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December 2018

Sewing Sunday


This awesome 'twisty Dresden' design is  FREE pattern available here. (Spoiler Alert: this is a foundation pieced pattern) I think this is one awesome design - thanks to Sally's blog entry for today for clueing me in!

I spent most of today sewing diligently on my scrap strings project - as part of Moda's StringAlong. :) I made one final block today using two different prints from my scrap pile in a half square triangle shape (to go with the previously made blocks). THEN I  got to play with design. :)

I scribbled in my graph paper notebook for a bit - counted how many of which kind of blocks I had made, reviewed the quilt photo that inspired me ... and came up with a 5 x 5 block arrangement that I like.

After that, it was sewing, sewing into rows and bits. By the time I got tired, I had sewed rows 1, 2, and 3 (counting down from the top), then rows 5 and 6 got assembled and sewn to one another. Whew! I did not take any photos 'cause there wasn't much of interest but a pile of stuff to share. Hopefully I can finish sewing together the entire big square tomorrow and take pics.

I got a call from my brother Jeff's nurse this evening - he has another chest infection and is pretty weak. Got him on antibiotics. Poor man.

:) Linda

Weekend Work


Have you ever heard of the Society for Creative Anachronism? If you click on the photo, you can go read a reporter's 'take' on the group. :) If you end up thinking it's all about fighting, that was (almost certainly) his take on the subject. I've known a number of people in the organization (national level) ... and read a fair number of blogs ... and been interested in the idea of working within historical confines ... but never joined. :) In my younger (pre-child) days when I might have been more inclined to participate, I spent my time in role playing games (I'm the first woman to ever buy a set of D&D rules:). Shrug.

Today was sunny and not too cold (mid-40s). I spent it almost entirely sewing. Well, with one break for action. When I went to nuke my lunch burrito, nothing happened to it - after 1 minute in our 1100 watt microwave, it was still stone cold. Hmm. With a little experimentation, it was clear pretty quickly that the guts of the appliance were dead. :P 

Since we cannot operate a kitchen without a microwave, Hugh and I went out to the local Home Depot to buy a new one (I was being nice to my husband since usually I delegate such chores to him:). I'm not sure how old the one that just died really was - ten years? more? Things have certainly changed since then. Prices, of course, but even more so seems to be the kind of microwave available.

We had a counter top unit - our kitchen is not suitable for an over-the-range-in-the-fan style microwave. Apparently that is the more desirable kind these days (well, according to the clerk at Home Depot who helped us). They had ONE comparable microwave in the store - and ONE unit of that type. Sigh. I bought it (was pretty cheap, by my standards, and I did not feel like exploring the other area stores). If it fails to work, I can return it.

Skip and Hugh took care of removing the old one and putting in the new. It seems to be working fine, so far. Hugh and I will have to schedule a trip to the recycling center this week to 'dump' the old one.

Otherwise, it was a Nothing But Sewing day. :) When I quit sewing yesterday, I had made four 8.5" squares with half green/half neutral strings. The first thing I did today was to make four neutral HSTs and sew them onto the green ones to make four more finished squares. Then I sorted out what was left of my 1.5" wide strings and went to sewing in sets of four (don't know why I chose four, just did:).

Here's what I made, using the scraps I had:



The one above is not as sorted by value as I thought it would be, looking at the pile of scraps.


Had a whole bunch of that gray yardage.


By the time I made these, I had pretty much used up all my 1.5" wide strings. I cut the tiny few that were left up into 1.5" squares and put them on my big-ish pile of those. I think I will be making four or nine patches out of those squares.

What I had remaining in my 'prepared' scraps (those that have been trimmed into suitable sizes) were 2.5" wide 'neutral' strips. A big pile of those. When I started thinking about how many blocks to make for a reasonable quilt top, I decided on 25 blocks to be set 5 x 5 to yield about a 40" square quilt. I had already made twelve squares, leaving 13 to be sewn. So, I went to sewing white/cream squares like this one:


I won't bore you with all of them, this one is a fair sample. I managed to get 8 blocks made with the strips I had on hand. By that time I had been sewing pretty steadily for four hours and I was tired. :) I stopped for the day (with a gently aching back) and will reconvene tomorrow. There are five more blocks to be made. I _might_ be able to get one more like the neutral one above. After that, I probably will have to cut one-fabric squares to fill the spaces.

