow or another, I managed to listen to 11 audiobooks in March. More surprising was that only two of them had a score of less than 4.0. So, what follows are two more book reviews, and a recap of the best of March. 
The River We Remember
 by William Kent Krueger is his newest book, released last fall. Mr. Krueger has a penchant for setting his stories in Minnesota and Iowa, which I appreciate. It's very easy to envision the fictional places - rural countryside and small towns - his characters inhabit.

This story begins on Decoration Day (Memorial Day) weekend. A body has been found, snagged on driftwood in the Alabaster River. At first, it seems like a suicide. But when the victim is identified as a landholding bully who most people despised, Sheriff Brody Dern and his deputies have to investigate further. 

As the plot unfolds, prejudices against the Japanese (WWII is fresh in everyone's minds), and native Americans who once owned the land become apparent. Townspeople are divided, and while laws are meant to bring justice, there are always those who want to take justice and retribution into their own hands. 

This thought-provoking book is about coming of age, and recalling old-fashioned beliefs and attitudes.
Linda's score: 4.4/5.0

Everyone is Watching
 by Heather Gudenkauf is a new book (released in March) I've been anticipating. I was on a wait list for it's release, and was the first person to check it out though my Boundless library app. Heather is an Iowa author I follow on Instagram @heathergudenkauf (and she follows me back!) because I've enjoyed every book she has ever written. If you haven't read any of her books, I highly recommend The Overnight Guest.

The premise of Everyone is Watching is that five contestants (one is from Calico, Iowa) are flown to California to live for two weeks in a posh, wine country home and appear on the program "One Lucky Winner." During a series of live-streamed challenges, participants find clues, and win/lose competitions, with the viewing public voting people out, until the last person wins $10 million. 

Behind the scenes, Cat is orchestrating the show, deciding what and when the challenges will be. Fern, Cat's assistant is the show's host, keeping everyone on schedule and monitoring social media attention. "One Lucky Winner" doesn't happen quite as planned, and becomes reality-viewing when contestants get hurt. Yet when Fern learns that 16 million people have been watching, the show has to go on. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

March Reading Recap - I gave these nine titles a score of 4.0 or better.
  1. The Irish Boarding House, Sandy Taylor - 4.5
  2. The River We Remember, William Kent Krueger - 4.4
  3. The Secret Book of Flora Lea, Patti Callahan Henry - 4.3
  4. The Teacher, Frieda McFadden - 4.2
  5. Only the Beautiful, Susan Meissner - 4.2
  6. The Fury, Alex Michaelides - 4.2
  7. Everyone is Watching, Heather Gudenkauf - 4.2
  8. The House Keeper, Valerie Keogh - 4.0
  9. Kookaburra Cottage, Maya Linnell - 4.0
Happy book-listening!

And I hope your Easter was lovely. I celebrated the Holy day with worship, and time spent in devotional reflections about Jesus' sacrifice for us. Often, it seems more easy to abide in the heaviness of Good Friday, feeling sad and unworthy. So it washes over me anew on Easter, when I am reminded that Jesus conquered death, for us all. For me! My otherwise eternal condemnation now has the promise of a new life and eternity with Him. Amen. Linda

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Aimlessly Playing

For the past week, I've been using my Bernina 440QE (QE stands for Quilter's Edition) because my Bernina 770QE computer screen finally came up with a "needs service" message.
My Bernina 440QE was award to me for "Best of Show" at the 2012 Machine Quilter's Showcase in Overland Park, Kansas

The last time the 770 was serviced was June 2022! Nineteen months in between servicing means that my weekly cleaning routine has paid off! Every Friday I brush out and vacuum the bobbin case area, and then drip Bernina oil on the bobbin case base and in the red spot next to the feed dogs. When it costs $139 plus tax to have the 770 serviced, I can be diligent about cleaning it myself!

Since finishing Prudence (last blog post), I have touched a couple more projects, neither of which are near to being finished.

I'm feeling good about having 122 Glitter quilt blocks completed pieced. Each unfinished block is 4" X 10".

The remaining 30 blocks are cut, machine-pieced, and ready for hand-sewing. I'm coming down the home stretch! I keep prepped blocks in this zipper(s) pouch (10 zippers, to be exact!) at the ready to grab and go. 

