No Thread Day

Yellowfls

Hibiscus

Clematis?

Today was non-sewing day. With errands. First I drove up to Dorsey's Search to drop off my round robin bag and pick up the next round. The neighborhood where I went  has all color-named streets - Scarlet, Blue, Gray, Red. :) It was a cool day today and partially overcast, looked like it might rain (which is typical here; we have more overcast than actual rain). It was pleasant, even so.

After that I had lunch (drive through) and sat in the parking lot at my hair cutter's place (ahem, Salon) reading the newest book (The Clincher by Lisa Preston; interesting view into a world - horse shoeing - I know nothing about). Cara, my stylist (extremely talented woman:) did a nice cut for me as usual. She really, really understands hair (mine is hard to deal with being fine and mostly straight).

As I left the salon, I took a good look at the flowers growing in front of my car. Their parking lot (off street, in the back of the building) backs onto someone's yard. There's a privacy fence so I have so idea what the house looks like. Over the years I have seen some lovely flowers escaping there at the verge - wisteria and snowdrops in the spring. Today I took photos for a change - not sure what much of it is called except for that nice pinky-purple Rose of Sharon. Do you?

I got home around 3 p.m. and promptly fell asleep in my easy chair - I did not sleep very well last night, sadly. I had intended to make quiche for dinner tonight (despite the fact that I talk about it here often, we haven't had any for a couple of weeks:) ... but my good intentions went the way of all things. Sigh.

As I did my occasional brownian walk around the Web this evening, I came across the work of a Japanese artist whose product just boggles my mind:

Leaf-art-lito-leafart-1
Leaf-art-lito-leafart-1

Those tiny pieces of magic are cut from live leaves!! Such delicate work and so perishable. click on either photo to go read about him and see even more beautiful pictures of leaf lace.

Tomorrow I hope to sew quite a bit. Zooming with Barbara and Patty to look forward to.

:) Linda


Last Minute Constructions

Last-minute-quoteIsn't that the truth? At least it is for me, confirmed procrastinator that I am. :) My sole task today was to sew up a patchwork block for the Faithful Circle guild's round robin project. I let the time slip away from me - playing with other squirrels - and realized that I was up against the deadline for the exchange. 

Since the first round block measured 10.5" square, I was instructed to make a same-size accompanying block for round 2. I dithered for several days over what block to choose ... and today I settled on a pattern called Baton Rouge (don't know why it's named that:). I chose fabrics that echo the first block (made by the eventual owner of this project) and made this (the blue fabric in the center is the owner's chosen focus print):

BatonrougePrecision is NOT my middle name (any more) so I was pleased that the whole thing came out nicely flat and comparatively wrinkle free. :) I packaged my block back into the swap sack, as instructed, and have to drop it off at the coordinator's house tomorrow a.m.

I got more pretty blocks from my Stash Bee hive (#4) in the mail:

Dm1
Dm1I have to say that I did actually dance with joy when I opened these ... my little pile of received blocks is getting higher. I am eager to finish up my thistle quilt with these destined-to-be-border blocks! :)

In other news, we have suddenly segued into fallish temperatures here - high 60s to low 70s. Still pretty blue skies. Lucious! :)

Tomorrow will be busy. I have to deliver my round robin block, get my hair cut, and do a bunch of errand chores. I forgot to attend the modern Sip&Sew zoom session tonight (got entangled in some computer work and plain forgot). Annoyed with myself - that hyper-focusing ability is a mixed blessing at best. :P

:) Linda


A Long Quilt Making Weekend

Be you

This weekend was one of those all-quilting-all-the-time series of days. I so enjoy them. :) Friday started the weekend off with the regular zoom meeting between myself and my friends Patty and Barbara. While moving things around in my bedroom last week, I found a lovely treasure from 2005 - a beautiful tin filled with a charm pack of fabric squares from Moda, a collection called Gatherings by Brannock and Patek. I would call it a reproduction fabric collection though I don't think it is Civil War era ... maybe inspired by? :) At any rate, there were the usual 42 pieces of 5" fabric squares in a lovely printed tin, buried under a pile of quilting magazines. :) That's what I worked with during our zoom this week.

I decided (squirrel!) to sew the charms together in the pattern design included with the fabrics in the tin. I have to say that I"m glad I"m a pretty experienced quilt maker as I don't think those instructions were up to Moda's current standards! :) I persevered, though, and here is what I made (do NOT expect excellent precision from this project):

GatheringsThe whole thing turned out to be about 22" square. I think I will quilt it and it can be a wall hanging or table topper (originally the design called for it to be finished into a pillow). :) I bought some nice red Aurifil 50 weight quilting thread today to use in quilting this (more about that adventure below).

