Linda Swanekamp is a long time blog friend and customer. Last year when she had a sudden heart attack I sent her a get well package of hand dyed scrappy fabrics. Around the same time her Grandson made a handmade get well card and drew a quilt in the photo. The colors in his quilt matched many of the colors in the fabric package. She was inspired to combine both to make a real version of the quilt.
You can read much more about this quilt and follow a link to an online interview to "meet" Linda, on her blog. It's a year since her heart attack and totally healthy again!
For sharing, Linda 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.
I can't believe the end of March is already here. Even with travel time I mostly finished 9 books this month. I say mostly because I didn't finish Fly Girls. It should have been a book that I would enjoy but it wasn't, and I didn't. Aside from that it was actually a very good month in books. I stated with a biography of Milton S Hershey that kept me on a constant chocolate craving and made me decide to go to Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA this year. I've been wanted to go for a while and this book made me want to see the city that Milton built.
The most riveting book of the month was The Nightingale. I was completely invested int he characters and their struggles in WWII France.
What good books have you read this month? I read many of your recommendations. I might not get to them right away but I do put them on my Audible wish list.
By Michael D'Antonio, Narrated by Jonathan Yen
I used to eat a ton of Hershey's Special Dark and then about 15 years ago they decided that adding dairy to it would improve it. As a dairy-allergic person I was incensed. I wrote all kinds of letters to them and even tried to put a hex on the company. None of those things worked and I haven't been able to eat a Hershey product since. But I do love biographies about interesting people so I let go of my hatred and animosity to read this book and I'm glad I did.
Milton S. Hershey was a fascinating and very driven person. D'Antonio tells the whole story of his life from childhood and through the ownership of his company after his death. I really enjoyed it. It's not only the story of Mr Hershey but also the story of the candy and chocolate industry.
The Last Man
By Vince Flynn, Narrated by George Guidall
This is the 13th book in the Mitch Rapp series and might be the last one that Flynn wrote before his death. Kyle Mills is writing the series now and since he's one of my favorite authors I'm still enjoying the series.
I had not read them in order but with this one I'm caught up. In this one Mitch is investigating the kidnapping of another of the CIA's operatives. They must get Joe Rickman out before he is tortured into revealing clandestine operations.
It's fast paced and I couldn't put it down.
Deeper Than The Dead
By Tami Hoag, Narrated By Kristen Potter
Last month Sylvia recommend The Boy by Tami Hoag. My library didn't have it but they do have the Oak Knoll series. I didn't love the last Hoag book that I read but it was time to give her a try again. I was pleasantly surprised.
The story is set in fictional Oak Knoll CA in 1894. 3 children running from a bully stumble over a dead body in the woods. Their 5th grade teacher, Ann Navarre, is right behind them. The discovery sets off an investigation that points to several influential families of the community.
It's fast paced and riveting enough to have kept me awake until 2 am one night. The romance angle of the story would have been more believable of teenagers and the 5th graders are often portrayed as being more emotionally mature and insightful than 10 year olds really are. But none of that had much of an influence on the plot and action so it was only mildy annoying rather than a vehicle for lazy literary miracles. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next book in the series.
By Kristen Hannah, Narrated By Polly Stone
Set is WWII France, the book focuses on 2 sisters, Vianne and Isabelle and how they navigate the war. They come in with plenty of family baggage the creates a baseline of tension. Vianne is just trying to survive with her daughter until the war is over and her husband returns. She eventually has to billet a Nazi Army officer. Isabelle becomes part of the French Resistance. They each fight the war and resist the Nazis in their own way.
It's a moving and, sometimes, gut-wrenching story. The writing is so good that during some scenes in a concentration camp I was listening in bed under a pile of blankets and I got very cold from the placebo effect of the narration. It's moving, emotional and outstanding. It took me a couple of days to get beyond this book.
I hadn't read Kristen Hannah is a while but I'm excited to find another.
