I "only" read 5 books in November but that's because there was a holiday and The Follett book was over 21 hours. Also the last book I started is over 30 hours so that one won't be done for a few more days. The best part about reading this month is that none were duds. I enjoyed all of them.
What good books do you have to recommend this month!
Florence Adler Swims Forever
By Rachel Beanland, Read by a cast
I read another book by this author a few months ago. This House is on Fire was about a 1811 theater fire in Richmond Va. I really enjoyed that book and I'm sure that's what sparked me to get this one.
This book was promoted as a "perfect summer read" and that was clearly by people who had never read it. The cover makes it look like a good, light-hearted summer read. It's a good book but it's not what I'd put on a light summer reading list. It's covers several serious topics including death, grieving, anti-Semitism and Nazi Germany.
It's 1934 in Atlantic City, NJ and Esther and Joseph Adler run a bakery in the seaside resort. They are hosting a young woman who is trying to escape Hitler's Germany. Their older daughter, Fannie is married and is in hospital on permanent bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy. Their younger, 19 year old daughter, Florence, is training to swim the English Channel. During one of her training sessions in the ocean she dies. Ester makes the decision to keep the information from Fannie until the baby is born.
It's a serious novel covering a lot of serious topics and the consequences of decisions made. I didn't enjoy it as much as This House Is On Fire but it was a good read. My biggest complaint is that it's long in the middle and the ending wraps up a little too quickly and conveniently.
By Jane Harper, Read By Stephen Shanahan
This is the 5th Harper book that I've read. Some I love (The Dry) and some are just OK. This one is in the OK category.
Kieran Elliott has returned home to his quiet seaside hometown in Australia with his girlfriend and new baby. His parents are preparing to move as his father has dementia. He avoids coming home since his brother, Finn, died trying to save Kiernan from drowning during a storm.
He's reconnecting with old friends when, one night, the body of a woman is found on the beach. She was in the town for the summer doing research for her art degree. As the investigation into the death gears up, many wounds are reopened from the summer when Finn and 2 others died.
The premise is interesting but I found the telling to be slow and the characters not all that interesting. I kept reading just to get to the end. I'd recommend a couple of her other books (The Dry, Exiles and The Lost Men) over this one.
The Armor of Light
By Ken Follett, Read By John Lee
This is the 5th book in the Kingsbridge series. If you like Follett and the Kingsbridge series I don't need to sell you on book 5. The Pillars of the Earth was one of the earliest historical fiction books I read and I've enjoyed ever book in the series. Actually I've enjoyed all of Follett's books.
Kingsbridge is a town with an economy based on weaving and textiles. The story opens in 1770 when the spinning jenny was invented and it threatens to put a lot of wool and cotton spinners out of work. The story follows the fortunes and tragedies of people in the town through the period of the Napoleonic wars.
If you've not read Follett before, start with The Pillars of the Earth. The narration was perfect, as always with John Lee.
Bright Young Dead
By Jessica Fellows, Read By Rachel Atkins
Last month I read the first book in this series, Mitford Murders. I enjoyed it enough to try another installment and I enjoyed this one even more.
Fellows weaves a fictional event into a real household, Mitford. Each book features one of the Mitford sisters. This one features Pamela. The main characters are a nursery maid in the house, Louise Cannon, and a young police sergeant, Guy Sullivan. The Bright Young People were a group of young aristocrats and socialites that were the free-spirited partiers of the 1920's in London. They attended Jazz clubs, had treasure hunts and basically drank and did a lot of drugs.
At Pamela's 18th birthday party, one of the guests is pushed to his death from the top of a nearby church. A visiting ladies maid, Dulce, is immediate arrested for the murder. Dulce had also stolen some jewelry from one of the guests. Louise believe Dulce is innocent of the murder and that she was somehow forced into the theft.
Meanwhile, Guy, is investigating a shoplifting gang lead by the infamous Alice Diamond and the cases might be related.
I really didn't expect to like these books but now I'm hooked. There are six books in the series, one featuring each sister and I expect that I'll work my way through all of them.
The Water Keeper
By Charles Martin, Read By Jonathan K. Riggs
Someone must have recommended this book to me because it's not one that I would have found on my own.
Murphy Shepherd lives alone on an island in Florida and caretakes a church that has no parishioners. One day he pulls a woman named Summer out of the Intercoastal Waterway and he's suddenly off on a mission to help find her daughter. The daughter, Angel, has been abducted by sex trafficers. Murphy has a lot of experience with the sex trade in Florida and knows where to start looking. Along the way he picks up a really cool labrador retriever and an ex-con named Clay. I liked the characters, I liked the pace of the story and it held my interest.
The funny thing is that I didn't realize until I sat down to write this review that this book is categorized as Christian fiction. Yes, there are characters that are Christian but that wasn't the focus of the book. Probably the most overt nod to the genre is that there aren't any hot sex scenes, Otherwise, there are fights, gun shots and lots of blood. The book reminded me of the Operation Underground Railroad organization founded by Tim Ballard. There's a movie based on Tim's life and I thought about that a lot while reading that book.
