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!
Well, this weekend didn't go quite as planned. My dentist appointments last weekend turned into more involved work. It all went great but it took more time and it all happened sooner than I expected. So that took up all of Friday. I got to go to CSQ sewing on Saturday and got all of these parts of my 4th of July quilt made. Yesterday was dedicated to getting the taxes together.
I don't know what's worse: the dentist or preparing taxes. But both are now out of the way and after I drop off the taxes today I can get on to something else!
I've been working a bit every day on Mom's quilt and, as of last night, I finished all of the first pass of quilting. That includes the crosses in the narrow white borders and the Terry Twist in the borders and half of the big blocks.
It's so much fun to quilt a scrap quilt and recognize some of the fabrics. There are lots of these fruit and vegetable fabrics in the quilt. Mom and I fell prey to these fabrics many years ago. We both made quilts with them but they multiply in the drawers. She's been trying to get rid of them for ages and I don't know if they are gone yet. But 2.5" squares are a great solution for ugly fabrics. They can hid a lot of ugly!
Here's a close up of the quilting. This motif quilts up so quickly and I always love how it looks and I love the secondary pattern that it creates.
There's a lot of ugly hidden here!
Next up is the feathered border and feathered wreaths in half the blocks. I haven't quilted feathers in a long time so I did a little practice last night.
Feather quilting is kind of like riding a bike. It all comes back to you.
I'm sort of focused on 3 projects this week: the gear drawings, Mom's quilt and a little on the wall. Here's what I've gotten done since the last update. It's not as much progress as I wanted but I can't sit on the floor for really long periods but and hour here and there and I got this much done. I'm still on target to finish it this Spring. I can't grout it until it's warm enough to open the windows because of VOC emissions so I can take until late April to finish the mosaic part.
This weekend is Country School Quilter sewing weekend so I'll be working on my 4th of July quilt.
that's going to take a lot of planning but I think it's going to be worth it.
This project starts with my finished kitchen. We basically got new counters and backsplash. The cabinets are still in great shape even though they are 20 years old. We wanted a couple of them to be reconfigured but that's it. New hardware was enough to make them look new. We also finally got faucets that don't drip! The black sinks were a risk but so far I love them.
The other catalyst for the new project are the Wild Gears that I've been playing with. Here's a new set that came in last week.
So, when we put the kitchen back together I put the floor cloths back down. These were made to match the old counters and tile. This was yet another project that my friend, Anne, got me into. In the summer of 2014 we made fabric floor cloths using this book. I dyed these fabrics to match the kitchen and I love how they turned out but they were a HUUUUGGEE paint in the @$$ to make. I do love the floor cloths because they can be mopped and they last so much longer than rugs but I vowed that I'd never make another with decoupaged fabric. (You can see a couple more photos of these here.)
Now that the kitchen is done I do need to make new ones so why not painted floor cloths covered in Wild Gears designs!
I know! It's brilliant and, you know me, it will probably take just as long as the fabric ones. But they are going to be awesome.
For the new ones I've decided that they will be painted to blend in with the flooring and all of the spiral motifs will be done in black Sharpie marker. I'll paint a base in a mix of these 3 browns to completely blend in with the floor. So hopefully it will look like spiral designs directly on the floor.....which is yet another idea to possibly do somewhere.
You can't just start drawing on the painted canvas. I needed to have an idea of the patterns that I would get from the gears. So I started drawing and I make notations on the gears that I use as I draw. That blue one is one of my favorites.
I quickly figured out that a fine point Sharpie wouldn't work. The drawings are going to be 5 - 6 feet from your eyes so I need bold lines and that means a fat Sharpie. I will need to use the big holes in the gears and that will change what designs I can do. The gears have fewer large holes than small holes, as you would expect but that limits the designs too.
But I can't use Sharpie markers for practice, I'm too sensitive to the fumes from the ink. Crayola Washable Markers worked out to be the right answer. The back of the kitchen counter cutout for the stove gave me a perfectly smooth surface for drawing (my cutting table mat was too uneven) and a pack of large newsprint from the craft store gave me cheap practice paper.