Saturday was the modern guild's sew in (from 1 to 3 pm or so). I am soooo enjoying getting to know all the folks who come to these sew ins. Fun! I spent my time continuing to sew sashing onto the Backyard Blossom crazy pieced squares I made earlier last week:

Backyard blossom blocksYou might not be able to resolve this image into individual blocks without enlarging it (just click). I am planning a layout that 'floats' the pieced squares above a 'shadow' of navy blue. At the stage shown above, I have constructed the 'shadow' sash for many squares. Since I started with two charm packs of these fabrics, I have pieced 84 different squares. I chose to set them in a 9x10 block array (the last row has only 3 blocks with empty spaces for the other six). By the time I finished cutting and sewing together all the 'shadows' for those 83 blocks, I felt pretty accomplished. :) It is rare for me to make a block-block-block quilt. I can't think of the last one I made this rather traditional way.

Sunday afternoon was the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern quilt guild, from 1:30 to about 3:30 pm. It was our official 10th anniversary meeting! By zoom, of course, and quite fun - with games, trivia, a sewing room share (by members) and great show and tell (as usual!). :) After both the Saturday and Sunday zooms, I spent several hours sewing the 'between sashing strips on my Blossom blocks. Unfortunately, that used up all the gray background print that I bought for the purpose. :)

Today (Monday) was the scheduled September meeting (again, via Zoom, at 10 am) of Mimi Dietrich's applique grad class. I am really pleased - for the FIRST time since March, I managed to be awake in time to attend. :) It was WONDERFUL to see the folks who came. The members of Grad Class are folks who were almost all good customers in my store and I've known many of them going on twenty years now. Its a rollicking group of women who make growing old look exciting! :)

Today, after my zoom get together,  Hugh and I decided that we had to go grocery shopping ... and I stopped in at Springwater Designs quilt shop quickly on the way to buy more of that gray background fabric. I calculated that I needed 58" of the print to finish my Blossoms quilt. There was EXACTLY that much fabric left in the shop. I will be extremely careful with cutting this stuff!! 

Grocery shopping went pretty well - the weather was glorious today with low temps 70s, fluffy clouds and blue skies. After we hauled it all home and I rested from the effort, I went back to working on sewing sashing. I now have constructed 10 columns with sashings and will start on the horizontal sashing-with-cornerstones making next time I sew (tomorrow?). 

Also this weekend, I got the aboriginal prints I ordered to finish my medallion project (no photos) and some lovely bright yarn dyes I ordered for no other reason than that they were too beautiful to leave in the shop:

Plaids

I am not sure what I will sew with these ... I was thinking about making a quilt design called Plaidish with them (from Kitchen Table Quilting) until I signed up today for a class next month being offered through my Faithful Circle guild. It's called "CHOP IT LIKE IT'S HOT!" with NINA CLOTFELTER. We'll see, I might change my mind. :)

Also in my mailbox this weekend came the first two sets of my Stash Bee blocks for this month:

Dm2
Dm2I am so pleased! These will make a nice border for my leaves/thistle quilt. Can't wait to gather them all in and begin on that!

I also managed to cook twice this weekend - Macaroni and Cheese with Ham on Friday and Calzones on Sunday. Both quite tasty. I am actually pretty surprised how much I am enjoying cooking now - at least in part because my son works in the kitchen with me (everything is more fun with company:).

I still have to find someone to clean our house gutters ... and a way to get my new computer desk chair built. Chores for tomorrow. 

:) Linda


Slight Veer to the Charming

Shutterstock_688093189Thank all those essential workers as you go about your Labor Day festivities! Where would we be without them?? :)

The weather is glorious this weekend - high 70s, low 80s in temperature, relatively dry, blue skies! I intend to enjoy my lunch on the deck at the very least tomorrow. :

I have been sewing on a bit of a make-do job while waiting for the aboriginal fabrics to finish my medallion project. One of the things I received in a recent quilting sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop was two charm packs of prints from the lovely blossoms collection - red, white, blue, aqua and apple green prints with roses, geometrics and chickens. :) Also in that box was a set of freezer paper templates by Lori Holt to make three piece crazy blocks from the charms. 'Course, after making the first set, I did not need those to create the design. :)

This is the best kind of mindless sewing design - no corners to match, the blocks get trimmed to size so no fussy piecing. You literally cannot mess up! :) Here's my stack of 4" (raw edged) blocks, made in about three hours of sewing:

Stack

There are about 45 blocks in that stack. :) That is from one of the two charm packs - the other set is in progress now. Once I get them all sewn and trimmed, I will search out something nice for finishing a top with them. I am considering some kind of 'shadow' setting to show off each fun combination of prints. 

