Fabric of the Week
If you make landscape quilts you know that you need a wide variety of greens to capture the changing seasons and shadows. Verde is one of those magical greens that's kind of ugly on it's own but it's just the right hint or highlight to being a landscape quilt to life. If you need some for your stash it's on sale all this week!
Stars have been very popular lately and I'm working hard to keep a great selection for you. I've added a new set for you this week! Stars are 1 yard cuts and all unique. These aren't made from my color recipes, I make them up as I go so if you like one get it now, I can't duplicate it.
This past weekend Chris and I took off for a few days of hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a great trip and I'll share a few photos at the end of the post. But before we left my latest (and final) order of Wild Gears arrived! These floor cloths that I'm going to make are getting REALLY expensive! I'm going to have to find something else to draw on when that project is done.
I wanted even bigger drawings so I bought the Enormous Hoops, Oval and Ruler. These photos are from the Wild Gears website because my sets are spread out all over the cutting table right now.
Since I was already spending the money I also got the Modular Gear set and the 3-way Connector Set. You can build custom shapes and tracks for the gears. Or as Mom says, "It's the Wild Gears Hot Wheels track." I can't wait to play with this! But I did play with the ruler, ovals and enormous rings a bit.
Here are some of the designs that I was playing with before we left. Keep in mind that these are practice pieces using Crayola markers on newsprint. The ultimate project is to do the good designs using a fat black Sharpie marker on a painted floorcloth. Well, on 3 floorcloths!
We had a great trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We left Thursday and returned Sunday. We live so close that we had plenty of time to hike on Thursday and Sunday too. The first thing that struck us was the amount of tree damage along the parkway and in the forest. There were trees, limbs and branches down everywhere. We talked to a Park Ranger Thursday that told us they had a big ice event in November that has taken months to clean up. We saw several trees like this on trails. Nature will fix it.
There were fields of Mayapple. We have these in our yard and, thanks to the Ranger, I now know what they are.
We hiked 14.4 miles in 4 days and that was pretty good since it rained Friday and we only got in a 1.2 mile hike that day. We enjoyed lots of waterfalls.
We stayed on the mountain so we would have a great view and this place did not disappoint! After driving in the rain Friday we were rewarded with this when we got back to base. The weather was perfect the rest of the trip.
I even hauled myself out of bed early enough one morning to see the sun rise over the mountains. Then I went back to bed.
We were both exhausted when we got home last night but Chris still couldn't sleep because he watch Game of Thrones.
How did we get to the end of April so fast? I feel like I just posted books last week but as I look through the list I see that I did make it through a lot of books this month. I start every book with great hope and excitement but the results this month were a mixed bag this month. Since I started borrowing audiobooks from the library I take more risks with the books I try. I don't care if I don't finish a free book. But the library doesn't have a huge inventory of audiobooks so I still get about half through Audible. That's still a 50% savings over my usual book expenditures. Audible does let you return books for a refund if you don't like them and I sure took advantage of that this month.
But, let's talk about the good from the month. I read two good books from William Kent Krueger. Heaven's Keep is the 9th installment in the excellent Cork O'Connor series but Ordinary Grace is a new stand-alone novel. Ordinary Grace was a wonderful story. Also in fiction I enjoyed Belgravia from Julian Fellows. It's Downton Abbey with more intrigue.
On the non-fiction side I loved Code Name Lisa, a WWII biography, and Bellevue, the history of the famous hospital. Both were excellent. I'll leave you to read through the reviews for my losers of the month.
What have you been reading? I added a couple of your recommendations to my reading list based on your comments last month. If you have read any of these books and have a different opinion, please share! It's good to have different perspectives.
Heart A History
By Sandeep Jauhar, Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
I really wanted to like this book and I generally do like medical texts written for the layperson, but I'm not sure I know what this book was. About a third of it was the history of the treatment of heart disease and development of medical science. The rest was his family medical history (including a chapter on his Mother with Parkinson's) and his his own mistakes/foibles as an intern and new doctor. The book was about 25% interesting and 75% annoying. I couldn't wait for it to end.