This is the first in a series of 3 books. They all deal with abduction themes so I'm not sure I'll read the others but I give this writer a thumbs up.
We are having a great time at the river this week and that fun starts with this pretty girl. Ouiser (nicknamed Weesie) is a 5 month old lab and she's mostly delightful and sometimes a typical puppy demon seed. She's really sweet and actually pretty well behaved but she gets a little wild (in a fun way) in the evenings. I'm having a great time with her.
But I'm sewing a lot and am making great progress on the postcards. I decided to outline the holly leaves with Razzle Dazzle thread. It's tedious and takes about 10 minutes for each card. That's about 5 hours to stitch the leaves on all 30 cards. I didn't bring any red metallic thread so I'll stitch the berries when I get home. I finished all of the holly leaves last night after dinner. Today I'll start the birds. They should be easier with simple straight stitching.
Kim got the binding sewn on her quilt and we got it in the mail yesterday too. Her friend should have it by Saturday to use when she gets her chemo treatments. I think she will love it.
Anne is going to make the Tamarack Jacket that is apparently very popular on Instagram. She is getting her fabrics quilted and ready to cut the pieces. I'm anxious to see how the jacket turns out because it's one that I might be interested in making. If we were at my house with the longarm the fabric would be quilted already!
Today it's more sewing and more playing with Weesie. One day we will visit the local quilt shop and a nice art gallery.
First, a note to let you know that any orders placed this week will be shipped Monday, December 4th. That's because I'm enjoying a sewing week with my friends and this spectacular view. Today is going to start a very cold streak so it's perfect sewing weather for woking on my Christmas postcards.
But even though I'm away I do have some fabric news for you.
This week I have TWO new gradients for you! Both are autumn/cool weather inspired. Autumn Harvest is a upgrade of the discontinued Pumpkin Patch Gradient. Cocoa is the result of lots of tries to get the brown gradient that I had in my head. This is it!
Gradients Back in Stock
I've also got 4 gradients back in stock for you.
Fabric of the Week
Staying on the Gradient theme, the fabric of the week this week is the Sunshine and Shadows Gradient. It's 20% off through Sunday, or unless it sells out before Sunday.
First a little shop notice: I'm heading out for a few days with friends so any orders placed this week will be shipped Monday, December 4th.
After cleaning up from Thanksgiving and putting up the Christmas decorations I got busy on the things I wanted to get done. First off, I wanted to get a couple of veterans quilts quilted. Both of these quilts are square-based patterns with no borders and that allows me to quilt them really quickly with the wavy crosshatch.
I'm not sure who made this one but I think it might have been made by Gwendolyn.
This is a pattern that I like to use when I have lots of scraps in a similar colorway or pattern, like plaids, batiks or patriotic. I cut this one out earlier in the year and Laura pieced it on vacation in August. All I have left to do is binding.
Then I got on with the postcards. They are all fused and I've gathered a bunch of threads for the stitching. I'm taking these to the river today to work on this week.
Right after I posted Wednesday's post I got a message from my brother that my SIL was sick and Thanksgiving at their home was canceled. We quickly regrouped and hosed our side of the family and two of my friends at our house. Chris secured a turkey to cook and everyone brought the originally planned dishes to our house. Anne brought her new Black Lab puppy, Ouiser, and we all had a great time and ate way too much. It was a lovely day.
I didn't get to do my dyeing Wednesday (I'll do it today) because I decided to set up the Christmas tree for the Thanksgiving party. But I did have a little time to get the next two veterans quilts loaded and ready for quilting. After I do my dyeing today, I may get to quilt some on this.
I also got the third, and final, postcard design done! I always like to do a tree design and I usually do a design using Paula's fabrics. These are left over from the 2023 Paula quilt and I really love it. I got all the trees cut out while watching TV.
This weekend I will get all of the cards fused and ready for stitching. I'll take them to the river Monday and do the stitching while there. When I get back I'll just need to fuse the backs and serge the edges. I should be on schedule to have them in the mail by the 10th....if all goes to plan!
Today I'm dyeing some new shibori fabrics!
The past couple of months I was totally focused on the baby blankets and hats for my niece and baby. It got me off my normal crochet habits but now it's time to get back to my routine. I like having 3 different projects going at a time so I can alternate each day. The first project is the big blanket. This is the last of the "dude" blankets and this one is for a friend of Chris'. I'm on my 3rd ball and have 4 left to go. This is perfect for watching football because I can almost do it blind. It might be done by the end of December.
I like to have at least one donation project going and this is another wheelchair shawl. I'm using this pattern. I'm going to make a delivery to From The Heart in a couple of weeks and I feel like I can get this done before that.
The third project is a cardigan that I started for myself months ago and it has languished while I worked on the baby things. It's sweater season and it's time that I get this wrapped up!
