Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sashiko workshop

On Saturday I had a few friends from our guild over for a day. They had decided on a beginner sashiko course. Since it was a small group we could have it in our dining room with a nice big window. Since my quilt room is right beside, it was easy to go there and have a look at what I'm up to.

Jeanette went with me to Japan at the beginning of the year and she loved the small kimonos. I always keep one handy, that is only partially sewn together. That way I have something to look at, in case I forget how it goes together. She had just the solution. With her camera she took pictures of the different steps.

Elizabeth also went to Japan. She has all the fabrics to prove it. She will use the sashiko to go with her pieced pieces. This was something new for Tamara, but it did not take her long to catch on. We had a wonderful day and are planning to do it again in April with another new technique.

I have been working on some narrow bands of sashiko to be used in the border for the quilt I'm working on.  I did not get too much done. I was in Pickering on Monday for a trunk show and on Tuesday for a workshop. Driving down went very well and I was way too early for supper, but on my way home it rained quite heavy and it was no fun at all driving on the busy 401. But the nice people make it all worth while.

This is the sample of the narrow band of sashiko. It is 1 inch wide. On the left is the front, on the right the back. But it could easily be the opposite.

I have just finished mowing the lawn and I hope it is the last time for the year. The trees have been changing colors, but for them to turn more we will need a frost. So far we have had no frost here. The soybean harvest has stopped for the time being. While I was in Toronto we had 2 inches of rain here. But most of the beans are off and the winter wheat is in the ground, and right beside the house the field looks green already.

Next up is a workshop on Saturday at Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My oldest quilt

When I got ready for my trunk show on Monday morning, this quilt showed up at the bottom of the pile. It is my oldest quilt and dates from about 1850. It was made by Margaretha Axt, Laurence's great-grandmother on his mother's side. I received it quite a few years ago from his aunt Ruth from Chicago. It had been hanging in her family room, but she was ready to move and none of her family wanted the quilt, so she wondered if I wanted it. I could not say no. Most of the fabrics are in good shape. The brown patterned fabric is in very good shape and the colors still look bright. Notice how the dark patches are not all going in the same direction... The binding is gone in places. The red fabric is also gone in a lot of places and the wool bat is coming through.

I was told that the reason for the disappearing fabric was something used to make red dye. I do not want it to discolor anymore, so I’m keeping it in a dark place – on a bed, beneath some other quilts, where it will not get creases.

I had a good trip to the Etobicoke guild. I'm not a city driver and was not looking forward to this trip, but it all worked out very well. I had a nice supper with some of the members. And the facility they meet in makes you jealous!

I always put 7 large quilts in a suitcase that fits just right in the back of the car. When I was trying to open the suitcase, the zipper broke and that meant a trip to Waterloo for a new one. I'm going next week for 2 days to another guild on the other side of Toronto ( Rouge Valley), so the new suitcase could not wait. I found one on sale: I was a very happy camper! On my way back I stopped at a tree nursery. I always wanted a Mountain Ash tree. My inlaws had one on their front lawn and I always loved the look of it. Laurence had stopped in on Saturday, but he wanted me to check it out. He even had dug the hole already. I found the tree I liked and with it tied on the back of the truck I got it home. I'm pleased to tell you that, as of now, it is in the hole, everything is cleaned up -- and we even put 2 stakes in with wire to keep the tree straight.

We have had some decent days and managed to combine part of the soybeans. This morning, Laurence planted some more winter wheat and an hour ago I took him over to the combine.There is rain in the forecast, so he wants to try to get as many beans combined as possible. As soon as I'm done with this entry, I have to go back and see what he has lined up for me to do. My ITINERARY has been updated. Please have a look.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More sashiko

It has been a very busy week. We did manage to finish combining the white beans, and we started with the soybeans -- but a few days of rain stopped that.

On Wednesday, I took my mother-in-law to the doctor, and after that I made my way to Waterloo to do a bunch of errands. One of my stops was at the local Mandarin Restaurant to pick up some extra coins. They were very gracious and said I could have as many as I needed. The coins were not the same as the ones I had, but it all will work out. In the evening at guild we had a great trunk show by Elizabeth Dillinger from Pickering: she showed us some amazing quilts.

Thursday morning, we woke up with the rain coming down, hard at times. Laurence wanted to go to the Outdoor Farm Show regardless, and he promised me that by the time we got there, the rain would be over. It was not to be. And I can tell you, tempers are not the best when 2 people try to stay dry under a very small umbrella. We did have tickets for a free breakfast, so that was our first stop. And we all received an emergency rain poncho right there!! The day turned out better from that point on. The advantage was that all the sales people had lots of time to talk! We stayed till about 4 in the afternoon; by that time the rain was over. But we were very tired and bed looked pretty good not long after supper.

