Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Reading Roundup!

A couple weeks ago, at one of the thrift stores I frequent, I stood looking at the books selection.  And wondering if someone had dumped their entire collection of cozy mysteries at the store's donation center.  Because there were well over a hundred!

("Cozy mysteries" being murder mysteries wherein the protagonist is heavily into a craft of some sort.  Sewing, knitting, embroidery... there were even scrapbooking mysteries!)

Out of a sense of amused curiosity, I looked for quilting titles, and found two.  And a dressmaking title that also had promise.  Hey, for $.50 I wanted to try them and see!  So, my results:

Quilt or Innocence, by Elizabeth Craig.  I tried to like this one, but honestly, the characters all felt like cardboard cutouts - wooden and interchangeable (I had trouble keeping them straight).  And for a supposed group of longtime friends, they were all really quick to accuse one another of murder in a heartbeat.  Maybe the stiffness to this book was because it was the first one in its series, but regardless, I'm not going looking for any more of the volumes.  Going to drop this one at the quilt guild's freebies table, let someone else have it.

A Drunkard's Path, by Clare O'Donohue. This one is book two in a series, which may be an advantage as the writer knows their characters and situation better.  This one felt more "realistic," for whatever value that holds, than the other two.  I did peg the killer before the book ended, but there were enough details that I hadn't guessed to make it satisfying.  However, if the main character and her boyfriend were supposed to have chemistry, I couldn't see it.  I felt like I was being told that they were making out, without any emotions or behavior being shown to warrant it.  I'll probably pass this one on to my mother, see if she likes it.

Deadly Patterns, by Melissa Bourbon. This one is book three of its series, and themed on dressmaking rather than quilting.  But!  This one also contains urban fantasy, magical realism... whatever you want to call it.  The protagonist has a Gift, as do the other women in her family.  Her house, in fact, is haunted by the benign spirit of her great-grandmother.  So this appealed heavily to my reading interests.  The mystery was interesting (again, I pegged the killer, but not all the details).  My only complaints would be the need for a family tree at the beginning of the book (it's at the end), and that the rightful ownership of the coin discovered at the end was never detailed.  Still, my favorite of the three, and one I'm definitely keeping.  And I'm going to keep my eye out for others in the series!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Busy Day Doing Other Things

Not much sewing today.  I got the label sewn onto the backing of Roger's Quilt, and another label sewn onto another quilt I'm giving as a Christmas gift.  Oh, and tossed Keziah's quilt through the wash.  Current count is we're taking four quilts to England.  Good thing we have a generous luggage allowance!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Found Sewing Time

Sitting at my desk in the office listening to Squiddle whine/thump/monologue.  (His bed is just on the other side of the wall from my desk.)  He's four now and getting decidedly difficult about taking naps.  Jazzy, meanwhile, is laying on my bed taking nap #2.  And mummy is taking the time to sew down the mitered corners of Keziah's finished quilt before tossing it in the washer.  I never used to sew them down - then I had them pop out in the wash a few times, and now I always do.  Just a couple minutes of handwork and it's all good.

Next, to press and assemble the backing for Roger's Quilt....

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I sat down late this afternoon and, while the boys played in the backyard, and then, after dark, while Squiddle watched Wonderful Husband play Breath of the Wild and Jazzy had nap #2, powered through quilting the baby quilt.  I sew them so infrequently that I always forget how fast I can quilt something that's just 50" square.  Even with (mostly) free-motion quilting!  So now I just have to cut and sew on the binding, wash it, and it's done.  (Yes, it has a label.  I try to put those on the back before basting, so they're quilted in.)

And Wonderful Husband helped me pick out a backing for the quilt for his father.  It's a lovely vaguely-Asian indigo and cream print that's been in my stash since before we married.  I kept holding onto it "for something special."  Well, "special" fabrics never get used, so I'm striking that phrase from my sewing vocabulary.  See The End Of The Stash and Stash Less.  A quilt for my father-in-law is certainly something special, so off that hoarded fabric goes!  And whatever trimmings remain after it's quilted, well, maybe I'll finally start that blue-and-white Triple Irish Chain quilt I muse about sometimes.

(Also, Wonderful Husband is not a quilter, but wow he has a fantastic eye for color combinations!  He picked the alternate squares and both borders for the baby quilt, and I have to admit his choice for the backing for his father's quilt is dead on and much better than what I had picked out.  I love this man.)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Needed This Like A Hole... In One

I've embarked on a new quilt.  It's not like I don't already have a stack of tops waiting to be quilted, and a list of sewing that I need to do in the few weeks before we flee the country (and I lose access to my sewing machine and stash) for our winter holiday with family and friends.

But nooooo.  Over the past couple years I've been setting aside fabrics that matched my father-in-law's interests.  I've garnered them from the Bargain Basement, guild yardsales, and thrift shop grab bag hauls.  Golf fabrics, train fabrics, baseball fabrics.  And I was going to cut into them to make him a couple themed pillowcases for Christmas.  But then I realized that the pieces that were long enough had chunks cut out.  So no go on that plan.  BUT! I could cut them into squares, and sash them, and border that....

So I cut 64 6.5" squares.  And pulled some brown fabric I got in the freebies heap at guild this month, and made that into 2.5" sashing strips and first border.  And found a good red for corner squares.  And a green from a grab bag that kind of reminds me of a golf course got cut into 5.5" outer border strips....

I'm halfway through sewing the last border on.  So now I have to muse on what from the stash will make good backing.  (I have more of the brown for binding.)  It will be about the same size as the Strawberries and Cream quilt, and I'll do the same simple straight-line quilting that I did on that one.  So the quilting will only take a day or so.

But first, I basted a baby quilt this morning, so quilting that is next.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Since I run the block of the month for the Orange County Quilters Guild, I'm always trying to be a month ahead of seasonal events.  Though I admit some months I give myself a break and go non-seasonal!  The block to turn in at the November meeting, for instance, was this 1930s Twist block:

It went across fairly well - 67 blocks got turned in last night (including my six sample blocks), and one guild member told me she'd made enough of them for a queen-sized quilt for herself!  Obviously I need to do more blocks themed on reproduction fabrics.

Next month's block is an applique block I drafted myself.  Christmas ornaments!  Very simple, just a circle and a square on a green background.  Though I did list a couple ideas on the instruction sheet for how to jazz things up, should the creator be so inclined. :)

This year I've been having everything finish to either 6" or 6"x9".  I think next year I'll go a little bigger and have 8" blocks be my goal.  And, since I'm missing January's meeting, I'll need to have January and February all ready for the next guild meeting.  Time to put on my thinking cap!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Guild Round Robin, Month 2

Here's my completed round for this month's Round Robin challenge for the Orange County Quilter's Guild:

I was really stuck on what to do with this one, until I remembered what one of the speakers at the Orange Grove Quilter's Guild said about Round Robin projects: set them on point.  So I drafted up stripey setting triangles and my math was pretty much dead-on.  Though I do have to admit that as I was sewing the navy and orange and pale gray all together, I kept feeling like this was for a college or sports team!  Something about the way the colors went together.  That and the fact that I was mostly dealing with solids instead of prints, maybe?

Anyhow, I'm turning this one in at the meeting tonight and getting the last piece to work on.  And then next month we all get our original projects back.  I can't wait to see what three other quilters have made of the the one I turned in!