Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

No Apples for the Deer

No Apples for the Deer

I’m hoping for a good apple crop this year. The trees are tall enough now that the deer can’t get to all the fruit; one year they cleaned off all the apples literally overnight. We do have fencing around each tree, but that’s mostly to keep them from girdling the trunks.

This is my State Fair apple:


I also have two Honeycrisps, a Red Wealthy (for making pink applesauce), a Golden Delicious, and a Lodi (the pie apple tree). Those are all Costco trees from about eight years ago and they have done exceptionally well. (I did lose a Sweet Sixteen to winterkill, but that wasn’t a complete surprise.) We also have some trees on the other property from a different supplier. They aren’t as far along and haven’t produced anything yet.

The peach and cherry trees are struggling a bit. That’s Montana for you. I comfort myself with the fact that Susan only gets apricots about once every 10 years and she has a master’s degree in botany.

The pears produce reliably and the deer don’t seem to care for them:


I went to town to run errands on Friday and stopped at Cathy’s to pick up a pot of currant starts. She stuck cuttings in some dirt and they all rooted. I’ll put a few more out in the big garden and put some in the herb garden. She and her husband and daughter and I ended up at Art in the Park in downtown Kalispell around lunchtime. My friends Tom and Marcie have their pottery there this weekend and I wanted to pick up another windchime:


This is by The Recycled Spoon out of Ritzville, Washington, and is the third windchime I’ve bought from them. My porch is a very musical place when the breeze blows.

I commented to the husband that the craft shows don’t seem to be as well attended this year as in the past. The one in Whitefish last weekend looked sloppy and disorganized, and I know there weren’t as many vendors at Art in the Park as usual. It creates a vicious cycle, because fewer vendors leads to fewer customers leads to fewer vendors willing to travel for poorly-attended shows. It’s not a huge issue for Tom and Marcie as the bulk of what they do is wholesale, but I’ve heard some people complain that they can’t even make back their travel expenses.

My plan to cut the grass for the last time yesterday morning—it goes dormant in July and we don’t cut it anymore—was thwarted by a line of thunderstorms that came through. I attacked the handles on the Fika Tote instead, because I want to get this done. This project stalled a couple of weeks ago because I didn’t like the handles and how they were sewn to the bag. I couldn’t understand why the instructions said to attach the handles after the bag was assembled instead of sewing them on when the exterior pieces were still flat, which would have been much easier. (And now that I am further along in the pattern, I still don’t see a good reason for doing it the way that was specified.) Also, the handles themselves were made of two layers of exterior linen and two layers of accent linen—interfaced—which were folded together and topstitched with five lines of topstitching, making very stiff handles. It’s a large bag and needs study handles, but I didn’t think they needed to be that stiff.

I redesigned them completely. Instead of making them from four layers of interfaced fabric, I made a tube with one layer of exterior linen (black) and one layer of accent linen (the red print). The piece of black linen was slightly wider than the accent piece, so after turning the tube and pressing, the edges of the black linen show along the sides of the print linen as they do on the original handles. (That’s a technique that Anna has used before on other bags she has designed and it makes a nice detail.) I slipped a length of Bosal In-R-Foam fusible inside the tube—it comes on a roll of 1-1/4” wide strips—and fused it before topstitching. I also left an inch of fabric at each end of the tube without foam, because those ends get folded up and under when the handle is attached to the bag. The original pattern instructions specified to leave only 1/2” at each end without interfacing, and I felt that wasn’t enough for folding over neatly, especially because of the stiffness and thickness of the original handles.

I am pleased with the way these handles turned out:


The five lines of topstitching and the layer of In-R-Foam inside the tube make the handles plenty strong. I doubt I’ll be carrying bricks in this bag, and in any case, it doesn’t matter how strong the handles are if the attachment point isn’t solid. All that is left to do is make the recessed zipper, attach it to the lining, then drop the lining in and sew a binding strip around the top edge to attach the lining to the bag. This is the last project for which I need the Necchi industrial. Once the bag is done, I can swap out the Necchi for the Singer 78 and play with that machine a bit.

Summer, Summer

Summer, Summer

Something in My Brain Trying to Get Out

Something in My Brain Trying to Get Out