Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Thursday Brain Dump...

 ... because I can't seem to keep up with the Monday "Grasshopper Days" thing any more.

I haven't given up on it, but I'm just not up for it every-Monday-morning.
So here's an update.
And some photos.
Most of which have nothing to do with the post.
But it's spring.

1.  Spring finally showed up.

The good news:
blooming  cherry trees :D

 The yucky news:
blooming slug populations.

And stinging nettles.

2.  Only a week and a day until we see our friends, the Choates!

We're going to more than double the size of our household for a few days :D

The ferns are putting up fiddle-heads.

3.   Inspired by a weekend with sunny weather, I spent several hours weeding and dividing bulbs.

And now I know what it feels like to be a hundred years old, thank you very much.
I'm hopeful that I've finally gotten ALL the Shasta daisies out from in front of the house.  (I'll work on the sides later.  Ugh.)
I planted Shasta daisies because pretty! sunny!
Won't they look great, cut and in a vase in the house?!
Except NOT, because they smell like urine.
Out they go.

Vanilla leaf are up!

4.  Gunnar and I have been going for walks on Saturdays.

Look at this old rotten stump.

Now look closer.

Doesn't it look like something from Narnia might live there?

And speaking of Narnia...
did you hear they're making another movie?

5.  Remember the violets from an earlier post?

These ones.

They were growing along an alley behind a school where we walk.
I've met the couple who live there before, saw the man out in the alley and asked him if I could dig a couple and he agreed.  Of course, the day I came back to get them, the elementary school was having a "bike rodeo".  Hundreds of kids out in the playground, lots of extra parent-volunteers, and a couple of local police officers to help.

And I drive up, hop out of my van, and start digging up plants in the neighbor's yard.
Awkward, much?

6.  I'm not picking these :D

Just taking pictures of the trillium.

I'm sure there are different varieties, but around here they start out white and age to a lavender-pink.

7.  Have I mentioned that Wyatt got a JOB?!?!

Probably not, so I will now!

Wyatt is working about 40 hours a week at a small hydro-electric plant.  The commute is about an hour, but there's no traffic to speak of and it's a gorgeous drive which he enjoys.  He's learning a wide variety of new skills and getting to drive lots of different equipment (excavator!)  He has to get up early and be to work by 7am most days.

There's more, but let me just say...

... there is much rejoicing in the Grasshopper house.

Because I'll tell you what...
I love that boy.
But he's a lot easier to love when he's not underfoot 24/7.
Like all young men, he needed a job.  A purpose.  Meaningful work.


8.  Also, it is 80 days until Fiddle Camp.

Gunnar and I are practicing and learning new things,
and excited to go play for a week!

9.  We are already counting down to the end of school.

8 weeks of Tech College (Tate)
7 weeks of public school (Gunnar)
6 weeks of homeschool (Gunnar and me!)

One of three flickers I saw the same morning, hammering on chimneys.

10.  Facebook can get a (sometimes well-deserved) bad rap, but it's been fun to reconnect with 'old' friends.

A high school and choir friend is a successful local artist.
You can google up Ben Mann if you'd like to see his work.  (Do it!)
He also goes to local schools and helps the students create wonderful things,
like this huge mural we see when we go for a walk :D
Made by the students,
but it definitely has Ben Mann's artistic fingerprints!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Changes in Latitude

Nearly all the quilts I make are gifts,
and that's fine.
But once in awhile I get a wild hair to make one for ME :D

I've admired some scrappy log cabins another blogger has shared.
While they each had a theme that guided the color selection,
the actual fabric choices were sometimes surprising,
like those orange flowers below.

I love the ocean, so I chose a watery theme -
all the colors water can be, but NO GRAY.
We have more than plenty of gray in this climate.
(What a depressing color!)

Since it was fall, my timing was perfect.
Value Village and Goodwill were clearancing all their summer things,
so I picked up a few aloha shirts for pennies on the dollar.
I found a few more odds and ends at Ragfinery,
pulled some scraps from my stash,
and ended up with this pile.

A sundress, eight shirts,
three batiks, several remnants, 
and a couple of solids.

And the polka dots.
I had to have the polka dots :D

As much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE deep blue,
I edited those fabrics out.
I wanted the blocks to be really scrappy,
and not the traditional lights/darks that is the usual log cabin design.

I knew that if I included those darker blues
I would obsess over getting them evenly distributed.

No thank you.

And I know I'll find another use for them.

It took enough strategy and organization to divide the strips into blocks
without too many repeats -
where the same fabric appears twice in a block.

And there were a few.

Each block had thirteen pieces.
I know I had at least eighteen fabrics,
but I didn't have equal amounts of each.
And that's okay!

I pinned my strip sets together,
and started turning out a few blocks a day.

And let me introduce you to my quilting fuel ;D

Each block took 20 - 30 minutes.
I'm not a speedy sew-er.

See the little parrot in the middle?
He's in every single block.

For our first date, Kerry took me to The Gorge
(an amazing outdoor amphitheater above the Columbia River)
to see Jimmy Buffet...

who sings about sailing, and the sea,
and whose fans are known as... parrot-heads.

So it all came together...
parrots, the ocean, blues, greens, turquoises.
A muted version of my happy colors.
The colors of the sea at different latitudes.

So I named it after one of Jimmy Buffet's songs,

Changes in Latitude.

I had this one professionally quilted.
Too big for my machine,
and I wanted something special.

Then the binding...

... and it was ready for the wash.

Because a quilt doesn't have any personality
until it's been through the wash a couple of times,
to get its wrinkly crinkly quilty goodness.

Just right, warm from the dryer, on a cold, drippy day!

And speaking of cold, drippy days...
I haven't been able to photograph this one outside -
which is my preference -
in natural light.

The best I could do is the living room floor, so hear ya go...

Each block is 14" square, and it's 5x7, or about 70" x 98".
It would be plenty big enough for a twin-size bed,
or could go on top of our queen,
but it wouldn't hang down the sides.
So for now it's in the living room, for snuggling up and reading :D

That block has a repeat.
And I just let it be.
I just started sewing, and let it flow.

The block above is in the very center of the quilt.
The turquoise plaid is from a shirt that had a beach scene sewn on it.
For the most part I cut around that,
but thought I'd include this little crab ;D

I think I learn something new with every quilt I make.
This time I learned what it feels like to sew with some very non-quilty fabrics.

All the parrots came from a shirt.  A rayon shirt.
A shirt that would not hold its shape when cut into small pieces.
A shirt that required a generous ridiculous amount of Magic Sizing
to make it workable.

The turquoise plaid shirt (with the crab) wasn't too bad,
but it didn't hold a crease very well when ironed.

And the madras in the bottom left corner?
(You can see it better in the photo of the block, up above.)
Oh.  That gave me fits.  I probably should have used the
Magic Sizing on that too.

No more madras.

But on the plus side,
it was a lot of fun to use so many different fabrics,
so many scraps,
and to not control the design too tightly - to just let it flow.

And look what my quilter did!

Glorious wavy-ness, all over the quilt!

I'm tempted to display the back, it's so pretty!

But this... this makes me happy :D

What have you been working on lately?