This was not my best reading month. There was a lot of mediocre this month. It started off great, I enjoyed the first 3 books, especially The Dictionary of Lost Words. The two book we chose for our drive to Maine were fun reads. The last 2 book are ones that I cannot recommend, although they have great ratings on Audible.
What book recommendations do you have for us this month?
Got the Look by James Grippando - it would be OK if you had nothing else to read
Just Another Missing Person
By Jillian McAllister, Read by a cast
Julia is a detective investigating the one day disappearance of a missing 22 year old. Olivia was last seen on CCTV entering a dead-end alley but she was never seen coming out. As she's going to the crime scene she's confronted by the perpetrator who knows her deepest secret. She either does what he says or she puts her own daughter in jeopardy. She has to frame someone else for the crime.
Very suspenseful, fast paced and makes you wonder what you would do in a similar situation.
The Mitford Murders
By Jessica Fellowes, Read by Rachel Atkins
This is the first book in a 6 book series set in the Golden Age of London. Think of it as Murder at Downton Abbey. That's not a coincidence as the author is the niece to Julian Fellowes and wrote the companion books to the series.
The series takes place at the Asthall Manor, the home of the Mitford family. Louisa Cannon is trying to escape her life of poverty in London and the opportunity to be a nursery maid is too good to pass up. She forms a friendship with the oldest daughter, Nancy.
When a nurse, Florence Nightingale Shaw is murdered on a train, Nancy leads Louisa into some amateur sleuthing. The book is actually based on the unsolved murder of the real Florence Nightingale Shaw. You can read the real story here. The book stays relatively true to the story, as much as it can.
It was a good, entertaining read. It's not edge-of-your-seat suspenseful and it's not quite cosy. It's a book for the day you just want to be entertained and don't want to work too hard to keep up with too many characters and crazy sub-plots.
The Dictionary of Lost Words
By Pip Williams, Read By Pippa Bennett-Warner
Among people who track such things (not me), it's famously known that the one word accidently left out of the first draft of the Oxford English Dictionary is "bondmaid". That is the fact that this story is based on.
Esme's mother died before she knew her so she spent her life with her father. Much of that time was in the Scriptorium where her father worked as a lexicographer editing words for the OED. She grew up there and developed a habit of collecting the slips of paper with rejected words. The first was "bondmaid".
Esme's life is in the middle of the Suffrage movement and WWI so she also collects words from the "common" people of those times. Most of the words are "women's words" and spoken words from tradespeople and illiterates. Her story unfolds with the words that she finds.
This book was recommended to me by 2 people last month and it happened to be available at my library so I jumped on it. It's one of those books that you read and feel like it was perfectly crafted. Great characters, prose, history and dialogue; it's all there.
An Honest Man
By Michael Koryta, Read By Robert Petkoff
This was the book we picked for our ride up to Maine and it was perfect. It's fast paced and kept us interested for the whole drive.
Israel Pike discovers 7 men murdered on a floating yacht. He's one of the primary suspects by his detective uncle because Israel is an ex-con.
Lyman Rankin is a 12 year old boy who has to frequently escape from his violent father. He has a secret place where he hides but when he goes there he's confronted by a hatchet-wielding woman.
It's all connected and there's no one to trust.
The Night Agent
By Matthew Quirk, Read By Chris Andrew Ciulla
FBI Agent Peter Sutherland is assigned to work the night desk in the White House Situation Room. It's boring until one night when one young woman calls in and says "Osprey was right, it's happening..." That sets off the unfolding of a years long conspiracy where a foreign government has access at the highest levels of the US Government.
It's a very fast paced spy novel but also very forgettable. The premise is unbelievable and the characters are unbelievable. But if you love chase scenes, this is the book for you.
By Nick Petrie, Read By Stephen Mendel
I've actually read this book before but we needed a good book for the drive home from vacation and this was perfect. This is the second book in the Peter Ash series and it's one of my favorite mystery series.
It's action stuff kind of like Dewey Andreas and Jason Bourne. Ash is a war veteran with severe PTSD. He's very claustrophobic and has spent much of his time in the California redwood forest . One day he becomes of too much interest to a Grizzly and, in looking for an escape, finds a rope and starts climbing. He ends up on a platform in the redwoods and finds a woman there who is trying to escape from dangerous men chasing her. He decides to help.
