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Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Ranch Has Snow!

We haven't seen this much snow since mid-March five years ago when we moved in. This past couple of weeks have seen waves of snowstorms, not like back east, but substantial enough for it to stay on the ground for longer than a day or so. Everyone says, "Thank God for the moisture!" 

Tom took some photos while he and I hiked around the ranch, so, Trudy, here you go. It really is a Winter Wonderland.

We were glad the propane truck was able to get in since we were running a bit low.

 That's Earl, the delivery driver, braving the elements to deliver our propane. I gratefully sent him on his way with a mug of Raspberry Zinger tea and a bag of Trader Joe's trail mix.

Here's the view, looking north toward the beaver dam along the creek.

 Ms. Pearl decided she didn't want to wade across the creek.

I miss our steers. Tom doesn't, though, because they tended to destroy his targets and knock over the park benches scattered around the ranch.

Ms. Pearl wants you to know that she didn't need a coat because she just keeps moving and that generates heat. Besides, there's nothing quite so invigorating as rolling around in the snow for a snow bath.

We have a few more days of snow and that's just fine. This is the trade-off for mild, low-80's summers, and for that, we are glad.

Looking south. That's me and Ms. P walking across the front pasture.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Quilty Pleasures: Lady of Guadalupe 2 In Progress

I've been spending most Tuesdays with some quilty friends at ThreadBear, my local quilt store in Las Vegas, NM, each of us working on projects and just having a good old time hanging out. There are usually burritos from the tiendita down the street involved and my favorite is the ground beef, potato and green chile variety.

Another Lady of Guadalupe quilt has been on the list for quite a while and my friend Betty gave me the push to get started. We are using ideas from Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran's books about collaborative quilting along with our own ideas, the ones that spring forth when the room is spinning with creativity.

Here's what we have so far:

I started with Robert Kaufman's Our Lady of Guadalupe panel from the Enchanted Desert line of fabric. It's pretty old, but you may still be able to find some if you do a little internetting.

The panel's border is a black and white polka dot to make it stand out and not just blend into the other fabrics. Next is a pieced border involving 1.5 inch red squares with 1 inch strips around and in between. It looks like I wove a red ribbon through the purplish-blue fabric.

After I attached that red square border,  it looked a little wavy, so decided to square it up with a turquoise stripe from some fabric I found in my stash. It still looks wavy, but this is liberated quilting, so let's not beat ourselves up about it.

I wanted a sky with angels in houses and liberated stars, so this is the layout today. It's not sewn together, yet, and there will probably be a lot of staring and arranging and staring some more before it becomes permanent.

Next: trees in a forest and a flower garden. This is going to take a while, but my mind is cooking with ideas and I suspect I will dream about this tonight.

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Quilty Pleasures: Finally, A Finished HST Overload Quilt

Last year I was preoccupied by Amish quilts and quilts with triangles, in particular. A triangle quilt (or two) was on my agenda and I couldn't let that idea go.

An Accuquilt Go cutter languished in its bag under the cutting table and I'd been wondering what the first project would be. I bought the 3.5 inch die and stamped out some solid triangles for something Amish-looking, but when I saw the HST Overload quilt by Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts, I knew this was the one. 

Ann, owner of ThreadBear, our local quilt shop, helped me choose the brightest fabrics in the store, focusing on Kaffe Fassett collective fabrics, small checks and florals to calm things down just a bit along with Moda Grunge fabrics and other blenders that read like solids. We went just a little crazy: there are about 30 different fabrics in there, plus or minus.

I took the triangles and my new little 1954 Featherweight to Cali this past July when we visited Trudy and Pat and by the time we went home, I had sewn those triangles together and even started on  a load of half square triangles ready to go. That was the easy part.

Laying it out was fun, and I enjoyed sewing the triangles into patches into squares.

What I hadn't anticipated were all the seams to match when I sewed the long diagonals of on-point blocks together. I measured my progress in Hulu television shows: pinning and sewing took one Elementary (42 minutes) on the longest seams. Layout was somewhat random, kind of like I am.

So here's the rest. The photo below shows HST Overload lying on the snow. You can see that the corners are not square, which is on purpose, really.  There are instructions in the pattern if one wants to square it off, but I wanted the angled corners.

Here's another look at the corners. The binding fabric is a swirly multi-colored stripe I bought at a store in Arizona.

The zigzag print backing was on sale at ThreadBear, so I scored!

Quilting was a loopy paisley done by long arm quilter Beth Glass, who runs On the Mountain quilting retreats.

So I haven't finished with half square triangles just yet. Those Amish bright solids with black are turning into something quite interesting. More about that later!