Thursday, February 22, 2018

Progress, a Near Finish, and More

Year of Scrappy Triangles
This post is my link-up to SewnbyLeila's post for the Year of Scrappy Triangles. I've now made all 20 foundation paper-pieced blocks (plus one bonus block for newsletter subscribers) that she has given away on her blog. Since this will eventually be a whole year's worth of scrappy triangles, that means we have 32 more blocks to make. Unlike many other quilters who are making multiples of each block, I've been making only one.

If the photo above looks familiar, that's because it's almost like the one in my last post. The only difference is the block in the lower right corner (see below). It's the 20th block that I made to complete Leila's challenge to us. 

Since I won Leila's January giveaway of fat quarters - for those who had made the first nine blocks - I'm sure I won't win again. But, this is a reason to maintain the weekly pace.

Slopes
On my Janome 1600P, this week I quilted Slopes. After considering many possible quilting designs, I knew that whatever I quilted wouldn't be very visible - lots of busy-ness already with all those prints and colors - so I decided to walking foot quilt it with trips of wavy lines back and forth across the width. Basically, it's quilting to hold the whole thing together.

My only concession to the quilt top was to coordinate the top thread colors. I used each of these Aurifil 50-weight threads on the top, with white on the bottom.

And let me reiterated how much I enjoyed using homemade basting spray! No pins! The spray works so nicely with cotton batting.

Scrappy binding is machine sewn to the quilt front, so hand-sewing to the back is next. I'm not happy about having to wash every quilt when it's done, but that's the trade-off for using homemade spray. The mixture shouldn't be left in the quilt to attract bugs or grow mold.

Quilting this was easier than anything I've quilted for a long time.

Pre-Washing Solids
I also want to reiterate how much I like Painter's Palette Solids! I had a couple of fat quarter bundles that needed washing, so yesterday I sorted the colors and put all the darker hues into the washing machine, along with a color catcher. See that white color catcher after the fabrics were washed? That's right! Not one bit of color bled out! Paintbrush Studios is doing something right with their fabrics!

I sure can't praise other brands of solid fabrics like this! Kaufman Kona is the brand I've had the most problems with in the past. As proof, in April 2016 I took this picture of color catchers used with Kona. See the aqua and yellow in the catchers?

Though I do have quite a bit of Kona in my stash, my plan is to stay with Painter's Palette as much as possible.

A Special Quilter
I've gotta point the spotlight on my blogger-friend, Karen (KaHolly), a quilter with an extremely generous heart. Last year, after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, she wanted to help an outlying pet farm. She did so by requesting fabric dog blocks for her birthday. I made several and sent them to her in Texas.

Karen and her daughter Kirsten went to work, putting together the blocks, sandwiching quilts, quilting, and binding. Karen wrote a lovely blog post about delivering the quilts. It's heart-warming to see how quilters find ways to let others know "I care."
QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena
While I am wishing I was at QuiltCon in Pasadena right now (February 22-25) - my Aussie friend, Di, who visited me last year at this time, is at QuiltCon! - it helps being able to see these winning quilt. I'm proud that I know several of the quilters who won: Anne Sullivan (Playcrafts) and Debra Jalbert (MadeofHonor) from the Orlando MQG, Charlotte Knoll (Kirkenoll) from the South Florida MQG, and friend Paige Alexander (QuiltedBlooms).

Seeing these quilts is a good reminder that a modern quilt doesn't necessarily have to be intricate to win a prize. Stephanie won $5000 for this Best in Show!
QuiltCon 2018 Best in Show: "Going Up", 52" X 64" by Stephanie Skardal
Olympics
Dan and I are still enjoying watching Olympic curling. While we were disappointed that the US Women's Curling team didn't make it to the semi-finals, we've been happy about the impressive come-back of the US Men's team, winning four games in a row to make it to the finals! I'll be at the Central Florida MQG Sew-In on Saturday when the gold-medal game is played between the US or Sweden. Go USA!  Linda

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fly By

Once again the week flew by in a flurry of activities. Happily, via the golf cart I was able to enjoy the gorgeous weather we've been having that has been cool at night, and very warm during the day.

For instance, on Thursday I carted to line dancing at 7:10 am, then carted to Panera Bread for a Central Florida MQG executive committee meeting, and then carted to another rec center where I ate a light lunch while sitting in the golf cart before heading in to Ukulele Players Club! By 2:45 I carted home again. It was a lovely day.

Or maybe it has seemed busy due to so much TV-watching. Curling must be watched! Of course! This past week there was even more of it to see as both the men's and women's teams started round robins - ten teams playing one another with ten ends to each match.

