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February 2019

January 2019

Still Hacking


I've been keeping that proverbial low profile for several days now with very mild improvements in my cold/flu/infection/whatever-I-have. :P Today has been a little better since I finally managed to sleep horizontally last night for the first time in a week. I actually woke up at 9 a.m. this morning - not that I have done anything of import with my day other than eat and rest, cough and nap. :P

I was astonished this afternoon when I got up to take an (ahem) rest break to discover that it was snowing outside! The forecast was calling for rain and high 30's temps. Clearly it was a bit colder than that here in Columbia. :) As I see just now, glancing out my bedroom window, it is still snowing and still accumulating. We just finally got rid of the last snowfall over the weekend. Guess this is a 'real' winter, eh? If you click on the snowy photo, you can go read about the day that it snowed 20" (yes, inches!) in Madison, WI.

I have done _nothing_ fiber related for days -- much too out of things to manage. Unless staring at pretty pictures on the internet counts. Shrug. I did come across another interesting fiber-related newspaper article, featuring another knitted chronology:


If you click on the photo, you can go read the article. This scarf records the time delays encountered by the knitter on her daily commute. Was apparently a bad year for traveling to work! :)

I expect to keep a pretty low profile for the rest of this week, judging by how slowly I am recovering from this whatever. Nasty whatever!



Hack, Gag, Rattle


Yes, this completely represents what I feel like today. :P No, I'm not a smoker but my lungs sound like I've been on a pack-a-day for decades. :P

Yesterday was a fun time. My friend Barbara and I went to Lib's Grill in Maple Lawn for lunch. Barbara had been there once before a while back and was 'jones-ing' for their roasted brussel sprouts. :) I have to say they _were_ delicious! I had a great burger and indifferent fries after the greenery and an incredibly tasty toffee bar bread pudding for desert (and got a lesson on the uses of good whipped cream from Barbara - to cut the sweetness of the pudding:).

After we ate, we struggled through the gray breezy cold to get back to her house and sew. I took along my crazy quilt block to piece. Of course, I pieced it by hand as I did not feel like lugging along Blue on the outing. Here's how it turned out by the late afternoon:


That bit in the middle with the violet flowers on is a piece of a vintage handkerchief. My niece Amy loves violets (and has a birthday coming in April). Shhh! :)  I don't think she reads my blog (fingers crossed that she will love what I make if she does:).

I wanted to use the rest of the hankie to make a border for my block. It was circular and not very symmetric (typical mass-produced item:). The hankie fabric is rather flimsy so I made sure to back it with sturdy cotton to reinforce it (so I can embroider on it without destruction:). I'm not entirely happy with this result:


I am thinking about whether to insert a spacer patch between the side borders and the body of my block to even out the hankie edges. Alternatively, I might applique something at the corners or use an embellishment. Have to think about it.

Right now I have my 'hands' full with just breathing and (ahem) staying dry/fresh. Coughing one's lungs out comes with some unpleasant side effects when you are a post-menopausal woman of my heft. Sigh. Also with staying awake. I did not sleep well last night - about halfway through the night I had to get up and sleep upright in my cosy chair 'cause I could not breathe lying down. :P Good thing we don't have small kids any more - don't think I could cope with anything resembling normal productivity, judging by today.

I plan to keep a low profile tomorrow, too (stay home, stay warm, expect not very much from myself). If I don't feel better by Monday (8 out of 14 doses of antibiotics taken), I will go back to see the doctor again. :P


Thursday Again

Winter wonderland

Our local winter wonderland has dissolved in a heavy series of raindrops - it rained continuously for hours last night until this afternoon (my back property line where the drainage easement runs looks like a river). Mostly gone. Sigh.

I haven't had much to say here this week - I have not been feeling well. :P I finally hauled my ashes to the doctor this afternoon and discovered (no surprise) that I have a pretty nasty infection in my chest/lungs. I even had a chest xray today (my doctor assured me afterwards that I do not have pneumonia, though it certainly _feels_ like it). :P They gave me a prescription for  a heavy duty antibiotic (twice a day for seven days) and for an inhaler (to relax my bronchia and reduce my breathlessness).

I have done a little bit of sewing. I am all caught up on my temperature blocks (except for today's, now that I think of it). It got pretty cold earlier in the week - I crossed right over the purples into the really cold colors (pink and peach:):


I am taking a basic crazy quilting course online (it's a good excuse to stitch:) and just worked up my plan for my block:

Violets plan
Violets plan

The violet patterned print is a small round handkerchief. Tomorrow I plan to sew with my friend Barbara and this is what I'm taking along to sew. :)

I did go to my weekly FCQ meeting this morning - wanted to take the February block of the month I sewed so folks could see what is coming next month (it's a simple string pieced heart - should have taken a photo!). Of course, going out meant that I got really, really wet. :P Naturally I forgot to take my umbrella along. Stupid.

