Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Donkey Tale - Good News!

Even knowing this is an off-topic (no stitching or beads involved) tale, I just had to tell you the good news about Don-kee-oti, otherwise known as Sweetie.

Here we are three months ago when Don-kee-oti was pastured on the corner of Beaverton Valley and Egg Lake Roads, across from the painted rock. My "wasband", Robert, after discovering her by the fence one day, decided to ask her owners if he could feed her carrots. Receiving their permission and buying 4 pounds of carrots, which he kept in his pickup, he started feeding her two carrots each time he went to town.

Soon I joined in the fun, feeding her one of the carrots whenever we went to town in the pickup, gradually being allowed to pet her nose, then her ears, and finally her face and neck. Knowing the sound or look of both our vehicles, she would run to the fence every time we pulled up.

One time, Robert got out of the truck, held up her carrots, but, because of traffic, didn't immediately cross the road to give her the treat. Slowly, she started to work up her breathing and lungs, until after several loud "hees," she let out an earth-shaking bray. "GET OVER HERE, NOW!" she was saying.

Other than her adorable personality, we noticed that she didn't seem to be very healthy. Her coat was caked in mud, she had several skin lacerations. Then one day shortly after I moved 7 miles away to my new home, she disappeared. We feared something might have happened to her... and we missed her terribly. Kept in the truck with the hopes of her return, the remainder of her carrots rotted.

Fast forward to a week ago. There's a walk I enjoy from my house down a dirt road, one that turns into little more than a path through the woods and brush, one that climbs up and up, until it reaches a lookout, high on a ridge, with a nearly 360 degree look over the island and all the way across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains.

Last Thursday, taking a slight wrong turn on my walk, I came face-to-face with a beautiful, well-groomed donkey standing in a fenced pen with a small shelter, located about 50 feet from a home. Reminding me of our pal from months ago, I queried, "Don-kee-oti, it that YOU?" Her ears jerking up and forward, she turned toward me and came to the edge of the pen as close as she could get to where I was standing, staring fixedly at me, and (I swear) smiling.

But this donkey looked younger, much more healthy, much lighter in color. How could it be she? We looked at each other for a few moments, until, fearing I was trespassing on somebody's property, I turned and walked on up the road.

A minute or two later it started, first the heavy breathing, then the repeated "hee," and finally the same sound-barrier-shattering HEE-HAW Robert described from when he delayed crossing the road. "WHERE ARE MY CARROTS?????" I knew it then. It must be Don-kee-oti! But how did she come here and how could she look so different?

Last night I got the answers to these questions by knocking on the door of a stranger, introducing myself as someone who loves donkeys, words tumbling fast from my mouth, about her braying, about the carrots, about how I thought she recognized me. The gentleman at the door, a little nonplussed at first, eventually warmed up enough to tell me about her.

They had gotten her 2 months ago, he said, and begun the process of cleaning her up... trips to the vet, a bath, daily brushing, a healthy diet low in sugars. His grandchildren, when they come to visit, ride her. "She's a gentle, sweet gal," he told me. "Yes, I know that," I replied and told him more about feeding her and our worry when she disappeared.  He gave me permission to give her 2 carrots every time I walk up that way, which of course, I'm now even more motivated to do! And to think... there she is, just a five minute walk from my front door! Don-kee-oti is back!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Hexie Quilt - Embroidery Quilting in Flower Centers

This is WAY, WAY fun! I'm listening to books on tape, sitting at my big bead tables, embroidering the centers of the hexie flowers on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt!!! The embroidery serves as both embellishment and quilting, although not all of the stitches go through all the layers.

Here's how one of the flowers looks. Of course you can see the basting stitches which hold the top, batting and back together while I quilt. I'm using a single strand of embroidery floss for each flower center. The longer spokes are just on the surface, while the center knot and short stamen (spokes) go through three layers, quilting them together. It looks fairly neat on the back.

Here's how a cluster of the flowers looks (click on picture to enlarge and see detail). As you can see, I'm matching the thread color (more or less) to the fabric color. At first I considered doing all the centers in various shades of yellow floss, but later decided I don't want the embroidery to be that obvious. Instead, I thought matching it to the fabric color would add a subtle detail, one that would only be noticed when viewing the quilt closely.

After finishing all the centers (estimate 60 hours), I'll begin to quilt around the flower petals with standard quilting stitches using a "harmonizing" color of 50 wt. thread.