Order To Kill
By Kyle Mills, Narrated by George Guidall
This is the 15th in the Mitch Rapp series. I wasn't going to read another Rapp novel this month but I needed something reliable and less emotional after The Nightingale.
In this adventure Rapp is trying to keep Pakistani nukes from getting into the wrong hands, specifically the Russians.
Another fast paced Rapp novel.
By Keith O'Brien, Narrated By Erein Bennett
I was excited to see this book as an Audible Deal of the Day. It's right up my alley combining history and biography. It's about pioneering female pilots in the 20's and 30's. I really tried to like this book but after 4 and a half hours I gave up. Honestly, it just wasn't that interesting.
If you are into aviation history you may love this book but it wasn't for me.
The Terminal List
By Jack Carr, Narrated by Ray Porter
I don't care for science fiction because I can't accept ignoring the laws of physics. I'm also not a fan of mystery books that are completely implausible. However, this once, I'm making an exception.
In The Terminal List LCDR James Reece is leading his SEAL team unit on a mission when they are ambushed and everyone except him and one other man are killed. Blaming himself he sets out to find why they were ambushed. The answer leads to the highest levels of government and he sets off on a revenge tour.
The extent of the conspiracy is unbelievable because too many people are involved. In reality, it would have fallen apart way before the orchestrated ambush. The revenge tour is also implausible but it is supremely satisfying!
It's not the best book I've ever read but it was good enough for me to put the second installment on hold for it's release in September.
She Lies in Wait
By Gytha Lodge, Multiple Narrators
This is another 1st in a series that I tried out this month and I was pleasantly surprised. In 1983 a teen out with 6 other teens disappears. 30 years later her body is found and Jonah Sheens is the detective in charge. 30 years ago he was a rookie cop and knew all 6 of the other kids.
The story switches back and forth between 1983 and preset day and it's told from the different perspectives of the participants with different narrators. I'm generally not a fan of that approach but it works in this book.
This is a new book and series that just came out in January so I'll have to wait a while for the second in the series.
By Ruth Downie, Narrated by Simon Vance
This is the 5th in the Roman Empire series. I really enjoy this series it combines my two favorite genres in one book: mysteries and historical fiction. The central character of the series is Gaius Petrius Ruso, a Roman medicus who decides to serve in the Roman outpost of Britannia. In this installment he is back in his post in the 20th legion and starts investigating a series of mysterious accidents and deaths.He's helped by his wife Tilla who is a barbarian Britain herself.
It's an interesting and well-written series.
I will get Lost My Marbles back on FloMo today but I decided to get 2 more veterans quilts Tuesday afternoon first. Both of these were made by Betsy and since they were both blue I could quilt them together on one backing and could also use the same thread.
The fabric that she used is so soft and the Jacob's Ladder block made a really nice cuddly quilt.
She made this one using 2 batik fabrics and the Blockade pattern. She said it went together very quickly.
Here you can see the quilting. I really like this pantograph for the veterans quilts.It's a perfect design and it quilts up quickly.
This blue backing that I dyed last month worked perfect for both of these quilts.
I have a huge collection of variegated threads. Some are King Tut and some are Rainbows. I don't use them much anymore on my own quilts so I'm trying to use them up on the veterans quilts.
I've got loads of thread left but I'm finally down one cone! This is all that's left after I finished both of these quilts. How's that for good quilting luck?
While we were away I finished 3.5 more of my vintage flower blocks. I discovered that this is a great airplane project. The stitching on the moon blocks is too tiny to do on a moving plane but this blanket stitch was a great way to pass the time. With an audiobook on I could easily ignore everyone else on the plane....like the two ladies on the trip home who told each other almost every detail of their failed/failing marriages. It always amazes me the detail personal information the people are willing to share with strangers. It turns out that these 2 ladies worked for the same big bank but in different cities. That conversation could be considered networking or career limiting, only time will tell. I just stitched and minded my own business.