OH, yesterday I got my most recent book order and had a lovely few hours sitting in the comfy chair in my living room to read/flip through them:

Book 2

I love Kaffe Fassett books! The photography is gorgeous and the color dosage is heart lifting. :)

Book 2

I got to see several of these quilts in person at Quilt Odyssey last summer. I particularly like Sand Castles. I guess I'm on a string piecing journey right now? :)

Book 2

This one is interesting. I follow this woman's blog and have been interested in the way she develops block designs. I appreciate people whose brains work so differently from mine. :) I did see a couple designs in this one I'd like to try.

I've also been watching Bluprint a lot ... right now I am remembering how much I enjoy thread painting and free motion lace embroidery. Another squirrel idea coming right up. LOL. When I have more oxygen and energy (usually my oxygen levels are around 99% when the doctor measures them; today they were down at 94%).

So, lumping along. Kind of just existing for the time being, waiting for my body to heal. 

:) Linda

Thursday Fun



I hope you can visualize the video above. It shows the pattern of impacts (real ones, deduced from the crater evidence on the Moon's surface) over time on the Moon's face. I find it fascinating. :)

Today was a gray, heavily overcast, chilly day. Patty and I set out early (for me:) this morning to go to the monthly meeting of Village Quilters in Ellicott City, MD. This meeting had a very full schedule and it was fun! :) There were demos (on the basics of foundation piecing, on machine quilting in a circular pattern and on making great cleaning probes for your machine using bendy straws and pipe cleaner strips) .... the usual freebie table, guild library books to borrow and raffle baskets (three this month) ... show and tell (always the very best part, in my humble opinion:) ... pot luck luncheon ... and, today, a Flea Market by members who had things to sell. 

There were lots of good old books to buy, assorted fabrics, stencils, patterns, stamps, hankies (I bought two) ... I even bought a brand new, never-out-of-the-box Go Baby with case. I decided that I wanted a small, portable die cutter to take around the house/to retreats, etc. I bought one book (a copy of Blanche Young's book with Trip Around The World and Blooming Nine Patch quilts) ... and some rubber stamps (seashells and a winged kitty:). 

The food, as always, was scrumptious ... ate a to-die-for cake pop that was the second most chocolate-y thing I've ever had. Nom! Patty was on clean up duty today so we had a relaxed going away, too. It was very nice to see all the folks I know and rarely see any more (since I closed my store:). 

By the time I took Patty home and dragged myself indoors, I was _tired_ (and stuffed from eating:) so I sat down in a corner of the living room and tried to take a nap (unsuccessfully). Read for a while and sewed two more rows on my Tonga Treat goodie:


I got a nice wool mat in the mail today - I ordered a small one (14" x 24"?) from Quilt In A Day, on sale. I am thinking to put it right beside my sewing machine to use. I did go read about 'good use' tips for it online and found out that one plan I had (to keep it on top of the Omnigrid (?) cutting mat I have in the beside-my-machine spot, now) was a BAD idea. Good thing I checked, eh? :)

Tomorrow is going to be a quiet day. I have nowhere I need to go and it is supposed to be cold and start snowing ... so I think I will go on with my never ending de-cluttering and do some sewing on the side. I'd like to finish piecing the pretty batik goodie above so I can sandwich and quilt it. 

:) Linda


Lotsa Steps


One of the fun things about my Apple Watch (bought by my husband for my birthday present a couple of years ago) is that the face designs can be changed at my whim. I've been using Kaleidoscope for some time (I like watching the colors change:) but I discovered the design above last week. I think it is called Solar - shows the 24 hour cycle of night and day as a curve with horizon line and the current time as the sun position (the one above shows the sun in the morning with noon being the high point of that curve). I guess it amuses me to watch a graphical representation of  my day. :)

Today was busier than I expected it to be ... it was gray skies and there was a cold wind blowing but it wasn't too bad outdoors. When I got up, I decided to go out to get my pharmacy refill (missed in last week's pickup) and drop off some mail ... also to take the plastic bags to the recycling station at the local Giant grocery store. Get gas ... you know, ordinary errands. :) I got lunch while I was out, too (we had almost no food in the house - time for going grocery shopping which my husband does). 

