I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, January 18, 2019

January/ Quietude

noun a state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or place.

Good evening! It's mid-January, the quiet depths of winter are settling around us here at the beach. I'm  surprised reading your blog posts and comments how many of us enjoy the slow quiet months of winter. 

It took me til now to finally eradicate holiday items in my house. Last to get cupboarded were my mercury glass jars and bottles. The house is softly blue again, with wintery touches of brown and black.

Please forgive the bath towels on the sofas! It was a rainy day and Mo adores a muddy winter garden plot or wet nasty puddle, in his best doggy fashion. Then I took the pics, not even seeing, oh well.
Not much new here: the blue seashell toile cushions. Someone asked me if they button on and off, and yes they do, making it easy to switch to the reds or cheddars. The larger pillow covers have envelope closings and can easily be switched too.

Here I'm auditioning a lovely blue and grey ikat inen for future pillows. The ticking will be the backs.

This lovely quilt, by Denise Davis, anchoring the grey farmhouse stripe runner and my turquoise metal tin. 

I filled the tin with extra large pine cones and seashells, a found under the sofa sprig of pine---a winter-y mix but not Christmassy. 

I love how the turquoise container picks up the similar subtle duck egg blue in the quilt.

On the big chair a knitted Fair Isle sweater pillow with the quilt remnant Coxscomb pillow behind it.

A not often used but beautiful blue polka dots Star of Bethlehem quilt over the arm.

I had left the red and white china but probably will change it out this weekend; not fond of ed Valentine decor. 

Also have out white ironstone, 

and can't resist filling the pitchers with spring flowers, already appearing in the grocery store.

The bride's bench corner:

 My H Sandy/ NYC Flea market large crock filled with winter berries,

Another beautiful swap quilt by Barbara Black. 

and the big wooden bowl has its Valentine nod of heart shaped molds and cooky cutters. This corner has become a fun display area for me.

I thought this stack of textiles was interesting. I had pulled together linens for the switch to blue, then decided bare polished wood was better for winter. I must look for some lavender-lemon beeswax polish on etsy or a recipe for it to make myself. [Mel?].

Such an eclectic mix: a fine but sadly overused quilt remnant, a runner made with Japanese indigos, ikats. A small calico doll quilt, A handwoven Swedish table runner, Suzani print tablecloth from Pakistan. As the winter progresses I will rotate some of these pieces into my rooms for a change of "eye-interest".

My winter candles are: ''Fireside" and, well, "Winter".

Of course my days seem filled with endless frigid Mo walks. [However will we cope next week when it may be as cold as 7* and windy.]  I am already impatient with the layering needed to stay outdoors: on top of usual underwear, two pairs of pants, the outer one being wind and snow proof hiking pants. Two tee shirts, one cashmere turtleneck one Patagonia knitted fleece vest, a down parka. Wool socks, leg warmers. Scarf, headband, optional woolly pom hat. Outdoor clogs or Uggs. Fingerless mittens with thin Polar-Tec gloves underneath. My worry---if I need this when it's 30 out, how cold will I feel when it's zero!

Mo and I go out  at 5 now--still light!--to inspect the daily work of the giant earth movers. We dare not approach when the men and their trucks are operating.

They are so----exuberant, enthusiastic, piloting their giant beasts among the usually forbidden dunes, often at quite high speeds. It looks like they really enjoy their jobs.

 All work must stop by March 1st for the returning plovers, I hope.

The flood area was covered today, as were the big storm drains. And the ancient ship's timber that I loved, 3 feet + diameter, even tho squared---is gone/ buried. Probably no one but me knew it and loved It all these years, but still. I'm sad.


2011, same exact view:  "the shipwreck"

On our earlier walk we go the other direction sometimes.

Today we inspected the icy  koi pond. The koi are there, motionless, looking like frozen carrots under the skim of ice.

I'm not progressing as planned on my fun projects, too bad. Instead I tackled a big walk in closet that was stuffed to the rafters with ''someone else's" clothes. Suits, parkas, and golf shirts galore. I need the space to store my quilts , especially ones I plan to sell. They need to be measures and inspected and accessible. And I parted with two table cloths, I was a little uncertain about that, but they aren't useful to me...fun holiday themed but daily use cotton cloths from when my kids were small.

We donated everything to a local church that runs a soup kitchen for people in need; they will sort out warm clothes that are useful and donate or sell the rest, as fine Italian suits may be less than useful to their clientele. I was happy knowing the clothes and old paperback books would in part go to real people in need. There's more in that closet to remove but after filling 5 contractor bags with heavy wool suits and wooden hangers, I was so sore and exhausted that I had to cancel my thrifting/ dinner outing this week. Better now, but....?

My gesture to minimalist home, I suppose.

The weekend may be icy. I postponed breadmaking til then. And I plan to make a big dish of roasted veggies: parsnips, miniature sweet potatoes, tiny cippolini onions, green cabbage---for a variety of uses. I esp love the roasted vegs mixed with quinoa or farro. Have a good weekend! Stay indoors if it's icy.



gone to the beach....

Below, I think this is cancelled? It will be too warm for accumulated snow. Fingers crossed.]

WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY AFTERNOONTHROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON...* WHAT...Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snowaccumulations of 3 to 5 inches and ice accumulations of up toone tenth of an inch possible. Winds could gust as high as 35mph.

PS I saw a great story, maybe on FB?: A woman responded to a minimalist guru whose rule is Keep only what you love and brings you joy; throw everything else away. The woman wrote in her Amazon review: ''I kept all my fabric  and I threw away your book."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Year Of String Quilts

Hi friends! It seems that 2019 will be the year of string quilts! Yes, even the worlds of quilting and quilt blogging succumb to fads and this year is all about the utilitarian style of quilting called string quilts. For my non-quilter friends, this has nothing to do with real string, as in macrame or  crocheted market bags; the quilt strings are long strips of fabric, once upon a time saved by thrifty housewives  for an easy, non-template method of turning out quilts quickly.

This year string quilts abound online. Lori/ Humble Quilts is doing a casual string sewalong.   Moda Fabrics is too. HERE  Books are newly  published and are being publicized via bloghops* and  giveaways.


Historian Barbara Brackman has published blog posts like this one.here
I'm not big on jumping on fad bandwagons, but I've had a number of string quilts on my "someday" list for quite awhile. Pinterest board Here
Here are some I considered:
This Halloween quilt is a front runner, I have all the fabrics gathered. I love the string blocks with the very traditional Churn Dash and 9 Patch blocks.

I adore this quilt's colors. I'd perhaps buy the pattern to support the designer though it is simple to draft. It's a quilt I think I might actually use.

And, oooh, Pineapples. The strings would be the bodies, different fabrics, each one colors as shown. If this isn't a string quilt, I still would love to make it, so me.

And I have quite a few already in my quilt closet, both made by me and vintage.
This is a sweet c.1930-50 top. All hand pieced. I've never had the cash to have it quilted, maybe this will be its year!

And this quilt from 2013, Beach Umbrellas. I made it to showcase my pink and orange tropicals especially my collection of Lily Pulitzer fabrics my mom would send me from Florida, plus thrifted LP garments.

It was a difficult quilt for my then longarm quilter, who emailed me in cyber/virtual tears because her machine needle kept breaking on the dense-seamed area of the Umbrellas' centers.

She was both upset and angry with me. I told her to stop work immediately and send it back to me, also I let her keep the full fee to compensate her for the damage, though i felt it wasn't exactly my fault. It was upsetting and when the quilt returned home I chucked it right in the trash. I told Mel the story and she insisted I get the quilt back from the dumpster. Years later, my current quilter, the talented and calm Lori C. finished quilting it, finished 2013.

See how the Stars are the sandy beach, the edges the ocean?

The bad news is, my children absolutely HATED this quilt and I quickly put it away, never looked at it again til now. Just---too many bad vibes and sadness . But you know what? I kinda love it. I have adorable ditsy flamingo fabric for pillow cases next summer. This quilt will be out there with those cases and loved by me.

An aspect I find interesting about many string quilts is  that the blocks are very simple, but are put together in  ways that result in designs that the eye sees as complex. With the Pink Vintage, I always thought the blocks were triangles, figure one.

Set together to form the larger squares on point.

But no! They are simple squares,  thoughtfully made up of repeating red or pink central strips to form the bulls eye pattern. figure 2, above.

It is entirely hand sewed,

...using many very sweet little prints. Perhaps clothing , aprons, or feedsacks. Bunnies! Doggies, tulips and rosebuds.

And the very difficult appearing pinwheels and Stars of Umbrellas is simply large triangles with the strips sewed on each end .

I hope anyone making a string quilt looks for the simple solution, as I did when drafting my version.

Even a classic Log Cabin, like this beautiful miniature made for one of Lori's swaps, can be considered a string quilt, though many modern quilters cut each ''log'' to exact size instead.

made for me by Denise Davis 2017

Modern string quilts are often made using 2 1/2 " precut fabrics that are sold in what are called ''jelly rolls''. Maybe 30 coordinating strips. I prefer to be old fashioned and cut or tear my own strips.

It was hard to choose, but so far I have started with Blue Baskets, inspired by the Blue string Houses on When the Wild Geese Fly.
I tear some strips and iron and starch them, put them on a hanger.

I drafted a simple 10" Basket pattern.

This is my start,

My tryout. [The strips could be narrower!].

Inspiration from Pinterest, antique Cheddar and Indigo Baskets.

Even the white and indigo sprig is a shirt, from the GAP.
Which do you prefer? The plaid is again, a shirt, but I think I like the solid better.

I'll need maybe 25 to 36 baskets. But except for the handles they should go fast: no templates, no HSTs, no points to match. No one to live up to!

Mo as always was a big help!

His diet is working, and to me he looks quite thin. This is a before pic.

Not a fan of thin pugs, so I plan to hold him around this weight til he sees the vet for a checkup.The diet food did work! And he likes it, poor mite.

Snow coming soon?



gone to the beach....

I want to add this inspiration quilt. Last post we talked about how my boardwalk could inspire a string quilt. Maybe the rest of the blue shirts will end up in a similar project for me?

* BLOG HOP : def. "blog hop is a set time frame where a group of bloggers post about a topic and share links to the other blogs so readers can “hop” to them.''