Monday, September 18, 2017

Half-a-Dozen Projects After Irma

Though Irma came through our area as a category 1 hurricane, and by the time she reached us the eye was breaking up, we still felt the 70-80 mph winds of the eye wall. Lots of palms were "trimmed" in the process. We've been seeing lots of this - downed palm fronds.

It will be several weeks until the piles of debris have been picked up. 

In my sewing room, it's business as usual. During the past six days I've had my hands on a half-dozen different projects.

This is everything receiving attention lately.

I've completed the first and second rounds of the Bernina Zen Chic Triangle Quilt Along. It's a good along because I can work from my stash and the pace is very slow. Triangles are all 60-degrees.
Bernina Zen Chic QAL - first set of triangles
Bernina Zen Chic QAL - second set of triangles
I've been playing with a couple of new-to-me rulers. This one is the four-inch Triangle in Square ruler by Bloc Loc

The other is the Classic Curves ruler by Color Girl Quilts

Combining the shapes each ruler creates into a cohesive quilt design is going slowly. Right now, it's a mishmash of solids in all colors. It will be a work in progress for a while.

LindaNova is coming along slowly... more and more slowly as it's now 30" in diameter. 

I've been choosing and prepping fabrics for the next rounds that I'll continue to make in a combination of prints and solids.

I've cut out a baby quilt that's a freebie pattern from the Moda Bake Shop.

Urban Trek, a quilt top finished in May has been pin-basted. I'm looking forward to quilting it, as after watching season two of Fresh Quilting TV, I've been inspired (episodes 6 and 7)! Now I know exactly what I want to quilt - a combination of grid-based FMQ, and big stitch hand quilting with perle cotton. 

I've also cut out fabrics to make four Dog Gone Cute blocks. You see, my long-time blogger-friend Karen (KaHolly) has asked for these blocks for her birthday this Wednesday, September 20. She'll accept blocks into November, but wants to make them into quilts to give to Second Chance Farms, a pet animal rescue facility in Granbury, Texas that stepped up to accept pets during Hurricane Harvey.

If you're interested in helping out, read more here on Karen's blog post

All this sewing room time has been to prepare for an upcoming quilt retreat. If you've been on a retreat, you know how that goes. It takes planning ahead to have the fabrics, supplies, and tools ready for several days of non-stop sewing. And in this case, retreat is a whole week! Yep, seven days and seven nights! I'm pilin' on the projects so as not to waste a single moment of uninterrupted sewing days that lie ahead. Me and five friends are gonna get to know each other really well! 

And surprise of surprises, I've been in the kitchen too. It's Dan who's cooking the meals, but I've begun contributing by baking bread. We both like sourdough, so I made and nurtured a starter. This is the second pair of twin loaves I've baked. 

The texture is perfect, but the sourdough flavor hasn't fully developed. The starter needs more aging. I'll keep working on it.

I don't think there's any need to explain this cartoon, but her name is Maria.

During my morning prayer time, it came to my awareness that the names of our recent hurricanes spell something special - H.I.M. Think He's trying to point us to someone? Linda

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rainbow Strings

I have another finish to share this week, though this quilt was completed a few weeks ago. What with other activities and preoccupation with Hurricane Irma, the timing just wasn't right for posting about it.
Rainbow Strings, 64" X 80"

This Rainbow Strings quilt (for want of a clever name), is one of those "free" quilts that I put together with strips that have been saved in a plastic container over a long period of time. It's also made with a technique I really like - fabric strips sewn to a foundation paper of telephone book pages. What better way to use up an unused telephone book?! Just fill half of a 8-1/2" X 8-1/2" telephone book page with random-width strips of a single color, and fill the other half with white prints.

If you'd like to make a quilt like this go here to download my free "Stringing Colors" instructions. I wrote these directions in 2009 to make quilts for Australia bush fire relief, and it remains a good go-to design for any charity or donation quilt. 