Today, Chris will make my Thanksgiving dinner (because I can't eat the foods that everyone else eats due to my allergies) and we will go to my brother's tomorrow to celebrate with family and friends. I'll be doing some dyeing this morning and I might get the next 2 veterans quilts loaded and read for quilting this weekend. I'll not post tomorrow but will be back Friday with whatever bit of anything that I might accomplish.
If you are in the US, I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving.
Usually Tuesday is reserved for my newsletter but there's no newsletter this week. It being a holiday week here in the US and all the Black Friday sales going on, I expect that there's very little attention for fabric. I'll be back to normal Tuesday posts next week.
Yesterday I finished quilting Kim's quilt. This is a pretty quilt and will be a lovely comfort quilt for her friend while she's going through chemo and radiation. I think it's about 70" square.
I used a pantograph called Fluffy Clouds with King Tut and SoFine threads. The quilting really shows off in the sunbeam.
I also continued progress on my postcards and have worked out the second design. I bought the ribbon at JoAnn and used that as the jumping off point for my color palette. Now there's just a bit of cutting out left to do. The idea for the third design is percolating. I think I can have these ready to take to the river next week for stitching.
Today is a follow up for my annual physical and running a few errands but I hope I might have time to load the next pair of veterans quilts for quilting and also cut out bird parts for the postcards.
It was a good weekend here in many ways. For one, it was windy so I couldn't do anything in the yard. The wind mostly took care of many of the remaining leaves. The end is in sight for my autumn leaf blowing work.
We attended a memorial service for a hunting and fishing buddy of Chris' who was well known as a long-time high school coach in Richmond. He was the high school coach for a current NFL quarterback and he received wonderful tributes from that player and so many other people he touched in his life. It was really lovely.
On Sunday we delivered brownies of a couple of friends. For some reason, people really love my gluten-free/vegan brownies. I don't think it's the recipe. It has more to do with the $10 of specialty cocoa that I use in each batch. I love delivering them to people who need a little pickup. The funny thing is that I don't love them as much as everyone else. I prefer chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies.
I still had a lot of making time in the weekend and one project I finished is this wheelchair lap blanket that I will donate to From The Heart. You might remember all the blankets that I've been making for the men in my life. They all use Cascade Cartwheel yarn. I don't like having leftover yarn bits so as I finished each blanket I added it to a corner-to-corner blanket project. It actually started with the blue in the upper right corner. That was the first blanket I made with this yarn and it was also a corner-to-corner wheelchair blanket. I used the leftovers to start this blanket. I fell in love with the yarn on that project and then I bought tons of it on sale, and as I've finished each blanket, this blanket has been growing. I thought it was going to be kind of ugly and thought it might end up being a pet blanket. But, now that it's done, I think it's kind of pretty. It's about 27" x 36".
I also got all of the pieces for the holly cards cut out. I think I even have the ideas for the 2 other designs. I want to get the pieces cut and fused for all of the cards by Sunday so I can take them to the river and do the stitching next week.
Then I did some quilting!
Both of these veterans quilts were made by Carla. I really like both of them, especially the bandana fabric.
They are quilted with the square spiral pantograph in red thread.
Next up is this quilt that my friend Kim made for a friend. Her friend is starting cancer treatment soon so I want to get this one done quickly so she can send it off before treatment starts. I'm almost halfway done and hope that I can finish it before the Eagles game tonight.
This week involves a doctor's appointment (physical) and Thanksgiving at my brother's. All I have to prepare is a batch of cookies. Chris has to make 2 pies. I'm sure the only reason we are invited is for Chris' apple pies! He's famous among our friends and family for his apple pies.
Today and tomorrow I want to finish this quilt and work on the postcards. Those are my main goals.
This week's inspiration is from Linda Baker. She made this quilt with the Washington Cascade mountains using a custom Shades Pack. Shades Packs can be custom dyed in custom colors, in a custom set of shades and in custom lengths.
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.
Yesterday I took MOm to a doctor's appointment and ran some errands but I still made progress on my cards. But first, how about this view? This is the street that Mom lives on now. It was even more beautiful when I was there 2 days ago.
It was such a beautiful day yesterday that I didn't even go into the office with her. I found a nice spot in the corner of the parking lot, rolled down the windows, put on my audiobook and started cutting.
I got all of the leaves traced in the morning so I was all set up for cutting in the car. I was having a very nice and relaxed time and she was out in no time! I only got about 25% of the leaves cut out.
I got more done during the game last night and I now have all of the berries and half of the leaves cut out. All of the paper backing is off the berries but I still to remove it from the leaves. But first, I have 60 more to cut out.
The week after Thanksgiving Kim and I are going to spend some time with Anne at the river before she leaves for Colorado for 3 months. I'd like to have all 3 of the card designs planned to the point that I can get them constructed there and come back and only have the edging to do. My goal is to always have them in the mail by December 10.
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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.