Astonishing Secondary Patterns in ”Wyoming Stars” Blocks
I totally didn’t foresee these astonishing secondary patterns forming in the ”Wyoming Stars” quilt blocks I’m now making from the leftover 3-inch strips I cut for the Churn Dash blocks—out of the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society stash I had. (This traditional block is just 1/2-square triangles and 3-inch squares at the corners—but I’m calling it ”Wyoming Stars” as this quilt is going eventually to a great-nephew who lives in Wyoming.)
I went back and forth with whether ot make the block’s center dark or light—and so it is very fun to see the larger star in the secondary patterns with a light center. And what about those dark strips that are forming? My goodness! I’m loving this project.
I’m out of pinks and oranges now, so I rooted in my regular stash to find some that will work with the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society color ranges—which have remained consistent over the years.
Son Bryan and family are coming tomorrow—so postings may be a bit light for the next two weeks.
I have not seen most of my two Charleston, SC, families in TWO YEARS! So I am very excited about tomorrow’s reunion.
Yesterday was a rainy day. I diddled away the morning with this or that, ate the last of the chicken salad for lunch (and had enough to make my salad dinner which got topped also with a fried egg), had a nice coffee visit with Giovanna McCarthy, and then finished the pieced backing for ”Wyoming Bear Paws” and have begun the process of putting it on the longarm and basting it.
While I’ve made many quilts over the years using only Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star fabrics, this top is the 8th from this winter’s project of cutting up and using my apparently considerable stash of these fabrics. I will be able to get one more lap-size top for sure—“Wyoming Stars”—and maybe random Churn Dash blocks from the strips I cut for that purpose. All the big pieces that could be used for backings are now gone. There are, however, two big shoebox sized bins of cut 3 1/2 inch squares. Maybe more of the “Pot-Pourri” series? And I now have lots of smaller squares all cut to use in something (2 1/2, 2, and 1 1/2)—which is the way cutting quilting fabrics rolls.
You know, it takes a deep stash to have so many fabric offerings in one scrappy quilt.
While these scrappy quilts are going to family children, I’m keeping the last Churn Dash quilt for my grandchildren down the road. Right now it is living in the downstairs big room folded over a chair back.
I have had such a good time with this Churn Dash series of quilts I made starting last winter. I love seeing these Churn Dash blocks butted up next to each other—as the secondary patterns that form are very pleasing I think. I used sashing between blocks on the first 3 quilts.
Again, all the fabrics are from the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics I had in my stash.
Here’s a close-up of the mostly ”fussy cut” block centers.
I quilted with a slightly darker grey and used the pantograph ”Bayside.” And I had enough of the clear red fabric to make this lively and perfect binding.
The back is pieced with some of the larger pieces from my Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabric stash.
The larger pieces are seriously depleted now—but there are at least two more planned quilts to be made yet—and two bins of cut 3 1/2-inch blocks to be used for, maybe, the ”Pot-Pourri” quilt series. I can easily use other fabrics from my regular stash to piece backs.
Jan Corson came yesterday with this little gift for me—which she made using a photo of AC Slater. Jan is a very talented maker of needle punch felting.
This special, special gift is one of the most thoughtful and cherished I have ever been given. Look! Jan even got AC’s orange collar and the little medallion inscribed with his name and my telephone number. And all his markings are accurate.
Right now, felted AC Slater is guarding the dining room table and listening for squirrels to chase outside.
I’ve done a little research on ”feist” dogs these past few weeks. I suppose as a way to understand and reach out to my little lost dog.
Look at this picture that popped up on the Rescue Me rescue site. You would think AC posed for it. And note that feist dogs can look very, very different from AC Slater—depending on their particular blends of terrier and hounds.
Up here in Maine, I am a very long way from where feist dogs and rat terriers are more prevalent. And I don’t know that I would try to get another feist—as they do require daily heavy exercise and want to be doing things with their human many times during any one day. Feists are…connected…to their humans, body and soul.
AC was a one-off “homemade” accident feist doggie, which is the best kind. There is no way that I could ever just replace him with another feist. And I’m not sure I want to replace him anyway. Perhaps at 77 years, a big personality dog with lots of energy is not the best idea. But maybe a doggie that serves as my ears (I am really deaf without my hearing aids) and warns me when people come on the property is a good idea.
But I am so not ready yet to get another dog. And I think it will be like another friend said one day after AC died: ”one day another nose will poke at you and the magic will happen again.”
