Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Very Nice Day

There have been a few unusually warm days so far this year — once or twice even into the 70s — but today has verged on summery.

Tim and I ventured out to Green Lake Park this afternoon. If it had been a weekend day, the path around the lake would have been packed with people. But on a "school day," it wasn't nearly so congested.

The turtles had already come out of hibernation on previous warm days, but they were out in force today.


I had an eye out for the early brood of ducklings I had seen a week or so ago. I did not see them, but there were two broods of Canada geese paddling around, closely monitored by two sets of parents.

And I want to know why only dandelions grow in our lawn, but not cute little daisies.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hand Quilting

Since I picked up knitting several years ago, it's seriously cut into the time I can devote to quilting.

I've always liked handwork. Starting with embroidery while I was in high school, I spent some time doing crochet, before moving on to hand-buttonhole stitch.

I know that if I wanted to, I could machine quilt on my Pfaff. But that just really doesn't interest me.

I suppose I could send quilts out to a long-arm quilter. There's a really high probability that I will do so with my Maple Leaf quilt. But generally, I'm pretty particular about how I like to see quilts quilted.

I'm not a fan of allover quilting. It doesn't take into account the block design of the quilt, and hides rather than accentuates the quilt design.

One time, however, I saw some machine quilting that I thought was truly outstanding and enhanced the quilt design. Unfortunately, I did not make a note of the quilter's contact information.

Most of the hand quilting I do these days is outline quilting. I'm usually trying to get a quilt finished as quickly as possible, because most quilts I make these days are intended for my Craftsy shop.

But recently I decided to do something a  little more special in the corners of this one quilt that I made last year.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Even Better Than Strip Piecing

A quilting-related blog that I look at every day is The Patchery Menagerie. I came across her blog through Tonya Ricucci's blog. Tonya is the author of Word Play Quilts, which I illustrated.

(Lynne's cat, Millie, has her own blog as well — another blog I look at every day.)

A couple days ago and then again today, Lynne wrote about a method for making scrappy blocks and using up bits of leftover fabric.

It's similar in spirit but different in process to what I endeavored to do with my Big Heart block.

I am intrigued, and want to try this myself.

More to come . . .

Saturday, April 19, 2014

How a Sewing Machine Works

The means by which a sewing machine stitch works has always mystified me. How the bottom thread and the top thread wrap around each other to make a line of stitching.

In the course of doing some image research for a logo project, I came across this simple yet hypnotizing animation.

How did someone conceive of this?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Big Heart

Some time ago, I took this block, enlarged it to 20" x 20", printed it out and taped the pieces together. This weekend, I finally sewed together strips from my scrap bag to make the center block for a quilt.

If I do another one (and I probably will), instead of paper-piecing, I think I will try using freezer paper. Wrangling a 20-inch-square paper foundation took some doing.

Not only is the heart pieced, but the background sections are as well.

I had a bunch of equilateral triangles and half-triangles left over from another project a few years ago. With so many fabrics in the heart, it seemed like it would be "too much" to have the background be scrappy also. But piecing the background from leftover bits seemed appropriate.

I used up most of the triangles, but I was able to find more of the same print online, even though I bought in some three years ago. I remembered it was from a fabric line designed by Minick and Simpson, was able to determine that they design for Moda, tracked down the name of the line, and ordered some here.

Next, I'll be making smaller heart blocks, also strip-pieced, to go around the large heart.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Arboreal Heirlooms

Every spring, I keep an eye out for the first new green on my potted ginkgo that lives by the front door.

Today, I saw this year's new growth.

This little fellow (and I do literally mean fellow) was one of my Dad's collection of what were termed his bonsai trees, even though they were not bonsai in the technical sense. They were miniature, potted versions of their larger brethren, but not pruned, shaped, or sculpted in the usual sense.

In 2005, for my birthday, instead of the usual cartoony birthday card, my dad sent me a card with a photo of the ginkgo tree and a somewhat melancholy note.

After he passed away in January 2006, I brought the ginkgo up to Seattle. I repotted it into a larger pot, where it resides now. One summer, I failed to water it well enough during a hot spell, and most of its leaves turned brown and dropped off. But it pulled through.

I tend to it better now.

Another shrub that I associate with my dad is wild azalea. Some 20 years ago, he gave me a small bush that we planted in the corner of the back yard of my previous house.

When I moved in 2009, I had to leave it behind. But I still have some photographs that I took of its pretty flowers. It also had a pleasant scent, that you had to get pretty close to smell.

I wonder it it is still there. Since I sold that house, it went into foreclosure and, according to Zillow, was sold again last August.

Friday, April 4, 2014

They're Alive!

Without fail, every time I plant the seeds for my summer garden, I always get a kick out of seeing the first sprouts.

I blogged about it last year, and I will undoubtedly blog about it in 2015, and thereafter.

Less than a week ago — 5 days ago to be exact — we planted the seeds for red and green lettuce. zucchini, pumpkin and poppies. Yesterday, I went to give them a little water and saw that the two lettuces were sprouting.

The above photo was taken at 7:30 yesterday morning.

This evening, just about 18 hours later, they looked like this.

I always get such a charge about how fast they grow!