Wednesday, March 22, 2017

LOTS OF LITTLE PLANTS

Last Saturday the Dear One went to Morrinville to pick up our "plug" order.  Plugs are small plants in a finger sized bit of dirt.  They come about 500 to a tray and all need to be transplanted into 4- or 6-packs, or into individual pots.  We're almost finished doing the transplanting, and the greenhouse is starting to look prosperous.
This next is a picture of some Dahlias that I transplanted today.  These were quite easy to do as they are a pretty good size already.  They are planted individually in 4" pots.
 
The first tray I transplanted were pansies, and these particular plants were very small.  I've put my finger by them to give you an idea of the size.
 
This week I transplanted about 2,000 of these little things.  It's really dirty work as I scoop up the potting soil by hand to stuff it into the pots or 4 packs.  Then I take the tray to the potting table and poke the little plugs out of the 500 plant tray onto the table.  I stick my finger into the soil to make a hole and pop the little plant into the hole, then press the soil down around it.  2,000 times in the last few days.  Makes for VERY dirty hands!

After the initial excitement of buying the material for the new quilt, I made myself finish up the donation quilt that had been started.  In fact, all it needed was the machine quilting, which I finished that Saturday morning.  It needed some material for binding, and I found this dark blue at the IDA where I buy most of my material.  (Yes, it's a drug store, but they have a very good fabric section.  Wonderful! Because otherwise I'd have to drive an hour to buy thread, material, etc.)

After I did that machine quilting (stitch in the ditch for that quilt) I did cut out all the coloured strips for the new quilt and half of the beige background strips.

I got to work on the largest blocks (supposed to be 20" but mine are not that large--mainly because I've sewed a fairly generous 1/4" seam.)  Pretty soon I'll post a picture of the blocks that are completed--7 of the needed 9 large blocks.  Tomorrow I'm going to the country quilting group and hope to finish lots more.

Friday, March 17, 2017

BIRTHDAY GIRL

This little girl turns 76 today!  Blessed and contented.

Friday, March 10, 2017

SO MUCH FUN!

On Wednesday morning I was able to put together the latest quilt top.  I had written about "webbing the top"--here is the top on my pressing "desk" with all the vertical seams sewed.  So all eight rows are sewed together, row by row.  I tried to get a better picture, as the light is glaring off this one.


The one above shows the sides, this one following shows the top as the quilt lies on the pressing desk.
Here it is with the horizontal seams being sewed:
And here it is on the floor, all seams sewed together.  This makes it 44" x 55", a good generous size for a lap quilt.
Time to look for a backing fabric.  Here are two possibilities, both flannel, neither big enough in itself, but it might make a nice combination.  Off to the right are a few other 
possibilities.

This morning I was able to sew these two together to form a large enough backing.  There was also enough left-over batting that I could form a large enough piece by sewing together two pieces.  I'm ready to make the "quilt sandwich" on this one.  (For some strange reason this paragraph insists on being "centered.")

Today is the first 50% off day at the local quilt shop in their twice-yearly sale week.  I don't usually buy fabric then.  They give me 10% off year-round, just because I'm beyond 55 years old, and that's good enough for me.  But I'm planning a big, major quilt for DD#2, so I did go in this morning and look for beiges.  

The pattern stipulates 14 (!) different beiges for background, and calls for 1/2 yard of each.  But I want to enlarge the quilt from 70" square to 105" square, a floor to floor queen sized quilt.  Translating that to the larger sized quilt and from yards to meters meant I need one meter of each of the background fabrics.

I had looked earlier and found at least 7 beiges that would work.  But this morning there seemed to be good beiges here, there and everywhere.  I found 15 (!) that I thought might do well.
I may not use all of them, but what a lovely selection!  And what fun to put 15 bolts of fabric into my cart and have them cut a meter of each.  And then I thought I should look for the contrasting fabrics.  This is what I found:
Nice, rich colours that go pretty well together.  I'd like to find one more of the orange/brown, but could go with this combination.

I'm just SO eager to begin this quilt.  It's the "Entwined" pattern that I posted recently.  But before I start I really need to finish the donation quilt and a smaller table topper that I have the top almost completed.  They both need to be "sandwiched," quilted and bound.  THEN I can allow myself to dive into this one.  I can't wait!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

INCREDIBLY COLD!

