Archive for September, 2008


Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

The Monarchs are migrating.
I spent another hour digging in the new border Sunday but it was in the sun and hot, so after lunch I took a book and went to the hammock for a read.  I’m reading “Kingdom By The Sea” by Paul Theroux.
I have been really looking forward to it because I so enjoyed my visit to England and Wales, but he is not interested in the least in old churches and castles and does in fact seem to focus on the negatives in a very pessimistic way and one wonders why he bothers to travel at all, as he certainly does not seem to enjoy it!


Me – I LOVED seeing the castles! I wish I could remember which was which!

One of the trees that shades my hammock has lost all but a few leaves so when I started I had nice dappled shade, filled with the migrating butterflies. I soon dozed off but the sun shifted enough to blast me awake with brightness and heat. I went inside and spent the remainder of the afternoon folding and packaging POPPY!.

Saturday I taught a Machine Quilting class at a quilt shop about an hour away. There were only 5 students but that was all that would fit in there so we had a cozy full class!  Everyone did so well and seemed to have a good time and I got to buy some more batiks! Unfortunately I have not been able to find YLI Invisible Thread anywhere around here so I guess I will have to order some so I can get back to quilting the poppy sample.

In the meantime, I putter and dig in the garden – not much left blooming now but it is a great time to transplant.

Catching up

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Sunday afternoon was spent lazing on the deck, visiting because it was just too nice to be inside!  The leaves are falling like crazy and soon it will be snow so we need to enjoy it while we can!

Saturday I went to the Kansas Art Quilter’s meeting  and even though it was a small gathering, it was fun to see everyone again and enjoy the Show and Tell.  I was reminded of their upcoming exhibit deadline so there is another thing to add to the “to do” list, maybe!  No matter how much I do, the list doesn’t seem to get any shorter.

Last week I got a multitude of little things done, though – even some housework – and actually started the quilting on the new Poppy! I need to get some more thread before I can proceed.  The new covers arrived for the “Poppy!” quilt and I got the pattern to the printer.  They should be ready to pick up this week so I will be in good shape time-wise for Market this year. No last minute rushing will be good for a change.

No pictures, sorry! I just can’t seem to remember to have the camera with me when I go out.

Poppy’s Done!

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Here’s the poppy progress at the end of working on Sunday,


and here it is finished on Monday afternoon.


I did make some changes, especially in the background.  After auditioning  several other choices, it seemed best to stick with that original polka dot. I still may change that one under the stem that might be better darker. What do you think? This poppy decided to be darker than the original with a lavender center. As I worked on it I thought it might be fun to make one with a white poppy. I just got a catalog with poppies and there is a white one with red in the center. But for now I think I am poppied out!

We are into some gorgeous fall weather right now and I sat out on the deck to remove all of the freezer paper from the back late yesterday afternoon. The perfection was shattered by the arrival of a visiting dog next door and so my dogs had to  defend their territory much to my dismay because of my new plantings on the fence line.  I didn’t have the heart to investigate the damage yesterday, but on checking in this morning I was pleasantly surprised to see that for the most part it came through unscathed.

I think I will take a few days off from sewing and attend to some of the more mundane  things. I must get the Poppy pattern off to the printer and “Bittersweet Memories” off to the La Connor Museum show in WA.  And I suppose a little house cleaning ought to be on the agenda, along with catching up on the books!

Good mail day

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

My sewing today was interrupted by the arrival of the mail and it was a good mail day!  There was a nice fat check from Mancuso  for a first place win for “Watermelon Wine” at The PA National, and the package of Merino roving that I got on Ebay to learn to spin with.  The check was a surprise as I had not heard that I had won anything.  The quilt is not home yet.

I had to take a break from the poppy to try out the new wool. It is definitely easier to spin than the dog’s hair!  But still not EASY!  I got some books at the library the last time I went to town and I must sit down and read about how to do this now that I have the materials to work with. I’m sure with practice it will become less awkward.

The sun finally came peeking through today for brief intervals and I made the rounds to check on the new plantings. Everything is looking good.  In a few days perhaps it will be less sodden out there and I can do some more gardening work.

Between other stuff I did manage to get one half of the poppy completed.


Well, barring any changes that is! Painting with fabric is not as easy as painting with paint!  Here if you want to change a color you can’t just add another layer of paint, you have to remove the old and find a better new —


My “paint”.


Saturday, September 13th, 2008

When I left you last, I was thinking I’d dig some more on the new border, but by the time I finished the indoor chores and made a trip to the post office it was nearly 3pm and starting to rain. I decided to at least plant the part that was ready as the weather is just perfect for transplanting stuff!  So the new border now contains several kinds of sunflowers, day lilies, Russian sage, phlox, lantana,  and daisies plus a trumpet vine for the fence. Yesterday I remembered that I had a small tree that needed moving and this spell of rainy weather would be a great time to move it. So I found a raincoat and did the deed. I doubt it will even notice that it has moved, though whenever this rain ends, it will appreciate being in a sunnier spot I think. So far we have gotten about 3 inches of rain and the farm pond which was nearly empty is now near overflowing.

It was yesterday afternoon before I found the time to get back to sewing. With CNN coverage of Hurricane Ike in the background, I played around with different choices for backgrounds – still open to change- and sewed most of sections A through E. The most time consuming aspect is choosing the fabrics and, still, nothing is final.  I may unsew and make changes yet.


