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September 2020

Sew Day

Ffd101-2Today was mostly sewing for most of the day. :) As is usual on Friday afternoon, Barbara, Patty and I had our two hours of zoom sewing and chatting together. Barbara and I are about to start on a project together to make a quilt for the ovarian cancer auction at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston. Today she was working on making the back for one of her Bonnie Hunter quilts. She worked up a task list and schedule for our cancer quilt and we'll start on that next month. Patty was working on bordering a newly pieced top she made using a lovely blue and yellow floral print.

I managed to piece a second block for the round robin package I'm working on this month. This one came out more correct than the last one, but still not up to my usual/acceptable standards. So .... I simplified and made an easier block with flying geese units (had to look up the 'Eleanor Burns' fg method online to be sure of the cutting dimensions:). Finally, with the third try, I managed to make an ok block. Whew! Tomorrow I need to take my bundle to the coordinator's house to trade. (sigh of relief)

My mailbox had some pretties in it today, too. More Delectable Mountain blocks came from @moonlightsewing:

FourShe sent me four!! I chose to take an abbreviated photo ... this is going to be one beautiful border! :)

During my evening blog reading, I found a new has-to-be-made quilt design ... and can't wait to start (but will as I want to finish some things anyway!). :) It's called the Falling Leaves quilt, designed by Nancy Page (a 1930's era pseudonym for a newspaper columnist). I am definitely thinking wool with embroidery. 

I've started going through my book piles and ruthlessly sorting out things I want to keep from things to give away (and a little bit of trash). I figure I have to winnow my books down by half - and it's going to be a difficult job because I have to really concentrate on being realistic about what I need for reference and what I will actually make/use. I gave away my first five volumes to Patty this afternoon (after our zoom) .. and now will get in touch with my two guild librarians before going general quilting public. :) More to follow ... at whatever spasmodic rate I can manage.

Tomorrow is another quilt day zoom which I truly look forward to!

:) Linda


Stitching Along

IuToday is my husband's 70+th birthday. :) It has been (as per his request) a very low key day. I did spend some time sewing but had very little to show for it (besides frustration).

I managed to piece the last two spacer sashes for my crazy shadows top yesterday. I ran out of the gray background fabric to use for the final cornerstones so I used some of the red border print for the cornerstones on two (opposite) sides of my top. I have not attached them, yet (did not feel like wrestling with the entire top today).

I thought I would be a little more timely and get the block made for round three of the Faithful Circle guild's round robin project. The first two blocks (from rounds one and two:) were pinwheel-based designs. So I combed through an online block source that is sorted by block size (8" square in this case) and found a design called Americana Charmer that I thought might work. Usually I draft my own patterns but I decided to be lazy and follow the instructions given on the web site. 

Mistake! When I finished making the block, it was completely unsuitable - wonky, the wrong size and no corners matching. I very, very carefully followed the given instructions so I felt pretty discouraged at the results. I took the design back to my desktop computer and started drafting it for myself ... and discovered where the website instructions went astray (I think). I worked out what I expect to be the correct measurements for myself and I"ll try again tomorrow. (fingers crossed!)

I got two more lovely Delectable Mountains blocks in the mailbox today:

MoredmsI am soooo happy with the blocks I'm getting! I am really looking forward to digging out my EH leaves project bin and finishing that top, too. :)

I also got a set of four 'low volume' background prints I ordered a while ago from a sale on Quilt In A Day (Eleanor Burns') website. They went straight into my 'background prints' drawer after I took this photo:

NewlvsI really like having lots of choices for background prints ... and to have a scrappy assortment in every top, if possible.

The weather was lovely today (high 70s temperatures, low humidity, pretty blue skies with puffy clouds:). Hope we have more!

:) Linda


Birthday Week

VP-GRAPHIC-EQUINOX-COMP-v2-1Today is the Autumnal Equinox - that is, the first day of Autumn/Fall. :) This is also Birthday Week in our house. :) Actually, September is Birthday Month is  my extended family. My Dad's (16th), brother Alan's (28th), nephew Hunter (16th), niece Aria (22nd), husband Skip's (23rd) and son Hugh's (24th) birthdays. Also Bilbo/Frodo Baggins (22nd). :) OH, and my nephew Patrick and his wife Tauna's anniversary (also the 23rd). Lotta celebrating going on this month. :)

