Warm fuzzies

Sometimes warm fuzzies cluster together. I made a scrap quilt, lap size, for Grandma Siggie. It was very satisfying to match the scraps together. Grandpa Neil liked the quilt because it is practical.

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The same weekend that Grandma received the quilt, George and I were given two crocheted scrap afghans, made by his Mom. I like to think of all of the bits of yarn that were used up to make it. George can remember some of the yarns from their original projects. Warm fuzzies all around!

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Spring

Prickly ash buds

Prickly ash buds in our woods March 30

Springtime brings the good, bad, and ugly. The good news about prickly ash is that it’s native. The bad news is that it is prickly and invasive.

Beauty of Moscow lilac buds April 14

Beauty of Moscow lilac buds April 14

Fortunately we have more good plants than bad ones. Here’s a white lilac in our garden.

Garlic April 14

Garlic April 14

The garlic planted last fall looks healthy.

Currant April 14

Currant April 14

Spring Beauties April 21

Spring Beauties April 21

There was a lot in bloom in Grandpa Neil and Grandma Siggie’s woods on April 21.

Honey suckle

Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle leaves are pretty, and they come out early. Unfortunately, they are very invasive in Wisconsin and are difficult to remove.

The early frog catches the fly

The early frog catches the fly

Aging cow slip blossoms

Aging cow slip blossoms

Dog toothed violet and spring beauties converse

Dog toothed violet and spring beauties converse

Apple blossoms

Apple blossoms

It occurs to me now that I don’t know what the quality of the apples on this tree at the edge of the woods is. It’s likely that it is a wild tree since I don’t ever remember harvesting them.

Maple seeds on the tree in Grandma and Grandpa's yard

Maple seeds on the tree in Grandma and Grandpa’s yard

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Columbine May 8

Columbine May 8

Violas surround a lily

Violas surround a lily

Lupine May 13

Lupine May 13

Springtime in our prairie… it’s always fun to see how much good stuff has spread. Look at the pollen on this bee!

Lupine leaves May 13

Lupine leaves May 13

A friend gave us wild lupine seeds several years ago and it is spreading well. It’s neat to see the variation in the plants. This one has darker colored leaves with hairy edges.

Evening self portrait in the prairie

Evening self portrait in the prairie

Happy spring! May summer not come too quickly.

The complete quilt

Mom taught me how to sew when I was in second grade. One of my first projects was a t-shirt. Another project was a big stuffed whale. Mom had to help me with the zipper…the mouth had zipper lips to open and close it. I was delighted when she made the mistake of sewing the zipper in backwards (the zipper pull was towards the inside of the mouth). My part of the sewing was perfect…the biggest error was Mom’s.

What Mom didn’t teach me was how to finish a project in a timely manner. She has very little interest in finishing one project before starting another. This has been very freeing to me. Perhaps a little too freeing. I have no idea how many started, but unfinished projects I even have.

In the fall of 2011, a book caught my eye. It is Scandinavian Needlecraft and includes great embroidery designs, mostly on wool. The book wasn’t in our library system at the time, so I tried Scandinavian Stitches instead. Author Kajsa Wikman has lots of great designs in it, including soft baskets and stuffed fabric birds. I loved one of the baby quilts in the book, but I wasn’t about to make a quilt just to hang on the wall. It occurred to me that Jessie was having a baby in December and the quilt has lots of blue in it (a color that she might not see enough of these days). A winter theme, lots of blue, and a December baby…a perfect combination.

I dug through my stash and found the perfect colors for the sky. I needed a little more variety and was happy to find a great match at the local thrift store. A couple of small pieces were added for variety and everything was ready to go. The cutting and sewing began at Mom’s house on Thanksgiving weekend. The top went together quite quickly.

Fox peeking out from the snow

The hand quilting took longer. It turned out to be the perfect project for me. I quilted at the hospital while Grandpa Neil was there. I quilted at Grandma Siggie’s while we spent time together. I quilted at the nursing home while Grandpa Neil was there. I quilted with friends while taking time for myself. Some of the stars are less than perfect. Some stars have more than five points. Maybe Ivy and Clara will look for them when they need a quiet project.

Stars in the sky

Since I’ve never finished a quilting project, this was my first attempt at cutting the binding on a bias. I thought about it for quite a while, folded the fabric, and cut. Was I ever surprised to find the zig-zag that it made. Hindsight was much clearer than foresight.

First try at binding

It was a happy day when I got the bias tape cut, ironed, and rolled. The binding finally was domesticated.

Spool of binding

It was time for the label. Jenny made one for the quilt, but it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. A friend told me about her label making process: spray adhesive on a sheet of printer paper; apply an oversize piece of fabric on it; cut the fabric to the size of the paper; feed the paper/fabric into the inkjet printer; print with the desired text; and set with a hot iron. Since I hope this quilt will withstand lots of washing, I decided to make the label more permanent by embroidering on top of the ink.

The fine print

It then seemed to take forever to finish the label and sew it onto the quilt. I had put off putting the binding on so that I could sew the label only on to the back of the quilt. I did everything just right for this process until the last moment, a moment of excitement, when I sewed the label through the entire thickness of the quilt. It was fortunate that the bobbin thread was white and nothing puckered in the process! I wasn’t about to tear it out at this point.

The completed quilt

The completed quilt

The finished quilt was ready to give to Jane on March 24, when we celebrated Grandma Elma’s 93rd birthday. Jane and I met for the first time. It was a good day for many reasons, a small one was that this project was completed!

And now for something completely different…

George made a very good supper of squash and nettle lasagna tonight. That’s right…stinging nettles turned into a yummy supper.

Everything is good with lots of cheese

Quilting and Valentine’s Day

Grandma had a brilliant day last Saturday. The day was filled with energy and new ideas. Alice, Grandma, and I browsed through a quilting magazine and Grandma picked out a quilt with a basket square on it. She would like to make one for each of the boys  (Robbie, Charlie, and Henry) and thinks that muslin, blue, and green fabric would be best for it. It was fun to plan the quilt and think about the boys.

I am a fan of Valentine’s Day. Not buying lots of “cute” stuff (cards and stickers excepted). Not demanding a demonstration of your admiration of me (although voluntary actions will be appreciated). Not going out to eat (why would I want to eat with a million other people around?). Not celebrating a saint or saints. But I do like celebrating relationships…friends, family, and others. Happy Valentine’s Day to you when it comes around.

Happy 69th Wedding Anniversary to Grandma and Grandpa on Monday!