Sometimes I just have to shove fabric under the needle and sew without using too much brain power. The fun in this project comes from choosing sets of three fabric prints that I like together ... and in seeing how pretty they are when finished. :) I expect this will become a donation quilt of some kind, eventually. I even took a photo of the trimmings:

TrimmingsThis is a pretty good sized fabric tote bag I am using to collect the too-small-to-use scraps of fabric that sewing generates. When it is full, the whole thing will go to the recycling bin at the local school (schools get a set fee per pound of fabrics/clothing they collect in the bins and the goods goes to be re-used or re-created into stuffing, etc.). 

We're not planning to travel tomorrow - rarely do on holidays - but I'm looking forward to spending some time outside on the deck, enjoying the nice weather. :) Hard to believe it's September already! This year feels like it has been simultaneously shorter and way, way longer than normal. sigh.

:) Linda


Plodding

T_8181fd2c27ec422e9186721e93d68d18_name_t_334f8647e64a46a68b6c031b1dc7aaac_name_tornado_warning_western_montgomery_county_

The past couple of days have been fairly calm and uneventful (in a regular-life-as-it-is way:). Daily rain deluges, high humidity. The temperatures have gone up and down (from high 70s to low 90s) during the day and skies have been mostly blue-with-fluffy-clouds except for when they have looked like the ones above. Today we had a tornado warning around 4:30 p.m. - this means that conditions are prime for tornado formation in our area.

The skies were indeed heavy and dark with distant thunder and lightning for about a half hour ... then the rain came. By the time rain falls heavily, most of the energy in a looming storm is being spent and the risk of a wind storm falls. I was pleased to see the rain ducks jumping on my back deck I can tell you. :) While we were enduring the warning I made supper tonight (quiche again:). We ate listening to the rain bucket down.

I've been sewing - Wednesday night's Sip&Sew zoom session had low attendance - must be vacation and back to school time, eh? :) I sewed together the last two (top and bottom) 'remember me' extra borders and attached them to the medallion flimsy by the end of my visit with modern sewing buddies. :) I am really pleased with the way the whole thing looks!

I went back to Easy Piecing's website and ordered some aboriginal fabric yardage for the outside border and the backing of my medallion. That will have to rest  until the goodies arrive. :) I am thinking I might send this top out to be long-armed rather than quilting it myself. It will make up into about 63"x70" or so ... so I could possibly quilt it myself. I'd rather go on to sew on some thing else, though. :)

We had a tree trimmer in to cut back the trees and bushes around our house today ... and some landscapers are due to come in next week to heavily prune back the bushes in the front yard. I am still looking for a gutter cleaning person, though. The siding needs to be washed, too, but that will require some finesse. Power washing will not work - it will blow the siding right off our house (at least according to my deck construction boss; I trust his opinion). Sigh.

I might take a break from piecing to quilt the two other flimsies I have made recently - the blue/scrappy comfort quilt and my leafy sprouts top. A little break in routine is a good thing from time to time. :P

:) Linda


Feeders

Bigstock-House-Finch-Carpodacus-mexica-84781025The birds have begun to eat a lot at my feeder again (this is an internet photo; my feeder is squirrel proof:). Feeding fell off for quite a while in the late spring/early summer period. I guess there were many other things to do around the neighborhood (like raise baby birds?:). I enjoy seeing my daily quotient of feathered folk. The ones above are typical for my feeder in a heavily shaded front yard near the street - house finches. 

My friend and neighbor Patty came over on Saturday? Sunday? afternoon and we swapped quilt holding jobs with one another for picture taking. :) She had six or seven (I didn't think to count exactly) tops and quilts she's made during our Covidcation ... I only had the one. :) Here is the current state of my aboriginal fabric medallion project, held up by Patty on my back deck:
AboriginalI am really pleased with my top so far. I particularly love the purple and yellow outer border here (love purple:). I have not decided, yet, whether to make another border all around or to start doing only top and bottom borders to rectangularize the quilt. :)

While I was out on the deck, I took a careful look at my mother-in-laws tongue plant which is summering in the corner near the patio door. My son found a tiny mushroom growing in the pot beside a leaf blade - tells you how damp and hot our summer has been:

MushroomMy apologies for the photo's blurry focus - apparently my phone's camera could not sharpen at this close range. :)

I managed to make dinner twice this weekend - made quiche with sausage on Friday evening and calzones (a new recipe for us) tonight. Both were tasty. :)

The weather has been wet the past few days but cooler (in the 80s) and more pleasant, less humid despite the rain.

