What’s In Bloom Wednesday 9/21/16

 

Bigs!

Sedum are such interesting plants! For the longest time they are green and then buds appear and finally they bloom. The bugs love them! The first day they were open, the flowers were covered with honey bees. I was so glad to see them. The next day they were covered with these orange and white bugs. I have no idea what they are, but I like their mosaic pattern. This morning when I went by, the plants were covered in tiny butterflies that zoom around fighting with each other and then feed a bit and then fight. There must be some sort of reservation system going on with the sedum and the bug families…

The 21 Year Old Rug Is Completed!!!

Perhaps if you have worked at a project on and off for many years, you will understand my surprise when after clipping and clipping and filling in skipped spots, I realized that The 21 Year Old Rug was finally done! How could that have happened?

I did a little happy dance and then started the finishing process. First I laid a piece of plastic and then a towel on the wooden floor. The rug went next and then I laid a sheet on the top. I filled the iron with lots of water and steamed over the sheet/rug many times. This is called blocking and if you work with any sort of fiber, you know what an incredible process this is. I took some photos, but you really can’t see the difference. I hook quite evenly, but even so, it becomes so smooth as the wool blooms. It certainly “could” be finished as is, but I think the braid will really make it special.

I googled adding a braid to a hooked rug and my blog came up! And not much else. Though I do remember how to do it, I did not want to do it the way my instructor showed the class. She lines, or covers, the whole underneath of the piece with flannel and then adds the braid. I asked her if she did this for floor rugs as well and she replied that she did. For many reasons, I don’t want to do this but the main one is that the flannel will be covered with cat fuzz the minute it lands on the floor! And how would I get the cat fuzz off of the flannel on the rug back? It’s tricky enough to vacuum the front of a hooked piece.

I did a lot of measuring and trimmed the burlap. I serged the raw edge and then carefully folded the edge using many pins, so there was a thin edge to lace the braid on. Then I hand sewed twill tape on the back. This would have been a lot simpler if the backing were not burlap, which is fragile and reacts badly to wet and heat. But you remember, this is a 21-year-old rug and I think I probably bought the pattern 25 years ago…

Almost done!

 

The braid is a bit tricky to begin, as you need to make blunt ends for butting at the end. Because of the way the corners are handled, I braid and lace and braid and lace and then do the special corner braid. Here is my little frame, which holds the wool strips firmly so that I get a tight braid. I can hear some of you saying “ahhhhh…” and it is fun to do!

Braiding frame

 

The ending – butting both ends of the braid – is SO not fun! I spent more than an hour trimming the wool pieces on the right and then sewing the ends and then trimming again and sewing. I was so anxious about cutting them too short. Not the end of the world, but it would have been nasty to repair. I was able to get a “perfect butt” {don’t laugh!} meaning the colors matched, but I am not happy about where the seams are butted and sewn. I may go back and sew them some more.

Butting the braid

So here it is! It will sit by Peter’s side of the bed as he always said he wanted it and kept encouraghing me to finish it. O happy day!

21 year old rug completed

 

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.

IMG_6480

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…