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Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

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Turkey Tracks: July 27, 2022

Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

The raspberries are coming in strong these days. I pick every day, and I get more and more berries every day. I have frozen some, eaten a lot, and given away a lot. Here’s what I picked late yesterday:

And here’s the beauty the flower garden provided yesterday:

One more row is needed on the ”Wyoming Stars” quilt. The secondary patterns are fascinating. It will be a good lap size: 60 by 60 inches. So far. I’ll see what is needed after I sew this part together.

Japanese beetles love raspberries and roses and will eat leaves until they are like lace. They emerge in the summer, about the time raspberries are starting to fruit.

What to do?

I think working with nature is the best answer—as there is a small grayish fly, the ”Winsome” fly—Istocheta aldrichi—that is a parasitoid and which emerges alongside the beetles. Winsome females lay eggs on the Japanese beetles back—on the thorax, which is just behind the head. You can see the little white dot which contains the eggs on the back of a beetle that Winsome has attacked. AND, these attacks occur BEFORE the JB lays its own eggs (40-60 eggs yearly). One larva hatches on the beetle and penetrates the beetle, which drops to the ground and tries to dig into the dirt as it is already sick. The Winsome’s larva eat the beetle, but stay with the carcass, and turn into a pupa, which emerges in the fly form next year, which seriously alters the beetles presence over time.

When I had my raspberries in the front garden, before I started over as the plants were too hard to harvest on the steep hill, I used to see a lot of the JBs with the white dots—and the number of beetles DID decrease over time.

The JBs mostly do not fly in from elsewhere, like other insects. They stay with their food source for the most part: raspberry bushes and roses. Control the numbers, and you control the problem.

I sweep a batch of beetles from a leaf into my hand and fist them. Then I release one at a time and check to see if I see the white dot. If so, that beetle goes free. If not, I kill that one with my thumbnail. I’m not squeamish about this murder, but if someone is, they could drop that beetle into a jar of soapy water and when they are done, cover the jar.

Written by louisaenright

July 27, 2022 at 10:35 am

“Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: July 19, 2022

“Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt

“Wyoming Bear Paws” is the 9th quilt made from my winter project of using up the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabric stash. The 10th quilt is growing on the design wall: ”Wyoming Stars.” And it has astonishing secondary patterns happening, which is so fun.

I was able to make a scrappy backing, but I don’t think I’ll have enough big pieces of fabric to make a scrappy backing for ”Wyoming Stars.” Of course, Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society are still making delicious prints. And I might fall into that pit. BUT, I might also use up existing stash of other fabrics. To remind, though, all of the C+S/RS fabrics use the same dyes over the years, so the fabrics ”go together” well.

Many of these bigger pieces of fabrics in this backing were ones that didn’t cut into small quilting pieces well. They needed bigger blocks, and I tend to piece with smaller pieces. That’s not true for the tiger print though. I love that print and tend to hoard it. And it comes in lots of fun colors.

I used the ”Bayside” pantograph and a soft grey thread (Signature).

As I’ve said before, it takes a deep stash to get this kind of scrappy variety in a quilt. It’s been so much fun to work with these fabrics all winter. Hmmm…and now most of the summer.

There is an adorable little girl out in Wyoming who will also need a quilt from me.

I wonder what I’ll do. I’m turning over ideas.

Written by louisaenright

July 19, 2022 at 11:36 am

Astonishing Secondary Patterns in ”Wyoming Stars” Blocks

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Turkey Tracks: June 25, 2022

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.

Written by louisaenright

June 25, 2022 at 7:35 am

The “Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt Top is Done

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Turkey Tracks: June 20, 2022

The “Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt Top is Done

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.

Written by louisaenright

June 20, 2022 at 7:42 am

“Eye Candy 4” is Done

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Turkey Tracks: June 19, 2022

“Eye Candy 4” is Done

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.

Written by louisaenright

June 19, 2022 at 10:37 am

Betsy Maislen’s ”Love Letters” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: June 12, 2022

Betsy Maislen’s ”Love Letters” Quilt

Betsy, too, was sewing in the last week’s rainy days. She was sewing down binding on her GORGEOUS “Love Letters” wedding present quilt.

She sent me this picture when she was done and before she mailed it off to the bride.

I love the cheerful ”heart red” binding. And the quilting pattern has hearts included.

Betsy used Carrie Bloomston’s 108-wide Windham “Newsprint” fabric—which is all about ”love.”

For pattern information, you can see an earlier post on this quilt: https://wordpress.com/post/louisaenright.com/15206

Written by louisaenright

June 12, 2022 at 9:49 am

TWO Rainy Days!

