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December 2020


Women beforeI choose this quote for my post because today I managed to take (happy) part in not one but two communities of women artists and artisans. 

At noon I attended a zoom meeting of the Handmade Book Club, led by Ali from New England. I recently joined this group (annual dues) which, on reflection, reminds me quite a bit of a quilt guild but oriented around making books from scratch. The meeting today included a break out chat with nine of us from across the US (MD, IL, CA, ID, etc), Mexico, Canada and the UK. So interesting to hear the real voices (anything I read in blogs or text are said with my voice:) and experiences of women around the world. :) Ali also talked about her plans for monthly projects, retreats, challenges and classes in the new year. Fun!

Then, right away again at 1:30 p.m. I zoomed to the scheduled monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern quilt guild. We had a very interesting speaker - Mary Fons - with life stories and a trunk show. We played Quilt Jeopardy (thanks to Kathy Schwabeland) ... and shared the results of our recent secret sewist swap. Again, really fun!

Other than that, I got to soak up a third day of wonderful warm sunshine in my sewing room (though I did no sewing:), eat happily and read more books. I gave up reading 'real' books a number of years ago in favor of digital ones. I LOVE to read and I just could not deal with the physical accumulation of pages any more. My digital library grows every month - though I do occasionally wonder about the wisdom of spending money on things that cannot be inherited. Sigh.

Looking forward to tomorrow. It will be a new day.

:) Linda

More Happy Sunshine

Squarepattern36Have you ever noticed the similarity between paving and/or tiling patterns and patchwork designs? I certainly have. :) I know people copy elaborate tiled floors from cathedrals, etc., to make quilt designs. Next time you look at bricks, think about how they might work. If you click on the diagram above you can go read about installing brick pathways and such. I, myself, am partial to the 'Stack Bond (variation)' design above. :)

Today was another glorious SUNNY day here in eastern Maryland. I woke up around 9:45 this morning and bounced straight up out of bed. Breakfast and then sewing in my sunny work space. :) I finished sewing up both of the Halloween quilt bindings:

BindingsI rolled them both up in the orientation that I need for attachment sewing (thanks to my friend Barbara for her experienced wisdom on how to do this correctly:).

I didn't have the gumption to start actually sewing on the bindings ... and I was chatting with my modern Columbia area quilting buddies on Zoom ... so I started fiddling about with two pieces of fabric I discovered in my endless piles of stuff (I _think_ these came off a freebie table at one of my guilds; they look like vintage fabric designs).

ChiffonsCan you see the two different prints? The top one has a black background with large red and gray roses ... the bottom one is gold and red-orange asters on a blue ground. I had about one yard of each one by maybe 40" width each. About enough for two scarves ... so I decided to make one infinity scarf and one rectangular scarf from each print. Neither are colors I would usually wear ... so I'm not sure who I will gift them to ... but the fabrics are too pretty to dump. :)

I made a tubed French seam on one length of the roses print ... and could not recall how to sew the tube ends together correctly. Sigh. While I was working, I got the bright idea of ordering some beaded fringe to sew onto the rectangular ones (at the short ends) ... so diverted off to find a place on Etsy that sells lots of colors of same and ordered two lengths of (hopefully) nice colors to finish each fabric scarf. Fingers crossed on that as the online pictures of colors were, um, inadequate. 

I will have to consult YouTube to find a decent video of making infinity scarves before I reconvene this project - you'd think such ideas would stick to me (I had no trouble at all remembering how to sew French seams even though it has been ages since I did that, too). Sigh.

Other than my sewing (and sunshine absorbing), I made a casserole for supper tonight which we all yummed up .. and read two books. I have now equaled reading the number of books I did in all of last year (100). There's a couple weeks more in this year left to exceed my previous record.

:) Linda

Sunny Happy

Sunny-day-quotesOh, that is so true for me! :) Today was a sunny day and I soaked up as much as I could stand of it. :) 

I got up early (for me) at 9:30 this morning and dressed quickly (was chilly outside at about 50 degrees). I drove over to Springwater Designs to meet Daria (my long arm using quilt buddy). She and her DH were bringing her HandiQuilter in to SWD for its annual spa break. :) She finished quilting my Aboriginal medallion and the floating crazy squares quilts. YEAH! :) 

While I was waiting for Daria in the shop I found that they had made up a kit for their summer RowByRow pattern (which featured the MD flag motifs) in the more usual MD flag colors (black, yellow, red) instead of the blues in the RBR version. I had to buy a kit for that ... probably will make it into a table runner. The Maryland flag is very much like a medieval battle flag - take a look at it here if you are not familiar. I like the symbology.