Eager to get to the block arranging stage which I love. I have a number of 3" wide foundation papers left over from my squares ... I am thinking I might make a border using them. I'll have to dig into my scrap basket and cut more bits if I want to do that, so I might not. Depends how much work I feel willing to do for the project tomorrow.

:) Linda

Indoors Day


This is a paper cut - made from a single sheet of paper - in the Japanese tradition of kirie, made by Masayo Fukuda. I think it is one of the most exquisite things I've ever seen. :) If you click on the photo, you can read the article about the piece and follow a link to see more of her work.

Today was rainy and chilly. Very, very gray. I looked out my back window this morning and saw that even more of our yard is surrounded by water. Way back when we bought this house (Jan, 1987), they told us there was a drainage easement around our yard ... boy this year it has gotten to be almost a stream! Normal rainfall in this area is about 42 inches. This year we have had at least 56 (years not over, quite:). I'm surprised it isn't higher than that! 

I did go out for  a few minutes today. Because of the holiday Tuesday, our usual trash collection on Friday morning slid to Saturday ... so I took out the one bag I gathered and rolled our bin to the curb. None of us had any ambition to go out in the morning at o-dark-thirty to put it out (the collectors usually come before 7 a.m.). Whew! :)

Other than that, and with a few breaks to eat and read a bit, I spent today sewing. First I made my second Sunrise Bargello block:


This is more like my 'usual' style. :)

Then, late this afternoon, I rented a movie from iTunes (Jurassic Park: Fallen World) and sat down with my strings and scraps to join in with Moda's String-along. I had an entire bag (sandwich sized ziplock) crammed full of 1.5" strips from the last time I cut up my scraps ... and the leftovers from my 2.5" strips ... and some random bits extra. :) Since I do not like removing paper, I decided to use some of the sheets of Ricky Tim's Stable Stuff I bought recently to make my foundations. The sheets I have are 8.5"x11" so I folded them into 8.5" squares, trimmed off the extra 3" at the end, and then cut the squares on the diagonal to make half square triangles.

The reason for that is this quilt:

String quilt design

I found this one Pintrest. I could not follow any links to find out who made this quilt - do you know? I find the layout really eye catching. I am hoping the color palette isn't what is drawing me in (at least for my string work today, not going to be this muted:). Anyway, this is string HSTs with neutrals for the other half triangle. So ...

I started sewing. Now, I've been sewing for a LONG time ... and you'd think I would not have to learn lessons over and over again. Sigh. When I looked at the triangles I thought to myself that it did not matter where I started so I took stock of my strips (which were mostly short) and decided to start at the point end of the triangles. Big mistake!

As soon as I placed my second strip and sewed it and then flipped it open, I said 'oh, crap!' to myself because - wait for it! - the strip wasn't long enough to cover the space. Well, of course not! I started sewing the second strip on at the beginning of the previous strip (as one does) but I wanted to cover a longer area of the triangle (increasing in length since I started at the narrowest point). :P I was too stubborn to rip off and start at the other end, but I did pay attention and allowed length before I began each strip so the space got covered. (shaking my head over stupidity) Next time, I'll start at the hypotenuse end of the triangle!

I made four triangles about 8.5" on each straight (non-hypotenuse) side with just my green strips:


I still had plenty of stuff for sewing (and the movie was less than half over:) so I cut some more foundations. This time it occurred to me that I had quite a sizable pile of light colored ('low volume') neutral strips ... and I had thought, when I was sewing up the green triangles above, that I'd piece some matching pale triangles. When I went to cut the second set of four foundations, I realized that I should cut squares and skip the sewing-together-triangles step. :) Sloooow brain, but getting to the point. Grin.

So, during the second half of my movie (which, thank goodness, I had seen once before;), I sewed four squares like this:


Huh! I just noticed that I sewed a pale strip on the tip of my blue triangle on this block. Gotta go back and fix _that_. :) Got lots more strips to sew up.

I'm planning to make another reading quilt for the Head Start kids with this project. Scraps are good for sharing, right? :)

This string-along came at a good time for me - I needed a break from sewing those high-powered Sunshine Stars, beautiful as they are. ;)

:) Linda

Happy Anniversary To US


At 2 p.m. today (well, a few minutes past - gotta allow aisle walking time, I guess:) my husband, Skip, and I have been married for 43 years. Wow! Somehow the number makes it seem way longer than my subjective looking back thoughts. :)

We went out to dinner this evening at House of India, a new-to-us place in our neighborhood. Well established restaurant, though (14 years says their website) ... and the food was good. :) I had Chicken Kashmiri with Garlic Naan ... and a pint of Taj Mahal lager. Skip had Chicken Biryani. Sooo delicious. :)

After we got home, I sat down and sewed up a block of Sunrise Bargello:


This is the block I submitted for the December block of the month drawing for Faithful Circle ... I'll make another one tomorrow in solids (I was pleased to be able to make this one in about an hour, from choosing fabrics to the final pressing of the block). I figured one block finished without sewing my beer-addled fingers was a win. :)

I've been watching classes on Bluprint and am thinking of offering a brief review of each one I choose if there is any interest here?

