Monday, August 19, 2019

More 2019 Patched Blankets

I am trying to be intentional about completing projects in any part of the process from planning to last stitches.

My list of gifting for celebrations is:
- High school pillow blanket of fleece and wind stop.
- First post high school gift is a blanket made of sweat shirt fabric lined in a fleece.  The colors are those of the college(s) using actual deconstructed sweatshirts, if available.
- First wedding is traditional patched top with batting between.  Most are tied.
- First baby is going to whimsical.  After all... I am a textile artist.

This posting is documenting what I am working on, along with back stories.  I love telling back stories.

The full sized blanket below was patched in 2018.  I ran out of steam last summer and it sat while I tried to learn to walk without reaching for a wall.

In the interim I found a stash of calicoes suitable for the backings at St. Vinnies.  Basis the quality and quantity... a quilt store must have closed and stock was donated.

There was enough extra material left to make 3 queen sized pillow cases.

I finished it last week..  The hardest part was getting up from the floor after a session of tying.

The work in progress below is at the retirement house.  I rediscovered it in the basement while going through things deciding which to move up north and which to donate.

The original patches came from an auction over a quarter century ago.  Other people's projects are rarely precise, nor sufficient to finish a project.  The patches needed the structure of being surrounded by plain pieces, along with the addition of more fabric to make a sizable quilt.  The pieced patches are of 1930's - 1940's shirt weight fabric.  The melon colored square fabric is 1980's linen type fabric.  the backing is large pieces that came in the same box, patched together in a hodge podge.

My work on this quilt has gone from hand quilting to machine quilting.  Now I am back to hand quilting at the end of the day when I cannot quiet my mind.

Below is the collection for the next college graduation blanket.  There are also some well loved navy sweats I picked up resale Saturday, in the dryer.

The Auburn sweats were found at the Goodwill in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  That never would have been my first guess.  (Although... years ago I found Marquette University sweats in Iron Mountain, Michigan.)  The backing fleece was found on line.  The balance of the scraps are from my other projects and a few work shirts donated by my handsome distance runner.  I do like the colors laid out.  

This will have to be a very large blanket as my nephew is well over 6' tall.  I think I will cut the patches to 4" width strips to sew up to 3" widths when complete.  

This last weekend I went on line for inspiration.  What other designs are out there using sweatshirts for blankets?  Disappointed... is an under statement. Am I the only person who posts my work that is constructed beyond a simple album blanket?  There are tons of talented textile artists posting.  Why are there such primitive skills using deconstructed sweats?

There were machine quilted sweatshirt blankets.  Why?  The purpose of quilting was to extend the life of the precious material.  My much used alum blanket is 25+ years old, and finally showing some wear.  It takes a lot to wear out cotton - poly sweat shirts.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Overshot floor rugs

Two finished rugs in the retirement house. 

 I took the weaving class to bring my weaving skills up to what was needed to finish project I started last year. It was a good thing it got put on hold when my meniscus began to act up and healing was required. I had no clue what I did not know.  The meniscus healed as much as it will heal and slowly I am able to weave.  I am up to 45 minute sessions at the loom.  

There was a rug begun using 2" wide strips of polyester knit started on the loom.  Too bouncy.  Too thick.  Too loose for long term wear.  That was finished off and sent to the garage for use.

The remaining 10 yards of Eisemann fabric was cut to 1" strips.  It was enough for 2 rugs.   Big enough to cover the hall.  Small enough to fit in the washer and clean on delicate. 

Of surprise is how heavy the rugs are and how drapey.  It must be the knit fabric used.  Most rag rugs are made from woven bottom weight cottons.  Naturally stiff.

Now comes the fun part.  Warped for Good posted a technique using overshot as a base for tapestry.  There is enough carpet warp on the loom for one or two more rugs.  Why not try this out in the same primitive currant pattern  painted on the floor cloth?  

The finished rugs on the loom had a lot of loft, so I decided to cut them from the loom and re tie the warp to the front.  I've done this many times before.