By William Kent Krueger, Narrated by Rich Orlow
Krueger is best knows for his Cork O'Connor mystery series. This is a stand alone novel about a family in a small town dealing with personal and community tragedy. The story, set in 1961, is told from the point of view of 13 year old Frank Drum and starts with the discovery of an unidentified dead man near the railroad tracks in town. The tragedies don't stop there and will also personally touch the Drum family.
It's not so much a mystery, as it is a story about a family trying to come to grips with these tragedies and mixed with the responsibilities of the father who is the local minister. It's a lovely story and you will feel part of the family as you read it.
Eager: The Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
By Ben Goldfarb, Narrated By Will Damron
I hated this book.I still don't know anything about the life of the beaver because Goldfarb didn't really cover that. I know nothing about the mating habits, dam building habits, eating habits or anything else about the LIFE of the beaver.
What I got was a repetitive narration of EVERY biologist working to reintroduce beavers back into the environment. I know how totally brilliant they all are because they are "beaver believers" and they know that only the beaver can reverse all of our ecological damage. The beaver is the solution to everything! He actually has the audacity to propose that beaver dams might be able to replace all of the man-made dams in California to solve water issues there. He's honestly partly serious about that.
I think beavers are kind of cute and they are very cool because they are like us in that they change their environment for their benefit. The people who study beavers, by contrast, are proselytizing jerks.
Code Name Lise
By Larry Loftis, Narrated by Kate Reading
We are in an age of girl power and are culturally fixated on "empowering" women. If you are looking for a book to give to any woman feeling powerless, this is the book. Odette Samson was not the most decorated female spy in British WWII history, she is celebrated as the most decorated spy in British WWII history, period. Her story is well known in Britain but not so much in the US. It's inspiring and beautifully narrated by Kate Reading.
The Waiting Room
By Emily Bleeker, Narrated by Sophie Amoss
Nine hours of wandering around in the mind of a crazy person.
Veronica Shelton's husband died shortly after her baby was born and now she can't bear to touch the baby. All kinds of weird things are happening to her. I won't share the ending but will say that it's billed as some sort of psychological thriller when it's really like listening to the crazy person on the subway who insists on telling you about some grand conspiracy. The story is full of cliches, has a timeline that simply doesn't work and unrealistically enabling characters.
By William Keent Krueger, Narrated by Buck Schriner
This is the 9th in the Cork O'Connor series. His two daughters are away at college so they are very minor characters this time. The story opens with Jo on a business trip when her chartered plan goes down with her tribal clients. Searches in the area find nothing and all are presumed lost. Months later Cork is approached by the pilot's wife to look into what happened.
His son, Stephen, is now a teen and goes on the search with him. It's another good O'Connor story.
With this book the publisher changed narrators from David Chandler to Buck Schriner. That was a very difficult adjustment for me and I'm still not sure I like him. I looked ahead in the series and it appears that Schriner only narrated 3 books and then they returned to Chandler. I think I can deal with that. Schriner isn't horrible, he's just not right.
The Return of the Native
By Thomas Hardy, Narrated By Alan Rickman
Let me start by saying that I am not a Thomas Hardy fan. I get that his novels were avante-garde for his time but the stories mostly bore me and his prose exhausts me. Two hours in and you know exactly how this one was going to end. Regardless, this version is narrated by Alan Rickman and for that reason alone I had to listen to it.
One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is from Senses and Sensibility. Marianne (Kate Winslet) is just recovering from her near-death illness at Col. Brandon's (Alan Rickman) home. He comes into the room to see if he can do anything and Marianne finally recognizes him and thanks him. Rickman conveys so much with his physical response. If you ever watch S&S again look for that moment and watch his slight body movements and facial expression. It conveys so much in that half second.
