I see that my last posting was in February so obviously I haven’t been contributing as regularly as I had planned at the beginning of the year. However, here’s a bit more ‘catching up’.
This past Saturday our quilting group (now named The Charm Pack) got together for our monthly Quilt ‘til you Wilt at our meeting room at the local university satellite campus. The name came as a result of us being asked to purchase insurance to protect the university from liability should one of us suffer an injury while using their facilities. So we bought liability insurance for our group and gave the group a new name!
Twelve members turned up and everyone had projects at various states of completion – even me, although I wasn’t working on a quilt. Instead, I’ve been busy making a couple of little dresses (Butterick # 3762 – and when did patterns get so expensive?) for Sophia – and I decided to make matching ‘bucket hats’ (a free download on the internet) to go with the dresses so that was my project for the day. Here are the dresses (made before the “Wilt”) and the one hat I got finished that day. Looking at the dresses hanging there, I realized that they were likely going to be much too large for this summer. Oh well, I tried. The hats, on the other hand, may just be a bit too small.
Two of the ladies, Teri and Bunty had decided to make a small wall hanging using patterns they bought from Silver Linings Originals called Strolling at Lake Havasu, a delightful little pattern of a pair of Quail and their chicks. I was amazed that they had chosen this pattern as a first attempt at paper piecing because I really feel that Silver Linings patterns really aren’t for the inexperienced, but I offered to give them a lesson and see how they progressed. We started with the chicks because they only had to keep track of three fabric colours and I thought that would be easiest as they were just learning. They managed to get one section done without too much difficulty. They’ll try again with some supervision from Marianne next Saturday at their regular sewing drop-in.
There wasn’t a lot of show and tell on Saturday, but two items of note. This quilt was pieced by me, Patti, and Lois and quilted on her long-arm machine by Lois. The three of us belong to our local ‘Friends of the Library’ and we made this quilt to raffle off as a fund raiser for the Library. We’ll draw for the winner of the quilt at our annual Quiz Night in November.
Last year, Teri decided to purchase an embroidery machine and she has become very proficient in its use. Everyone loved this wall hanging that she recently finished. I’ve never had any interest in getting into machine embroidery, partly because of the cost of the machines and my aversion to having to learn a new, complicated process, but I have to admit when I see something like this I feel the urge to give it a try.
We’ve had an amazing Spring! The ice disappeared from the Lake before the end of February, and the lack of ice moderates the temperature so much that what snow we did get in this El Nino year, rapidly melted. We’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures, and that has resulted in the trees leafing out almost a month ahead of time. Everything is green. Even the weeds. I noticed today that our cherry tree is coming into bloom – mid-May is the usual time. In an effort to improve the crops that I get off my plum trees (the cherry is wild and never produces any fruit to speak of) I have put up some bee houses in an effort to encourage solitary mason bees to make my yard their home. I was in the garden yesterday and I could hear bees buzzing, so fingers crossed that they’ll make use of the houses. Mason bees are gentle, busy little pollinators, and they don’t make honey and are unlikely to sting.
I planted garlic in the Fall, and usually it would just be starting to pop through the ground, but this year it’s already over a foot tall! We’ll be eating rhubarb in the next week or so – something that we didn’t get to do last year until the end of May. I’ve even managed to get most of the spring clean-up done out in the yard, and that’s something that I’m usually doing well into May. The trumpeter swans left about three weeks ago, and the hummingbirds arrived two weeks before we expected them. What a treat it has been. I’m afraid we watch the news every evening and congratulate ourselves on living here, rather back East, where they seem to be still getting snow! Of course, there are years when we’re still getting snow in April so we probably shouldn’t feel too superior! Next year it could be us!
One of the incredible sights in the spring is the annual Oolichan run in the local rivers. These small fish, a type of smelt, are a staple food of the First Nations that lived here for centuries before the Europeans arrived and still make this area their home. The Oolichan is a very fatty fish and the oil was rendered out and used as a highly prized trade item among the different First Nations that lived in this area. This traditional fisheries continues to this day and I see that the oil still used, but now it’s sold, not traded. Sea lions and gulls follow the Oolichan up the river during the spring run and it’s such a display that many people drive down the highway towards the coast and they take lots of pictures. This year, the run was huge and at one time someone counted over 100 sea lions in the water having an exceptional feed. A local photographer took this picture during the run and posted it to a Facebook group for everyone to see and share.