Fabric of the Week - Bay of Campeche
The fabric of the week this week is the Bay of Campeche gradient! Through Sunday this fabric is 20% off or $7.20/half yard.
Teresa Myles use Bay of Campeche as the background for her mermaid quilt.
This week I've added 8 new 58" Crystals. This is just 4 of them. The fabric for these is a tightly woven cotton similar to batik. You can see all of the Crystals in the shop.
Coffee and Cocoa Gradient is back!
Everyone should do some level of kitchen remodel every 20 years or so. I unpacked the cabinets this weekend while I was watching the football games and I can't believe some of the old stuff that I found. I've been gluten free at least 8 years and we still had wheat pasta in the cabinet. I thought I had been keeping the spice cabinet pretty cleaned out but I discovered that I was pretty wrong on that front too. We got a lot of good laughs out of the things we found.
We got it all done and today the work has started and given the Eagles win last night, there's nothing he could do today that would dampen my mood. He could play rap music and I'd be OK with it today.
Regiment is the 4th veterans quilt that I designed for my program tomorrow. the perfect block size for these 48" x 60" quilts is 12" so I decided that for this one I would do straight blocks with no sashing or borders. I don't know what this block is called but it's really just a variation of the Churn Dash, one of my favorite blocks. This is another one that's good for scraps. You could even do both backgrounds as scrappy tonals.
I have a pretty sizable stash of black on white and white on white fabrics. I bought all of them with plans to overdye them. Like the 10 year old pasta in the kitchen, these fabrics have been around at least that long. I'm trying to get them all dyed up this year to use in veterans quilts. The light blue background in this quilt was a black on white fabric. The dark blue was a flawed fabric that I couldn't sell. I dyed it and cut around the flawed areas. The centers are one Midnight Stash Pack of fat eighths. I would have used dark blue for the binding but I didn't have any if that left so I used the extra print.
So I'm all ready for my program tomorrow and I have 10 kits cut out for anyone who wants them. Now it's time to get back to some of my project, like the beaded mosaic wall and Lost My Marbles quilt. I've also got to come up with a project for the monthly Country School sewing days...unless I come home Tuesday night with a bunch of veterans quilt kits.
We're kicking off the new year with this very cool quilt from Patricia Caldwell. She made this quilt with a Crystal mandala, Blue Sky gradient and Regalia Shades Pack. She added couched yards and metal features. What a creative use of one of the Crystal fabrics!
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.
Well,, I survived the day of countertop shopping. I'm not planning to share photos of any of the work. It's just a kitchen and there's nothing particularly special about it. It's just that it's 20 years old and needs a little refreshing. While the contractor is here he's also doing a laundry list of things that have needed attention for a while. None of it is really photo worthy.
One of the things that we are doing in the kitchen is removing the over-the-stove microwave/vent combo. Doing that in the original design was a giant mistake. If you are considering doing something like that in your own kitchen remodel, you might want to reconsider. The vent part doesn't work all that well and it gets absolutely disgusting. I can't wait to get that thing taken out and replaced with just a vent.
We will be packing up most of the kitchen this weekend and getting ready for work to start Monday so sewing/quilting might be slow.
For now, though, I still have 2 more veterans quilts to share. Before I talk about today's quilt I want to answer a question from yesterday. The veterans quilts that we make are 48 x 60 so that's the size of these patterns. But any of them would be really easy to make larger. The size we make was recommended by the hospital. This size is goof for hospital beds because they don't get caught in the bed mechanism and for people using them while receive treatments, these are perfect for use in a chair.
I called today's quilt Redoubt. When I started working on this one I was looking at a 12" block as the foundation for the quilt.
The foundation of this quilt is this simple spool block. The lantern motif comes from placement of the colors and columns of blocks are separated by 3" sashing.
Now, I know that my version isn't going to appeal to everyone, but I love it. It's a lot brighter in real life and has more purple in it. I wanted to use one of my Galaxy fabrics as a background and I paired it up with lots of different greens.
Here are a couple of other colorways that you might like better. If you want to make one of these you can get the tutorial here.