So that's why I listened to this book. I loved Alan Rickman in everything he's ever done. As far as I can tell, it's the only book he's ever narrated and, as expected, it's masterful. The story? It's fine.
By Ann Cleeves, Narrated by Kenny Blythe
This is the 6th in the Shetland Island mystery series. A group of college friends travel to the Shetland Islands to celebrate the wedding of one of the travelers. One of the friends, Eleanor, disappears. Her body is found near a cliff.
Before her death, Eleanor claimed to have seen the ghost of a child that is rumored to appear only to childless women. Following seeing the child the woman becomes pregnant.
It's Detective Jimmy Perez's first case since the murder of his fiance. He, and his boss, Willow Reeves work the case. I enjoyed the mystery side of this story. The sexual undercurrents between Willow and Jimmy just don't seem to fit their personalities and it takes away from the story. But other than that it was a fun mystery.
By David Oshinsky, Narrated By Fred Sanders
If you like history this will be an interesting book to add to your reading list. It's really the history of medicine told through one of the most famous public hospitals in the country. It's the story of medical research, treatment of some of the most challenging diseases, immigration and mental health treatment. Their commitment to treating anyone who needs help has made Bellevue the front line for new disease outbreaks. It was a very interesting read.
By Julian Fellows, Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
If you love Downton Abbey or Jane Austen books this is the book for you. The story begins in 1815 on the Eve of the Battle of Waterloo at the Duchess of Richmond's ball. One family loses their son in battle and the other loses their daughter months later.
Twenty five years later the events surrounding the ball impact both families.
It's a good read and the narration is perfect.
The Night Agent
By Matthew Quirk, Narrated By Chris Andrew Ciulla
Peter Sutherland is an FBI agent who was selected to work on the White House situation room a year ago. He's surprised because he happens to be the son of an FBI agent suspected of selling secrets to Russia. One night he takes a call from a woman named Rose with a coded message telling that her Aunt and Uncle have been killed.
Peter takes matters into his own hands and finds Rose. What follows is a series of chase scenes and murders that point to a mole in the White House.
It sounds a lot more interesting than it is. First off, there isn't a chance on God's green earth that the FBI would hire the son of a suspected spy so the very premise of the story is laughable.The reviews for this book are mostly outstanding but about 30% are not favorable and I fall into that 30%. There was just too much luck involved to make the story play out. The Russian sky group was so large that there's no way these 2 people would have been left alive more than about 4 hours and yet they drove his car and used their personal cell phones for several days without being tracked. I strained my eyeball muscles with all the eye rolling that I did.
The narration was so weak that I had to speed it up to 1.25 to be able to tolerate him. But about 70% of the people who have read it loved it so keep that in mind as you consider any influence of my review.
We're back this week with another great art quilt from Patricia Caldwell. Inner Connections continues her circle series using the Georgia Peach Gradient combined perfectly with batik fabrics. It's couched with hand dyed yarns and the gems are Birds Eye Jasper.
If you are in the Sedona, AZ are over the next 2 months be sure to stop by the Sedona Arts Center where Patricia will be the featured artist!
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 started the big marbles this week and I'm really happy to finally be at this point. One of the challenges that I had on the little marbles was dealing with the fact that my circles aren't really perfect circles. It shows on some of them and, no surprise, it REALLY shows on the bigger circles! I decided not to sweat it. But I know that for the next quilt I will need to applique the circles, not piece them.
I also discovered that I have less ruler options for the bigger circles. Most of the "shapely" rulers done reach across the width of these circles so I have to use those from the center. But, so far, it's going OK. Here are the first 5.
In between Spirograph quilting session I've been working on the fish backsplash a bit.
I'm filling in the background with these round glass tiles that my friend gave me. Luckily I started at the bottom.
About 3/4 up the right edge I realized that they might not fit perfectly inside my frame. I have a lot of cut tiles around the fish but I don't want a whole row of cut tiles at the top. When I set the frame I never even thought to check the size of the frame with the tile. But I can fix this.