Oh, as I was driving home, I lined up at a red light behind a car with this plate on the back:

IMG_6314Don't see NM plates around here very often - I can't remember ever seeing one before. :)

Once I had chatted, bought and received my quilts, I tootled off to home and my breakfast - sitting in the sun shining in my living room window. By then it was a bit past noon. Did my cross word puzzle and checked in on InstaGram as I digested. Then off to my sewing room for more sunshine.

I don't have any photos to share - right now I am making binding for the two Halloween quilts. I decided to do single fold binding with a flange. One will be black with lime green flange, the other orange with lime green flange. I hope they sparkle when they are done. Meanwhile, I cut, ironed and sewed for about three hours today. I finished the orange binding and cut a lot of lime green for the black one but didn't get it finished. At least I will know what to work on when I sit down tomorrow. :)

Patty was down for the count today so Barbara and I did our Friday Sewing Together without her ... Barbara was working on clue number three for Bonnie Hunter's Grassy Creek mystery ... and I my bindings. The sunshine came in my window with power all afternoon and my photon dose was fulfilled. :)

Hugh and I managed to make a good tasty dinner tonight (a nice save after the not-great results with a new recipe yesterday). We found a good 'easy' meatloaf recipe and made mashed potatoes and corn to go with. That one is a keeper. :)

Tomorrow, the rest of the binding prep (fingers crossed) and maybe even an attachment (dare I hope?:)

:) Linda

Errands and Catching Up

Dfb516bf-8fb5-400e-81b0-21d382de4c86Are these not lovely paper snowflakes? They all represent Covid virus molecules (or other nasty relatives). If you click on the photo, you can go download these designs as well as info about research done by professor Ed Hutchinson and his colleagues at the University of Glasgow. I love seeing 'science' interpreted into real-life items! :)

The weather was beautifully sunny today which made me especially happy as I had to run a bunch of errands in the early afternoon all across the Baltimore region. :)

First, let me share with you what I made that created the most important of my errands. As you know if you've been reading the last few posts, I have been working on a small wall hanging of a geometric butterfly (pattern by Quiet Play). Here is the butterfly hanging I finally finished, showing the border, binding and hand embroidery I did:



I put mounting triangles on the back, wrote a label on one of those and called it done. :) I did wrap it up in a fabric (re-usable) bag along with an additional small gift. My 'giftee' was Judy Dunlap, a quilt maker I know from the Baltimore Modern quilt guild. Judy lives in Lutherville which is north of Baltimore city and about 40 minutes (or so) from my house in Columbia.

What else did I have to do? Hmmm. Visit UPS to mail my grandson's birthday gift (which got sent to me instead of his home as I had requested from the merchant), stop at Staples to pick up some printing I emailed to them (Xmas letters from our family), visit the Bear's Paw quilt shop (as long as I was in the northern Baltimore county area) and stop at the drive-thru window of Walgreens to pick up another prescription. :P I am soooo glad the sun was shining in the blue sky! Got to soak up a good dose of photons today. :)

My errands took me about 2.5 hours altogether ... and on the way home I picked up our snail mail which gave me something to do while I caught my breath back home. Some happy mail came my way, too - the fabrics I ordered from Stitch Craft to make the Bonnie Hunter mystery this year (Grassy Creek) and some water-soluble die cut template shapes from Brimfield Awakening. I bought the hexie flowers and 60 degree diamond shapes to try out this new-to-the-market product. :) I do so hate having to pick out the templates from my English Paper Piecing work. :)

Of course, while I was at Bear's Paw, I had to support my local quilt shop folks a bit. :) I got a chance to chat with Judy (the owner) whom I have known for years about the progress she is making on getting her shop back into shape after a very nasty flood earlier in the fall. The shop was very quiet (I think I was the only customer while I was there) and everyone there was masked and distancing. I bought some holiday things (a cute Christmas tree ornament to make in wool, a jelly roll of Christmas prints, a pre-made kitchen towel to embroider, a lovely printed panel with holiday stockings on it that I will likely cut up for blocks to applique into a quilt or pillows) and wanted to buy a straight stitch plate for my Bernina but they were out (they sell machines and teach reputable machine embroidery classes).

