Making Progress

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The birds have been busily visiting my feeders all week. Tuesday I saw two new-this-season little guys when I was carrying out the recycling -- a black-capped chickadee (top) and a tufted titmouse (bottom). They're both flirty little birds that come here for the winter from points northward, I _think_. I know Autumn is definitely here, now. :) The weather had been alternating  gray and misty skies with bright blue, sunny ones for the past several days. We had rain last weekend (cold and gray) but mostly sunny so far this week.

I took a trip to the post office on Monday to stand in line and mail off my two Stash Bee blocks to Sashiko in Australia - that was expensive (by comparison with the ordinary things I mail:). Supposed to arrive in 10 to 14 days (major fingers crossed on that!) - I hope they get to her in a timely way. 

I finished sewing together the swap blocks for my two grandsons each to have a small Halloween quilt on Wednesday night during the Zoom Sip&Sew. Here are some photos:

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Halloween can be scary for little guys (mine are almost-6 and 2.5 years old). I don't think either of these quilts will be frightening but who knows? The Candy Corn block is the one I made for the swap (one to each of the other block makers:). I don't remember which of the nine patches I made - as I recall, each swapper made one applique and one nine patch block.

Today I drove over to Springwater Designs to get backings for these two quilts. Those are 12" blocks so the width of each top is less than the width of quilting fabric (42" or so). I bought two different designs but I don't think it matters which one goes with each top. My long arm lady (Daria Phair) should be calling me soon for my opening. :) Well, Daria is one of the long arm artists I send quilts to ... there are a couple of others, too. :)

When I was at Springwater, I found out that all their Halloween and Fall fabrics were on sale (lucky me!!) ... and I succumbed to a really cute kit they had made up using a Bunny Hill pattern for acorns:

Acorn kitIt's not often I get beguiled by an applique project ... but this one was just too adorable to pass by (imho:). The fabrics are a somewhat delicate array of prints from Moda, designed by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill. I did not take any detailed photos of the fabrics, alas. More as I work on this pretty. :)

Another obligation I ticked off my list this week was a fabric postcard project. The theme for the Baltimore Modern guild's Virtual Retreat next month is Travel (of course:). One pre-retreat activity I signed up to do was a fabric postcard exchange. Here's what I made (the recipient has not received it yet as I just mailed the goodie off today; I don't _think_ she reads my blog, though).

Norway postcardThe place my sendee traveled was to Norway. That was an easy choice to make as the Vikings (from all of Scandinavia) were world class travelers. :) They sailed down/up/along every coastline and river way in Europe and Western Asia ... and even sailed to the New World well before Columbus. My ship isn't as detailed as I would have liked to make .. but there are limits to a 4" x 6" layout. :) I hope she likes it!

That's pretty much all of the sewing I've done so far this week. NO! I almost forgot the Hope project blocks I made and gave back to Barbara already. I did not count them so I'm not sure exactly how many there were. They were a dream to make, though. I should ask her if they are ok - she hasn't said. Done, sewed, picked up and gone. Waiting for the next phase. :)

Hugh and I need to take a trip to the 'regular' grocery store (we buy general stuff at BJs Warehouse but they only sell certain items; anything special we go to Wegman's to get). I had hoped we would do that today ... but I didn't wake up until noon and he went to bed at 11 a.m. soooo not much overlap of awake time between us right now. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.

:) Linda


Block Making

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Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny autumn day with blue skies ... today, not so much. :) Gray, gray and misty today. No rainbows (that I saw anyway:). If you click on this pretty rainbow photo, you can go read quotes about sunshine and rain. :)

I've been sewing blocks for the past two days ... with only three finished ones to show for my efforts (there is other sewing in progress:).

First, I made a block for round four of the Faithful Circle Quilters round robin. The set I got to work on this round was fun and spoke to me instantly .. so it was easy to get my block made quickly. :) The beginning block was a 12" foundation pieced depiction of a woman's foot in lovely high heeled shoes pushing down hard on a sewing machine pedal (speed indicated by a 'Vroom, vroom!' text applique:). The owner had included a nifty hot pink reads-as-solid fabric to be used in each block. I looked at that and the other two blocks made after it and chose to create a traditional pattern named Road to Rome with some applique embellishment: 

RoadtoromeSee the simple sewing machine icon? I went searching through Pintrest until I found a simple cross stitch design and translated it into fusible applique. I think it gets the idea across. :) Sadly, my dyslexia made it come out with the wrong right/left orientation for the image (well, from the you-are-sewing standpoint). Oh, well. :)

I was pleased with the result and bundled the whole set of blocks, etc. back into the bag to return to the coordinator (sometime this weekend).

