I think you will be a little shocked at how short my reading list is this month. I admit that I've been a little distracted by Podcasts lately, specifically health-focused podcasts. There are also a couple of books that I have listened to that I will not share as they might be considered controversial and I'm not interested in getting into any moral debates. Some things we all need to investigate for ourselves and we don't need to share.
But I thought I would share some of the podcasts that I'm listening to. I tend to roll in and out of particular podcasts so don't take this as a definitive list of podcasts that I'm dedicated to. These just reflect current interests.
I like to listen to podcasts to go to sleep and quiet my mind.
- Sleep Cove is my favorite. There are 2 types of episodes. One is meditation to relax and the other type is boring narration. Both work for me and Christopher Fitton has a nice relaxing voice. I have some of the sleep meditations downloaded so I don't even have to stream them.
- Myths and Legends isn't meant to be a sleep podcast. Jason and Carissa Weiser have a great concept here to tell the stories of myth from all cultures around the world. The charm is that Janson tells the stories in more modern language. The stores are great but I found his voice to be incredibly soothing and it puts me right to sleep.
These are the only two podcasts that I can get Chris to listen to. We listen to them on car trips.
No Such Thing As A Fish - This is my #1 favorite podcast of all. The 4 hosts come together each week with 4 random fun facts and then spend about 50 minutes in hilarious discussion of the facts.
99% Invisible - Roman Mars explores lots of urban living and design topics. It's very interesting and a lot of fun.
I love true crime and there are several interesting true crime podcasts. I don't listen to all of them all of the time but these have some good episodes:
The Murder Squad - I think this was my first murder podcast. I found it because of my interest in the Golden State Killer. Paul Holes and Billy Jensen were involved with Michelle McNamara in researching GSK. They review unsolved crimes.
Criminal - More true crime by host Phoebe Judge. Great research and she has a wonderful radio voice. I've used this one occasionally to go to sleep with.
Small Town Dicks - Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson) is the co-host of this podcast with 2 brothers who spent their careers as detectives in a small town somewhere. They interview detective from around the world to tell their most interesting crime stories.
The Opportunist - This one is a new one but really well researched. The most recent series tells an in-depth story of cult leader Sheryl Ruthven
On the health front I've become interested in "functional medicine". I'm not into it as a total flip from traditional medicine but I just like to research new stuff and my doctor has a functional medicine bent to her recommendations. I like that because I hate pharmaceuticals.
Peter Attia Drive - The fact that I listen to podcasts at all is because my doctor recommended one of Attia's episodes. This is a pretty intense medical discussion so you really have to be almost studying medicine. I don't listen to many of his episodes but there are a few that have been relevant to me. He's really obsessed with longevity.
The Healthy Rebellion - Is hosted by Robb Wolf and his wife Nikki. He wrote the first book about the paleo diet and I'm reading his book "Wired To Eat". There are 2 types of episodes. One is called Salty Talk where Robb explores one topic or piece of research in depth. The second type is Q&A responding to submitted questions. You have to be able to tolerate some salty language but the information is some of the most honest health information available to us. But if you are interested in reversing metabolic disease you might like this one.
There are some others that I'm listening to to try and I haven't made any decisions yet. Some of these people really lean total carnivore. Being allergic to chlorophyll, I'm no vegan but I'm no carnivore either. But there are some interesting episodes on these:
Dr. Ruscio Radio
Fundamental health with Paul Salidino
The Doctor's Farmacy
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what are your favorites?
There are 2 books that I just could not get into this month:
IQ by Joe Ide - This one is showing up on a lot of recommended lists lately. If it bothers you to hear the n-word in every paragraph then don't read this book.
Brothers York by Thomas Penn - Too much like listening to a history book
Enemy at the Gates
By Kyle Mills, Read By George Guidall
This is book 20 in the Mitch Rapp series and I'm so glad that Vince Flynn's estate picked Kyle Mills to continue the Rapp series. I actually like them better since he started writing them.
There's a mole in the CIA who has stolen a file on the world's richest man, Nicholas Ward. Ward and a virologist have barely survived a kidnapping. Ward hires Rapp to protect him while they are trying to uncover the plot.