:) Linda



End of Year Reckoning


I do not know where this bridge is located in the world - or whether it was never finished or maybe destroyed at some point. I thought it was a good metaphor for Unfinished Projects. ;) Personally, I like this quote with respect to UFOs:


This is all preparatory to talking about my end of year accounting of my quilting projects for 2018 (I have not attempted to number or identify my knitting projects, yet:).

I must have sewed some things because I emptied four spools of thread this year (that I recorded): 

a. Two 1000 meter spools of Aurifil 50 wt

b. Two 100 meter spools of Aurifiil 50 wt.


I made and donated the following for charity this year:

a. Nine kid’s hats from fleece given to East Baltimore Head Start

b. String Pieced Star 'baby quilt' for EB Head Start reading program

c. 14 blocks for four different BMQG prize quilts

d. Teal 20"x20" miniquilt swap to benefit Ovarian Cancer Research

e. Two 18” pillows for BMQG bingo - one scattered nine patch, one stained glass braid

I have the following in progress, intended for charity donations:

a. Sunshine Stars in progress for VQ bingo

b. Haphazard scrap quilt in progress for EB Head Start


I completed the following group or swap projects this year:

a. 'Plus' 20"x20" miniquilt swap on Instagram

b. One Flying Geese patchwork zip pouch for DCModern Quilt Guild swap

c. 4 designs and multiple blocks for each of Block of the Month for Faithful Circle Quilters (to date)

d. One hand applique block for special gift with Grad Class

e. One Hour Basket for swap with Lancaster Modern Quilt Guild


I made and gave the following gifts this year:

a. 2 Pea Pod zip pouches

b. My brother Jeff’s quilt - double bed sized

c. Elephant baby quilt and tag blanket for Theo

d. Reversible Japanese style aprons for Eva and Alan (two aprons)

e. Twin bed quilt for Otto (in progress but nearly complete)

f. Anita’s Arrowhead blocks - 36 (in progress) for gift sofa quilt

g. 12 cork zip wallets

h. Sun hat each for Otto and Theo

i. Sock raccoon for Theo


I finished the following for use in our household:

a. Flower Sugar Stepping Stones queen size (we are sleeping under it now)

b. & c. Two large pillows for my husband (one with blue stars on cream; one with orange flower stars) for his office chairs

d. Summer 2018 temperature quilt (out at the long armer)

e. Thread Keeper for Blue’s sewing kit

f. Zip pouch for my bead loom;

g. snap pouch for holding some knitting;

h. butterfly zip pouch for a swap extra;

i. zip pouch for wrapping a fat quarter swap 

j. One Hour Basket for my allergy shot paraphenalia; 

k. Foot Pedal no-slide for my Bernina (should make one for Blue, too)

l. Scrap holding fabric basket


I have the following projects in active progress (meaning I am really working on them - can find them, sew on them frequently):

a. Small format Blue and white/cream patchwork blocks

b. EPP projects (small stars wallhanging; Hexplosion; Millifiore)

c. Bicycle quilt

d. Punch needle cone flowers

e. Poison Bottles quilt

f. Winter 2018-19 temperature quilt

g. Mini mosaics - queen bee; robin; beach house

h. Sashiko/Boro wallhanging with vintage Japanese prints (being hand quilted)

i. Jack’s Chain (blue nine patches) table topper

j. Halloween Mystery (FCQ)

k. Wool applique Xmas trees hanging

l. Guinea Fowl and tree of all seasons wool applique

m. Nature theme wool applique, b.o.m. by Wooly Lady


I have the following projects at hand that need to be made a.s.a.p.:

a. William Morris sofa quilt for Eva (long twin sized)

b. Snowflake themed quilt for me (lap sized?)

c. Blue Stag mixed patchwork/applique quilt for my brother Kevin (twin sized)


I was not idle this year ... but I'm thinking I'd like to do even more for charity during 2019. :) I certainly have plenty of projects in progress to be finished in 2019!