The Crayola marker give me a good idea of the thickness of line I'll get with the fat Sharpie. Some of the coolest designs come from running a gear in a gear in a gear.
Oh yes! I might or might not put these 3 designs together. I'm just making as many designs as I can on a sheet. I use different marker colors because I make my gear notes on the side in the color that the design is drawn in. I'm going for a library of designs.
It will be a month or so before I can start on the floor cloths. I will have to paint, draw and seal them outside because of the fumes so I need to wait for more comfortable weather.
Meanwhile I'm practicing and here are some of the practice pieces. Some are winners. Some are losers. You will see that I'm also playing around with ideas for filling in some of the designs.
I'm going to need a case of Sharpies for 15 feet of floor cloths!
More to come!
Let's start off this week with a bit of shipping news. I will not be shipping any orders March 12 - 21 so if you need anything be sure to get it this week!
Fabric of the Week
Mulberry is a a beautiful soft brown with lots of texture. It makes great tree bark and shadows in landscape quilts. It's on sale this week 20% off through Sunday. Click on the image to order some for your stash.
There are over 10 new 38" square Crystals in the shop this week. Click on the photo to check them out! Not sure what to do with one? Check out these 4 made by Patricia Caldwell.
One of the fun things about quilting the veterans quilts is seeing the really creative things that people make with their scraps. Peg made this one. I think the blocks started as a quilt for her brother but she felt it was too yellow for him. I think it makes a great happy quilt for a veterans quilt.
I don't remember who made this one. I picked up 18 quilt tops that day so I can't accurately remember all of them. This was made with my Blockade Quilt pattern and it looks great scrappy.
These are quilted with my new favorite pantograph. This quilts up so fast! The backing fabric is bluer than it shows in this photo.
This stack of quilts is ready to be delivered at the meeting next week. Thankfully 2 other quilters volunteered to help get another 8 quilts quilted.
Before I put Lost My Marbles back on I decided I wanted to quilt this scrappy quilt that Mom made. I really, really love this quilt. I originally intended to do a pantograph on it but, after 8 veterans quilts with pantographs, I decided I needed a break. It's still getting simple quilting but it's a step up from a panto and I get to work from the front of the machine.
I'm doing simple Terry Twist in the sashing blocks and straight line crosses in the narrow muslin sashing.
I want to add feathers to this one because I haven't quilted feathers in a while. But I didn't want to feather every large block. I'm going to do Terry Twist in alternating blocks and feathered wreaths in the other blocks. But I'm doing the whole quilt in TT and sashing and then will go back and do the feather quilting.
The quilt has a 4" outside border and that will get feathers too. This one should be quilted quickly. I'm not doing fancy tieoffs and burying threads. This one is meant to be quilted, washed and used. I think my cousin is going to be the recipient and she will love it.
Patricia Caldwell made this triptych using a custom dyed gradient cut into strips and reassembled. She embellished with dyed yarns, dyed fibers, wool roving, beading and metal jewelry connectors.
Here's a closeup to show how she made one of the felted orbs. You can see more construction photos on her Facebook page.
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.
Before we get into the accounting part that is really only for myself, I do have 2 more veterans quilts to finish off February.
The one on the left was one of the kits that I did for my quilt club program in January. Karen pieced this one. The GO! 6.5" HST die made cutting this one quick and easy. The teal fabric was a black on white that I overdyed and the black in my hand dyed black. The pantograph that I used on both of these quilts is going to one of my staples going forward. It goes really fast and create really nice texture.
This clever quilt was made by Becky. She had a collection of blocks left over from previous block drives. She cut the all down to about 6.5" and purposely cut then wonky. The effect, with them set in black, is really cool. What a great idea for orphan blocks!
Here were my stats in January
Starting UFO 16 (15 in 2018)
Finished YTD 1
Started YTD 1
Ending UFO 16
Veterans quilts made - 4
Veterans quilts quilted - 4
Pet Beds 3
This month I made some great progress on my mosaic wall and Lost My Marbles. I've also gotten enthralled with my new Wild Gears. But as far as finishes I have 4 veterans quilts quilted and the Dragonfly postcards.