I was going to the retirement house in two days and wanted to take the finished rugs with me.  That included washing the rugs to see how they fulled out once the tension and sizing was gone.  It was hot and sticky and late.  What could possibly go wrong?  

On this heavy project a stick was brought out to start out the cut edge to add stability as I rolled on the rest of the finished rugs.  That is the plan....  Instead what happened is the stick was put on the conveniently located top edge of the beater bar while I started tugging the finished rugs from the roll bar in the front.  The bar jiggled and the stick fell between the beater bar and the heddles taking most of the warp in the reed with it.  The result is what the photo to the right, below shows.  

I warp front to back beginning with the reed off the loom.  It is put in the loom after it is sleighed.  Not possible now.  Now the front bar will need to be removed.  A short stool will be found and I will have to become one with the loom to re-sleigh the warp back through the reed.  Yeah, the goal in my life is to sit with my left arm draped over the beater bar fishing the next warp from the heddles while pulling it through with the hook in my right hand, a couple hundred times.

My Summer is full and I had hoped to sneak in a half hour here or there to try the tapestry technique.  It looks like that will be put off for cooler weather.    

Thursday, June 13, 2019

True Green

Note: I tried posting the verbage below on the True Green website.  It would not take the message.  I'm at a loss of what to do.  Here is a company using chemicals in my yard without my knowledge before hand.  Never had my permission.  Would not have had my permission.  And dead air for a response.

To Quality Department:
June 1, 2019 a True Green yard tag was left in  my yard along Cleveland Avenue.  I contacted the local supplier and explained I was not a customer and was growing product for the local farmers market.  I needed to be reassured the tag was an anomaly placed by some hooligan. 

June  12, 2019 a service receipt was tucked into my porch door and there were lawn tags on both the 109th and Cleveland Avenue sides of the property.  I called the number on the receipt requesting a manager be sent out to my property  to discuss what happened.  No response so far.

In 3 weeks the plan was to take a remarkably productive crop of currants and black raspberries to the farmers market.  To people who ask if I spray or am organic.  Do you see where I am going?  Your company's lack of quality control may have ruined my market season for 2019.

What are you going to do to correct this irresponsible situation created by your company?

Pear dwarf trees

6/23/19 post update
What I did:
A- I sent out emails to friends who's perspective I respected.
B- Emails were sent to BBB and the Wisconsin department of Agriculture.
C- Conversations and on site inspections ensued.
D- I kept an eye on my yard and quickly realized either the remarkable permaculture  of the soil and/or the full day soaky rain that followed the treatment nullified or washed away the herbicide.

There is a small bed of irises that is not doing well near the lot line in the front yard.  It looks like a big dog rolled on top of it.  No curled up leaves.  

I've not seen anything that I have not seen before on my currant bushes growing near the treatment area.  All my weeds are still looking forward to their next mowing.

E- When asked what I wanted, I pulled from my pre-retirement experience in aerospace quality standards.  Specifically the 8D process of non-conformance discovery.
1- form a committee to investigate
2- describe the non conformance
3- what caused the non conformance?
4- how to correct the problem?
5- was the correction implemented?
6- did the corrective action work?
7- prove it
8- thank everyone for participating

F- Told my neighbor my lawn was being treated instead of her's.  This information had not been shared with her by TruGreen.  Angry does not come close to describing her response.  They must have come to some agreement because there were lawn treatment tags on her lawn today. 
G: Early on Friday morning (June 21, 2019) I noticed the TruGreen truck idling by the 109th street side of my yard.  It returned within 5 minutes.  Stopped on the South side of the lot.  The driver seemed confused and was looking down and stroking his chin.  He continued idling by before I could speak with him.

I did call the global TruGreen number.  Later when I got to my desk top and notes, I left a phone message for the TruGreen field supervisor and an email for the Wisconsin department of Agriculture.  The message was: the TruGreen lawn guy was lost. 

