Wow, February has flown by! It was a very interesting reading month for me. Surprisingly, my biggest disappointment was The Bonesetter's Daughter, but it wasn't a bad book! I just read a lot of good books this month. It's hard to pick favorites but I'd probably select Jessica as my favorite fiction book and A Time to Die as my totally surprising favorite non-fiction book.
My total listening time was 119 hours and 43 minutes. Year to date it's 252 hours and 31 minutes. That doesn't count any podcast hours and I listened to a lot of podcasts this month.
A couple of my favorite podcasts:
I've become a huge fan of Sleep Cove meditations to fall asleep to.
Against the Odds is an interesting podcasts that tells historical stories. The new season is about Ada Blackjack, a 21 year old Inuit woman and the only survivor of an ill-fated artic exploration in 1921.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman - It just started off too perky for my tastes.
What are your book recommendations this month?
Something to Hide (1288)
By Elizabeth George, Read By Simon Vance
This is book #21 in the Inspector Linley series. I read a lot of these books in the '90s but they dropped off my radar. This one popped up on some list recently and my library had it. The last book I had read in the series was #11 so I might have to go and catch up.
I like George's writing style and character development and you know that I love a long book with several sub-plots. At 21+ hours this one checked all the boxes. But, it has a pretty sensitive subject matter that might not appeal to everyone. It has also checked pretty much every PC box in the storylines and characters. But, the PC part isn't obnoxious. I think it's handled well.
A police detective is murdered. She had been working on a special task force in the North London Nigerian community trying to stop the cultural practice of female genital mutilation of infants and young girls. There are several possible candidates for the murder and there is a related storyline of a young boy trying to save his sister from being another victim of FGM.
There are references to previous events in the character's lives but it works fine as a stand-alone book.
The Bonesetter's Daughter (711)
By Amy Tan, Read by Amy Tan and Joan Chen
I have page of books on my Audible wish list and many of them are books that are considered classics. This is one of them. It's set in 2 time periods: current day San Francisco and 1920's China in the village near the discovery of Peking Man.
It tells the story of 3 generations of women starting with the Bonesetter's daughter. The book sis told in 3 sections, basically one dedicated to each generation. It opens with the current generation who is dealing with her mother as she develops Alzheimer's and losing her memories of her past.
I loved the section about the Bonesetter's daughter and her daughter. I struggled a little with the granddaughter (current gen) I get the stresses that she had in her life but she came across a bit flat for me. But, all in all, I enjoyed the book.
A Time to Die (603)
By Robert Moore, Read By Pete Cross
This book will not appeal to everyone but if you like non-fiction I think you will find it really interesting. It tells the story of the Kursk disaster.
The Kursk was a nuclear powered Russian submarine that sank in the Barents Sea on August 12 2000. It was participating in Russian naval exercises. There were 2 explosions that nearby ships felt but no one realized that there had been an accident for 6 hours. It was 7 days before a hatch was opened to see if there were survivors.
I know it might not sound interesting, but it really is.
Close Your Eyes (664)
By Michael Robotham, Read By Sean Barrett
This is #8 in the Joe O'Laughlin series. Joe is a clinical psychologist that gets called in on police investigations from times to time. This one opens with the murder of a woman and her teenage daughter in a remote farmhouse. The bodies were staged. Joe discovers that these murders might be related to a rash of attacks where people are choked and mutilated.
Reluctantly Joe allows his oldest daughter to see some of the information about the murdered teenager and she starts some digging on her own.
Robotham writes a great mystery but they are dark. Sean Barrett is a good narrator but in this book he uses the exact same voice for Joe and the killer so sometimes it was difficult to navigate the character changes.
The Magnolia Palace (669)
By Fiona Davis, Read By Karissa Vacker
In the early 1910's there was a model who was a famous muse for sculptors in NYC. One of the artworks is above the entrance to the Frick Mansion. Davis has imagined a story where the model becomes entwined with the Frick family while they were living in the mansion.
50 years later, in the 1960's, a young British model is working on a shoot in the mansion. Through a series of events she ends up locked in the mansion during a snow storm that shut down the city. One of the interns, Joshua, lost track of time in his basement office and also would up locked in. They use their time to follow a treasure hunt that Veronica found in one of the rooms.
Clues are uncovered in the 1960's as the story is told in the 1920's. Davis is a great story teller if you like historical fiction. This one is mostly fiction but there are elements of fact that she explains at the end of the book.
By Philipp Dettmer
Try to picture the day when I was in Costco and saw this on the book table. It's a book written specifically or me and anyone else interested in understanding how the immune system works.
This book is for the beginner researcher. I think there's a lot left out of it but it's a great basic intro to the complexities of the immune system and it has wonderful graphics. The immune system is really difficult to understand so I think he's done a masterful job for us non-medical types. If I knew a high school kid who was interested in medicine I'd buy them this book.