I've been trying to not completely waste that time though, and have again picked up crochet to occupy my hands. This is the 2017 "Moorland Blanket" designed as a crochet-along by Lucy (Attic24). I changed-up her colors to those I consider more Florida-like. I'm about a third of the way through.

I have to say that I really like the colors, though I haven't yet used all of them in the piece. Even though I've had to un-crochet a few times because I've mis-hooked the pattern, I do love those ripples. Looks like I should take some time to bury tails again. 

When I'm not watching TV, I've taken snatches of time to be at my Bernina, catching up on two quilt alongs (QAL) begun in 2017.

This week, for the Bernina Zen Chic Triangle QAL I made these appliquéd blocks using my punch color - fuchsia. Otherwise, all the triangles are jade- and teal-colored prints.

Last night I completed the last of 12 different blocks to make a total of 66 triangles.

I'm happy to be finished making triangles and am looking forward to Brigitte's (ZenChicModa) instructions for putting the quilt top together.

Leila's "Year of Scrappy Triangles" QAL continues. All the blocks are foundation paper-pieced. This week I completed blocks 13 through 19.

Along with the bonus block, I now have 20 blocks. Only 32 more to go!

I like the chevron layout and am thinking that to end up with a larger quilt - all the blocks are 6" X 6" - I'll make 52 half-square triangles with a combo of solid gray and text print. I'll have to try it out, but alternating plain half-square triangle blocks with these might create a nice, contrasting restfulness against the busy-ness of the pieced triangles.

This morning we went to the Farmer's Market, as we do every Saturday morning to stock up on a week's worth of veggies for daily juicing, and for Hogan (the dog). He gets all the green beans, and some of the carrots. The bounty was so pretty this morning! That's $35.50 worth of vegetables. I always include turmeric root in our juice as it's purportedly beneficial for preventing tumors.

The only negative about so much goodness is washing, cutting, and putting away everything. That usually takes a couple hours, so I'm not in my sewing room until noon.

But the pay-off is worth it. And, Hogan loves me even more. 😍 Linda

Monday, February 12, 2018

What I've Been Up To

Every day last week I meant to write a blog post, but it's not unusual these days to be so busy with extra-curricular activities and interests at home that I don't take time to post. Last week was especially so.

Of course, there was the usual line dancing, quilting groups (read about our Central Florida MQG meeting here), ukulele players club, and Bible study. But add a few other activities like the Ukulele Performance Group's visit to a nursing home, Iowa friends for dinner, an afternoon at Lakeridge Winery with my friend Karen, a second Bible study group, and whoops... there's a busy week!

Early last week I spent three days making sourdough bread. I don't know if you've ever tried to make the real thing, but sourdough bread-making is quite a complicated process. While I'm definitely pleased with the results - it was as crusty and tasty as it looks - the starter-making, leavening, waiting, proofing, refrigerating, resting and baking in dutch ovens at varying temperatures made for lots of work. Now that I've done it once, I'm happy to pay whatever a bakery charges!

Both of the Bible studies I'm participating in are offered through The Villages recreation department, and are just two of the offerings among the 2,700 different clubs and activity groups available here!

I am gleaning so much from each study. Our Nehemiah study is on Friday morning, and it's especially meaningful. Years ago, an Iowa friend and I together did a self-directed study of Nehemiah, and though I think we flushed it out pretty well on our own, we wished for a directed study. Kelly Minter's study definitely fills the bill.

"Entrusted" is a Beth Moore study I've done before, though my first go-'round didn't include group discussion. This time, on Monday mornings, I'm sharing it with a small group of eight women, and that makes it more enlightening. This is a study that's definitely meant for seasoned believers though.

Also, the Olympic winter games have captured my attention. When I want to watch in my sewing room and FMQ, I do so through my computer because NBCSN isn't available through my TV's cable box. I'll be sharing this quilt finish in another few weeks.

We've been recording and watching all the mixed doubles curling. I'm completely smitten with curling!  It's disappointing that our American brother-sister team, the Hamiltons, didn't make it to the finals but it was a pleasure to watch. I think I'd like to try curling, though finding a curling facility here in Florida isn't very likely... nor can I ever imagine me being able to hunker down so low to the ice to release the rock! Well, I might make it down, but getting up...  oof. I'll just keep watching.

Sewing-wise... I completed the 60" X 72" "Slopes" quilt top. My version is different from the one in Amanda Jean's book No Scrap Left Behind, and I love it! It's all about color!

I inserted teeny contrasting strips in three places. Amanda Jean used one strip in her version.



Still sticking to my 2018 plan to use only stashed fabric, this is the backing I pieced.

I'm pleased I could use up the rest of that multi-swirly print as well as make use of the pieced triangle blocks I first tried to use on the quilt front. No waste here!