That's what very likely will become of this quilt.

Rainbow Strings is made with request loft Quilter's Dream 100 percent cotton. This design was quilted with Aurifil 50-weight thread.

These loops were quilted with 40-weight YLI orange/yellow variegated thread.

I'm especially happy with the binding.

It was sewn using the method No Tails Binding: Mitered Corners by Machine. You can find my binding tutorial here. If you're a member of the Modern Quilt Guild, you can watch my binding webinar that explains the technique step-by-step. It's here, on the members-only resources page.

It feels good to be knocking out a few finishes, after stuttering to a stop over the summer, due to carpal tunnel syndrome. My wrist bothers me now and again, when I'm spending too much time at one repetitive motion (like hand sewing binding), but overall I think it's better.

I'm caught up on quilting until I get two more tops basted! When you're a quilter, the fun just never ends! Linda

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Picket Fence Finish, Courtesy of Irma

Tah-dah! Look what Irma did. She made me sit down in front of the TV for many hours of hand sewing binding to finish "Picket Fence," a quilt design from the book String Quilts, by Elsie Campbell. I'm calling this quilt "Irma Blew on My Picket Fence." 

This quilt has been more than five years in the making. 

It fits our king-sized bed with it's platform box springs and mattress. That makes it 98" X 109", the largest quilt I've ever made.

Not until I was quilting did I find my big mistake - a diamond-shaped block put in the wrong place. At first I was upset with myself. My gosh, how did I pin-baste this whole thing and not see that glaring misplaced block?! But then I remember that quilters call this a humility block because only God, not humans, achieves perfection. Okay. I am humbled.

All the quilting runs parallel with the piecing, and was actually pretty easy to quilt.

I had more of a challenge choosing a binding! But I'm happy with this one which I cut on the bias because I like that diagonal spiral effect.

Here's where I started "Irma Blew on my Picket Fence" in November 2011.

Here's where I worked on it during a retreat with Iowa friends in January 2012.

Here's where I worked on it during a retreat with Florida quilters in October 2014.

Here's my pin-basting adventure in June 2017.

It was in June 2014, when it was my month to be Queen Bee of the Mid-Century Modern Bee, that I asked members to make string-pieced diamond blocks for me. Pictures of the blocks appear in our group, Flickr Mid-Century Modern Bee, and were made by:

Anne Diester - SpringLeafStudios
Elizabeth Eastmond - OccasionalPiece
Carla Fawcett - Carla2
Debbie Jeske - AQuiltersTable
Mary Kolb - MaryonLakePulaski
René Martinez - RenéCreates
Susan Snooks - PatchworknPlay
Carla Timberlake - Lollyquiltz
Cindy Wiens - LiveAColorfulLife

Thank you very much friends, and Hurricane Irma (though this is the only thing for which I owe you thanks!) for making this quilt happen. It was lovely to sleep under last night. Linda

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma, Monday

In spite of of thinking we were prepared for the arrival of hurricane Irma, on Sunday before she arrived, we found a few more things to take care of.

Though the grill was tied to a tree, we decided to untie it and put it in the garage. That was a good move because the strongest winds came from that (NE) side of the house and there's no doubt the grill would have been blown into the lanai.

Also, Dan raised the exterior entryway light on it's hanging chain, using a zip tie to secure it near the ceiling. 

We added towels in the tracks of the sliders - in the eating area, and in the living room area. Turns out that was worthwhile as all the towels were wet this morning! You know there's a strong wind when the rain blew though the lanai to the sliders!

In the early afternoon on Sunday, we had rain. It looked pretty calm though.

By late afternoon, Irma was making her presence known.

The rain was blowing when these guys returned from a walk.



After watching the first episode of the new/third season of "Outlander," I went to bed. Slept from 11 pm until 1:30 am when the increasing velocity of the wind hitting the bedroom windows woke me. This is all I could see out the bedroom window, a view toward the street and houses behind us.