Today during my zoom sew-in with my friends Barbara and Patty, I decided to make my Stash Bee blocks for this month. Our Bee Queen asked for a particular floral block (Quatrefoil) with bright, flower like colors so these are what I made:

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Flower2I have to press and package and mail them off now. :) Tick off those obligations!! :)

Yesterday Hugh and I went grocery shopping (a major chore, all masked and careful). So I skipped making dinner last night ... but he talked me into making Chili tonight and we have extras (weekend lunches:). Yummy!

I am happy about Zoom meetings - I attended a lecture last night, sponsored by the Portland Modern guild, by Joe Cunningham - wonderful, inspiring, warm, encouraging. I enjoy his approach to improv quilting a LOT. Made me want to go into my room and SEW (at midnight - lecture was on Pacific time scale:). Look him up and enjoy his work. I hope to take an online workshop with him later this year.

Tomorrow I get to zoom with my Columbia Friends modern group ... and Sunday afternoon is the monthly Sew&Tell meeting. I have the Hope quilt that Barbara and I are making to work on ... so I'm set for fun.

:) Linda


Autumn Rains

Fall-rain

The past two days have been drizzly and wet, chilly autumn rains. Not cold (yet) - mid 60s - and the rain occasionally heavy (mostly at night). Today there was sunshine for a couple of hours but it had clouded up again by nightfall. Typical fall weather here in eastern Maryland. 

I have been sewing and reading and cooking and sleeping way, way too much. More sighs. Sunday I did not wake up until 3:30 in the afternoon. I'm not sure what time I went to sleep - I was in bed by 12:30 a.m. on Saturday night but my insomnia kept me awake for hours. My husband is a light sleeper so I just lay quietly and listen to my audiobook so I don't wake him up (he had to work on Monday morning).

I was particularly annoyed with myself Sunday because of my oversleeping - I missed the Zoom meeting of my Baltimore modern quilt guild. We had a speaker I particularly wanted to hear that meeting - she was talking about her life as a scientist (marine biology) and a quilt maker. Missed out, darn my s.a.d. :P

So, instead I sewed. I've been finding treasures as I clean (it is astonishing how much STUFF I have accumulated in our house over the past twenty years!). I did manage to finish putting together enough of my scrappy 'log cabin' blocks to make a baby quilt sized top:

ScrappyI have many more blocks so I expect to make several of these 'baby' sized tops. I expect to ask my long arm goddess to quilt them as I seem to be in piecing mode right now. I haven't finished setting up my new sewing area, yet, either - no space for spreading out to stitch/quilt as of yet.

I still have items on my 'must do now' list, including another block I owe for this month's Stash Bee. Also I signed up for the White Elephant swap on InstaGram ... we are supposed to make a small quilt that we've had on our 'list' for a while. Here's the design for what I want to make (I finally found it in my graphics folder; I adapted this from the design on a scrub shirt worn by one of my doctor's nurses several years ago):

ScsrubflowerI am torn between using Kaffe Fassett bright prints to make this ... and bright colored wools. Am still pondering so I have this hanging on my design wall, nudging me as I work on other things. :)

I found two treasures Sunday evening as I was looking for something else entirely that are tugging hard to be worked on. First was this folded excerpt from Quilts Down Under magazine, possibly now defunct; we used to carry this periodical from Australia in my shop.

JapaneseApparently I pulled this out of an issue; it was wrapped around a bundle of 100 four inch squares of Japanese fabrics - old fashioned, probably vintage, prints. The kind I cherish. :) Just pulling the squares out and petting them, sorting them out and sewing them into pairs made me happy today. I don't know why I love these so much - some are yarn-dyes/woven, some are printed. I did take photos of a few sets after sewing:

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Pair7I decided to make four patches from these squares. I now have 50 'two-sies'/pairs which will yield 25 four patch blocks when I finish sewing them up (hopefully tomorrow). I will have to dig through my as-yet-hidden stash fabrics to find more Japanese prints to mix with them. I think making my own 'Japanese Four Patch' will take a while. :)

Another treasure I found at the same time was a set of Halloween themed blocks, apparently from an international swap in 2009. I think those will get made into one medium or maybe two small quilts for my grandsons. More about them when I get there.