The 8th book in the series is set to come out in February.
The Women of Chateau Lafayette
By Stephanie Dray, Read by a cast
This is a historical fiction novel set around Chateau Lafayette, birthplace of the American independence hero, Marquis de Lafayette. It takes place during 3 wars. The first is Adrienne Lafayette during the American Revolution and French Revolution. The second is Beatrice Chanler, socialite Wife of William Astor Chanler, during the first and second World Wars. The third is a fictional girl named Marthe Simone, who was one of the young orphans raised at Chateau Lafayette and focuses on her work in the Resistance during WWII.
I have read 5 books authored or co-authored by Stephanie Dray and, honestly, the best ones are the ones she co-authored with Laura Kamoie: America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton. With all 3 solo books I've had trouble really connecting with the main characters. They are shallow, not well developed and there are too many frivolous scenes with the characters agonizing over decisions rather than actual action. I can't count the number of times that Beatrice worried about her hat....in the middle of a war! The novel moves back and forth between the eras but, because there's no real connection between the characters, it's just comes across as disorganized. It's a 24 hour book and, honestly, way too long. It took me a long time to finish it because I was often avoiding listening to it. But, I did hold out and finish it.
By Geraldine Brooks, Read by a cast
I did not like this book. It is supposed to be the story of one of the most famous racing horses of all time: Lexington. He's most knows as being the most successful sire of all time. The book is supposed to be historical fiction but the only history is the horse. All the rest is pure fiction and is a story about slavery and racism, and not a very good one at that.
I usually don't quote anyone else but I found this review on Audible that I felt best summed up this book perfectly. Credit to Heather who posted this on 08/25/2022
"A little bit of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a touch of Black Beauty, a swing at Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and as if that wasn’t enough, we top it off with Black Lives Matter! I just rolled my eyes all the way through this predictable book. The only thing that kept my interest was that I’d never heard of Lexington."
Just a book full of flat characters, weak storylines and a lot of cliches. I have read 4 of Brooks' books and the only one that I really loved was Years of Wonder about Eyam England during the plague.
I've got the blue fabrics this week!
When I can, I try to be economical in my dyeing and dye the same colors in a session so that I don't waste dye. I do everything I can to keep from having to raise prices, something I've never done since 2009. I absorb my increased costs with better efficiency and planning what I dye each week is one way to do that.
All that to say that last week was all about navy! Next week might look kind of purple.
3 Gradients are Back!
The fact that all three of these gradients are here together is a great clue that the blue is the same so they would coordinate well.
Fabric of the Week
Staying with the blue theme, the fabric of the week is the Lapis Stash Pack. This pack of lovely "true blues" contains 10 fat eighths of heavily textured fabrics. By texture, I mean color texture, not material texture. I love using these fabrics in my scrap quilts but they also make great applique elements.
Lapis is on sale through Sunday.
The weather here was spectacular this weekend so I got a lot of leaf blowing done. We're expecting the wind to kick up today and tomorrow and hoping that it blows a lot of leaves to the edge of the yard for us. It was lovely to be outside but I also spent some quality time inside working on the quilt. It's really close to being done. This is a peek at the back of the floral border. You can't see the quilting at all from the front. Most of the quilting will only be visible on the back and I'll share that when I get it off the frame.
This is pretty much the only quilting that will show. I'm pretty proud of those feathers!
I'm working on piano keys in the last, wide border. To make sure I'm staying square I draw some square-up guides about every 6 inches. If I get off square it's only a tiny adjustment that isn't noticeable. One long side and 2 corners are done. This one is only a day or so away from completion!
I said that the weather was beautiful and I took advantage with a long walk in the neighborhood Saturday.
I think I mentioned last week that the red trees (bushes) are the most spectacular this year. They are all bright red but the golds are beautiful too.
This lovely bunch was along the road in front of our place. Then I came home and got out the leaf blower.
