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.
|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...|
|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|
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
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|