The 21 Year Old Rug Update…

Because I have whined so much about the Vermont Shells hooked rug, I promised myself that I would not discuss the rug until it was done – but it is in the home stretch! While filling in some “holidays” and cutting ends, I was mulling over what sort of yarn to whip the edge with. And then I decided to make a braided edge. It will probably take longer, particularly as I don’t quite remember how to attach the braid, but it will be a lovely finish. {I’m so ready to be done with this rug…}

Here are some of the fabrics that I auditioned. The fabric on the left is the one that I used to hook the dark edge of the border, and I could certainly use three lengths of that, but braiding is much more interesting when several fabrics are used. The plain brown is the fabric I hooked around each of the clam shells and I liked the idea of adding some green, so I ripped 2″ strips of the first three wools and braided a quick sample.

Braid ideas

Sampling is important as it is impossible to know 1) how the fabrics will look when they are folded and braided and 2) how the braid will look against the rug. It looks pretty good.

Braid one

For the next sample I subtracted the plain brown and used the blue plaid. I liked the idea of echoing (in very dark values) the main colors of the shells. I like it!

Braid Two

Braiding is a good project to do while watching the Olympics because I can start and stop easily. {And can you believe the amount of commercials??? Holy Cow I am glad that we are watching a day behind. Peter says he is getting a sore thumb from fast forwarding and even with handwork it would drive me mad to watch so many inane commercials.}

The other project I am working on while viewing the Olympics is the Halloween Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. I haven’t worked on it in quite some time… It’s getting to be that time of year. Maybe I will try to finish it for Halloween of 2017… {It could happen.}

Halloween GFG

Weaving Inspiration: Plaids & Stripes

I have decided to join the many weavers who are weaving dish towels…. It’s about time I gave rag runners a rest and got into some fabric making!

Designing an interesting plaid or stripe fabric isn’t as easy as it might seem.I like to look around me for inspiration. When a fabric catches my eye, I check out the width of the stripes, whether a plaid is balanced or unbalanced, and unusual color combinations. I even have a stripe page on Pinterest. But my favorite place to look is men’s shirts! Men are so lucky! For some reason, their designers come up with luscious color stories. When I am in a store with both men’s and women’s clothing, I find myself on their side…

One of the many reasons I love living in the South are the colors of the clothing. Here is a selection of juicy (men’s) shirts. Whether or not they are the colors I want to use, these plaids give me inspiration.

Men's plaid shirts

In the end, I didn’t warp anything of great interest. For my humble dish towels I chose a simple unbalanced stripe, which can be woven in a stripe or in checks.

Dishtowel start

I haven’t woven anything so fine in forever and thought I should start out simply. It’s slow going, (I’m using 8/2 cotton) but the rhythm and the process of making cloth is wonderful.

Weaving towels


An Exciting Friday Finish!!!

It has been excessively hot and humid here; we’ve had days and days of over 90 degree heat. The gardens are growing away and though it’s time to re-plant some veggies, they don’t need my attention. And of course the weeds are growing too, but oh well. So I’ve been indoors more, working on the Double Nine Patch quilt top. Sewing the squares together on the diagonal means that they get quite large and unwieldy and do not fit on the design board anymore.

Double nine patch sewing

This middle strip is 104″ long and if you are good at geometry, you get that!

Too big for design wall!

Those of you who follow my blog know that I don’t often finish projects, so this is A Red Letter Day. The Double Nine Patch top is nearly done! In looking through my blog posts, I found that I started it last July, so this isn’t a bad finish for me…

Triple Nines!

To complete the top, I need to decide how long the border strips will be, so that the quilt will tuck under our thick new mattress. The color inspiration was the scrap of fabric on the headboard. Though the windows have shutters and don’t need curtains, I plan to make some to break up all the wall space. {And re-paint the walls…}

Triple Nines color inspiration

I actually finished on Thursday and was all set to photograph the quilt on our bed – but – His Nibs was napping and I didn’t want to bother him. ;-D

Gizmo's nap

I’m doing a little happy dance now…

What’s In Bloom Wednesday 7/27/16

Every year I like to try new varieties of flower seeds and I have had some successes this season. If you like to grow flowers, then check these out.

Zinnias are my favorites and I grow as many as I can find space for! For picking, I like the Park’s Picks Mix, but they grow very tall and fall over when it rains or there is a wind. They looked a bit untidy last year in the gardens at the front of the house, so I did a little research to find something better behaved. Magellan Persian Carpet Mix sounded like a winner and it is! The plants are low-growing (about 12″) but have large blossoms. The seeds seemed a bit more difficult to start than zinnias usually are, but don’t they look great now?

Magellan Persian Mix

Another new zinnia for me is the Giant Cactus Mix. This golden one is a knockout!

Giant Cactus Mix

Usually I like the bright, bright colors, but check out these subtle cactus zinnia colors. They are so pretty in arrangements and look like a quilt in the making….

Apricot cactus zinnia

Peach cactus zinnia









Sunflowers are something that’s fun in the garden, but for a variety of reasons, I’ve had trouble getting them started in South Carolina. Then I remembered one I used to grow long ago, Teddy Bear Sunflowers. They started blooming about a week ago on sturdy, 36″ plants. The flowers can be cut, but almost as soon as they bloom for they go to seed quickly. Their upright form makes them a great addition to the flower border.

Teddy Bear Sunflowers

I am growing carnations from seeds and it’s slow going! I planted them in early May and as of today, I have about a dozen plants that are about 5″ high. Last week I staked them up as they all had single stems that were flopping over. They looked like they were forming buds and I was wondering whether to pinch them, as I do with young zinnia plants. The decision was taken away from me by a rabbit, I presume. Luckily s/he only ate the tops off. I love carnations and am hoping to get bunches of them sometime…. (They should be perennials here – at least I hope so!)