TruGreen called later Friday and let me know the office was able to direct the driver to where he needed to go.  Also, TruGreen offered me a financial gesture to cover the cost of my crop of berries they sprayed near.  They also anticipate providing me with proof of changes to their address identification process at a later date.

I did explain the berries would go to market with a sign calling out the treatment of my lawn.  This will allow my customers to make an informed decision on a berry purchase.  TruGreen understood this.  My plan is to apply this gesture as a reduction in the price I charge this year and next year, my final year selling from the property.

In the middle of my challenge with Trugreen was not a need to cripple.  It was to make enough noise to require them to fix an internal problem so they stopped treating lawns accidentally.  If their lawn tech has problems with locating addresses, then they must set up a system that helps him. 

The photo above was taken today.  Note the healthy clover and dandelions growing beneath the red lake currant bush?

The plastic tarp over the pink champagne currant bush is to protect it from the dirty robins that have started sitting on the power line above.  I should probably camp out on the upstairs porch for a day or two and knock them off with a garden hose spray.

This is the another side of the same bush.  The yellowed leaves are from a fungus that shows up in wet years.  The aphids I witnessed a month ago seem to have been eradicated by some beneficial insect in the yard. 

Note the first blush of red in the berries.  Whooooray!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Kaileigh's Blanket

Celebration Blankets 2019

The first celebration blanket this year went to our niece Kaileigh.  She did a 4 and out with a double major of French and Russian and minor of Political Science from the University of Alabama, Huntsville in May.

The blanket is deconstructed sweats found in thrift shops and on sale.  The back is polar fleece.  

Congratulations Kaileigh!!

 Spring Weaving Class 2019

I warped up my home made floor loom for throw rugs with an overshot pattern last Spring.  A few trips with the sled from the manure pile to the currants was not tolerated by my right leg.  The rest of the summer was spent hoping it would heal, then my Autumn and Winter were spent seeking help.  The damage was to the meniscus over a knee with an existing spur (per ex-ray).                                                                                                                              
It took a combination of physical therapy, chiropractor, miles walked in the gym pool, compression leggings and an awareness of not putting extra stress on the leg while the knee heals.  

By the time healing was to the point walking and weaving on the floor loom was a possibility, I had forgotten how to proceed with this intricate pattern.  (Moving from the floor to standing is still not back to pre-injury condition)  Bless my friend Clara's heart.  She was investigating local classes in weaving.  We signed up for an evening class at Fiberwood in Wauwautosa,  

My table runner shown above on the small shop floor loom is pearl cotton warp with a pima cotton filler.  The yarns swelled and a texture was produced by the differences of the warp and weft threads after I hand washed it.  Soft and wonderful on the Wausaukee table.
I learned so much in this 6 week class.  

The under the loom treadle attachment to the levers forming the tie up of my home loom are connected with carriage bolts and wing nuts.  The wing nuts loosen with the movement of the treadles and eventually fall off the bolt.  This caused problems with the tension and required me to constantly be under the loom re attaching the wing nuts to one of the 6 treadles. Locking nuts were the solution shared by our instructor Barb.  So off to Ace hardware I went.  

It is easier (not easy) to connect the treadles for tie up when the loom does not have warp on it because it can be partially dismantled.  Even then it takes some effort.  The locking wing nuts chosen to replace the ones that rattled loose  needed pliers on the wing and a ratchet wrench on the hex of the carriage bolt.  All while on my elbows and knees under a fully warped loom  Handsome distance runner and son of same put the 4 corners of the loom up on plastic milk crates.  Still not easy, but do able.  And, effective.

I am on the 2nd rag rug since the class and not one wing nut has loosened.  Because of the knowledge gained in the class I was able to weave the pattern on the first rug with the pattern used in class.  Then, I chose another overshot pattern with the same tie up for the 2nd rag rug.  

There is enough material for the 2nd rug.  There is enough warp for a 3rd and 4th rag rug.  I think I will use the 10 yard piece of dark brown knit for the others.  I've noticed darker colors make the warp colors pop.
 You may wonder why I put such an effort into weaving on a large loom.  I will call it physical therapy that is not contingent on weather, car problems, gym locker space or people driving by me while I'm walking with a need to shout stupidities out their windows.  

