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May 2020



Today was quite pleasant ... lovely weather, in the mid80s temperature-wise, with fluffy white clouds on a blue sky. We finally turned the house air conditioning on yesterday as it was getting quite stuffy upstairs (despite the two fans we have to circulate the air).

I think I need to get another desktop fan for my sewing room - it was really too warm in there as I was sewing yesterday. :P

Today, being a Saturday, was what has become our regular weekly Zoom along for the Columbia Friends group of the Baltimore modern guild. There were lots of folks there today and it was good to catch up. I have really come to look forward to these meetings. :) I even managed to wake up BEFORE the meeting today so I could visit. LOL.

As I was waking up and waiting for things to start, I sewed together the last pair of book block rows for the bingo quilt:

More rows

Next time I sit to work on this I will join the three pairs-of-rows to make the top. Then it will be on to figuring and making a backing so I can send the project on to the quilter. :) I think this will be a very nice prize quilt (if I do say so myself:).

Since I was not inclined to keep working on the books, I pulled out the 'leaf' English Paper Piecing shapes I bought at Springwater last week and started basting those. I like to glue baste these days, though I have mostly stopped using paper templates (replaced them with stiff stuff that doesn't have to be removed). 

I expect these leaves to become a mini quilt (have 42 template pieces), so removing the papers doesn't feel so overwhelming. :) Here's how I did (first I cut from my scrap basket, then from the Kaffe fabrics I bought at Springwater last week):


You know I like bright, right? :) I have to ponder what kind of background to make for these - I expect it will be 'low volume' as that is what keeps me interested these days. 

Other than my Zoom encounter and this sewing, my only other accomplishment today was to make dinner - a nice quiche:


I thought it looked photography-worthy ... and it tasted great. :) 

I promised my son that I would work on a meal plan/list and our recipe collection this weekend so that will likely be what I work on tomorrow. Whee!

:) Linda



Today I had the pleasure of doing something I have not done for at least ten weeks - I got to walk into my local quilt shop and browse the goods in person! Such a rare pleasure! I feel blessed to even HAVE a nearby shop to visit, truthfully. :)

The backstory? On Saturday (May 23rd), I sat and sewed together three more rows of my ongoing book block quilt top. In the process, I managed to mangle the last sharp blade I owned for my 28mm rotary cutter. Sigh! That put a stop to my sewing and trimming right away. :P

I went online to the website of Springwater Designs which is about a mile and a half (maybe) from my house by road** - I haven't actually measured it exactly. :) If I ordered new blades from their website, I could pick them up in person (curbside) the next time they were open. Which, of course, would be today (Monday, normally, but this past Monday was the Memorial Day holiday here in the US).

Of course, I also ordered some EPP shapes - 2" equilateral triangles and 3" leaf shapes. Just in case I might want to so some handwork. :) Also, as it turned out, my last two block of the month packages for Night Watch (now finished). 

We had uneven weather this holiday weekend - one day warm and sunny, the next warm and rainy, then sunny again. Today it was mid80s and breezy with a pretty blue sky and white fluffy clouds. :) I spent most of it (after wrecking my blade) reading, cooking and piddling about. Also watching my backyard neighbor's children enjoying their new climbing structure and wading pool. :)

In Saturday's mail we got our check from the federal government for economic stimulus ... and I finally got the checks I had ordered for my USAA account. I used some of that money to buy my sister a new iPhone, so had to transfer money (to pay for it) into our local account. Thus, today was a good time to go out and run two errands.

The entire time we have been on shutdown, I've been driving our all-electric car, a Chevrolet Bolt EV, around (I have to turn on my Jeep once a week and move it around a few feet to be sure the poor thing stays ok). My husband, of course, is not using the Bolt for commuting as he usually does. I enjoy driving the Bolt - it handles well and gives me pleasure in not having to think about my carbon footprint or worry about the price of gasoline. :P

Anyway, I went out early this afternoon to deposit my two checks and to visit Springwater Designs - I _thought_ to pick up my order curbside. When I got there, though, the door was unlocked and Dawn told me I could come in and shop in person (masked, of course). Bliss! I bought a fat quarter collection of the newest Kaffe Fassett prints to celebrate (hence the photo above which shows several of them). I also got three fqs from the newest Tim Holtz collection (two of them 'low volume' to replenish my background drawer). 

I was the only customer in the shop while I visited ... and three clerks. So lovely to walk around and see new prints!! The color was a sight for my sore eyes. :) Fun! 

And now I have my new blades. YEAH! I brought my goodies home and swapped out the dull blade for a new one immediately. Tomorrow I will sew again.