This past weekend was another All Quilting All the Time three day sew-fest for me. Friday was my weekly Zoom with Barbara and Patty. Saturday was the Columbia Friends (from Baltimore Modern guild) sew-in. Sunday was the monthly Sew&Tell meeting. I worked on the same project at all three meetings - sashing, assembling and bordering my crazy shadows quilt. I took a quick snapshot of the body of my top yesterday. I'm still putting the borders on it ... but here is what the goodies look like as of now:

ShadowMy sewing room is too small for me to get back any distance to look at this. When I finish putting the outer border on it, I'll take it outside on my deck and (hopefully) enjoy the shadow effect - finger's crossed that it works. :)

The finished item will go to the modern guild as a bingo prize quilt ... I still have to buy a backing but I've already got an appointment in late October to get it long arm quilted. I am eager to see it finished and 'live' (I think the quilting stitches bring a top to life:).

Tomorrow and Thursday are birthdays in our house ... so I may not get much sewing done. I have not been able to talk my husband into going anywhere to celebrate his Day, yet. He won't even consider going to walk in a big park or to the botanical gardens. Sigh. We'll see how my son feels for his Day.

:) Linda


No Thread Day

Yellowfls

Hibiscus

Clematis?

Today was non-sewing day. With errands. First I drove up to Dorsey's Search to drop off my round robin bag and pick up the next round. The neighborhood where I went  has all color-named streets - Scarlet, Blue, Gray, Red. :) It was a cool day today and partially overcast, looked like it might rain (which is typical here; we have more overcast than actual rain). It was pleasant, even so.

After that I had lunch (drive through) and sat in the parking lot at my hair cutter's place (ahem, Salon) reading the newest book (The Clincher by Lisa Preston; interesting view into a world - horse shoeing - I know nothing about). Cara, my stylist (extremely talented woman:) did a nice cut for me as usual. She really, really understands hair (mine is hard to deal with being fine and mostly straight).

As I left the salon, I took a good look at the flowers growing in front of my car. Their parking lot (off street, in the back of the building) backs onto someone's yard. There's a privacy fence so I have so idea what the house looks like. Over the years I have seen some lovely flowers escaping there at the verge - wisteria and snowdrops in the spring. Today I took photos for a change - not sure what much of it is called except for that nice pinky-purple Rose of Sharon. Do you?

I got home around 3 p.m. and promptly fell asleep in my easy chair - I did not sleep very well last night, sadly. I had intended to make quiche for dinner tonight (despite the fact that I talk about it here often, we haven't had any for a couple of weeks:) ... but my good intentions went the way of all things. Sigh.

As I did my occasional brownian walk around the Web this evening, I came across the work of a Japanese artist whose product just boggles my mind:

Leaf-art-lito-leafart-1
Leaf-art-lito-leafart-1

Those tiny pieces of magic are cut from live leaves!! Such delicate work and so perishable. click on either photo to go read about him and see even more beautiful pictures of leaf lace.

Tomorrow I hope to sew quite a bit. Zooming with Barbara and Patty to look forward to.

:) Linda


Last Minute Constructions

Last-minute-quoteIsn't that the truth? At least it is for me, confirmed procrastinator that I am. :) My sole task today was to sew up a patchwork block for the Faithful Circle guild's round robin project. I let the time slip away from me - playing with other squirrels - and realized that I was up against the deadline for the exchange. 

Since the first round block measured 10.5" square, I was instructed to make a same-size accompanying block for round 2. I dithered for several days over what block to choose ... and today I settled on a pattern called Baton Rouge (don't know why it's named that:). I chose fabrics that echo the first block (made by the eventual owner of this project) and made this (the blue fabric in the center is the owner's chosen focus print):

BatonrougePrecision is NOT my middle name (any more) so I was pleased that the whole thing came out nicely flat and comparatively wrinkle free. :) I packaged my block back into the swap sack, as instructed, and have to drop it off at the coordinator's house tomorrow a.m.

