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January 2020

Friendly Encounters


I like this circle-of-friends quilt (click on the photo to go read about it and others like it). Yesterday and today have been lived along this theme line. :) Thursday mornings are the regularly scheduled times for meetings of the day group of Faithful Circle Quilters. I managed to wake up in time yesterday to attend (YEAH!). The first meeting of the month is always well attended and yesterday was further filled with members who wanted to buy fabric.

 A group of helping quilters were handling the sale of a very large stash remaining after the passing of a well-known local quilt maker (her husband apparently decided to carefully liquidate her gatherings). I, too, browsed through the boxes and bought a pound of prints ($6 worth) to use in my Town & Country quilt. One of the problems of my being so organizationally challenged is that accessing my stash is problematic. Sigh.

There were also lots of show and tell quilts which was visually exciting. My friend Patty had finished her four block top from this year's Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Frolic. Bonnie specializes in multi-pieced scrappy quilts with fairly small block units. Patty doubled the size of her units and made a nice four block sofa quilt following the mystery. Of course, there were other enticements. :)

Patty and I went to lunch at Boston Market afterwards (I had chicken pot pie) and then on to Michael's. I needed to buy storage/tote bins for my T&C project. JoAnns ETC carries bins but I've pretty much given up looking for them there - since their bankruptcy and reorganization, JoAnns management seems to be following the Business School model of just-in-time-supply. To me, that always ends up with empty shelves and no choices for the consumer. :P I had not been in a Michael's store for several years (Patty suggested it) and was pleased to find a nice collection of various sizes of tote bins. (I bought a medium sized one for my T&C and a small paper-case sized one for the Granny's Garden/Vintage Kitchen project).

Today was my regular Sewing Together with Barbara day. We started with lunch at Ranazul -  new-to-us restaurant in Maple Lawn, south of Columbia. I was blown away by the quality of the food - better than _any_ of the other places Barbara and I have ventured over the past year! At $20 for the lunch, not badly priced, either. I definitely will be going back there (even if I do have to parallel park to attend:). Maple Lawn is a fairly new neighborhood in Fulton, near the Advanced Physics Laboratory. Very tony. Grin.

Since Barbara had determined that we were to start working on T&C today, I had brought my new bin and the fabrics I knew I wanted to use ... along with the patterns for the first round of buildings - the city center - and ideas for real places I might substitute. The quilt has a medallion structure with nested squares of building blocks, ranging from center city to outer countryside. I spend quite a lot of time puttering with what replacements I might make that are more important to me, personally (like including the Owen Brown Community Center, the Teacher Building (previously the headquarters for Rouse Company that designed Columbia), the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Maryland Science Center - both places my family loves to go - and other Baltimore sites like the Shot Tower). It is going to be a challenge to reduce these iconic places to fit inside a 4" square! 

Barbara has been thinking about this quilt since we first collected the patterns in 2016 and had a long list of places from her life that she wants to work in ... and photos she had gathered of them. I think she might have to write an actual novella if she wants to explain them all on the label. :)

We also worked on laying out a set of extra blocks Barbara has, left over from an applique leaf quilt she had just gotten back from her favorite long armer, Maria O'Haver. Another project she worked on with me at my shop on our Thursday evening get-togethers. Here is how we eventually laid them out:


This photo is a bit dark and does not really show how vivid and saturated these Kaffe Fassett prints are - the background print is a mottled soft-colored choice that reads-as-solid-light in this photo, but really isn't. :) I LOVE these blocks - I enjoyed watching Barbara work on them (she used fusible raw edge applique which she hand blanket stitched around with vivid threads) - and I wish I had made it. :) On the big quilt, she used a drop-dead gorgeous print for the border (that I also own some of:) ... and decided to construct this top before she starts thinking about borders. That fabric square in the upper left corner is to make a 36th block.

I had the idea to arrange the blocks in a color wash array with blue across the diagonal. We had lots of fun rearranging the blocks to create this arrangement. My kind of fun, anyway. :)

I do not _have_ to go out this weekend so I'm looking forward to some puttering and maybe some excess stuff sorting. I need to get my sewing area functional!