The most sewing fun I did this week was spent with Jo Avery's on-demand Organic Pieced Appliqué lessons. After QuiltCon, I purchased the workshop series from The Thread House UK using a discount code given to students in Jo's Improv Tiny Piecing QuiltCon  workshop. Jo is a natural as an instructor, so it was an easy decision to buy her online lessons and give this project a go. 

Jo first went through fabric color options and choices. Then she explained how to make each of four different improv blocks. When the background was pieced - mine will be a 20" X 20" pillow - I made bias tape, and improv-cut vetch leaves.

I wasn't familiar with vetch, which has several beneficial qualities - adds nitrogen to the soil; is good ground cover; reduces rain run-off; and such. In her video, Jo showed an actual vetch stem, so students would have an idea of the leaf shape to cut. 

Have you seen vetch? I'm pretty sure I first heard of "crown vetch" as a kid, when my Dad mentioned it. Before retirement, he worked in agricultural sales. As I recall, crown vetch was considered a nuisance in soybean and corn fields. 

Anyway...I'm looking forward to the next step which is hand appliqué. Yay! Typically, I prefer the back-basted appliqué method, but needleturn appliqué is good too. At QuiltCon 2023 in Atlanta, I purchased a small collection of 80-weight Aurifil thread and I'm glad I did! Eighty-weight thread is perfect for hand appliqué. I'm using color 1231 on a cute wooden spool.

Book Recommendations I've come across a rash of good books lately! I recommend adding all three of these titles to your reading list. 

Kookaburra Cottage
 by Maya Linnell takes place along the Southwest coast of Australia, in Limestone Coast Wine Country where April lives in a small house on the grounds of her family's Lacewing Estate winery. Her dad wants her to take over the business, but she's determined to forge her own path, helping where she can, raising vegetables, and opening a bed and breakfast.

Connor, a winemaker from the UK, arrives as part of a two-year program that sends winemakers from other countries to share and learn. April and Conner meet. She's fresh off a break-up with a cheating boyfriend. Conner has left bad memories of his former life back in the UK. Their commonalities, including an inability to cook, have them spending work and social time together 
With a title that includes a kookaburra, and the delightful voice of the Aussie narrator, how can you go wrong? The book is a charming "Hallmark" type of story - people who misunderstand one another, a very cool neighbor boy, a wonderful dog, and a sense of life lived in Australia wine country. 

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

The Fury
 by Alex Michaelides is interesting because of the way the story is told. It's presented as an objective, first-person account of what happened to a famous American movie star (Lana), her second husband, and the star's best girlfriend (Kate) a British actress.

From her first husband, Lana inherited an entire Greek island with a beautifully restored house, guest house, and pool where Lana likes to escape from London. She invites two friends to join her, her husband, and her son over Easter weekend. 

High winds - locally known as "the fury" - keep them on the island. Too much alcohol makes for loose tongues that reveal grudges and harbored ill-feelings. Illicit love, revenge, and a playwright's script are laid bare in one long night of unexpected revelations for each person on the island.

I liked this book because the plot was presented in a unique way, narrated by Elliot who is Lana's friend.

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

The Secret Book of Flora Lea
 by Patti Callahan Henry is yet another WWII story... but don't turn away! While I'm nearly overfull of WWII fiction, this one is different

Sisters Hazel and Flora are part of British "Operation Pied Piper" - the evacuation of children from London due to fears of German bombings and invasion. As difficult as it is for the sisters to leave their mother, they enjoy life in a rural village, living in a charming cottage with Bridie and Henry. When they miss their mother, Hazel makes up stories about a special place for her and Flora: "Whisperwood" and  "The River of Stars."
Years later, while working for a bookseller, Hazel comes across a book about a place called Whisperwood. She's taken aback. Only Flora knew about that place, and since Flora's disappearance at the age of six, it's been more than two decades since Hazel has thought about Whisperwood. In spite of resistance from her fiancé, Hazel is determined to discover how the author knows about their special place, and whether Flora herself might still be alive. 

When an author uses real places in a story - places I can look up and view pictures of on Google Maps - I'm always more appreciative of the story. Such is the case with this good work of fiction, based on the real Operation Pied Piper.  

Linda's score: 4.3/5.0

Taking a cue from my quilter-blogger-reader-friend Cindy at Live A Colorful Life, I'm keeping track of 2024 favorite reads with a "Book Bracket." A bracket template is easy to find with a Google search, and catching up to March is easy too. My Jan/Feb favorite book was Scrublands by Chris Hammer.

