Thursday, June 10, 2010

It’s All About the Flowers!

This is the worst time of year to weave. How can I stay inside with so many flowers blooming?May diary 2

True, my tapestry diary for May was woven in all the sickly sweet flower colors! June-foxglovesdetail  So I’ve been out photographing my favorites.

I love foxgloves, but would not have them in my garden when my kids were little. They are quite poisonous, unless of course, you have a heart condition that requires digitalis, then perhaps they’d be  good for you?

At our last house, I found them in the garden and observed that there were some with pink flowers and some with white. June-foxglovespink

Since I like the white ones best I began to cut off all the pink blooms each year, so that only the white ones would set seed. (Foxgloves are biennials)

It worked, but you always get a few pink ones that come up anyway. So I have  pink in my driveway garden, and white far away in the front yard next to the stone wall. This year there was only one pink among the white. I cut it down right away, even though it was a very pretty pale pink.June-red-knockout

The roses are all in full bloom, but with all that hot weather we had  2 weeks ago (one day it got up to 99F!) the earliest ones bloomed like crazy all at once, and will go by very soon.

This red knockout is humungous, it has swallowed up the salvia and a bunch of daylilies.

If you have a large space to fill, this is your rose! June-red-knockout-detail

Sadly, no fragrance, but I guess you can’t have everything.

For fragrance, I love “Topaz Jewel,” the yellow Rosa Rugosa.

The flowers are gorgeous too, but talk about thorns! topaz jewel It’s covered in vicious thorns right up to the flowers. No picking these without leather gloves!

The buds are tinged with pink. This rose blooms early and then again in the fall.

When we moved here 5 years ago, the “Foundation” plants on  either side of the front door were overgrown and ugly, so I tore them all out (except for 2 giant, ancient white azaleas, which I radically pruned) and planted new. June-rosarugosa

My two Endless Summer hydrangeas, on either side of the front door are getting so big I can’t get to the faucet anymore. They are about 5 feet tall and wide.

Everything is so well established I guess I won’t have to water them anyway.

I love theJune-endless-2se when the flowers first come out and are just starting to turn blue. A week later, they are almost solid blue and getting nice and round.

These plants bloom on old wood, like other blue hydrangeas, and also on the new wood, so even if you have a brutally cold winter you have flowers. June-pink-knockout

If the buds make it through the winter, as they did this year, then it will live up to its name and bloom endlessly! Did you know that hydrangea means “water loving?” Perfect for our yard, which is very very wet.

Next to the hydrangea is a pink knockout rose, which is also getting a bit too big for its space. I’ll have to prune everything this fall. June-pink-knockout-buds3

I love the simple flowers, like wild beach roses, and the buds are absolutely adorable. In front of this rose are small Stella D’Oro daylilies. When they are all in bloom, it’s blue, pink and yellow. So pretty. The first daylilies just opened up a few days ago.

Despite all these modern, carefully bred and very well-behaved plants, one of my favorites is this wild daisy.

I rescued one of these from the lawn at our old house, and once it was in the garden, it flourished and reseeded. I have as many as I want now, and forever. june-wild-daisies

Another weedy plant that I love is feverfew, with its smaller daisy-like flowers. They pop up everywhere, and I enjoy seeing them bloom between the cracks in the driveway! I don’t mind plants like this as long as they are easy to pull out, which these are.

This weekend I hope to finish planting annuals in the few spaces left in the gardens, and in pots for the back porch. Sadly, I also have to eradicate hundreds of poison ivy plants that pop up every year. If only the neighbors would control the giant seed-producing vines growing up their trees….sigh. Between the poison ivy and the Lyme Disease-bearing deer ticks, I have to put on my hazmat gear every time I work in the yard.

Hopefully I’ll have time to do all this, AND watch the World Cup match between USA and England on Saturday.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Handmade Weaving Implements

I thought I had already posted something about these lovely shuttles my husband, Kim, made for me, but now I can’t find it.

Kim has made me many frame looms over the years. One is very small, and I use it on trains and planes. I find it difficult using my fingers to pick up the warps and make a shed, when the warp threads are so small, so I asked him to make me these.Weaving Small Shuttles

They are based on the tongue depressors I used in my classes with school children years ago, only much smaller, and much nicer. They are about 3 inches long, and made of hardwood.

I discovered that, in addition to using them like a yarn needle, with the weft just threaded through the hole, I can also wrap the weft around like a bobbin.

Used like a needle, I can pick up the warps to make a shed, and used like a bobbin they are good for just passing the weft through the shed.  Weaving toolsThey are good with the Mirrix, which makes a shed, but a very narrow one; these fit much easier than a bobbin.

I have also made weaving tools myself, from the various sizes of wood craft sticks I’ve bought at Michaels craft store.

I bought myself a small electric drill, because it’s very hard to drill a small hole in a small tool with a large heavy drill.  The shaping is done with coarse sandpaper, then fine sandpaper smoothes them out. This photo shows the scale, Kim’s shuttles on the left, my own on the right, with my favorite ruler. I bought this for $1 at an antique store. My favorite antiques are those I can actually use!