:) Linda

**My friend (and neighbor) Patty tells me that, by her odometer, Springwater is 2.3 miles from my house. Now I know! Thanks, Patty. :)

Piling Up


Sometimes I feel like my ideas and memories are a big, jumbled pile of stuff I have to dig through and excavate to find the important things. :) Sort of like a big, jumbled pile of dinosaur bones. Then I can laugh about how unsorted it all is. :)

The past few days have been more-or-less the same as the past ten weeks ... work a little, sew a little, read a little, sleep a lot. Today I managed to start sewing together the book blocks into a quilt top. I tried hard to trim all the blocks to the same size before I pressed them (and checked the size again after pressing). Still, when I started work today I discovered a fair bit of discrepancy in their sizes ... sometimes by as much as an inch. Sigh. I work so hard at it and _think_ I'm being precise and careful ... and it still comes out wrong sometimes. :P

I KNOW the sashing/framing strips I added to each book block were cut the same width. I truly don't know (other than genuine outright error in measurement on my part) where the mistakes crept in. Good thing I have learned to build in a bit of leeway for corrections! I sewed the top two rows of blocks (five books in each row) together ... then constructed two more rows. By the time I had done that, I was tired and hungry for my supper so I stopped.

I estimate that I am about half done with making the top .. and I will finish it this weekend (fingers crossed). Here is a glance at the pile of finished stuff:


The light coming in the window off to the left was from a very overcast sky so the colors of these blocks are a bit yellower than reality. Shrug. Better photos when the top is done, I trust. :)

Likely you can't see it in this picture but I did lay out the blocks sorted by sashing print and then carefully made sure each print appears once every two rows. The numbers really worked out well - I had ten different 'text' prints and enough of each one to sash/frame three book blocks. I want my quilt to be arranged five blocks wide by six blocks long ... so just chose sashing print 1 through five for the first row and 6 through 10 for the second row. Repeat three times, use all  the blocks, assemble the quilt top without much more randomization. 

No, I am not planning to play 'does this book look better here or there' games - you can do that forever! There is such a wonderful assortment of topics, colors and shapes in the thirty book blocks I don't think there is a _wrong_ way to put them together. :) Luckily I know the quilting will be well done and will unify the whole thing. :)

We ordered pizza for dinner tonight, the third time we've eaten 'out' in ten weeks. Much below our usual. I have been enjoying cooking for a surprise and change (yesterday I made quiche for dinner again; two days ago I made taco casserole). Life is full of the unexpected. :)

My daughter and son in law were tested for Covid19 yesterday - luckily they were both negative. Wisconsin is apparently having an high allergen filled spring, much as we have here in MD, and they are both suffering more than usual with respiratory distress. I was glad to hear it, mostly because they have the two little boys to care for ... and parenting contracts do not come with days off for sick leave.

:) Linda

More Zooming


The color for today was purple. :) Hang with me here.

The weather was overcast and a bit cooler today but I did not even notice until hours after I got up. Today was the regularly scheduled monthly meeting for my Sew&Tell circle. Like many other groups, we met by Zoom since getting together in person is still off the table (so to speak:). I _think_ this is the end of week 9 of our shutdown time of isolation and Howard County (where we live) is not able to meet the governor's first stage for recovery opening, yet.

There were 7 of us (eventually) at the meeting and we gabbed for ages. :) We haven't met in person since March(?) so we had lots of time to cover. It was good to catch up on how everyone is doing! 

Unlike yesterday, I did not manage to focus well enough to sew while we chatted. Shrug. Sometimes I can multitask, others not so much. :) I did eat lunch just as we started talking as my stomach was insisting on its due.

I began on my desktop iMac but had to resort to my iPhone pretty quickly. For some reason I don't understand, Zoom was not getting sound from my Mac's microphone correctly. Video was fine but the audio was no-go. Sigh. I moved with my phone into my sewing room for the remainder of the meeting which was a better venue for me, anyway.

After the Zoom, I buckled down and sewed together the next butterfly for my wreath - Purple (hence the purple flower at the beginning of my post:)



I only have one butterfly to go - indigo. I have to dig around in my chaotic stash downstairs to find my indigo prints (I _love_ indigo and have a considerable variety:). I only need small bits for the wings so I might even be able to use charm squares. Fingers crossed - I'd like to get this baby sewn together and quilted and on my gallery wall sometime this month. :) 

I got to chat with my daughter this evening. I love hearing from her ... it brightens my day right up!

