Monthly Archives: June 2009

Ugly City, Under Construction

Quite a few months ago (March, I think?) we went to a quilting convention and expo. We thought it would be super-dorky, but it turned out to be a bacchanal of beautiful fabrics and quilt patterns and marvelousness; we emerged with our life savings greatly depleted but our fabric stash greatly improved. One of the most exciting purchases of the day was a kit for a quilt that was hanging up at a Kaffe Fassett-heavy vendor booth. It was a swirl of rich reds and oranges with daring swaths of bright green, and I was thrilled at the prospect of making such an exquisitely gorgeous and intricate design.

Then I got the kit home, opened it up, and laid out the fabrics.

Ugly City Fabrics

Dear God! Those fabrics are all ugly! And they don’t go together! What was I thinking???

We decided to own the situation as best we could, and call the project Ugly City. It was going to be so ugly it was cute. Or something.

The instructions for this quilt are totally wackadoo, so I kept putting off starting it; it was going to require intense involvement by Pookie and Boomer, so we all needed to be ready to undertake a group project. Finally the opportunity presented itself in our stolen vacation weekend of not going to Montreal for the NHL Draft, so we girded ourselves and jumped right in.

Ugly City Strips

The gist of the pattern is that you cut up all the ugly fat quarters into random-width strips, then sew the strips into “strata”. (Pookie did the cutting, as always, and Boomer stepped in to sew the strips on her machine.)

Ugly City Strata

Then you cut squares out of the strata.

Ugly City Cutouts

The squares then get cut in half diagonally, and are set on the sides of 6-inch center squares.

Ugly City Square

What I discovered today is that this process goes up crazy quickly (I hand-pieced all the stuff after the strata got put together), and all those ugly fabrics come together to make beautiful, beautiful music. I’m so excited for it!

However, I’m also deeply, deeply concerned. For starters, the pattern seems to have been written by morons, and I’m fairly confident the amounts of stratae they think I need won’t yield the amount of pieces the quilt calls for. It’s going to be a major pain in my ass if I have to order more yardage to pepper throughout the project, and it’s going to be a major pain in my ass to figure out how much I might need without getting this to the point where it’s going to be really hard to work extra fabrics in. Also, the pattern calls for a yard of the red-and-gold polka-dot fabric that goes around the center squares. The kit came with a half yard. Those feckless a-hole quilt expo vendors! I found a place online that was selling yardage, but they called literally as I was pressing this first finished square to tell me that the fabric was out of stock. Sigh. I think I may have found another source, but it’s still up in the air. If any readers out there have a half a yard of Kaffe Fasset GP-70 Red Spots fabric they want to give me, I’d really appreciate it. Heh.

[Posted by Schnookie]


Filed under Pins and Needles, Progress Reports, Quilting

How The Garden Grows: Early June

We’ve had rain and gray skies for over a week. On the one hand, we don’t have to water. On the other hand, you can practically hear the peppers crying for lack of sun. Still, the garden rolls on. We’ve had some big milestones since the last garden report: flowers on the potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, onions that look like real plants, scapes for the harvesting, and even a tomato! A wee baby tomato!

We took the camera out in the garden to explore and to document.

The potato thicket is, as usual, out of control.

Potato Bed Overview

Potatoes Intermingling With Sage

June 3 2009

The garlic, meanwhile, is fabulous. We’ve been harvesting green garlic for pesto for weeks now, and had our first scape pesto last week.

Repeating Circles

X Marks The Spot

Next to the garlic bed, a few volunteer radishes from last year are coming up in the ground. Rather than pull them up, we’ve decided to let them flower and then go to seed. One’s a little ahead of the other, so we were able to compare the flowers to the buds.

Seed Radish

Radish Flowers

Radish Flower Buds

The onions have done their annual miracle of turning from this:

Onions Transplanted

to this:

Onion Bed

Onion in the Ground

The peppers are doing their thing despite the lack of sun. They’re already as big as they ever got last year. The Tolli’s Sweet Italian peppers are the first in the race to flower.

Pepper Bed, Up Close

Tolli's Sweet Pepper Flower

Inviting Peppers

And last but not least, the tomatoes are busting out all over! (Literally. There’s a volunteer tomato in the onion bed, nowhere near where we had tomatoes planted last year. It had better not be another yellow pear tomato — those plants have been springing up all over for the last two years. There will not be a third!)

Moreton & Black Plum

Mighty Ramapo

Hey, what’s that?

Moreton Tomato Growing

Yeah, that! Is that…

First Tomato of the Season

It is! A tomato! It’s a BLT in nature! In the immortal words of Grandpa Simpson, “I can’t wait to eat that monkey!”

Moreton Tomato

The one problem area of the garden might be the area between the Ramapos and the onions. It’s become volunteer Catnip Alley. There was some talk of carefully weeding it all, but then we decided that the cats really, really, really, really love it and it’s a nice free treat for them. So what if our shoes will smell like catnip every time we go to harvest tomatoes?

Catnip Alley


Filed under 6. June, Garden, Pictures Worth A Thousand Words