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August 2020

Feeders

Bigstock-House-Finch-Carpodacus-mexica-84781025The birds have begun to eat a lot at my feeder again (this is an internet photo; my feeder is squirrel proof:). Feeding fell off for quite a while in the late spring/early summer period. I guess there were many other things to do around the neighborhood (like raise baby birds?:). I enjoy seeing my daily quotient of feathered folk. The ones above are typical for my feeder in a heavily shaded front yard near the street - house finches. 

My friend and neighbor Patty came over on Saturday? Sunday? afternoon and we swapped quilt holding jobs with one another for picture taking. :) She had six or seven (I didn't think to count exactly) tops and quilts she's made during our Covidcation ... I only had the one. :) Here is the current state of my aboriginal fabric medallion project, held up by Patty on my back deck:
AboriginalI am really pleased with my top so far. I particularly love the purple and yellow outer border here (love purple:). I have not decided, yet, whether to make another border all around or to start doing only top and bottom borders to rectangularize the quilt. :)

While I was out on the deck, I took a careful look at my mother-in-laws tongue plant which is summering in the corner near the patio door. My son found a tiny mushroom growing in the pot beside a leaf blade - tells you how damp and hot our summer has been:

MushroomMy apologies for the photo's blurry focus - apparently my phone's camera could not sharpen at this close range. :)

I managed to make dinner twice this weekend - made quiche with sausage on Friday evening and calzones (a new recipe for us) tonight. Both were tasty. :)

The weather has been wet the past few days but cooler (in the 80s) and more pleasant, less humid despite the rain.

:) Linda


Busy?

2014-0211-Josephs-Coat-1
This is a Joseph's Coat rose. It is currently my very most favorite flower. :)  JC is a climber and grows up to 8' tall. Has a nice perfume, too. Living, as I do, in a very humid sometimes very hot climate, I don't grow roses (too many kinds of fungus, mold and insects love them and I don't like to use poisons). If I did grow roses, I'd grow this one. :)

If you click on the photo you can visit the original site of this lovely picture - the blog of a broken china jewelry maker called Vintage Belle. I know nothing about him/her aside from the roses (and other lovely photos on the site:).

Today was pretty busy. I woke up this morning at 7 a.m. (crack of dawn for me!) and got up. I thought I might try to do some work but by 8:30 a.m. I was falling asleep in my computer chair. Sigh. So I caved and went back to bed. Today was my husband's first day back to work (in person, not virtual) and he woke me up when he came home at noon. Since he got to work at 5:30 a.m., that was a pretty good effort for his day. :)

I had several goals for my day today and I actually managed to achieve some of them. Hugh and I set out driving my Jeep (been parked in the carport for weeks; almost did not start) to give it some exercise. First stop was around the corner at my dear friend Patty's house to take her a very late birthday gift.

Patty loves butterflies ... so when I found a lovely quilled card with a monarch on it, I had to buy it for her. Then I found a great folding photo-pamphlet about MidAtlantic butterflies to go with. Here's what I decided to make of them.

Front

This finished wall hanging is about 12" square. The card

fits under four folded square corners of fabric and can be removed.

 

 

Front

This is the back of the wall hanging. Patty loves purple,

hence the color scheme. :) I decided to put a pocket on back

to hold the pamplet so she'd know where to find it when

she wants to ID a flitterby.


Front

This is the wall hanging front without the card inserted.


Front

Here is a close up of the card itself. Can you see the quilled coils of paper? :)

Luckily Patty was home and seemed happy with her gift (her birthday was the middle of July so it was a _really_ late gift). I am slow sometimes but I try to arrive at my goal. :)

Hugh and I did a drive through for a bite of lunch (impossible burgers at The King) and then went grocery shopping at BJ's. I was annoyed that none of the electric carts were working so I had to stump my way around the place, with its hard concrete floors. Energy draining but probably good for me, on the whole. :P

Once we got home, put away the goodies and I cooled off/rested, I did my daily crossword puzzle and then made some supper (spaghetti and meatballs with tomato sauce). I got to reading my book (currently Calculated in Death by JD Robb) and almost forgot to attend the Wednesday night Sip&Sew zoom with my modern buddies. I got there a half hour late but enjoyed the quilt making anyway. 

