Bountiful harvest

IMG_20200625_162722

The new raised bed soil must be incredibly fertile. The zucchinis have gone mad! They’re about 4 feet tall, and have completely smothered the beans, and the peas behind them have barely managed to escape upward.

And there are a lot of zucchinis starting in there!

IMG_20200625_162516

This morning’s harvest beside the bowl – I’ve been trying to pick them when they’re small, but if I let it go a couple of days they don’t wait for me.

IMG_20200711_093718

Luckily, my husband likes to bake. So today I’m going sit on the patio and eat chocolate zucchini bread and knit a sleeve on my sweater.

IMG_20200711_102318

And figure out a plan for when the late-planted summer squash and the cucumbers catch up!

IMG_20200711_092738

IMG_20200711_092729

Maybe too much warm?

B7CC4A57-B081-4635-9CFB-87E58F10E9C5

I finished up the quilting and binding of the baby quilt I’m making for my teaching team member.

I also knit a colorful sweater for the soon-to-arrive baby boy.  As I was knitting and sewing from stash to avoid leaving the house, the colors of the two presents don’t go together, which sort of bothered me through the whole process.  But I doubt the baby will care.

16EF7749-2958-4271-B4E4-82A1C12EED20

Blankets and wool sweaters for a baby due to be born in the middle of the summer heat.  Maybe not my best decision making?

I did try to make the sweater a size for a slightly grown baby, hoping it will fit when winter rolls back around.  It was 91 degrees here yesterday, so the sweater is definitely going in a drawer for some months.

B3784562-F792-4316-ADA6-F202CB9D4411

But first it is going on their front porch, while I ring the bell and then dart away, masked, to avoid spreading viruses.   The world is so weird right now.

 

Top finished

8223546B-79FD-40A7-9CEE-1DF0EB6C6EA2
I’ve finished the baby quilt top for my friend who is due next month.

It’s definitely not traditional colors for babies, but she is very much a natural tones person. The baby’s room has pale gray walls and white furniture, So these colors will fit in. I was originally going to make it all neutrals, but I couldn’t stop myself from adding in the coral and gold. I love how it turned out!

It’s a little busy, which is part of why I love it, so I made the back just four big rectangles. They can flip it over if they need to rest their eyes.

48BDBF06-716C-4DAA-A5AF-C64F4FCFA0CF

I hope to get it quilted and in the mail this weekend. Normally I would just give it to her, but these are not normal times.  It’s weird to think that I may not even see this baby in person for months.

3DC0033E-9048-4F0F-8277-6C9DE9240E88

I have a couple of quilt tops now in the line to be quilted, but I’m hampered by a lack of a place to sandwich and pin them. I don’t like to do it on the hardwood floors for fear of scratching. Usually I do them at work on the concrete floors there but that isn’t an option now. Maybe the garage floor? During the stay at home isolation my son has really cleaned up the garage so that he could use it as a workout area. So the floor in there is probably clean enough to pin on now.

No drama llamas

E58C4333-EA46-419B-A75C-2BAD1B9311A0
My sister’s new house needed kitchen curtains.  Searching thru the fabric possibilities, she liked some llama tea towels I had saved for a future project, so curtains they became.

The towels were a set, but one of them had just the mountains on it, and one had three rows of llamas.  A little slicing and ripping out of old seams and adding in others, and two curtains were created where towels once were.

2BE10880-2387-4E36-B8AB-74D369205BD8

They look pretty cute in place too.

123_1

123_1_01

Pointy elbows

14513A9D-BE2B-44BA-B0E0-C928DD190155
For some reason my husband has lately been drilling holes in the elbow of his dress shirts. Only on the right sleeve. He must be in the habit of leaning on that arm on his desk. So today I’m cutting up shirts because I can’t bear to waste all that cotton.