I got more pretty blocks from my Stash Bee hive (#4) in the mail:

Dm1
Dm1I have to say that I did actually dance with joy when I opened these ... my little pile of received blocks is getting higher. I am eager to finish up my thistle quilt with these destined-to-be-border blocks! :)

In other news, we have suddenly segued into fallish temperatures here - high 60s to low 70s. Still pretty blue skies. Lucious! :)

Tomorrow will be busy. I have to deliver my round robin block, get my hair cut, and do a bunch of errand chores. I forgot to attend the modern Sip&Sew zoom session tonight (got entangled in some computer work and plain forgot). Annoyed with myself - that hyper-focusing ability is a mixed blessing at best. :P

:) Linda


A Long Quilt Making Weekend

Be you

This weekend was one of those all-quilting-all-the-time series of days. I so enjoy them. :) Friday started the weekend off with the regular zoom meeting between myself and my friends Patty and Barbara. While moving things around in my bedroom last week, I found a lovely treasure from 2005 - a beautiful tin filled with a charm pack of fabric squares from Moda, a collection called Gatherings by Brannock and Patek. I would call it a reproduction fabric collection though I don't think it is Civil War era ... maybe inspired by? :) At any rate, there were the usual 42 pieces of 5" fabric squares in a lovely printed tin, buried under a pile of quilting magazines. :) That's what I worked with during our zoom this week.

I decided (squirrel!) to sew the charms together in the pattern design included with the fabrics in the tin. I have to say that I"m glad I"m a pretty experienced quilt maker as I don't think those instructions were up to Moda's current standards! :) I persevered, though, and here is what I made (do NOT expect excellent precision from this project):

GatheringsThe whole thing turned out to be about 22" square. I think I will quilt it and it can be a wall hanging or table topper (originally the design called for it to be finished into a pillow). :) I bought some nice red Aurifil 50 weight quilting thread today to use in quilting this (more about that adventure below).

Saturday was the modern guild's sew in (from 1 to 3 pm or so). I am soooo enjoying getting to know all the folks who come to these sew ins. Fun! I spent my time continuing to sew sashing onto the Backyard Blossom crazy pieced squares I made earlier last week:

Backyard blossom blocksYou might not be able to resolve this image into individual blocks without enlarging it (just click). I am planning a layout that 'floats' the pieced squares above a 'shadow' of navy blue. At the stage shown above, I have constructed the 'shadow' sash for many squares. Since I started with two charm packs of these fabrics, I have pieced 84 different squares. I chose to set them in a 9x10 block array (the last row has only 3 blocks with empty spaces for the other six). By the time I finished cutting and sewing together all the 'shadows' for those 83 blocks, I felt pretty accomplished. :) It is rare for me to make a block-block-block quilt. I can't think of the last one I made this rather traditional way.

Sunday afternoon was the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern quilt guild, from 1:30 to about 3:30 pm. It was our official 10th anniversary meeting! By zoom, of course, and quite fun - with games, trivia, a sewing room share (by members) and great show and tell (as usual!). :) After both the Saturday and Sunday zooms, I spent several hours sewing the 'between sashing strips on my Blossom blocks. Unfortunately, that used up all the gray background print that I bought for the purpose. :)

Today (Monday) was the scheduled September meeting (again, via Zoom, at 10 am) of Mimi Dietrich's applique grad class. I am really pleased - for the FIRST time since March, I managed to be awake in time to attend. :) It was WONDERFUL to see the folks who came. The members of Grad Class are folks who were almost all good customers in my store and I've known many of them going on twenty years now. Its a rollicking group of women who make growing old look exciting! :)

Today, after my zoom get together,  Hugh and I decided that we had to go grocery shopping ... and I stopped in at Springwater Designs quilt shop quickly on the way to buy more of that gray background fabric. I calculated that I needed 58" of the print to finish my Blossoms quilt. There was EXACTLY that much fabric left in the shop. I will be extremely careful with cutting this stuff!! 

Grocery shopping went pretty well - the weather was glorious today with low temps 70s, fluffy clouds and blue skies. After we hauled it all home and I rested from the effort, I went back to working on sewing sashing. I now have constructed 10 columns with sashings and will start on the horizontal sashing-with-cornerstones making next time I sew (tomorrow?). 

Also this weekend, I got the aboriginal prints I ordered to finish my medallion project (no photos) and some lovely bright yarn dyes I ordered for no other reason than that they were too beautiful to leave in the shop:

Plaids

I am not sure what I will sew with these ... I was thinking about making a quilt design called Plaidish with them (from Kitchen Table Quilting) until I signed up today for a class next month being offered through my Faithful Circle guild. It's called "CHOP IT LIKE IT'S HOT!" with NINA CLOTFELTER. We'll see, I might change my mind. :)

Also in my mailbox this weekend came the first two sets of my Stash Bee blocks for this month:

Dm2
Dm2I am so pleased! These will make a nice border for my leaves/thistle quilt. Can't wait to gather them all in and begin on that!

