28 June 2024

Friday Fantastic

27 June 2024


Back in 2017, I entered my first (and only) Spoonflower challenge design. I knew I didn't win anything, but I had no idea I got so many votes until I entered my second challenge entry this week! I was 73rd of 9,996 entries!!!

(I still haven't made the swimsuit I intended to create from my Hexie Madness fabric, but I'm hoping some upcoming changes in my life will open up some new free time I can devote to my sewing machine...)

Now I've gone and done it again! I finally entered another Spoonflower challenge because I actually have a new design that fits a contest theme!!!

Voting for the Winter Holiday Patchwork contest will commence July 4 and last through July 16. I would truly appreciate your vote, if you like my design. I will share the voting link as soon as it becomes available.

This is my all-blue 2024 Digital Snowflake Temperature Quilt, representing just the first half of this year. I love the eclipse and Northern Lights snowflakes! I'm still thinking this fabric might make a great dress or coat, but I also love this design idea so much, I might actually appliqué, piece and quilt from real crocheted snowflakes and real batiks one day.

25 June 2024

Once Upon a Tree-t

The giant shade tree in our backyard had to come down last week. There will be no more branches falling unexpectedly on our roof, and, hopefully, this will put an end to plumbing issues beneath our foundation. It was such a difficult (and expensive!!!) choice to make, but it had to be done. Nevertheless, there are many, many pleasant memories.

You couldn't even see the tree from the front yard when we first bought the house!

It was kind of fun but also sad to look up old house photos to remember our great source of shade.

our neighbors' cell phone shot from their window

And what a haven it was for wildlife...

house finch

my neighbors' cell phone shot through their window

Our neighbors set up a shaded chair in their backyard so Lizard could safely watch the tree come down.

The tree cutters happily provided several branches for the neighbor to cut up for camp firewood. The branches were set up along the neighbors' back fence to dry in the sun.

I would have loved to claim some of the thin slices from the trunk. I think they would have made great crafts. But I haven't had time to sew or crochet, so I let the crew chip everything the neighbors didn't take.

The entire process took about five hours. At the end of the project, the crew told us this was a very difficult tree to remove.

They went from the bottom up to remove branches.

The limbless tree itself was leveled from the top down in small segments.

Birds were having a fit while the tree was coming down. I suspect there may have been a nest somewhere in all the debris. However, the workers did not find one. Perhaps the birds were just complaining about human development the way we do...

We elected to have the stump drilled to make sure the roots don't continue to infringe upon the pipes below our house.

I knew before the job started a few plants might be lost. Landscaping bricks were moved. Drainage pipes were removed. I didn't realize flagstone would be broken. All water beneath the bridge now; nothing I can do but clean and repair. And replant. Resulting sawdust is going to take a good long while for us to collect and move.

I was asked if I want to keep the sawdust. We live on clay, which is part of the problem with our foundation. Some of the terracing I've done during the last four years has already begun to slide down the slope. Sawdust will be a very welcome addition to the soil. It won't completely transform the clay, but it can add temporary stability.

Autumn clean-up in our yard will be easier without this mammoth leaf producer. But autumn also will be much less colorful in our backyard.

Our weather has been hotter than Hades, but we got a brief break from the high 90s, and I replaced the relocated bricks and replanted them with mature flowers I bought just in case I might need to start over.

It's going to take time, patience and effort, but soon, my backyard will be a wildlife haven and a (hopefully shaded) peaceful place for us to enjoy once again. (We have trellis ideas on the drawing board now. I'm thinking blue and purple clematis...)

24 June 2024

Snowflake Monday

I didn't really have time to create a new snowflake and write a pattern last week, but my heart was breaking as I watched the news of the fires in southern New Mexico, less than an hour from where I grew up. Sierra Blanca, the 11,981-foot white mountain towering over both Ruidoso and Mescalero, was a favorite photo and hiking destination throughout my New Mexico life. It's probably the root of my 14er addiction, although I never tried to reach the summit.