When I got home, after I ate the lunch I picked up, I decided to empty a couple of the bags of 'stuff' sitting around in my living room (honestly, my house looks like a hoarder lives in it) with an eye toward taking some more goodies to the Village Quilter's meeting tomorrow to donate to their raffle baskets. Sorting through stuff sure turns up a lot of things I forgot that I had! Among other things, I found this:


Someone gave me this collection of 5" batik squares (when? who? I can't remember). I've been having trouble getting any energy or enthusiasm for sewing for several weeks ... but these colors really spoke to me today. There was a simple half-square triangle pattern included with these pretty bits so I decided to sew for a while. 

Happy sighs! I really enjoyed the sewing ... BUT ... these squares were obviously not die cut. They varied quite a lot in size and even square-ness ... have no idea how old these are, but I bet the company has changed their processor by now. They surely had a LOT of complaints from customers. ;)

I just sewed HSTs and trimmed them down to 4.5" (they will be 4" squares when finished). I managed to sew two of the proposed six rows of HSTs together before I ran out of steam. More for tomorrow (or Friday).

I noticed as I was working my way through trimming the 40 HST units that my brain was wandering off, thinking about my family and my Mom ... I often find that my mind wanders when my hands are busily doing some rote work - washing dishes, trimming squares, etc. Does yours do that? What do you find yourself thinking about when you work?

Tomorrow Village Quilters is having a FLEA MARKET goodie sale. Patty Stenpeck and I are going together. I'm looking forward to it. :) I walked down to Patty's house this afternoon (many of my neighbors do not believe in shoveling the public sidewalks I noticed) to chat with her and settle on a time to leave (9:30 a.m.).

When my husband got home, we decided to go grocery shopping. Usually he takes my son with him but Hugh was asleep and we really did need food. :) I'm not much help, really, but I am company for him as we do the rounds. He likes to shop at BJ's Warehouse (I think the place reminds him of the Army Commissary where his Dad shopped when Skip was a kid:). I got some more steps in there today, too. 

I started off talking about my Watch to say that I have been counting my steps with it (that's why Skip bought it for me - to encourage me to move around more:). Today I walked a little more than 3000 steps or 1.1 miles. That is a LOT for me. 

:) Linda



The snow was heavy and lining each tree limb like this photo shows it today ... but the sky was brilliant blue. Beautiful, glorious day! :) I decided to go out around 11:30 this morning, mostly as an excuse to soak up some photons. :) Of course, I had to clean off the car a little first - my husband had scraped the windows so he could back it out of his way for going to work ... but I still had to shovel snow off the hood and back deck. I left cleaning the roof off until I came home (in hopes that it would blow off while I was driving:).

I grabbed some fast food lunch and went down to sit (in the car) in the sunshine beside Lake Elkhorn. So pretty! Some people out, walking dogs and/or themselves. :) Bright, shiny, blue skies. :)

I dropped by the post office to send back my Netflix discs and then drove over to Columbia Mall to visit the (fairly new) Barnes & Noble store. I wanted to buy a few more books to send to my grandsons. Did not find any books to send because I got distracted in the toy section. They have a nice selection of toys - legos, duplos, etc. 

When I got home, I carefully took my quilt ladder out of the car (has been in ever since Saturday afternoon as the snow interrupted my carriage. :) I sat it up inside our carport to let it finish out-gassing. Then I shoved the rest of the (now more melted) snow off the car, moved the car into the carport, then shoveled the brushed-off snow from the driveway. The sun was shining down so nicely, everything had melted off the exposed driveway and sidewalk in front of our house.

I also did dishes and took out all the recycling this afternoon (after I sat to breathe for a few minutes from the shoveling - been a long time since I shoved snow around!). I felt so virtuous from all that work (LOL) that I sat in the sunshine coming in the living room window and read for an hour or two (lost track of time).

My life is pretty quiet right now so I thought I'd share a couple of interesting items I found on the Net here.


This is an antique quilt made in England circa 1870 - 80 with borders that should look familiar to any 'modern' quilt maker. You can read more details on The Quilt Show website where I found this photo. We would call this border design 'mosaic' patchwork now - I have no idea whether the maker would have called it  that back then OR whether it was a common pattern or this maker was just very original (or very frugal:). Truly nothing much really new under the sun. :)

I think I mentioned here that I was thinking about Milestone quilt projects after a blog post I read the other day. If you've been here before, you might know that I am currently about halfway through a year-long Temperature Quilt project. I found an article about using yarn to record Events Of Interest ... here is a quote from the article:

In 2015, University of Georgia marine scientist Joan Sheldon decided to translate climate change temperature data into a scarf. She took some climate data and began slowly, crocheting the high temperature for each year from the 1600s to the present using a simple color coding system. She used purple to represent normal temperatures, shades of blue for cooler temperatures, and shades of red for warmer temperatures.