Dan was awake all night, alternately watching The Weather Channel, Orlando’s channel 13, and WESH-TV, the latter of which seemed to focus more on our area of the state. I settled in with him to watch a “red wall” of strong winds from the south drive northward to us.

At one point I recorded this on a wind velocity app that I download on Sunday. Gusts of near 55 mph were frequent for a while, though I cannot verify the accuracy of this reading.

In fact, we believe the wind gusts were higher! According to the news, gusts in the red areas were between 70-80 mph. Based on the way it felt at our house, we think winds reached 70 mph.

The worst of Irma rolled into our area between 3:30 and 4 am. I thought it was pretty scary, and only wish it had occurred during daylight hours. Perhaps it wouldn't have felt quite so eery.

Today the winds continue at between 30-40 mph, coming from the NE. That's also interesting about a hurricane... how the strongest winds come from the NE, and then after the hurricane passes, the winds come from the SW.

Our beautiful Bismarck palm in the front yard is looking quite bedraggled from all the wind. But that's our only "damage." We did not lose power, thanks to having underground lines. We also didn't lose shingles from the roof, nor have trees blow over, as some of our neighbors did.

Irma is like nothing like either of us has been through. And we don’t want to go through it again! I'm feeling extremely grateful for God's protection, and for having a structurally sound and well-built home. I'm also feeling sad for those who have lost power, and will need time to rebuild.

Thank you all for your concerns. Linda

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hurricane Irma, Saturday

Irma and Harvey Schluter of Spokane, Washington, ages 92 and 104 have hurricanes that bear their names.
We have been watching television updates about Hurricane Irma, except for taking time to: clear furniture from the lanai and put it in the garage; bake Hogan cookies; make homemade yogurt; cook chicken; fill water bottles and refrigerate them; make extra ice; and do laundry and vacuum, the latter two in case we lose power for a few days.

Traffic going north on Friday looked like this at the Wildwood/The Villages interchange. It's been especially dense in this area because the Florida Turnpike and I-75 juncture right here.

Friday morning, it looked like Irma would make a turn near Miami and then arc straight up through Central Florida, with The Villages being smack in the middle. By Friday night, Irma's track was a turn along the southwest tip of Florida and then followed a more westerly arc, about 50 miles to the west of us.

Early this morning, this message sounded on our cell phones. 

Now the latest tracking has Irma smacking the west coast of Florida that includes Fort Myers, Captiva, Sanibel (a beloved family vacation spot when our children were young), and Tampa.

To document our hurricane experience on this pleasant Saturday morning I'm posting photos from The Weather Channel. We anticipate losing power, so this may be all I am able to share for several days. 

Irma is on the coast of Cuba right now.

This is what is anticipated. I inserted the little yellow star to indicate where we live. Close enough! Though given the huge size of Irma, there's no part of Florida that won't be touched by her.

Here's when it's all expected to play out. We're in the same time band as Tampa, so by Sunday morning at 9-10 am, we may be in full-blown (literally) hurricane mode. We've heard wind predictions of anywhere from 55 to 75 mph, and gusts of up to 100 mph. This is when we'd have the greatest likelihood of losing power, or being caught in a tornado.

But for now, our region...

... and our front yard are calm.

In anticipation of being without power, last evening I machine-sewed binding to the Picket Fence quilt. It's gonna finish at around 98" X 109". I should have many hours of hand sewing ahead of me.

I also have a few books from the library, and have started reading "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles. I just don't know if it will be distracting enough for what's going on around us. At least there's one family member who doesn't seem too concerned. 

Praying is also part of waiting time. Prayers not only for us, but for all Floridians.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. - Psalm 46:1
Linda

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricane Irma

As much as I'd like to post about colorful sewing and quilting, it's the weather that has commanded our attention this past week.