I hope you are being blessed by this Holy Week. Linda

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Prudence Quilt Finish

In June 2019, from Sharon @lilabellelanecreations I won an Instagram giveaway of the Prudence Quilt pattern, plastic template set (four pieces), and pre-cut papers to English paper piece 60 medallion blocks and 61 X blocks, At the time, Prudence was a $120 set, though I see it now for $105 at Red Thread Studio.

In January this year, I completed EPPing the quilt center. Then I hand-appliquéd the center to four black print border strips. In February I quilted it with a walking foot, and then ruler quilted. I used Hobbs Cotton/Wool batting for the first time.

Since I didn't make wide borders, as called for in the pattern, my version of Prudence finished at 56½" X 57". It's pieced mostly from scraps, though a few times I cut into small yardage pieces to get some fussy cut designs. 

Other than knowing I wanted a black and white stripe for the blocks, I didn't have a color plan at all. I simply dug into scraps to use whatever I put my hands on that was large enough. Then I spent time cutting fabric and gluing it to papers, so as to have six to ten medallions ready to piece at any given time. I kept them in a Sew Together bag for whenever I was headed off on a long road trip, or going to weekly Big Cypress Quilters meetings. 

It wasn't until I had pieced all the medallions and all the Xes that I laid out all the parts and worked out how to arrange them. 

Though I never intended to fussy cut pieces, I found myself doing so fairly often. 

Several blocks turned out pretty nice... like the pink block with those palms. 😍

Keeping to my plan to use only stash fabric this year, and not having enough yardage of any print for a backing, I had to pieced a backing. This one was made with an Anna Maria Horner print, surrounded by orange Grunge, and set into a black and white stripe print. 

After walking foot quilting in a diagonal grid, I ruler-quilted four rings in each block.

A couple thoughts about this project: 

1) IF (that's a big IF) I ever English paper piece again, I won't use 60-weight Superior brand "Bottom Line" thread again. It's a great thread, but since it's polyester, it proved to be a little "wiry." I tied it into a square knot to keep it on the needle. Throughout the project, I used one color, a pale gray #623. Next time, I will use a cotton thread that does a better job of "melting" into the quilting cotton. 

2) Hobbs Cotton Wool batting is nice (I have three more such batts to use) but I don't think it entirely stands up to the statement shared with me by two other quilters: "It doesn't hold a fold." I left this quilt folded-up on the square (not on the diagonal) in a zipped-up bag for about two weeks. When I took it out, the center folds were evident, but not quite as distinct as with cotton batting. So I'd say Hobbs cotton wool batting is better for releasing folds, compared to 100 percent cotton. 

Nonetheless, I'm happy to be finished with Prudence, and happy to put away English paper piecing for a good long time! 

Until I can figure out who's worthy to receive Prudence - after all, it is entirely hand-pieced! -it will go into a pillow case, and join dozens of other finished quilts in the top of the closet. Linda

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Cutting and Piecing

Happy mail this week was this Hobbs cotton wool batting which was my prize for being among eight winners in the Modern Quilt Guild's "Use It: Quilt Back Challenge." Winner's list including pictures of backings.

Winners were told we'd receive our batts in February, so while at QuiltCon, I thought to stop in the Hobbs Batting vendor booth, say thank you, and offer to take the batt home with me - saving their shipping cost, I thought. However, I was told that because there had been an October 2023 fire at the Hobbs facility in Waco, they were behind in order fulfillment. They had to scrounge to come up with sample batting packages to display in their booth! So, I feel extra grateful that they sent me this batting. 

With only 27 more blocks to make for my Glitter quilt, I've been motivated to cut out and machine piece all the remaining blocks, in readiness for hand-piecing. (I'm hand-piecing the four outside corner pieces for accuracy of the Y-seam.) 

I've also begun making a quilt for a special friend. The design involves pulling out each of my color-sorted shoeboxes of solid scraps, improv-cutting and piecing bits together, and then using a Hex N More ruler to cut 60-degree triangles.

The quilt pattern is called Floating Pyramid. I'm delighted I can use scraps to piece these shapes. The finished quilt will be cute!