:) Linda


Busy?

2014-0211-Josephs-Coat-1
This is a Joseph's Coat rose. It is currently my very most favorite flower. :)  JC is a climber and grows up to 8' tall. Has a nice perfume, too. Living, as I do, in a very humid sometimes very hot climate, I don't grow roses (too many kinds of fungus, mold and insects love them and I don't like to use poisons). If I did grow roses, I'd grow this one. :)

If you click on the photo you can visit the original site of this lovely picture - the blog of a broken china jewelry maker called Vintage Belle. I know nothing about him/her aside from the roses (and other lovely photos on the site:).

Today was pretty busy. I woke up this morning at 7 a.m. (crack of dawn for me!) and got up. I thought I might try to do some work but by 8:30 a.m. I was falling asleep in my computer chair. Sigh. So I caved and went back to bed. Today was my husband's first day back to work (in person, not virtual) and he woke me up when he came home at noon. Since he got to work at 5:30 a.m., that was a pretty good effort for his day. :)

I had several goals for my day today and I actually managed to achieve some of them. Hugh and I set out driving my Jeep (been parked in the carport for weeks; almost did not start) to give it some exercise. First stop was around the corner at my dear friend Patty's house to take her a very late birthday gift.

Patty loves butterflies ... so when I found a lovely quilled card with a monarch on it, I had to buy it for her. Then I found a great folding photo-pamphlet about MidAtlantic butterflies to go with. Here's what I decided to make of them.

Front

This finished wall hanging is about 12" square. The card

fits under four folded square corners of fabric and can be removed.

 

 

Front

This is the back of the wall hanging. Patty loves purple,

hence the color scheme. :) I decided to put a pocket on back

to hold the pamplet so she'd know where to find it when

she wants to ID a flitterby.


Front

This is the wall hanging front without the card inserted.


Front

Here is a close up of the card itself. Can you see the quilled coils of paper? :)

Luckily Patty was home and seemed happy with her gift (her birthday was the middle of July so it was a _really_ late gift). I am slow sometimes but I try to arrive at my goal. :)

Hugh and I did a drive through for a bite of lunch (impossible burgers at The King) and then went grocery shopping at BJ's. I was annoyed that none of the electric carts were working so I had to stump my way around the place, with its hard concrete floors. Energy draining but probably good for me, on the whole. :P

Once we got home, put away the goodies and I cooled off/rested, I did my daily crossword puzzle and then made some supper (spaghetti and meatballs with tomato sauce). I got to reading my book (currently Calculated in Death by JD Robb) and almost forgot to attend the Wednesday night Sip&Sew zoom with my modern buddies. I got there a half hour late but enjoyed the quilt making anyway. 

I am back to sewing the last two rows of 'remember me' border for my aboriginal medallion project. I got my monthly quilt box today from the Fat Quarter Shop and, among other beauties inside, there was a 6" rotating cutting mat! Very timely and handy as my work tonight was mostly trimming units down to size.

Tomorrow I'll go back to working on my to-do list ... and more sewing along with the de-crapifying.

:) Linda


A Moving Thread

Thread and needle

I find this photo charming. If you click on it, you can go read about the pioneer days (westward expansion in the USA) and trading posts. Never know where you will land when you do a web search. :)

Yesterday and today have included some pleasant sewing time. I am working on the next border for my aboriginal fabric medallion project - a block unit I think of as 'remember me' - which comes from a long-ago (in publishing terms; possibly early 1990's?) quilting book. The block is a half square triangle with one of the half squares broken in half again (into quarter squares). Clear as mud, right? :) Here, let me show you:

Remember me

This is one unit. I chose to assemble my border units together this way:

 

My rm border

I've been sewing these for several days, between doing other things. :) I've made two of the four borders so far with the next two in progress. Will share when they get 'real' and sewn onto the body of my top.

I also realized that I have a couple of deadlines looming. One is for the August block of my Stash Bee hive 4 Queen, which I finished today:

Whole berry

Those squares finish 1.5" each - a scale that I rarely sew. My precision is not what it once was ... I had to rip and re-sew the top row four times (once was upside down) before I was happy with it. Grrr. Luckily the recipient is happy with honey bees (did not even think to ask her before I made the block:). Have to mail this off tomorrow.