I am back to sewing the last two rows of 'remember me' border for my aboriginal medallion project. I got my monthly quilt box today from the Fat Quarter Shop and, among other beauties inside, there was a 6" rotating cutting mat! Very timely and handy as my work tonight was mostly trimming units down to size.

Tomorrow I'll go back to working on my to-do list ... and more sewing along with the de-crapifying.

:) Linda


A Moving Thread

Thread and needle

I find this photo charming. If you click on it, you can go read about the pioneer days (westward expansion in the USA) and trading posts. Never know where you will land when you do a web search. :)

Yesterday and today have included some pleasant sewing time. I am working on the next border for my aboriginal fabric medallion project - a block unit I think of as 'remember me' - which comes from a long-ago (in publishing terms; possibly early 1990's?) quilting book. The block is a half square triangle with one of the half squares broken in half again (into quarter squares). Clear as mud, right? :) Here, let me show you:

Remember me

This is one unit. I chose to assemble my border units together this way:

 

My rm border

I've been sewing these for several days, between doing other things. :) I've made two of the four borders so far with the next two in progress. Will share when they get 'real' and sewn onto the body of my top.

I also realized that I have a couple of deadlines looming. One is for the August block of my Stash Bee hive 4 Queen, which I finished today:

Whole berry

Those squares finish 1.5" each - a scale that I rarely sew. My precision is not what it once was ... I had to rip and re-sew the top row four times (once was upside down) before I was happy with it. Grrr. Luckily the recipient is happy with honey bees (did not even think to ask her before I made the block:). Have to mail this off tomorrow.

Another deadline is to decide and draft the block I want to have sewn for me - I am the designated Queen for September. Way back in January when we started, I had no clue how different the world would be when my turn came around!! Today I decided what I want to request .. now to write it up. :)

There are two project blocks I"d like to make for the Baltimore modern group ... and I got my Faithful Circle (FCQ) round robin block to work on today ... life is never dull. :)

Yesterday I made another quiche (it's a once-a-week standard meal here Chez Schiffer) that my husband thought was photo-worthy:

Whole quiche

Sliced

This one happened to be ham with cheddar cheese quiche. Yum! :)

I cooked today, too (taco casserole) but took no pictures - was too busy eating. Chuckle.

Back to the thread mines tomorrow, I'm sure.

Oh, I'm watching a really interesting series on Curiosity Stream called The Story of Wales. My mother's father's family (the Moles) ultimately immigrated from Wales (coal miners) so there is a bit of a personal interest there for me. :)

:) Linda


Slight Detour

7512_Golden-sunflower-in-a-beautiful-summer-day

Today was a beautiful summer day! Low 80s in temperature, blue sky, pleasant breeze - perfect. :) I went outside in the late afternoon (to take our recycling out to the curb for tomorrow's pickup). Otherwise, I spent the day sewing and reading.

Yesterday evening (um, Monday evening) was the Zoom meeting for Faithful Circle's night group. I always enjoy these ... but during the course of the evening, I was reminded that our guild round robin - for which I signed up - is supposed to begin this week. And my starter block with focus fabric(s) have to be in the coordinator's hands by Thursday. EEK! :)

So, I sat down today and finished my Tula Pink EPP block - well, as finished as I decided to make it. Here is a photo:
Hexes

I sewed the next round of the block which made it the correct size for a finished 12" block (the largest allowed for the round robin). I have a nice pile of fabrics from the Wish collection by Carrie Bloomston which includes the cobalt blue print I used as background above. I have a passion for hot pink mixed with cobalt blue ... so I gathered some of those prints and the remainder of my Tula Pink  charm pack and bundled it all together for the round robin. Can't wait to see what gets made with it. :)

Tomorrow will be busy. Drop off my round robin bundle ... go to the grocery store (Wegman's) ... attend day 3 of the five day art journaling class I am watching ... cook dinner ... and go sew with my modern quilt buddies on Zoom in the evening. Happy times, surprisingly.

Oh, if you are interested in seeing what that Quilty Box I got had in it, you can go here and watch an unboxing video.

