Wednesday, October 31, 2007

First frost

Sunday evening we had our first frost. I took this picture of one of my begonias just in time. I love these begonias with their bright colors. By now their bulbs have been taken in and are drying on the picnic table in the workshop. Once dry I will over winter them in peat moss. Now that we had our first frost it is time to clean up the garden. The weather has been cooperating. It is cool, but sunny.

This week I have made my first Mariner Compass block. And I managed to get the one with 64 points together. I used the paper piecing method and it went easier than I thought it would. Some of the points are a little on the short side, but I can correct that next time. But it is laying flat, my main concern. Before I go on I have to go and get more of the background fabric. It takes a lot of make 9 of these and then a border.

Right now I'm working on the center of the MCC quilt or the postcard quilt. I ironed Wonder Under on one side of the dark blue fabric and cut the different parts of the world out of that. I ironed all the pieces on with a hot, dry iron.
The next step is the go around all the pieces with a narrow blanket stitch. That will take some doing with all the little pieces. Than it will go to a friend, who will embroider the names of the countries.
While she is working on that I will go and finish the farm quilt. It is still on my design wall. It needs a few things added and corrected and I have not quite decided how to go about it.
I did find some more of my favorite dark brown fabric to use for the binding.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Machine quilting......grrrrrrr!

This is what I could see from out of my window this morning. A beautiful fall day. The harvest is over for the year and the yield was above expectation. The year has been the dryest on record. We have had some rain, but could use more. I still have not done my fall clean-up in the garden. The begonias are still blooming and I like to see color as long as possible. The winter is long enough. And what did I find this morning? A new pansy. I had some blooming under the snow this spring and it looks like I will still have some once the snow comes. I love their cheery colors.

This last week I have been working hard on machine quilting the farm quilt and it did not go well at all. The sky went ok. After that I quilted around the tree trunks. I found out, that this made the roof puffy, so the next step was to quilt along all the roof tiles. But, after a good look I realized that one corner of the barn seemed to have sunk in the clay. Laurence told me to leave it like this( it is an old barn,, right!) ,but I could not do it, so there had to be some remedial work done. By that time the border looked all frilly. First I tackled the inner border, so far so good. Then I quilted the outside border in straight lines, 1/4 inch apart and started to look much better. Today I sewed the foliage down and after going through a whole pack of needles that job is also finished. This picture shows a part of the back.Now the finishing touches yet. You notice that for the back I choose fabric with a maple leaf?
I have the next project all ready. When I asked Shawn and Emily what quilt they would like me to make for their wedding, the answer was a red and green Mariner Compass ...and not those with 8 points!
So I thought that this one had 32 points, but after having a closer look I find, that there are 64 points. Now I'm not a good piecer at the best of times, even using the paper piecing method.
I will give it ONE try. If it does not work out, the next one will have 32 points and so down the line till I can manage it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A little of this....a little of that

Last week I received the new book "Points of View" by Valerie Hearder. It is a beautiful book with lots of very good information. And the quilts in the gallery are almost all by Canadian quilters ,what was very nice to see.
Inside you can find one of my landscape quilts, Waterloo County, aerial view. With it is a short description of how I go about making a landscape. This is the first time, that I have seen one of my quilts in a book and it is really of neat. And it is an honor to have it in such a good book.

This week I have been doing more machine quilting. The second Tuscany landscape is finished , except for the binding, and today I did the last little bit of the sky of the Farm quilt. That was a very slow process. It was about 5 minutes sewing with a half hour of tucking in the ends. The next step will be the tree trunks. This is the biggest piece I have done on the machine up to now and I cannot understand how you can do a full size quilt. Now I know, that you are not supposed to turn the quilt, but I have not been able to master that trick. Today was our guild meeting and it was good to see so many friends again. I had not been there since June. It seems ,that a lot of guilds have their meetings on the 3nd Wednesday of the month, so I miss some because I'm talking at another guild.

I have a show coming up in December at Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph. More about that later. That's one of the reasons I'm trying to get things finished. Today I bought more doweling and screws for hanging the quilts.
About my spinning wheel. I had some nice remarks with some very good advise. I know now, that there are guilds not far from here , that I could join. But that will have to wait for a while. There is first of all this show and than the MCC postcard quilt and the Mariner Compass for our son to finish. Than it would be nice to take a break and give spinning a try.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One done....2 more to go

Machine quilting is not my favorite thing to do. I seem to get very tense and that means it does not take long and I have a sore back and shoulders. It is not that I don't like it, just that I do not like the discomfort that seems to go with it.
I did finish one small piece, that I made earlier this year. In the center I went around all the appliqued pieces with a smoky invisible thread. The inside border has the little pebbles I like to do and the outside has straight lines in a variegated thread. I'm working on number 2 right now
Then it will be on to the The Farm. This one will be harder to do on my regular machine, because it is much bigger. I do have the threads and I will give it a try.

I have made a start with the "Postcard quilt" This will be the working title. Later it will get a better name.
The center is made with 2 inch squares in different blues.
I want to put a fused world map in dark blue on top. This piece of North America is a trial. Today I went to my friend Audry, who is very good with embroidery and she will try out different ways of making little squares with the names of the countries, where MCC is working. Around that you see some of the cards. I want to put 2 rows of cards around the center. They will be put together, so that I can make a 2-sided quilt. How I have not decided quite yet. It seems that we have to take it one step at a time. I figured out how much fabric I would need and I was very lucky that the store had enough for me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Spinning wheel

Earlier this year my mother moved to a smaller apartment in a retirement home. That meant, that a lot of her things could not go along. My brother and sister-in-law were very good in getting a big box ready with things for me. And an excellent job they did! Nothing got damaged, not even the dishes.
Included was this chip carved box, made by my great grandfather around 1920. It is about 30 cm across and was used by my grandmother, his daughter, as sewing box. He made one of these for all his children.
This spinning wheel was also included.
I had my eye on that since I was a small child. I remember it standing in the hall on the farm. I loved to see how fast I could make the wheel go around. My mother had been after me to take it along years ago, but it would have been very difficult to take in a plane with me.

My brother took it carefully apart and at the same time took pictures. Once it was here, it did not take long to put it together again.
I never knew where it came from, but when I asked my mother it had an interesting history.
During the second world war my grandfather was supervisor for part of the sea dikes in Friesland. He would receive large logs that were used as pilings to be driven in the sea. Groups of these logs were held together by large pieces of oak. Since things were scarce at that time, he would keep these pieces of lumber and take them to the furniture maker in town. Now this was not just any town. This was Hindelopen with a long seafaring history.
Ideas from the long journeys were used to paint the furniture. You can see some of this if you google Hindeloopen
My grandfather ordered a spinning wheel from this furniture maker and friend of his. They had the sheep and it would be my mother's job to spin the wool to be used to knit the socks for her father and 5 brothers. So each evening she sat there spinning away. After the war, when she got married she could take the spinning wheel with her. But by that time she could not stand even the sight of it, so as long as I can remember it stood out of the way, upstairs in a corner.
So now it is here in Canada. I have nver done any spinning, but it would be fun to give it a try. I could spin the wool and Jeannette could knit it. So the roles would be reversed.
In 1/2 hour the corn harvest will start, so it will be busy around here for a few weeks.
I do hope to get some machine quilting done though. 2 small landscapes are ready to go. They will be my practice pieces before I will start with the farm, but that one is also ready to go.