Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Interesting Challenge to Say the Least

It has been quite awhile since I wrote on my blog. I can't say I haven't been busy but not really worth writing about. Now this challenge is different.
A year or so ago I got a Cricket Ridged Heddle loom. It I so easy to use that I've almost deserted my spinning wheel. I founds this great Facebook group for Ridged Heddle weavers. The owner of the list put out a challenge to all the members which was to weave fabric that could be made into something. In other words something other then scarves, shawls, or place mates to name a few.
I took on the challenge and decided I would weave fabric for an 1830's vest for my husband. Deciding on the colors was a challenge. But after searching for photos of original period vest, I concluded on purple, cobalt blue and yellow. The Victorians loved color and combined it in ways we may not enjoy today. Next was a pattern to weave. I decided a plaid. Equal blue and purple blocks and a narrow strip of yellow. The yarns are cotton and linen.
The wrapping wasn't very difficult but the weaving was not as pleasant as I could have been. The loom I used wasn't my Cricket but an old child's loom that really needs a lot more tweeking. The tension was difficult to keep. But a pushed through and got it done and wet finished.
Yesterday I held my breath and cut into this priceless price of fabric. First I had to draft the vest pattern, so I went to my favorite book for men's clothing of the 19th C.

If any of you are into sewing period clothing for men this is a great book.


So I got out my trusty newsprint and started drafting.  I made a front and
back pattern but I am only showing the front pieces.

After the pattern pieces were done I then took a deep breath and started cutting.  Since the fabric was a bit limp I decided it needed an underlining. I cut out the underlining and sewed it to the fabric.  I felt much more comfortable doing that and then cutting it out.  I was so afraid it was going to come undone.  Remember this was my first fabric I ever wove.  Big learning curve to say the least.

The following photos are of construction.

It is now all sewn together awaiting buttonholes and buttons.  It will be ready for the county fair next week.  Hopefully I will win a prize.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Life is good.

What a wonderful day so far.  We got some rain and the temps have dropped.  We may just be getting more rain later on as well.  So June was a busy month for me, house sitting for several people. I used that time away from home, working on designing some small quilt patterns. I am on the schedule to teach 6 small quilt classes.  They meet once a month at One Quilt Place in Fredericksburg and during that month they finish a new little quilt.  Can't do that with a full size quilt.  I ran the classes, when it was Pocketful Of Poseys, for 2 years. Those classes were not my own designs but someone else's.  Now the class is mine and I can do what I want.  It is exciting to look for patterns and work on them so that they are a 2" or 4" or 6" block.  I have two done and writing the directions is a challenge.  Not only that, what you thought was a correct measurement wasn't quite so when you work up the pattern in fabric.  It may look good on paper but you don't know if it's right until you make the first block. It is truly a challenge and something I am enjoying.
 Here is my first pattern.
              Can you tell if it is a small quilt or a full size one? 
 If not then good. 


Besides working on my small quilt patterns I
am working on some other projects that are regular size quilt designs.  I am taking two workshops through the Veriens Quilt Guild.  This month we are doing a Christmas Quilt.  It can be a couch quilt or tree skirt.  I'm doing it as a couch quilt.  Next month a national teacher is coming and she is from Kansas Troubles.  It too is a winter quilt and I want to do mine in flannel.  Now that I want to do flannel I can't find what I want.  I do have some in my stash so I am hoping I can find what I need to fill in.  Now for the big project.  I have decided to do this fantastic quilt that will take 18 months to get all the pattern.  Now does that mean I get it done in 18 months Noooooooooooooo! but it will take that long to get all the parts.  It is a quilt that was made in the 1790's.  What is different is that most quilts of the 1700's where whole cloth, but this one is all applique. Therefore the 18 monhs.  I was happy to uncover a box of fabric that someone sent me years ago as part of a secret friend. The fabric is very reminiscent of the 1700's and there is a lot of it as well.  From what I have gathered it was a scrappy quilt which is perfect.  The original was done on linen but I will be using cotton. I haven't purchased my fabric but my plan is to get a subtle marble in an unbleached muslin color.

