Archive for June, 2011

Collaborative work

I’ve been enjoying some studio time of late working on two collaborative projects.  The first one is a small part of a much larger quilt being put together by 8 cyber friends to encourage a mutual friend.  My piece will go somewhere near the center.  We are all doing our own independent work and one of the artists will be putting all the pieces together.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post pictures of the finished product when the time comes.  In the meantime, here is my contribution to the effort.  It measures 17.5″ x 22″ in this photo but will probably be cropped some to fit into a slightly smaller space.  I’m sure it looks familiar to those of you who have followed here for a while.  This is a considerably larger version of my typically smaller work.  Because it will be part of a larger quilt that may be washed, most of the collaged pieces are faced so there will be no chance of them fraying and coming apart.  The leaves are of concern to me since I have no idea how they will fare.  They are backed with fusible interfacing to minimize fraying.  Quilting was kept fairly minimal too since the finished piece needed to be soft and not stiff from dense stitching.

The second project started with a beautiful piece of snow dyed fabric made by Frances Alford.  We divided it into three lengths with the intention to work vertically.  We also decided to incorporate Textiva Fantasy Film in the surface design somehow.  Those of you who know me well know that using “plastic” is a bit of a challenge for me.  It is not my material of choice.  After some experimentation, I found that I could heat it with a heat gun to the point where small bubbles formed and burst making a lovely albeit glitzy lace.  I decided I could live with that and set about quilting in the flowers I saw in the snow dyed fabric, adding the Textiva as I went and heating when I was finished.  The next step of our project involves each of us cutting up our work and sewing them all back together.  Hopefully pictures will be forthcoming then as well.  This is what my piece looked like before I cut it into three vertical slices.  My panel whole measure about 14″ x 38″.

Waiting for the sunshine

The lobed leaves of the Blood Root are still beautiful long after the delicate white flowers have faded.  These are showing off the water droplets quite nicely; it looks like little jewels strewn across the surface.  Soon the leaves will recede and the Rudbeckia will take over for the fall show season.

Our lilac blooms are finally ready to pop open and I suspect they are waiting for the sunshine.  Already the bees have been visiting and the hint of their sweet fragrance is in the air.  Our bushes are located right next to the screened porch where we take some refuge from the black flies.  It is a prime spot for breathing deeply.  I passed these white ones in full bloom the other day when I walked into town.  It is amazing to me how different our climate is due to our elevation.  These are growing only two miles away, down hill.

The swamp

Some photos from a stop by the swamp near James’ house in Connecticut.  The water lilies were beautiful but my lens was not long enough to capture them up close and personal.  The reflections were lovely though.

After danger of frost

It’s generally held that it is safe to plant those sensitive annuals and garden veggies after June 1st here in Vermont.  It’s awfully hard to wait  while everyone else is posting beautiful flower pots brimming with blooms or tomatoes already on the vine.  We started plants indoors so we have some hope of produce at the end of our relatively short summer growing season.  Even that isn’t enough sometimes.

We planted everything on May 30th.  Yep, two days early.  But it has been so warm of late, we thought they’d get a good start.  And we already have some things germinating – lettuce and radishes.  Hopefully the other things won’t be far behind.  But really I’m not holding my breath.  The temps went down into the high 30’s last night. While I dutifully covered my tomato plants, I got distracted and forgot about the deck flower and herb pots.  This morning, some of the more tender things looked burnt.  They weren’t dead but they didn’t look great.  The basil took it the hardest but I’m hoping the growing points are still alive.  The leaves are mostly brown and crisp.  We’ll see.  The sweet potato vines mostly recovered by the end of the day after the sun warmed them up.  Tonight more dangerous lows are predicted but the pots are all snugged together under a cozy sheet to keep off the frost.

I spoke with a nursery owner today who told me of a killing frost he remembered on June 20th a number of years ago.  I don’t have enough sheets to cover the garden for that.


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