When we were in Arizona in January, someone who lived there full-time told me it was the coldest, rainiest January in 22 years.  Well, he said, "The worst January in 22 years!" We did notice that we had to have the heat on every morning and sometimes left it on for the whole day, just to keep the indoor temperature up to 70ºF.

Now in Alberta we are having what must be record-breaking cold.  This morning the thermometer on the balcony registered -25ºC, or -10ºF.  That's COLD!!!

When we came here in the second week of February, the temperatures were mild and there was a big Spring melt going on.  Soon after that the temperatures fell and so did the snow. Now it feels like the very depths of winter.  I'm missing the daily walks with my friend, M.

But as long as it's indoors weather, I hope to get some sewing done and finish the donation quilt top.  Maybe even finish that quilt before the next Quilt Club meeting on Tuesday.  That would make this time worthwhile.  Or maybe I should do some spring cleaning, the kitchen cupboards, perhaps.

Monday, March 6, 2017

WEBBING THE TOP

All the blocks for the quilt top started last Friday are completed and have been laid out on the underside of a cheap plastic table cloth.  It's called flannel backed, but if that's flannel, I'll eat my quilt.  It is, however, "grabby" enough to hang onto the blocks and keep them in order.  You can even roll up the tablecloth with the plastic side outside the roll.  This is a good way to transport a quilt without losing the order you want to keep the blocks in.

Now that they are arranged it's time to sew them together.  For this I follow Bonnie Hunter's method called "Webbing the Top".  You can find it if you go to quiltville.blogspot.ca, click on "Tips and Techniques" and scroll down to "Webbing the Top."  It's a great method for keeping all your blocks where you want them when you gather them up to sew them into rows.

From the right hand side rows 1 & 2 have been sewn together.  Then rows 3 & 4 were sewed together. Then rows 3 & 4 were placed right sides together on top of rows 1 & 2. The seam between rows 2 & 3 was sewed. I'm talking about the vertical seams.  The horizontal seams will be sewed after all the vertical seams are complete.

You can also see in the snap that the first three blocks of row 6 have been laid on top of the 1st three blocks (vertically speaking of row 5.  Here's a close up of that:

I have learned a LOT from Bonnie Hunter; she's a great resource not only for techniques, but also for patterns, which she shares generously.  THANK YOU, BONNIE! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A DURABLE MUG

Way back in 1981-82 I was teaching 4 year-old kindergarten for Salem Private, a Baptist church run school.  There were several 4 and 5 year-old kindergartens run by Salem Private, scattered throughout Salem, Oregon.  Mine was in a church close to where we lived.

One of the 19 students in that class was a little blond girl named Mary.  I've forgotten her last name.  She had the most spectacular melt-down that I've ever seen in a student.  It was time for us to sit in a circle on the floor for one of our daily activities and Mary did not want to participate.  When I insisted, she had a total fit, screeching and flailing around.  The other children were stunned into silence.  What to do!

I took a chance and told the children to wait quietly in the room and took Mary to a little storeroom next door to hold her, soothe her and calm her down.  It didn't take too long and we were able to return to the classroom.  Obviously the sit-down circle didn't happen that day.  We simply went on to another activity.

That evening I called Mary's mother and explained what had happened.  She didn't seem disturbed about it.  I suppose Mary did that sometimes at home, too.

At the end of the school year Mary presented me with a gift: this cheerful coffee mug:

This cheerful mug has been my daily coffee mug for lo, these 36 years!  I suppose it has fallen a few times, but it endures!  If it ever breaks, I will miss it greatly.  Who can't feel cheerful starting the day with a good cup of coffee from a mug like this?

And most times when I drink my coffee I think of Mary, who is now a mature woman of 40 years.  I would just love to see her now.

Friday, March 3, 2017

THIS IS BETTER

The Rail Fence was really not working!  The beige should have had a deeper contrast value-wise with the other fabrics.  This morning I took apart 32 - 6" seams and moved the one strip to the other side of the beige fabric.  This looks better.

Two fifths of the blocks are complete.  The other three fifths need to be made yet.  Then I'll lay them out on the floor and arrange them so that there are no "L's" of dark or light fabric formed by the layout.  Just offhand I can spot four.  Some of the colours need to be shifted also to a more random placement.  But this seems quite a bit better to me.