House of Correction by Nicci French (679)
Read By MIchelle Ford
This is the first book that I've ready by Nicci French and I really enjoyed it.
Tabatha is a troubled young woman who is accused of murder. Her attorney suggests that she plead to a lesser charge of manslaughter. She fires the attorney and proceeds to represent herself from her prison cell.
You are always rooting for Tabitha but no one is sure, not even Tabitha, if she is guilty or not. It was a fun read.
By Bryce Courtenay, Read By Humphrey Bower
I read my first Courtenay book, The Potato Factory, in 2012 and I think I've read all of them by now. He is one of my favorite writers of all time. When I read his books I really feel like I know what Australia was during the time period of the book and I feel like I know the characters personally.
Apparently Jessica is based on a true story. If so, Jessica is one of the strongest, bravest and most principled women ever.
She had a tough life growing up but she befriended two local boys. One of them had brain damage and one day she had to save him from lynch mob justice. Not long after that Jessica is pregnant and refuses to name the father. Add in rivalry between her and her sister for the love of the same man and a frowned upon friendship with a local Aboriginal woman. All of those elements make for a sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful story. I couldn't put it down.
The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women (740)
By Elizabeth Norton, Read By Jennifer Dixon
This book isn't going to be for everyone but if you like non-fiction, and specifically history, I think you will find it interesting.
It is exactly what the title says. It's all about what it was like to be a woman during the Tudor period and it covers women of all classes: royals, royal servants, influential widowed citizens and a peasant girl. The book is organized by Shakespeare's 7 stages of life so that each stage profiles different women. It might have felt more organized to just profile different women individually but I understand why she wanted to have this stage-of-life structure to the book.
FYI, life for women is better now.
Customer Gems - Rachel Derstine
This week's inspiration is courtesy of Rachel Derstine. Rachel is a fiber artist and fiber art instructor. You can learn about her in-person and online classes on her website. This piece is the Fisher Fine Arts Library in Philadelphia. She used the Kashmir Gradient (similar to Marrakesh) and the Monterey Bay Gradient for the sky. You can see the gradient effect of Kashmir in the rounded parts of the building. You can read more about how this quilt was made on her website. She shared some additional detail photos below.
For sharing, Rachel received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
There's a reasonable chance that this quilt is going to be a February finish! I finished the quilting last night and it's ready for trimming and binding, maybe Saturday.
I thought I'd share how I handled the bulky seams in the center.
I could tell that the hopping foot wasn't going to go over the thick seams in the middle so I positioned the foot but the center and checked where it was in the panto pattern.
Of course it was right on a stitching line!
I used a whiteboard marker to draw adjusted stitching lines and did a dry run to make sure I had it right.
It worked perfect! There were a couple of other areas where a bulky seam bumped me off the patter a little but none of those areas are noticeable.
Today we're off to the quilt show!
Not much happening
Yesterday was dyeing day and I never accomplish much after a day of dyeing. I usually finish up just before dinner so there's only a little crochet time on those evenings. Yesterday was no different.
What I should have done was get my laptop and catch up on a week's worth of blog reading. I'll try to do that today. I'm way behind.
My big goal for today is more quilting on Summer Sunset. I'm almost at the halfway point and I would have finished it for sure but then remembered that we have an appointment this afternoon. But I'll get a few rows done and it will be done this weekend for sure.
After sleeping under the postage stamp quilt (heavy quilting) and the vulture quilt (light quilting) I have finally accepted that bed quilts must be quilted lightly. It's fun to so all sorts of special and dense quilting but it doesn't make for a cuddly quilt. This quilt is intended for my bed so I'm using a panto that's very open and hopefully it will be a very comfy quilt.
Tomorrow Mom and I are heading to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. I'm so happy to be going back again. I may or may not post tomorrow. If not, I hope you have a great weekend.
A surprise crochet start and finish
Chris and I were on a little trip the past 2 days. For Christmas/Anniversary/Birthday I surprised him with tickets to an Eagles concert in Charlotte, NC. It's his all time favorite band and he would probably have never bought the tickets for himself. So we hopped in the car Monday for a 5 hour drive, arrived at 3, went to the concert and left yesterday morning to return home at 7 am. It was quite a whirlwind but worth every penny and minute. Although I was a total slug the rest of the day and accomplished nothing but a nap.
For old geezers, they still sound like their albums and Vince Gill is the perfect stand in for Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner. It was 3 solid hours of great music. If you like the Eagles check out their tour dates and go if you can. You will not regret it.
I, however, cannot sit in a car for 5 hours with nothing to do. I have one car project set aside but I didn't get time to work up a sample block and couldn't do it in the car. So I pulled out some yarn to start a wheelchair shawl and I actually finished it!
