Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sashiko sampler

I have taught a beginner sashiko workshop for a few years now and I always thought, that I could make a better one with a larger variety of stitches. Once I found this small pannel I had bought a few years ago I had an idea. I found a matching piece of very dark blue for the sashiko and just the right thread. One problem.....There was not much left. This perle cotton I have had for a long time. The first time I saw it was in a package of 3 different threads from Sassalyne, sold by Anita Sobens. I liked it so well, that she managed to get me a whole skein and over the years I have used it in all kinds of projects. But to all good things comes an end! I had lots of the white, thinner thread. Since it was too bright I dyed it in some strong tea and it turned out the right color. I started with the 4 inch design at the top on the left and worked my way around, keeping a close eye on my thread. Once the squares were finished I worked on the ginko leaves. Still there was some left. The design on the right came next and by the time I did the small design at the top I had about 5 inches left as you can see in the picture at the top. In the meantime I have found a few more small pannels I bought in Japan. I never knew what to do with them, but some of them might look nice with a border with sashiko. This has been a good month. My monthly block was finished in 2 weeks, then the baby quilt for Jenny and now this wall hanging. Next week it will be back to another block. On another note, we did get some much needed rain. The crops have perked up, but we will need more to keep everything growing. The wheat harvest is over and the straw is in the barn. I did my annual tractor driving, but this year it was with less comfort. No air conditioning, no cab and no radio. I drove Laurence's 40 year old, "new" tractor. After 2 trips to the field I did something to it and he could not get it started again. I figured I would be out of a job, but no luck. Yesterday we finished and I think by now I know how to drive this tractor. Just don't ask me how next year. Now it is of to the races.....or better to the antique tractor show in Grand Valley. I promised to go along and I better keep my word!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another sunny day

In about 1 hour the wheat harvest will be over for this year. Although not a bumper crop it was as good as expected. Since last week we only had 1 inch of rain. It has been spotty. On the one side of us they received up to 3 inches, while on the other side there was almost no rain at all. We are still very dry, but the crops seem to be hanging in there. We do hope for some more rain soon though. I'm not in the habit of watering my flower beds. If they cannot survive, they do not belong around here. I do have to water the containers daily, somethimes two times a day. This year I did make a change. I planted a lot of new perenials and they deserve some extra care. This morning I took out the long hose and gave them a drink and I hope it will be the last time it is needed. A few years ago Jeanette and Tony went to Hawaii for a conference/holidays. She brought back a collection of flowered fabric for me and a piece of batik with turtles, only available on Hawaii. I did use some sparingly and when she knew, that she was expecting, she came home with more of this fabric and a pattern she had. As usual she thinks ahead. I was asked to make a baby quilt. I figured out, that there really was not enough fabric, but by going through my stash I found a few extra pieces. The rest of the fabric I found at Creative Sisters in Kitchenere. And I was of to the races! The turtles are machine appliqued, the other blocks paper pieced. My goal was to machine quilt it myself, but I realize, that will not be possible.My shoulders are holding up well, but I will have to stay careful with what I'm doing. I will take it to get quilted this coming week. Next project is a new workshop sample with a combination of different sashiko samples. That one should be done next week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This afternoon we started the wheat harvest and it looks like it might be a fairly good one. One thing is for sure, it will not be too wet. We like nice sunny weather for the combining, but we gladly take rain anytime. We are not as dry as at some places, but the other crops are starting to hurt.
My job is to be in the house and answer the phone, so as soon as something has to be delivered or picked up, I'm there. Tough Job!
I have been working on a new applique block and you can see some of that behind the card. The card was send out a while ago and came back this week. More postage was needed .I hope it will make the trip overseas this time.
Our little grand daughter is two months now and this week we had her here, while her mom went to a meeting. She is changing every time we see her. It has been a long time since I have been around babies, so there is somewhat of a learning curve, but I'm sure of one thing. Evelyn will get what Evelyn wants, at least for now.
But we love to have her here.
We have new friends in the neigfhbourhood. This spring we notice a fox coming across the road and the field. Then about 6 weeks ago I went for a walk in the evening and I saw 5 foxes playing in a neighbour's hay field. The hay had been cut and put in the silo, so there was nothing to hide the foxes. It was fun to see them at play.
Then we noticed them coming across our lawn. We have the whole farm in corn and it is much easier for them to cross the road here and go acorss the lawn, then through the corn. And they take their time. Most of the time they plop down, like a dog not far from the house and watch whatever we are doing. So here we are watching each other most often around dusk. That can go on for 10 minutes. It does seem ,that as soon as I get the camera, they start to move away. This fox on the picture came very close to the house.
With this house came a big yard and a nice gazebo. But it is some distant from the house, so we never use it. At the same time I was looking for a place to keep my orchids for the summer and this is working great. During the hottest part of the day, they are in the shade, but there is sun early and later in the day. I did the same last year and all of the orchids bloomed in the winter.
Got to run. I got "THE CALL"A tractor is needed in the field, as soon as possible' please!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Mulch and more

For a few weeks I had been after Laurence to help me get some mulch for the flower beds with no result. So when he wondered early Saturday morning if it would suit, I dropped everything and away we went. The place we go to only delivers loads of more then 10 cubic yard, what was too much for us. Instead we hooked up the manure spreader and drove to the farm 15 km from here. Once home again it took some time to get it unloaded. That's where it stayed the rest of the week-end, since we were busy with other things. Laurence bought last year another tractor, a 4020 John Deere. I call it his big boy toy, he calls it working equipment Nevertheless this 4020 had to go to a small tractor show in Millbank. This was a show for what is called New Generation John Deere tractors from the early seventies. He drove it there on Thursday afternoon with me picking him up. On Saturday I had to go along again, so after the show he could drive the tractor home. Since we did go out for supper at Anna Mae's, a well known local restaurant , I did not mind it that much. I can only see so many tractors and it gets boring. But I think that Laurence thinks the same about quilts. This is as far as the tractor got on its way home, right beside our farm sign. Right now it is back in the shed,where it belongs. Last week I showed a picture of a cup with fabric, some dye and ice cubes. This fabric is the result. The pieces on the right had been dyed in a pale pink years ago and I never used it. I over dyed it with fuchia and I got what I wanted for a later project. I love the piece on the left, even with the large white spots. I like to try it again, but next time I will use the hammer on the ice cubes, so I get smaller pieces. The hardest part for me was the 24 hour wait. Monday morning early I tried another dyeing technique, also out of the Fabric Arts magazine. Laurence found me an old table in the back shed and drove it up for me. First came a layer of plastic, then fabric ( which had been in a soda ash solution for 1/2 hour). Dye powder was mixed with water and poured on the fabric and worked in . This fabric was covered with plastic , than another piece of fabric was added. I did this 6 times and then let it cure for 24 hours in the hot sun. I was barely finished or Laurence came back from doing chores and he wondered if he could help move the mulch. Oh wonders! We spread a big part till it got too hot, some more in the evening and the rest early Tuesday morning. As we speak, the plants I bought last week have all been planted , the cement drive way has been cleaned and the mulch is looking great. Also on Tuesday I washed out the fabric.It took a lot of water to get all the extra dye out and here you can see the results. It's o.k, but these colors are not as nice as the ones above. Now I have to say, that some of my dyes are getting older and might not work as well as fresh ones would do. We are here in a heat wave. And we are very , very dry. It is at the point, where the crops are starting to suffer. Forecast is for some showers tomorrow and we would welcome those with open arms.