Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Time to Catch Up

My last post wasn't made even a week ago, but it seems longer.  A great deal has been going on, and I'm only just getting back into a routine.

Friday (Aug. 1), late in the day, my friends arrived from Calgary for the weekend.  They've been here before for such weekends -- whereupon we talk a lot, eat a lot of wonderful food (often al fresco), make a lot, and sleep a little.  This weekend Mother Nature smiled upon us and the sun was out just about all day, every day.

Mary sketching

Shalaya preparing to rust fabric

Wonderful things happen during this sort of weekend.  For one thing, my friends get me to do things I've been meaning to do and have been procrastinating about, like acid-dyeing silk and wool yarn, heat-set by the sun:

Start with the Primary Colours, eh?

Move on to secondary colours...and wool yarn...
Next, I get to see what they're working on, and to learn their techniques for doing what I may have already done on my own, like rusting fabric.  And...we share not only ideas but materials (many of those rusty bits came from my stash).

More silk -- and Shalays' rusted fabric - drying in the breeze

Friday and Sunday night we barbequed (chicken, then beef) but Saturday the gals treated me to dinner at a wonderful family-owned restaurant in Lacombe -- Leto's Steak & Seafood House.  If you're ever in the area, you need to try it!  Don't be fooled by the "official" name, though.  The family that owns and runs is it Greek, and the lamb is....perfection!  (Guess how I know!)

Monday was a holiday here but still the gals had to head back to the city early enough to beat the "wagon train" of campers and trailers that would be heading back later in the day.  We had a thunderstorm Sunday night, so it was lovely and cool Monday a.m. -- perfect for heading out to the "U-Pick" at Billyco Junction Gardens near Lacombe...aiming for strawberries, honeyberries and Saskatoons. Another something I'd been "thinking about doing" but needed a prod...

After a good morning's picking, we went to the Honeyberry Cafe for lunch.  I had the beet soup (not traditional borscht) with barley bread...and Mary and I shared the last piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie in the kitchen.  All of this was enjoyed on the patio. Mmmmm...

Ellis Bird Farm, near Lacombe, AB
We went our separate ways after lunch with a promise to do this again soon -- maybe even next summer -- with the next planned feature to be a field trip to the Ellis Bird Farm (and tea room...of course!)

Over the next day and a half, I finished the process of dyeing the silks by washing and drying them on the rack in the sunshine.  I had a bit of trouble with the Sun Yellow dye bath "curdling" (i.e., producing a residue of apparently undissolved dye when left overnight).  This seemed to be resolve with added heat  (via microwave).  However, I think that the Scarlet and the Sky Blue were such strong colours that a) the second red silk sample barely absorbed any secondary (yellow) dye (I was hoping for orange); and b) the blue sample, when yellow was added, turned into a beautiful deep green, but still had yellow residue -- it was clearly pretty saturated too!

Top to Bottom: Pure Scarlet, Scarlet + SunYellow,
Pure Sun Yellow, Sun Yellow + Sky Blue,
Sky Blue + Sun Yellow, Pure Sky Blue
Each piece positively glows!  I have plans for them, so look for up-coming pieces...

In addition to finishing up the dyeing, I put the Saskatoons in the freezer for future use and turned the strawberries into jam:

Jammin' on Tuesday

I also got back to some sewdio activities, including more pieced blocks for the Japanese Taupe Quilt.  I've managed to lay out the first corner section (to finish at 45" x 45")...and I'm thinking I need to replace the centre line of five (5) plain blocks (which would otherwise have quilted motifs) with something with a subtle print -- or with an applique on that plain background.  I laid the section out on the stripped bed in the guest room.  Ideas, anyone?

Finally, because it's now August, I assembled Block #8 of the "Four by Four" Block-of-the-Month that I began in January, in Christmas-themed fabrics.  This one is called "Cross & Crown" and I rather like it.  Because I'm working with the admittedly small stash of "Christmas" fabric I have on hand (I'm not a 'holiday quilting' person), it's always a challenge to interpret the pattern -- even though I collected these particular fabrics to go with the background and pattern provided by the LQS.

Cross & Crown - 4 x 4 BOM - Block #8
So...while only the BOM and the Taupe Quilt qualify as 'WIPs'...I'm linkin' to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network.  Then...I'm heading outside for a bit of time in the late afternoon/early evening sunshine.  Gosh, I hope it's cooled off by now!


rtquilter said...

Wow! You must need a holiday by now, Margaret! Good for you!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

I agree with the above comment-what a holiday and what lovely friends you have! said...

Wow. What a beautiful time! I can't get over those colours!
Beautiful outdoor photos. :)

Pam @ Quilting Fun said...

Love your taupe quilt. Lovely. I quite like it plain.

elle said...

Long weekend traffic is awful. But you had such a great time as is seen by all the photos. :)

elle said...

oh, BTW Luv that Japanese Taupe quilt but I'm not sure what you should do. no help sorry. I have 'summer brain'!!!

Kate said...

You look like you had a wonderful time on the weekend. When do we get to see the wool?

Susan J Barker said...

Whew! by the time I got to the bottom of your post, I forgot what you did at the beginning and had to read it again! Friends always seem to create inspiration an motivation and of course entertainment! So glad you had a great weekend and got so much done! Can I have some of that Strawberry Jam?

Linda A. Miller said...

What a wonderful gathering for you and your friends... and so productive, too! I so enjoyed your post.

Jo Ferguson said... and food, it doesn't get any better than that.