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September 2019

Quiet Life


I saw this on a blog today and burst right out laughing. :) Oh, yes, I do have that much patience. I never thought of it as a combat asset. LOL! If you click on the picture, you can go look at all the funnies at the Subversive Cross Stitch site (warning: language may offend:).

This weekend was fairly quiet here Chez Schiffer. I went out once - yesterday - to get my prescriptions from Walgreens. Told you it was quiet. :) I did some housework, some reading (I've read three books this weekend), and some sewing. OH, and some pattern drafting on the computer.

I have been a Mac user since sometime in the summer of 1984 or '85, I think (memory fades). My husband took me to a work colleague's house to try out his new Apple computer (a very early Macintosh). I was hooked as soon as I played with MacDraw and could draft quilt blocks in less than twenty minutes of play. Have never looked back. :)

I've used a lot of software over the years ... when I was writing my books, the program I used let me draft in an object-oriented, vector style environment like I was accustomed to using ... and still could translate the files into whatever format the publisher needed. Now I'm using something called EasyDraw that is way, way more powerful than I need ... but works fine and could translate all the files I had from my book writing days. 

Anyway, I drafted  up the templates for the pattern I'll be teaching in my hand piecing class. I think I am going to make my block smaller ... but my students can choose whether they want 6" or 12" blocks. Something so _cute_ about small patchwork bits, eh? :)

I _thought_ I would start piecing that block once I had done the drafting ... but I got sidetracked with making another book block. I own this pattern and have actually thought about making an entire quilt of books:


The text fabric says things like 'the adventure begins' and 'don't fear change' ... seemed like a good combination with thoughts on travel. :) By the time I finished piecing that, I was done sewing for the evening.

One fun thing did happen as I sewed - I got to wind a new bobbin. Hardly seems reasonable to think of that chore as FUN but it is when I'm using Blue, my Featherweight. :) The bobbin winder is very old fashioned (well, heck, she was made in 1947 - she's older than me!) ... and it reminds me of the sewing I did in childhood on my Mom's elderly Singer. Here's the hand-held, finger-guided bobbin winder array:


The small wheel is on a hinge that lets it move out of the way of the flywheel when you are sewing ... and then swing the assembly down to touch the flywheel to turn the winder, holding it in place with finger pressure, to wind the bobbins. That screw-adjusting vertical meter you see is the stitch length regulator. :) A fun machine to use!

Tomorrow I have some errands to run ... and Wool Club at Springwater Designs ... and the evening meeting of Faithful Circle. Somewhere in there I have to choose my fabrics for the hand piecing and get started. Busy, busy!

:) Linda


Some Old Time Magic


I think this hits the nail right on the head! :) I spent some time this afternoon looking at two really old quilt tops ... and thinking about how much I'd like to meet the maker(s). :)

Today was a lovely day, weather-wise - mid to high 70s in temperature, nice breeze, fairly low humidity. It is beginning to feel like fall is coming - there are a few colored leaves falling and it's nippy at night and in the early morning (according to my sweetheart who leaves for work around 5 a.m.; no way am I awake to sample the air at that time of day!:).

Fridays are my Sewing Together time with my friend Barbara (and Patty, too, today). We had lunch at the Asean Bistro today again - I enjoyed their XO Scallops (yummy, with broccoli and XO sauce) and had some batter fried eggplant that was actually pretty good (I am not much of an eggplant fan, culinary-wise; I love the _color_ aubergine:). 

The driveways are getting resurfaced/finished in Barbara's neighborhood so she picked me up today and drove us around (no place for me to park easily at her house). On our way to her house after lunch, we took a detour to visit the JoAnn's ETC in Columbia Crossing shopping center. They recently revamped the entire store, rearranged the floor plan and restocked the shelves. It was pretty nice - very clean and bright with dedicated centers for garment/quilt fabrics, seasonal decorating, cooking/baking, scrapbooking, jewelry making, yarn, etc. I will be curious to see how they use the 'studio' space which looks like a good place to make stuff ... and the cutting area is much improved, too. 

I'm not a huge fan of what an old neighbor of mine used to call 'Brand X Fabric Stores.' Still, for many folks - and for garment makers - JoAnn's is almost the only game in town now. Sigh.