It's very fast paced and action packed. You will not get bored. I finished it in a day. My favorite thing about this book is that Mills wrote a book with political figures but no politics. You have no idea the political party of even the President. So refreshing! See authors, it can be done. Leave your own politics on the editing floor and just write a good story.
By Tayari Jones,
Read By Rosalyn Coleman Williams and Heather Alicia Simms
It's the 1980's in Atlanta and James Witherspoon (owner of a chauffeur business) has two families. Each of his wives has a daughter and it's only a matter of time before they meet and become friends. One of the girls knows the secret, the other doesn't.
The book is told primarily from the POV of each daughter and those 2 parts are very interesting. It's very thought provoking to consider how that situation might affect a young person. The ending, though, left me looking around a bit as if I lost some pages. It was a little unsatisfying.
If you are an Audible member this one is free for you to listen.
The Cutting Edge
By Jeffrey Deaver, Read by Eduardo Ballerini
This is number 14 in the Lincoln Rhyme series. I lost track of these books and haven't read one in a long time. Chirp reminded me by offering this one on one of their daily sales. The last one that I read was #8 so I have some catching up to do.
Lincoln Rhyme was a detective with the NYPD until he became a quadriplegic. He is now a forensic consultant and is partnered with (in life and work) Amanda Sachs, a detective. The book opens with a triple murder at a diamond merchant. "The Promiser" is offended by the diamond industry and frivolous ruining of pure diamonds for engagement rings. He's determined to punish those who have them. At the murder scene the merchants apprentice, Vimal Lahori, escapes. He could help solve the case but he's in hiding.
Around the same time there are a series of gas explosions in the city that seem to be related to some drilling activity. These explosions conveniently provide some cover for The Promiser.
Lots of action and lots of evil. Amanda Sachs is my favorite character. She's tough but not super-human tough. Eduardo Ballerini is one of my all-time favorite readers.
The Lost Apothecary
By Sarah Penner, Read by a cast
Poison and revenge, what's not to love.
In 18th century London there's a secret apothecary who sells poisons to help women dealing with oppressive or cruel men in their lives.
Flip to current day and Caroline is in London on what is supposed to be a romantic 10th anniversary celebration trip. She came alone when she discovered her husband was having an affair. Caroline goes on an impromptu mudlarking adventure on the bans of the Thames and finds an old apothecary jar.
It was an interesting read but don't cross these women!
By Ellison Cooper, Read By Danielle Deadwyler
Well, this was a nice surprise! When it started off I wasn't so sure. All the main characters are women so I thought it was going to be another over-the-top-strong-women book. I was wrong. The characters are well developed and realistic. Although there are a dearth of men in the FBI. Who knew?
Sayer Altair is an FBI Senior Special Agent. She's just off desk duty recovering from a bullet wound 6 months ago. When an off-duty agent falls into a sinkhole in the Shenandoah Valley and finds a cache of skeletal remains, including 2 fresh bodies. Altair is sent to investigate and given basically no help because the FBI in this book reflects the total political train wreck of the modern FBI.
What I loved about this book is the detailed research that Cooper did in the Shenandoah Valley. She got the details right and Altair is a great character. I'm looking forward to diving into the 2nd installment, but not until I read the 1st one, Caged. It's the source of the bullet wound at the opening of this book.
First I'll report that I'm now 13% done with my postage stamp binding. I've even turned a corner! A little progress every day will get me there.
But today is all about yarny talk. I picked that up from one of the YouTube channels that I follow. Pamela has a nice channel and she opens by inviting listeners in for some "good ol' yarny talk". She's also Southern so that's a bonus. I've used 2 of her patterns so far for a pocket shawl and the cheer leader doll outfit.
Today's yarny talk starts with finishing a second Divine hat. I love making this hat. It goes so fast. This is the second one with this yarn. I made the first one with J (body) and H (brim) hooks. I made this one with I and 7 and it fits me better. Both will be donated to a breast cancer oncologist office. I had a good bit of yarn left over but not enough to make a 3rd hat. I remembered this shawl that I made in August from the same yarn so I pulled it out and added 3 rows to the bottom. All that was left was that tiny bit of yarn and I'm cool with that.