Starting UFO 16 (15 in 2018)
Finished YTD 1
Started YTD 1
Ending UFO 16
Veterans quilts made - 4
Veterans quilts quilted - 8
Fabric Postcards - 7
Pet Beds 3
But while there aren't a lot of finishes, my goals were actually met!
- 2 more EQ lessons - done
- progress on the mosaic wall - lots done
- get back to quilting Lost My Marbles - almost done with the small circles
- progress on 4th of July - 4 blocks and fabric cut for the rest
- Zentangle labels for 3 quilts - DONE!
- get the kitchen finished, all of the cabinets reorganized and back to normal life in the house - will be done today
So I'm really happy. I actually stayed focused. We have a trip planned in March so March will be a 3-week month. Here are my goals:
- finish the mosaic part of the beaded wall (grout in April or May)
- start the big circles on Lost My Marbles
- plan the making of new kitchen floor cloths
- progress on 4th of July
- 2 more EQ lessons
- quilt Mom's quilt
- quilt 2 more veterans quilts
This was not my best month of reading. I finished 9 books in February and the only real standout was Sapiens. I loved that book. I also enjoyed Bethlehem Road and To Kingdom Come. They are continuations of series that I already enjoy. The other 6 books were kind of "meh".
I hope you have some good recommendations for me this month!
By Lisa Scottoline, Narrated By January LaVoy
I'm always on the search for a great new mystery series so I thought I'd give this series a try. It's based around an all-female law firm and the 2 partners Bernie Rosato and Mary DiNunzio. A new client, 13 year old Allegra Gardner, has shown up to ask them to investigate the murder of her sister Fiona. Allegra believes that the wrong man is in prison.
If you like cliches and stereotypes you will LOVE this book. Can you imagine the uproar if someone wrote about an all-male law firm? Do you expect that ANY law firm would take a 13 year old seriously, even with her own trust fund? Everyone in this book is a cliche from the Italian families, the "genius" Allegra Lonnie, the wronged black man in prison who is accepting "God's will" and the God-fearing mother and church members who couldn't figure out the key clue in their own church. The narrator made is worse by making Allegra sound like a 6 year old, the Italian parents sound like they just arrived in Philadelphia and all of the black people in Philadelphia sound like they live in Birmingham, Alabama.
It's apparently a successful book series but it didn't work for me. Also, the book should be called "Convicted", not "Accused" because Lonnie is in jail, not on trial.
Then She Was Gone
By Lisa Jewell, Narrated By Helen Duff
I got this one from the library because I wasn't going to risk an Audible credit for a book I didn't expect to like. I'm happy to say that it surprised me.
Ellie Mack disappeared when she was 15. She was very happy and well adjusted and her family never could believe that she ran away. Several years alter some belongings and bones are found and the family starts to heal. Ellie's mother, Laurel, then meets a wonderful man and his daughter, Poppy. Poppy looks exactly like Ellie and and Laurel is on a renewed search to find out what happened to Ellie.
I've never read Lisa Jewel before but I'd guess that she definitely writes for female audiences. That said, this wasn't as chick litty as Accused. It was actually an interesting book and I read through it pretty quickly. I felt that the character development was good and people behaved as you would expect. Some things were no surprise at all (like who Poppy is) but other things were surprising (like who Poppy isn't). All in all, a good read.
By Edith Hamilton, Narrated By Suzanne Toren
If you are interested in mythology then you have probably already read this book. It was published in 1942 and is still popular. It's popular for good reason. The way that Hamilton organized the book makes it much easier to understand the Greek, Roman and Norse myths. I really enjoyed it but I think I would have retained more from it if I had read in in paper. It would have been beneficial to reference back to previous chapters.
I've read a few books on mythology and this one is the best by far. I think I actually retained some information this time.
