Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mystery Clue #8

Clue #8
28 churn dash blocks
Coincidently, clues one + three + four =  clue eight. I now have 28 churn dash blocks that measure 9.5 inches.

Previous clues resulted in the following:

     •  Half-square triangles from Clue #1

     •  Plain Squares from Clue #3
     •  Two-patch units from Clue #4

     •  Nine-patch units from Clue #6

     •  Nine-patch units from Clue #7

I have a feeling that Clue #9 will use the remaining plain squares from Clue #3 and the nine-patch units from Clues #6 and 7.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Back in Time - Spring Plowing

John Stearns
Plowing "Over North"
west field
Spring 1989
When the sun begins to warm the soil, farmers get the itch to work in the fields. My brother rotated his crops between alfalfa, oats, and corn to build up the soil, so plowing was only done between alfalfa and corn and then from corn to oats. Rich seeded alfalfa with the oats, so the following year the alfalfa would be established and ready to produce. A field was left in alfalfa for several years.

In these photos, alfalfa was being plowed under so the field can be prepared for the next crop (corn).

I love the feel and smell of freshly plowed earth, and recently seeing plows in the fields brought back a lot of memories.

It was common, especially on the home place for seagulls from Ocean Lake to follow the plow and gobble up worms from the turned soil. Other birds joined the gulls in the feeding frenzy.

nearing the end of the field
My oldest brother often helped Rich in the spring and during harvest. John was plowing the day that I took the photos.

plow heads polished by the soil
As the plow is pulled through the field, the plow heads are polished by the friction. The polished heads can be seen in the photo above.

at the top of the filed, preparing to make another round
Rich used a four bottom, two way, roll-over plow, which means that at the end of the field, the plow is  flipped (rotated) to keep the furrows going in the same direction. This type is also called a moldboard plow and completely turns over the soil in the furrow.

Other types of plows are used for various reasons. Farming Equipment Canada has a good post on the types of plows.

Once the field was plowed, my brother(s) would use other equipment - floats, discs, etc. to prepare the field for planting. I often wonder how technology has changed equipment and farming.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rescued Fabric

stack of large scraps
Last week, I stopped at Neat Repeat (local thrift shop) after running some errands and had fun browsing the craft section. Often the area is bare, but that particular day, I found some great cotton for baby/child quilts. Many of the scraps were large (roughly 8 x 12 inches) and some were shapes like a shirt bodice or sleeve. It looks like someone was making multiple garments as the fabric was cut with several fabrics layered together. I rummaged through the rumpled fabric and retrieved the ones I liked. It was difficult to resist the abundance of large scrap pieces.

The salvages declared that these are Michael Miller Fabric - most released within the last three years.

thrifted fabric
Once the pieces were pressed, they formed an impressive pile of fabric and all for $2.00. I'm going to have fun turning the scraps into a quilt. Currently, I'm considering the Kelsey Baby Quilt pattern by Rebel Perfection - free on Craftsy.

In addition to the fabric, I found four bobbins for my sewing machine, four new skeins of Caron Simply Soft yarn, and some shoe laces.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Two-Step QAL - March Clue

Two-Step QAL
March clue
March 2017
I'm currently working on two mystery quilts - Quilts for the Military (weekly clues) and From My Carolina Home Two-Step Mystery QAL (monthly clues), and I have managed to keep up with the sewing required.

The March clue of the Two-Step QAL used 5 inch squares to create Half-Square Triangles (HSTs), and they have been squared and trimmed to 4.5 inches.

components of the Two-Step QAL
February 2017
March's clue used the 5 inch squares in the upper left, and the only cut fabric not used is the stack of 4.5 inch squares in the lower right corner.

After three months of clues, I have completed:

     •  Two patch units (lower left) - January

     •  Hour-glass units (upper right) - February

     •  Half-square units (shown in the top photo of this post) - March

January and February segments were shown in this post.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quilt Eye Candy

Quilt Show
Riverton, WY
January 2017
The squares on this quilt were tiny and the stitching was spot-on accurate.

It was a "happy" quilt 

a baby-sized quilt 

I admire those who can work with tiny pieces of fabric and have consistent stitching. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the quilt's information, so I can't give credit to the quilter.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Visiting the Post Office

postal boxes
Riverton, WY
February 2017

According to the Riverton Museum website, the Riverton Post Office construction started in 1940 and was completed in 1941 as a part of the recovery projects implemented by President Roosevelt during the New Deal act. The purpose of these projects was to put people back to work, and the intent to make projects that would have an enduring contribution to the states and the nation.

Work on the building began in 1938 but was halted in December 1938 due to no available funding from Washington, D.C. Several other setbacks occurred that prevented the construction of the new federal building, namely the preparations of new plans and specifications for the enlarged structure delayed the construction of the building for nine months. In January of 1940 bids were finally opened in Washington, D.C. for contractors.

The Jensen Construction Company won the bid for construction of the Riverton Post Office, submitting the lowest bid of $94,789.00. The Jensen Construction Company also agreed to finishing the project within 300 days from the authorized date to proceed.

Materials used for the construction came from the state of Wyoming as much as possible, and local Riverton contractors were hired on to help with the new construction. A.L. Benshoof company provided plumbing; F. M. Hoffman provided the wiring; and M.J. Gilpatrick excavated the basement. Construction started in May 1940 with the excavation of the basement.