Feists developed in the rural South and are a mixture of terriers and other breeds, among them formally beagles, whippets, and Italian greyhounds—but many other hounds can be involved, which I think was true for AC doggie. The “mountain feists” are highly prized in the Southern Appalachian mountains, and puppies can sell for as much as $3000+. Some are trying to get these dogs declared a recognized breed.
Feists are trackers—not retrievers. They like to tree animals and hold them there until their hunting companion, a human, comes. They will bark at the base of a tree until the other half of the team arrives. Otherwise, they are not overly “barky.” They are death on four feet for rodents of all kinds if they trap them on the ground. They shake a caught prey, which kills it quickly. They have really soft, thick short coats; have webbed feet for swimming; need some challenging exercise EVERY DAY; are great with people and are not overly aggressive; insist on lots of daily “play” with their human; are really smart and easily trained; and will do destructive things in a house if left alone!!!! And they can be prone to allergies—which did happen with AC if you recall the years I made him fish dinners as he couldn’t eat any other kind of meat protein.
Yep! AC doggie fits that description to a “t.”
And I still miss him, but I am moving on and developing different daily life patterns.
AC was a gift, lent to me for only a short period of time.
I started thinking about chicken salad yesterday while weeding in the garden.
I had just bought that morning a whole chicken that I was going to roast today.
But then the idea of chicken salad started roaming around in my head.
So, this morning I started making…chicken salad.
First, the chicken went into a pot deep enough to cover the chicken with water. And I threw in some hunks of celery, carrots, and onion. And, some salt. When the pot water came to a soft boil, I turned down the heat and cooked the chicken at a soft boil for 35 minutes.
Then I turned it off and went to Fresh Off the Farm for some soy-free eggs (Misty Farms, local peeps) and fresh celery. I should have added in some Italian parsley, but I didn’t think of that while in the store. I can also add some if I want. Or I could add some of those little green peas I seem to be craving.
When I came home, I strained off the now-cooler broth and put it in a freezer container for a soup down the road. And when the chicken cooled a bit more, I took the meat off the bones with my hands—as I wanted a shredded look, not a chopped look.
Home-made mayo is dead easy to make in a blender. Break two eggs into the bottom of the blender, add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of good mustard (or some acid like lemon juice or white vinegar), salt, whatever herbs you might like to add and turn on the blender. From the top, drizzle a really good olive oil in a stream into the mixture and stop when the mass congeals. It takes a little over a cup of olive oil—but how much can depend on how big the egg yolks are, among other things.
I cut some celery and onion fine and grated some carrot—amounts here depend on your own tastes, including the amounts of salt and mayo. (If you want less mayo in the salad than you made, stir in a little whey from your yogurt as it will ferment the mayo and preserve it.)
And here’s my salad—the parsley would have given it more color.
Along the way I blanched some collard leaves for 5 minutes in slowly boiling water and laid them into a bread dish, separated by paper towels. I used to take out the central stems, but I don’t any more.
Use the collard leaves as healthy, nutritious wraps.
And voila, here’s LUNCH.
You could slice the finished wraps into bit-size pieces if you want to do that.
And now I can’t wait until dinner time.
The wind is high as a storm is blowing in—and so far I’ve avoided going out to weed as I’ve been happily busy in the kitchen.
When I grew up in the 1950’s a typical dinner meal my mother cooked had meat, a green veggie, a starch (veggie or rice), and a side salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. That description does not describe her awesome pot roast meal—but a salad would have accompanied it. The pot roast would have had meat, carrots, onions, and potatoes—so maybe the above description still sort of works if we count the side salad a ”green” veggie.
My mother’s parents lived in a small town in Georgia—Reynolds—and they had a farm outside town. The noon time dinner at my grandparents included many, many veggies from the farm garden—all cooked except for fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. There was always meat, but dinner was a vegetable feast. Sometimes there were biscuits or the fried cornmeal pancakes that I dearly loved.
Over my lifetime, fresh raw veggies came into the markets and are enjoyed now virtually all year around. The side salad became a main course as a result.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that eating a lot of veggies helps us in many ways—from nutrients to fiber. So, I have fun putting as many veggies as possible on my plate.
On Friday noon, while I grilled some local lamb chops, I chopped and started to stir fry vegetables I had on hand in beef tallow, with salt and herbs added. A small russet potato (they fry the best) cubed, half of a red pepper, a carrot, half of a zucchini, some chopped broccoli rabe, and some radicchio—the red that looks like cabbage—all went into the pan after the potato went first. Radicchio is a bitter green, and I eat it a lot both raw and cooked. I don’t know why I didn’t think to add onion. Onions contain sulfur which is a nutrient humans need and which isn’t always present in our onions due to the soil nutrient depletion Big AG’s farming methods have produced. I started chopping with the potato as I was hungry for pan-fried potato and it does need to go first as it takes longer to cook. But the veggie count is…SIX.