:) Linda



It's beautifully mellow weather we are having here in eastern Maryland yesterday and today. Mid80s, sunny to partly cloudy, breezy with lots of happy bird song - perfect for sitting on the deck or walking outdoors. :)

I had to go out to pick up some prescriptions at  Walgreens yesterday so, as long as I was going out and being exposed, I gathered up some other errands to run, too. First I stopped at the post office to buy stamps (from the machine) and mail a letter. Then off to Home Depot to pick up a nice ceramic pot and some soil that I had ordered online - I need to replant the mother-in-laws tongue plant I got from my Grandma years ago. It has needed replanting for a couple of years and I finally got my brain and my fingers together at the same time to prepare. :) Then I stopped at Walgreens for my meds and some soap - the bar soap I wanted (Dove brand) was locked up in a case while all the other soaps set out in plain reach. Had to hunt up an employee to open the case so I could buy my hand soap. Apparently thieves have good taste (or make a profession of selling bar soap?).

The last errand I ran was to stop at Wegmans grocery store to pick up a few items we were unable to find elsewhere. That was an adventure - I'm still not totally familiar with where things are there so it took a bit of hunting to get everything on my list. :) Since it was a bit, ahem, warm, it took me a while after I got  home and put things away to air out. I spent a very happy hour yesterday (and again this afternoon) sitting out on my deck in the shade, enjoying the outdoors. (Happy sighs!)

I even managed to make dinner for the three of us last night - not something I do every day. :)

Today being Saturday, I was happy to attend the weekly Zoom meeting for the Columbia Friends Bee of the Baltimore modern guild. We had a good turn out ... and I managed to sew another butterfly block while I chatted:


I'm pleased with the fabric I found for the  upper wings on this butterfly - nice circles. :)


As you can see, I'm down to the last two butterflies to piece. Yeah! :) So far, so good.

Tomorrow I have another Zoom meeting of quilting buddies to go to (Sew&Tell). Happy, happy. :) I also managed to do some more working on cleaning out the closet of my new sewing room today and got Hugh to help me start shifting some of my crap treasures up there. Much more to do, but it is getting done bit by bit. 

:) Linda

Step 2 Finished


Suppose you want to make a quilt. Step 1 is likely to be choosing a pattern (or designing one:). In my case here, we chose a book block pattern and asked for blocks to be made.

Once you have an assortment of blocks/designs, you decide how to set them together into a surface arrangement (quilt top). I chose sashing each block with separate border prints.

Yesterday and today I finished sewing these sashing borders on the 30 blocks made by guild members. Here are the last ten books - again, this group of makers really worked hard on these cool books!











I am eager to set these blocks together into a top. I even think I have worked out a plan for how to do that. :)

Other than sewing, I've spent the last two days mostly reading and also doing some cleaning. I did take a trip out to Walgreens earlier today to pick up two prescriptions and buy some soap (going through that faster than usual:). Also got some good chocolate - a life necessity in my humble opinion. :) 

The weather was sunny most of yesterday and today, with scattered clouds and breezes. Yesterday was a bit cool but today I went out with short sleeves. I think the temperature was in the mid70s today. Nice, anyway.

:) Linda


Chilly Sunshine


Today was chilly with a high in the mid50s (hard to believe it is the middle of MAY!) ... but sunny with passing clouds. We absolutely needed food so I dragged my poor son out to shop despite his staggering fatigue - he always has a difficult time with the daylength halfway between equinox and solstice in both spring and fall; he can't sleep and is super-hyper, poor man. Anyway, I had no pity on him today as our low supply level was making me cranky. :)

Off we went to buy groceries before either of us had our lunch. Bad timing is sometimes the only timing you have. Sigh. Luckily, we found most of what we needed to buy and made it home in about an hour. There were not many people at the store on a Wednesday afternoon, thankfully. 

Once we had all the goods packed away at home and I had eaten lunch, I went back to sewing sashing onto book blocks for a couple of hours. Here are today's cute books:

Book 5

Book 5

Book 5


Book 2

Book 2


Book 2

I have four more sashing fabrics to use which must represent twelve more book blocks. Then I can start to assemble the top. (fingers crossed:)

Otherwise, I had a quiet day - it was too chilly to sit out on my deck. I did dishes and read some books (two, for today). And played solitaire and Stardew Valley a while.

Tomorrow afternoon I have a teleconference with my lung doctor. That should be interesting, I've never done one of those before. 

:) Linda

Something Different


Hugh and I should have gone grocery shopping today ... but he had only gotten three hours of sleep last night and was, um, groggy. :) So, we ordered food. I tried to order yesterday (for Mother's Day) but there were no delivery people available. Shrug.

