Wednesday, June 29, 2022

How My Garden Doth Grow!

Making headway -- very slowly -- on Zinnia while retreating at Tennessee Quilts Retreat House in Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Eighteen blooms done, seven more to go.  I've arranged them by color for now just to make sure I have a good balance to distribute throughout the quilt.  

Trimming tiny flying geese right now.  What doesn't get done today will have to wait as I have other projects in line for the next two days.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

My New Toy

The raised garden trug currently sits empty in the secret garden ...

... which would involve either a hike around the garage to the side yard, or a trek down a flight of deck stairs if it were in use.  Neither of which is handy for grabbing herbs as I am prepping dinner.  So I ordered a smaller planting system to go on the deck and after waiting nearly a month for it to arrive from Gardeners Supply, it's finally here.

It's on casters so I can move it around to get the best sun exposure.  I had been nurturing some herbs and a tomato plant indoors for several weeks.  Now they are in their permanent home, assuming they survive the weeks of mistreatment in my kitchen.

I transplanted the two remaining lettuce plants from the birthday colander into the bottom bin along with a struggling thyme plant.  The middle bin has a healthy oregano plant and two hardy rosemary plants.  The top tier has basil and the one sad tomato.  I'll probably wait till I get back from retreat to plant more tomatoes. It rained overnight and everything looks good so far. 

I'm leaving strict instructions with the Main Man for watering in my absence.  The nice thing is the bins are self watering so all he has to do is fill the trays underneath each one through a hole on the end.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

About That DrEAMI Project

Not long ago I wrote about one of those "drop everything" projects, the pattern for which I had purchased at the Pigeon Forge Mountain Quiltfest.  The pattern is Zinnia, by Laundry Basket Quilts (Edyta Sitar).  My plan is to make it my major project at a retreat next week, so I have been diligently cutting, prepping, practicing, thinking ... well, you get the idea that I've been pretty much obsessed with it for over a week.  I finally have a practice block to show for my efforts.

Jocelyn the Canadian Needle Nanna incorrectly assumed I was improvising, recreating the pattern by looking at the picture.  While I have been known to do that with traditional blocks, this one is far more complex than I want to recreate, so let me explain.  The pattern is designed around a Laundry Basket Quilts layer cake collection of prints for the colorful parts.  I'm not using those and I'm not going to cut my fabric into 10" squares just to cut them into smaller pieces!

The first obstacle I had was converting cutting instructions to fit the scraps of colorful batiks I wanted to use.  I started by "kitting" up 25 blooms along with the corner background triangles.  Easy enough as I only needed four 2" squares and one large triangle of color.

Then it was on to cutting the background pieces -- one WHOLE page of cutting instructions!  (I would include a picture of the page but that might infringe on copyright.)  I am labeling each group so that I don't accidentally put the wrong piece in the wrong place.

I finally had the majority of pieces cut and packaged.  My big dilemma, however, was the large leaf.  The directions call for cutting half-square triangles from a 5" green square, combining two values to make a large triangle square, then adding small background flip corners.

Aside from the fact I despise flip corners, none of the greens I wanted to use were 5 inches.  BUT I had a collection of green jelly roll strips left over from a previous project.  Could I possibly strip piece the green part of the leaves?  Why, YES, I can!  So I trimmed the strips down to the size I needed, stitched them together, then cut them into 6-1/2" chunks.

I marked the midpoint, then added background triangles (which I folded to mark the center) to each side.

Then I centered my 4-1/2" square over the piece and trimmed to size.

And voila! One large leaf.

Now everything is cut, packaged, and ready to start sewing on Monday.  
Stay tuned for my progress!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Conundrum of the Week

 If one serving is two biscuits, 

why are they packaged three to a pack?

I put the extra one in a snack bag and after two days I have another serving!

Friday, June 10, 2022


 Now be honest -- who can go to a major quilt show and not be inspired to start something new?