Buried along with those theme blocks were four lovely printed fabric rectangles I clearly ordered sometime ago. I could not wait with them and started in to make a small hanging for our front door. Here are the four 'vintage' images:

Pumpkin2
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Pumpkin2As you can see, I sewed those up quickly. Will share the whole little piece when I finish quilting it. The images themselves are only 3"x5", so it's a small hanging.

Hope the sun is out tomorrow - I'm a sunny day walker. 

:) Linda


Scrappy Intermission

Leaves
The weather has been lovely and autumnal recently - sunshine, mid60s to 70s in temperature, pleasant. I went for a long-for-me walk on Wednesday and saw that the leaves are just beginning to color and fall in my neighborhood. Today it was gray and overcast and we are supposed to get rain for the next two days. I guess the trees and grass needs watering ... but I find these gray days weary.

I have been working on cutting down my scrap pile here this weekend. Friday during my Zooms with Barbara and Patty I started cutting up the scraps that have collected in my scrap basket (a wicker laundry hamper from years ago) - and clearing up the accumulation of 'things' in the basket at the same time. :) It often serves as the 'landing place' in my sewing room because it sits right beside my machine and in front of my fat quarter drawers.

I rather arbitrarily cut my scraps into 1.5", 2" and 2.5" strips/squares. Anything smaller than a fat eighth goes into the scrap basket, usually. Since I've started board-wrapping my fabrics I've chosen to designate anything that won't wrap once around the board as a scrap ... I was surprised by how much had accumulated in the basket! I don't remember for sure how long it has been since I cleared the scraps - maybe during last winter? Possibly just before the shutdown started but that feels like ancient history as I think back. :P

Anyway, I started clearing away and cutting on Friday. Today I had my Columbia Friends sew-in zoom in the afternoon and I continued sewing the order I had made with my scraps into 'log cabin' or 'courthouse steps' style blocks. I generally make 8" to 10" square blocks this way. I've been making these for about six months and I'm finally beginning to create enough to make a quilt top.

Some time ago I decided to use my scraps to make charity quilts ... and right now I'm debating whether to make smaller ones (40" square or so) to donate to the two child-oriented sites my modern guild supports (Comfort Cases and the reading advocacy center) ... or to make a larger (twin or full) sized bed quilt, possibly to donate to a great-niece or nephew. :) Since I really should quilt these myself (as opposed to spending the money to get them long armed), I will likely choose the smaller object option. :)

I got my mug rug for the Baltimore Modern Guild swap in the mail ... made by Susan Brightman, I think it is very Fall:
MugrugJust right for my cookie and seltzer. :) Very autumnal colors, too.

I am sorting out my books and soon will start in on my patterns - I hope to cut my collection in half, roughly, so I will have room to house it all and might even refer to it from time to time. :) After I offer the librarians of my two guild's the books, I'll list them here so anyone who wants them can (pay the postage and) take them home. :)

Going to rain all day tomorrow - can't go for a walk, so I intend to sew. Oh, and attend the monthly meeting of Baltimore Modern Guild via Zoom. We have a lecturer which I am looking forward to.

:) Linda


New Week

Corvidssm_grandeDid you know that Blue Jays are part of the corvid family? I did not until I found this graphic image - ravens, crows, jays and magpies. Just last week I read an interesting article in Science News - discussing the neurology of Crows. They are extremely intelligent birds and the article included ... "ravens recognize themselves in the mirror and plan for the future. They are also able to put themselves in the position of others, recognize causalities and draw conclusions." Another article mentioned that Corvid and Ape brains reach similar conclusions but have a very different architecture - no one knows how or why they think alike.

This is the time of year many birds are gathering and preparing to migrate to warmer climates for the winter season. I've heard many crow families gathering in our neighborhood this week - I don't know if they migrate but I do know that young crows -  this season's nestlings - stay with their parents and siblings for some time. I hope they are enjoying the beautiful early fall weather we are having as much as I am! Temperatures have been in the low to mid 70s and the skies are blue. 