And now I just have to share some produce pictures. The big tomatoes are finally ripening… The unattractive one on the right seems to be a local favorite, Cherokee Purple. It is a very meaty, mellow tasting variety.

Late July produce

And look at this cantaloupe! She weighs over 6 pounds and her sister was over 5. We’re eating cantaloupe with every meal.


What’s looking good in your gardens now?

Summer Memories…

Kerry, who writes Love Those Hands at Home, recently shared an old photo and Summer memories from her childhood. She suggested that we do so as well. Easily done, as some years ago I digitalized a bunch of slides that my father took long ago. I so enjoy looking at them. Maybe you will enjoy a taste of a 1950’s country Summer.

I had a very happy childhood and feel so grateful for it. I was a pretty naughty little girl; I adored my brother, detested my sister and gave my mother fits. But when I was happy, I was really happy!

Debbie's tricycle

This is a priceless picture and I am so interested in it. My father had a complicated and heavy 35mm camera which my mother rarely touched. For some reason Dad must have wanted picture of he and my brother and I in the wading pool and made Mom be the photographer. There are several shots of him giving me a drink from the hose and squirting my belly and then this one! You can see how horrified my brother was and for good reason. I have no memory of this so I can’t say what happened next. I’m sure it was like A Christmas Story with my father saying “Oh fudge” many times!

Dad gets squirted

When I was a bit older, the Summer was all about going to my Grandparents’ pool. Their farm was behind our house and going there included seeing my favorite cousin. I can remember staying in the water so long that my lungs ached! I am on the right, enjoying the cool, cool water from the spring down the hill and probably refusing to come out.

Me & MLW

So – do any of my readers want to share happy Summer photos and link with Kerry and I? You don’t have to be as old as I am to post some fun pictures…

Fourth of July Tie Dye

I am not a big fan of what I call “Grateful Dead” tie dye and when I teach dyeing I specifically say that we will not be doing that. It’s been so many years since The Summer of Love and communes and all, it’s interesting that it’s still a very popular technique. My niece Kim calls me her “crafty aunt” and so when she said that she’d like to bring her family down here for a visit, I thought there was enough time to make something. And when buying supplies for something else, I noticed the tie dye kits in all the big box craft stores… So with the help of Dharma Trading Company and Pro Chemical, I got up to speed on what supplies I needed and how to do it.

Dharma has an enormous selection of clothing, ready to dye (PFD) and Kim’s family chose their clothing. It arrived just in time. I had most everything I needed, but sent off to Pro Chem for a few things. Tie dye is direct dyeing, meaning that the dye is painted or squirted onto the fabric, which then needs to sit (batch) for many hours for the dyes to set, or become permanent. First the clothing needs to soak in a solution of soda ash, which is the setting chemical, and then it can be wound or bound or otherwise manipulated with rubber bands.

Kim's hoodie

I had squeeze bottles of magenta, turquoise, blue and a yellow mixed with Urea (to keep the fabric wet) ready to go as well as a big box of plastic gloves. And then the fun really began as they squeezed and kneaded the fabric.

Griffin's t

Even the paper towels they used to mop up spills and puddles look like works of art. I gave them three design ideas because I knew they knew even less about the technique than I did. I was a bit disappointed than none of them chose to do the “classic rainbow spiral”, but they all turned out very well.

Pretty towel

A day later, they squirted the bundles with the hose and then cut off the rubber band bindings. (It’s better than Christmas!) My great-nephew, Mr. Tidy and Symmetrical, was a bit hesitant and fretted when the colors weren’t exactly what he wanted while he was designing, but I hope he likes the end result. (He’s 15 – it can be hard to read him!)

Griff's t

My niece Kim dyed a hoodie which was a lot of fabric to deal with. I love the hood being such different colors from the shirt.

The hoodie

I’m not sure that Kim’s husband understood exactly what he was doing and I know my color wheel explanation went right over his head, but he was squirting dye everywhere and rolling the bound shirt in the dye puddles. Didn’t he end up with a really great t-shirt? I love those exuberant colors!

Lester's t

The best part was that the boys wore them to Asheville the next day and looked just like locals!

I hope you all had a Happy 4th of July…

Fiddling with Color

I promised myself that when I started making the extra 5 wheels for the enlarged quilt design, that I wouldn’t be too fussy. As I said in the last post about this – my plan was to quickly pick colors and sew them. Ha! With the wheels done, I thought I should assemble everything on the design wall and give it a look. Ha again!

Double Nine Patch mock-up

The wheel in the bottom row, middle, bothers me. Even Peter noticed it when he eyed my progress the other day. It’s not that I need them to match or I would have used the same fabrics for each wheel. But that one sticks out! Why? I finally decided that it was the yellow that offended me and made the wheel way colder than the others. Truth be told, most of the wheels are not in my “color comfort zone”. I have been purposely trying to make them cool and not as ferociously bright as I usually make my quilts.

Wrong colors...

One of these oranges looks like it will help that wheel be friendlier with the others…

Better color...

The topic of being too fussy and re-doing projects is often kicked around by those of us who make things. I have learned over the years, that if it bothers me, it bothers me and it had better come out! The last thing Peter wants to hear before we get into bed is “Why didn’t I change that wheel? I do not like the colors!”.

Once I sew this wheel, I am going to stop being overly critical of the others and get the double nine patches done.

What are you ripping out today???