856D7004-CE5F-49C8-B8FB-42B099BDC09A

4932388A-5159-45F5-BB0D-3639B1A8C49C
It appears to be addicting because I’ve also got into my closet and found some shirts that I don’t wear anymore because of stains I couldn’t get out and started in on them as well. I really am going to have to start sewing again one of these days and actually use this fabric.

9AFF9A47-75BD-47B7-A3BA-5D68B6DD4B53

 

 

Dressing up

C03CC050-2694-4825-B1BC-4BAF5E83144F

I rarely have a reason to wear a dress.  My job as a librarian meant  I was often crawling around on my knees to reach low book shelves, and we aren’t dress-up-and-go-out-on-the-town people.  But every once in a while, an occasion comes along that calls for a dress.

I have, unfortunately, “outgrown” all my dresses, as I discovered the last time I pulled one out to wear.  (Translation: I gained a lot of weight.) The neglected couple of dresses in the far end of the closet no longer fit.  As it was a last minute event, it was sort of a scramble to come up with something to wear.

So, I’ve made a dress: the Lara dress, from Style Arc.

6A9AB0E2-81B8-4CE4-B86A-E9FBC2CF896C

The pattern came as a downloadable pdf, which means a lot of pieces of printer paper have to be taped together to create the pattern.  A simple process, but time consuming.  My kitchen peninsula worked well as a taping surface.

298C4AFB-FDE4-41D1-B46D-012FD8C83301

It is a fairly simple design, so not a lot of pattern parts.  I simplified it even more by making bias tape for the neckline facing. And I had the perfect color zipper in my stash which saved a trip to the store.

The directions were extremely minimal.  The guide for how to tape together the pattern pages was longer than the sewing directions.  Exhibit A:  the total instructions for putting in the zipper came in step 7: “Insert zip.”  That one took some Googling and a YouTube video.  But the pattern really doesn’t have much on the way of tricky bits, so minimal was enough for all the other parts of the process.

I made a couple other modifications.  I changed the neckline to deepen the scoop in the front (one reason for the bias tape switch as then I didn’t have to make matching changes to the interfacing pieces).  I also brought in the sides of the neckline a bit to avoid bra straps showing when I wear it.

E6A7AADD-E142-4B1E-B1D9-8002981E6985

I used as much of the fabric length as possible, making it about 4 inches longer than the original called for.  I’m long waisted and didn’t want it to be above my knees. I’d have made it even longer but there wasn’t more fabric to add in without sacrificing the sleeves.  You can see in the pic below how little was left for the sleeve layout.

995B45A9-573D-40A7-83ED-0BE8E464F058

The zipper gave me some trouble, not because of the process, but because I kept doing stupid things.  A bobbin ran out in the middle of the top stitching which interrupted the line.  At one point I’d turned off the machine and forgot to reset the needle position when I turned it back on, breaking a needle against the zipper foot.  My top stitching effort was wobbly and had to be redone on one side.  There was cursing.

It always amazing me how easy it is to make a simple thing hard.  I manage that a lot.  But in a couple of hours, I had a new dress.

B807ABBE-6B77-494E-BC1C-6A508189ED69

On the hanger, I have to admit that it looks a lot like my many tunics. But it is different, really!  A zipper!  Neck line darts!  Longer!  And . . . well, other than that, it is very similar.  But a dress!  Definitely not a tunic!  (Exclamation points add conviction, right?)

0CED22CA-2AA3-433C-A023-F7AF96600F87

See – clearly a dress, not a tunic.

As a review, I would say that I’d definitely make this pattern again.  I’d probably bring in the sides of the neckline yet another inch or so and add even more length.  The dress is comfortable and easy to move around in.  I love the weight of the cotton\linen blend.  It is from the Robert Kaufman company, the Forage collection.

I enjoyed this dress project enough that I ordered another pattern to download to make a second one.  The fabric is in the mail and I have already begun taping.

1704A430-A385-4DB8-BB10-234081456C55

I’m back in the classroom this upcoming school year, so dresses may be able to be a part of my wardrobe again.  No floor crawling required to teach history.  I hope.

