The fabric of the week this week is the Jungle Shades Pack and it's on sale 20% off through Sunday! Shades Packs are dyed when ordered so there's no limit to what you can buy. If you order multiple quantities it comes as one cut. For example, order 2 quantities for 1/2 yard cuts. Orders received by Wednesday morning (EST) will be shipped October 16. Orders placed after Wednesday morning will be shipped October 23.
Gradients Back in Stock!
It's been a while since I worked on the wall. But thanks to Marcy's quilting lesson Thursday I had some time (and motivation) to add a few more beads and a little background too.
There's still lots left to do!
Today's gem comes from Rene Iannarelli. Rene is a master of this style of art quilt. You will want to go to the Customer gallery and check out her other work.
Low Tide was inspired by Boca Chica beack in Brownsville, TX. At low tide you can see pilings, shells and rocks. She primarily used the Beach Walk gradient in this piece and added bleached palm tree bark for the grasses.
If you have made anything using my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. In return you will receive a 20% discount coupon that's good for 3 months.
Marcy and I had a great time yesterday while she did my work. She quilted 2 veterans quilts for me and I did all kinds of other things. It was like having a magic quilting fairy for a day.
Generally I do not do anything to the quilt tops that I receive. They must come to me pressed and ready for quilting. This one had all of that border fabric on one edge. You know I'm a person who needs symmetry in my life so I did take 10 minutes to cut half of that slab off and sew it to the other side. I think it looks a little more planned now.
I taught Marcy the wavy crosshatch with this one. It's my go-to design for for quilts with blocks smaller than 6". When the block is bigger I usually want a denser motif.
Marcy said that she sometimes struggles with making the switch to moving left and right on the longarm (as opposed to how she quilts on a domestic machine). So to help her get in the left-right groove I had her quilt simple wavy lines back and forth across the quilt.
I don't know who made this quilt but I really like it. The block is really simple but putting it together alternating direction makes the quilt look complex.
At the end of the day we both called the session successful. Marcy quilted both of these in about 3 hours and I can already tell that she is more comfortable with using the longarm. We have her next session already scheduled.
I have 2 friends locally that are new Innova quilters. One purchased a machine and one rents time at Virginia Longarm. Both have taken classes of mine and have asked for additional help or private lessons. I don't give private lessons but I have come up with an ingenious way to help them while mostly helping myself.
It involves veteran's quilts!
Last week Tina came over to practice some ruler stitch-in-the-ditch and today Marcy is coming over to practice free-motion. I load and baste the quilts and then they quilt them for me. They get a little lesson and practice time and I get some veterans quilts done. Since I have 16 waiting to be quilted this is a huge help for me right now.
I've got these 2 quilts loaded and the thread picked out. Marcy will be ready to get started as soon as she arrives. There will be no dilly-dallying. Well, maybe a little dilly-dally will be OK....and then we must get to work.
If I work on my wall while she is quilting I can be close by but not looking over her shoulder.
Or I can be a few feet away loading more bottles on the kiln. Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to try to get a lot of my stockpile of bottles slumped in case any of you want bottles for Christmas (or other) gifts.
Looks like this poor bottle moved as it heated. I had it perfectly centered on the mold but it rolled a little left and now it's a reject. Maybe I'll donate it to the Country School trash-to-treasure sale next week.
After all of the excitement and fun today we will get to end the day buying a new HVAC system. Oh joy!
In between plugging along on the ornament I'm also plugging along on the applique.
My last update was a couple of weeks ago and I've surprised myself with the progress I've made since then. I'm on the second border and each has 10 blossoms. I start in the middle. After the last update I finished the last blossom on one side.
Then back to the center to start the other side with this red one.
Then two more!
Only 2 more left to do on this border.
There are 10 on each border and one larger blossom for each corner once I sew the borders on the quilt. I've finished 18 so I'm 40% done!
The fabric if the week is Fire Line Gradient. This fabric is on sale 25% off! If you want some for your stash get it before it sells out. Through Sunday (or while supplies last) this fabric is 25% off or $6.75/half yard.
Patricia Caldwell's art quilt, Catching a Dream shows the Fire Line gradient in action.
New Stash Packs!
I've got 2 great new Stash Packs to introduce this week. Stash Packs are designed for the art and scrap quilters in mind. Each Stash Pack has 10 fat eights of highly textured (color texture) fabrics in a theme color or category.