:) Linda


Food and Fibers


Isn't this a lovely photo? I'd be happily at a beach right now if I could have anything in the universe. :) If you click on the photo, you can go visit a blog post about fibers and fun in Florida. (I'm on an  alliterative roll here:)

After the excitement Saturday of my Featherweight class, I spent a quiet day at home on Sunday. Read, played cards and Stardew Valley, puttered. Monday was the scheduled monthly meeting of the Wool Club at Springwater Designs. I took my crazy tiles embroidery (finished!) and the log cabin mat I finally finished as well to share. Show and share, as always, is my favorite part of any fiber get together. :) Sadly, I fell asleep at home after club and did not make it to my evening meeting of Faithful Circle quilters.

On Tuesday, Hugh and I ran errands and visited the grocery store to buy supplies for our now-weekly Wednesday evening dinner. We had half the beef left from our cooking on Saturday and he decided to make crock pot beef stew with it. It has been so long since my kitchen was cooking-worthy, we have to buy all new basic goods even (flour, sugar, salt, spices, etc).

Hugh has not been feeling well for about a week and this morning I drove him to see his physician for an exam. He spent more time than I expected with her and, I think, was reassured by her thoroughness. We are waiting for some blood test and urinalysis results, but I think it likely that he is correct in assuming all the malaise was associated with his passing yet another kidney stone, poor man.

I decided that our weekly cooking exercises should include a teaching element so I made Hugh do the cooking today and I simply sat on a chair and provided moral support (and occasional explanation of cooking terms). The beef stew he made was delicious! I chose a recipe from an online source which worked well (although we all three decided to leave out the tomato paste in future versions:).

He and I are feeling enthusiastic about our culinary dabbling - I am remembering that cooking can be fun ... and he is adding experience with the medium as well as getting something different/special to eat. I think Skip is just enjoying being a spectator (and eating goodies:). We've already decided that we might make beer-boiled bratwurst and sauerkraut next week ... maybe with a side of German potato salad and cherry pie (a meal right out of his father's heritage:).

Tomorrow is the daytime meeting of Faithful Circle which I am looking forward to attending. More fiber, more fun. Life is otherwise quite uneventful (probably a good thing).

:) Linda

Gray Days


Please forgive me if I sound grumpy while I reconstruct this post for the _third_ time. Grrr. I am clearly in a more clumsy state than usual as I keep losing my in-process typing while searching for links. <Deep Breath>

That, up there, is a class Singer Featherweight sewing machine. If you've been reading my blog for very long, you probably remember that I won a Fwt several years ago that I call Blue (for her custom painted color). Ever since I acquired Blue I've been trying to find a local class on maintenance so I can care for my machine correctly. I even managed to sign up for one a while back (at Jinny Beyer's shop in Falls Church), but it got snowed out. Sigh.

Dawn at Springwater Designs arranged for Kathy The Machine Lady from Pennsylvania to teach such a class and I was a very happy student in it this morning. I highly recommend her class - I feel pretty confident now about cleaning, oiling and maintaining my baby properly. I also respect her business ethics ... and bought some goods from her after class (a really good machine oil mixture with an excellent container, some cute hot pink tweezers to grab stray thread tangles, a walking foot for Blue which has been on my wish list, and a cute little white doily to put under the thread spool). The information in the class was clear and useful - with lots of fun details about the history of the machine for those folks who like to collect (not me!). :)

Most of the days of this past week have been bland with very little of true interest happening chez Schiffer. I am having some digestive troubles associated with taking these heavy antibiotic doses and I'll be glad to be done with the stuff (fingers crossed that it works this time to kill of the stomach bacteria; I have no idea what comes next if it doesn't). I felt really blah on Wednesday and Thursday ... and so missed my guild meeting on Thursday morning (my social outing). Since Monday's evening's guild meeting fell on MLK Day and the church (where we meet) was closed, I was really happy when Friday's session of Stitching Together came around. :)

Barbara and I decided to have lunch at a new-to-us (and probably pretty newly opened, too) restaurant called Indigo which serves Indian (subcontinent) buffet. The food was quite good I thought and I enjoyed our lunch.