I'm so proud of me to have arrived at February 12 without a fabric purchase. 😇

My friend Karen has suggested that some of my quilt-y friends might be placing bets to see how long I can hold out! 😄 Linda

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Winners and Grinners

The winners of my blog giveaways were:
  1. Tabitha (commenter #19), a newer quilter in Ohio who won Pineapple Fabrics' four jelly rolls of Painter's Palette Solids, and a mini Painter's Palette color card
  2. Martha (commenter #11) who won a PDF of her choice from Landauer Publishing
  3. Kim (commenter #2), a very good Iowa friend who won a digital copy of Curated Quilts.
I thought these were wonderful, highly-desirable giveaway items - thank you to my generous sponsors! - so I was surprised at the lower number of comments than in past giveaways. Most often I've had more than 100 commenters. For these giveaways there were 56 commenters for fabric and 27 commenters for digital items. It's evident that interest in social media platforms has changed. The once wildly popular blog giveaways have been replaced with easier and faster Instagram giveaways.

Still, I want to extend my thanks to all of you for entering, and especially for your lovely comments. I could spend a whole day replying! And thanks for your stick-to-itiveness at reading blog posts. Mwah! 😘

Sewing has been happening here in a random sort of way. I'm jumping among several WIPs - AKA not finishing anything. The current project that has my attention is the Slopes quilt I stopped working on last May. It's a pattern in Amanda Jean's book No Scrap Left Behind, and is made from string scraps. I stopped working on it because I was running low on color scraps, especially purple. However, thanks to a generous offer from Amanda Jean (CrazyMomQuilts) herself, she sent a bunch of purples she had collected.

Now that I've begun this rainbow plan, if I piece it as is, Slopes will be wider than it is high! I've been playing with another scrappy block made with a Bloc Loc ruler called "Triangle in a Square." I could insert these blocks between a few rows to make the quilt "taller."

They would fit in those empty spaces. But I haven't settled on anything. I'll play more today.

After sharing in my giveaway post that I was celebrating nine years of blogging, and that my first blog post was about making pavlova for Australia Day, I started craving pavlova! I decided to make it again and followed the easy recipe here on Allrecipes.com.

First, whip the egg whites into a meringue, and then puddle the meringue in a 9" circle onto parchment paper. To get the circle, I drew around a cake pan on the back of the parchment paper.

After it's baked, it looks like this, prettily cracked.

Whip a carton of heavy whipping cream - I didn't add sweetener, but you could - spread it on top of the meringue, and finish it with fruit that's been flavored with a little vanilla, balsamic vinegar, and sugar (that's also a recipe).

Cut a slice. Oh my! Quite honestly, I had to eat two slices. I also shared with Dan and neighbor-quilt-y-friend Becky. I need to make this more often! It's so good.

Two weeks ago, when I was getting ready to fly to Kansas City, I packed my 64" X 80" Rainbow Strings quilt (string-pieced onto telephone book pages) in my suitcase. Once in KC, I quietly handed off the quilt to my nephew's wife and asked only that I get a picture of their daughter with the quilt. Look at how they came through! What a precious picture of 14 month-old Maddie. Isn't she a doll? As a quilt maker, it's heartwarming to know a quilt is appreciated and being used.

Did you get to see the eclipse of the moon this morning? I saw it, but barely. Tonight is when we get to see a super moon (that's when the moon is nearest the earth, called a perigee) and a blue moon (a full moon happening twice in a month). This is my layman's photo of the moon rise over my house last night, a day before the super moon/full moon. I hope you get to see it tonight. I'm sure it will be awesome.

And speaking of natural wonders... it's been cold here in Florida this winter. This morning we woke to a temperature of 39 degrees. It's not the first time we've been in the 30s either! If you're planning to make a wintertime get-away to Florida, be sure to pack your Cuddlduds! Linda

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Celebrate Too!


This giveaway is now closed. 

I'm still celebrate my blog-iversary, but let me say thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post! I truly wasn't fishing for compliments, but many of your comments did just that. You all are great!

Now, so as not to leave out the many international friends I have through my blog, these two giveaways are two chances for you and US readers to win! Yep, these giveaways are open to everyone!

Continuing my celebration of nine years of blogging (on January 26, 2009), the first giveaway is from Landauer Publishing (Clive, Iowa) the company that in 2006 published my book First Time Quiltmaking. The book is laid out in six lessons, though in a classroom environment, I teach beginner quiltmaking in five lessons.

First Time Quiltmaking first appeared as hardcover, and is now available in softcover. I found it recently, still being sold at JoAnn Fabric.