So, a fun day on the whole. Not much accomplished on my house but lots of beautiful sunshine.

:) Linda

I Should Be Asleep

IuThis photo shows one example of Daiwabo fabrics - commonly called Japanese taupes (although they come in many soft colors including shades of green, rose, beige, white, gray, brown, eggplant, etc.). Winter in Maryland looks like these fabrics. It does not snow often here (though it _does_ snow and ice occasionally) and the winter outdoors is generally arrayed in soft shades of gray, brown, russet, forest green, etc. Blue skies are usually the brightest color in our environment. I have been told that Japanese taupe fabrics are the kind of colors that elderly women should wear in traditional Japanese society ... brightly colored kimono (things to wear) being reserved for young (unmarried?) women.

Today (Tuesday the 8th of December) was a beautifully sunny day but chilly (I think the high was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit). I woke up about quarter of ten a.m. and dressed immediately so I could soak up the sunshine in my sewing room. On the second floor of our house and facing southwards, the sun in winter shines right into my room (the trees are bare so the leaves that obscure the sun in summer are not blocking the rays). I sewed from about 10:15 until around 1:30 this afternoon. 

I have been working for days on a small quilt. Here is the body of it (finished a couple of days ago):

Quiet play butterflyIf you examine this really carefully you will likely see a couple of mistakes I made ... but I'm ok with how this turned out. The pattern is from Quiet Play although she arranged the rainbow colors (for which she is justly well-known:) quite differently. I have sewn borders on this baby (what you see above is about 10" square or so) and am in the process of binding it. I attached the borders, sandwiched and quilted it this morning. After I ate lunch, I came back and worked on the binding until about 4:30 or so. When I am inspired, I can work pretty steadily. :)

I also managed to gather up our recycling and take it to the curb (weekly pickup is in the early hours tomorrow morning). Otherwise, it was mostly a sewing day. Sadly, I was so involved, I forgot to attend my first Zoom meeting of the repeat bariatric classes. Major sighs!! I hope to rectify that tomorrow.

I need to finish writing Christmas cards (for the first time in several years) and visit the post office soon. I'm not doing a very good job of preparing gifts ... which is about par for the usual in my life. Can only manage to keep one 'ball' at a time in the air (and sometimes bobble that, too).

:) Linda

Still Flittering

Pieced-butterfly-green-1024x986This is my favorite patchwork butterfly pattern of all time. It was designed by 'Alice Brooks' which is a pseudonym for a mail order quilt design company that regularly published ads in newspapers of the 1930's (and longer, probably). I don't know if anyone knows who the designer really was - maybe the Quilt Study group? Anyway, I like this design but have never made it up. :) On my 'someday' list.

I spent time today working on the geometric butterfly pattern from Quiet Play quilts by Kristy Lea. The Columbia Friends from the Baltimore modern guild had our now-usual Saturday afternoon sew and chat zoom meeting and I finished sewing the butterfly body and one wing. Still have the other wing to sew. People think small items take less time to make - WRONG! :) I do like how my color arrangement idea is working out ... but still no photos.

Gotta finish tomorrow 'cause it needs to be delivered soon. :)

Hugh prompted me and we did manage to make supper tonight - nothing exciting (classic tuna casserole) but it was tasty and warm in the tummy. :)

I spent a very frustrating hour on the telephone (thankfully with a real human helper, after a 40 minute wait on hold), trying to get the app for shopping for groceries at BJs to work. I _wanted_ to do a curbside pickup ... but finally had to opt for delivery (free promotion, hope it works!). VERY very energy sucking. :P Safer than walking around the store right now, though, so likely worth the effort.

Sunshine coming tomorrow? Fingers crossed! Our grocery order is supposed to be delivered between 10 a.m. and Noon  - fingers crossed for that, too.