The new federal building’s structure was of modern design and was designed by the Office of the Supervising Architect, Public Buildings Administration, and the Federal Works agency. The new building was to be two stories high, measuring 80’ x 100’ with a full basement. The federal building was modeled to have a stone base, red brick exterior walls, granite trim, stone cornice, and metal windows. The entrance to the building was trimmed with granite, with an eagle above the door. The roof was a flat composition with parapet wall that helped cover the entire building.

Final inspection came on February 12th, 1941.

Post Office mural
painted in 1942 by George Vander Sluis
Riverton, WY
February 2017

One year after the completion of the building, a New Deal artist, George Vander Sluis, painted the mural entitled "Farm Scene." (The bright globe hanging in front of the mural is a lighting fixture.) Sluis painted another mural in Rife, CO which can be seen here.

More information about the various programs of the New Deal can be found on the Living New Deal website. It's fascinating to see the multitude of projects that were completed across the country. Search the site for some New Deal projects in your community. 

one of many banks of postal boxes
in the historic building
February 2017
This historic building still functions as the official post office in Riverton. The second floor is now off limits to the public, but I remember climbing the stairs several times when I was a child. I have vague memories of going into an office on that floor with my Mom, but I can't remember any specifics. 

Does your community have a New Deal project that is still being used or has been preserved?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mystery Clue #7

Clue #7
112 nine-patch blocks
March 2017
Another week, another clue to Mystery Quilts for Military project. All of the small three-patch units previously made in Clues 2 and 5 have been combined into 140 nine-patch units: 112 made with three colors (clue #7) and 28 (clue #6) made with two colors.

Currently, I have several sets of 3.5 inch units:

     •  Half-square triangles from Clue #1

     •  Plain Squares from Clue #3
     •  Two-patch units from Clue #4

     •  Nine-patch units from Clue #6

     •  Nine-patch units from Clue #7 (this post)

No mention has been made of how these units will be combined into quilt blocks, but I think Sara's prediction that the units will make a Churn Dash block is a good one.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cashmere Hitchhiker

100% cashmere Hitchhiker in progress
March 2017

Remember the cashmere yarn that was a gift from Julie and that Briana plied? I decided to knit it into a Hitchhiker scarf/shawl.

My first plan was to knit a Hitchhiker Beyond shawl, but realized the yarn is so soft, the shawl would not have a lot of body.

Pattern: Hitchhiker by Martina Behm (Ravelry link)

Needles: US 6

Yarn: Art Yarns - Cashmere 2 (Color 143)
          The two strand yarn was plied by Briana F.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Parker, CO
February 2017
My niece Brenda often snaps photos of ponderables (here, here) while on her morning walk, but this one is clearly the strangest sight I've ever seen.

The house is not new and is currently occupied. I can't think of any reason why someone would mount a downspout that is clearly not connected to the gutter.  Can you?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hitchhiker Beyond - revisited

Hitchhiker Beyond
February 2017
I found these photos of Hitchhiker Beyond that came off of the needles in early February. Since I listened to Friction by Sandra Brown while knitting this shawl, a library photo shoot seemed an appropriate way to feature the finished shawl.

blocking Hitchhiker Beyond
While blocking, I pinned the center point (top and bottom) and worked out from those points, keeping the top edge straight and the bottom edge at the correct angle.

center point on the top and bottom edge
I loved this pattern!  If you decide to knit the Hitchhiker Beyond, it's important to follow the designer's recommendation to weigh the yarn before you begin so you can calculate when to begin the decreases. I had 2 grams remaining

Pattern: Hitchhiker Beyond (Ravelry link) by Martina Behm

Needles: US size 6

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select (African Grey) 4 oz/114 grams

The pattern is easy and fun to knit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mystery Clue #6

Clue #6
(28) Nine-patch blocks
March 2017
Clue #6 was fast and easy and resulted in 28 nine-patch, 3.5 inch blocks.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Helical Stripes

Helical Stripes - no jog
March 2017
The concept of Helical Stripes (Mason-Dixon Knitting) is interesting and "new to me," so I used the technique to make a baby hat with some small yarn scrap balls.  It's easy and really does eliminate the jog to create an unbroken stripe. The photos in this post were taken at the beginning and end of the row - can you spot that point?

from the small balls of scrap yarn I worked with a "light" and a "dark"
to create stripes, using the Helical Stripe technique
It's easier to spot the beginning and end of the row in this photo showing the cast-on edge.

I like how the odd bits of yarn worked well together. I even tried it with two distinct yarns - orange variegated and black.

two Helical Striped hats made with scrap yarn
March 2017

Have you used the Helical Stripe technique?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Scrappy Sneak Peek

sneak peek of scrappy Quilt of Valor
March 2017
Last week a scrap bin filled with 3.5 x 6.5 inch bricks caught my attention. I pulled red, blue, and "neutral" bricks - 90 total to make a Bricks and Stepping Stones quilt. The black and white four-patches were made from 2.5 inch scrap strips that I trimmed to 2 inches.

Obviously, working on two mystery quilts has put me in the mood to sew again.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Artful Quilting

quilting detail
Winter Quilt Show
Riverton, WY
January 2017
Today, I'm sharing a bit of quilting eye candy. Once a quilt is finished, it is usually sent to a longarm  (a type of machine, not a quilter with long arms) quilter who typically adds texture and beauty to a quilt if the customer wants to pay for custom quilting. Judy Powell's gorgeous bearded iris quilt was displayed it at the Winter Quilt show. She made the top and did the machine quilting herself.

quilting detail
Winter Quilt Show
Riverton, WY
January 2017
complete quilt
January 2017
This quilt with appliqué and detailed quilting was a work of art.

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