Dan and I have watched as Hurricane Irma has grown to a category 5 hurricane, and wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. We've been closely monitoring the numerous computer-generated models that forecasters are coming up with to predict Irma's path. As much as we've been hoping and expecting that she will turn eastward toward the Atlantic, the latest projected path is directly through eastern-central Florida. That's pretty much a near miss through The Villages! We're being told that we can expect 60-95 mph winds!

This is disappointing after reading on another website this list of the Florida cities that are most safe from the impact of a hurricane.
We were extremely relieved to see Leesburg at the top of the list because we live ten miles from Leesburg. So you can imagine our concern at seeing the newest path for Irma that takes her directly toward Leesburg. 
😩

On Wednesday, after teaching an all-day free motion quilting workshop to quilters from Quilting Guild of The Villages, I stopped at Publix grocery store to buy apples and bananas. I couldn't believe what the bread aisle looked like, and had to take a picture.
Is this crazy or what?! It's as bad, if not worse than when a blizzard is predicted for Iowa!

As well, on Tuesday numerous local gas stations were out of gasoline. Today (Thursday), a couple gas stations appeared to have gas again. As I drove by on the golf cart, I saw lines of cars waiting for gasoline, and red-shirted attendants directing traffic into the gas station. Now though, I've since heard that those same stations are without gasoline.

We were not among the crowds that lined up to buy gas, or even bread, milk, or bottled water. We're perfectly content to fill containers with tap water. We have a reasonable amount of food at the ready (I baked sourdough bread this week, but it had nothing to do with Irma's impending arrival), so unless the roof is blown off the house, we think we can manage fine without power for several days. In anticipation of being without power though I did go to the library and checked out print books! That's quite contrary to my habit of listening to audiobooks. But with no landline phone, we're being cognizant of needing to use our cell phones for several days. I've charged an extra cell phone battery (one that I purchased to use at QuiltCon!) and will use the computer or car as back-ups for charging phones, if needed. 

We've made a list of all the things we want to do: remove furniture from the lanai Done!
take down our name sign on the lamp post Done!; bring in flower pots - all of which could be flying bombs - fill the bathtub with water for toilet-flushing; fill all our water bottles with tap water; gather important documents and prescriptions - all of which will go into the master bedroom closet where we anticipate spending the worst of the storm - and lastly... we'll go to bed Sunday night dressed, with our phones, flashlights, and shoes at the ready. Irma is expected to arrive during the wee hours (2 am) Monday morning. 

The Villages is preparing too by closing golf courses and turning on the irrigation systems during the day (otherwise, daytime watering is not permitted) to water the courses using water from holding ponds so as to reduce the level of water in those ponds in anticipation of the rain that will come with Irma.

The Villages is canceling music and dancing on the three squares for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, there will be no Farmer's Market on Saturday, and all recreation centers are closed Sunday and Monday. All poolside chairs and tables are being stored away, nets and wind breaks removed from tennis and pickle ball courts, and the arms are being removed from the automated gate entrances and exits.

Suffice it to say that everyone around here is anticipating Irma. We have no idea how severe our experience may be - whether it will feel like another tropical storm, or will blow our socks off. Literally.

A little bit of quilting-related information...
My presentation - "Domestic Machine Quilting" - to Quilting Guild of The Villages on Tuesday evening was a resounding success, if I do say so myself. There were 172 quilters in attendance, and I was pleased and humbled by the compliments I received afterward - in person, and via texts and emails. Everyone was very kind, and seemed genuinely appreciative of the information I shared. Gosh, but quilters know how to make a person feel good!

On Wednesday I enjoyed teaching free motion quilting to 20 quilters. I shared everything I could remember about free motion quilting! They too responded appreciatively.



It was a wonderful two days, and now Hurricane Irma has our attention. I hate mentioning that we've noticed that Hurricane Jose is right behind her, and on a similar path! I can't even contemplate that, and I'm glad to say that the weather-forecasters aren't talking much about him either! Irma is plenty enough to handle at the moment. Linda

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