Perhaps I will have a more productive day today as I continue to watch the hurricane news.  In about 6 weeks I plan to BE in Houston, so I hope that my hotel is still there and I am not even going to worry about the 4 quilts that are there already as I am confident that they are as safe as humanly possible with IQA.

Business and gardening

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I think if I were not a quilter, I would be a gardener, because I do enjoy it.  But being a quilter involved in the business of quilting requires that my time be spent in endeavors that are not necessarily first choice. Deadlines are not very forgiving and commitments have to be met.

Yesterday morning I completed the paste-up for the new pattern and started the second sample.  This will not be a duplicate of the cover sample, but rather something different that is still made to the directions printed in the pattern so that I can vet the pattern before sending it off to the printer.


While shopping my stash, the first fabric pulled was the polka dot batik in the background, Another batik in the same color family caught my eye and I cut those pieces for the design wall.  Then I pulled all of the fabrics that might be considered for the main petals and threw those up on the wall, to consider for lightest lights and darkest darks.  Maybe I need a lighter light. Looks like the backgrounds sort of moosh so that second background piece will probably be replaced with something else.  This technique requires that you be able to sacrifice a little fabric sometimes.  No matter, the pieces are small!

My design wall is 8 x 8′ covered in gray flannel, chosen because it is a nice neutral especially good for photograpy. Small pieces of fabric stick nicely but very large pieces require pinning.  Of course these pieces are paper backed so they need to be pinned in place.

By now I was ready for a break and after venturing outside the gorgeous fall weather grabbed me and I spent the afternoon hand digging a new perennial bed.  I guess I got about 15 x 2.5′ finished with all of the grass and roots removed. My husband was ready to do it for me with the rototiller, but I wanted to get rid of the grass. Perhaps today I can get another 15 feet done and some stuff planted before our next several days of rain starts tonight. This sunny border will be visible to me from the shade garden hammock next summer!  Can’t wait!!


Monday, September 8th, 2008

The POPPY pattern is ready to be pasted up and taken to the printer. But first I plan to make another POPPY! quilt just from these directions for a final check.  Besides I will need a second sample.

I got quite a bit of weeding done since Friday and my fingernails are much the worse for it.  Why don’t I wear gloves when I do that!  The Sweet Autumn Clematis is a riot of blooms and everything has perked up since the rain.  The weather is decidedly cooler, rainy and very Fall-like. I think the hummingbirds have left for warmer places.

I tried to enjoy the hammock Sunday afternoon, but it was a bit chilly and I decided to come inside to finish up Duma Key.  It was good – now I can finish The Birdhouse Chronicles that I was  reading before Stephen King interrupted me!

Spinning dog hair

Friday, September 5th, 2008

The other day while trying to eliminate some books to make room for more, I came across this one about knitting with dog hair. I had forgotten I had it, it’s been hiding so long!

This rescue dog we took in last year has a very dense undercoat and every time we brush him we get loads of hair – especially in the springtime! Bushels! So I thought it might be fun to pursue this. First you have to spin the hair into yarn. My husband made me a drop spindle yesterday following the directions in the book and I gave it a try. The book said it would be hard to learn with dog hair and you should start with sheep’s wool and gradually work to a higher concentration of dog hair. I actually was able to spin some 100% dog hair as I don’t have any sheep’s wool yet. I can see how sheep’s wool with it’s longer fibers would make it a lot easier and stronger. My first effort was awkward and uneven but I see the possibilities! And, no, it doesn’t smell bad! And it is very soft and the book says, warm, so you should make the yarn thin.


The light hair on the right came from the rescue dog. We don’t know his breeding but he looks German Shepard with something else thrown in to make him extra big and hairy with large feet and a broader build. The grayer hair on the left is from my daughter’s German Shepard, Zeus, and the dark bit from her Yorkie, Nikki. The bit that I spun yesterday came undone and broke. Apparently you have to twist two strands together for a stronger 2 ply yarn, then skein it and wash it to set the twist. I am going to wait til I get some sheep’s wool to practice on. And I suppose carding combs would be helpful, too.

My other dog is a Komondor. His hair forms cords so is unavailable for spinning. Perhaps weaving or a rug would be in order.

I’m still working on writing the Poppy pattern, but hope to get outside today and pull some weeds since we finally did get some rain!

Busy work

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Here are those new batiks, all washed and pressed and ready to go!

new batiks

I guess I am ready to move away from the greens which figured so prominently in the last piece!

I’ve been pretty busy since last I posted, and have tied up many loose ends. With the coverage of the hurricane in the background I did some folding and packaging of patterns, inventory and straightening up supplies, filling and packing orders to mail yesterday, and packing and shipping the quilts for Houston. I re photographed POPPY! and got the cover prepared, and sent off for printing. Also caught up on the books to date! So I feel like I have accomplished quite a lot even though it is not very visible.

Rain has been forecast but has not materialized here, for us, though it poured on me in Topeka yesterday and curtailed some of the shopping I had intended to do while in town. I guess I will need to water the plants if it doesn’t happen very soon. I really want a nice soaking rain so I can pull some more weeds!

Found some more time to read the Stephen King book – and yes, of course there are monsters! But it’s good, very art oriented this time.

Today I will get started writing and preparing the pattern for POPPY !…..
Must get THAT out of the way before I even think about sewing!