I really hate leftover yarn and always look for something to do with it. Fortunately, in this case, I had not delivered the shawl to the donation center yet.
My next chemo hat is this one. I bought 3 balls of this yarn at the Hobby Lobby clearance in June. I think I paid about $1.50 for each skein! These are going to make some classy hats. I have the same yarn in some bright colors for more playful hats. The yarn is soooo soft that I think they will be perfect chemo hats. The oncologist office is near my doctor's office. I'll be seeing her in late November to follow up on some tests so I'm going to see how many hats I can complete by then.
(Side note, I got my first set of labs back today and all I can say is "Yay vitamin D"! If only I had knows about vitamin D years ago I could have solved so many problems so much earlier.)
Back to yarn.
Do you remember when I started doing crochet and I said "I'm not going to stash yarn". Yeah, I didn't really believe it either. Our fabric stashes are really valuable especially when we need something quick to finish off a project. Well, that works in yarn too and I do have space, soooooo......I buy clearance yarn.
This blanket 36 x 49 and made with Premier Serenity Chunky yarn. I planned it for a dialysis patient blanket and I wasn't exactly sure how big of a blanket I could get from the 11 balls of yarn that I had. Like all of my yarn, I bought it on clearance from somewhere. Corner to corner is so perfect for this kind of blanket because it makes a really squishy blanket and crochets up really, really fast. it also makes it easy to size as I go. I started in one corner and kept increasing both sides until I used 4 balls of yarn, then I went straight up (increasing only on one side) until I had 4 balls left. Genius right? Yes, indeed, if it had actually worked. Take a look at the upper right corner.
See how much extra gray marl there is there? That's not Serenity Chunky yarn . I had no intention of buying another ball online to finish it. That one ball might have cost more than all the other balls combined.....it was that much on sale.
Off to my stash to get some white and gray worsted weight. I figured I could blend white and gray and that it would work well enough.
Then I found this Bernat twist and it was PERFECT! I don't even remember buying it but I'm guessing it came for Joann. I think I paid about $1.20 for it. I remember going in there once and bringing out a whole bag of yarn for about $20.
That was all the justification I needed to take advantage of a big sale at Lion Brand. They had a lot of yarns about 70% off. I put a ton of it in my cart and then reduced it to enough for 2 blankets and 2 wheelchair shawls. The next week they had a general 35% off so I bought yarn for 2 specific projects that I wanted to do for myself. One is a blanket done is squares for a travel project and the other is a sweater/duster jacket.
I'll take a moment now to comment on Lion Brand customer service. The first order arrived yesterday and there were 3 balls of yarn missing. I emailed them around noon and received a shipping notice for the missing yarn within 2 hours! That's great customer service right there.
When I went out to pick up my sewing machine Tuesday I took the opportunity to drop off this box of donations to From The Heart. It has 2 dialysis blankets, 1 wheel chair blanket, 2 wheelchair shawls, a baby hat and 24 walker caddies. I also included some yarn that I didn't like working with. It's a yarn that most people love and they were thrilled to get a donation of new yarn. They have a big yarn wall where people can get free yarn to make items. That's another reason that I don't mind my yarn stash, I can always donate unused yarn there and they really appreciate new yarn and yarn in quantities to make whole projects.
While I was there I was talking to them about stuff that they need and they showed me dialysis sleeves. The patients can't wear sleeves so they like to have knitted or crocheted "tubes" that have ribbing on both ends that the patient can slide up their exposed arm while getting treatment.
I had already decided that I really didn't enjoy making scarves and hats on the loom and they get soooo many hats and scarves that I didn't thing they needed more. These sleeves seem like a great idea so I got one started last night.
A while back I watched this video for the beehive waffle stitch and this seemed like a good project to use it. So far, so good and it goes pretty fast.
I have to loom knit for a few days because my hands need a crochet break.