Not many trees have begun to turn yet as we have not had much true cold. Some trees are day-length moderated in their fall color development so there are a few, here and there, edging into red or yellow. Most are still flourishing and green, though - likely the ones that are temperature moderated for leaf fall. :)

Yesterday, Monday, I managed to get up and attend the monthly Grad Class meeting (via Zoom) for the second month in a row. YEAH me! It was lovely to talk  and listen to the women of Mimi Dietrich's group. :) I spent some time later that afternoon on sewing - I am working on obligations still. I cut out (and today sewed together) four blocks for another bingo quilt project for the modern guild - these are meant for someone else who is constructing a quilt so I have to mail them off tomorrow. Sadly, one of the blocks I made did not meet my standards for good construction so I only had a 75% success rate. :)

The mail has brought me more lovely Delectable Mountain blocks this week:

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Dm1

 

OH, I almost forgot to record ... I took the vote-by-mail ballots for myself, my husband and my son to deposit in the vault box at the Board of Elections office yesterday while Hugh and I were running errands. I have tried to instill in both my children a reverence and respect for voting; I was extremely pleased that my son was eager to cast his. I trust my daughter will, too.

Vote

 

 

One of my favorite blogs to read is Attic 24, written by Lucy who is a true colorist. Recently she posted a graphic image on her site that made me laugh:

No beigeOne of the women in Faithful Circle quilt guild, an art quilter, is very much of the same opinion - I thought of her instantly when I saw this. :) I cannot say I completely agree with the sentiment - I like beige, too. I am equal opportunity color lover. LOL!

 

Tomorrow my friend Barbara and I will make a (zoom) beginning to our charity quilt project to support ovarian cancer research. Looking forward to it!

I remember, about a year ago, thinking that I was not doing enough for charity ... I think I'm getting a handle on that issue at last. 

:) Linda


Weekend Sewing

IminDo you enjoy swap activities? I do, usually. I've been trying to take it easy on swaps this year - only doing what I am sure I can fulfill with timeliness. I did decide to sign up for the Modern Guild's online international swap again this year (didn't do it last year but did the year before:). I don't know if this will be a mini-quilt swap (last time there was a 20" square requirement) or something else. I always learn a lot and manage to do things I might not get to otherwise with swaps. :)

Friday was my sewing together time with Barbara and Patty (via Zoom) and I spent most of it mounting my fat quarters on book boards. I finished mounting the contents of my 'working stash' drawer that afternoon:

DrawerNot sure how many fabric pieces this is (didn't count) ... and some of them are half yards and others are smaller than a fat quarter. I arbitrarily decided that any piece that would not wrap around the board at least once was a scrap (my scrap basket is on the floor right below this drawer so that was an easy toss:). I anticipate mounting more of my prints on boards ... and then we'll see how that works with taking the fabrics out to use and putting them away. Hmmm. So far, so good. :)

Saturday afternoon was my Columbia Friends bee Zoom session. I sewed the borders onto my crazy shadows bingo quilt project ... and pieced/attached the last border to my aboriginal fabrics medallion top. Here are the photos my son helped me take on the back deck later in the afternoon (yes, both tops need to be pressed:)

Crazyentire
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CrazyentireI asked my son, Hugh, if he could see the shadowing effect of my patchwork ... but he could not. He said he thought the blocks looked like little square-ish fish. :)

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AbmedcornerI am pleased with how this worked out ... even though I had to carefully piece the last half of the last border side ... sadly the vendor did not have any more of that print or I'd of bought more. :)

Now I have added 'make backs' and 'schedule long arming' to both quilt projects. :)

I made a heart (comfort) block to send to a sick guild buddy and learned something unpleasant but useful in the process. Here's the block, pre-nasty lesson:

HeartblockI machine appliqued (turned edge) my heart down and then washed the block. Then I signed it with the usual Pigma Micron pen and trimmed it down to 7" square. I decided that I needed to press it before packing it into an envelope and mailing it off. Because it was pretty wrinkled, I gave it a spritz with my favorite 'starch' - Mary Ellen's Best Press - before ironing. Here is the result:

InkrunGasp, cough! Apparently Pigma pen ink is soluble in whatever MEBP has in it. Gag! Now I have to make another heart. Sigh. I've signed blocks with a Pigma pen for years and never seen this before. 

