A few of the squares…

Now that the wedding is over and we are adjusting to the idea of Thomas and Belle moving to Seattle, I thought I would use my evenings to start assembling the “Wish Them Well” quilt that I put out for the party here at the house in September and also at the picnic the day after the wedding in Arlington, VA. This way I could envision, while working on it, them seeing the messages that their friends and family wrote for them in their new apartment in Seattle. Their new apartment is all white, as most apartments are and I see this bringing some color into that space and helping them settle in. I envision them either hanging the quilt on the wall to look at or using it on the sofa to snuggle under while they watch movies or TV.

“Wish them Well” table

Today, I thought I would share my progress on the quilt and let you in on the fun. To start, this is an old idea. Quilters call this type of quilt a “signature” quilt and they have traditionally been made to commemorate a special occasion. I thought of doing this for my own wedding but didn’t. My idea at that time was to use it as a guest book instead of an actual book. To have guests sign a square as a way to know who shared our day with us. I have now seen, on the web where folks have done this idea to send off a co-worker, to welcome home a soldier or to share memories of grandparents. So it was only fitting that being a quilter, I wanted to do one for my son and his new bride to begin their life together.

Four inch white cotton was cut with the seam allowance drawn onto the square. Markers were put out in a basket and the sign to write them a message and we collected about 25 squares for the finished quilt. They are wonderful with some of them actually taking the time to color a drawing for the couple.

photoshop map of layout

I use photoshop instead of any fancy quilt software to layout anything that I want to work on and I put together a quick layout of how I want the squares to be placed. A twin sized quilt is about 96″ x 72″ so I used that size to scale the pattern for the squares. I am not sure if the quilt will end up a twin size or a lap quilt when it is finished because there is some white space that I need to design for and I don’t know yet what to put in there. I can be a “quilt as I go” kind of quilter sometimes. So, the wishes will be the whites squares and each of the green squares will be a traditional quilt square to add interest.

I am looking for traditional squares that might have some meaning to beginning a new life together. There are some really adorable cat and dog squares in the book that I am using and some on the web that I also want to add for their pets and a house square for their new place in Seattle. I have favorite patterns that I have enjoyed making through the years and I will probably add some of those. I have about 34 squares to play with so I am sure I can find lots of interesting options. I will get all those squares done and lay out the quilt on the floor before assembling all the squares together. This way I can make sure that there is a balance of color throughout and not have a concentration of too much of one color in any area of the overall design.

I’ve attached a gallery of the squares that I have so far and I am using my evenings to do a square a day. Not sure if the quilt will be done to ship to them for Christmas but I can certainly try. Over the years I have hand quilted all of my quilts but I may take this one to the quilt shop and see if I can have them quilt it for me. My hands are needed for other projects these days and the love that will go into the squares will show through without the added ache of putting all the stitches into the finished piece.

Enjoy the photos and let me know if there is a favorite square that you would like to see in the sample of squares surrounding all the wishes for a happy life in Seattle, WA.

Wishing Them Well…

Salad on New Year’s eve…

today's harvest, arugula and red romaine

The cold frames have now been in my yard since Labor day. We harvested a really big salad for a dinner in early November for my cousin, another for our Thanksgiving dinner, a small salad for Belle on Christmas eve and today I harvested what is in the trug in the photo at right.

I have added a slideshow of the photos I took of the beds today, but I have to say that today the thermometer got in the low 60’s and we missed getting the snow that everyone else got on Christmas day. And a few days before and after Christmas, the temperatures have been really cold and extremely windy here for a few weeks. Last week we had winds that had to have been at least 40 MPH so having the veggies in cold frames was really important those days. One of the days, the lid of one of the boxes blew off and I had to go and put some weight on it to keep it in place.

chard & lettuce with some frostbite

As you can see from the photo at right, some of the lettuce and the chard have some serious frostbite on them but there is some new growth as well. This really was the only bed to have had some serious damage so far.The radicchio also looks a little rough considering, that it was really looking pretty in the early fall. But again, it has some leaves that look like they are going to recover just fine.

radicchio

The second bed contains radishes, carrots, arugula, red romaine and mache (corn salad). All of these look great and seem to be growing slowly but show no signs of any damage at all.

spinach patch

The spinach isn’t very thick but there is enough there to add to some of the lettuces along the way and add to some of the greens that I may harvest.

Turnip

I have a big turnip and within the ten or so turnip plants that I have there is a small one for each plant so during the really cold months we may be able to harvest a turnip or two.

parsley

There are two parsley plants that are doing well and look healthy, but not enough to do anything with yet but, by spring, I can probably harvest some to add to some new potatoes.

mache

The mache is doing really well. This plant is supposed to grow in the tundra and each of those clumps are a serving so when it is time to harvest those I will pull a clump out. It is not a come again crop that will replenish. Supposedly, it has a nutty flavor. This is a new vegetable for me but it is one that Eliot Coleman recommends for the winter garden.

Cabbage

The cabbage is hanging in there and beside it is a vegetable called Salsify and it also looks healthy. The cabbages haven’t started to bunch up into heads yet. Salsify is a root vegetable that is said to have the flavor of oysters but I didn’t see any hint of them yet. They look like they are doing okay in the cold.

I pulled back some of the dirt from the carrots to check their progress and they are starting to form under there. Looks like it will be a good while before we can have carrots. I think I may put those out sooner next year so that maybe by this time I will be harvesting those. Plus, I didn’t do successive plantings so when I finally do get carrots, I will have them all at once. Again, something to remember to do next year.

more radishes

You can see the small radishes that are coming in nicely and in a few weeks I would think they will be ready to eat too.  And I think

Kale seedlings

I have some Kale seedlings starting to grow amongst the spinach so I need to keep an eye on that too. Again, probably should’ve gotten those out earlier too.

All in all, I think it has been a pretty successful experiment so far. We’ll see what things look like into February and March when the weather gets really nasty before it starts to warm up for spring. In the meantime, check out the slideshow and I’ll go eat some salad. We’ll, maybe tomorrow, as a start to the  New Year.