Book Recommendations
The Irish Boarding House by Sandy Taylor is about Mary Kate, a young woman in Ireland who's destitute. Her mother abandoned her at birth, and she was raised by her loving grandparents. After their passing, she's forced out of her tenant row home where happy memories were made, and into a world not meant for single women. 

Ready to end her misery, Mary Kate is saved by an unexpected inheritance that allows her to fulfill her dreams. She restores an old house, and fills it with women and girls in need. She creates her own family, finding the good in others, and in a life that can be happy in spite of trials. 

This was a refreshing book to listen to. I appreciated Mary Kate's genuinely generous nature, and the fact that a story can be told without swearing, brutality, and murder. A charming story with a touch of faith... just the sort of book I like.

Linda's score: 4.5/5.0

Only the Beautiful
 by Susan Meissner takes place shortly before and during WWII. Part one focuses on Roseanne whose parents and brother have died in an accident. The family has lived on the property of a California vineyard, where her dad was employed. With no other family, Roseanne is taken in as a ward of the owners, and employed as domestic for the family. 

Roseanne is taken against her will to a facility for the mentally insane. She has a condition, later identified as synesthesia, that deems her unfit. Not only does she have no family, but she's unwed, and pregnant. During five difficult years, her life is unalterably changed. 

Part two focuses on Helen, the sister of the man who owned the vineyard. Helen has never been married, but has lived a fulfilled life in Europe as a nanny to several families. While in Nazi-occupied Vienna, she and the family she cares for face a new, unbelievable reality - children with disabilities are being medically tortured and killed in a program called Operation T4. Helen goes to Switzerland to help disabled children escape Austria. Following the war, she returns to California to her brother's vineyard. 

The author makes an excellent correlation between these two stories - comparing US eugenics laws in the 1930s to 1970s, to Nazi race purification crimes that euthanize children with mental and physical disabilities. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

Travel Insurance
As some of you know, in late January I was to have traveled to the Holy Land. My sister and I had planned to go to Israel and Egypt for two weeks with a group led by a bishop from the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). What happened on October 7, 2023 changed all that. 

The Atlanta tour company we planned to travel with returned 100 percent of the monies each person had paid to that point, and provided a letter indicating that the tour company itself had cancelled our trip. The letter was given so we could each obtain a refund for travel insurance. 

Last July, through IMG Insurance I purchased travel insurance for $438. In November, by email I requested a refund and provided proof of trip cancellation and my refund check. When I didn't receive a response from IMG, I called and spoke with a representative who told me I could not get a refund. Instead, I have two years in which to use the insurance; and I cannot transfer the insurance to someone else. I was promised (in December) a phone call from an IMG supervisor to discuss it. I haven't heard anything since.

In the meantime, my sister has received a full refund from TravelEx for her travel insurance purchase.

I'm cautioning every travel insurance buyer... beware be aware of who you select to do business with. 

Linda

Monday, March 11, 2024

Other Things

Back to a few more things in my sewing room... 

I continue to pick up Glitter blocks (a pattern in Jen Kingwell's book Quilt Lovely) to hand stitch whenever I have a few moments to sit. I can be especially productive while talking on the phone! I've now pieced 108 blocks of the 152 blocks needed to make a quilt that's 67" X 73". I'm getting my hopes up about this being a possible 2024 finish. 

In June 2023, I finished embroidering this "Milky Way" Dropcloth Sampler. The unfinished sampler is not only printed with the embroidery design, but it also has a color washed background. I embroidered with Wonderfil size 8 perle cotton. It wasn't until last week, when a Big Cypress Quilters member came to our weekly meeting with a few embroidery hoops to give away, that I was motivated to finish it. 

I cut the selvage off yardage of Painter's Palette Pale Aqua, and used it to wrap the outside ring of the 6" wooden embroidery hoop. Then I hand basted around the stitchery to draw it into a ring, and trimmed the fabric edges with pinking shears. 

In the same manner, I cut a 6" circle of cardboard and a circle of fabric, hand-basted and drew-up the fabric around the cardboard. 

The fabric-covered cardboard is glued to the back of the hoop, It dried good and flat under a heavy fabric bin. 

I already had the hoop prop which came from The Craft Table Orlando, so it wasn't long until the finished piece was set on top of my fabric bin cabinet, alongside my Lego sewing machines. I like it. 