My brother and I spent many hours cycling up the mountain to Ruidoso (never together, though!), and girls my age performed many service projects in Mescalero. That's actually how I got into quilting. We teens made quilts for new mothers in Mescalero and for church nurseries there, among other service projects. During the last few days, my New Mexico family has been staging barbecues to help feed evacuees and firefighters. My Colorado friends have been asking if I will be donating snowflakes for the ornament drive. This year's fire evacuees probably won't be on the list until next year because organizers want recipients to be settled enough to receive handmade keepsakes when they are delivered. But yes, you can darn sure bet this snowflake and at least 99 more will be headed to New Mexico next year.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Finished Size: 6 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line, 5- to 6-inch round flatish river rock

Sierra Blanca Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, [ch 7, sl st in 5th ch from hook, ch 2, 2 dc in ring) 5 times; ch 2, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 4 gap of Round, ch 2, 1 dc in top of dc just worked to form 6th ch 4 picot of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and [ch 1), 1 tr in same picot] 3 times, ch 1, [in next picot work ([1 tr, ch 1] 7 times) 5 times]; in next picot work ([1 tr, ch 1] 3 times), sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 4.

Round 3: Ch 5 (counts as 1 fptr and [ch 2), [1 fptr around next tr] 2 times, [ch 3, sk next 2 tr, [1 fptr around next tr, ch 2] 4 times, 1 fptr around next tr] 5 times; ch 3, sk next 2 tr, [1 fptr around next tr, ch 2] 2 times; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 5.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 4: Ch 6 (counts as 1 fptr and [ch 3), 1 fptr around next fptr, ch 3, sk next ch 3 sp and next fptr, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, 1 tr inch 1 sp of Round 2, 1 dc in same ch 3 sp, ch 3, sk next fptr, 1 fptr around next fptr, ch 3, around next fptr work (1 fptr, ch 3, 1 fptr)] 6 times, omitting last 2 ch and last fptr of final repeat; 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 6 to form 6th ch 3 tip (or fptr V-st) of Round.

Round 5: 2 sc over post of dc directly below, [3 sc in each of next 2 ch 3 sp, yo and draw up loop through each of next 3 st (dc, tr, dc), 3 sc in each of next 2 ch 3 sp, in next ch 3 sp work (2 sc, ch 3, 2 sc) 6 times, omitting last 2 sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc; bind off for snowflake and weave in ends. For Rock Covering, omit last 2 ch and last 2 sc of final repeat; 1 dc in starting sc to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 6, Rock Covering: Ch 7 (counts as 1 dc and [[ch 5), 1 dc in middle sc of next 3/sc group, ch 5] 2 times, sk next sc dec, [ch 5, 1 dc in middle sc of next 3/sc group] 2 times, ch 5, 1 dc in next ch 3 tip] 6 times; omitting last 3 ch and last dc of final repeat; 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 7 to form 30th ch 5 sp of Round.

Round 7-?: Ch 7 (counts as 1 dc and ch 5), [1 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 5] 29 times; 1 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 7 to form 30th ch 5 sp of Round. Continue with Round 7 until snowflake fits snugly around rock, leaving about a 1- to 2-inch opening on the back or bottom side.

Final Round, Rock Covering:Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each ch 5 sp around, inserting rock after about 2/3rds of Round, gently stitching while finishing Round and closing up hole so as not to damage crochet hook; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off, leaving 4- to 5-inch tail. Weave end through final Round of dc and pull tight. Bind off again, weave in end. Place in garden!

Finish: I've been stiffening my flakes with undiluted, full-strength water soluble school glue for quite a while now, and I've been squishing the glue onto and throughout each flake with my fingers (yucky mess!!!) instead of gingerly painting the flakes with glue. Yes, it's a mess. But it's faster. And stiffer.

Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

20 June 2024

Soon-to-be FQs

Back in March, I was elated when the first day of spring landed on the beginning of a new row on my 2024 seasonal digital temperature quilt. Yesterday, I finished spring and finished another row! This was not planned! I am so excited the seasons changed at just the right time!

I also finished two of my half-year fat quarter digital temperature quilts. I can't print them at Spoonflower just yet, but I cannot wait to meet my latest creations!

I'm still not crazy about the hot colors in the digital rainbow temperature quilt, but I love the solar eclipse and northern lights representations. I decided to keep going with a new digital rainbow temperature quilt for summer and fall for yet another fat quarter because I think it will be fun to design a project using both fat quarters.

Of course, the pièce de résistance is my 2024 digital snowflake temperature quilt, done in the same color scheme as my 2023 crochet temperature project. I won't start a new fat quarter using this color scheme, but I will finish the full year digital snowflake temperature quilt. And I just may have to make a dress or coat from this when done!

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