Monday, June 28, 2021

June -- Where Did it Go?!?

 Three days left and in spite of my good intentions to get at least one top quilted this month, this is as far as I've gotten . . . . . and that just happened an hour ago!?!  This is (I think) my last unquilted sample from several years of teaching with Gai Perry's fabulous book, Color From The Heart.

As I was pin-basting it, I thought about how to quilt it and what color thread to use -- have some good ideas already and was primed to start right away.
But apparently the family genealogist is using that table to organize files . . . yea!?!
Time to retrench the goals for today!
I have been knitting most days this month -- one pair of socks is on it's way to my kid sister for her birthday and these two projects are around the halfway point -- one requires no concentration and the other has a detailed chart that demands my full attention.
June has been all about my garden!  
It didn't require all the time you might think, but it did require all the energy I could muster some days and a state of collapse - physical and mental - was a daily occurrence.  The month reinforced my understanding that one can't add something to one's life without letting something go -- time and energy are very finite commodities, aren't they?

The garden tour was yesterday!!
Sponsored by the Northern Ohio Perennial Society, I was intimidated by the specter of "master gardeners" leaving their immaculate turf and well-mulched beds to point out my faults.
Of course, it wasn't that way at all!!

No one chided me for my "messy" insect friendly turf or lack of sweeping vistas.  The most frequent comment I heard was "it's so tranquil".  YES!!!
If you've followed me for a while, you've seen lots of garden pics and while it's peak bloom is a week off yet, it does look good right now.

The new front yard veggie bed is coming around -- I still have the smallest kale in the world . . . 
. . . .but the tomatoes are blooming and the beans are growing steadily.
I've given up trying to figure out how to move this vigorous purple coneflower growing up through a crack in the brick side walk by my front steps and added pots to capitalize on it's beauty.
And if you notice in the back, I've cut back my blackspot infested rambler -- that was hard!
But I hope putting my energy into sterilizing the soil around it instead of trying to manage the leaf damage all summer (very depressing) will build it back up -- we'll see??
This bear's breeches finally bloomed this year -- it's been there for about 5 years and I may have threatened it with bodily harm last year if it didn't start to flower.
My native honeysuckle which seemed to be a lost cause last spring has come back much to my delight and surprise.  Last summer, the trellis was covered with blue morning glories and I've fully expected a few rouge seedlings to emerge but nothing so far.
And here's a couple glimpses of the "tranquil" piece!!  
Not much bloom color yet, but quite lush and I'm loving my new brick edging!!
I figure I can just enjoy my garden this week and have more sewing time (once I get that table cleared off) plus the house tidying has definitely suffered.   
Peas harvested, and tub replanted with a new variety of zucchini.
First cucumber has appeared!
The currants are ready to pick, too!!
Our food pantry garden is starting to thrive but the weed pressure requires intense attention!
Butterflies are not abundant here so far this summer -- even the #/*? cabbage whites are scarce.  But I did find this black swallowtail as a caterpillar on some parsley and fostered her up to adulthood safely. Isn't she a beauty -- must plant more parsley!!
And of course, all posts must end with cuteness!!  
This is from an attempt to get a group picture with the triplets at our birthday supper early in June -- there is a long series of photos and we never got the "pose" organized but we had fun!!
Can't wait to get all five of my grands together next month!!
Get out there and finish June strong!!


P.S.  I have continued the hand quilting journey on my big dodecagon -- was hoping to share it with you then end of June, but I am impressed that I'm 75% of the way along.
Maybe the end of July???

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Slow Work May

At the beginning of May as I got ready to layer up quilt number nine in my #quilt21in2021 quest, I didn't feel very enthusiastic.  I thought about taking the month off but knowing myself as I do, I was afraid I'd lose my momentum altogether so I chose a small quilt.  

After all,  the garden was constantly calling to "come out and play"!

I've (perhaps foolishly) agreed to open my garden for the local perennial garden group in late June so there is a deadline for weeding and mulching which I've never had before this.  Their impressions should be interesting since I'm currently moving away from the "standard" perennials and rewilding the gardens with more native plants.  

And of course, there is a long list of ideas for garden upgrades and improvements.  The new veggie raised bed is up and running in the sunniest part of the front yard 

and I've just finished redoing the brick edging along one of the back beds.
I have perhaps watched more gardening videos during the winter than an old lady who lives alone should???  So much inspiration!!  
No comments yet from the neighbors about the veggie bed -- do they not get it or is it just the "crazy old lady" again??

So with all the garden playtime, doing just one quilt in May was the perfect strategy!  
Number nine is finished.

The blocks were pieced with Marti Michell's templates as a teaching sample for my Bride's Bouquet (or Nosegay block) workshops.  They are 6" blocks rather than the traditional 12" blocks and there were suppose to be nine blocks.  As is often the case with quilters who have "too many oars out of the boat" one of the blocks disappeared?!?  Rather than make another block, I organized this setting.

I thought I wrote a post about this but so far, I haven't found it.  If/when I do, I'll add a link.
Basically, it's a 9 block setting -- the center block is the hexie flower applique set on point with four floral triangles.  
The four corner blocks are a bride's bouquet block with "sashing" rectangles and a pink cornerstone.  The four remaining bouquet blocks are set on point with two floral triangles and two background triangles.  
When all the blocks are set together, the large floral star emerges.  Feel free to knock off this idea!  It will work with any group of 8 quilt blocks!

Since the quilt top was only 31" square, I decided to work on my domestic machine and give George the month off.  I used a combination of free motion and walking foot quilting.  I have better control on small pieces on my domestic machine so I took the opportunity to fill the corners with feathers.

Here's how I customized the feather to the space available by making my own arc template starting  with a paper triangle. . . . .  

. . . . . which I folded and drew arcs until I got one I liked.

 I cut the arc with the triangle still folded in half to keep it symmetrical.
The fold line helped me center it on the quilt top and I matched the straight edge of the paper template to the same spot on each of the pieced blocks.
You can barely see my arc line here.
I decided it was important to make the end tear drop shapes uniform and so did a deep dive into the "miscellany" drawer -- i.e., stuff I rarely use but am loath to let go.
It's really an applique tool, but a teardrop is a teardrop.
Final step -- work up the courage to do freehand feathers (which took longer than necessary in the end).
I already had binding fabric chosen so the binding went quickly and "ta-da", it's finished!!

In other news, the peas are blooming
and the stawberries are ripening
and the triplets turned two yesterday!!
I also got to see my two older grandchildren on Monday for the first time in 17 months!!!  It was a wonderful visit, to be able to just sit and talk with them -- the 15 year old didn't roll her eyes at me once!!  I invited them for a summer visit on their own and so the hangout plans begin!!

I'm so grateful to have my closest friends and family vaccinated so we can move forward together.  If you are hesitant to vaccinate, I encourage you to reconsider.  It's been interesting over the past couple months as I listen to the vaccinate/not vaccinate conversations.  It has brought up memories of polio which struck hard in this area when I was 5.  I'm startled that I can remember the stringent warnings from my parents to "not go down the street near that house" because their son at age 6 had contracted polio.  I was 5?!?  I'm sure some of you remember too the elation of our families when the vaccines arrived -- 3rd grade in a line, the whole class getting the sugar cubes with the oral vaccine.  By the 1970's when my children were born, thank goodness the vaccine was the norm and that's where we need to get to with Covid.  
It needs to be just like small pox and tetanus and polio and rubella -- very rare!
The health and safety of our populations need to not be about politics, it needs to be about compassion.

And with that little rant, I'll sign off and go chose quilt number 10 from my shrinking stack.
Have a good weekend!