Sunday, August 13, 2017

Road Trip

AppleJack and I made the decision earlier in the year we would take mini vacations.  We loaded up the wagon and headed west.  This is one of the bridges which spans the Mississippi River in Memphis.  Memphis is one of gateways to the west.

We were enroute to Little Rock to spend some time with family before school started.  We learned very quickly with Memphis being a gateway city there is a heavy constant stream of  trucks moving freight.

The pyramid which is located near the river is one of the more recognizable Memphis landmarks..

Memphis is famous for their barbeque.  As long as there are people with appetites there will be the great debate:  wet or dry and the best place.  Rendezvous, Interstate, Martin's and Neely's are some of the Memphis barbeque places who have been in business for many years and are some of the more recognizable names.  Ronnie Q's is our barbeque joint of choice and it is not in Memphis but in a small town called Dickson, which is about an hour west of Nashville.  Ronnie Q's has melt in your mouth brisket.  Yum Yum

One of the first things I do when planning a trip is locate the needlework shop(s).

Shepherd's Needle is in Little Rock and is an awesome shop.  Shawn Williams with Threads that Bind had taught a punch needle class the week before our visit.  

From shop models, a huge selection of linens, classes, recent chart releases to the beginning of sampler Saturday, Shepherd's Needle is a great shop.  If the commute were shorter, I would be spending a lot of time at this shop.

I had planned to take a photo of the outside of the shop when it started raining.  It was raining cats and dogs and rain was pouring off the building which looked like a waterfall.  We made a run for the car and got soaked--we looked like someone had poured a bucket of water on us, don't ever remember being any wetter in a shorter period of time.

AppleJack has a very high sense of adventure, discovering new places is also one of the things we do when traveling.

The owners of The Hole in the Wall Cafe had converted an old gin into a cafe.  "Real southern cooking and home of skillet fried cornbread" is how they describe themselves.  We may have been drenched by the rain but it did not affect our appetites.  Turnip greens, (real) mashed potatoes, fried okra, pinto beans, fried chicken, chicken fried steak it was all delicious.  (No one ever said southern cooking was healthy)

The Hole in the Wall had delicious desserts:  Peanut Butter pie, Lemon Ice-Box pie, Coconut Cake.  In the spirit of adventure we decided to explore more of Conway, AR and have dessert at Patti Cakes.  I thought the oversized ginger man cookie cutter was a great way to welcome customers to your bakery.

More yum yum

All to soon, it was time to head east, back across the river to Tennessee.

Part of the Memphis skyline taken from the car while crossing the mighty Mississippi.  See those rain clouds--they followed us all the way home to Nashville.  Mini vacations--I highly recommend them.





Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Divine Miss M (M Quertier)

M Quertier
Quaker 1799 (Ackworth School)
Scarlet Letter
#103 India ink Gloriana silk floss
Stash Mystery Linen 

Yes, I'm still stitching.  There have been many distractions:  the heat, weeding, grass cutting, canning tomato juice, corn for the freezer, classes (basket and rug hooking) and the regular stuff aka life.

M Quertier's height is determined she is 11 1/8 inches in height.  I finally have the top most medallion and the bottom most medallion stitched.  I estimate four more medallions and I will be at the half way mark.  Whoo Hoo!

While I have been stitching M, I dug through my needlework books and found Jacqueline Holdsworth's book Ackworth School Sampler Motifs.  Jacqueline writes in the book:  It is typical of Quaker medallions to be stitched as halves or quarters.  M has eight full motifs and seventeen half medallions.  Our M was an ambitious stitcher, had a long school year or did she have a strict teacher at Ackworth?

Passionflower Motif--it is big and beautiful and one of my favorites which is surprising because I did almost as much reverse stitching on this motif as I did forward stitching.  This motif is also on the Beatrix Potter sampler and the Beatrix Potter companion sampler.

This is an undated sampler once owned by Beatrix Potter--the passionflower motif has been stitched into the sampler.

Butterfly Motif

Carnation Motif

Jacqueline calls this motif the Crown Motif (I think it looks more like a poinsettia)

While I have been stitching M, I have been re reading Carol Humphrey's book.  Am glad I purchased this book several years when I checked on Amazon it is right pricey.  Thankfully, Carol writes about M in the book:  It was also noted that the Quertiers were a Channel Island family, and in the extracts from the Minutes of Ackworth for 1800 is found this entry:  "Children from Guernsey admitted, one eight year old as a special case."  When I first read this, it made me a little sad.  Someone saw value in M and she is now a part of the Fitzwilliam collection of samplers--our M was indeed special.