Yet another quilt guild friend had hip surgery recently and I wanted to send her a card...so I got out one of my fabric postcards. I had to finish it (add a papercard backing and bind the thing). Here's the result:

SingCan you see the ribbon around the edge? That is an almost transparent organdy ribbon my friend Barbara gave me (she gives me all her 'too good to trash' little things:). Came in handy for this use! 

Tomorrow I have several things to send off in the mail ... and our votes to deliver to the drop box. Also maybe grocery shopping with Hugh. More adventures of the ordinary (and precious) kind. 

:) Linda


Hello, Autumn

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My friend Barbara shared this with me and I think it is COOL! :) If you click on the picture above, you can go read about the city of Calais in France - long known for its lace making industry - where a large public building has been adorned with a hand painted mural featuring a historical piece of lace. Imagine standing in a public square looking at that! :) There are some photos in the article showing how the chosen artist actually drew the whole thing (imagine the resizing issues!).

The past week has had lots of opportunities for me to sew. I made a list of my outstanding obligations and decided to tackle at least one item quickly. I made a mug rug for the October swap in the Baltimore modern quilt guild. My recipient asked for Halloween ... I don't know whether she reads my blog so, in the interest of preserving her surprise, I share with you this image:

PiecingThis piece is about six by ten inches in size .. and has nine sections to be joined. It was FUN to piece. :) I'll share what the front and back look like after I know she has received it. :) Plan to mail it tomorrow morning.

I received another set of lovely Delectable Mountain blocks, these came from Sashiko in Australia:
SashikosdmI have two more makers to receive blocks from and I will have assembled all the border elements for my EH quilt. I'm eager to get back to work on it. :)

I have also been sewing on the border for my crazy shadow quilt top. Added the borders to my aboriginal quilt and need to assemble the backing to size.

Yesterday evening was the weekly Sip&Sew session with my modern guild buddies. I started in on mounting my 'working' stash fabrics (the ones close to hand that I draw from first when I'm making things:) onto comic book boards. I bought two huge cases of boards several years ago (while my store was still open:) and am FINALLY getting the gumption up to put them into play. Right now I'm working on sorting/mounting my fat quarter collection (currently being held in a chest of drawers left over from my son's childhood bedroom set). I'll take photos tomorrow or the next day when I have light.

I ordered washi tape on Amazon (I don't think it is 'washi' tape as I'm pretty sure it's made of thin plastic as opposed to paper; it has low tack adhesive which is why I wanted to use it). That's what I'm using to attached the fabric ends to the paper board. The comic book boards are acid free paper and came in a 9"x11" size; I'm cutting them in half (to 9"x 5.5") to mount the fqs. Already I'm excited, with only one row of prints done, to be able to quickly thumb through the collection and see them all properly (none of them slumping down into invisible piles:). We'll see how the scheme works out in the long run. :)

Tomorrow I will be zooming with my friends Barbara and Patty. More fabric sorting for me!

:) Linda


Sew Day

Ffd101-2Today was mostly sewing for most of the day. :) As is usual on Friday afternoon, Barbara, Patty and I had our two hours of zoom sewing and chatting together. Barbara and I are about to start on a project together to make a quilt for the ovarian cancer auction at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston. Today she was working on making the back for one of her Bonnie Hunter quilts. She worked up a task list and schedule for our cancer quilt and we'll start on that next month. Patty was working on bordering a newly pieced top she made using a lovely blue and yellow floral print.

I managed to piece a second block for the round robin package I'm working on this month. This one came out more correct than the last one, but still not up to my usual/acceptable standards. So .... I simplified and made an easier block with flying geese units (had to look up the 'Eleanor Burns' fg method online to be sure of the cutting dimensions:). Finally, with the third try, I managed to make an ok block. Whew! Tomorrow I need to take my bundle to the coordinator's house to trade. (sigh of relief)

My mailbox had some pretties in it today, too. More Delectable Mountain blocks came from @moonlightsewing:

FourShe sent me four!! I chose to take an abbreviated photo ... this is going to be one beautiful border! :)

During my evening blog reading, I found a new has-to-be-made quilt design ... and can't wait to start (but will as I want to finish some things anyway!). :) It's called the Falling Leaves quilt, designed by Nancy Page (a 1930's era pseudonym for a newspaper columnist). I am definitely thinking wool with embroidery. 