I have to stand to weave on this loom.  The tabby is set up so alternating my feet with each throw of the shuttle is required for this overshot pattern.  I have to reach to throw the shuttle.  This adds my shoulders and arms into the mix.  

At present I am able to weave 1 repeat of the pattern per weaving session.  I believe that is around 40 throws of the shuttles.  20 from each side.  Not a lot of weaving, but rag rugs work up quickly.

Monday, May 20, 2019

12 15 2018 Launch of the USS St. Louis

December 15, 2018 Launch of the St. Louis

Between life getting in the way and changes to Blogger, photos I wanted to share were put in limbo to be rediscovered when I started taking photos of this year's currant crop.  

This photo checked off an item on my bucket list.

There was a newspaper article in the Marinette Herald about the river launching of this LCS (?) class ship.  I've wanted to see a launch from the Marinette ship yards since we bought the retirement house.  I just happened to be in Wausaukee that weekend. The mid December weather was dry and almost autumn like.  It was a beautiful day for the 35 mile drive.  Here was my opportunity.  

I drove to Marinette to witness and take some photos with my cell phone.  The link was sent by my cousin Wayne.  It is a Green Bay TV news article along with a nice link to the drone videos and professional photos (which I cannot figure out how to add to my blog). 

There was viewing available from the ship yard, if you knew someone who worked there.  (a tidbit shared with me by a woman behind me in church the next day).   There was public viewing in a park across the Menomonee river.  I was not up to the hike so settled for a location in the parking lot of Jack's grocery, enjoying the comfort of my car.   

Of note is the black truck in the foreground of my photo.  Shortly before the launch he put a drone in the air.  Amazing how quickly it disappeared into the sky.  Basis the credits of the link, I believe he was either an employee of the US Navy or Lockheed Martin.  Either way.  Whoever put the video together kept my attention.

The Menomonee River was ice covered near our house.  The launch is located near the mouth of the river into Lake Michigan.  There was just a skim of ice floating on the river.  I do love transition times of the year.

The other thing of note is the Marinette shipyard is one of very few that side launch into a river.  The launch was very quick.  Slide.  Splash.  Wobble once and slightly twice.  Then the ship was upright as if it had been in the water forever.
As a P.S. is a photo taken of Great Lakes car ferry Madison. One of the ones my grandpa Adam Hessil worked on. I am not a sailor as my grandfather, but I am memorized by the roll of the great lakes.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Spring 2019 Currant Comparisons

This Spring has been constant change in the weather.

West Allis and Wausaukee Currant Gardens comparisons. 

The photo below is April 15 in West Allis.  

These two photos were taken April 25 of the Pink Champagne bush.  Leaves were opening and blossoms were starting to attract pollinators.  Nice.

Here we go. April 28.  Easter morning.  Pink Champagne under snow, in full bloom. 

May 19, 2019: 
There are berries forming beneath the spent blossoms on the West Allis currant bushes.  It may just be a good production year.

June 29, 2019:
This morning I took a few photos of the pink champaigne and red lake currant patches.  There has been a lot or rain this summer along with the unfortunate incident of the TruGreen tech spot treating my yard for broad leaf weeds instead of the neighbor's yard.  

I put a cheap plastic tarp over the the pink champaigne bush because the robins were camping out on the power line above.  The tarp is tied onto the porch railing and a couple of empty 5 gallon buckets.  It will catch in the wind, billow and make the noise plastic makes.  The robins do not seem to like that.

There is that fungus that the red bushes get in wet years.  The leaves will fall off in August, but next spring all will be back to normal.

Do you see the tons of berries???? My children suggested the market tent be put up to cover the plans while I pick this week.  Brilliant children.

The berries are on track to go to market in a week.  

July 1, 2019:
Red Lake, 5 days from picking for the farmer's market.  None too soon.  Lots of moisture.  Lots of overnight rain.  How pretty.