The name tickles me, too - I think of indigo fabrics as Japanese since that's where I was first exposed to the use of the historic blue dye ... but there are strong indigo dyeing traditions is India, middle America and Africa, too, that I've read about. Of course, many of my ancestors probably were indigo loving (those 'naked' Celts going into battle wore woad - the native indigo plant of the British Isles - as an infection prevention and probably as personal decoration). 

Side trails ... sorry, my mind jumps around like a cricket. :)

Anyway, our friend Patty came to Barbara's house after lunch to sew, too. She brought along the spool blocks she won at Village Quilters this month - the block of the month design was a single spool of thread with the 'thread' portion of the design made of striped fabric. Patty made 10 blocks for the drawing and won 14 more (if I remember what she told me correctly:) ... and ended up with enough for a decent sized bed quilt. It was fun to lay them out on Barbara's design wall (about 6 by 6 feet) and play with the arrangement. :)

Barbara was sewing foundation patterns for a design by Judy Niemeyer she is making in a class at Jinny Beyer Studio. I forget the name of the design (and don't have the patience at this moment to wade through all of Judy's patterns to find the right photo) - but it will be a spectacular quilt when Barbara is done! I have never learned Judy's methods for doing foundation piecing (although I did have someone teach them at my shop) and it has been interesting learning tidbits as Barbara works. I doubt that I have the necessary patience to tackle such a monumental undertaking. Barbara does, though (her Ladies of the Sea quilt is certainly a major undertaking).

Oh, I almost forgot ... Barbara made an executive decision and declared that she and I will be starting to work on our town and country quilt next Friday. We've been contemplating this project since the pattern came out in 2016 and she just decided to put her foot down. :) I have dithered about what colors to use (I thought about using Japanese taupes a la Yoko Saito as well as the blue backgrounds featured in the original quilt) ... about what exact applique technique to use (I am tending toward wool applique on cotton with hand embroidery, now) ... and just generally being indecisive over the details for several (um, four, I guess) years. 


Push has come to shove with this project and I need to make some decisions. This will be an adventure! I am hoping/planning to work in details of places significant to me - from my childhood, my travels, my parents' farm or my current home - in this quilt. Wish me luck!

:) Linda


Wet and Cold

Friendship quote

The weather was cold and gray yesterday. I made two strategic errors when getting ready to go out - I decided (looking out my bedroom window) that I did not need to wear leggings under my dress (WRONG!) and I left my cane at home. :( The wind had cold jagged teeth and my bare legs were not happy. :P Also felt tippy from the wind which is why I carry the cane. Why do I do things like that to myself??? Sigh.

Most of yesterday was good news - it was Friday and so my friend Barbara and I went out to lunch. Yesterday we visited Urban Plates in Columbia Mall. I had grilled chicken breast with a side of macaroni and cheese (comfort food, you know:) and another side of sweet potato/carrot/curry. The first two ingredients were tasty but the last was way too spicy for my tongue. Should have stuck to something a little quieter. :)

It was windy and chilly standing on Barbara's front 'porch' (it really is a recessed entryway which usually keeps the wind out nicely), waiting for her to come home. Our friend Patty joined us later in the afternoon. I do love stitching with my friends. :) I embroidered the next-to-last wool rectangle on my carry-around project and started on the last one. I decided to embroider my name on the last block (just 'linda') and still am thinking about what to put on each side of it.

Today I had a chance to visit with more friends as it was sew-in day for the Columbia Friends group (from my modern guild). There were four of us at Springwater Designs. Today was the first time I used a sewing machine since November 1st ... that is a long, long time for me. :( I worked on making up a block for the January Stash Bee (hive 4) group:


This photo is more washed out than the colors really are - they are all bright yellow-green prints. I was thinking of the willow leaves in early, early spring - always a lovely yellow green. :) After I pieced this block, I looked at the directions again and realized that I did not assemble my subunits correctly - this is what they were _supposed_ to look like:


Um, the prints were supposed to be together by texture, each in their own quadrant of the block. Oh, well, I will send both blocks to this month's Queen Bee and she can decide where to put them in her quilt. :) Of course, I did not use the same prints in both blocks - why use four when forty will do is my motto. Grin.

