Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

August color block

I just finished my August color block. The photos above show the month's flowers, smoky skies from Canadian wildfires, brown grass from drought conditions, shoreline, dark green trees and blue and white skies.

Here is the finished block:

I pulled out green silks for the trees and a torn strip of hand-painted pink for the flowers.

Bronze and silver meshes became the shoreline and silvery water.

Bunny break! 
The latest photo of Bunners from my daughter.

Grey cheesecloth and some sheers became the smoky skies.

 But yesterday the smoke cleared and I was able to stitch outside on the patio in the sun -- finally!

Have a colorful day

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Port Gamble, Port Hadlock, Port Townsend and flowers

Port Gamble on a smoky Saturday.
We hit the port cities yesterday, with stops at Port Gamble first (so I could go to the Quilted Strait), Port Hadlock to visit my sister and her husband, and Port Townsend for Shakespeare In the Park. The wildfire smoke  from Canada blew back in, and it was smoky and chilly everywhere we went.

That's Dave in the dahlia garden at Port Gamble. The dahlias there are maintained by the Kitsap County Dahlia Society and they are HUGE! His hand below gives some perspective on the size.

Then we headed up the highway to Port Hadlock, where my sister has a gorgeous wildflower garden. Here we are with a sunflower plant.

And here are some of her other flowers.

She also has a massive pear tree that is covered in fruit. Pear butter, ginger pear preserves, pear compote, pear tarts ... yum.

Then we all headed up to Port Townsend for "Hamlet." Photos weren't allowed at the play, but during intermission I took a few pictures of the water below the park. We were all bundled in fleece and blankets and it felt like a fall evening. I want our summer back!

 Have a colorful day

Friday, August 24, 2018

Color and smoke

Hand-dyed silk ribbons for embellishment.
Our brief summer break -- after the smoky air blew out -- is already over, and smoke from wildfires blew back in again today. It's chilly and gray and smells bad. That means it's time to bust out the bright colors in the studio.

Wildfire smoke dulls outside colors.

So I pulled out my new Sue Spargo book, "Fresh Cut" ...

... and decided to make the English Garden Needle Roll, which uses a combination of felted wool, cotton prints, trims and embroidery. That's hers on the left and the beginning of mine on the right.

I used this bright, cheerful print as my focus fabric ...

... and cut out the vase from this warm yellow wool that I dyed last year with Peach Mango and Lemonade flavored Kool-Aid.

Here is part of the inside of the needle roll, which I tweaked a little by substituting a pocket for the pattern's pin cushion. The green felt squares on the bottom form a needle holder. The pink and yellow circles will be covered with embroidery by the time I'm done.

I used black and white text fabrics for the base because they set off the bright colors nicely. Sue's needle roll uses a black background, but I wanted mine to be brighter.

I used green beads to tack down some luscious plum silk ribbon. The leaf ribbon is from my stash of trims.

My next step will be to applique the vase and flowers to the front, but I'm trying to hold off on that because I want to take it on a short trip with me next month. I always like to have a hand project when I'm traveling so that I can work on it in the hotel.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sew Day at Carolynn's

Yesterday was Sew Day at Carolynn's house, and I'm featuring her fabulous, warm, rich, Southwest quilts on today's blog post. These are all originals, and you can see that she is drawn to warm, earthy colors.

The quilt below was a round robin done by our sewing group some years ago. Carolynn made the center block, with a Southwest mountain scene, and each of the other four of us put on a border that coordinated with that block.

All of these quilts are hanging in her entryway staircase, setting the theme for her home.

The table runner was another joint project by our sewing group. Carolynn gave each of us a piece of the flower print fabric and we each did a block of our choice using it, then Carolynn turned them into this beautiful runner.

You can probably guess which one is Carolynn -- on the right with the red glasses and necklace that coordinate with her quilts! (This is from an old meeting. I didn't get a picture of her yesterday.)

I forgot to get photos of the food, but we had a salad with greens, chicken, avocado, dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese and a delicious dressing. Add banana bread, ice cream bars and good company and it was a pretty perfect day!

Have a colorful day

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wildflower hike on Mt. Rainier

"The mountains are calling
and I must go."
        -- John Muir and me

I've had a strong urge this summer to hike on Mt. Rainier during wildflower season -- something I had not done in the 10 years I've lived in the Northwest. So I told my husband we had to do it.  NOW!

 Cascade Asters march down the mountain.

Off we went to join the crowds before the wildflowers faded. It was worth the 2 1/2-hour drive and the sore legs the next day(s). 

Mainly we saw purple Cascade Asters, but I also saw some Scarlet Paintbrush, white puffy American Bistort and a handful of other subalpine flowers listed in the brochure.

We saw a lot of orange and blue butterflies on the flowers.
It was pretty much straight up for the first two hours of hiking, with a lot of stops to catch our breath and take photos. The trail is paved much of the way, and after that it's a well worn wide path. Our bodies, used to living at sea level, had a bit of a challenge hiking at 6,000 feet, which is why I had to stop so often to catch my breath. 

We started at the Paradise Inn and took the Deadhorse Creek Trail up until it met the Skyline Trail,  then we took the Skyline down.

It's sad to realize how much the glaciers are melting due to climate change. We heard three avalanches while we were there and saw one up in the snow field. At first we thought we were hearing thunder, then an airplane, then we realized it was an avalanche when we saw the cloud of white in the air on the steep face of the glacier.

The views were breathtaking, with fields of wildflowers, white glaciers, blue mountain peaks in the distance and a clear blue summer sky.

That's Mt. Adams on the horizon below.

On the way down, we passed this marmot sunbathing on a rock. Every so often it picked up its head and looked around, then flopped back down.

The stairs down were very steep, but I was glad for them so I didn't have to pick my way down over rocks and boulders. It was sort of a wimpy way of hiking, but it was okay by me.

Afterward, we checked out the Paradise Inn, which was hopping with visitors and activities.

Then we made the long descending drive off the mountain and stopped at the Copper Creek Inn for refreshment -- beer for Dave and wild blackberry pie for me, and trout and salmon. And we were still  home in time for me to watch my two episodes of "Murder She Wrote" before falling into bed.

 Have a colorful day