This blog is supposed to be all about my journey into the quilt world. What I have done, where I have been ,and what my new ideas are.
But lately nothing has happened.
This spring I took a break when I had shoulder problems. After a few months of therapy I felt much better and was able to finish some projects and I even started blocks for a new quilt. I tried to be careful and even timed myself, but slowly the pain came back.
I have been back in therapy for a few weeks now, but the pain is still there. It is the same shoulder, but not the same problem. Anyway, I will take another, hopefully, short break.
My sewing room has never been so clean!
I know, that as I will feel better, new ideas will come and I will be able to continue this blog.
Till then I will take another break.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
First I stayed with Jeanette, while Tony had to be away for work. I did make it home for our first guild meeting, but I was barely home 5 minutes from the meeting and the phone rang. She was on her way to the hospital. 2 days later Jonas, all of 8 lbs, 6 oz was born. Jeanette needed surgery and that's the reason I have been there.Next week Tony will be back to work and I will be staying with her. The not being able to lift thing is the hard part.
Now some not so good news. My shoulder has been causing a lot of problems, again. This spring, after all the physio therapy things went very well. It was back to some applique and I thought, that I took it easy. But slowly it got worse again and now it is the same or maybe even worse than it was before. So it will be back for therapy.
I'm almost finished with a small landscape I want to use for my landscape workshops and that will be it for a while. no more block of the month.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
I have decided , that October will be a month to finish some projects and to start a new pattern for my landscape workshop. First one up was to change the binding on this crazy quilt.
Friday, September 14, 2012
A few weeks ago I received the latest copy of the Canadian Quilter. And there I was ,looking right at my self. I knew that there would be an article and I had been asked to send in some pictures of quilts. I decided to send some of the ones I never have entered in shows It also has the speech I gave while accepting my "Canadian Teacher of the Year " award. I did not like that at all. I can talk, but I'm not a writer. Behind the magazine you see a small piece of applique I have been working on.This was last month's block, from my self imposed block of the month project. Yesterday we started with the soybean harvest. It was a beautiful day, better then today. We had lots of rain with more in the forecast. These flowers I only know by the name "naked Ladies" Thye are different. Early in the spring the leaves pop out of the ground. Then everything disappears and about mid September the flowers show up till frost. They give some welcome color to the fall garden. When we moved here not quite 4 years ago I planted a Mountain Ash. But that was not very successful . The tree did very poorly and in the summer we pulled the tree out. And the hole was still there. That is till last Saturday. It seems like I do my gardening early in the year, then do less during the hottest part of the year, but as soon as we have cooler days I'm back at it. We decided we wanted an oak tree. Last Friday I went to a plant sale in Moorefield and picked up some perenials and a small Catalpa tree. It is a fast grower and for me it was just right. But when I came home hubby was not a happy camper. He did help me digging the holes for my plants ( the 2 I wanted ended up in 4 times as many!) And I was back on my way to the tree farm near Yatton. It is a beautriful place with hundreds or more likely thousands of trees . I found my oak tree, but did not think I could take it home with the truck ( it is over 5 meters) We went back on Saturday and did manage to bring it back. The hole was ready and with lots of pulling and pushing we did get it in the hole. Just in time. Once the stakes were in, a heavy rain came down. And my pride and joy in the front of the house! This elephant ear started as a very small bulb this spring. It was one of the small bulblets from last year's plant. I potted it up in mid March and planted it in this spot at the end of May. The shrub that was there was not doing well and I put this plant there for this year, till I know what I want to replace it with. Next week will be busy for me. Monday morning at 9.30 I will give a trunk show at the Busy Hands Quilters Guild in CAmbridge. Then on Wednesday I will drive up to Buckhorn, where I will teach my landscape workshop for the Buckhorn Quilters Guild Then it is on to Trenton, where I will teach the same workshop for the Trent Valley Quilters Guild on Friday. Then it will be back home.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
This wall hanging was started 2 years ago. After the hand applique I did quilting with the machine, using only a batting, but no back. That way the machine could knot the ends. Yes I felt lazy!