I had one goal for September and one goal only: finish the quilts for Paula Nadelstern. I met that goal even though I can't share them quite yet.
I have lots of goals for October and one of them is to finish this ornament. It's now officially become "that stupid ornament". I'm that tired of it. This one has way too much gluing for my taste. There's especially a lot of gluing slippery things to other slippery things. Yesterday during my marathon of football watching I got all of the blue sequins glued on and started gluing the pearls and rhinestones. You can only do a few at a time because if I turn the ball the glued things will slip around.
But the worst was making the hanger. They are famous for some of their convoluted directions but this kit takes the proverbial cake. Usually the hanger elements are sewn but this one was all glued and nothing wanted to stick to that white ribbon. So I considered the weekend a huge success to get this far.
Just in case you think it's close to being done.....you are wrong. I still have all of this to add to it. My goal is to complete this one in October. (I split my TV time between the ornament and applique). Then I'll have 2 more kits (better ones) to do before the end of the year and then I'll be done with ornament kits.
On the quilting front I will start 2 new quilts in October. One is the quilt made from the Maine sunprints and the other is the Antelope Canyon quilt.
At the longarm I want to quilt a few veterans quilts, the latest crumb block quilt and one of my crystal mandalas. It's also time to make more progress on the mosaic wall. It's going to be a busy month!
Here are my stats for September:
Starting UFO 19
Finished YTD 10 (Goal 11)
Started YTD 11 (Planned 6)
Ending UFO 20 (Goal 14)
Veterans YTD 23 (Goal 40)
How did you do on your projects? You are welcome to post a comment or share a link or even to just think about it on your own.
This week's gem comes from Martha Giles. Martha picked one of the Shades Packs and had me make a custom gradient for her. I do that quite often for customers. With a custom gradient you can have it in 3 - 7 shades, whatever you need. In this case she didn't want the 2 darkest greens. We started with a middle shade and then added 3 lighter shades to get the perfect green that she was after. It made a perfect background for her beautiful applique flowers.
If you have made anything with my fabric pleas consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. In return you will receive a 20% discount code that's good for 3 months!
Since my Saturday posts are reserved for Customer Gems I'm posting my book reviews a day early. That works fine because there's no way I'll finish the current book before Sunday.
This was kind of a weird book month. I have a lot of variety in my genre's (well, variety for me) and not a lot of stand outs. Of course John Adams was great because everything David McCullough writes is excellent. Beijing Red brings a new series to me so that's always good. A Man Called Ove was probably the biggest let down. Maybe it was just over-hyped and an unrealistic expectation was set.
I have started another novel called What is the What by Dave Eggars. It's the kind of book that I usually love but i'm struggling to stay interested in it. It's less a novel than a flat telling of events. I want to stick with it because I feel like I'll learn alot about Sudan and the "Lost Boys" but I might have to slog this one out to get there. You may or may not see a review of this one in the future.
What have you been reading? Any recommendations for me or other readers?
Waiter to the Rich and Shameless
by Paul Hartford, Narrated by Patrick Cronin
After reading Witness at the end of August I needed something light and airy to read and I got it in this book. Paul Hartford wasn't making it in the music industry and decided to give service a try. He applied and was hired as a bartender at The Cricket Room (it's easy to figure out that he's talking about the Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel). This is his story of 10 years as a bartender and waiter at one of the most exclusive restaurants in the world.
Having spent many early years as a waitress I was interested in reading his story and I could identify a lot with many of the challenges, joys and issues of the service industry. It's peppered with lots of celebrity stories including Paris Hilton, Johnny Depp (accounting for his largest tip), Harrison Ford, Rod Stewart and lots of others.
If you are reading this for the celebrity gossip there might not be enough here to entice you. But if you've ever worked in the service industry you might find this interesting.
by David McCullough, narrated by Nelson Runger
I love early American history and especially the American Revolution. I also love anything written by David McCullough. His biographies are epic and John Adams is a wonderful subject because of the wealth of personal writings that are available from his life.
The book is 30 hours long but still seemed like a fast read. Being a Virginian we studied Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry pretty thoroughly. We learned about John Adams mostly through his rocky relationship with Jefferson and as Washington's Vice President. Now hearing the same from the perspective of Adams gives me a more well-rounded view of that time in history. There was also a wealth of information about he relationship with Abigail and their children.