:) Linda


Mistake Recovery

Fd-training-mistakesToday was more fun than I expected (have been holding my daily expectations pretty low for several months:) ... this afternoon was the (Zoom) regular monthly meeting of my Sew&Tell group. I say 'mine' but I kind of piggy-backed on these folks over the years - the group began as a set of crafters all of whom worked at Social Security (headquarters in Catonsville near my shop). They began meeting in the classroom at my store at some point and I joined them as several of the members were personal friends. :)

I decided to continue working on the EPP project I started yesterday and it's a good thing I did. I discovered that everything I sewed yesterday was WRONG. LOL. Luckily it was easy to fix - and I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how I could be so out in left field. :)

Here's what I made today:

Entire

With sketch

That green strip is the seam allowance ruler I mentioned yesterday - with 1/4" and 3/8" widths. Turns out that English Paper Piecing bits are easier to baste if the seam allowance you cut is 3/8" wide (gives you a skosh more fabric to hold onto and isn't so risky to put the paper template onto evenly). 

You can also see in these two photos that Aboriginal print background I chose to use instead of the plain white called for in the original pattern. It didn't occur to me to try to fussy cut the print so the curved lines would radiate or something ... maybe next time. :)

If you embiggen the second photo, you might notice that I went back to machine sewing the pieces together with a narrow zigzag and invisible thread (Superior's Monopoly) instead of hand sewing. I started today's sewing session by basting and laying out the background print hexies and the tiny bright triangle units. When I put the six of them into position with the center I made yesterday, my eyes sort of crossed and I thought - 'this can't be right!?!' 

Yeah, no kidding. A CAREFUL look at what I had made yesterday vs the design sketch told me I had made the center completely wrong. LOL. Heaven only knows why I couldn't see that yesterday, before I spent my time hand sewing the big triangle papers together. Sooo, out came Jack (as my friend Patty calls her seam ripper) and I took that all apart (and set aside the pieces to use in the outside border, see sketch).

Those little diamond shapes that were _supposed_ to go in the center were MUCH smaller than the big triangles and much fussier to sew together ... but I managed. :) Now I'm off on the correct path (finger crossed that my eyes aren't haywire again:). We all make mistakes and that is a fact!

Tomorrow I will start on the in between units (see sketch).

:) Linda


A Beginning

"Cotton is a crop that always brings evil with it -- the rawest,

crudest exploitation, brutalizing anyone & everyone involved in it."

                                                                  — Dorothea Lange

Cotton-production-and-the-story-of-cotton

I love cotton, the fabric - I love its 'hand', the way it takes color with dyes and paints, the way it cuts and creases, the way it feels when pressed or washed or quilted. I have spent most of my life playing with and wearing cotton fabrics. I've never grown or harvested it (not yet, anyway:). I know a bit about the genetics of the species and the work done to create organic and self-colored varieties. I have read (but never experienced, thanks be to God) about the way it was cultivated, harvested, prepared and traded in the past - both here in North America and historically. I think the history and contemporary situation in the cotton industry - with all the ancillary industries based on cotton production and consumption - is complex and filled with contrasting ideas. 

Have you ever seen it growing in the field? If you click on the photo of commercial cotton production shown above, you can go read some interesting facts about cotton (presented by the growers association). When I was a kid in middle and high school, our American history classes included a fair bit of detail about the growing and industrial processing of cotton because of the social structure required to produce it a la southern America. Long and complex history. 

Today I played with some of my favorite positive aspects of using cotton by way of starting on a new handwork project. As usual, my modern buddies had a Zoom meeting this afternoon and I decided to let my medallion project rest while I started something limited in scope and new. I bought the Tula Pink themed Quilty Box offered recently and dug into the included project today.

Along with a charm square (5" squares) set of all the prints in the new TP collection, there was a complete set of the EPP papers for a nicely designed pillow top using those fabrics, a nifty seam allowance cutter for EPP with 1/4" and 3/8" sides, some 50 weight Aurifil thread, a lovely Renaissance ribbon motif of a TP Bernina sewing machine, etc.

I like to glue baste so I dug out my pouch of hand sewing tools (which included a glue stick) and went to town while we chatted on the Zoom meeting. I managed to piece the center of my pillow during the meeting (back sewing is my new experiment):

Tula start

I almost never use the same print in different colors  with each other - but I decided to use them together for this center. As you can see, maybe, from the sketch of the finished design, this will be a sizable pillow when finished. :) I chose a patterned background print instead of the white shown in the sketch - it has small orange and green dots and curving lines. I am eager to see how it works up with the Tula prints - hopefully it will be more interesting than white while still managing to be demure. :)

Other than sew (for three hours!), I did some reading and did manage to cook dinner for us tonight (easy chili) - which was tasty, if I do say so myself. :)

Tomorrow is another Zoom meeting (Sew&Tell) and, with luck, more hand sewing.