Once we got to Barbara's house, I had a chance to look really up close and personal at two beautiful quilt tops B had borrowed from our friend (and quilt collector) Polly Mello. I quite liked both of them - Barbara was working on drafting off the patterns as she wants to do her own version of the Pinwheel one, especially. I am wary of pinwheel quilts - I usually find them fairly boring - but this one had real character! :)

Here are some photos (some from Barbara, some from me):

Quilt medallion

Quilt medallion whole

An up close and a whole cloth photo of the medallion quilt. I am very fond of the medallion format for quilts - the fabrics in this one looked to be from maybe 1830s to 1870 ... I'm not an expert or an appraiser, so that's just a guess. The prints in this were lovely. You can click on any picture to embiggen it and look at the cloth. :)



Quilt pinwheel

This pinwheel quilt looked to me like someone had been making half square triangles over the course of years - likely a young girl turned young woman? She decided to put them all together into one pinwheel quilt. If you look carefully, you can see she did not hesitate to cut off points, squish in blocks, and disrupt any orderly pattern. The top lays flat and even (surprise!) anyway. :) Again the fabrics are lovely.

Q pinwheel b

Maybe my glasses can give you a sense of scale with these blocks - some of those HSTs are pretty little. :) Can you see the brown-y print with roses on it near the lower hinge of my glasses? I'd like to have some of that print for my own stash. :)

Q pinwheel b
Q pinwheel b
Q pinwheel b

I could not help but wonder what the person (most likely a woman) who made these two tops (well, they _look_ like the same person made them; have no idea whether that is true:) was like ... I love her free-spirited make-it-work approach. :)

I took my modern embroidery piece to work on again. I am beginning to be eager to finish this piece of hand work. I am actually thinking I'd like to make a tiled scrap quilt - maybe with 'grout' between each shape? 

Fun day! Skip and I went out to dinner tonight together ... I so enjoy spending time with him and we do so little of it. Distinct pleasure. 

:) Linda

Equinox and Beyond


What is an equinox? What does the Autumnal Equinox really mean? If you click on the photo above, you can go read about the matter. :)

It does not look like that nice picture above here in my neighborhood, yet. We are in the stage of late summer - and likely will be for at least another month. Maryland is a sub-tropical region, remember? :) I, personally, LOVE fall - not the least because that's when my birthday is, too.

My husband turned 73 this past Monday ... and my son became a 35 year old on Tuesday. September is a big birthday month here. My father's birthday was September 16th (my great-nephew, Hunter, has that date now:) ... and my deceased brother, Alan's, birthday was September 28th. Probably others I'm not thinking about ... oh, yes, my great-nephew Isaiah and my great-niece Aria have September birthdays, too. Happy month! :)

September is the month of going-back-to-school for kids (my kids and I always looked forward to summer vacation and doing lots of fun things ... AND to school starting again with more regular schedules:). My grandchildren are too young for that outlook still (at 4 1/2 and 1 1/2 years of age:).

Monday I spent some time in Catonsville at the office of America's Health Care at Home, getting a new breathing machine for my sleep apnea. I have been on an auto-CPAP for several years. When I started to have my issues with shortness of breath last winter/spring, my pulmonologist decided that I needed a new type of machine. He ordered a new sleep study and a BiPAP - it has fixed settings for air pressure. One for inhale and a lower one for exhale (so my lungs don't have to work quite so hard). I am still adjusting to the change this week ... I _think_ I am getting better rest already, though, based on my sleep study.

I have moaned here before about how much I seen to sleep (sigh). Well, no wonder! According to my sleep test, I get ZERO REM sleep - that means I do not have the dreaming, deep sleep state that you need for real refreshment. That has changed already - I woke up this morning in the middle of a real dream. Huh. I just thought I was not remembering my dreams - apparently I haven't been having them at all. :P With luck and some practice on my part with waking up discipline, the new machine will fix that! 

We had quiet birthday days here, too. We all passed around some kind of low-level stomach bug early this week. :P All better now but it was relatively unpleasant while it lasted.

I did manage to design the next block for my Faithful Circle monthly block drawing. I thought about doing fall leaves (there are oodles of good leaf patchwork designs) ... or pumpkins ... but settled on doing an Indian Corn pattern. Here is my test block:


This is a 6" x 12" (finished) pattern. I"m happy with the way it came out ... I hope it isn't too difficult for our members. I think it will make a cool quilt. :)

Other than that, I have been going to doctor's appointments (mostly routine) and reading this week. My Bernina is still at the spa ... so I set up my Featherweight to sew the block above. :) I had to make a nice stack of books in the table insert space to get my FW to sew correctly. No surprise there, eh?