:) Linda

Christmas Eve


This photo collage shows the nine most 'popular' posts I've made to InstaGram this year (that is, the ones with the most 'likes'). For me, it's a good start on a record of what I've managed to make this year. I'll go trolling backward in this year's blog posts later this week and see what else shows up. :) Whenever I get to the end of a year, I feel like I haven't accomplished much during the year ... thought I'd check that out for myself. Grin.

Today was quiet and more gray, weather wise. No rain, at least, and blue skies. :) I did not go outside ... though I should. I am planning to go for a quiet walk tomorrow (assuming no high winds or rain - I have not looked at the weather report:).

I did manage to sew the last blocks that I have prepared for the Sunshine Stars quilt:



Also, I got a small package in the mail delivery with a gift I bought for myself (my husband is not much for shopping - when he _does_ shop for something for me, it tends to be a big gift, like a new computer or my Apple Watch:) ... I tend to buy my own gifts at holidays by ancient agreement between the two of us. Anyway, Melody Johnson of art quilt fame has been experimenting with polymer clay and bead making recently and I bought one of her strings for myself:



I think these beads will go well with my usual wardrobe. :)

;) Linda




Mom's Birthday

Mom hs small

This is my mother's high school graduation picture. She was born on Wednesday, December 23rd, 1931 - during the term of Herbert Hoover. If she had lived, she would be 87 today.

I wish she were here to _be_ 87. :) You would  think that the grief of a loved one's death would ease over the years ... but it hasn't, yet, to any real degree. I don't cry anymore ... but I do miss her. sigh.

Today has been singularly unexciting. Gray, chilly outside ... sad and quiet inside. I did nothing of any value at all today. For no good reason, just hiding out and reading. 

:) Linda

More Sunshine Blocks




I think this is one of the most fascinating art installations I've ever seen! If you click on the first photo, you can go read the article about these works. Sadly, nowhere in the paper does it say how these were made except that it took 50 people and three months - maybe a combination of macrame and crochet? Awesome, imho! Would really like to see this in person. :)

Today was pretty quiet here at home. Gray but not rainy outside. Fairly mild temperatures. I managed to sleep pretty late today (noon or so) ... so I only sewed up three sunshine stars this afternoon:



This one ... this one is my all-time favorite combination! Makes my heart palpitate. :)


Still love this blue ovals background print. :)

I have two more stars prepared for piecing ... then it's back to make the HSTs for the other half (15) stars. I'm excited about this quilt. :)

Other than quilting, doing dishes, reading (finished Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich - which I thought was hilariously funny - and started The Ghostway by Tony Hillerman), and generally goofing off (watching Skip play video games) ... oh, and exchanging holiday goodies with my friend and neighbor Patty Stenpeck. :)

Tomorrow it's back to house clearing and more sewing. Such a tough life!

:) Linda

Getting Over the Grumps


Today is the Winter Solstice - the shortest day/longest night of the year. Happy first day of winter, y'all. :) If you click on the tree (and can stand to sort through the advertisements), you will go to a page that explains many of the traditions/folk tales about the winter solstice. :)

I should try harder to gear up for this day - I always look forward to it. Although the weather will get colder until the spring equinox, the days will be getting longer by a tiny bit with each sunrise from now on. :) Yeah, light!

I did not post here yesterday as I was so incredibly annoyed with myself, I could barely stand to be inside my own skin. Sigh. Yesterday morning was the monthly meeting and annual holiday party of Village Quilters Guild in Catonsville. I was so looking forward to going. I have not been having so much trouble with my sleep schedule lately ... so, of course, yesterday I could not wake up until after noon. Grrr. I had a doctor's appointment at 3 p.m. (a follow up about my neck with the orthopedist) and had made it at his Catonsville office since I knew I'd be in Ellicott City (nearby) earlier. 

Well, I did get to the doctor's office (3 p.m.? no excuse) ... but was so unhappy with myself, I did not go anywhere else. 

I did manage to sew ONE block for the Sunshine Stars quilt yesterday ... and ONE today:



At least that work is going to benefit the Village Quilters (it will be a bingo prize quilt). Sigh.

Other than those two blocks, I did catch up on my temperature blocks today. Also did a bit of housework.

I am debating whether to change my pattern for the temperature blocks or not - I like the woven rail fence I'm using now - it's easy to make and looks nice when constructed. I think I will stick with it as I'm not tired of it. :)

Got lots of house clearing to do before Tuesday.

:) Linda