By Yuval Noah Harari, Narrated By Derek Perkins
This book has been out a couple of years and it's so popular that I still had to wait a couple of months to get it from the library. Now that I've finished it I know why. It's excellent! It's not just evolutionary history, it's really about every aspect of humankind and Harari does a great job of breaking topics down to the bare essence. Even better, there's no political agenda! But his discussion of history actually helps to reanalyze today's challenges by comparing them to the essence of events in history. Once I started I couldn't put it down and I'm sure that was helped by the excellent narration.
Long Road to Mercy
By David Baldacci, Narrated by Brittany Pressley and Kyf Brewer
I am officially done with Baldacci. This book is simply horrible. In this book he starts a new series with the ridiculously named, FBI Special Agent Atlee Pine. She was a competitive weight lifter in high school and college so she's freakishly strong and able to lift the weight of a dead man. Her personal baggage is that her twin sister was abducted from their bedroom when she was 6 and no one knows what happened to her...although Atlee is sure that it's a serial killer in a nearby prison. I'm sure that particular storyline will travel through future books.
In this story she is a one-woman FBI office near the Grand Canyon. She's been offered bigger jobs but prefers to work on the front lines. This story opens when she is called to investigate a mutilated mule deer and the disappearance of it's rider. This leads to multiple ambush and chase scenes where she and her 60ish secretary are able to fend off multiple attackers with machine guns and other advantages. Girl power always wins out and scenes wrap up basically with the men going "duh, OK, I guess you got me".
The whole thing is made worse by a poor choice for narrators. The female would be better narrating a strong woman in a cozy mystery, not a tough FBI agent. The male narrator makes most of the men sound like Forrest Gump-type characters.
I'm glad that I listened to this book so I could multi-task with my time. I would have hated to totally waste that 11 hours.
To Kingdom Come
By Will Thomas, Narrated By Anthony Ferguson
This is the second in the Barker and Llewelyn series. Cyrus Barker is a private detective in Victorian London. Thomas Llewelyn is the assistant that he hired in the first book.
This book opens several bombs have been set off all over London. Barker and Llewelyn go undercover to infiltrate the Irish Republican Brotherhood as they are planning a much bigger attack to bring down the monarchy and the city.
These books are a lot like the Anne Perry series and are fiction based on some real events of the time. They aren't heart-pounding mysteries but if you like Sherlock Holmes or Anne Perry books you will like this series. They should be read in order though because there are references to things in the first book.
The Killing Season
By Mason Cross, Narrated by Eric Meyers
This book was another opportunity to get into a new series. It is the first book in the Carter Blake series. Blake is an expert in finding people who do not want to be found and the FBI frequently uses him. This time he's called to find Caleb Wardell, a sniper, who has escaped from prison custody. He's working with FBI agent Elaine Banner to find Wardell as he roams the mid-west on a sniper mission.
This book has some great reviews but it just didn't work for me. I am not a good storyteller, I'm more of a chronicler, telling a story with facts and not a lot of emotion or suspense. I felt that way about this book. I didn't really understand the sniper of his motive and Blake's magical way of tracking Wardell just didn't work. The sexual "tension" between Blake and Banner seemed forced and tossed in just to add a sexual angle.
I wasn't all that entertained so will not be reading more of this series.
Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship and Sacrafice
By Adam Markos, Narrated By Dominic Hoffman
I love good military hero stories and am glad that I read this book to learn about 2 US Navy pilots from the Korean War: Ensign Jesse Brown, the first US Navy black carrier pilot and Lieutenant Tom Hudner.
It's a GOOD story. It's not a epic story. I'm glad I read it but it's not even close to the quality of Unbroken. A lot of this book is about the key people before they came into the military and a lot of battle detail about the marines that these pilots were assigned to protect. But the book is about 1 event in particular so there's a lot of background and follow-up to fill the pages. That said, both were very worthy of the ships that were later named for them. But just look their names up on Wikipedia and you will get everything you need.
By Anne Perry, Narrated By Davina Porter
This is #10 in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series. The series is set in the late Victorian era. There are a series of murders of members of Parliament.The men are left tied to lamp posts looking like they are stooped drunks. The story is also tied to the early days of the suffragette movement and the plight of women and their property.
It's not the best book in the series but I love the series and Davina Porter is one of my favorite narrators.
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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