Tomorrow I'm going to lunch with my friend Barbara and I need to choose a hand work project for working on while we sew together in the afternoon.

:) Linda






This is not my evening for posting - that huge grinding sound you just heard was my teeth gnashing as I lost my finished-but-not-yet-saved post. Grr! Ahem ... starting over ...

This has been a quiet weekend for me with some pleasant highlights. Saturday from 11 until about 4 p.m. I visited with my modern quilt making buddies in the Columbia Bee of the Baltimore guild. We  met at Janet's house (we usually meet in a public venue - JoAnn's ETC, Springwater Designs, etc.) - so this was new. Janet was a great hostess and I enjoyed myself. Besides Janet and me, Pat, Rose and Phyllis came to work on current projects. I took my 'modern crazy quilt' embroidery along as I am not doing much by machine at the moment - my 'sewjo' is on temporary vacation (this happens from time to time; I have learned to be patient with the process).

Janet was working to piece a charity baby quilt, Rose was quilting a charity quilt top for a teen she had rescued from donations to the guild, Pat forgot some of her project at home but did some cutting and visiting. Phyllis came just as I was leaving so I just got to say hello and wave. :) I really enjoy seeing what everyone else is working on ... at least as much as I enjoy my own project. :) My embroidery is down to the last five or six blocks needing to be finished so I am beginning to think about how I will finish it ... border or not? if bordered, pieced or not? hand or machine quilting? etc. :)

At one point, after she finished piecing the baby quilt top, Janet brought out a length of blue linen she wants to use as her background for a new project ... and set to ironing it. Did you know kitchen counters are exactly the right height for cutting and ironing fabric? :) Anyway, we started talking about how flax is grown, harvested, processed and woven to make linen fabric. I found a YouTube video to show all the steps - pay attention to how many people are involved - there's a reason linen fabric costs so much. :)


As I was browsing through the videos, I found one that refers to a textile tradition I know nothing about - rust painting and block printing on hemp, done traditionally in a small area of Italy. Fascinating!


I tend to do research in true Brownian motion pathways ... never know what I will find. :)

I also found a useful article while blog reading earlier this week. Here is a useful tutorial about how to commit triage on your accumulated UFOs. :) After 40+ years of quilt making, my usual method is to forget I ever started them. It makes deep cleaning my quilting stuff a _real_ adventure and treasure hunt. :)

Tomorrow is my beloved's 73rd birthday ... and the day after is my son's 35th. My 'baby!' Sigh. There will be quiet dinners out for family  - we are a low key bunch hereabouts. :)





It has been an odd weekend, til now. I spent almost all of Friday in bed ... I slept until 3 p.m. A new 'low' for me. :(  Having gotten such a late start to my day, I did nothing even remotely productive with the remainder. Sigh.

Today has been a bit different at least. I was _supposed_ to go to the monthly meeting of Jinny Beyer Club with my friend Barbara ... but I decided to try to do what I should have done yesterday (Friday) instead. And I did manage to accomplish some of it.

Hugh and I loaded the dead microwave into our Bolt and drove it to the recycling center at Alpha Ridge Landfill near Marriottsville. That was a major chore that has been delayed for way too long (months). Being Saturday, the center was busy, busy with a lot of people unloading stuff into the various bins (cardboard, styrofoam, cans/bottles, metal, refridgerators, a/c units ... and so on). We also dumped the huge box the new microwave came in (which required picking out the eight huge staples, too, so they could go into the mixed metals bin) ... along with the styrofoam and cardboard padding inside. Whew!

The weather was very cloudy today but much cooler - low 70's. Probably the cooler weather encouraged even more folks than usual to do recycling and hauling chores - hard to work when it is brutally hot and humid. :P

After we got home, I sorted through the mail (I only bring our snail mail in once a week, so sorting and disposing of it takes time) ... then I started sewing. I made two blocks for the Book quilt I will be making for the Baltimore modern guild's bingo. It will be a major prize quilt - every year we've had a quilt bingo, I've chaired making one of the prize quilts. I enjoy designing and who can turn down help with making the blocks? :)

I must like 'books' as a theme because I found several different patterns in my archives. Here is the standard one we are asking guild members to make (designed and used with permission by Kate Basti): 