First Giveaway
Landauer has gone digital with some of their titles, so the winner of this giveaway will get to choose any digital book in their eBook PDF collection! Wow! I hope you'll go for a quilting book, perhaps First Time Quiltmaking, though I'd be all over one of these by Wendy Sheppard (IvorySpring) or Sew Kind of Wonderful's designs using the Quick Curve Ruler.


But it will be up to the winner to choose from any of Landauer's 66 eBook PDF download titles! The value is up to $28.

Second Giveaway
This one comes from the new magazine being produced by Amy Ellis and Christine Ricks - Curated Quilts.
The magazine - really more like a "journal" - features modern quilts submitted to the magazine by up and coming quilt makers. There's no advertising!

The winner will receive the latest (second issue) digital issue of Curated Quilts: Log Cabin. 

I've seen a few of the quilts on Instagram, so I know this will not disappoint. This is an $18 value (per issue). An annual, quarterly-produced subscription is $75.

This giveaway is now closed. 

So if you're up for either of these giveaways, just do the usual:
  • Comment once. Let me know which giveaway you'd prefer to win:
1. Landauer Publishing eBook PDF

2. Curated Quilts publication in digital format
  • Be sure I have a way to reach you if your comment is chosen. I cannot contact a "no-reply commenter" and will choose another comment if you haven't included an email address.
  • Enter by Tuesday, January 30. The giveaways end at 6 pm Eastern time.
Once again, thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and those of you who have followed me for the past nine years!

I'm especially grateful for everyone who comments on my day-to-day posts. Unless you're a blogger yourself, you can't imagine how much it means to hear from you! Linda

Friday, January 26, 2018

Celebrate!

This giveaway is now closed! Thank you for participating!


Today marks the day I've been blogging for nine years!

On January 26, 2009, I wrote my first blog post. Interestingly, it wasn't at all about quilting. Rather, it was a very brief post about January 26 being Australia Day, and making my first pavlova, a traditional Australian dessert. Back then I was all about Australia because our daughter lived in Sydney and I was visiting her each year. I even taught quilting there during a six week-long visit! I have wonderful memories of time spent in Sydney.

To celebrate the nearly 900 posts I've written, I'm tickled to tell you that my first giveaway is for a product I love... Painter's Palette Solids.

If you haven't yet tried this brand of solid fabrics made by Paintbrush Studios (located in Kansas City), I highly recommend them. The hand is "just right" - not as heavy/thick as a very popular brand of solids; and not as light as another. Also I've learned that, as a die-hard fabric pre-washer, Painter's Palette Solids do not run (as the very popular brand does). My opinion is my own, and totally unsolicited.

My giveaway sponsor is Pineapple Fabrics who is generously donating and shipping the prize to the winner.

I found Pineapple Fabric's booth at QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah, and after making an initial purchase to try Painter's Palette Solids, I've been shopping at PineappleFabrics.com ever since. 

My anniversary party is your chance to win four jelly rolls of Painter's Palette Solids!

Specifically, one winner will receive one each of Pineapple Fabric's Painter's Palette "Master Collection." Each jelly roll includes 42 different colors. All together, that's 168 Painter's Palette colors cut into strips - a retail value of $179!

Now how fabulous is that?!

Shown are Painter's Palette Master Collection jelly rolls:
Rembrandt Neutrals; Picasso Blues; Monet's Magentas; and Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Pineapple Fabrics is also including a mini version of my Painter's Palette Solids color card shown here. The winner's will be smaller, but still have swatches of all 168 colors.

If you can't wait to try these solids, I highly recommend perusing PineappleFabrics.com where you will find Painter's Palette Solids for only $6.99 a yard (by the yard is favorite way to buy them), and sold in other precut sizes and bundles.

If you're planning to attend the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Lakeland, Florida from March 15-17, be sure to look for Pineapple Fabric's booth. Stop and check out the hand of these luscious solids!

This giveaway is now closed! Thank you for participating!
To enter this giveaway:
  • Comment about one of these things... Have you ever tried Painter's Palette Solids? Or, if you like to follow and read blogs, in general what kind of posts interest you?
  • Be sure I have a way to reach you if your comment is chosen. I cannot contact a "no-reply commenter" and will choose another comment if you haven't included an email address.
  • Enter by Sunday, January 28. The giveaway ends at 6 pm Eastern time.
I'm very sorry, but this giveaway is not open internationally.

However, international and US readers... check back Sunday evening. I'll still be celebrating and will offer another, equally special giveaway!

Let me say a very big thank you to those of you who read my blog, and comment! I've become friends with many of you through conversations we've share via email. Some of you have read my posts almost from the beginning, and you're special friends too. Linda

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