We also watched a lot of football and I finally finished these 4 hats that I've been working on for a while. These might look ugly to you but they are the elementary school colors for my brothers grands. I will gift them at Thanksgiving and I hope they fit! I also hope they like them.
The pattern I used is Crochet Baby James Beanie from Daisy Farm Crafts. It says baby but it's for all sizes and is a really nice pattern with video instructions too.
The yarn is Herrschners Worsted 8 MVP. It's a 4 weight in school colors. It's not my favorite style of yarn but the school colors I needed were there and it's really nice to work with.
I use a 5.5mm (I) hook.
Speaking of crochet, my brother made me this yarn bowl on his 3D printer. Pretty cool, huh?
Yesterday afternoon we had the windows open and hear a lot of birds. It was a giant flock of grackles migrating through. It was a perfect scene for Halloween week.
Today we are going to vote and then run some errands but I hope to have time to finish the raffle quilt.
Patricia Caldwell is back this week with new inspiration for us. This is an original design. Here's what she shared about the inspiration for this fun quilt:
I got lost the other day when my GPS decided to stop working. I have always been directionally challenged and thought why not show lines and circles within a quilt that have no direction. This is how I feel when I have no idea of where I am going but I always end up where I am suppose to be while seeing places I never would have saw if I had my GPS.
She used Color Wheel Shades Packs in this quilt.
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.
Yay! The blocks are quilted! I finished the last 6 star blocks yesterday and today I'll move on to the floral border. I expect it's going to involve feathers. Whatever I do, it will not show.
The only other thing I accomplished yesterday was blowing more leaves. That will be a daily chore for the next few weeks. We have 10 trees over 50' tall in the yard and they drop massive amounts of leaves. I work at it a little each day and eventually I'll have a 4' wall of leaves at the edge of the woods.
This weekend is about watching football (crocheting), quilting and sewing blue blocks and that's about all.
Today's post is a lot more boring than yesterday. There's no new project just more work on the blue blocks and more quilting on the raffle quilt. I had my physical Tuesday and yesterday was spent dyeing fabric. I've also started blowing leaves. We have at least 10 trees that are over 70' that drop a ton of leaves. I'll be blowing leaves for weeks. It's nice to be outside and it's a little exercise so it's all good until I run out of places to put them!
I've had a couple of sewing sessions so I'm almost finished sewing blue blocks. I only have that one little stack and then I can start making bigger blocks and putting the quilt together.
While I was stitching Tuesday I had a visitor to the pond. I love my sewing room view!
Here's a little autumnal color that I caught at my Mom's apartment Tuesday. The red trees are really spectacular around here this year. Sometimes it's an orange/gold year but this year is all about the red.
You already know that I'm a very slow quilter. I let myself get analysis paralysis over my quilts. I'm working on the center blocks for the raffle quilt and I'm spending way too much time agonizing over the quilting for a raffle quilt that's meant to be a bed quilt. I finally settled on the pattern for the star blocks and I've finished 6 of 12. I'd like to finish the other 6 today. It would also be helpful if I can get a chiropractor appointment today. My back would like that before I spend too much time leaning over the longarm.
In the evenings I'm doing some crochet and will to share those tomorrow. For the next several days, these are the only projects that I plan to work on but I might also need to make a birthday postcard. I also need to get started on my Christmas card ideas. It's about time to start the annual Christmas card panic!
I got permission to share my "Paula" quilt this week! Here's the backstory:
I don't buy many commercial fabrics but I buy most of the fabrics designed by Paula Nadelstern. I fell in love with her symmetry fabrics when I took a class from her sometime around 2008. For many years now she has invited me and a few other quilters to make samples from her new fabric line. We used to have to make 36" square wall quilts but now we can make whatever we want. I choose to make 48 x 60 quilts that can become veterans quilts.
The fabric line this year is called "What If" and you can see all of the fabrics here. I was particularly excited to see the stripes this time and I plan to stock up on them when the fabrics arrive in stores in the Spring.
I hope you have a few minutes to check out the Virtual Fabric Show to see the other quilts that were made. Go to the 35:05 mark to see Paula's section. The other quilts are really fabulous! There's one by Peggy True that I want to make. Hint: it's not the applique wreath!