I have half a box of the frame tile so I just chiseled off the existing frame and I'll redo it after the water is done. I'll probably have to remove the right side too. No biggie. I'm just making sure that the top row of tile is level. You can see that the dots aren't going to line up perfectly in this and I'm cool with that too. There are some gaps and shifts int he pattern. It's pretty much impossible to keep everything straight around the fish and it actually gives a little movement to the water. More importantly this is a backsplash that's under a sewer pipe so how perfect does it really need to be?
Don't worry, the fish will really stand out once it's grouted. They will all be outlined in white.
It's official. I'm tired of this project. It's been fun to come up with new designs for each circle but it's also been a little tedious and stressful because I'm running out of ideas. Now I just want to get it done and I'm OK with that. This was never intended to be a "special" quilt and I have no plans of ever entering it in a show or anything. It will ultimately be a bed quilt. The sole purpose of the quilt was to a learning exercise and it's certainly been that! I've really explored by ruler collection and have dozens of ideas for using then on new projects. So now I'm determined to get this wrapped up and move on.
This week I've been working on finishing up the small circles and next I'll start the 18 04 19 big circles. Here are all of the rest of the small circles. I'm excited to have them done and I think I came up with some good new designs with them.
Now to get started on the big circles!
After my premature audiobook review post you will not be surprised that I'm in need of a little break! Chris and I will be taking a little trip to do some hiking so orders placed after Wednesday will be shipped next Monday....unless they have custom dyed items and then they will be shipped the following Monday. I'm still laughing at myself about yesterday!
Fabric of the Week
This week I'm celebrating bright colors starting with the Fabric of the Week. Solar Eclipse is a gradient that runs from true red through shades of orange to bright gold. It's sunshine on fabric and it's 20% off through Sunday.
Crayon Box Stash Pack
I'm so excited about this new Stash Pack! I had intended to make 2 new stash Packs to coordinate with the Color Wheel Basics fabrics. But once I started planning I got excited to make one big new Crayon Box of fabric. This set of fabrics has 20 fat eighths. There are 10 very textured fabrics in the Color Wheel colors plus 10 more fabrics that blend 2 of the Color Wheel colors in one mottled fabric. Color Wheel fabrics are always on sale and the new Crayon Box Stash Pack is included in that sale category!
I used fabrics like these along with Color Wheel, Color Wheel Medium and Black to make my Rainbow quilt. I have a free tutorial for the Rainbow Quilt. You can make it with these fabrics or fabric from your own stash. It's a great scrap buster pattern.
Cathy Michaliga made this banner using the Coleus Gradient as her color inspiration and for elements in the banner. It will be unveiled at her church tomorrow.
For sharing, Cathy 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 finally parked myself in front of the computer without going in the internet. It turns out that you can get a lot done when you stay off the internet. I did my EQ3 lesson where I learned a few more things that I didn't know before. Imagine that!
Lesson 3 is about creating blocks using guidelines and drafting from the center. I did not know that I could draw my own guidelines!
Then we created this applique block. I've never done applique blocks before and certainly never used wreath maker. It's exceptionally cool!
This is the quilt put together as piecing and applique. I don't particularly like the quilt but that wasn't the purpose.
The final part of the lesson was how to turn the applique block into quilting lines. That was new to me also. After I finished this I got to thinking about a book my friend loaned me and whether I could draft some of the designs in EQ.
Instagram is all atwitter over this book. People are making carved stamps from it. I thought to try to design pieced blocks from it.
Now I know that this has probably been done and all of the blocks are probably already in the EQ library. That's not the point. The point is the exercise and it was a darned good exercise. I did the first two patterns in the book. The third pattern is based on a hexagon so I'll have to wait a couple of chapters to learn how to do that.
Here are the first two patterns in the book. I don't know if I'll be able to design all of them but I'll give it a try. I couldn't have done it without learning about guidelines in this lesson so that's good.
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.
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