There is a fungus causing the leaf drop because of the rainy year.  It will not affect the current or future crops.

July 2, 2019:

Grandchildren knowing where their food comes from.

 Now on to the Wausaukee garden 

 May 11 - 14:
While Phil planted black raspberry canes from the West Allis yard, I re-tagged the currant bushes for variety.

Keeping the 12 + varieties of currants in order has become a challenge.  Tags made from strips cut from yogurt containers and marked with a sharpie faded and disintegrated in a year.  Next I stamped canning jar lids.  Those are rusting and the tie wraps used to attach are disintegrating..  Sean of Edible Acres cuts up old soda cans and writes on them with a dried up ball point pen over card board.  This embosses the thin aluminum and does not rust. I used nylon cord to attach to the plants.

After the loss of the entire Wausaukee currant crop last year Phil and I have been intentional about how to keep the woodland plants happy.

Soil tests were taken and the results are a little low in nitrogen.  All else is fine.

We have decided to focus on the moisture in this sand pit the berries are planted in.  Last Summer we top dressed with wood chips and very old cow manure..  The plan is to continue top dressing with wood chips as handsome distance runner works his way through the Aspen cutting and underbrush of the groves on this property.

The other thing neglected last year was keeping an eye on the weather.  I now check the weather report for this house daily.  If need be a trip will be made to water from the well until the berries are picked.  Here I am discussing berries when last weekend the leaves were just breaking through.

May 25, 2019.  Can you believe it???  Bushes in blossom setting berries.  We stayed until May 28 and the all day soaking of Memorial day.  Hurray, hurray!!! 

See the leaves?  See the green of the field?  See the berries beneath the blossoms just starting to set?  So much better than 2018 berry drop.  

This time last year all the berries were gone from the bushes.  Much better this year.  

This is the currant patch showing the large and small bushes along with the attempt at permaculture pathways to provide beneficial insects with a home.

June 26, 2019:
This is not the way I thought the season would go back in May.  No photos were taken this last trip north.  There is a mystery to be solved.  On 89 currant bushes there might be a total of 4 quarts of berries.  Half black currants.  No pink currants.  Look at the blossoms on the bush taken a month ago.  The blossoms should have produced a quart just from that photo.  

It is not the soil.
It is not the moisture.
Could it be some insect?  I am considering Fullers rose beetle / rose chafer.  Not sure what the bug is.  This dirt colored bug covered the plants last summer.  They are back on the bushes this last trip.  I thumped them off when I saw them.  Could they be depositing next year's eggs into the swell on the stem that will become next season's stringers?  Could the life cycle of this bug be the cause of the fruit drop?

When we put the bird netting over the bushes the week before father's day I was surprised by berries dropping when brushed.  NEVER, EVER saw that before. They were not dried up or discolored.  Were the tiny juvenile bugs eating at the connection of the berry to the stem, and later the stem?  

I need to find an expert.  But it seems I am quickly becoming the expert.  

June 30, 2019:
The photo above is from 2018, but shows what a rose chafer looks like in the currant patch.  Could this beetle be the cause of fruit drop??  

Since posting yesterday I've tripped over a YouTube channel by Stefan Sobkowiak.  He has developed a trio permaculture system.  It is worth trying in the orchard.  Nitrogen fixing.  Apple.  Pear or Plum.  Repeat.  The shrub story is rhubarb, Black currants, Red currants, Gooseberry.  

His premise is to grow a variety of food plants vertically, with the goal of abundance through diversity.

I've got the plants already.  Just not near each other.  Maybe planting the hardwood root cuttings under the orchard trees.  maybe splitting the rhubarb plants.  Maybe putting a shovel of the overgrown perennial garden from West Allis under each tree.  Then standing back to watch what takes.

Phil has been promoting putting some trees in the middle of the fenced in currant patch.  Is he two steps ahead of me?  I hope not, because he is binge-ing on shark fishing now.