Quilting, Farming, Variety

Friday, April 7, 2017

And then...

there were more scraps.  Not fabric this time, but yarn scraps left from the baby blankets I posted a while back.  I used the same pattern but added a small strip of pink to each end of the white blanket, making it a sweet wrap for a baby girl on a winter day.

Thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments for me concerning my upcoming cataract surgery.  No date has been set so I'm just waiting it out,

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 31, 2017

A little bump in my road of life is happening.  It all started when I went to get my driver's license renewed.  When I was asked to take the vision test, the minute I saw the image I knew I was in trouble.  I kept waiting for those large letters I thought I remembered being on the chart, but they never appeared.  And when I attempted to read them, "E, ? ? ?". the lady told me< "They're numbers." I failed the test, but if I had my eyes examined and got glasses I could get the license.

I was able to get an appointment the next day.  Same chart; where are those big letters?  The doctor flipped different sized lens in front of my eyes and then told me, "I can't do anything for you with glasses."  So I have cataracts in both eyes and will have laser surgery after a physical and more tests.

I don't particularly dread the surgery; I'm a tough cookie, but not so tough when it comes to making the early morning trips to the office.  You see, I'm somewhat agoraphobic, and being away from home makes me very nervous.  I think of things at night and I can feel my insides being tied in knots; then I pray and try to think of my sewing room.  Sometimes I'd like to just fasten the door, work on my projects and not ever have to feel those knots again. 

I had to find a PCP because I haven't been to a doctor since the 80s; I haven't needed to go.  Now the magnets on the refrigerator hold slips of paper with dates and times and I try to ignore them and push it all aside.

It's strange, how years ago I couldn't see up close and had to have glasses to read; now that's changed, I can see up close fairly well, but everything in the distance seems to be in a fog.

Since I'm still able to see how to sew, I'm making things from larger pieces of fabric.

A towel attached to the apron is a handy thing.  I have another apron almost finished.  I've always wondered when my last stitch would be made; hopefully there will be many more ~ and more accurately made.  I may let the blogging sit idle for a while until this has passed but I'll try to keep up with your words.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Baby Quilt ~ Wild Goose Chase

Remember the box of little scraps left over from the Pickle Dish units?  I asked if there were any bets on what I'd do with them.  Some thought I would make doll quilts  or wall hangings from them.  But all the time I had in mind to make a baby quilt.  So the top is finished and here it is:

Small pieces for sure, and very time consuming to piece, but so worth it.  If you're looking for perfection you won't find it here.  Despite all my pressing, marking, and pinning, not all the points matched at the center squares.   I learned a long time ago, while making doll quilts, mistakes are more visible when the pieces are small; even the width of a thread can throw off the perfect seam.

I took a few clippings from the wastebasket and put them near the bird feeder; maybe a bird will take some for her nest.  For instance, can't you imagine this conversation:  Popa Mocking Bird says to Mama bird as they ready a new nest, "See what I found today for you to use in your nest.  Mama Charlotte laid them out just for us, with only one request, that we sing by the light of the moon when summer comes."

There are many scraps left in the box, but I'm tired of working with small pieces and have a hankering to use a larger piece of fabric for a change.  So, I'll put the lid on the box of scraps and perhaps, just maybe, either get brave enough to throw them away or make a doll quilt.

May your weekend by a pleasant one.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Baby Blankets

My after-supper projects have been finished.

These are two, fast and easy, baby blankets.  Easy, because it is made with two stitches, single crochet and chain stitch.  It would be a perfect pattern for a beginner; I'm not a beginner but I'm all for easy.  Fast?  Well probably for most people, but age is making me slower and besides, what's the hurry.

The instructions leave it up to the person doing the work as to what she wants to use for a border.  I chose a simple shell pattern.  

The yarn used for these blankets was BERNAT baby sport and I used a size 6 crochet hook.  The closeness of the stitches makes the blanket feel almost like a thermal blanket.  The free pattern can be found here: https://www.thespruce.com/easy-crochet-baby-blanket-pattern-978033   If you crochet, give it a try; I think you will be pleased with the outcome.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Bit of Humor

I'm a little short of something to post about this week, so let's settle for a bit of humor.  These are a few clippings from my collection of Frank and Ernest cartoons:

Now it's almost 3:00 p.m. which leaves me about two hours to piece a few Pickle Dish units before going out to do the evening chores.

Hope these give you a smile.  After all, they say "laughter is the best medicine",


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pickle Dish Blocks

For a few months now I've been working on and off on units for Pickle Dish blocks.  

The Pickle Dish units are basically the same as those which make a Double Wedding Ring except these have points instead of straight ends.  For this reason it is considered to be a difficult unit to piece; however, paper piecing makes it very easy and precise.

The next step is not so easy, and probably won't be precise, when I sew the curved arcs onto a white background.  I've hand pieced two Double Wedding Ring tops in the past, and so I know what to expect.  But after seeing a Fons and Porter show on PBS I have a better understanding of how to use lots of pins and take my time stitching them on the machine.

For the most part I have used small, light colored prints, and when combined with white it looks "light and airy" (an HGTV term, :)  Last week I ordered a roll of twenty seven , 6 x 43" strips in 1930s reproduction prints to give me more variety.  Some of them look and feel almost like the feed sacks Mama used to make little dresses for me.

Always in paper piecing there is some waste when the backs of the pieces are trimmed.  This is my box of trimmings:

Any bets on what I'll do with them?

