Showing posts from 2014

Mister DJ Quilt

My last finished quilt of the year is a twin-sized quilt that's my version of this quilt by Melissa Corry found on the Moda Bake Shop site. I even used the same fabric, Sphere by Zen Chic. The fun thing about this particular pattern is that the maker needs to put the strips together randomly making it highly unlikely that there are two identical quilts made from this pattern. But since I used the same fabric, mine looks very much like the one Melissa made.
I like the name, "Mister DJ," because it does remind me of the indicators on a music board. It's a very clever design.
This pattern uses two rolls of pre-cut strips. I had to separate the strips into high-volume, low-volume piles and then cut them into sets of varying lengths. The cut sections were then paired and sewn together with a small strip of the green. I wound up with 210 strips. In a pile they looked like this: They had to be pieced together randomly, so in order to ensure that, I jumbled them up into a pi…

Merry Christmas

May your heart be filled with love.

TBR Day. To Scotland with Love / Patience Griffin. 2014

To Scotland with Love is Patience Griffin's debut book. And it's the first book in her "Kilts and Quilts" series. Quilts! Quilts! ..... Oh, what's that? The theme this month is the holidays? Never fear! While the grass is green on the cover, the first two-thirds of the book take place in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas and it ends a few weeks after Easter. Lots of holiday stuff within. And quilts.

Cait Macleod moved to Chicago from Scotland with her parents when she was 13. A short time after that, Cait's mother died of cancer. Cait grew up, began a career as an investigative journalist, but gave it up to marry her husband, Tom. He turns out to be a serial cheater and dies in the middle of sex with another woman. I assume Cait's father is also dead because Cait decides to sell everything she owns and move back to her home town in Scotland where her only remaining relative lives, her maternal grandmother, Deydie. Cait and Deydie haven't had …

"One" Leaf

Judy Niemeyer is a quilt teacher, pattern designer, fabric designer, and all-around very creative person. She and her family run a company called and I highly suggest you click on that link, go to the Products tab and select Patterns to see the wide range of exquisite quilts she has designed. Her stuff has become very popular of late. Her patterns use a unique paper piecing technique that is remarkable for the way it helps you organize all of the pieces you need to make her designs. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I took a class in November from my local quilt shop using one of their most basic patterns, called One. It is a long curved leaf sewn to a two-color background. It makes a nice table runner or a nifty wall-hanging.
Here is half of my leaf before it has been trimmed: Here are both halves of my leaf, trimmed, but not sewn together:
Here are a bunch of leaves held by some of my classmates:
Here's my leaf, all finished and quilted:


November Reading

In November my re-reading continued via audiobooks, most notably Joanna Bourne'sThe Spymaster's Lady and My Lord and Spymaster. Her newest book, Rogue Spy was released this month and when I heard that it overlaps some of her earlier books, I decided to re-read them all. And this time to try the audio versions. I like the way narrator Kirsten Potter reads these books and I'm looking forward to listening to Black Hawk next.

A comment by Emily Jane on Twitter reminded me that Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins has been in the TBR for a few years now, so I moved it to the top of the list and I'm glad I did. This novel is not a romance, although it has some romantic elements. It's a fascinating story that was touching, funny, and thought-provoking. Set somewhere in modern-day, rural Kansas, it uses as its backdrop the history of freed slaves who migrated west after the civil war and founded towns that thrived for generations. Today, only Nicodemus, Kansas remains…

New Bag

I think I've become overly fond of making bags. I now have quite a collection of them and I show no signs of stopping. They seem to multiply much like my book collection does. I especially like the patterns from Pink Sand Beach Designs. Not only are they attractive, but the pattern instructions, complete with color photos, are very easy to follow.
The Hamptons Handbag is the 3rd PSBD pattern I've made. It's designed to use 5" charm squares, typically sold in packs of 40. I love the batiks used in the pattern's picture below.
But I had a set of charm squares from the Sphere collection by Zen Chic that I thought would work nicely and I wasn't disappointed with the results. Inside there are 6 pockets and it closes with a magnetic snap.
I used Aurifil thread, Light Turquoise (#5006) 50 wt. to make it and it was the perfect color, especially for the topstitching.

Beside the charm pack, I had some larger pieces of the collection for the lining, bottom and straps. I…

October Reading

October was a weird month. A rather distressing one at times, given some of the news and behaviors affecting the online community where I lurk. I hope November turns out better. I didn't read as much as usual. I think I spent more time sewing, which may account for some of it. I also spent more time doing online Jigsaw puzzles. That is one addictive website.