Lately I have been looking for a Mountain Ash (a tree with lots of red berries). I have a spot picked out already. This morning Laurence went to an antique John Deere auction and I was busy baking for our church potluck tomorrow. At noon he phoned to let me know, that no, he did not buy anything and no he did not have lunch yet and yes, he had stopped at a tree nursery and found a nice tree and no, he did not want to bring it home. I had to inspect it first. After lunch he let me know that the hole had to be dug right then and there. I know enough to jump when that happens. As soon as the weather gets better, he will be way too busy. So the hole is dug and at the beginning of next week I will look at the tree. 

The sashiko blocks are all ready. Nothing has been sewn together yet.  After it is all together I want to make 4 blocks for the corners, then a narrow strip with sashiko on each side. A friend of mine gave me an idea for how to attach the coins with narrow strips of fabric. The last picture shows the front and back of 3 of the blocks. On some of them there is more thread on the back than the front!

On Wednesday I picked up another 20 skeins from Michelle at Kallisti Quilts, just in case. Next week I will have my first trunk show of the season for the Etobicoke Quilters Guild. Then next Saturday a workshop here at my place.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Be careful what you wish for

Last week it was hot and very dry here. Both the corn and soybeans have stopped growing. The white beans were ready to combine, but the pods were almost too dry and would shatter before coming close to the combine. A little rain would help. Well, we got the "little rain" and then some. It has turned cold and rainy. We only managed to combine for part of an afternoon. And now it is wishing for some more sunshine. This is the project I'm working on. Each block has a different hitomezashi ( or one stitch) sashiko design. In this one you can see how an extra row of stitches changes the whole design. It is a lot of fun and it takes a lot of thread. I'm using the "Ultimate Sashiko Source Book" by Susan Briscoe. The flowered fabric a got a while back from Michelle at Kallisti Quilts and it works very well. It has the same design, but in different colors.For the border I'm planning a narrow strip of sashiko with a narrow strip of the patterned fabric on each side. Then a piec of the dark blue. In the corners I will use a different kind of sashiko design. The center of the pieced blocks looked a little dull.Then I remembered that on one of our trips to the Mandarin Restaurant during the Chinese New Year, we each got a big coin. I rummaged through my beads/coins and found 6 of them. Not enough. Yesterday I phoned the restaurant in Kitchener and told them about my project. I was told to come in next time I'm in town and I can get all I need. How about that!Then the next step will be to find a way to attach them to the fabric, but I'm not at that stage yet. In a few days my itinerary will be updated. I will let you know, when that happens. One of the workshops will be here at my house and there are a few spaces left. What: Sashiko for beginners (kit will be supplied) When Saturday, September 25 from 9.30 to 3.30 Where: at my house near Moorefield Interested? You can email me at The next step will be to update my quilts on my blog. While sorting through my quilts I discovered that I could not find a picture of my bird quilt. With the help of dear hubby I took a few new pictures. Here is a close-up of the bluejay. For some reason I liked that bird, maybe because it was hard to get the coloring right?
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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Older yet

Last Friday we went to the Waterloo County Steam Threshers Reunion. It was close to us and since it was a beautiful day with not too many urgent tasks at hand we decided to go later in the afternoon. A few weeks ago I showed you the old tractors and threshing machines. Here we had 2 steam engines, more than a 100 years old. Both were working.It took a few guys to keep them running with all the wood and water , that was needed. The front one was hooked to a threshing machine. But that was not all. There were lots of old tractors of all colors Inside the big tent I found these Old Order Mennonite ladies quilting. This quilt had pictures of grey tractors on it and would be sold next year. This year's quilt had blue tractors on it and was sold at the end of the auction. It sold for $400 After a tour of all the machinery it was time to eat and eating we did. Not all was healthy, but it tasted great. Early in the evening there was an auction of donated articles and Hubby came home with another J.D toy to add to his collection. All the proceeds of this Reunion will go to the Mennonite Central Committee and the Gospel Echo Prison Ministry. Later in the evening there was a concert by the Gospel Echo group and other local groups, followed by a corn roast. While sitting on the bleachers I saw these girls in their pretty dresses. They are what we call Mexican Mennonites. This group of Mennonites moved early in the last century from Manitoba to Mexico. But since conditions there are very poor they have been coming back to Canada, mostly to Ontario. The women and girls are very recognizable by the bright floral dresses both are wearing. And if you look very close you can see all the pleats. The whole skirt is pleated. I do not know, how it is done, but I was told once that they make the pleats and then put the skirt part in the oven to bake. Never could find out if that is true. These girls were not very interested in the auction, so it did not take long for dad to take them somewhere else. In the spring I saw a beautiful butterfly. I asked Laurence to keep it on the flower, while I got my camera. Well, no luck. He let it fly away. But this week I had more luck. I saw this butterfly on one of my dahlia's and ran in the house to get my camera. And it was still there when I came back. Just this one picture, that's all the time I had. As I said last week. If I have nothing quiltery going on, I start making cards and that did the trick again. I'm working on something new, but have not enough finished to show just yet. Next week I should have something to show.
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