Rhubarb. Yep. And what you see above is but a fraction of the original stack. By the time I took this photo, I'd already put 12 cups (count 'em!) into my slow cooker with sugar and water for stewed rhubarb...mmmmmm....and had given away another 24 stalks to my next-door neighbours. They already grow rhubarb -- as do I -- but our plants pale in comparison to that of our across-the-alley neighbour, Dave. He's a bachelor, and works long hours, so I have been blessed with his bounty -- rhubarb, asparagus, apple-crabs...as long as I share a wee bit (emphasis on the wee because he's home so little that he rarely cooks or eats there), I can help myself.
You might wonder why he has such a large garden. Well...it was an inheritance. He's living in what was his parents' home, and has spent the last 4 summers (or longer) working to clear and clean up their long-neglected and over-grown garden. Thus, since my first summer here (2009), I have been the beneficiary of
- A clutch of irises;
- 6 raspberry canes (and 2 more to come this year to replace ones that haven't survived);
- 3 rosebushes (2 red; 1 yellow); and
- a bounty of apple crabs (i.e. crab-apples that are more apple than crab), asparagus and rhubarb.
Once in a while when he is home, we compare notes on garden progress and tour our respective yards together. I preserve the produce, and share the results. It's all good, and everyone benefits.
And in the Studio...
Lest you think I've been slacking totally, Monday I finished this:
|Dr. Who Scarf -- GINORMOUS!
And I spent some time sampling trapunto, using the method described by Philippa Naylor in her episode on The Quilt Show (sorry; I think you have to be a subscriber to actually watch this program). I'm working on a piece entitled "I Was Hungry" (mentioned here long ago) and want to use it in the background. It proved a challenge using white-on-white for the sample (very bright and therefore hard to quilt), so I'm hoping the fact that the actual piece has a dark background, will make the process much easier in the end. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled with the results!
First off, you can see from the photos below that I used a lively print for the front of my sample. This is not recommended, and I soon learned why: the trapunto doesn't show up very well -- at least, not before it's quilted.
Photo #1 - I've stitched around my chosen design -- just inside the drawing lines, made with a fine mechanical pencil (dont't faint! It's what Philippa uses) -- using wash-away thread in the needle (I selected Wash-A-Way (TM) by YLI, one of Philippa's favourites), fine white cotton thread in the bobbin, and 2 layers of scrap batting (it's only a sample):
Next, I trimmed the batting in 2 gradients -- the top layer first; the bottom layer second -- and a bit farther out, using my favourite sharp, fine scissors:
Then I layered it with more batting and a backing (simple white cotton). First I stitched on the drawn lines to outline the scene; then I quilted close to the motif, using -- in this case -- 'pebbles'. This is what it looks like from the back:
And this is what it looks like from the front. See what I mean about the disadvantages of a print?
Still, you can sorta see the effect. I think it will work well on my piece, which sports a much more subtle fabric. Stay tuned!