Well, things are about to get pretty "exciting" around here. We are finally starting a mini kitchen remodel. The best part about it is that the husband of one of my best friends is doing the work. We've waited a long time to have this done because we specifically wanted him. His work is meticulous! So, I'm excited about that part. The allergy-girl half of me is anxious but hoping for the best. Fortunately we can block off that room really well so, at this point, I'm remaining positive. But if I disappear for a day or few over the next month or so, you will know why.
Today I'm doing counter top shopping after my shooting lesson. It seems like a natural transition, doesn't it? I just hope I get to end the day with some quilting or sewing.
But let's get back to quilting. Today's veterans quilt is one that I'm calling Blockade. I think this name actually makes sense since it's a square surrounded by a square. This quilt is great for scraps and jelly rolls because it's all based on 2.5" squares and strips. The finished block size is 6".
This particular one is made with the scraps from my Indonesian batik quilt. I pulled a variety of green hand dyed fabrics to go with it. The color in this photo is actually pretty bad. I promise that the real quilt looks a lot better in real life. The quilt top went together really quickly and I was about to do a lot of string piecing. Then I had fun in EQ designing some alternative layouts.
I think it would be cool to divide a huge variety of scraps into light and dark to make one of these quilts. If you haven't already figured out how to make it you can get the tutorial here.
I was going to wait until I did my program next week before I shared these quilts but this is pretty much all I've been working on so it's all that I have to share!
I've gotten motivated to focus more on the veterans quilts because we have such a wonderful group of nurses at the veterans hospital that make sure these quilts are given to people who appreciate and love them. The nurses are so grateful to have these to give to their patients that really need a boost. I just want to make sure that they always have a supply.
We also have a great set-up at Country School Quilters to make these. We use our dues money and other fundraising money to purchase backing and batting. I used to get printed backing but now I only buy white so that I can dye the backs. Here are a few that I dyed in November and December that are all ready for some quilts. I used to do all of the quilting but now we have 4 longarmers in our group and we share the work.
I decided to do a program for January with 4 new quilt ideas and that's what I have been working on. I wanted projects that were easy and I'm even cutting a couple of kits out of each one for members who don't like to do the cutting step.
This first one is SOOOOOO easy. I decided to call it "Strength" because it's pieced in columns, or pillars....get it? I know, it's a reach, but it was late and that was the best I could do. The real point of this design was to make a quilt that would make great use of large scale prints or other "special" fabrics that just need a little framing to show them off.
For my version I used my "waste" fabrics and I think it created kind of a stained glass look. This could be easily adjusted to make a QOV or bed quilt size. I'm thinking about doing one using all of the Paula Nadelstern fabrics that I've collected with a black background. I think that could look pretty awesome. The kits I made have blue background, red bars and patriotic plaids as the feature fabrics. I think they will make a couple of really cute quilts. I could probably make about 30 kits just with my collection of waste fabrics!
The pattern, such as it is, is here.
Last month I said that I was going to drop my goal of reducing the number of UFO projects. Just tracking my projects helps me keep some sort of control over the new projects that I start. So in this post I'm going to wrap up December and talk about my goals and projects for 2019.
My goals for December were:
- bind Indonesian Batik (didn't happen)
- make labels for Antelope Canyon and Indonesian Batik (didn't happen)
- finish the last set of Christmas postcards (Done!)
- make veterans quilt kits (well underway)
- make placemats with the last of the leftover Indonesian batik fabric (Done!)
Instead of finishing the batik quilt I made 4 veterans quilts because I'm doing a program on veterans quilts for my quilt club next week. I also quilted 4 other veterans quilts.
Here are my stats for 2018:
Starting UFO 15
Finished YTD 4 (Goal 12)
Started YTD 6 (Planned 6)
Ending UFO 17 (Goal 9)
Veterans YTD 22 (Goal 40)
Fabric Postcards 150
Pet Beds 2
Placemats - 16
Chair cushions/pillows - 3
Potholders - 3
Big Fabric Flowers
Quilted for others - 2
I expect to have more time in 2019 so I'm hopeful that I'll get more of my projects finished this year. I'm dedicating the beginning of the year to veterans quilts. Over the next few days I'll have 4 designs to share that I made for my program next week and I have a few more ideas percolating.
I'm also planning to be more dedicated to learning Electric Quilt. I bought some workbooks for EQ8 that I'm going to work through.