The charity requests that they be horseshoe shaped (not triangle or rectangle) so that they stay on the shoulders easier. This pattern (details below) is perfect for it. I've made it twice before with 4 weight yarn but decided to use two strands this time (5 weight equivalent) and I like the results much better.
The color in the first photo is the most accurate but this will give you an idea of the true shape. The pattern calls for 8 wedges but I decided to try 7 with the bulky weight and I think it's about perfect.
Pattern: Carrie Penny Eyelet Shawl on YouTube
Yarn: Lion Brand Mandala Tweed Stripes, 2 strands held together. I used all of two cakes except for the little scrap balls in the photo. I like working with this yarn a lot and I like the feel and drape of the finished shawl. I have 4 balls of this yarn left!
Hook size L (8mm)
Working with bulky weight yarn and a large hook while riding in the car is a nice way to work.
A new quilt project
I intended to have a shop update today with a new Stash Pack but I was not happy with 2 of the fabrics so we'll have to wait a week to see that. Meanwhile, I need to make a wedding gift quilt.
The son of a friend is getting married in June. I haven't actually met the bride so I went to her registry to see what kind of colors she selected. Well, as is the custom right now, everything is GRAY! I do mean everything. There isn't one drop of color in anything she picked. I think gray is going to become the avocado green of the 2030's.
The groom is a big hunter so I purchased this camo fabric for the backing. It has a little bit of purple in it so I took that as license to add a bit of color to the top. I'm going to make the Antelope Canyon quilt again. It was easy and pretty fast so I should be able to get this one made in a few weeks. Last week I got a start by dyeing the fabrics. I will not use all of these shades but I decided to go ahead and dye 8 shades of each so that I can lay them out together and pick which to use.
I think it's going to be very pretty and should make a nice sofa quilt.
Country School Quilters weekend
It was sewing weekend with my local quilt club and it was great as always. I generally work on veterans quilt tops and I'm still working through the dozen (or more) kits that I cut out last year. This "kit" is actually 2 quilts using scraps of oranges and yellows with two scrap chunks of hand dyed fabric. I had gotten the star blocks for this top pieced in December so I got busy right away on Friday putting the it together. This one has orange fabric for the binding.
By the time we closed up shop Saturday I had the blocks for the second one pieced.
I didn't want to leave it unfinished until April (because I will miss the March sewing days) so I came home and had the top together before we ate dinner. I love both of them but I think this is my favorite because I love the mottled background. It's just a leftover piece of wide backing fabric and I think it worked out well for this bright quilt. When I finish quilting the star quilt I can get these two loaded and quilted. I delivered 31 quilts to our VA hospital contact Saturday so it's time to start collecting the next batch.
Not all of the veterans quilts need to be patriotic. These will be good for someone who loves the beach.
I eve cut up all of the scraps. I couldn't bear putting anything into my pristine scrap bin yet.
I think I have 4 quilt kits left to put together and then I'll start designing some quilts from the big bin of pre-cut pieces. It's time to start stitching up some of these scraps.
I hope you stuck around for this little treat. My friend, Becky, works with Barbara Brackman on her "block of the whatever" programs. They always have a block to make and a little history lesson. I don't remember which specific program this quilt was from but the program included just the blocks. Becky designed the layout and the spectacular border. You'll get to see more of this when it's featured in a Customer Gems post after it's done but I wanted you to get a sneak peek of this gorgeous quilt. It's all hand applique and will be hand quilted.
Customer Gems - Stephanie Wilds
Quilt artist Stephaine Wilds is knows for her monochromatic portraits. You can see several of her pieces in the Customer Gallery (scroll to the bottom). Her latest commission pet portrait is Ivy and is made with the Black Shades Pack and Sepia Shades Pack combined with batik fabrics..
For sharing, Stephanie received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
My main accomplishment for yesterday was getting Summer Sunset loaded and one row quilted. It took a long time because it's huge and because I wanted it centered in the ice dyed back. After much wrangling, I did it! I'll quilt on it a lot this weekend after I go to sewing days with my quilt club. I'll be working on veterans quilt tops there.
I hope you have a great weekend!
Scraps are done!
The biggest basket of scraps were the hand dyes and now they have been reduced to this. I have strips for a couple of string quilts and lots of blocks.
Next I tackled the symmetry scraps and ended up with this. I think that I might be able to make some cool quilts mixing the symmetry and hand dyes together in a few quilts.
I will plan some quilts another time. For now I'm just happy to have things organized.
I also got all of the papers off this quilt so I'm ready to load it today and think about the quilting. I'm still leaning towards a pantograph so I don't have to deal with the seam bulk.
To subscribe click the RSS Feed button and copy the URL of that page into your blog reader.
In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.