I also managed to cook twice this weekend - Macaroni and Cheese with Ham on Friday and Calzones on Sunday. Both quite tasty. I am actually pretty surprised how much I am enjoying cooking now - at least in part because my son works in the kitchen with me (everything is more fun with company:).

I still have to find someone to clean our house gutters ... and a way to get my new computer desk chair built. Chores for tomorrow. 

:) Linda


Slight Veer to the Charming

Shutterstock_688093189Thank all those essential workers as you go about your Labor Day festivities! Where would we be without them?? :)

The weather is glorious this weekend - high 70s, low 80s in temperature, relatively dry, blue skies! I intend to enjoy my lunch on the deck at the very least tomorrow. :

I have been sewing on a bit of a make-do job while waiting for the aboriginal fabrics to finish my medallion project. One of the things I received in a recent quilting sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop was two charm packs of prints from the lovely blossoms collection - red, white, blue, aqua and apple green prints with roses, geometrics and chickens. :) Also in that box was a set of freezer paper templates by Lori Holt to make three piece crazy blocks from the charms. 'Course, after making the first set, I did not need those to create the design. :)

This is the best kind of mindless sewing design - no corners to match, the blocks get trimmed to size so no fussy piecing. You literally cannot mess up! :) Here's my stack of 4" (raw edged) blocks, made in about three hours of sewing:

Stack

There are about 45 blocks in that stack. :) That is from one of the two charm packs - the other set is in progress now. Once I get them all sewn and trimmed, I will search out something nice for finishing a top with them. I am considering some kind of 'shadow' setting to show off each fun combination of prints. 

Sometimes I just have to shove fabric under the needle and sew without using too much brain power. The fun in this project comes from choosing sets of three fabric prints that I like together ... and in seeing how pretty they are when finished. :) I expect this will become a donation quilt of some kind, eventually. I even took a photo of the trimmings:

TrimmingsThis is a pretty good sized fabric tote bag I am using to collect the too-small-to-use scraps of fabric that sewing generates. When it is full, the whole thing will go to the recycling bin at the local school (schools get a set fee per pound of fabrics/clothing they collect in the bins and the goods goes to be re-used or re-created into stuffing, etc.). 

We're not planning to travel tomorrow - rarely do on holidays - but I'm looking forward to spending some time outside on the deck, enjoying the nice weather. :) Hard to believe it's September already! This year feels like it has been simultaneously shorter and way, way longer than normal. sigh.

:) Linda


Plodding

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The past couple of days have been fairly calm and uneventful (in a regular-life-as-it-is way:). Daily rain deluges, high humidity. The temperatures have gone up and down (from high 70s to low 90s) during the day and skies have been mostly blue-with-fluffy-clouds except for when they have looked like the ones above. Today we had a tornado warning around 4:30 p.m. - this means that conditions are prime for tornado formation in our area.

The skies were indeed heavy and dark with distant thunder and lightning for about a half hour ... then the rain came. By the time rain falls heavily, most of the energy in a looming storm is being spent and the risk of a wind storm falls. I was pleased to see the rain ducks jumping on my back deck I can tell you. :) While we were enduring the warning I made supper tonight (quiche again:). We ate listening to the rain bucket down.

I've been sewing - Wednesday night's Sip&Sew zoom session had low attendance - must be vacation and back to school time, eh? :) I sewed together the last two (top and bottom) 'remember me' extra borders and attached them to the medallion flimsy by the end of my visit with modern sewing buddies. :) I am really pleased with the way the whole thing looks!

I went back to Easy Piecing's website and ordered some aboriginal fabric yardage for the outside border and the backing of my medallion. That will have to rest  until the goodies arrive. :) I am thinking I might send this top out to be long-armed rather than quilting it myself. It will make up into about 63"x70" or so ... so I could possibly quilt it myself. I'd rather go on to sew on some thing else, though. :)

We had a tree trimmer in to cut back the trees and bushes around our house today ... and some landscapers are due to come in next week to heavily prune back the bushes in the front yard. I am still looking for a gutter cleaning person, though. The siding needs to be washed, too, but that will require some finesse. Power washing will not work - it will blow the siding right off our house (at least according to my deck construction boss; I trust his opinion). Sigh.

I might take a break from piecing to quilt the two other flimsies I have made recently - the blue/scrappy comfort quilt and my leafy sprouts top. A little break in routine is a good thing from time to time. :P

:) Linda