There were several books that I enjoyed, but not to the point I couldn't put them down. Average and mildly entertaining is the best way to describe them. This includes Counterfeit Countess by Lynne Connolly and two more of Kristen Ashley's backlist, Creed and Lady Luck. Lauren Willig's The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla was fun, but I think I'm worn out on this series. I hope it's true that the next book is the last one.

Speaking of series, as I write this I realize that the only book this month that wasn't part of a series (as far as I know, anyhow) was Connolly's. So, there were three new entries…

Paint Chip Challenge 2015

In the wake of Halestorm (#HaleNo), lots of book bloggers are taking a break from normal reviewing for several days. I doubt I would have blogged books this week anyhow, but to show some solidarity here's a quilty post that had been brewing. One search phrase that frequently sends folks to this blog is "paint chip challenge" because I had participated in one back in 2010. You can read more about that with the series of posts here. It was such a fun thing to do that when I became president of my guild this year, I decided to issue a similar challenge to guild members. I passed out close to 100 paint chips at our September and October meetings. They were in sealed envelopes, so no one knew what color they would receive. The rules are as follows:

Use the color family represented by your paint chip as closely as you can manage.Use a minimum of 3 (three) tone-on-tone and/or solid colored fabrics.Use ONE multi-colored fabric or ONE neutral fabric (black, white, grey, etc). Rem…

I just need to say Thank You

The best part of my online life over that last 10 years has been that corner of the book world -- including both readers and authors -- where people talk openly and freely about the books they've read. Whether the reaction was love, hate, or something in between, those reactions are probably directly responsible for 99% of the books I've read (or added to the TBR pile) in that time span. Whether I've been introduced to a specific title or a specific author, I've derived countless hours of enjoyment devouring one book after another.

Look, I mostly lurk on the internet. I don't engage very often. In the almost 4 years I've had a Twitter account I've amassed a whopping total of 1,697 tweets. I blog here, what? -- maybe twice or three times per month. It's not in my nature to put myself out there. I'd rather read or sew. Still, I've managed to make some wonderful connections and discover where to go for the next great book to read. I'm so gratef…

September Reading

In an effort to show up here a little more often, I'm going to change how I talk about what I read. For the time being, no more "Phyl's Phaves." Maybe some random blathering will be equally useful and less taxing to write.
When I left off my Summer Reads post, I was getting ready to listen to Sarah MacLean's 2014 RITA winner, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. I tried, and quit about 4 chapters in. As much as I wish I could say her books appeal to me, they do not. I can see why they appeal to other readers, and I'm happy that her writing peers awarded her a RITA, but I am not the reader for her. Are they too anachronistic? I don't know. Maybe. But then please tell me...
Why am I so enamored of Grace Burrowes and Kristen Ashley? Burrowes is often accused of historical inaccuracy and Ashley writes a kind of contemporary fantasy that I find very appealing while I simultaneously go, No! That's just nuts! I introduced a friend of mine to Ashley's books and…

Summer Quilting

Last spring I wrote that I had started numerous projects and finished none of them. I can tell you that I finished one (yes, ONE!) that I started in the spring. This easy little nine patch quilt was made out of fabrics I had on hand to be donated to a local organization that distributes quilts to foster children. They expressed a need for quilts with sports themes. I dug into my baseball fabrics and came up with this. I hope this small quilt will bring comfort to the child who receives it.
Next up is a little paper-pieced gift for a friend who recently retired and likes nothing more than to go camping out in the wilderness. Once he lived in Minnesota and frequently canoed and camped in the Boundary Waters. I actually bought this pattern years ago with him in mind. This was also made with scraps I had on hand. The finished quilt is about 18" x 15". I made in in about 2 weeks in July.

A year ago a friend of mine asked me to make a quilt for her baby granddaughter. We decided …

Quilt Show

I should be doing a TBR Day post. But once again.... total fail. 
So. How about some gorgeous quilts? I attended the American Quilters Society Chattanooga show on Saturday and here are a bunch of photos that I took.
First up, several quilts from a special exhibit called "Stitch Like an Egyptian." AQS is licensed to exhibit and sell artwork by the Tentmakers of Cairo. In addition to the exhibit, a member of the Tentmakers was there to demonstrate his technique. These quilts are very interesting. A design is sketched on a background fabric and the background fabric is attached to a lightweight canvas. Then the artist stitches the applique pieces into place. The artist we saw uses a large needle and stitches so quickly! I was amazed.

Here's a close-up:
Next up was a special exhibit by quilt artist Melody Johnson. Go take a look at the galleries on her website. Her exhibit here was called "All Color, All the Time." I got to hear a lecture by her some 5-6 years ago…