On the longarm, next up is to re-load and finish Lost My Marbles. Does anyone even remember that one? But the one goal that I do want to set for the year is to get my 2 mosaic projects done.
My specific goals for January are:
- finish 4 veterans quilts
- bind and label Indonesian Batik
- label for Antelope Canyon
- possibly start a foundation piecing project, I have a couple of choose from'
- resume quilting Lost My Marbles
- 3 EQ lessons
Do you remember last month when I talked about what a great book month November was? Well, we really only know "good" when we have something not so good to compare it to. Well, December was a "not so good month".
I did have a few really good books. Lethal White and Holy Ghost are books that I had been waiting to get from the library for a few months and they did not disappoint.
The Feather Thief was a superior book but it was a surprisingly interesting story. Brain On Fire was another interesting book but I'm not sure it would have wide appeal. Nowhere to Run and Tier One were books that I knew that I could count on to cleanse my palette from the rest of the books of the month.
So, that's not so bad, right? Well there are four books that I really can't recommend: Mary Queen of Scots was just way too long, The World In A Grain, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters and The Witch Elm were downright awful.....in my opinion. But read the detail reviews and if you have read any of them and have a different opinion please let us know in the comments. We all have different tastes in books.
Do you have any particular books on your 2019 reading list? I have lots of books on my Audible and Libbie wish lists but nothing specific that I must read. I'm open to almost m=anything....except sci-fi, fantasy, romance and self-help. I'm beyond help!
Here's my December reading list.
By Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling), narrated by Robert Glenister
This is the 4th is the Cormoran Strike series. I never read the Harry Potter novels simply because magic isn't my genre. I've seen bits and pieces of the movies. But I know she's and outstanding writer and I am addicted to this mystery series.
Cormoran Strike lost a leg serving in Afghanistan and is now a private detective. At the end of the last book he had fired his assistant, Robin, because she was badly hurt in their last case. In this book it opens at Robin's wedding where he went to ask her back. When she returns from her honeymoon they are hired by a British government minister to try to stop a blackmail scheme.
These books are so well written and apparently you can find web sites where people explore the meaning of certain imagery in the book. Lethal White refers to a syndrome in horses, much of the story takes place around the Uffington White Horse and there's a painting in one of the main story locations with a white horse. According to the conspiracy theorists this all has to do with Rowling's hatred of the legacy British colonialism.
Whatever. I couldn't care or be influenced less about her politics. I just love her book.
The Feather Thief
By Kirk Wallace Johnson, narrated by MacLeod Andrews
I'm still waiting for a few books on my hold list on Libby so I started looking around for new books that were available and stumbled on this one. I'm glad I found it.
The book is about the 2009 theft by Edwin Rist of hundreds of rare and historically significant birds from the natural history Museum in Tring, UK. many of the birds had been collected by Charles Darwin's contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace.
You can look up Edwin Rist on Wikipedia and get the basic background of the theft and find out that he basically got off with a mental health defense. But Kirk Wallace Johnson, a fly fisherman, heard about the story and got obsessed by it and this book is the result.
It's basically in 3 parts. The first part is about the history of collecting specimens that was the rage in Victorian times. The second part is about the crime where we learn yet again, how poorly museum collections are secured. The third part is about the author's obsession with tracking down the missing birds and more about Rist, the fly tying community and their dedication to finding feathers from rare birds. It was a good read.
Nowhere to Run
By CJ Box, Narrated by David Chandler
This is the 10th novel in the Joe Pickett series. In the last book he was "sentenced" to a tour as the game warden in the remote area of Baggs, WY. It's the last week and he's following up on complaints about butchered elk, looted camps and other minor mayhem. Of course it turns out to be a lot more than it seems.
I like the Joe Pickett novels. My husband doesn't like that the family is so involved in the stories but it's one of the things that I enjoy about the books. They are a lot like the Craig Johnson books. David Chandler is the perfect narrator for Joe Pickett.
The Boston Girl
By Anita Diamant, Narrated by Linda Lavin
One of the benefits of now borrowing books from the library is that I'll occasionally read a book that's less than my 10 hour minimum rule. I generally prefer longer books and I set the 10 hour rule so reduce the per hour cost of listening on Audible. On Audible a 4 hour book costs 1 credit, the same as a 30 hour book.