 

Design wall, without design

After two years in this house, I finally got around to putting up a design wall.

I have been using the floor for the most part, but after laying out my blocks for the latest quilt top, I got a lot of pushback from my family who apparently felt that completely blocking access to the kitchen was “unreasonable.”  Not a quilter among them to sympathize with my need to make sure that the Xs in different shades of blue were distributed attractively across the top.

So at long last I got a 4’ x 8’sheet of foam board and put up a design way.

It isn’t a complicated process.  I cut off a foot as our ceilings are barely 8’ up, and with the trim I needed more wiggle room.

I had the flannel still from the last house’s design wall; I just sewed the two lengths together and then spent a minimal amount of time ironing it.  A lint roller cleared off all the threads from previous quilts.

87C264C4-2325-4418-8584-A125ECD7F423

It was a quick task to trim and tape the flannel around the board.  I kept the writing side to the back so the words wouldn’t show through – the other side of this board is a reflective silver.  I pulled it taut, but didn’t worry about perfection.

What I should have worried about was the wall it was going to be hung on.  I forgot about the wall socket.  It is our only nearby electrical outlet for the room’s main lamps, so it couldn’t just be covered up.

448FD1BD-C2FC-40E1-AA04-2BD3FB740649

The solution involved a box knife and more duct tape.  Not attractive, but it worked.  I may get white tape and recover it in a more aesthetically minded way in the future.  Or, I may just not think about it ever again.

A few finishing nails to hang it on the wall and now I have a design wall.  A little narrow, but it will keep the path to the kitchen clear – most of the time anyway.

B6357BEB-33B9-4452-9ACB-582F9663CB03

 

 

On vacation

4EE585A9-6D3B-4374-BBFA-2B9170EA3D13

Summer vacation finally got here, and I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to arrange camping trips.  We recently bought a little tent trailer, and I’m discovering that it is very difficult to just spontaneously go camping on a weekend.  People apparently start booking the reservable camp spots months in advance, way before we realized we were going to be able to get a trailer.  My husband, sadly, doesn’t get summer off, so if we want him to come along, it has to be on the weekend.

But I’ve cobbled together a few reservations for various locations over the next couple months.  We may have to switch spots every night – and we will know better for next year to plan way in advance.  But we will be camping!

We did a couple of test runs in nearby parks to make sure we knew how everything works.  We’ve learned how to turn on the propane heater, attach the side mounted camp stove, and made lists of things we need to organize the very minimal storage.

And saw some pretty beautiful scenery.

5094FDB7-97FF-415D-9C74-7047A8530F4A

5AE3F751-5FAA-44ED-883C-242A36FB1A75

2E4D2A6D-C795-41FE-AB77-023A3F4AC22C

Our dog, Theo, who is rather a neurotic and barky mess, has proven better at camping than we thought he’d be.  He hates strangers and cars and bikes, but it turns out he is a big fan of woods and nature walks, and he’s been willing to keep a little quieter so other campers aren’t bothered.

7FD2C106-9E1E-4451-87E5-3991F53EDA67

6D49E47F-0A57-41EC-9524-58925E425F56

So I think this camping experiment is going to be a success once we work out all the kinks.

When not endlessly searching through the Washington and Oregon state park reservation systems, I’ve been sitting down at the sewing machine and am making more X and 16 patch blocks.  Nights in the forests get chilly – we are going to need a bunch of quilts!  It is motivating to get back to the fabric.

455EAF89-2F53-4C91-90AE-DC5F8C9BF2FA

F108F8D3-5636-472F-8C6D-9E729F151A9D

(P.S.  That is Mt. St. Helens in the mountain photos above, our local volcano.  The visitors’ center at Johnston Ridge is wonderful – we’ve been going for years to see the recovery proceeding since the eruption. But it turns out no dogs are allowed in the national monument. Yet another thing we’ve newly learned about camping – check ahead where and when pets are allowed.)