Book Recommendations
For much too long, posting about QuiltCon instead, I put off reviewing audiobooks I've been listening to. So, here's a catch-up of the last four books I read.

The September House
 by Carissa Orlando is about a retired couple who finally find the Victorian home of their dreams. It's up-to-date and at an affordable price that's difficult to believe. Hal and Margaret soon begin to understand why no one lives in the house for long. It's haunted.

Margaret comes to anticipate blood flowing down the walls from the bedrooms and down the stairs. She expects the former inhabitants to not only keep house, but show up in other ways - trying to strike a match to burn down the house; to bite her; and to keep both Margaret and Hal out of the basement.

Having had enough, Hal leaves. Months later, Margaret doesn't know where he is, and their daughter, Katherine, is determined to come for a visit (for the first time), and find him. Now Margaret has to get the ghosts to behave, and not reveal the house's secrets. 

This story is entirely unbelievable. It sort of wanted to be light-hearted, yet it also wanted to spew blood and gore like a horror story. Neither effort settled well with me.

Linda's score: 3.4/5.0

After The September House, I thought I was listening to another haunted house book when I started The Housekeeper by Valerie Keogh.

This story focuses on a large vacant estate home in England that has been neglected for years. For Cassie, recently of London, it's the perfect place to invest a recent influx of money. She plans to update the home with ensuite bathrooms in each bedroom, open the kitchen by removing tiny storage rooms that block the light, tame the overgrown grounds, and end up with a lovely countryside bed and breakfast.

Yet even though the electrical system has been replaced, and Cassie has verified that everything is in working order, the lights strangely go out when she's alone in the house at night. Accidents happen - she trips on a rock and realizes she's fallen on a gravestone; a floorboard has been intentionally sawed, and Cassie falls through. And there's the sudden eerie feeling she gets when she's in the dark kitchen, and thinks about those little storage rooms in the back. 

Yet Cassie is determined that nothing will chase her from the house. She befriends an elderly woman who shares some of the house's history with her. And the man she's hired to overhaul the house is more than friendly and accommodating.  

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0

The Librarian of Burned Books
 by Breanna LaBuskes is a story that spans two World Wars, taking place in Germany in 1933 at the beginning of Hitler's chancellorship; in Paris in 1936; and in New York City in 1944 as WWII has begun.

Three women each have a key role in the telling: 1) Althea, an author who's invited to Germany by Goebbels. She changes her opinions about Hitler after experiencing the harshness of the Reich, discovering herself in the process; 2) Hannah, a beautiful, wealthy woman who, with her brother, follow their beliefs. She ends up in New York City, maintaining a library of banned books; and 3) Vivian who, since the death of her husband in the war, is instrumental in provide paperback books to servicemen, in spite of political intervention by her senate nemesis, Howard Taft.

No doubt, much of the history around this fictional story is true, but that's it's only redeeming quality.

Linda's score: 3.5/4.0

The Teacher
 by Frieda McFadden, is another of her engaging stories, this time about a married couple who are high school teachers. Nate is drop-dead handsome, a charismatic English teacher whose female students are in love with him. Eve is a plain no-nonsense math teacher with a fetish for four-inch stiletto shoes. 

This school year, 11th-grader Addie in each of their classes. She's the girl who, the previous school year, spent alone time with a well-meaning, affable teacher who was forced to leave his position because of Addie. Eve resents that this teacher, who was her friend and mentor. is gone because of Addie. Nate just wants to help Addie, and sees a special talent in the poetry she writes. 

Eve is trying to keep their marriage alive, in spite of Nate's increasing neglect. She finds solace in her shoes, and a shoe salesman. Nate is trying to help Addie who went through the death of her alcoholic dad, and is now alone and friendless.

I like Ms. McFadden's skill in weaving a story. I didn't see what was coming, and especially the "gotcha" in the last chapter. What I learned when I listened to the author's note (at the end) was that her own mother never "gets" those "gotcha" bits!

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

I know I said in my last post that I was done sharing QuiltCon stuff, but then I came across another on-line review of QuiltCon quilts. These are quilts made with Aurifil threads.

My Feelin' Groovy maximalism quilt is included!

As is my Polka Dots and Moonbeams, in the Super Scrappy Challenge category. It's heart-warming knowing others enjoy seeing the quilts I make. 
Linda

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