Here is part of what I am doing.                                              

 This is what I have done so far.          
 I have one more quilt I plan to work on this summer and it is such a simple design. I wish I could have had this for the 4th of July but I will have it done for next year.  The fabric is a Jelly Roll from one of my favorite online quilt shops.  She also has some great fabric for my reenacting wardrobe.  5 Bucks A Yard and she is a Texas shop so I am shopping locally.
I am thinking how wonderful this might be in Holiday colors.  My mind is spinning.
I finally got my Bailey quilting machine working and I have done two queen size quilts on it.  Each one is getting better.  My first one was for my brother and sister in law but the photos I took are MIA.  The second one was a graduation quilt for Miss Margaret Nabors. By the time it was delivered she had been out of high school for two years. Now I have some quilt tops that date back some 30 years but they aren't gifts.  I should never let things go like that.  My brother's quilt was a Christmas gift but it was only a year and a few months over due.  

So here is Margaret's quilt.  I love the colors and the design is close to Burgoyne's Surrender
Here is a close up of the quilting.
I did swirls because the fabrics had swirl patterns
in them.

I am feeling really good about all the good things that have been going on this past month. I hope to have some more progress to report soon.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh I Am so Happy!

I just put the last of the panels on the greenhouse today.  Yesterday was way to warm to get all that we needed to do to finish it all. I think it was 80 and being in the corner of two buildings it was really warm.
I am now ready to move in my few house plants that struggle all winter in the house.  Way to much darkness.       The lemon tree for one which is new to me needs more light than what I can give it.  I think if the heat keeps up I will need to put the shade cloth on soon.
So I am going to plant my seeds this week.  I will move in the tables and shelves tomorrow and then start planting.  I need to locate the seed starting pellets some where around here.  I did not start seeds last year so who knows where everything is now. At least I know where my heat mat is. That is the best gardening item  ever.  My friend Pat gave that to me a few years ago and it has made such a big difference in starting seeds.  I will be posting photos as the seeds grow up.  It is such a joy to see those little plants popping up out of the soil and then growing into big and tall plants producing food for our table.
A little progress on the planting situation, I did plant all my onions so they will be taking off soon.  With the rain predicted tonight and tomorrow that will be oh so good. They have plenty of alpaca poop to enrich to soil as well.
This warm weather is causing the pomegranates to leaf out and even the dewberries are starting to leaf out.  I am happy to see that since I wasn't sure if they made it this past summer.  Not sure about one mulberry but the other one is sending out leaves as well.  The two peach trees and two cherry trees are planted and are just siting there. That is ok they need to put on roots more than anything else.  The two cherry trees are nothing but sticks with leaf buds on them.  Time will tell. They have low chill hrs which is good I guess.  I know it will be a few years before we see any fruit but it will be fun to see how they do and if they will produce cherries.
Lastly since we are to get rain tomorrow I planted some spinach seeds. I really hope they make it. Not sure how old the seed is.  I plan to plant more and I also plan to get some romaine and hot season lettuce in. I know I have seed for that just need to locate it.  I hate the fact I put things in a safe place and then realize it is so safe I can't find it.  LOL
Photos of the newly finish greenhouse will be posted next posting.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

So Where Did Winter Go?

I always look forward to time after Christmas to do some of those jobs I could not finish before the heat of summer hit.  So January was cold and I do mean cold and windy and darn right nasty.  And now we are looking at recorder breaking temps.   Good grief.

We started working on the greenhouse I had been wanting to years.  I guess it was a good thing it took us so long, since what I was going to use for my frame work was the top section to the horse/cattle trailer.  If we had then we would have been in a really bad spot.  We are looking at getting miniature horses and carts to use with them.  The old horse trailer will be perfect for the storing and carrying of the carts and tack and the little horses.