I was on a really tight timeline for my quilt so it had to be simple with 12 blocks and some sashing. My only goal was to use a little of every fabric in the line. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out.
You can look at each of the blocks in detail by clicking on them. If you look close you will see that they are all very simple. The fabric does all of the work.
I decided to use the two grayscale fabrics for the sashing and border but felt it needed a little extra. That "extra" came with stripe inserts in the sashing.
When it came time for quilting I was down to the wire so it got a quick overall design.
The baby shower was this weekend. Mom and I headed to Chesapeake Saturday morning, went to the shower Saturday afternoon, visited with my brother and SIL (the "thank God you are alive" one) Saturday evening and watched a football miracle (UVA vs UNC) Saturday night in our hotel. Sunday morning we visited James and Ashley (parents to be) and stopped to visit my other SIL and niece in Newport News on the way home. It was a quick trip but very worthwhile.
Ashley loved all of the blankets and has designated a use for each of them. I did give them permission to give any of them to another baby but they insisted that they were keeping them. Our visit to their house was the first time we've seen it since they moved and I had forgotten that they have FOUR wall quilts that I've made and they are using all of them. They have requested a set of placemats for the newly remodeled kitchen and they will certainly get them.
We were asked to give the baby a book. I gifted two. One is a new book and the other is a book that my Grandmother gave to me in 1966. At some point in my young life I became very possessive of my things and I wrote my name really large on the front blank page. James was happy to have something handed down from family.
It was a nice day and Ashley looks great for someone about to have a baby in 5 weeks!
In the hotel I started a new kid hat. I will make 2 of these for my brother's step-grands. I worked on it more last night when I got home.
Before we left, I got a little quilting and sewing done on Friday. I've started the 12 star blocks on the raffle quilt. 3 are done, 9 to go.
I also got all of the corner blocks trimmed for the blue quilt and started sewing them into bow ties.
Today I have my annual eye doctor appointment and tomorrow is my annual physical. The restof the week should be dyeing, sewing and blowing leaves.
Yesterday involved a visit to Mom and a clothing alteration but I did get the rest of the corners sewn for the blue quilt. Block trimming comes next.
The clothing alteration was a black pair of pants, hence no photo. I got them at LLBean on vacation for 60% off but they were too long in the waist and length. It was worth getting the to try because they cost less than $20! They are a very nice knit and I wanted to wear them to the baby shower tomorrow. I got them done but it was almost a crisis because the air threading mechanism wasn't working on one of the loopers.
For you serger owners, here's my tip for the day. When the thread wouldn't feed through this looper channel I figured that there was a blockage in the pipe somewhere. Digging around in my supplies I found a box of these loop dental floss threaders. I split one apart and it was exactly long enough, flexible enough and stiff enough to go through both halves of the channel and it pushed a pretty significant lint ball out of the looper.
Tomorrow we head to Chesapeake for the baby shower so there won't be much creative stuff going on this weekend but I'll be happy to see family, especially my SIL. She's out of the hospital and doing well! Thank you for all of your prayers and good thoughts.
It was nice to get back to the sewing machine and longarm today. In the morning I got half of the remaining blocks stitched this far and should get the rest sewn today so that I can cut and trim them during football tonight.
Then the Starlink installer came and we decided on where/how it's going to be installed on the house.
In the afternoon I reloaded the raffle quilt and started the quilting. I want to do a nice job of quilting but I have to keep 2 things in mind. One, the quilting isn't really going to show, except on the back. Second, it's a raffle quilt that is intended to be a bed quilt so I can't overquilt it.
I started with the 6 Courthouse Steps blocks and decided on a feathered wreath.
Next I'll tackle the 12 star quilts. I'm thinking some continuous curves and some sort of filler in the background.
One other thing I do is that I usually have a puzzle going. I just like working on one while I eat breakfast or as a break from crocheting in the evening. None of them are really special, except for this one. This is one of the coolest puzzles I've ever worked.
This is what's cool about it. All of the big puzzle pieces are separate puzzles! I've never seen a puzzle like this. You can get one for yourself at Barnes and Noble. It's called Gradient Cascade.
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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.