The weather today was worse than yesterday but it never developed quite as nasty as the predictions. We had mixed snow, freezing rain, tiny ice pellets and massive gray skies hanging overhead. When I left the shop to come home, my car had little frozen icicles hanging off all around the bottoms of the panels. Brrr!

Tomorrow is the monthly meeting of my Sew&Tell group. I'm looking forward to it - more stitchy friends.

:) Linda

One Word


I think I have mentioned this concept once before ... but I had an epiphany yesterday evening and now I'm going to bring it up again, in a slightly different light. :)

Yesterday (Sunday the 12th) was the scheduled monthly meeting of the Baltimore modern quilt guild. The day was glorious weather-wise: mild (high 60s) temperatures, sunny, gently breezy. Quite pleasant! :) Attendance at the meeting was high (we are all happy to be starting a new year, I think:). Kathy Schwabeland, our program chair, led a rousing meeting that included a session of quilt bingo, getting to know you, and lettering on quilts demos. So. Much. Fun! 

There were four demos by members showing different ways to get text into and onto fabric in quilt making. One - free motion embroidery - I had almost completely forgotten about. I've been so focused on hand embroidery for months, I had forgotten about how much fun free motion writing can be ... it was really good to be reminded. :) Another member shared freezer paper piecing - something I've only watched/read about and never worked with ... now I'm motivated to try it out. :) Foundation piecing of letters I've done many times ... and free piecing, come to that.

One of the things that happened was the sharing of our Baltimore themed quilt, all made with many ways of creating text. I had almost forgotten exactly what I, myself, made for inclusion in that quilt. Was fun to see it all.


This word is Preakness (the annual horse race we host at Pimlico Racetrack). The red and yellow bits are pieced together, not a striped print. :) I learned that lettering can be hard to read if it is too busy when I made this.



I wanted to be sure that the history of quilt making in Baltimore was represented in our very modern quilt, too, so I did Baltimore Album Quilts in reverse applique, with free motion stitching at the edges to make it 'modern'. I learned to do reverse applique (with invisible hand turned edges) in classes with Mimi Dietrich, I think. :)


This black-eyed susan blossom is about 4 or 5 inches square. I pieced it by free hand rotary cutting each half petal. That was liberating and satisfying - I want to try doing more of that! :)


These leaves were also free hand rotary cut. So much fun! I think this panel is about 6" wide by maybe 14" long.

I also helped assemble all the bits and pieces into the finished quilt top. That was a job. :)

Anyway, our meeting was invigorating and exciting. This year is the 10th anniversary of the guild which started as a small meeting held in my shop - I remember when Heather Kojan and Deb Kleiner came in to talk to me and I invited them to start the guild and meet at Seminole Sampler. I was excited then and I'm still excited about the group. :)

It felt rather odd to be an ordinary member of the guild yesterday, though ... I've been some kind of officer for many years. :) I made a point to get  up and walk around to talk to as many folks as I could at the meeting - that is what I used to do back in my 'traditional' guild leadership days BS (before store:) and it has worked out well for me. ;)

When I got home last night, I was playing solitaire and thinking about the One Word challenge for the BMQG ... I have been pondering what word would be good for me to focus on during this new year. I toyed with the idea of Structure - because I feel a real need right now to make my life more orderly ... and with the word Focus, because that is a perennial need for me. :) 


Last night it occurred to me that my word really needs to be IKIGAI - (e-key-gah-e) - why do you get up in the morning? What is important to you? What _is_ important to me? Family .... friends ... creating/making stuff. Start/finish. :) I think this is the antidote to my melancholy - going to try it out, anyway. 