Well a friend had a saying that once you throw your hat over the fence you have to go get it.  By that she meant that once you make a commitment to something you have to finish it.  A dear friend who is moving to SC gave me her lemon tree.  My house is just not set up to grow a lemon tree in the winter.  Not enough space or light.  So she throw my hat over the fence which finally go us building my long awaited greenhouse.  We started putting up the frame work right after New Years but then it got nasty cold and then windy. I had to did a trench to level the cement pads and get it down a little below ground so I could get the siding down below the bottom of the sill plate and then cover up with rock.   The two outside walls got put up but it was just not a good time to put up the roof rafters.  That got done this past Monday.  I had to put that job on hold because I was away for a few weeks working and I just didn't want Bob up there when no one was home.

Today I put the siding up and it is taking shape.  Tomorrow Bob may get the extra strips up on the roof so we have some places in between the rafters to screw the roof panels too.  We are using a semi clear fiber glass.  It is light weight but should hold up well for many years.  So here are a few photos of what we have done so far.  I think the next project will be trying to make the doors so they open as wide as I can get them and also make them as air tight as possible.  I have hopes of this job being done by Sat afternoon.  Then on to other things which will include starting seeds for my vegetable garden.

Check bag in a little while and with any luck there will be photos of a completed greenhouse with some plants inside.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Early Start in the Vegetable Garden 2012

We raise alpacas and they are little fertilizer factories.  I have been gathering up their poop and putting in the beds.  Their poop can be used almost immediately without needing it to compost.  I am topping off the boxes now and will work it in as I plant. 

I used to plant by the moon when I lived in MA but for some reason gave up that idea when I moved here.  Don’t know why because I had such success with it.  Well I am going to give it a try this year and see how it goes.  I live to experiment and this will be my experiment for this year.  If you have never done this method of planting it really is simple.  A Farmers Almanac is helpful but if you want to do a simpler method all you need to know  is that when the moon is full don’t plant and wait a few days after it starts to wan before you plant.  This is when you plant any root crops.  Once there is no moon again waits a few days after it starts to wax to plant crops that grow above ground. 
I planted my peas a few days after there was no moon and as you can see they are starting to grow.  I do hope to get a crop of peas but even if they fail I can till them in and they will fix nitrogen into the soil for my next crop.  I just planted beets after the full moon but they have not come up yet since it was just a few days ago.  I will update on their progress. 

Getting Close to a Finished, if that is possible, Vegetable Garden

Last year I worked on the pathways.  I wanted to be sure that I did not have to deal with any grass but also wanted to be able to walk through the garden without walking in mud after a rain storm or watering.  I do have a drip system which is the best way to water a vegetable garden in a drought.  I found the best weed barrier I could find that would have a very long life.  I decided to use the stuff nurseries use under their  plants.  It is heavy duty with a 25 year guarantee.                                                                                                                                                           You can see what the weed barrier looks like in this photo.  That is a bag of mulch in the foreground. Also is my little helper Chen Chen but she prefers Farmer Chen Chen when she is in the garden.  

It got so hot so fast last spring that I didn’t get finished with my pathways.    With such a nice mild winter I took advantage of this great weather and finished laying the weed barrier and the remainder of the mulch/bark.  I am waiting to find the next mother load of broken bags to finish it up.  In the mean time I am gathering up the rocks around here to place around the edge of the garden to keep the mulch in when we get those heavy rain storms.  I am also placing smaller rocks around the bases of the pomegranates and fig tree.   I am so happy to see the end of this project coming soon.         

Friday, February 10, 2012

In the Garden Again.

Since last week I have been working in the garden. I finally laid out the weed cloth in the pathways that didn't get finished last year. I put out the mulch I purchased last summer also but I am still short many bags. I will be haunting the home improvement stores for broken bags which you can get for a lot less. I am really happy with the work so far and think that kind of work is done now. Now I can concentrate on the garden boxes. I will be out cleaning up all the piles of alpaca poop to add into my garden beds.
I planted peas last week and they are popping up. Today I planted beets and Bob and I planted onions. I know it is late for the onions but that should be ok. The soil is still cool almost cold. We got more rain last night and may get more this weekend which is good for planting.
I am trying a planting method I used years ago when I lived in MA. I was reminded of it by someone a few weeks ago and just wonder if it will work for me again.
I will post some photos of the garden soon. Loving this weather!