I decided to go with a local eatery so we had lunch/dinner from Ledo's Pizza here on Oakland Mills Road. See that picture above - that's the Hawaiian pizza I had for lunch (love it and don't get it often:), an 8" personal one. Yum! I also had a chef's salad for dinner. Hugh and Skip had Ledo's, too (fetuccini alfredo and lasagna). The only 'down' side was that I had to go get it, curbside, myself. Small problem for such good food. :)

I have managed to sew a few more book blocks:

Book 2


Book 2

Book 2


Book 5

Book 5
Book 5

I am enjoying working on this quilt! Each block is such a pleasure. The longer I sew, the more I think I will just allow the books to float on the numbers/letters 'low volume' backgrounds I am sashing each of them with. I _think_ it will make the colors of each book stand out more.

The weather was sunny but chilly today. I didn't wear a coat when I went out for the food but I think I would have wanted a sweater if I were walking.

:) Linda


Pooh and Piglet are braver than I am. :) It was this blustery today - and rainy, on and off - and they went walking anyway. Me, I stayed inside. :) The sun did come out a couple of times but didn't stay out for very long. Chilly, too, especially for May the 9th! We are definitely having a long, cool, protracted spring this year - wonder if that means the heat will come on heavy (when it does come)?

Mostly I sewed today ... and visited with my local quilting friends via Zoom. So nice to see different faces and hear different voices! :)

I decided to set aside my butterfly adventures for a few days to assemble this book block project for the modern guild. I only have to make the flimsy - other guild members will quilt, bind, label and show off the quilt. It is intended to serve as one of the four? five? major prizes for our guild's Quilt Bingo in late September.

People _really_ pulled out the stops (so to speak:) for making these blocks! I will share them in sets as I get them sashed. Here are the first eight. Please take the time to click on the images and look at them - read the 'pages' prints. Sooooo cute! :)

Book 1
Book 1

The title for this book is hand embroidered!
Book 1

This one is, hands down, my personal favorite - loving Halloween

as I do AND being a lapsed laboratory scientist. :)

Book 4
Book 4
Book 4

Book 7
Book 7
Book 7

As I hope you can tell from the photos, I am sewing a second border/sash of 'low volume' prints around each book block. I bought an entire 'jelly roll' a while back from Burkholders Fabrics one day when I was out on a quilting lark with my friends Patty and Barbara. All the fabrics in this roll were 'low volume' text or number prints. Today I counted and found that there were ten different prints with four strips of each in my roll. I was (mentally) dancing a jig - that means three books can be made with one print edging them. I am undecided at this point as to whether I will further sash the blocks after that to separate the books even more. When I first visualized this treatment, I thought I would (maybe with a 'wood' textured print) - now that I can see some of the blocks actually sashed, I am thinking to let them float on the backgrounds. We'll see. :)

Another happy thing that happened today - my Wish fabric order from Blue Bar Quilts came in the mail! I am so pleased with these prints!

Wish fabs

The pink triangle print on the top is canvas - not sure exactly what I will make with it (I am thinking new purse). :) I bought enough of the pink/turquoise stripe to be the backing on my improv plus quilt (pieced early last fall). That is intended to go on the guest bed I plan to put in my  new sewing room. :) The others I bought just because I liked them (including the white 'paper' print with just a corner showing there on the bottom).

Tomorrow, maybe some sunshine? Hugh and I likely will have to go grocery shopping and maybe we will order out for dinner.

:) Linda


Yet More Rain


Today was gray and chilly with rain yet again. Hard to believe, on the basis of weather, that it is actually late spring by the calendar! I suppose the grass and trees and flowers are happy with all this water - certainly it is green enough outdoors - but I am getting a bit weary of the gray, myself. :P

I spent much of today reading and puttering. I did manage to sew a bit - I made the Yellow butterfly for my wreath:



I have sewn 2/3ds of the entire design and I'm pretty happy with the way it is working out. I realized when looking through my 'scraps' basket that I keep pretty small pieces of fabric in my regular stash ... probably because I do a fair bit of foundation piecing which can use pretty small 'scraps.' I don't tend to accumulate scraps like some people do - first because I am slow to create big quilts so I don't generate a volume of leftovers; second because I use small bits of fabric routinely; third because the scraps start calling to be made into something before they grow into a very big pile. :)

I got notice that the yardage I ordered from the Wish collection is on its way to me as I type. I am eager to get those fabrics - they are mostly bright pink and turquoise prints which always make me happy. I could use some happy sewing right now. I am enjoying my progress on the butterfly wreath but foundation piecing gets tedious after a while (and I'm rapidly nearing my tolerance limits on it). I like this design and I do want the resulting quilt so I'm gritting my teeth to last the sewing trials and actually get it finished. Looking at the parts I've made so far encourages me to keep going, too.

We had intended to order dinner for delivery tonight but could not agree on what/where to get it ... so binned that and ate as usual. Maybe tomorrow? 

:) Linda