If you look at my book too closely, it might make you dizzy. :) I did not look carefully enough at the paper pattern when I was piecing it - the spine print should run  perpendicular to the book, not to the cover. sigh. I like the fabrics I used - would love to have a book that looks like this. :)

I have at least two other patterns I want to make a few of for inclusion in the quilt (or at least consideration - haven't designed the quilt, yet, just keeping options open:) ... here is one of them:


This one is called Open Book and is free, by Kristi at Quiet Play. I put a cat into my math/physics text - it's Schrodinger's Cat. :)

I have two other book patterns and will be making a few of those for possible use in the quilt ... more details as they get made. :) I am also thinking of making at least one applique block with a reader icon

Other than that, I mostly spent quiet time reading today. I have found Benedict Jacka's work and am on the fourth book in his Alex Verus series. Good stories and thought provoking (as escapist literature goes:) - what would the world be like if you could really do some kind of magic? Shades of Harry Dresden. :)

Tomorrow is the monthly meeting of my Sew&Tell group. I"m looking forward to it ... though at this minute, I cannot decide what to take to work on.

:) Linda

Another Gap


Yesterday I took my prairie braid quilt top (and a backing:) to be quilted by my friend, former employee and professional long-arm quilter, Daria Phair. My friend Barbara came along with me - she gave Daria SEVEN small quilts to be finished. Whew! She has been a busy maker, fer shure. :) My quilt is destined to be donated to Village Quilters guild to use as a prize in their next quilt bingo this October. I think all of the quilts Barbara took are intended for charity, too.

While I've been working on the braid quilt, I have kept everything else on the back burner (so to speak:). Now I need to catch up. The block you see in the picture above is for donation to the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. The guild will be holding their own quilt bingo in October of next year (2020 - already!). Daniela (the guild's VP) is making a Wonky Houses prize quilt which, hopefully, will include this block. I got the pattern for what I am calling my Baltimore Row Houses here. This is clearly a block of homes in the Little Bohemia section of the city. LOL!

I also need to work on blocks for my own Book quilt for the modern bingo ... and some bee blocks ... and likely a dozen other things I'm forgetting at the moment. Sad smile.

I've done any number of things over the past week ... and eaten lunch with friends several times ... and read bunches of books (I'm a very fast reader - I can finish the average paperback in an afternoon). Time rushes past me like a river (just like the proverb) and I bob along the current. 

Today I woke up with a violent headache (allergies?) and had to cancel my planned lunch get together with Sylvia (a private student).  Sigh. By afternoon the pain was gone but I was pretty lethargic for the rest of the day. I hope I have more 'go' tomorrow - Faithful Circle is meeting in the morning and I have an appointment with the allergist in the afternoon.

:) Linda

Monday, Monday


Remember that song? :) Catchy refrain, too.

Today has been quiet, even for us. Lazy blog reading, streaming a batch of very old NICS episodes (gosh, it creeps up on me how much things have changed; the early 00's don't seem that long ago but it _has_ been almost 20 years:), general idling about. :) No sewing, yet (the afternoon is not even half over:).

I saw the carpet above when I was out and about earlier this weekend (CarMax?). I think it would make an interesting quilt pattern (likely already has been made into one:). I am picturing it in saturated colors with black or dark gray banding along the 'seam' lines - like stained glass. Maybe with some ombre coloring thrown in?

I also got a pic of this nice bush (Friday?) as I went to lunch one day:



Late summer issue of your basic bush rose - sturdy plants, drought and pollution resistant. I like the star pattern made by the sepals after the flower petals have all fallen. Nature is full of five pointed star designs if you look for them. :)

Apropos of nothing in particular, I read this earlier this week in one of my science digests:

     ... "The survey suggests that across animals, carnivory is most common,

     including 63% of species. Another 32% are herbivorous,

     while humans belong to a small minority, just 3%,

     of omnivorous animals." ...

The study was a huge one, all about the evolution of various energy intake modes and how one might develop from another. I was startled how few species are omnivorous. People, dogs, bears ... what else? Some birds ... I am also surprised that as many as 63% of species can 'make a living' as carnivores - must be many, many more herbivores to support all those meat eaters! 

Where my mind wanders off to when it is not occupied with daily stuff. Grin and shrug.

Guess I'd better get my ashes in gear and go sew for a while!

:) Linda