:) Linda

Geometric Pattern Play


I like this tessellating pattern (I think it looks like forks though it could be the pitchfork or digging-in-the-garden kind rather than eating tools:). I generally cut my scraps into 1.5" and 2.5" wide strips or squares which I think could make this design pretty well. This quilt was posted on the wall of the classroom where the Jinny Beyer club meets - today was the scheduled monthly gathering at her shop in Great Falls, VA. 

I have not been able to attend club for several months so it was a pleasant occasion today. As usual, I went down with my friend Barbara (who always drives). We had lunch beforehand at the Bollywood Bistro - an Indian (subcontinent) buffet - which was new to me. I got a kick out of the Bollywood video playing on the bar television at the back of the restaurant while we ate. If you've never watched a show in that genre, be prepared for some over-the-top dancing, singing and costuming. I think it looks like fun though I will admit that I am not a devotee. :)

I don't know a lot about Indian food though I've eaten it a number of times (in restaurants) - I like what I have but don't ask me to identify it without a key; like sushi/sashimi, I just eat it and enjoy. I'm not required to know what the exact ingredients really are. :)

Show and tell is always a fun part of Club meeting and there was plenty of that today. Here is Barbara, sharing one of the two quilts she brought along:

Barbara blues

No, I took nothing for show and tell - haven't made anything of note in almost three months now. Sigh.

I will only share two of the 'general' member quilts - I liked this design and would like to make a version of my own.

Dianes shooting stars

Diane made a 'shooting star' quilt from scraps (I forget, at this moment, what the proper name of this design really is.


Shooting stars runner

Another club member made this modified version as a table runner. I love the color pop on that very neutral 'muddy' brown-gray background fabric.

Jinny showed a series of quilts she designed, all featuring arrangements of 60 degree diamonds (some divided into smaller diamonds). It was interesting to hear her talk about what inspired each design.

Jinnys blocks

Jinnys pile

Jinnys shading

Shaded diamonds


You might have to look at each of these five quilts carefully to distinguish the unit design - all made with diamond shapes, some of them subdivided into smaller diamonds. Fabric placement really plays a big part in quilt design! :)

On the way home from Jinny's shop we saw yet another commuter flock of Canadian geese across from the Village Center in Great Falls. Surrounded by wildlife (hmm, well, human-tolerating animals) here. 

:) Linda

Friday Fun


Friday was a nice day with some sunshine and mild weather (for winter, in the midAtlantic region:). My friend Barbara B. and I planned to meet for lunch at a new-to-us Mexican restaurant (Cinco de Mayo) near Wegman's Supermarket in Columbia around 11:30 a.m. I had to drive to the pharmacy (Walgreens at Thunder Hill Road) to pick up my handful of antibiotics before that. One the way, I take a 'shortcut' backroad that goes past Blandair Park part of which is still under construction. There are lots of open fields and tree copses at the park and I was startled to see a bluebird shoot up from the verge and fly beside my car for a few yards.

I haven't seen a bluebird for many months but I know they live here - Howard County makes a point of posting bluebird boxes at all the parks and has (or at least used to have) a volunteer group to watch the boxes and try to encourage bluebirds to nest and return to the area.  This bird was a male but not quite as bright a blue as the photo above (taken by a lovely photographer named Jean Noren - click on the photo to go take a look at her work:). Made my morning happier. :)

Lunch was ok but not anything to write home about. :) We went back to Barbara's house afterwards for our Sewing Together day. Barbara had a pile of quilts recently returned by her long-armer that she wanted to choose bindings for ... and a great design wall to hang each one up so we could audition her choices. She likes striped bindings and has an extensive fabric collection to choose from. I did not count how many but I felt like six or seven quilts we viewed, choosing binding prints and often coordinating colors for narrow flanges inside the binding. Since I love color play, I found the whole exercise gratifying. And, as usual, I learn things doing the choosing - how finishing a quilt edge can frame a pattern layout, how the pattern motion of the quilt design can influence the color/scale/design of the binding fabrics ... fun! :)

I took my Modern Crazy Quilt along to embroider some more - and remembered to take some photos. I will do a proper staging when it is finished, quilted and bound ... but here are parts of it, as of now.