Today Chris leaves for a golf weekend trip so I have 4 days alone! By Monday the ornaments will be packed and ready for delivery sometime soon. I also hope to get a lot of that binding done. I'm taking Mom to her eye doctor appointment tomorrow so I'll have a little bit of crochet time too.
You may notice that I haven't talked about the postage stamp quilt since I finished quilting it.
Part of the reason is that my Juki has been with my brother for a few weeks for him to clean and service. It seriously needed it! I needed to sew the binding on this table but couldn't do it without a machine. I finally remembered this machine that I bought a couple of year ago as a backup travel machine. I pulled it out and, surprisingly, it fit in the hole perfectly!
Then I got out the binding fabric and found out that I left myself a note! Wasn't that nice of me? I knew that I wanted to put the piece count on the label and I though I was going to have to calculate it again.
Every once in a while I do something nice for myself!
Normally for a bed quilt I do the whole binding by machine but since this one has so much time invest in it I'm going to hand sew the binding to the back.
The front is done and I'm ready for stitching. The plan was to do it in front of the TV but I quickly realized that I can't do this stitching at night. I'm going to work on it a little every day with the morning light in my sewing room.
Soooo, it's going to take FOREVER. My goal is to be done by Thanksgiving. That's fine. It will still be ready to use for winter.
I'm about 15" in so 3.9% done. HAHAHAHA!
It took me 3 needles to find the one that worked best for me so I'm leaving it in the binding where I leave off so I don't lose it.
But this project is another step closer to finally being done!
Meanwhile, my baby is back home and Tim made her look like new. He fell in love with it, like everyone does. I would not be surprised if he finds one for himself soon.
This week's newsletter is all about sky and water. You might think I focus a little too much on the blues but, honestly, it's because that's what my customers seem to want and I'm here to please.
First up a couple of new gradients.
I've been considering a lighter version of Blue Sky Gradient for a long time. I finally got around to doing it. It's the exact same hue of blue but it's a shade lighter. This week I'm introducing Clear Day for your lighter skies.
Here's a comparison of Clear Day and Blue Sky to help you decide which might work best for your project.
Another new gradient this week is Ebb Tide. This can be a sky or water element so you can ignore the name if you need to to make your project work.
Monterey Bay has a beautiful deep blue edge for a deep sea effect. I like using gradients most often for borders with the gradient running from the center of the border out.
Monterey Bay and Ebb Tide aren't directly related like Clear Day and Blue Sky but they are close enough to warrant a comparison photo. Ebb Tide has a little more turquoise and is a little lighter than Monterey Bay.
To give your eyes a little break in the blues, this seems like a good spot to tell you that Woodlands is back in stock.
That's enough of a break let's get back to blue! Barrier Island is also back in stock this week.
Fabrics of the Week
The fabrics of the week this week are 2 Reflections fabrics. Naida and Nabha are both very pale blue are are great for sky backgrounds. They are very similar except that Nabha has more of a turquoise cast. Both are 20% off through Sunday!
I've been dying (not dyeing) to share this project for 2 months.
Earlier this year I stumbled on the Lost Souls Shawl somewhere on the internet. I believe it was THE project to make in 2014. As soon as I saw it I knew that I had to make it for my best friend for Christmas. She's totally batty for skulls. It makes shopping for her really easy. I was worried that this would be too advanced for me but I gave it a try and found that it was relatively easy.
It's basically a 14 row repeat and mistakes are easy to hide and compensate for in the next row. I probably started this in March and finished it just before we left for vacation in August. Anne's step-daughter is getting married this weekend so I knew that I needed to give it to Anne so she could wear it to the wedding.
Here are the specifics:
Lost Souls Pattern on Ravelry - it's free!
Video tutorial by Jonna Martinez
Video tutorial by Fiber Spider
The yarn I used is Goshen by Valley Yarns. Valley Yarns is the house broad for Webs. It's a cotton/rayon/silk blend and it's lovely. It was wonderful to work with. The shawl is heavy because of the cotton but it's not too heavy and it's really soft and comfy.
She had a few minutes Saturday so we met up at Wegmans so I could give it to her. She was VERY happy and I can't wait to see a photo of her with it on this weekend.