That's how far as it got and it was put in a drawer.
While talking to a friend I was advised , that if I ever wanted to put it in a quilt show, it would be better to have some quilting showing on the back, not just a plain piece of fabric.
That's when I wondered if the quilt as you go method would work.
I put a back behind the applique and did some more quilting
I squared the center piece, and sewed the first border pieces on in a flip as you go method and put batting in between.
This I quilted with a small pebble design.
Back to squaring the piece. For the second border I had to change it somewhat.
Then it was back to quilting the second border in a straight design. I find this makes the piece lay flat.
The mitered corners worked well, what does not alway happen to me. Then the binding and sleeve and I was done!!!
And just in time. A new month was coming up and a new applique block was waiting for me.
For the long week-end we decided to go for a visit to the Paris Fair. Laurence had heard good things about the fair and once I saw , that there would be a Frisian Horse Show on the Saturday afternoon I was ready to go.
One o'clock came, but no horses. When I asked I found out, that the show had been cancelled ,but nobody had bothered to change it on their Web Site.
These birds made up for it. The barn owl and great horned owl were featured on a Birds of Prey program and it was excellent.
Maybe this would be something for a future quilt.
This coming week I will have a trunk show at the guild in Fergus at 7.30 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, 500 Blair Street. Fergus.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
If you are lucky you can buy a package with 100 8 inch denim squares plus 10 patches with pockets and maybe a few labels for $15 at the Thriftstore in Elmira. Out of one package I made a quilt for Evelyn, that measured about 72 by 72 inches. Since it turned out very heavy, I did not bother with a bat and put a few pieces of heavy flannel at the back. My plan was to machine quilt this myself, but it turned out too big and too heavy, so of to a friend from my guild, Trudy Day it went. She did a fine job machine quilting it. I had left the backing about 3 inches larger then the quilt. For binding I turned the extra fabric to the front and sewed that down . It is far from fancy, but is is warm and very strong. It should work fine this coming winter as a throw to put on the floor for Evelyn to play on. I took it over on Sunday and she had to try it out right away. I never took a picture of the first quilt I had made for her. I was asked to make a brown and green quilt and I came up with this. The elephant fabric I found at Kallisti Quilts and is an African wax fabric. The rest I found locally. I tried working on this, when I was having problems with my shoulders and my friend Carol came to the rescue. She finished the piecing and, fantastic and speedy hand quilter she is, she kept on going and did the quilting also. Wonder why Evelyn is all dressed up? We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday and had a few friends over at Shawn's. It was a lot of fun to look at the old wedding pictures and reminise about the "olden" days. I have been working on the landscape and only the sewing of the binding has to be done. Pictures next time.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Each new month I start a block for a new quilt. I like to keep it under wraps till it is all together. Once my monthly block is finished I tackle other projects. But I have found out again, that I have to keep to a snail's pace. Anything else and I'm in trouble with my shoulders again. So not as much gets done as I would like. And this being a blog mostly about quilts and related things I did not write another post for a while. But my block has been finished and it is on to the next project. This landscape I made about 2 years ago. It is hand appliqued. As usual I was in a hurry and decided to machine quilt around all the pieces as I have done before, except to only use the bat, not a back ground. That way it would go faster, since you did not have to be careful to work in the ends of the threads. Big mistake!!!! I put it away till now and I think I have figured it out. If I ever want to put it in a show the quilting will have to be visable at the back. My first step was to do some threadwork and make grasses and shrubs free hand. It is always scary to start since it is very easy to make a mistake. Next step was to do some more quilting, this time with a backing. The only way to put a border on, is to do it in a quilt-as-you go method. I cut the piece to the right size. The next step I like to do is put a narrow strip around the edges. I start with a 1 inch strip and fold it double with the wrong side together. This strip is basted on,since you want to be sure it stays straight when you put the border on. Next up is the first, narrow border. I put a strip on the back and a strip on the front. After sewing the seam I flip them over and iron both and put a strip of quilt bat in between. This is as far as I got, but this narrow strip will be quilted and after that another, wider strip will finished the top. A closer look at some of the thread work. I hope to have this done by the end of the month. So I might not write each week, but as I have things to show and tell I will get back
Saturday, July 28, 2012
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
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
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.