:) Linda


Stone Circles

Calanais-standing-stones-couple-beautiful-day

IuI've been sewing with Australian Aboriginal fabric prints (from M&S Textiles) to make my medallion experiments. Ever since the first semester of my undergraduate days I have been fascinated with the various aboriginal cultures of the world. Australia's First People still have cultural ties to the past as do North American native peoples. My own personal ethnic roots ('Celtic' or northern European) are only historical but there are easy-to-see remnants of their works in European standing stones - if you click on the two photos above (stone circles from Scotland, I _think_) you can go read about the basics of remaining standing stone architecture and location. 

How does this relate to my sewing? :) When I sat down on Wednesday afternoon to start working on the next border round for the medallion, I decided to try something larger scale (more like the central patchwork) and simpler in shape. I realized that something like a basketweave or 'piano key' border might work ... but, again, I ran into the issue of dividing 5" evenly. But heck, why be even? Immediately I wanted to do improv cutting ... and, once I had started, I liked the sort of wedge-like shapes I was making. Those led me think about my own ethnic roots and the segue into standing stone shapes was obvious (to me:).

Here's how the whole thing turned out (warning: crummy photo - very filtered light in my sewing room; better pictures will have to wait until I want to photoshoot the finished top:):

Stones border

You might have to embiggen the photo to really get a look at the fact that many of those 'piano key' shapes are wedges. The prints I used were all from a 'yellow' charm square pack I bought from Easy Piecing's website. I'm pretty jazzed about this round. I have not yet decided how wide to keep this border - right now the 'stones' are about 4 34" tall but they are not uniform. For ease of construction, I will likely trim them all to 4.5" wide before I start adding the next bits. :)

Other than my sewing (which I enjoyed), today has been pretty down. I slept late and missed out on my Friday afternoon Zoom get together with my friends Patty and Barbara (well, I got to the front door of Zoom about 20 minutes late, but no one heard me knocking:). I had intended to make chili for supper tonight but I just never got started cooking. sigh.

Maybe tomorrow will be more purposeful. The afternoon starts with a sew-in get together (Zoom, as usual) with my modern guild buddies.

:) Linda

 


On Point

B134tgm

Today was hot, humid and heavy when I went out around 11 a.m. There were black clouds on the horizon and the forecast called for thunderstorms. I had several errands to run and an appointment to keep. 

I had ordered a piece of Halloween fabric from Springwater Designs that I want to use in finishing my Poison Bottles quilt - had to stop and pick that up. Then I had to go through the drive up window at Walgreens to pick up some routine meds and grab some lunch (also via drive-through) on my way to Catonsville. I had an appointment with my manicurist for a facial waxing early this afternoon.

I was a little early by the time I got to the salon so I sat in my car to wait out the rain. Just as I parked, rain came pounding down (preceded by more black clouds) for about forty minutes. Gully washing as the saying goes. :) I took the 'big road' way to get to the salon (up Interstate 95). When I finished my date with Irina I decided to take the 'back road' way home (down MD State Route 166 - Frederick Road - and then MD Rte 29). I think of that as the 'scenic route'. :) 

We've had a bit of rain recently and the Patapsco River in downtown Ellicott City was a bit high ... luckily no sign of flooding, though. Whew! Lots of walkers around the shops downtown, too. :)

Other than run around in my BoltEV, I did spend some time this evening sewing. The regular Wednesday evening Sip and Sew Zoom get together was at 7 p.m. and I attached the set-it-on-point corners to my Aboriginal medallion project. Eventually I guess I wiil have to come up with a proper name for my piece. :) Here's a photo of its current stage:

Aboriginal on pointBecause I had even numbers of nine patch four- and five-dark patches, the corners are not all exactly alike. I like the setting, though. Not sure what I'll explore for the next border arrangement. Maybe something larger, to reflect the size/scale of the the central patchwork. :) BTW, the piece is actually flat and even though this photo doesn't show it very well. Casual work wall picture. :)