:) Linda

Flittering By

Here's a hint about what I've been sewing today. :) If you click on the picture you can go read about a butterfly museum somewhere in Colorado. Years ago when my Mom and Dad took us to Calloway Gardens in Georgia, we visited the butterfly sanctuary there. One of the most memorable trips of my life - so! much! fun! :)

Today dawned sunny but descended into gray cloudy drizzle by evening. I did manage to start sewing on my next deadline project but did not get enough finished to share today. I have a sew-in zoom meeting tomorrow so maybe I can have a photo by finish time? :)

Are you paying attention to the Virtual Quilt Festival in Houston? I am - went to a lecture (via Zoom) yesterday and have been visiting the exhibits. Have not entered the vendor area, yet - looking forward to that! :)

Gotta go grocery shopping again tomorrow. :P

:) Linda

Summary Day 3

This is a photograph of the Milky Way in a night sky free of light pollution. It has been decades since I have been able to look at a sky like this but I remember the impact of all those stars from my childhood. I grew up in small town America and on small farms. The only times I really got to see a dark night sky were when we traveled to and from my grandparents' farms in the mountains of western Virginia ... and then only when we were far away from settlements.

You may never have noticed but most farms have at least one really bright light outdoors during the night nowadays - it was not always so. The rural parts of the US were electrified after the second world war and most farmers saw the value in a good light on or near their barns. Even in the country, you have to travel far to find a really dark sky - so this is a sight maybe you've never seen. I have ... and it is quite heart-poundingly awe inspiring. :)

Today was pretty quiet. I woke up around noon (slowly, slowly I'm turning back my internal sleep cycle) and spent a good chunk of the day sewing. I finished sewing together that round robin project and even took a (not very good) photo:


Sorry it is so dark - by the time I finished it, the sunshine was pretty much gone. I hope you can see how intricate these star blocks are - embiggen this pic to see more - some people really did a bang-up job sewing for this round robin! I am pleased to have managed to sew this together correctly - with the right size of setting triangles and all. :) I have to take the results back to our swap Mom soon so it can travel onward to its next destination.

I managed to watch a few episodes of The Blacklist which I am currently binge-watching two or three sets at a time. Also read a little. Otherwise, not much done today.

:) Linda

Marathon Day 2


Here is an extreme example of recycling - this lady uses bottle caps to create beautiful mosaic patterns on and inside her home. Imagine!! She lives in rural Russia, her name is Olga (so was my mother's:), and she is definitely a creative. Click on the photo to go see more pictures and read about her. Inspiring!

Today was another strange one, schedule-wise. I woke up at 2 p.m. which is a bit late in the day, still. I managed to eat some lunch (leftovers sandwich:) and read for a while. My usual post-lunch routine is to do the USA Today crossword puzzle (I have an app) and check in on Instagram for my visual inspiration of the day. Then I try to do some work on re-ordering and de-crapifying my house or maybe sew for a couple of hours.

Today, I fell asleep again. Grr! Woke up around 5:30. THEN I went off to do some work. Tidied for a bit, read a while, but could not concentrate. Stared at the sunshine outside my window. Eventually I remembered that today is Wednesday and that my guild's zoom Sip&Sew is at 7 p.m. tonight. YEAH!

There was a good turnout for the zoom and I managed to sew during our chat. I have the fifth go-round of my FCQ round robin package to work on. This time we are supposed to take the four blocks made previously (four very nice stars in my case) and assemble them into some kind of layout. I decided to set the blocks I was given on point in a line ... so I first had to figure out what size half and quarter square triangles to cut to create the setting.

My brain was not computing very well so I ended up consulting Google and finding a chart for what sizes to cut. Whew! Carefully, carefully I cut the parts out ... measuring twice before cutting, etc. When I cannot do math, I often cannot cut accurately either. :P But I got it done and started in to sew.

I guess I paid correct amounts of attention to detail because so far the thing is sewing up easily and looks correct. I got two and a half of the four blocks set together during the hour and a half zoom chat. I'll go on working tomorrow (fingers crossed). Another thing I have learned about myself is to quit sewing when I'm tired - otherwise I make stupendously stupid mistakes. :)

I won a book from an online drawing from C&T Publishing recently and I finally got to download it today. Just browsing through, I'm eager to try some of the designs inside! Here's the info:


Click on the book cover pic above and go read about it - looks like a good one! :)

I also called the bariatric offices today and made arrangements to take the preparatory classes yet again. Long irritating story, the result of which is that I have to repeat most of the steps to get to my surgery. Sigh. Duty must, I guess.