I finished the 4th of these while I half-watched Virginia Tech make it into the Sweet 16 Sunday night. Apparently this is only the second time in school history that they've made it this far. The first time was 1967! It's too bad that we will likely lose the coach after this season. But deep down I really only care about football.
I just love these blocks and I only have about 22 left to do. This is going a little faster than I planned. With each one I like studying out the original quilter cut out the petals. You can see that she really put a lot of thought into fussy cutting them as much as possible. They make me happy.
Fabric of the Week!
It's great to be home and back into a normal routine and by "normal" I mean playing with fabric! This week have have some new fabrics for you but let's start with the fabric of the week, Twilight. Twilight is great for moody sky effects but Savannah Tuten of Cactus Flower Creations used it for this stunning Dream Catcher. Twilight is 20% off through Sunday.
Reflections are wonderfully textured fabrics that were originally designed as sky and water fabrics but they are versatile enough for almost any application. This week I've added 2 more of the popular pale sky versions plus 2 darker versions for possible night effects. You can see all of the Reflections fabrics by clocking on the image above.
A few weeks ago I took a break from Lost My Marbles to quilt some veterans quilts and this quilt for Mom.
Mom thought she was going to use up her stash of 2.5" squares.
Seriously, she should know better by now. We know that scraps procreate while we are away. This might have made a dent but I don't think it came close to using up what she had. Still, it's a pretty stunning quilt.
The color in the first photo is way off. This one is a more accurate representation of the color.
The first original quilting plan was a pantograph but I've used pantgraphs a lot and wanted a change. I decided on a mix of ruler work in the narrow sashing and continuous curves in the blocks. But while I was quilting the first block I thought that the outside border needed to be feathers. I wanted feathers somewhere else too so I changed the plan a bit and decided to do alternating blocks in feathered wreaths.
I can quilt small feathers pretty good but I am totally horrible at feathered wreaths simply because I've not done them often. I really, really bad at the centers of the wreaths. I got a little more practice on this quilt!
I dyed a pale green backing for this quilt and you can see the texture of the quilting really well here. There's a 4" feathered border and feathered medallions to go with it. I probably should have feathered every block but I wasn't going to rip out any stitches to start over.
This quilt is going to my cousin who will really appreciate having something made by her Aunt but she will not care about, and probably not notice, the quilting. Our policy is that we give people blankets to cuddle with so we don't stress the construction details.
To show you how big this quilt is, here it is draped over the queen guest bed. I think this could also serve on a king size bed.
I'm glad I don't have to bind it.
This weeks gems is another desert-inspired quilt that combines hand dyed fabric, couching, photography and feather charms. The fabric is from the Kashmir Gradient. The photographs are her own that were digitally manipulated and printed in fabric.
This was the best part of my vacation. I know that's not saying much given how the vacation started, but I have wanted to meet Patricia for a long time and we had the best afternoon together Tuesday. We started with a tour of the gallery where her work is sold and we posed for a photo (that we both hate) in front of Desert Landscapes.
I do have the best customers!
For sharing, Patricia 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.
I'm finally unpacked from our trip and finishing up the last of the laundry today. I've unearthed all of my travel project containers so I can share my 4 new moons.
My evenings in the Denver hotel alone were great from hand stitching these moons.
Today I'm running errands but hope to get back to working on Mom's quilt this afternoon or tomorrow.
Chris and I went on quite an adventure over the past 8 days.
We started out in Silverthorne, CO visiting with my best friend and her husband. I don't ski but I was happy to hang out with this cutie while they skied. Ginger and I had planned lots of walks and plenty of relaxing and stitching.
That plan went totally awry. The condo was at 9600 feet and I got an astounding case of altitude sickness. After drinking lots of water, to no avail, they got me oxygen and that helped enough for me to have the energy to book a hotel in Golden for the last 3 days. Chris dropped me there and I Lyfted all around Golden and Denver for a few days.