Also this weekend I got the machine sewing done on the postage stamp binding and made progress on my other crochet projects. I'll have photos of those things for Wednesday.
Today's inspiration comes from Rachel Derstine. She is an artist and teacher in Philadelphia. She offers online classes that you can check out on her website. For this quilt she used Sugar Maple and Barrier Island gradients to create movement in the background and carried that movement forward in her piecing and quilting.
You can read more about this quilt here and she shared several detail photos with us below. Click on any photo to see a larger image.
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.
are finally done!
There are only 14 in the photo. One of them decided to be a truant from the photo shoot. I'm really pleased that I got 15 caddies out of a pretty small stack of fabric. Now I just need to get them tagged and delivered along with 9 that I made in May. That's right, I haven't even delivered those yet! I don't intend to make any more anytime soon so I'll get these delivered soon along with some blankets and capes.
Each of the caddies has a big pocket on one side and a patch pocket on the other. I don't remember why I designed them this way but I hope it will work for people.
When I sew them I make sure to triple stitch every area that will get stress.
The ties are simply a 1" strip of fabric folded in thirds and zig-zagged over the raw edges. I think they will hold up just fine.
This is why I don't plan to make more anytime soon (or maybe ever). Home dec fabrics are treated with stuff that flakes off and I breathe and it enrages my sinuses. I expect my machine isn't all that happy either!
For anyone who cares, this is a rough drawing of the FINISHED measurements of my caddies. I accidentally cut off a 1 on the left side. It should read 13". Is this "right"? I really don't have any idea. My Mom used to work in a nursing home and she said they will generally take whatever they can get. The demand never ends.
This weekend I will work on the ornament storage and I will either load some veterans quilts for quilting or sew the binding on the postage stamp quilt to get it ready for hand sewing.
because yesterday was dyeing day and it was a busy one! 50 yards this week. Later today I will wash all of this out and start the 48 hour soaking process. Sunday is going to be a very busy ironing day!
I intended to sew last night but I was too tired. Instead I added another ball of yarn to this quilt. I only have 2 balls left to finish this one up so I'll probably focus on it the next couple of days and get it wound up. I hope this will be big enough to be a blanket for a dialysis patient. It's going to be a large lap size.
But today will be at the sewing machine with a break to go vote. I'm voting early because it's likely I'll not be assigned to my home precinct this time. I always prefer to vote on election day but I'm glad we now have early voting options.
I didn't accomplish much yesterday. I had my elections officer training in the morning, got my fabrics ready for today's dyeing and shopped an online yarn sale. If you are interested, Lion Brand has a lot of yarn 65% off. I put tons in my cart, left it for a few hours, researched some Youtube reviews of all of the yarns and later, removed everything except yarn for 4 donation blankets or shawls. I'm glad I got myself under control before I entered my credit card info but I also got a great deal on those 4 yarns. I think each project will cost about $15. That's not bad.
After that I only got 2 more walker caddies made. You will notice that on all of my caddies the pocket fabrics are different. I do that on purpose so that the walker owner will be able to see the pockets easier.
Only 11 more to go! I do want these done so that I can get on with binding the postage stamp quilt. Plus late last night I was perusing my crochet books and saw a Christmas blanket. That reminded me that I haven't even thought about ideas for the Christmas cards this year. I've got to get crackin' on that very soon.
Maybe I can use my dyeing time today to come up with an idea or two. They are going to need to be very simple ideas this year for sure.
This week I have new Reflections fabrics for you. I focused on blues and golds because those are your favorites!. The original inspiration for these for water and sky fabrics. But in the photo at left you can see a quilt my friend, Marcy George, is doing. She's using a Reflections fabric as a calming presence with the African print fabrics. This is destined to be a baby quilt. I just love the dark blue Reflections blended with these African fabrics.
Reflections are sold as one yard cuts so that you can orient the fabric vertically or horizontally and have a full 36" square either way.
Fabric of the week
If the new Reflections don't meet your needs for your current project you might like the Awaken Gradient for a beautiful sunrise (or sunset) background. The Awaken Gradient is 20% off through Sunday.
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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.