The result was a mostly purple scarf, with occasional pale blue and red stripes, and increasingly dark shades of red on one end. When Sheldon presented the scarf at a scientific conference, she was stunned by the reaction. Even scientists who were familiar with the data wanted to touch the scarf, to find the year they were born. “They never would [do this] with a science graph,” she says. “It approaches you in a different way.”

This is why such projects fascinate me - visual representations of data are so much more intuitive to absorb, so much more tactile. :) Maybe a temperature quilt of the first year of my life ... or one of my children's lives ... or my mother's ... or?

:) Linda



The snow last night has accumulated all day today, too (it's still snowing out, slowly, as I type:). Heavy wet snow that weighs down the bushes and trees. Hugh helped me fill the bird feeders last night so the little birds are flying on and off the feeder happily. I tossed some seed down on the ground, too, this time so the little wrens and ground feeding sparrows are happy. We have a pair of cardinals that come several times a day to the feeders. I still need to get some suet - with the cold, the little bug eating birds need the extra calories.

I spent most of today either sewing or reading. I worked on catching up on my temperature block sewing - I like the colors (purples:) this weather had moved the scale into. Here is yesterday and today's blocks (with white sides to denote the snow):


My photo makes them look wonky but I promise they are straight (though they _could_ use a good press:). 

I enjoyed watching the snow fall and pile up so prettily. I took all the photos above standing on my front stoop looking into the front yard and at our cul-de-sac circle. Skip got the word that Goddard is closed except for a few highly necessary jobs so he gets to stay home tomorrow (although his company makes him take vacation for the time which I think is a crock). I hope to do some decluttering tomorrow (was pretty lazy today).

:) Linda

Saturday Adventures


This is a picture of a Quilt Ladder - at least one design. It leans against the wall in a stable formation and serves to hold folded quilts, afghans, blankets, etc. The first of my two adventures today is making one of these!

Here is a photo (with major thanks to someone else who took this pic!) of some friends working today at Maker Practice in Catonsville. I was there, too, but was too focused (shock!:) to take photos.


My friend Phyllis (right) and her helper is attaching the four rungs between the two long legs of our ladder design. I see Phyllis chose a dark stain for her ladder. I chose Summer Oak, myself. :) My ladder is outside, 'curing' for a couple of days (the smell of the stain is a bit much in the house). After that settles, I will apply a layer or two of clear polyurethane all over it to seal the wood (I do have some experience with that stuff:).

I have no skills in woodworking to speak of - I did know how to use sandpaper to clean up the boards and pliers to remove the stapled on sales tags (from the lumber dealer). I learned how to use a power drill, how to apply stain, and how to mark/attach the rungs between the legs today. I watched Mary saw the bottoms of the long legs to make the angled feet (to keep it steady and leaning against the wall:). I find power saws noisy and intimidating, honestly (don't mind using a hand saw).

The class was from 10 a.m. until about 12:15 p.m. (I had to leave early - info below). That was a complete adventure in learning for me! :) Parking near the store is almost completely on the street - parallel parking. I have issues with my peripheral vision (not to mention my body twist-ability) so I can no longer do that (p. park) ... so drove around back and parked in their back lot on the access/delivery alley. Probably not kind of me ... but what is a woman to do? :)

The reason I left early (class was _supposed_ to go on at least until 12:30 p.m.) was that today was also the monthly meeting of the Jinny Beyer Club in Great Falls, VA. I have missed the last two months so was eager to get there. As usual, my friend Barbara was driving and she wanted to leave her house by 12:45 so we could get there by the meeting start time of 2 p.m. (takes anywhere from 45 minutes to more than an hour to get there by road from her house, depending on traffic, roadwork, etc.).

Show and tell is always the most fun part of club meetings. I took photos today but only of a few of the projects shown - was too busy enjoying to pay attention to taking pictures of them all. :) In no particular order:


One version of this past year's mystery project.


A Labyrinth Walk quilt made for her by her mother.


One of the uses of Nine Patch blocks dreamed up from last year's challenge.


I REALLY liked this top which is an older kitted design from Jinny.


Here is another (older) Nine Patch challenge quilt.


This one was completely pieced by hand using a layout for the challenge Nine Patches that Jinny shared.