On Tuesday three friends and I made a day trip to Pigeon Forge for the Mountain Quiltfest.  I shopped with purpose and restraint, but still came home with three or four patterns and several yards of fabric.  This Zinnia pattern by Laundry Basket Quilts (Edyta Sitar) spoke to me in a most earnest way and I'm not exactly sure why.  It certainly is not my typical traditional block style of quilt!

So I sorted through my batiks (again, not my usual style) and started cutting.  I want to work on this at a retreat later in the month and thought I could best absorb the instructions at home without distractions.  The instructions are written for precuts which I am not using so I'm trying to convert them to more traditional methods of cutting from yardage.  For example, I cut the little triangles from a strip using the Companion Angle, rather than cutting a large triangle into quarter squares.  Today I dropped everything and assembled one flower head just to make sure I'm going in the right direction.

The pin at the lower right warns me that it's a little shy of the correct size, but I think it's because I trimmed the strip of 4 squares which caused me to lose points and that's about how much too small it is.  Tomorrow I will think through my process for stems and leaves and get those pieces cut.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Tale of Two Lilies

My Secret Garden had a large area of day lilies and irises growing in an awkward place so last fall I dug them up with the intention of transplanting them.  No surprise, that never happened, and I was bemoaning the fact I would not be able to enjoy their beauty this year.

Imagine my delight yesterday when I discovered one remaining in another section of the garden!

Such a lovely color.  It caught my eye as I was looking out the window of the guest room where I have my desk and I just had to bring it inside to enjoy.  They are called "day" lilies for a reason; a day later and the bloom is already spent.  I'm hoping the additional buds on it will open indoors.

While I was in the garden, I noticed another plant with lily-like foliage about ready to bloom.  

It's hard to tell from the photo, but that plant is more than waist high!  I can't wait to see what opens up.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Summer Pleasures

 You may remember the hassles and delays we had last year in replacing our large deck with the view of the lake.  We were finally able to christen it with a New Year's Day celebration.

But, other than that, we have not spent much time out there -- until recently.  DH figured out a way to beam stream the TV signal from the family room out to the deck and now we spend almost every afternoon catching up with the news and each other.

We didn't want to add yet another cable connection and since this TV is not weather resistant, we have it on a movable stand so that it goes back into the living room each day.  I try to take a little handwork out with me.  Sunday I was deconstructing some blocks to fit a six-inch border for one of the WOWE donation quilts.

With the wonderful weather we have had there has been a lot of activity on the lake,

... mostly pontoons and kayaks, but also an occasional duck or swan!

Monday, June 6, 2022

What I've Been Doing

 Remember that clear work table from last week?

Well, it didn't take long to fill it up again!
But notice there's a lot less piled on the quilting frame.

I have been going through my TBQ piles in an attempt to move them to the next stage.  Sadly, very few were completely ready to be quilted, whether by me or someone else.  So I have begun to re-measure each one, make bindings where needed, select backing fabrics, and attempt to find an already-cut piece of batting of the appropriate size. (I have a roll of batting but I need a clear table to be able to cut it!)  I have made notes on what needs to be done and packaged the tops in large zipper bags.

The above pile will be donation quilts, and the below stack contains things I want to complete for myself.

I frequently donate tops to the White Oak Women's Exchange in McEwen, TN.  They request a specific size to give to chemo and dialysis patients.  Some of my tops just need a little addition of borders to meet the size requirements so I have selected fabrics and cut the strips to go with.  Hoping to get several of these tops ready to go to WOWE by the end of this month when I will see some of their members.

Oh, and about that quilting frame -- I'm embarrassed to say I have yet to use my mid-arm machine. So I have set aside July for that purpose, even if I have to fly to Utah to learn how!  I have ordered a heavy-duty hanging rack and hangers specifically designed for bedding so that I can have tops and backs prepped and pressed, ready to go on the frame.


Saturday, June 4, 2022

A Dilemma

 Where does one put their wine glass when eating at a stand-up event?

Simply hang it around your neck!  These neat lanyards were available at the Wine on the Plateau event this afternoon.  DH was in charge of handing out the real glasses.

After two years of Covid, the crowd was ready to party.  Lots of money raised for Rotary projects.  I don't do crowds well so I went home early.