This green rectangle was one that I sewed today - I think the flowers look a bit like bittersweet. Autumnal. :)

Buttons 1

Years ago I learned to do Shisha embroidery ... and decided to use some pretty buttons a friend gave me to do something similar on this blue rectangle.

Buttons 2 Blue fans

Some more button embellishments, from the same friend's give-away.

Back whole

The front of my embroidery is reasonably tidy ... but the back is pretty chaotic (I'm not a person to care if the back is pretty, too; it's going to be against the batting when I finish this piece:). Bright and happy, imho.

I forgot to mention that Barbara's neighborhood has a very large flock (actually an accumulation of flocks) of 'commuter' geese - Canadian geese that travel around the area, grazing on farmer's fields after harvest (C.geese are herbivores and eat new grass/weed growth). They were visiting a big field at the foot of Murray Hill on early Friday afternoon when I saw them. :) Here in the midAtlantic region, about half the Canadian geese migrate into this area and the other half never leave since we have pretty mild weather patterns. I enjoy hearing the sounds a really big flock of geese make while working across a field together (very like a gaggle of people chatting in a restaurant:).

I was happy to get some work done on my embroidery (there are only three small rectangles left to finish) and to play with Barbara's pretty colors. Great day for textile love.

:) Linda


No, this is not a mythical creature or something from a D&D or video game or even an anime movie. This is a picture of Heliobacter pyloria fairly common bacteria that causes - among other things - stomach ulcers. :P I think I mentioned that way back in September or October my gastroenterologist discovered that I had an infection of H. pylori ... and that I was on antibiotics to kill it.

Today I saw the doctor for my follow up breath test - and, as I suspected, the stuff is still flourishing in the lining of my poor stomach. I've probably had this infection most of my life as I had real troubles with my stomach when I was in high school. :P Since I'm allergic to one of the two antibiotics used to treat this stuff, my doctor has prescribed a much heavier dose of what I took before, for a longer period of time, and boosted by two other drugs. I am not looking forward to keeping track of the two weeks worth of meds I have to take now (starting tomorrow) - some four times a day, some twice. Good  luck not-so-good-at-details me. :)

Today was pretty sunny and not too cold. I enjoy my outing to the doctor's office despite the bad news. Treated myself to lunch from the deli in the same building ... and ate it at Dockside, looking at Lake Elkhorn in the sunshine. Pretty! :)

Other than that, I've had a lazy day. Could not wake up in time this morning so missed the Thursday guild meeting. (sigh) Starting to really twitch from sewing withdrawal - gotta get my sewing area back to functional!

:) Linda



At dawn closeup

This is a photo of my At Dawn shawl in progress - showing the colors pretty well, even if not well in focus. (sigh) I've been knitting every evening while I watch 'tv' (streaming tv shows on my desktop computer). I'm finally down to the last color section so I might get it finished sometime this week. :)

The weather caught me by surprise (sort of) today - we had our first real snowfall of the winter, starting around 2 p.m. with cold rain, progressing pretty quickly to heavy wet snow. Hugh and I were out grocery shopping (buying the fixings for our Wednesday dinner for the week - last week we had a very nice corned beef, red cabbage and new potatoes:). The forecast was calling for snow but I was highly skeptical - it has been in the 40's this week and I really did not think it was cold enough to stick. Hah! What do _I_ know? :) I'm looking forward to seeing how it all looks tomorrow morning.

I went out earlier today with my student, Sylvia, to visit the Normandy Sew & Vac store. She is planning a baby quilt for her newest great-grandchild (a nice color study from City Quilts). I have not been to the shop for several months - I was excited to see that they have expanded their inventory yet again - had a very nice selection of solid colored fabrics along the front wall of the shop. Since Sylvia wants to do a tonal in solids, it was exactly what we wanted. We chose and were finished in record time. :)

I came home, ate lunch and then went out again with Hugh to shop.By the time he and I were finished, the snow was starting to accumulate on our front yard. I had filled the bird feeders when I got home earlier which was a good thing for the little feathered fluffs. I think they will need all the energy-rich nutrition they can get.