Have a good day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

One of Winter's Projects

I have worked on this baby quilt top on and off for the last few months.  The embroidery work took  a while, probably longer than the pieced circles.   It only measures 32 inches square, smaller than I'd like it to be.  I could piece another straight border, for the sides, like the circles.  Would that take away from the center design circles?  I don't plan to quilt it right away so there would be time to piece more (whew!).  Any suggestions?

Something happened and the pictures are in upside down order; the top one is the fabric I plan to use for the backing.  Blogging confuses me; first, it takes forever with our slow internet service to upload the pictures, and second, I seem to be out of control as to what happens. :)  Can't even sign off at the bottom of the post, :( so, have a good day!  Charlotte

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Back to Work

It was thirty one degrees at 7:40 this morning, with only a glint of morning sun on the fronts of the houses, when  a  semi came rolling in with another batch of baby chickens; 66,400 chirping, yellow balls of fluff.

So, it's time to go back to work.  We've had a three-week break, allowing me time to crochet, embroider, and finish a baby quilt which had been on the frames for several weeks.   Three weeks gave me just enough time to begin enjoying my "off" time.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pictures and Cameras

This week I have started a project of scanning  old pictures from albums: the kind of albums with sticky pages and plastic coverings.  Over the years, most of the coverings have come lose and many of the pictures have come unstuck, falling out when the albums are opened.  I had also taken out a lot of the pictures to use when I wrote my book for the grandchildren.  Mama had given me two of her albums and others to my sister.  There are several pictures with no name(s), and while I remember some of them I want to record the ones I do know.

We didn't have a camera when I was little, so there are very few pictures from my early childhood. The pictures I have were mostly made by relatives who had come to visit my grandma, and some by the local photographer whose office was up a long flight of stairs in a building downtown on Main Street. 

Working with these pictures made me think of my passion for cameras in years past.  ( I wrote about the first camera I had in a post for August 17, 2011, The Camera.)   My sister, Wanda, bought a real camera while she was in high school and  my first real camera was given to me when I was in high school.  We only used black and white film; colored pictures were just too expensive for us. 

When the Farmer and I became seriously involved, we each chipped in $15.00 and ordered a 35mm camera from Sears, Roebuck, which was replaced several years later by a better 35mm, and we were able to make colored slides with it.  We took lots and lots of black and white pictures of our little girls too (duplicates show up everywhere!), especially after the Farmer began developing his own film.  He set up a darkroom in the bathroom and when the two oldest girls were teens, photography became a hobby for them.   (My maternal grandfather had his darkroom set up in his cellar in the 20s and the pictures were printed on postcard sized paper.)

How things have changed in just the last few years!  I now have a small digital camera but I can't take very good pictures with it because of hand tremors.  It has advantages over those first cameras though.  With those first black and white pictures, it might take weeks to complete the roll of film, then the roll had to be packaged up and mailed to be developed, and then returned, only to find some of the pictures were no good.  New cameras give one the option to delete anything she doesn't like.

And now there's the cellphone technology: instant viewing and sharing, even videos.  What can possibly be next?

Whew!  This is long!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How Do You Know It's January? (A repost, but true)

That's a silly question, isn't it!  Of course we know!  With deep snow, cold north winds, short days and long nights, we couldn't miss it.  Heavy coats, warm soups and toasty air coming from heaters, quilts piled high on the beds, and good books for reading, all sure signs that "the weather outside is frightful."

But sometimes I feel like if I was shut away in a room with no windows, only a television set, I'd still know it was winter.  Have you ever noticed the onslaught of television ads for diet products when the new year begins?  Wow!  if I used their products or followed their plans, I could lose weight and strut my stuff in front of the whole nation!  And how about the Publishing Clearing House prize?  All that money!  Why I'd never have to set foot in the chicken house again.  There'd be money to use on all the sales of 60%-70% off all those things looked over by Christmas shoppers.  Maybe I'd choose a new car at a reduced end-of-the-year price, or maybe a mattress!

And last, but certainly not least, I would know it was January whenever I saw that terrible looking creature, called a cold, chasing the horrified woman down the busy street!  Just another sign.

Now for me, January means I've gotta work a jigsaw puzzle or two.  When the Christmas decorations go, out come the puzzles.  So, for the last week, while we don't have chickens, and the housework is finished, I've pretty much hibernated and stayed bent over this:

The Quilting Table

I know not everyone enjoys  puzzles; I find it very relaxing and it's better than watching most TV programs.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Year 2016

When the year 2016 began, I thought it would be interesting to keep a calendar record of the days we had chickens.  I marked off each week with a colored marker and this was the result:

  Overall it was a good year for us.  However, with the growing demand for antibiotic-free products, we felt the results toward the end of the year.  It means we lose more birds but the cost of the utilities remains the same and our work increases.  

We had a very good year for hay, baling around 1100 round bales of good quality hay.  There were  at least 100 calves sent to market.  I missed out on working the cattle this fall; the farmer had three men who came and helped so I lost the job of catching them in the head gate, having ear tags ready, and keeping records on which cow or calf got what.  I like working the cattle; as I have mentioned before, it sends a flow of adrenalin through a person to get right in the middle of them and sort them into different pens.

2016 saw us reach the age of 75, still able to do the work with only an occasional Aleve, and a blood pressure pill for the farmer.  Our oldest granddaughter got married in December and the youngest grandchild turned 18 in November.  How fast they've grown up!

There was plenty of rain, except for one dry spell, to have a good vegetable garden.  I froze lots of purple hull peas, okra, and greens.  The dry spell came just as the corn was putting on ears so there was no corn this year.  The peas, tomatoes, okra and greens continued to produce into October.

I'll leave the sewing room projects for another visit.  Thanks to all who have stopped by to leave a comment even when I was lazy about blogging.