I hope the sun shines tomorrow!

:) Linda


31-dayBlog-Challenge-2020-600x600I had forgotten about this 'event' - not sure why 'cause I try to take part every year. This year is so un-usual, so peculiar, I guess my mental calendar is on hiatus. Sigh! I like to think of this blog as my own personal journal wherein I keep track of the things I am making and doing (with the caveat that my memory leaves a lot to be desired:). So, December is emotionally the longest month of the year for me ... and a daily post will do me some good.

The weather has been wintry lately (by coastal Maryland standards) - cold and wet this past weekend, cold and gray today. Brr! The little birds and squirrels that come to my feeders are especially hungry lately - bulking up for the cold, I would guess. 

Last week was even more peculiar than has become usual here. Last Monday was my birthday, my 68th. I have never understood the fictionalizing of age that is popular in our culture - I have survived, thrived and earned every year I've been alive. Why not celebrate the passing of yet one more? :) You can always be depressed about your age the day AFTER your birthday imho. LOL!

Monday was a lovely peaceful day. I got birthday gifts from my two best friends, phone calls from the three women I love most ... and spent the day with my family whom I adore. What more could anyone ask? :) I did buy myself a birthday gift - a copy of Barbara Brackman's new third edition of the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns:


I managed to get in on the initial pre-order so received my copy in yesterday's mail. So totally awesome!! For anyone who loves pieced designs and has any interest whatsoever in the history of quilt making, this book is a MUST! I went through my copy of the second edition religiously in the early 90's, searching for blocks I could render into foundation piecing designs (good thing I spent all that time in graduate school learning how to do research:). 

This edition would have made my work SO much easier! The patterns in this version have been graphed correctly (v2.0 had hand drawn images) and have been colored to show the original arrangements published (better and easier to visualize than the black and white drawings in v2.0). Worth every penny and a great gift for my library. :)

I had intended to cook a nice traditional turkey dinner last Thursday for Thanksgiving ... but my sleep demons (figurative only, I assure you) are acting up again. I think I might be suffering a relapse of the chronic fatigue (long term Mono in my case) as I slept 15 hours that day and 14 each of the following two days. We did manage to eat turkey on Thanksgiving Thursday - turkey meatballs with spaghetti.

I did get to my Friday Sewing Together zoom with my friends Patty and Barbara ... but slept right through the Saturday afternoon zoom with my Columbia Bee friends. Sigh. At last, on Sunday, I woke up early enough to drag my body out of bed and make the turkey (crock pot - worked great!) with fixings. Tasty, if I do say so myself. :)

Monday I drove into Catonsville to get the first two quilted items I took to Daria - the Halloween quilts for my grandsons. Now I need to bind them, label each one and mail them off to Wisconsin. I love the way Daria quilted them and am really happy to have turned a block swap into good gifts. :)

Today I drove over to Barbara's house to pick up the four quadrants of the Hope top, along with batting and backings, so I can quilt them into a whole. That will likely take me the rest of this month as I can only do machine quilting for a short while (maybe 2 hours) at a time. Remains to be seen how long it will take me ... I have plans for how to quilt the pattern; we'll see how they work out.

I did manage to make the last block for this year's Stash Bee exchange:

Last stash blockOur November Bee Queen wanted low volume collage blocks that she intends to use for an applique quilt project. I had fun digging up and putting together these bits. :) I signed up to participate in the Bee again next year ... but I am trying to limit myself to no other swaps/exchanges (except very short term ones, maybe) for the year. I really, really want to finish some of the projects I have in the works!

On the subject of interesting things found around the Web ... here is a YouTube video for a musical item I particularly enjoy. I am fond of dance music - swing, jive, jitterbug, you name it - and first found out about Cab Calloway on The Muppet Show years ago. Not being a historian of music, I had not encountered him before he sang with cute fuzzy people. :) Love his music - and this video features him, his band and some exceptional dancers. Go watch it - I doubt you will be able to keep your feet still. :)

I'm up later than usual tonight (I try to get to bed by midnight) so I'd better sign off. Tomorrow is another day, hopefully with sunshine.

:) Linda