Some very inspiring quilts, as always. :) It started snowing while we were in meeting ... and was beginning to accumulate under the trees and in the lower levels of the woods along Georgetown Pike when we left Great Falls and drove back to the Washington Beltway. The snow was 'dry' and in small flakes that were coming down pretty steadily but not hindering visibility or driving. I thought it was pretty and Barbara was glad it wasn't too challenging to drive home through it. :)

I guess I could list the snow falling as my third adventure of the day - I love watching snow fall! Behavior modification from a decade in Wisconsin - when it snowed, the weather usually warmed up. Grin. Snow makes things so lovely and quiet - I think it gives ordinary surroundings almost a magical appearance. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be the monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern guild...we'll see how the weather goes. I guess it all depends on whether the public library where we are scheduled to meet stays open or closes for the weather.

:) Linda

Thursday Twiddling

MM Issue 26 Preview-page-001

There was a bit more quilting in my day today. It's Thursday which means the weekly daytime meeting of my 'traditional' quilt guild, Faithful Circle Quilters. The weather today was sunny and cold - well, the absolute high temperature was supposed to be 36 degrees Fahrenheit but the wind was very gusty (up to 40 mph!) so the perceived temp was much lower. Brrr! Sitting in my car with sunshine coming in the window was pleasant (ditto sitting in my cushy chair in the living room) but open the door and blow away. 

It was fun to go to guild, as always. I try to sit near different people every week so (eventually) I hope to get to know most of the members. :) I took my punch needle project along to work on but I digressed for a while to help Stephanie (our charity quilt queen) sew labels on quilts for the Linus Project. There were some nice quilts for show and tell - including a Blooming Nine Patch. That design  is on my personal bucket list. :)

Usually I go to lunch after guild with friends but today I skipped out on that pleasure and went off to do errands. I needed to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy and drop some mail off at the post office. I hoped to get more done than that ... but failed. I did bring in the mail from our box when I got home (we have cluster mail boxes - it's about 150 yards to our box from my front door and I generally get mail once a week or so). 

One item in my evening mail queue was the new issue of Make Modern (see cover photo above). I've been subscribing to this Australian digital only quilting magazine I _think_ since it first started publishing. It is, hands down, my favorite quilting rag - well, really my 'favorite' is a toss up between Made Modern, Quilting Arts and Quiltmaker. :) Anyway, I just finished a happy hour reading the newest issue, #26, of MM. There are at least two quilt designs in it that I'd like to make (that's a high number, for me:) ... and an article I enjoyed on the idea/process of making a Milestone quilt.

The essayist was marking her milestone as months in her third child's first year of life ... but I am thinking I could just as easily do months in my own life (how about my favorite pattern each month?), or months of block-of-the-month designs I curate, or .... many ideas occur. :) I am still working on the second half of my Temperature Quilt project ... so I won't start another year-long project until that one is complete. Food for thought, however.

I spent most of the rest of my day reading. Did not sew anything. Sigh. I  hope to spend tomorrow working on house clearing with maybe small rest breaks for stitching.

:) Linda

Second Tuesday

Did a little with this tool today, at long last (well, six days without sewing is a long time for me:). Late in the afternoon, I got twitchy and had to sit down to sew _something_ ... could not focus on any of my multitude of projects (when I lose my sewjo, it goes on serious walkabout!) ... so decided to upcycle some stuff.

I've been collecting my tiny sewing scraps to give to an acquaintance who makes pet beds for shelters for some time (several years) ... but I keep forgetting to take them to her, so they've been piling up. Like I had six or seven bags beside my sewing machine.

Back step a moment - on Saturday I picked up my Summer 2019 quilted project from Daria Phair who finished it on her longarm for me. Along with the quilted item itself came the trimmings of batting and backing, so I had some decent yardage on the side, waiting for a use. When I sat down to sew, I grabbed up my backing trimmings and the bags of tiny scraps and went to making pet beds.

The online directions are to make them 12" x 18" so that's what I did. Sewed them up simple pillow style and filled them to fluffy with tiny scraps. I had enough of my backing print to make four pet beds (and empty five scrap bags) before I quit. I still have some scraps left, but I'll have to find some other yardage to make beds with first. :)


Don't know if you can make out all four of them, piled up like that. Never made any of these before so there is a variety of depths of filling. I have an email call for donations to the Paradise CA fire area shelters so that's where I will likely send them (don't know of any local shelters that want donations).

Other than that, I gathered and took out our recycling, picked up some yard trash and bits that escaped from the recycling bin, and did the dishes. What is there about a tidy sink and counter area that makes me feel accomplished? :) 

I spent a little time this evening watching a movie on Netflix and knitting on my Carlotta hat, made with  bulky Noro yarn. It turned out smaller than I expected although it does fit me. :) Have to make the finishing pompom yet so won't photograph it until then. :)