Faithful Circle has a Thursday morning Zoom meeting tomorrow at 11 a.m. Hope I can wake up  in time to attend. :)

:) Linda


Onward

Alphabet sayingsI like this quote. I'm sure I could quibble with some of the ideas ... but, on the whole, I agree. :)

Today was more interesting than most of the recent ones. I had a doctor's appointment in the early afternoon - a follow up with my pulmonologist. Dr. Holden is a very nice person and I enjoy visiting with him .. and he's a good doctor. The results of our talk were, basically, that I am doing pretty well and don't have to go back for six months. :)

I got more than my usual number of steps in while walking to and from the parking lot. Sigh. I haven't been around to our county hospital (his office is in the medical pavilion beside the hospital) for some time and I entered from an unusual side (for me). There are two large temporary Covid19 units with accessory air filtration units and generators parked in the near lot in front of the hospital ... which made everything look completely different than usual to me. Being a mostly visual locator, I parked in a section of the lot that was farther away from my destination than usual and so had to hoof it a bit.

Luckily, the weather was surprisingly pleasant today - warm but not overly hot, humid but not breathless, blue skies with 'spilt milk' clouds and a nice breeze. We need to do some grocery shopping but Hugh was asleep when I got home from the doctor's office so I sat down to read for a while.

I managed to make dinner (quiche with tofu-based Italian sausage). Hugh was still sleeping and so was Skip (he's having all kinds of sleep problems - he can't sleep for more than three or four hours at a time now) so I went into my sewing room and started working on the next stage of my Aboriginal medallion project.

Wednesday evenings at 7 pm the modern group has a 'sip and sew' meeting via Zoom. Attendance was down tonight (possibly due to power outages from storm Isaias?) but I still got to chat with friends. 

I decided that the next step for my medallion is to turn the pieced part to date on point and fill the setting triangles (or maybe just a border around them) with nine patch blocks. I dug into my memory and dredged up the idea of a magic nine patch process. Remember, what I have to work with right now are 5" squares of my Aboriginal prints. 

I dithered for about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to evenly cut a 5" square into three pieces ... and then gave in and trimmed my squares down to 4.5" so the math would be easier. Sigh. From two 5" squares (one print, one of my background batik), I made 3.5" (3" finished) nine patches:

Magic ninepatch

I had 20 squares so I will get 40 nine patches. Don't know offhand if that will be enough to fill the setting triangles but it should be plenty for a border around. :) I did not sew them all (that stack above is maybe half of them) during my Zoom party ... but got a goodly number done. :)

I found one of those fun 'who are you' quizes on InstaGram - What free motion quilting design would you be? - and here was my answer:

Woodgrain

Made me giggle. :)

More sewing tomorrow, I hope.

:) Linda

PS I see I am posting this on the 6th instead of the 5th which is the 'today' I write about above. :) Crossed the midnight meridian while writing. Off to bed now!


First Border

02130c4b8e3a153686182161f977a568Isn't this beautiful? :) It is meant to be a papyrus flower in the ancient Egyptian style. I love the colors, the fan-like shape, everything about it. Random pintrest find ... just thought I'd share. :)

Today was yet another hot, humid, sultry summer day. I spent it entirely indoors (except for stepping out on my front porch to refill the bird feeder), in the a/c, with pleasure. :)

I had the fun of about an hour in the early afternoon at the now-regular Saturday Zoom sew-in with my Columbia Modern Friends. While we chatted, I made two more Hourglass units from my Aboriginal fabrics and turned the various quarter squares into a border for my first block. I was right, that squirrel grabbed my hand and ran me down the woodsy path. :)

First border

In order to make this border work, I had to do some arithmetic to figure out how wide a spacer border I needed to add to the central 'flower' patchwork block for the hourglass units to fit easily. I was completely gratified that my numbers actually worked. :) I can do complex math with flair when my brain is functional ... and when I am oxygen deprived by my sleep apnea, two and two very sensibly make five. LOL.

It looks like I will be making some kind of medallion quilt with my Aboriginal prints. I've loved that kind of design since I first saw one, way back in the late 1970s. We'll see how good my resolve remains as time passes. Some squirrels I follow until they are fully furred and others fall by the wayside with only a few bones intact. shrug.

Tomorrow my son and I need to go grocery shopping ... and I hope to sew some more.

:) Linda