Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Today I bit the bullet and bought another sewing machine. All my life I have had problems with my back and more recently my shoulders. Hand quilting is not possible anymore and hand applique very hard at times. I have done some machine quilting over the last few years. That also is not easy, but by spacing myself I do manage. Though I love my sewing machine, a Husquevarna, I find that there is not enough room for machine quilting. After some research I decided to buy a Janome 6500, which has 9 inches of room from needle to machine. It is still in the box. Tomorrow I will take the Christmas tree down,( a little early this year), clean the room and install the machine right in front of a window. Than the trick will be to find out how much I can do without getting into trouble. I have enough practice tops ready to last me a long time. I also have to get back to my hand applique!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Two days ago I found out, that we will have en extra guest for Christmas. I decided to make a pillow from things I had on hand. The weather is snowy and stormy, so I rather not drive into town. I found a 6 inch square with a crane done in sashiko, left over from another project.Also found Japanese fabric with cranes on it. To set it of I used a strip of dark blue and finished with another patterned Japanese piece. I hope she will like it. This will be it till Christmas time. We will have guests overnight, so that means that I have to move the quilts from the guest bed to a table in my sewing room. I store all my larger quilts on the bed, so they will not get creases. Works well, except when guests arrive. After the holidays I will go back to my "crane" quilt. The center is almost ready and will be put in an oval shape. What I will do after that I have not decided yet, but there will be more cranes, bamboo and cherry blossoms, maybe some koi.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I did get my landscape finished. I will not quilt it, so it will fit in my portfolio with the other ones. This way it is easier to take to workshops and trunk shows. I only used, beside the sky fabric, 5 fabrics , not including the small pieces for the roofs. These I found in a bag with scraps, that I received from my friend Melissa. There were 3 snips, just enough. Today was our yearly "greenery day" A few days ago I went around the farm and collected pine, cedar, boxwood and whatever else I could find. My husband was kind enough to clean up the ( heated) workshop.Today my friend Carol came over and we made Christmas designs with no worry about making a mess.All we have to do after we are done,is get a broom and sweep the mess into the loader of the tractor! I like to make as many designs as I can and most will be given away. This year I even got an order from my son!
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
All the workshop samples are looked after, so it is time to start something new. Looking outside I can see lots of snow and the temperatur right now is getting lower by the minute, so a summer landscape it will be. The finished size will be about 6 by 8 inches. I started with a quick drawing. Once satisfied I copied it on the dull side of freezer paper. Starting at the top I hand appliqued each piece, using the cut out part as my template. This landscape has about 65 pieces. As you can see I did not get it done. I hope to update this site once a week. Next week I hope to have it all done.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I think I know what it feels like to be a young bird about to be kicked out of its nest for the first time. This is something completely new for me. Writing is scary, but what better way to get over it, than to promise yourself to do it on a regular basis for everybody to see. Right now I have to make some store samples for a new workshop. Besides landscapes I will teach sashiko ,so some samples have to be produced. The picture on the left is one of the samples. Last week I found a new book about sashiko, The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook by Susan Briscoe. Fantastic book with lots of ideas. Would't be neat to try and make one pattern each week? But now it is back to my samples.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Let It Snow by Renske Helmuth (center is 73/4 by 43/4 inches) Hand appliqué and machine embroidery. The inspiration for this landscape came from an old postcard I received years ago. It took a while to find the right blue fabrics, but it was a fun piece to make, even the countless French knots for snow. Springtime in the hills by Renske Helmuth (center is 9.5 x 7.5") Hand appliqué and hand embroidery. Threatening skies by Renske Helmuth ( center is 71.5 by 6 ") Hand appliqué and machine embroidery. I made this small piece for a Christmas gift. After the appliqué and embroidery I took it in and had it mounted behind glass. This will show one of these small pieces of really well. The drawback is that they are hard to transport to workshops and trunk shows. Evergreens by Renske Helmuth (center is 9 x 7") Hand appliqué and machine embroidery.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Waterloo County by Renske Helmuth (20 x 26") Hand appliqued, hand embroidered and machine quilted. Over the years I have co-ordinated quilts for the Mennonite Relief Sale. The latest quilt , A Bird's Eye View/Interpreting the Aerial Photography of Carl Hiebert, was made in the beginning of this year by members of the Waterloo County Quilters Guild and the Listowel Mennonite Church. I talked to Carl Hiebert and got his permission to use the pictures out of his books. After I had the idea I wanted to know how difficult a project like that would be. I tried to find one of the hardest pictures in Carl's books and tried to interpret it in fabric. This wall hanging is the result. The hardest part was the making of the pattern. In a painting or drawing there are limitless possibilities, but when you work with fabric you have to make the pieces big enough to work with. Once the master pattern was constructed, I started the hand applique from top to bottom, This piece was machine quilted. After making this piece I was convinced that it was possible to come up with a quilt, using Carl's pictures and that's how A Bird's Eye View came about. Here's a detail shot of this quilt:
Irish Seascape by Renske Helmuth (24 x18") Hand applique and a minimum amount of machine quilting A member of my quilt guild showed me a picture of a painting that her mother got as a gift in Ireland. She wanted to make a small quilt out of it, but did not know how to go about it. I took her picture with a promise to give it a try. The hardest part was to make the pattern. With a painting you have limitless possibilities with your brush strokes, but working with fabric you have to make the pieces big enough so it is workable. Once the pattern was made and some more fabric had been bought it was time to go at it. The actual applique did go fast. I would like to mount this landscape at some point, but for now I have put a border around it. It has been machine quilted, just enough to hold the layers together. Here's a closer detail:
Abandoned by Renske Helmuth (22.5 x 20") Hand applique and machine embroidery/quilting This quilt portrays what is happening all over the country. Where there were once thriving farms, there are now weeds and some left over buildings. The few farms left over are getting bigger and bigger. In this prairie scene the buildings are gone, except for some grain bins, the last sign that once a family tried to make a living here.