(Revised Thursday Mar 29: Quilt photo was on its side [tsk tsk on me] and I added a bit of text about the design process I composed in my fogged brain but forget to type. DH was waiting for the pc last night and looking over my shoulder [tsk tsk on him].)
I've finally come in from the garden, but it seems to have worked it's way into my creative mind.
Newest knitting project is Forest Path Stole. Take a look at the Stole-A-Long and you'll see and find links to some absolutely gorgeous and amazing knitting. Me, I'm still on the border. Traveling next week, so plane time should help. This will be my summer project.
Photographing black cats is hard. Add to that her reluctance to stay still when she's in play mode. She is dangerous help! This is out in the courtyard on the new sofa. Yeah baby, finally! First furniture for the new house and it's only been one year - I'm breaking my DH slowly but surely.
I'm making this lace stole more for the process than as something I plan to wear, but who knows. Lately I don't seem to wear anything that can't get dirty, but hopefully that won't always be the case. The yarn is Alpaca with a Twist's Fino in Twilight. I love it so far, especially the color.
Using Knit Picks Options circular needles in US #3 - super sharp. I really like how flexible the cord is and the connecting mechanism works well. By now I think most blogging knitters have taken the plunge, but if you're still thinking about them I'd at least try one pair.
Here's Cami in my patio bed with David Austin's Lady Emma Hamilton and a Platt's Black flax. The space behind Cami will be filled with that dark purple butterfly bush that's putting on growth and that sage on her left will reach almost 4' high.
February and March are planting months around here. We put in six fruiting trees (low chill apples and plums), another ornamental plum, bulbs, shrubs and loads and loads of perennials.
Found that even with our mulch, the weeds find foothold. Thankfully they pull much easier though. Biggest mistake was the stacked rocks put in place before the mulch - every crack has sprouted devil's spawn. Last week I filled two full size garbage cans with weeds and unwanted gazinnias that, like cockroaches, will survive Armageddon.
All my roses are going gangbusters and the buds are forming now. I go out everyday and watch for fungus and bugs - the rose obsession has hid hard. I'm generally an organic gardener - diversity is good - but I will neem oil my babies when required. I think I'll cry when I get my first bloom.
I missed photographing apple blossoms, but here's an ornamental plum and the Lady Banks Rose.
The back door was looking kind of bare so I washed out some old terracotta pots and dug up the silver gray Dusty Miller that was misplaced on the bamboo slope.
Added the sedge for height and the flowers to bring the colors of the bougainvilleas on the back slope down to the patio. The licorice should fill in the bottoms and drape nicely in a month or so.
We're lucky around here because there are so many nurseries to visit - most of them locally owned. Toured the agri halls at the county fair last summer and learned that San Diego County has the largest number of small farms in the entire nation! Pretty cool.
The dog of course could care less. She just wants her spot in the sun. I was going to replace the mat that got, well, doggy after last summer in the dirt yard, but didn't think it was worth it. Can't tell you how many times I've tripped over her when carrying something out the door.
For about two years now fruit, veggie and flower themed prints from Kaffe Fassett and the other Rowan designers have been sneaking into my stash. It started small - a fat quarter here, a half yard there. Then when we moved here and the empty wall space screamed hang a quilt here! And here. And there too. I started thinking about a food themed quilt for the kitchen niche. Kind of a dark corner that begs for some color. It's getting color.
This is on the "design wall" otherwise known as the ugly and too high mantel in the living room. A couple of c-clamps and spare boards and it finally has purpose. Last time I just placed books at the top, but it was precarious and dangerous. Notice the cats in the photo below - they get behind there and play tackle. Narrowly missed disaster that first time so stronger measures were required.
The light in this room is actually nice for working, but a little too dark for non-flash photos. Tried the flash but it popped the colors in a funny way. Even here the purple plums pop more than they do in life and the light greens jump more too. The walls in that room are a subtle green, so this is definitely made to the space.
The pattern is the same one we used in the Kaffe Fassett class - I think he's calling it Potpourri in the next book. In his latest book it's called Tapestry. I turned it on end and took off 12" of blocks to fit the niche.
Using a pattern like this is a real departure for me because it's not a slice, dice and sew quilt. Most of the patterns I've used have you cut, sew, cut etc until you have blocks that you then arrange. Here each patch is individually cut and placed. Those empty spaces are what was left after I placed the first group of patches. This allowed me to pick and choose the remaining cuts. This all came together in just a couple of mornings, but that's probably because it's been percolating a while. I'd gotten out most of these fabrics at least twice in the past, but put them away feeling like I wasn't ready yet.
I've included this photo with the missing patches to show three points Kaffe reiterated throughout class. (1) Use a design wall. The "design wall" doesn't have to be fancy or permanent - mine will come down with the quilt. I wish I had a good spot for a permanent one, but this does the job. The cotton sticks naturally to the batting so no pins are required except for really big or long pieces like the borders - you can move things at will. I first got this idea from Jan at Be*mused whose wonderful quilts certainly show the power of creating one's quilt like artwork. She always uses a design wall and tests different fabrics. She's not afraid to cull and replace until she's happy. I've always appreciated her photos showing the process. (2) Leave no white space between the patches as you place them. You can see from these missing blocks how white space distorts the color relationships that will show up when the pieces are sewn. (3) Stand back. Kaffe kept strongly encouraging (i.e., scolding) us to move back and see the whole composition. Everything changes when you can get some distance and look at it as a whole, and not at an angle on the floor where I've always worked.
It was two of Kaffe's newer prints that gave me motivation to start cutting. The floral print used on the border and his foxgloves done in the same rich purple and red colorway became the glue that brought all the colors together. Here are come closeups. I'm so happy to finally be able to use the artichoke and flying veggie fabrics!
Since I'm taking the girls to KY for nine days over spring break I don't know if I'll start sewing before we leave - might save this for after they go back to school. Right now I'm just happy to look at fruits and flowers instead of weeds.