Anyway, I was still waiting for some books to come off hold so I started looking around the Libbie app for books that are available. That's how I found The Feather Thief, this book and the next book.
The Boston Girl is a coming of age novel. Addie Baum was born in 1900 to immigrant parents. She's now 85 and is telling her Granddaughter her life story. The story begins when she is 15 when she made the friends who would be part of her life forever. The story has a lot of historical detail about the lives if immigrants in Boston at that time and Linda Lavin (from the sitcom Alice) narrates it beautifully. The author takes a couple of gratuitous political cheap shots that I feel make her seem petty, but otherwise it's like sitting down with grandma to hear a good story.
Brain on Fire, My Month of Madness
By Susannah Cahalan, Narrated By Heather Henderson
You've got to love medical histories to like this book. I found it fascinating. Susannah was (and is) a writer for the New York Post. One day she began having hallucinations, seizures and other mental illness symptoms. She eventually ended up in the hospital where she stayed for a month. It was only due to the good fortune of time and place that she ended up with the right doctor to get the right diagnosis.
It's a mystery story and a very detailed personal history of the person who went through it.
The World in a Grain
By Vince Beiser, Narrated by Wil Damron
I had such high expectations for this book. I hoped for something along the lines of Salt by Mark Kurlansky but Vince Beiser isn't a historian, he's an activist.
This book is partly about sand as the foundation of civilization and how many different ways it's used (building roads, silicon chops...) but it's mostly about how the development of all of those things have led to a laundry list of bad things. It was so annoying that I gave up half way through. It could have been great and he could have gotten his points across without being such an unhappy activist and more of a dispassionate historian. I can summarize his point of view by saying that he pretty much sees everything about civilization as negative. How he gets through his miserable day is a mystery to me.
Right after this book I started and returned Borrowed Time by James Freeman and Vern McKinley. It's about the history of Citicorp. It's the kind of book that I usually love but the narrator was horrible. His narration would make this a great book to listen to if you have insomnia. I may get a paper copy to ready on vacation next year because it's the kind of book that I usually love.
Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles
By Margaret George, Narrated by Donada Peters
I love Margaret George's historical novels. One of my favorite books of all time is her book Memoirs of Cleopatra. I also enjoyed this book but I didn't love it. It's 42 hours long and that's a long time when telling the story of someone who spent half of her life basically imprisoned. It wasn't a bad book at all but it got a bit exhausting. 10 hours could have easily been edited out of it. But if you like historical novels with excruciating details this is the book for you.
The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters
By Sam Kashner and nancy Schoenberger
Narrated by Bernadette Dunne
I don't know why I read this except that I saw some good reviews and I got it free from the library. I have a pretty healthy disinterest in the lives of society people but I thought it might be interesting. It was, sort of, but I left the book not really liking either woman very much.
It's a great look into the lives of society women of their age who were raised to marry well. It was bred into them from a young age and they really never abandoned it.
The book tries to play up the sibling rivalry but it was really no different than a lot of sister relationships. The difference is that in this case there's real money and social standing involved. Since that was the currency of their lives the rivalry is not really surprising.
If you buy into the whole Camelot facade of the Kennedy administration, don't read this book. It does blow that up pretty well. They were political animals just like today's politicians. Jackie knew, and often facilitated, Jack's foraging outside of the marriage. Plus she was a heavy smoker which the press helped hide just like they do with Obama. She did an amazing job of burnishing his image after his death. I wouldn't have been able to spend a day with either of these woman.
By John Sandford, Narrated by Eric Conger
This is the 11th in the Virgin Flowers series and I had been on the wait list at the library since September! It was a real treat after the last 3 books and it was classic F@>^!%$ Flowers. This time he's sent to the tiny town of Pinion, MN where a sighting of the virgin Mary has breathed new life into this half-dead town. That is until someone starts a shooting spree that puts everything at risk. Shrake and Jenkins are back with Virgil and there's nothing to eat in the town except frozen pot pies. It was a fun read.
Field of Bones
By JA Jance, narrated by Hillary Huber
I haven't read a JA Jance book in about 18 years so when someone recommended this I decided to give it a try. This is the 18th book in the Joanna Brady series. Brady is the sheriff in Cochise County, AZ. She's on maternity leave when a body dump field is found. Her Deputy Sheriff is in charge and they are trying to find the serial killer before another body is dumped.