I read a great post earlier in the week by Sharon Boggs at Pintangle about why 'wobbly stitches are ok' - agrees with my personal philosophy of making:

In an era where we are time poor to make a thing is more about the philosophy of the maker than anything else. Even if you just say to yourself “there is nothing ‘deep’ about what I make I just enjoy the making”. Or you might say “I just enjoy the process!” That is a choice. You have decided to spend time making something rather than gazing at a screen, or doing something else. You have given yourself permission to learn a skill and in my opinion develop your creativity. No matter if you stitch simply to relax or you enjoy the process or you embrace the whole slow stitching/mindful movement, no matter how you frame it, the thing you make is human. It reflects your human creativity. That is a good thing in the world. So in my book… wobbly stitches are OK!

I've never been the kind of maker who strives for machine-like perfection for exactly that reason - despite that I have to fight my own personal perfection demons, I want my work to show _my_ hand. :)

Yesterday was an excellent day to enjoy the company of makers. The monthly meeting of Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class was at Bear's Paw yesterday and we saw a lot of beautiful quilts. Some of they were museum quality, jaw-dropping applique work. :) Then I got another dose of maker happiness in the evening with the first Monday evening meeting of Faithful Circle quilters - an all-quilting-all-day kind of time. :)

:) Linda



These flamingos have that 'Who, Me?' look on their faces (imho) made famous by Alfred E. Newman. :) I was thinking about flocking birds when I titled this post (more about why in a minute) and went to do a search ... what I got were zillions of images about flocking nails, walls, etc - you know, that soft fuzzy stuff they used to put on what I think of as 'fancy house wallpaper' back in the 70s. Live and learn, eh? LOL!

Why was I thinking about flocking birds? Most of this post will be about my pleasures both yesterday and today with sewing with friends ... when I came down the stairs this afternoon (waking up very much later than even my usual), I spotted a large-ish flock of small birds at my feeder. Mixed together were cardinals (at least two pairs), little song sparrows (or at least _some_ kind of LBJ - little brown job - birds:), and house finches. They were mobbing my feeder (which has, as a consequence, very little seed left):


The dim quality of this photo is mostly due to the misty rain going on outside and the extremely overcast sky. Of course, whenever the birds flock to the feeder, so do the small tree mammals:

I am one of the (probably) unusual people who feed birds in that I actually like squirrels - as long as they aren't chewing apart my feeders. :) I always make sure to scatter seed on the ground under the hanging feeders for the squirrels - and the ground browsing birds. :)

Yesterday was the first scheduled meeting of Faithful Circle Quilters for the new year/decade. The attendance was high - and it was a first-of-the-month charity quilt assembly meeting. As always, show and tell was wonderful. I sat and visited with guild acquaintances and knitted on my At Dawn scarf. I absolutely LOVE the buzz of many voices working together - I think it is an energizing and happy sound. :)

Today (after sleeping way, way too long), I went to Springwater Designs to visit with my friends Barbara and Polly and to shop. The two of them were working on their Ladies of the Sea projects. Polly was slogging through making umpty small purple grapes to applique onto one bit of the border applique ... and Barbara was stitching the embroidery onto a floral applique block from Jo's Floral Album. She was struggling with her border corners for the ship quilt (a mariner's compass design) which I will likely help her with a bit more next Friday. There were two other ladies sewing when I got there, too, but I (typically) forget their names.

I got energized roaming around the shop and found several goodies I had to bring home with me. I also signed up to take a class on making fabric collages in February. There were several choices of pattern to use for the class so I bought this one:


I am picturing this as the center medallion in a Halloween quilt - with my Poison Bottle appliques all around it. :) I have been buying Laura Heine patterns for a while but never attempted making one ... I figured taking a class would short-circuit my learning process and give me the benefit of the teacher's mistakes. :) I'm looking forward to the class though it isn't until late February.

I also bought a panel print that I think will make a good beginning for a quilt for my little brother, Kevin. With luck, I will get it finished by our birthday in November.

:) Linda