While Chris skied I checked out fabrics stores in the area. One of the highlights was finding this quilt shop. Have you heard of Wooden Spools? They sell beautiful yarns and fabrics and have the coolest business model. They BUY and SELL fabric! If you have unused fabric that is still in new condition they will buy it and they offer it for sale at wonderful bargain prices. You can tell they they are picky about what they buy so it's all great quality. If you are ever in Denver be sure to check this place out.
I also found the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum and was thrilled with the current exhibit. The theme is "It Takes Two" and the show features famous artist duos Claudia Clark Myers and Marilyn Badger, Sue Nickels and Pat Holly, Jan Hutchinson and Gail Stepanek, and collaborations from Christine Perrigo with Chawne Kimber, Latifah Saafir, Kathleen Probst, Karen Lee, and Stephanie Ruyle. It's a wonderful exhibit! I took lots of photos and will try to get them edited to post next week.
When Chris and I planned the trip I considered the first part "his" vacation so I added on a "her" vacation and that was to stop in Flagstaff on the way home so I could finally see the Grand Canyon. I had adjusted to the altitude in Denver so an extra 1000 feet wasn't a problem. We only had 2 days but we filled then up! There's no describing the vastness of the Grand Canyon and I'm so glad we stopped to see it. We drove to the lava flows at Sunset Canyon, visited the meteor site and even went to Winslow so that Chris could get a photo "on the corner" and pay homage to his favorite band. Between the meteor, lava and canyons we definitely got our science on.
The second day, after visiting Winslow, we drove the stunning Oak Creek Canyon drive to Sedona and I got to meet Patricia Caldwell! That's the exact same Patricia Caldwell who makes so many beautiful things with my fabric. We visited the gallery where her work is sold so I got to see several pieces of hers along with the fabulous photos of her husband, Bill Caldwell. They took us on a great tour of the red rocks around Sedona. We are definitely going back there sometime.
We had lots of adventures with flights and rental cars. Going out we just barely got up the mountain before the blizzard hit because our flights were delayed by 2 hours and then the rental car company couldn't seem to give us the right car. They would send us to a parking spot but it would be the wrong car. On the third try they were so embarrassed that they gave us a Mercedes SUV. It was a lovely car but we are so inept that we had trouble figuring out how to even turn on the windshield wipers.
When we got to Flagstaff there were no cars! She actually offered us a 15 passenger van. We were about to take Lyft to the hotel and wait for a car to be delivered the next morning...which was fine. But then she gave us a big Nissan SUV that she wasn't supposed to rent out. It was a nice ride. Much nicer than what we paid for.
I learned a long time ago that if you are nice to the customer service people they will generally bend over backwards to help you. When we were leaving Richmond last week our flight was delayed so much that they had to book us on a later connection in Charlotte. While I was at the counter a couple came up INSISTING that the nearby gate be opened to let them on the plane (because the plane was still at the gate). "They didn't hear the flight being called and we were sitting right there". The guy was really ugly and the counter lady finally said "Are you sure you want to be so rude to the person who is about to help you?" His wife finally pulled him away. They seriously acted like it was the airport's fault that they missed their flight. Well, they wound up sitting beside us on the flight to Richmond where I learned the truth.....they were in the bar while the flight was boarding! There are 2 people who are always going to be disappointed in what life hands them.
Meanwhile the American agent was kind enough to wave a $20 fee for me.
Chris and I are taking a little vacation starting today. usually I prepare a lot of posts while I'm away but I simply ran out of time to do that this time. So you won't be hearing from me until next Thursday or Friday. I may be posting on Instagram (vickisews) and Facebook if you follow me there because I will have access to a sewing machine and some Wild Gears while I'm away.
I'll leave you with the latest Wild Gears designs that I've drawn up in preparation for the kitchen floor cloths. They look a little ragged with the markers I'm using so just imagine them done in black Sharpie.
See you next week!
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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.