Here’s my lunch and dinner on Thursday—as when supper rolled around, I just reheated what I had cooked at noon for my dinner. Delicious!
Today I worked outside weeding all morning—and came in for lunch hungry and tired. I roasted twelve drumsticks: 4 for my meals today, 4 for the freezer, and 2 for tomorrow. They took 35 minutes in the convection oven at 350 degrees—with 5 minutes at a higher temperature to brown them off.
Meanwhile, I cooked some frozen green beans and corn. The plate below has lettuce from my garden, radicchio, onion, carrots, red pepper, cucumber, and green beans. That’s…SEVEN veggies and ONE GRAIN (the corn). And I need to replenish my celery—which would have made EIGHT veggies.
The salad is topped with dried dill, salt, and my Organic Roots olive oil. I was too hungry to get chives and their beautiful lavender flowers from the garden. Or, fresh tarragon and oregano. Next time.
And my salad for tonight is in the refrigerator ready to heat—though I’ll warm up the two drumsticks I mean to have with the salad. And I’ll slice up a whole apple for dessert with some organic mint tea.
AND, THE COLORS, THE COLORS; white, three greens, orange, two reds, and yellow.
My tummy is very happy after eating this beautiful salad.
Today, Friday, is bright and sunny after the past two rainy days.
And I’ll be walking with friend Jan Corson at 9:30. My legs are ready for a workout after treating myself to two days of enjoying the quiet peace of a good rainy day that allows lots of sewing.
In between some of the rain bands I replenished the inside flowers I’ve been cobbling together in the past few weeks—as the garden is not in full bloom yet. And yes, I got a bit sidetracked with pulling weeds as they practically jumped into my hands from the rain-soaked soil.
The orange rose is from the new landscape rose bush I planted a few weeks back. I LOVE the salmon color of it. And if it does well over the winter, I’ll plant a few more in garden holes around the house. These landscape roses are sturdy and colorful all summer.
The Bear Paw quilt top is growing on the design wall—it’s being made from the last of the 3-inch Cotton+Steel strips I cut for the Churn Dash quilt tops. Each block will be separated by cream 2-inch strips and attendant cornerstones. I have not decided about the edges yet—if I take the 2-inch strips around the edge it will be because I have enough of that fabric.
I’m thinking 4 rows, which will make a top that is about 65 inches—a good lap size for a little boy.
And for the second little boy, I’m playing with the rest of the 3-inch strips and the half-square triangles I’ve made to get variety for the Bear Paw block. Maybe a star block for a quilt I can call ”Wyoming Stars”?
One could also use more half-square triangles in that large center. I’d keep the 4 corners in solids though.
All my indoor weekly cleaning/laundry tasks are done.
I’ve completed catching up with my garment projects—until fall when I’d like to make a tunic pattern I have—maybe in flannel to wear over pants or leggings.
There are actually 4 tops if you count the first one I did where the neckline was too big and the sewing was crappy until I used a walking foot for ALL the sewing.
These tops fit, can layer over t-shirts, and are so, so cute!
The outdoor tasks will wait for the rain to pass, and now I have time to sew the big Bear Paw blocks using the 3-inch strips I cut for the Churn Dash blocks out of the Cotton+Steel stash. Pics later as the blocks on the design wall grow.
Monday I walked with friend Jan Corson. We did a circle that runs along the harbor and bay where there are some challenging grades.
Here’s a view of Curtis Island and the iconic lighthouse that sits looking out to the bay:
The rhododendrons are spectacular this year. Here is a whole gorgeous hedge of them we passed as we walked on the high side of the circle.
I have two rhodos here in the yard. The deer ate them back to their stems this winter. One of them, on the north side of the house toward the woods, was protected with burlap and stakes. The deer ripped off the burlap and destroyed the rhodo—even though there was a very deer-savvy dog in the house.
And they also found and ate the rhodo that sits in a protected spot in the back of the house.
So, I have rhodo envy for all the beautiful rhodos that escaped the deer predators.
And I think I’m going to have to give up and take these 2 rhodos out and replant with shrubs that deer don’t like.
I may try spraying them with the smelly spray next early winter.