Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Gardening and Sewing

This summer took a heck of a long time to get here.  While the rest of my friends were scorched through June and July, here in the Portland area it has been almost uniformly cool and rainy.  But since the 4th of July we have had some sun mixed in with the clouds at least!

And that means gardening around here.
My husband does almost all of it...I just take care of a few flowers here and there.
Have a look!

This front border is kind of wacky, as the plants are the wrong heights in the wrong places...but the colors are nice!

The dogwood in front has gotten so big since we moved here 20 years ago that I have a lot of shady places to fill...

Little blasts of hot color are nice in the shade.

But the real action this year is out in Robert's garden...

Here are the wildflowers, potatoes, and squash.  The potatoes are insanely good eating this year.

Here is part of his Tomato Plantation...the indeterminate varieties make long vines that he carefully suspends and supports.  This system took years to evolve but this year he has got it down.

The Sungold cherry tomatoes are almost ready....

This bed of brassicas--cauliflower and broccoli--is about done, the cauliflower all harvested and the broccoli got away from us before we could harvest it all.  I love its yellow flowers, though.

This is the Fig Plantation.  Robert took cuttings off of our neighbor's fig tree this spring, and has nurtured those little sticks into the baby trees you see here.  It's been a whole lot of work...but he loves fresh figs.

He EVEN is talking about rebuilding our funky greenhouse--which I have been encouraging him to do for years--so that those figs will have a full time place to live in the winter....

I have mostly been sewing instead of gardening...and very happy at it too.

The only problem is, I can't blog about any of it.
This makes me sad...  ;-(  .....but it is for a nice reason.  So you won't be seeing too much of my current work here for awhile.
I of course will keep my teaching and workshop pages current just under my header up at the top of the blog.

Thanks for stopping by....and Happy Summer!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Easiest CQ Finish Ever...Herringbone Hearts

I finally got to finish this quilt!
I was most eager to see how that 38mm silk ribbon done in the herringbone around the perimeter of the quilt was going to look, acting as a visual "binding".  I mean, it is there where the binding should be, isn't really binding at all, but suggests it.

Because this quilt:
a) is not for competition
b) has no weighty embellishments on it
c) used a woven "batting"
d) is for the wall, so is therefore not functional
I chose to use a very simple finishing technique on it that went super fast.

Here are the steps I took to do it.....

This is the back of the quilt top.  You will notice the blocks have been interfaced before I embroidered them.  The silk edge fabric I used for those big honking ribbon stitches was interfaced too.

My "batting", which is actually cotton drapery lining, much like flannel only spongier with a looser weave, is draped over the quilt top.
I love this stuff for crazy quilts and use it all the time.  It is flat not puffy, and the weave gives a nice internal structural support to the quilt.  It is cheap and easy to work with too.  I get it at Fabric Depot in Portland.

For the backing I used some positively lovely shirting fabric that I got for $8/yard at a men's ties outlet store.  This is very, very smooth and finely woven cotton.  I pinned it all together with just a few safety pins.

You can see where I am going with this!  After the drapery lining was cut to size (to reach just to the edge of the brown ribbon herringbone stitching), I ironed the shirting fabric over the edge of the batting.
I folded the extra silk fabric beyond the stitching to the inside of the top.

Then I whipstitched the folded edges together.

On the back, I just sewed four buttons to keep the layers together, located at the four corners of the center block.  Here you can see that my button stitching is "in the ditch", through to the front at the intersection of the corners, and hence won't show.

Poking the needle back through to the back here.
Just four buttons, I told you this was fast!
I put a sleeve on it too...

Now the front edge looks like this:

It definitely has an unusual look to it!

I like it.  ;-)
And I am glad to cross this project off my "to do" list.

I'll be teaching this block at Road to California next January.  Registration begins July 8th!