I've started going through my book piles and ruthlessly sorting out things I want to keep from things to give away (and a little bit of trash). I figure I have to winnow my books down by half - and it's going to be a difficult job because I have to really concentrate on being realistic about what I need for reference and what I will actually make/use. I gave away my first five volumes to Patty this afternoon (after our zoom) .. and now will get in touch with my two guild librarians before going general quilting public. :) More to follow ... at whatever spasmodic rate I can manage.

Tomorrow is another quilt day zoom which I truly look forward to!

:) Linda


Stitching Along

IuToday is my husband's 70+th birthday. :) It has been (as per his request) a very low key day. I did spend some time sewing but had very little to show for it (besides frustration).

I managed to piece the last two spacer sashes for my crazy shadows top yesterday. I ran out of the gray background fabric to use for the final cornerstones so I used some of the red border print for the cornerstones on two (opposite) sides of my top. I have not attached them, yet (did not feel like wrestling with the entire top today).

I thought I would be a little more timely and get the block made for round three of the Faithful Circle guild's round robin project. The first two blocks (from rounds one and two:) were pinwheel-based designs. So I combed through an online block source that is sorted by block size (8" square in this case) and found a design called Americana Charmer that I thought might work. Usually I draft my own patterns but I decided to be lazy and follow the instructions given on the web site. 

Mistake! When I finished making the block, it was completely unsuitable - wonky, the wrong size and no corners matching. I very, very carefully followed the given instructions so I felt pretty discouraged at the results. I took the design back to my desktop computer and started drafting it for myself ... and discovered where the website instructions went astray (I think). I worked out what I expect to be the correct measurements for myself and I"ll try again tomorrow. (fingers crossed!)

I got two more lovely Delectable Mountains blocks in the mailbox today:

MoredmsI am soooo happy with the blocks I'm getting! I am really looking forward to digging out my EH leaves project bin and finishing that top, too. :)

I also got a set of four 'low volume' background prints I ordered a while ago from a sale on Quilt In A Day (Eleanor Burns') website. They went straight into my 'background prints' drawer after I took this photo:

NewlvsI really like having lots of choices for background prints ... and to have a scrappy assortment in every top, if possible.

The weather was lovely today (high 70s temperatures, low humidity, pretty blue skies with puffy clouds:). Hope we have more!

:) Linda


Birthday Week

VP-GRAPHIC-EQUINOX-COMP-v2-1Today is the Autumnal Equinox - that is, the first day of Autumn/Fall. :) This is also Birthday Week in our house. :) Actually, September is Birthday Month is  my extended family. My Dad's (16th), brother Alan's (28th), nephew Hunter (16th), niece Aria (22nd), husband Skip's (23rd) and son Hugh's (24th) birthdays. Also Bilbo/Frodo Baggins (22nd). :) OH, and my nephew Patrick and his wife Tauna's anniversary (also the 23rd). Lotta celebrating going on this month. :)

This past weekend was another All Quilting All the Time three day sew-fest for me. Friday was my weekly Zoom with Barbara and Patty. Saturday was the Columbia Friends (from Baltimore Modern guild) sew-in. Sunday was the monthly Sew&Tell meeting. I worked on the same project at all three meetings - sashing, assembling and bordering my crazy shadows quilt. I took a quick snapshot of the body of my top yesterday. I'm still putting the borders on it ... but here is what the goodies look like as of now:

ShadowMy sewing room is too small for me to get back any distance to look at this. When I finish putting the outer border on it, I'll take it outside on my deck and (hopefully) enjoy the shadow effect - finger's crossed that it works. :)

The finished item will go to the modern guild as a bingo prize quilt ... I still have to buy a backing but I've already got an appointment in late October to get it long arm quilted. I am eager to see it finished and 'live' (I think the quilting stitches bring a top to life:).

Tomorrow and Thursday are birthdays in our house ... so I may not get much sewing done. I have not been able to talk my husband into going anywhere to celebrate his Day, yet. He won't even consider going to walk in a big park or to the botanical gardens. Sigh. We'll see how my son feels for his Day.

:) Linda