Friday, June 29, 2012
It has been very hot here on the farm. Everything is still growing, but we are in need of rain and it does not look like that will happen in the near future. In March we had a very warm period and the roses started to wake up. Then when a severe frost came, the tender buds all froze of. I was sure my roses were goners, but to my purprise and delight, they all came back and have bloomed like never before. These roses were here, when we moved, so I have no idea what the names are, but I enjoy them and they do well, despite my lack of care. The flowerbeds also are looking good. On Wednesday I went with a friend to a few plant nurseries ( just as if I needed more plants). After a short visit to Evelyn we had our baby fix and the next stop was Wild Things near Mount Forest. As the name suggest, there are a lot of native plants there and it was very hard to choose. I was after some short perenials for the front of the flowerbed, but came home with larger ones. The next stop was Riverbend Nurseries. I have known Shirley and Allen for almost 40 years. I knew they had started a garden center, but had never made it there. And it was fantastic. Shirley took us on a tour through there gardens. They specialize in hosta's and have a very large variety around the property. And yes, I came home with more plants, still not the very small ones I was looking for. Most are still in the garage. I think that it is a little on the wamt side to plant them . They are fine, where they are for now. Next up is a load of 10 yards of mulch. I should be able to do that with my trusty tractor and new loader, but we will wait till things cool of a little I'm working on a new quilt. I have most of the designs done and I'm planning to applique one block a month. That way it should not take more than 11/2 year for the top. One of the blocks has apple blossoms and I have not been able to find the right fabrics. I did find an article in one of the Fabric Arts magazines, where it shows how you can dye fabric with ice cubes and a small amount of dye. This is my first try. Next week I will show the results. The first trial is on the line, drying, and I noticed, that I used too much dye, so tomorrow we will have another go at it. My applique block for June was finished 2 weeks ago and that gave me just enough time to work on the baby quilt I was asked to make for Jenny and Tony. The fabric and pattern she bought in Hawaii and now it was up to me to make it. And yes, can you find the mistake? It was all going so well, till I noticed that something did not look right and then it became very obvious. By tomorrow I should be finished with the blocks, right in time for me to applique again. I'm able to things again, but I realize, that things will go slower and as soon as there is some pain, I will have to take a break.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
My friend Tamara was here on Wednesday and she helped me with all the new things on Blogger. Now I hope that it will work. At least the pictures showed up. Meet our first grandchild, Evelyn Mae Helmuth, born May 15th and doing great. She is our first grandchild and we enjoy being with her. I went over this morning to see if I could be of some help and took this picture of her. It seems that every time I see her, she has changed. Jenny made the blanket for her out of odds and ends of Koigu yarn. Emily liked it so much, that she is in the process of learning how to crochet. Below you see the quilt I made for Evelyn. Now I have to be honest, I started it, but a friend finished it for me. The multi colored fabric has small elephants on it and comes from Africa. The other fabrics I found at Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph. The time I was working on this quilt, my shoulders were still bad and I was scared, that it would not get done in time. Carol to the rescue. First of all she did the piecing. Than she phoned and wondered if I would mind if she did the (HAND) quilting. And she does a wonderful job. All that was left for me to do was the binding. It is not a fancy quilt, but it will be used and that is the main thing. Right now I'm working on another baby quilt, since Jenny is expecting in October. Next time pictures of that one.
A lot has happened since I blogged on a regular basis and over time I will tell about it. I think that this has already been one of the most eventful years of my life, both good and not so good.
After months of physio therapy I'm on my own. I still have some pain and will have to keep on doing excercises, but up to now I can manage.But it all takes more time.
One more update. At the end of May Jeanette, a good friend from our guild and I went to
Halifax, Nova Scotia. And there was a reason. This years Quilt Canada was there. I had decided not to go and had not put in proposals to teach. But finally I did end up going. Why you might wonder.
