Monday, February 1, 2016

Reading, quilting and catching up

Last week was quite busy and so it's been a while since I posted.  Our book club met, but with a different format than usual.  We each chose a different title written by Sue Grafton.  She is the author of the A-Z mysteries with Kinsey Millhone as a female PI.  The first book was written and set in 1982 and even though the series has made it all the way to X (to be published shortly), the timeline in the books has only progressed to the late 1980's.  I used to read all Grafton's books, but lost track of the series some years ago, so when I began S IS FOR SILENCE, my choice of book, I remembered a little about Kensey and her landlord neighbor, but not too much.  S IS FOR SILENCE followed a different format than most, as Kinsey was asked to investigate a cold case, a disappearance over 34 years old.  Her investigations alternate with flashbacks to July, 1953, the time of the disappearance of a young mother/wife known for her wild ways.  Our club discussions centered on what similarities run among all the books and what differences show up in particular titles.  It appeared that mystery lovers among us liked the books they read, and those readers who don't normally choose mysteries for leisure reading were not so satisfied with this month's titles.  One member who has read all the Kinsey Millhone books chose to read KINSEY AND ME, a book of stories by Grafton which tell more about the author and how/why she created her main character.
 Image result for s is for silence

Last fall I saw many Christian fiction bloggers were reporting on Shelley Gray's new title WHISPERS IN THE READING ROOM.  I was not on any tour for this title, but when I saw the book featured a Chicago librarian right after the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, I was intrigued enough to request the book from our library system.  I  have been fascinated by that period in Chicago's history ever since I read THE DEVIL IN THE CITY.  Certainly I did not expect the novel by Gray to compare to Larson's detailed nonfiction title.  Despite liking the main characters librarian Lydia and the stranger who daily comes to the reading room, I was not thrilled with this book.  Gray also authored SECRETS OF SLOANE HOUSE, also set in the fair's Chicago.  Both books reveal much about the social class structure of the time, and especially the limiting lives of unmarried women.  While much of what she revealed about social class was probably true, it felt too artificial to this reader.   Loved the cover though, and I liked that she choose for her "strong" woman to be a librarian and that the hero appreciates her intelligence.

Now onto another reason why I did not take time to blog last week.  I have been working on another donation lap quilt and finally finished it.  Let me share a little back story on this quilt.  I bought the farm fabric shown below several years ago because it caught my eye.  I had no idea what I would do with it and I did not purchase any other fabric to go with it.  It has only two colors, the tan background and the red of the rather large animals.  I could not just cut the fabric for pieced blocks; that would destroy the animal images.  I did not want to just pair it with red fabric; that I thought would be too bright.
I love the piggie and chickens.
 So the fabric sat and sat and I kept auditioning ideas for what I could do with it.
Finally I took a sample of the fabric with me shopping and I purchased some geometrics that somewhat coordinated.  Then one day as I was admiring quilts on the web, I ran across this snuggly brick quilt at THE POLKA DOT CHAIR,  The 9.5 by 6.5 inch rectangles were just a perfect size for
showcasing the red-line drawn animals.  So I plotted out what size to make the quilt and got busy.
Simple Double diamond quilting
Cutting the rectangles was easy and so was sewing together each row.  I have read Jera Brandvig's QUILT AS YOU GO MADE MODERN and I've adapted some of her ideas for quilting parts of the top to sections of the batting, then sewing those large pieces together and adding the backing which then is quilted lightly to hold everything together.  This allows me to work with smaller sections for most of the quilting process.  I still spent one whole afternoon pinning the quilted top to the backing, had to repin several times to get rid of all wrinkles.  Ugh.  After the first seam of binding was sewn on, I used those little mini-clips to hold the binding in place while I hand stitched.  So much faster and safer than straight pins.  Time for another projects.
Finished quilt


  1. From your recommendation we listened to Devil in the City on tape, and my interest also lights for that time period. I have wanted to listen to some of his other books but haven't gotten there yet. Love the quilt, great choice on the complimentary blocks!

  2. Busy girl! I like the format your club took -- that could be a good way to spice up my book club. Whispers was a dud for me. I never connected with the characters and I agree some of it felt artificial. Love the quilt. I can't sew a stitch, so your talent (and generosity) is appreciated.