It's a great read.
By Alex Ryan, Narrated by MacLeod Andrews
A new mystery series! This one features Nick Foley, a former Navy SEAL who now works for a NGO in China providing water sources for poor villages. One of his local co-workers suddenly dies at the site and everyone fears an Ebola-type outbreak.
Nick is first quarantined as a possible carrier and then accused of causing the deaths. Now suddenly he's back in SEAL mode investigating a bioterrorism threat.
This series (and there are 2 books so far) is set in China and I really enjoy the change of venue. It's not as well-written as a John Sandford or Kyle Mills book but it's still good. Alex Ryan is actually a pseudonym for the co-author team of Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson. This is their second series. The other series is Tier One and is co-authored.
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman, Narrated by George Newbern.
My favorite thing about this book was the narrator.
This has been a highly reviewed and recommended book and when it was put on sale I decided to give it a try.
It's set in Sweden is is about an "old curmudgeon" called Ove (pronounced oo-va). He seems to hate all people. Then a cat and some new neighbors show up and things start to change.
The book is told in chapter that alternate between his early life and current life. That part is quite annoying but the biggest issue is that I just can't buy the character. He's supposed to be 59 but would only be believable if he was 79. Look at the image on the book cover. That's not a 59 year old man. It's also really a book about processing grief.
I didn't care for the character development and there's no way that a man with his experiences has so much internalized hatred. He might be quite, have a strict routine and avoid contact with people but he doesn't hate.
This book has gotten rave reviews everywhere but it didn't do a thing for me.
by CJ Box, Narrated by David Chandler
Free Fire is #7 of 17 in the Joe Pickett series. Joe has been fired from his job as a game warden and is working on his step-father-in-law's ranch when the Governor of Wyoming comes calling. He wants Joe to investigate a murder in Yellowstone. A lawyer has murdered 4 people and, through a legal loophole, has gotten away with it. The legal loophole is fascinating and I'd love to know if it's real.
I picked this one to read after Ove because I knew I could count on Joe Pickett to get the bad taste out of my mind. He did that and also reminded me of the places we visited on our Yellowstone vacation a few years ago. I left this book in a much better reading mood.
Her Daughter's Dream
by Francine Rivers, Narrated by Stina Nielson
This is the second, and last, book in a series. I read the first one and decided to complete the series. It's definitely a religious/inspirational book so if that bugs you then you will hate this one. If you like those kinds of books you will love this series. The series follows 4 generations of women and explores the emotional baggage that they put on each other and carry through their lives.
I thought the first book was better. This one is quite choppy but the thing that bugged me most was how the author handled contemporary times. Some scenes make you think they are happening in the 1960's instead of the 1990's. It's evident in the dialogue and in the technology used/ignored during certain events. The characters cling way too strongly to their baggage too. The amount of drama was totally unnecessary except for the sole purpose of filling pages. It wasn't "real" enough for me.
The narrator is outstanding and that's probably what kept me in it.
A Mercifull Death
by Kendra Elliot, Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt
Mercy Kilpatrick was raised in an off-the-grid prepper family in Eagles Nest, OR. She was forced to leave the family when she was 18. It's 15 years later and she's back as an FBI agent investigating murders and weapons thefts.
It's a good premise and story line but Mercy isn't much of an FBI agent. I think her character is more like a local police officer. Without her childhood knowledge and involvement in a previous she would have never solved this one.
I'd categorize this book as being something between a cozy mystery and a more serious crime mystery. It was a little to light for my taste but it wasn't a bad book.
The Old Man
by Thomas Perry, Narrated by Peter Berkrot
Have you ever finished a book and thought "I don't know what I just went through"?
That was this book.
The old man is Dan Chase, a 60 year old retiree living in Vermont. But Dan Chase isn't Dan Chase. He has numerous identities, money stockpiled in several banks and weapons. None of which he has needed for 35 years ever since a covert operation went awry. Now he's been found and is on the run again.
This is not your everyday spy novel. It's full of twists and twisted characters. Thomas Perry writes a very tight story with well-defined characters. Some people will feel that he left some business unattended at the end but it seemed to end just right for me.
Give this one a try if you are up for something different. I've read several of his book and really enjoyed the Butcher's Boys books.
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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