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Turkey Tracks: June 10, 2022

TWO Rainy Days!

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.

Or…make the square in the middle solid…

The playing continues…

Written by louisaenright

June 10, 2022 at 8:27 am

Daffodils, White Violets, and Churn Dash Blocks

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Turkey Tracks: May 14, 2022

Daffodils, White Violets, and Churn Dash Blocks

My daffodils have been awesome this year. And some are still blooming strongly. The cool of spring helps. We’ve had a few warm days (low 70s), but we have rain and cooler temps coming in, so maybe the daffs will hang out a bit longer.

The daffodils are the first of the garden plants to come inside each year. Here’s a bouquet on my dining table.

And a bouquet in the kitchen window—alongside some white violets that are blooming all over the place in the garden. Some of my daffs are so ”fluffy” they look like little peonies.

I finished the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society Churn Dash blocks for this very, very scrappy but fun quilt top. I’ve started sewing the rows together. I like the secondary patterns that emerge when one buts up the blocks together. I can re-iron one set of seams (the sides) between blocks, but not another set (top to bottom)—which means I’ll have to snip and bend those seams to get them flatter. This is the 8th quilt from this winter project.

I have a small pile of fabrics that might be big enough for a pieced backing—and a cheerful red I can use for the binding.

This whole project has decimated the C+S stash, but has also produced a lot of cut blocks in various sizes that also need to be made into quilt tops.

It is the nature of quilting, and it is all good.

Until, it isn’t.

One can go crazy with using up all the tiny scraps. I’m doing a better job of setting reasonable boundaries of where the crazy vs. sane boundaries are. For me, anyway.

Written by louisaenright

May 14, 2022 at 7:45 am

Local Peeps: Sewing Machine Repair

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Turkey Tracks: May 11, 2022

Local Peeps: Sewing Machine Repair

I broke the needle threader on my Janome 8900 months ago. We won’t discuss what stupidity occurred to make that happen.

I lived without the threader until suddenly I had a tiny, tiny little loop on the bobbin side of my seams about every 20 stitches.

A quilty friend here told me she had taken her machine over to Mystic Maine Quilts, where the technician fixed it while she waited. MMQ is an authorized Janome dealer.

Hmmmm…

So I called last Friday—and was told I could bring the machine in Saturday morning by 10 am and wait with it if I liked.

Off I went Saturday morning.

Kevin McMurray is the technician—and he is awesome. In addition to his fixing the machine, we had a nice visit where I learned a lot about my machine.

Kevin had a whole box of Janome 8900 parts. He had a needle threader. He had a new bobbin case (mine was scarred, which probably happened when I broke the needle threader). He had the widget that sits on the rod where the bobbin is threaded.

He cleaned my machine. He rehooked a tiny, tiny spring that had come loose way down on the inside. AND with the repairs and the cleaning, the bill was under $100.

I came home with a machine that is now quieter and is running so smoothly.

MMQ is in Chelsea, Maine, which sits on route 9 between Augusta and Gardner. From Camden, I go out on 17, turn left on route 9 when 17 ends in a ”T,” and go about a mile or so to the shop, which is on the right.

Kevin works two days a week, and it is my understanding that you can make an appointment with him and wait while he fixes your machine.

He repairs all kinds of sewing machines.

***

5 River Road

Chelsea, Maine 04330

207-582-0312

Written by louisaenright

May 12, 2022 at 8:56 am

Betsy’s “Love Letters” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: May 10, 2022

“Betsy’s ”Love Letters” Quilt

It’s another beautiful day here today.

And for me, it is cleaning/laundry day. But when that is done, AC doggie and I will definitely get out into the woods. And, there will be late afternoon sewing. There are only 10 more blocks to make for the Churn Dash quilt on the design wall.

When Betsy Maislen was here some weeks back, a journey made to pick up a used sewing machine she purchased from a quilty friend here. She spent a few days with me. And there was some sewing, of course, as she tried out her new machine and began to get familar with it.

While she was here, my Simply Moderne magazine, No 28, arrived.

The cover showed a quilt designed by Wendy Sheppard and Darlene Szabo, ”Love Letters.”

Betsy fell in love with this quilt.

When she went home, she made it—and pretty quickly too.

Here’s Betsy’s ”Love Letters” quilt.

Betsy did an AWESOME job.

The quilt is meant to be a gift, so someone is going to be happy.

She is still in love with her new-to-her sewing machine.

*You can order the pattern if you like it from Simply Moderne magazine.

https://www.quiltmania-inc.us/boutique/magazines/simply-moderne/simply-moderne-28/

Written by louisaenright

May 10, 2022 at 8:41 am