I received the 2012 Canadian Quilt Teacher of the Year Award!
It was an honor to receive this award.
I received a beautiful silver, engraved seam ripper and a certificate. Now I hope, that I'm worthy of the honor.
I have not done much teaching since the beginning of the year, but that will change after the summer. I even have some ideas for new workshops.
Here you see Jeanette and me out at Peggy's Cove. It was a cool and blustery day, but that also meant, that there were not too many people around. We had a wonderful time at Jeanette's sister's Marjorie's place. She was a great hostess and tour guide. The time was too short there.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Finally, I feel like I have something to show again. It has been a long road and a lot has happened. I noticed that Blogger has changed and I realized that I needed some help. So this will be an update without pictures. Once we've got this figured out, the pictures will follow.
My shoulder is feeling much better thanks to a shot of cortisone and a lot of physiotherapy. I’m still not quite there, but I have been doing some appliqué again. I realize that I will have to take it easier than before.
But as I said, a lot has happened. The first few weeks of the year we were busy with looking after grandma’s things. Even in a small room in a retirement home, you can stash a lot!
At the end of January/beginning of February, we went on a learning tour to Kenya and Tanzania. We have been involved with the Canadian Food Grains Bank for quite a few years and when our feed mill and the local Mennonite Central Committee office organized this trip, I was ready to go. It took some work to get Laurence interested, but now he is the one who wants to go back. We saw a lot and experienced a lot. Anybody interested can find more about our trip at www.grainsofhopelearningtour.blogspot.com. I even met some quilters in Nairobi -- more about that later.
And now to the next big event! Any day now we hope to have our first grandchild: we have been anxiously waiting for over a week now for a call from Shawn and Emily. Of course, with a baby comes a baby quilt! My friend Carol helped me accomplish that. Since Emily’s sister had a little girl 3 weeks ago, I’m making a baby quilt for her as well, as we speak. But at least now I’m able to do it all myself.
The weather has been good. Most of the planting is done. The flower beds look great. I filled up the holes here and there with new plants and now I hope that it all will look as nice as I have envisioned.
This will be it. We better try and get Blogger sorted out before I do more.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
The partly knitted sock has been put away, the sewing machine is back in the cabinet and all the fabric has been put on the shelves. Yes, I have done, what I set out to do. Has it helped my shoulder? Not really. I think ,that it might take longer then I thought and I might need to get somebody to look at it. In the meantime, this blog was supposed to be about quilting and since nothing new happens around here, I have trouble finding things to write about. Don't forget, writing does not come easy to me. So I have made the decission to stop for a while. I might come back once in a while,when I have something newsworthy to talk about. And with a lot of help from a very good friend I will update all the information on this blog. To finish I will show some pictures of the Album Quilt from last week. I took a 10 months class with Rosemary Mahkan and this quilt was the result. I loved every minute of it. We used the different books by Elly Sienkiewicz. Starting with an easy one, we slowly build up to the difficult ones I put in the center. These blocks all have a special meaning for me. I grew up on a dairy farm and yes, I learned how to milk by hand. I do realize, that the conformation of this cow is extremely poor, but that's as good as it gets in fabric. While growing up I spend as much time as possible with our horses. And our favorites were our Frisians, which we drove, rode and showed. This is my first horse, Marietha. It was really hard to leave her behind, but you can't have it all. I have always loved flowers and plants. My mother had gorgeous flowers in the house, not much outside and it must have rubbed of on me. When we moved to the farm, I had a large garden with lots of flowers. Now there are less outside, but it seems that each year there are more inside, especially orchids. On the farm we had a large vegetable garden. We used to pick peas, not by the basket, but by the bushel. We could take them to a peasheller,what helped. We also had a mulberry tree, sour cherries, apple and pear tree. And we had a bigger family. Do I miss all the canning and freezing? Not really. With just the 2 of us, we don't need as much. So I'm down ,but not out. I will be back with new quilt ideas. Some have been floating around in my head for a while now and after a rest I hope to be ready to tackle a new project.