You don't have to read these books in order because Jance spends a LOT of time giving background on each character between scenes. In fact, I'd say that a full 3rd of this book seemed like detailed background information so the story seemed quite choppy to me.
As for the story, it was fine. Not great. There are too many "strong women" and men around them to provide support. It's not a feminist manifesto at all. The author was actually quite even-handed with everyone and I didn't get political undertones. But it's simply not realistic that a Deputy Sheriff of either gender would be telling the Sheriff that they can't wait until she gets back because the job is a bit over his/her head. Also, things in this novel resolve quickly and easily. For example, the local FBI office didn't want to help with profiling but, no worries, Sheriff Brady has a connection and with a couple of phone calls we have the exact profile identified. Magic.
JA Jance has a large following so I know her novels are popular but they just aren't for me.
The Witch Elm
By Tana French, Narrated by Paul Nugent
Tana French writes the Dublin Murder Squad series, that I enjoyed until the most recent book, and this one had some good published reviews so I decided to give it a try. I should have read the Audible reviews first and skipped it. The publisher and professional reviews are always misleading!
I don't even understand this book. None of the characters are believable and not one of them behaves like a normal person would in the same situations. Most of the story revolves around the discovery of a dead body in a tree on family property. The dead person is a contemporary of three cousins now in their 20's. It's truly an excruciating story and it took every fiber of my being to finish it. I only finished it because I kept hoping for the main character, Toby, to die. Actually the best ending would have been fr everyone to die.
An anonymous Audible customer wrote a review that is so spot on that I decided that I'd share:
"The plot (is there a plot?) is slow and disjointed, featuring bizarre unrealistic event heaped upon bizarre unrealistic event duct-taped together with shoddy continuity. Characters drop out and/or show up with little or no explanation or reason. The scenes intended to be most dramatic made me laugh because of the giant plot conveniences driven by the author; the characters' motivations for doing most of what they do are unimaginable. Toby, Melissa, Susannah, Leon, Shawn, Hugo, and just about every character in this book are chess pieces being moved around artlessly to bring their fragmented, preposterous, mean-spirited, lazy plotlines to a close."
The book gave me a headache and a bad attitude that only a few hours outside raking leaves relieved.
By Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson, Narrated by Ray Porter
These are the same authors that write under the pen name Alex Ryan and authored Bejing Red. This is a new series based on a Tier One Navy SEAL named John Dempsey, formerly Jack Kemper. After a terrorism plot destroys his SEAL unit he is recruited to join Ember, the most secretive counter-terrorism until in existence.
It's not the best spy novel I've read but it was a good story, I liked the characters and it was very fast paced. It was a great palette cleanser after The Witch Elm.
On to 2019 and, hopefully, a lot of good books for all of us!
This week's inspiration comes from quilt artist and painter, Miriam Ahladas. She used the Red Sunset and Barrier Island gradients in her piece.
"The quilt was inspired by a beautiful purple and pink sunrise after an early morning shower. The sun warmed a new day as undulating wheat danced and sparkled in the field at the edge of my yard. I stood in awe of our life-sustaining earth. The colors of the fabrics and embellishments represent fire, earth, and water. Feathers represent birds soaring on wind currents. My Norwegian roots and a recent study of the Saami, the indigenous reindeer herders of the North, inspired most of the quilting."
For sharing, Miriam 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.
These started as a plan to use up more of the Indonesian batik scraps but, honestly, they didn't make a dent in the scrap. The other motivation was to use the rest of the backing fabric on the Indonesian batik quilt. I had about 18" of 108" wide fabric at the end of the quilt and that was perfect for 6 placemats.
I'll have to come up with a postcard design to use the rest of batik scraps but I used every inch of the dyed backing.
The background is a gradient fabric that I had in my stash. I don't know what I originally dyed it for but it worked out just fine for these.
The tree and the circles are fused and all of the stitching is free motion.
I had enough of the gradient to do 4 using the blue/orange side of the gradient but I had room on my extra quilt back for 2 more placemats.
The other half of the gradient was green so I made these 2 with green backgrounds. I like both sets. I'll keep the 4 blue ones and give the green pair to Mom.
I'm happy to have another finish for 2018.
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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