Saturday, July 23, 2016

Plain Obsession

When I was in Portland last week, my sister and I walked into a posh little boutique on Alder St. to have a look around.  It was the kind of shop that would drain the pocketbook in minutes.  The wares however, were quite beautiful.  Table tops displayed fine gauge cotton tee shirts, soft wool sweaters, wide legged pants, linen napkins, carved wooden candlesticks and large coffee table books.   Most of the clothing they carried were in shades of navy, black, cream and tan.  If you wanted a few nice basic pieces to start a minimalist wardrobe, this was the place to get them.  I fell in love with this little creamer by a local artist and brought it home with me.
I  also spied a quilt on sale for just over $300. It was a color block quilt in cream, black and gray that fit in with the shop's aesthetic. I kept looking at it.  Thinking about it long after we left.  Obsessing about it's plain simple design.  In fact on the train ride home, an Amish (or maybe Mennonite) family joined us in the dining car and their starched white caps, and dark somber clothes reminded me of the quilt again. I couldn't wait to get home and make my own version.
It only took a few days to put together as I already had everything I needed.  And thank goodness.  A trip to the fabric store would have ruined my momentum.  The Lotta Jansdotter fabric I used for the backing has been in my stash for about 2 years. I never wanted to use it because I loved it so much.  Really that makes no sense.  I need to start incorporating these pieces into my projects instead of hoarding it.  It's not doing any good folded up in the cupboard.

Anyway, now I can get back to my WIPs and relax a bit.  Obsession over.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Going Coastal

On Thursday I'm getting on the Amtrak Coast Starlight train and heading up to Portland Oregon. I took the train once before, from Philadelphia to Washington DC, but I was by myself and think I napped most of the way.  I barely remember it. This time I'll be sharing a sleeper car with my youngest sister in a space the size of Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs, and I imagine there will be lots of giggling and snorting into the wee hours.  Portland, bless that beautiful city, will only be about 75 degrees when I get there.  I will be leaving 100 degrees behind at home. I might have to dig my jeans out of the "winter" side of the closet.
I finished 5 squares on my popcorn stitch blanket so far.  I know the picture is only showing 4, but it was hard to photograph an odd number, so you get the idea. I'm hoping to make a few more on the train.
 I had some help from the dog going through my scrap bin to make several nine patch blocks.  I want to set them on point but I'm having a difficult time deciding on a background color.  Usually I reach for a cream color (safe), but I feel like all my quilts are starting to look the same. I might need to take a chance on this one and branch out of my comfort zone.
Lastly I'm making a linen project bag to take on the train, and I decided to work a cross stitch motif on the front, found in Alicia Paulson's Embroidery Companion book.  Since she lives in Portland, I thought it would be a fun reminder of my upcoming trip.  Have a great week wherever you are!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Self Sewn

Summer is in full swing now.  I can tell because my air conditioner is broken. A temporary fix is in place, but it looks like we need to buy a new one.  Meanwhile, outside there are plants with minds of their own popping up in areas where I did not originally intend them to be popping.  The morning glories are relentless, twinning around my swiss chard, green onions, or anything that stands in one place too long. I pull them out to get at my vegetables, but there are dozens of little seedlings, laughing up at me, waiting in line to take their place.
A row of sunflowers towers above my tomato plants, casting shade where I do not want it, but I don't have the heart to rip them out. I tried to grow sunflowers from seed last year, but they didn't take hold very well, so I guess they showed me who's boss by moving themselves to a different part of the garden that they like much better.
The compost pile is now bursting with spaghetti squash. I must have thrown the remnants of a cooked squash in there at some point.  The long vines have crashed through the wire farm fencing and were last seen marching eastward across the pasture.
And speaking of pasture, some kind of wild, pale blue flower has sprouted out there, along with yellow mustard,  all courtesy of the additional rain from last winter.

Now onto the fun stuff.  A few years back, I saw a yarny blanket that made me swoon, and set out to make one of my own.  I crocheted 6, twenty round granny squares and sewed them together, ending up with a blanket roughly 40x60 inches.  It's been sitting for ages waiting on those ends to be weaved in, and I'm so happy it's finally done!