Another deadline is to decide and draft the block I want to have sewn for me - I am the designated Queen for September. Way back in January when we started, I had no clue how different the world would be when my turn came around!! Today I decided what I want to request .. now to write it up. :)

There are two project blocks I"d like to make for the Baltimore modern group ... and I got my Faithful Circle (FCQ) round robin block to work on today ... life is never dull. :)

Yesterday I made another quiche (it's a once-a-week standard meal here Chez Schiffer) that my husband thought was photo-worthy:

Whole quiche

Sliced

This one happened to be ham with cheddar cheese quiche. Yum! :)

I cooked today, too (taco casserole) but took no pictures - was too busy eating. Chuckle.

Back to the thread mines tomorrow, I'm sure.

Oh, I'm watching a really interesting series on Curiosity Stream called The Story of Wales. My mother's father's family (the Moles) ultimately immigrated from Wales (coal miners) so there is a bit of a personal interest there for me. :)

:) Linda


Slight Detour

7512_Golden-sunflower-in-a-beautiful-summer-day

Today was a beautiful summer day! Low 80s in temperature, blue sky, pleasant breeze - perfect. :) I went outside in the late afternoon (to take our recycling out to the curb for tomorrow's pickup). Otherwise, I spent the day sewing and reading.

Yesterday evening (um, Monday evening) was the Zoom meeting for Faithful Circle's night group. I always enjoy these ... but during the course of the evening, I was reminded that our guild round robin - for which I signed up - is supposed to begin this week. And my starter block with focus fabric(s) have to be in the coordinator's hands by Thursday. EEK! :)

So, I sat down today and finished my Tula Pink EPP block - well, as finished as I decided to make it. Here is a photo:
Hexes

I sewed the next round of the block which made it the correct size for a finished 12" block (the largest allowed for the round robin). I have a nice pile of fabrics from the Wish collection by Carrie Bloomston which includes the cobalt blue print I used as background above. I have a passion for hot pink mixed with cobalt blue ... so I gathered some of those prints and the remainder of my Tula Pink  charm pack and bundled it all together for the round robin. Can't wait to see what gets made with it. :)

Tomorrow will be busy. Drop off my round robin bundle ... go to the grocery store (Wegman's) ... attend day 3 of the five day art journaling class I am watching ... cook dinner ... and go sew with my modern quilt buddies on Zoom in the evening. Happy times, surprisingly.

Oh, if you are interested in seeing what that Quilty Box I got had in it, you can go here and watch an unboxing video.

:) Linda


Mistake Recovery

Fd-training-mistakesToday was more fun than I expected (have been holding my daily expectations pretty low for several months:) ... this afternoon was the (Zoom) regular monthly meeting of my Sew&Tell group. I say 'mine' but I kind of piggy-backed on these folks over the years - the group began as a set of crafters all of whom worked at Social Security (headquarters in Catonsville near my shop). They began meeting in the classroom at my store at some point and I joined them as several of the members were personal friends. :)

I decided to continue working on the EPP project I started yesterday and it's a good thing I did. I discovered that everything I sewed yesterday was WRONG. LOL. Luckily it was easy to fix - and I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how I could be so out in left field. :)

Here's what I made today:

Entire

With sketch

That green strip is the seam allowance ruler I mentioned yesterday - with 1/4" and 3/8" widths. Turns out that English Paper Piecing bits are easier to baste if the seam allowance you cut is 3/8" wide (gives you a skosh more fabric to hold onto and isn't so risky to put the paper template onto evenly). 

You can also see in these two photos that Aboriginal print background I chose to use instead of the plain white called for in the original pattern. It didn't occur to me to try to fussy cut the print so the curved lines would radiate or something ... maybe next time. :)

If you embiggen the second photo, you might notice that I went back to machine sewing the pieces together with a narrow zigzag and invisible thread (Superior's Monopoly) instead of hand sewing. I started today's sewing session by basting and laying out the background print hexies and the tiny bright triangle units. When I put the six of them into position with the center I made yesterday, my eyes sort of crossed and I thought - 'this can't be right!?!' 

Yeah, no kidding. A CAREFUL look at what I had made yesterday vs the design sketch told me I had made the center completely wrong. LOL. Heaven only knows why I couldn't see that yesterday, before I spent my time hand sewing the big triangle papers together. Sooo, out came Jack (as my friend Patty calls her seam ripper) and I took that all apart (and set aside the pieces to use in the outside border, see sketch).

Those little diamond shapes that were _supposed_ to go in the center were MUCH smaller than the big triangles and much fussier to sew together ... but I managed. :) Now I'm off on the correct path (finger crossed that my eyes aren't haywire again:). We all make mistakes and that is a fact!

Tomorrow I will start on the in between units (see sketch).

:) Linda