Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lessons learned

This was the day I had to take my quilts to Guelph for my show at the Gallery at Greenwood Quiltery. So with 26 quilts, both big and small, old and new , and a few other items I drove over the snowy roads to Guelph. They will be hung on Thursday and be there till the end of the year. It was a good feeling to have it all done No more quilts without bindings or borders, though a few are in need of a label yet. From there I had to go to Elmira. It got blustery, but not anything to worry about. That changed, when I wanted to go home. The wind had picked up and I could not see the road through the blowing snow. A good enough reason to visit my friend. An hour later it looked better, so I did drive home, but it was not good driving. Seeing a few cars with dints on the side of the road did not help either. But I did make it home. Tomorrow Jeanette,my friend Lois and I have made plans to go to the One-of-a-kind Show in Toronto. Let's hope the wind will quiet down.
I made this wallhanging "Victorian Bouquet" as a workshop proposal for Quilt Canada in Winnipeg, so it must have been about 6 years ago. I taught it a few more times and never got it quilted. When Florence ( who quilted the crane quilt for me) wondered about quilting something for the Mennonite Relief Sale I thought right away about this one. She loved the idea and had it quilted in no time. Once I got it home it was time to put a binding on.
Lesson one: When you make a quilt top and have some extra fabric, cut enough for the binding right away. Put this in a bag with a note what it is for and put it in a safe ( and in my case somewhere I can find it again) place.I did not do that and could not find the right color. As a last resource I rummaged through my fabrics and found some left-overs. Once I cut it all out and sewed the pieces together I needed about a 6 inch strip.

Lesson number 2: Never give up. I went through my stash 2 more times and on the last time I found a small piece, rolled up in a back corner of the shelf. It was the right width and at the end I had 3 inches to spare. This is one of the quilts I took in today

The rest of the week looks very busy, but by the week-end it will be back working on the Mariner Compass blocks. 3 finished, 6 more to go.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Yesterday was our guild meeting and some members were asked beforehand to bring traditional quilts "with a story". I brought these 2 quilts. The one above was the first quilt I owned. It was pieced by Laurence's grandmother, Margaretha Axt, when she was already in her eighties. According to my mother-in-law she was not a real quilt maker, but she did a very good job with this one. It was quilted by members of First Mennonite Church in Kitchener.
When we got married, she was bedridden, but we send her an invitation anyway and as soon as the pictures were done, we went for a visit. That's when we received this, her last, quilt.

This is my first appliqued quilt. I always wanted to make one and when I saw that Rosemary Mahkan would teach a 10 month workshop close by, I was the first one to sign up. Most of the blocks in the center were started during these classes. After one year, the quilt was finished. The hand quilting was done by my mother-in-law, Hilda Mae Helmuth.
Almost all of the blocks came out of the books by Elly Sienkiewics, but this one is my own. It shows my pride and joy, Marietha, my Frisian model mare I left behind, when I emigrated to Canada.
And I'm still working on the Mariner Compasses. It goes slower right now. Too many other things going on. Tonight I have a trunkshow in Brampton. It is snowing lightly and I hope it will stay like this. Then no other quilt commitments till next year. There are also a few Christmas project to be done.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First attempt

It must be over 10 years ago that I found a book with Mariner Compasses by Judy Matheson. I loved the book and after getting some fabrics I was brave enough to give it a try. Don't forget, this was in the days before I knew about paper piecing, rotary mats and rotary cutters.

I drew the pattern pieces on cardboard, cut them out and used those to mark the fabric. Then the fabric was cut, including a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I started to sew and oh wonders, it all came together with the first try. I guess it was beginners luck. I made the large compass in the center with the flying geese. Since I did not know what else to do, I put it away.

More than a year later I found out about paper piecing and the rest came together. At the same time I taught a workshop at my church and the ladies there made enough of these smaller compasses to make a large quilt for the Mennonite Relief Sale. That quilt also had flying geese as sashing and was red and green.
Once the top was done, I marked it and my mother-in-law, Hilda Mae hand quilted it for me.
This quilt spends its time with the rest on the spare bed and only gets shown during a trunk show.
I never even took a picture, so when I had it out to take to Simcoe this week, I put it on the design wall and finally took some pictures.
Now back to today. I finished the second block and all the points turned out well. When I put it on my design wall, there appeared one spot ,that did not match at all. Very frustrating!
It will have to come out. So now I' even more carefull with the 3nd one. I figure by the time I'm working on the 9th block I will have it figured out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Farm... finished

This morning the ground was covered with snow. It is time to find hats, mittens and winter boots.But inside it is warm and there will be lots of time for quilting.
The farm quilt is done, finally. All it really needed was some embroidery, binding and a sleeve. The last 2 are not my favorite activities, so I have a bad habit of putting a quilt away before it gets done. Than, when I need to take the quilt somewhere, it is a scramble to get it done in time. But with the show in Guelph coming up I have been busy getting things done. All my quilts have sleeves now!
I'm not totally happy with this quilt. The applique is fine, but trouble started when I did the machine quilting. I quilted once around the light colored inner border and then around the green outer border. This distorted the green border enough, that when I squared the quilt, the mitered corners did not match. It is not too bad, but it bugs me none the less.
I find the sky too wavy. I quilted that before I put the foliage on.I should have quilted closer together, but once the foliage was on, it was too late.
This was my first attempt to applique a building and it will be my last for a while. But according to my brother and niece it "looks just like it used to be" and that is good to know.
It seems I'm better with plants and flowers.
Now it is back to the Mariner Compasses. I was worried that I did not buy enough fabric. So after teaching in Paris(Ontario that is!) yesterday I managed to get to the Creative Sisters store in Kitchener 5 minutes after closing time. They were still there and were very willing to help me. I found enough of the background fabric and the light green ,. the rest was gone. But I can make do. This morning I cut out patches and soon I will start with the second block. In total there will be 9. The sashing and border will be decided on once I know how much fabric I have left, but I hope to put some smaller compasses somewhere.