The next motifs I will be stitching is a bird, garland and swan.  Am looking forward to stitching M's cartouche with her initials and date.  We are having a summer shower.  Ugh, I think I hear the weeds and grass growing but while the rains nourishes the flowers, I will continue stitching on M.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Basket of Zinnias

What do you do on a hot day in July?  Expand your world, challenge yourself, take a basket class.  This is the bottom of the basket.  The test was to weave the basket tight enough so an M & M could be contained inside the basket.

Standing the basket.  
Our teacher, who was wonderful, shared that weaving the first three rows of the basket was the most difficult part.  She was right and she was right beside each of her students, encouraging, sharing tips, correct mistakes.  The water bottle is to keep the reeds pliable so as not to break them.   The fillers sticking out at the ends of the basket became a part of the basket called chicken feet.  Over under, tighten the weave, keep those corners square.

Here is a sampling of some of the completed baskets.  (Mine is the last basket on the left). The handle of the basket is a beautiful oak.  The weaving at the top (x's) reminds me of needlework with its cross stitch.  

It was a fun class and each and every student left with a completed basket.  Am thinking of staining mine with some of the walnuts from our backyard.

Thank you Fran!  You are an excellent teacher.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sheep

Did you know there are more than 100 different varieties of sheep?  The National Sheep Association classifies sheep into either meat, milking or wool variety.  Merino, Dorset, Shropshire, Suffolk and Jacob are some of the more familiar varieties.  Don't you just love those names?  The Leicester sheep with his curly hair, the Suffolk with his black face and legs, Merino which produces the softest of wools and the Lincoln with those dreadlocks.

This is my first hooked rug.  It was the first rug hooking kit I had ever purchased:  it was small and primitive and had sheep.

This sheep photo has been in my rug hooking inspiration box of ideas for years.  The photo reminds me of the photographs/portraits farmers would take of their prize winning livestock.  I have often wondered how those animals were able to hold up their oversized bodies on pencil thin legs.

When I am lucky enough to find raw wool, I purchase it for filling/stuffing for pillows and pincushions.



Here are some of the things I have learned about hooking rugs:
  • let the holes breathe--every hole does not have to be filled (don't pack the hooking) aka a tight hooker
  • every loop does not have to be even
  • make sure the linen is tight on the frame
  • all tails in one area is the weakest part of the rug
  • pick one and stick with it:  hook on the line, hook inside the line, hook outside the line
  • do not hook in straight lines
  • to keep movement in the background hook in the shape of puzzle pieces

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beat the Heat 2017


Beat the Heat 2017 is officially in the record books!  It was awesome.  Liseanne and Ron outdid themselves.


I was to busy visiting and catching up with my rug hooking buddies and neglected to take photos of some beautiful rugs.  Carol is hooking an American Eagle which is breathtaking, there were Thanksgiving turkeys being hooked, and sampler houses.  Janis had a beautiful mermaid which I neglected to photograph and Jane was hooking a Celtic rope in autumn colors.  Instead of taking photos, I was drooling over beautiful rugs.


This is a design from Prairie Road, wonderful inspiration for Christmas.


I know lots of young boys who would love to have this dinosaur in their collection.  Isn't he just the bomb?

My penny rug is my traveling project.  It is very transportable (doesn't take up a lot of room in my hooking basket) and doesn't require a lot of thought, so I can visit and sew blanket stitches.  But instead of sewing blanket stitches, I shopped.  Lots of lots of wool came home with me.


This is one of my 2016 Christmas presents.  I had some usable wool in my stash and knew Beat the Heat was coming and would be a great opportunity to do some serious wool shopping for my Callie Mae rug.


Since Callie Mae is a Calico she will be hooked in the black, gold and orange wool.  The greens are for stems and leaves and the reds are for the flowers.  Whew!  Thank goodness my hooking buddies were there to help with wool selection--I was trying to stay away from Christmas greens and reds.  The gray is for the background.  Lisanne is a wonderful teacher and answered many questions and shared hooking tips.  

July has been hot and rainy and the grass and weeds have been growing like crazy.  It has taken considerable effort to stay caught up (some days I think the weeds are winning).  There has also been tomato juice to can, corn to shuck and beans to break--hopefully there will soon be time to pull loops for the Callie Mae rug.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How I spent my summer vacation (Fourth of July)

Introducing Baby Tinnie

Earlier this spring AppleJack and I saw a tin man made by one of the Master Gardeners.  I was smitten!  A closer look at the design and construction revealed tin cans joined together.  I thought I could make one.  We began collecting tin cans.

Tin cans, pull tabs, washers, screws, coat hanger wire

Tinnie will be living in Next Year (the garden) among the herbs, pepper plants and flowers.  July has been a very rainy month and the grass and weeds are growing like crazy.  AppleJack has collected more tin cans--Tinnie may have a friend.