Thursday, August 28, 2008

A woman possessed.....

An online friend of mine is having a craft along on our Yahoo list. She asked us to choose some Autumn or Halloween projects to work on in September. I decided that my projects would be two things ~ to finish the hand quilting on a tablerunner I am working on and to start completing an autumn UFO. Well, yesterday instead of listing my intentions on the group mail, I became a woman possessed. *grins*

Back in 2006, I led a SAL (Stitch Along) for the then new Prairie Schooler Autumn Leaves. Everyone finished their stitching and many completed this adorable design into wallhangings. I decided I wanted to turn mine into the center of a quilt. I started using my scraps and fabric stash.

Once I completed the patchwork around the stitching, I never went any farther. The season had passed and I thought I could wait until the next autumn. But autumn 2007 rolled around and I was so busy with my quilt group that I never got it back out to start quilting it. Now I have a huge amount of UFOs! I need to compromise with myself if I am to get as many UFOs done this year as possible. When I pulled this off the hanger yesterday, I thought to myself it was time to sit down at my sewing machine and machine quilt this to get it done and enjoy now. To me, machine quilting is foreign territory. I have done very little machine quilting and enjoy the process of hand quilting. But a girl only has so much time and I really wanted to enjoy this now as autumn starts. I told myself to get over my fears of working it on the machine and voila! I have a finished quilt now the next morning.

I always say a quilt is truly finished when it has a label so I made the label this morning and sewed it on. I am very happy with how this has turned out. You can click any of the photos to enlarge them for more detail.

Quilt size: 18-1/2 inches (47cm) x 24-1/2 inches (62cm)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A broken stash diet!

I have been on a stash diet all this year. It has been a year of trying to finish many of my stitching WIPs and quilt UFOs. And there are many to finish. Having taught quilting in the past as well as having to come up with projects for my quilt group means many things just sit unfinished on hangers. My goal this year was to finish as many as possible and not allow myself to buy any new stitching or quilting supplies unless I needed them to finish a project.

I decided a couple of months ago that I would break my stash diet when a few of the ladies in my quilt group and I went up north to an open day at a quilt shop. I set a limit for myself on what I could spend and stayed well within what I had planned only buying 5 half meters of fabrics. The second fabric looks like a plain white but it is a really sweet cream tone-on-tone fabric with a pretty floral motif. The letters I will use to applique onto something for my grand niece.

I bought these fabrics at a second quilt shop that we went to. It is only 15 minutes from the first and we rarely go there since it is far away but all wanted to take advantage of being nearby. This shop is set up in an old Dutch farm and has very honest prices on their quilt fabrics.

One of the things about this shop is that they have set it up in a way that they are able to always have quilts exhibited on the walls. Being a farm, it has the advantage of space. You can see the shop on this link.

I loved the quilt above as it is a clever way to use lace, knitted items and various sewing accessories. Click on the photo to enlarge and really see all the fine details. I would love to make something similar to place my bobbin lace practice pieces from my classes on.

I adore the autumn as I am sure you know as a regular reader and loved this quilt not only for the pattern but for the color.

Sunbonnet Sue's washing day. It is mine too come to think of it. *grins*

Isn't this a great use of pattern!

Cheerful and nostalgic Dutch plaids.

If you enlarge this photo, you will find a playful way of breaking up this simple pattern with tiny sailboats.

Historic Dutch chintz (Hollandse sitsen)! I have all of these beautiful fabrics waiting to be made into a quilt. Another part of my stash diet is also a start diet. I am not allowed to start a new project until I have finished a certain amount of the UFOs. This is on my list of new starts though.

And finally, I took this photo after we sat and had a cup of tea. We talked about how cute the little kimonos are around the center block.

Having driven up north on Friday with my friends, Jos and I decided to stay home this weekend. I really missed Cranberry Cottage and sewing a new quilt block by hand. We worked very hard to redecorate our laundry room and I tried my hand at creating a large wooden rack for the wall in there. It has turned out really well and I will be sharing that later this week. For this reason, I am behind on reading blogs and hope to catch back up with all of you this week. In the meantime, I am now off to my quilt studio to trace the templates for the next block which I am going to put together tomorrow. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Needlework friends...

I just love getting together with my needlework friends. I am so fortunate to have a number of ladies that I enjoy spending time with, often with our needles in hand while we chat. Today I got together with someone I met through my blog. She used to come visit me here and later started her own blog. Carolien lives in the same city as I do and I am sure that, without blogging, our paths would never have crossed. She is such a nice person and I enjoy spending time with her. I have had the good fortune to meet her husband and youngest daughter already but still had never met her twin daughters.

Today they came to my house for a girl's chocolate party! What is more fun that eating a brownie rock sundae in the morning? Well nothing! Yes, there is a brownie under that ice cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. *smiles*

I even made them wait for the first bite while I snapped their photo. We then took a walk in the woods by my house to see a farm dating to the early middle ages to walk off the sundeas. We could not go up to the farm buildings as they keep it locked when not open but walked around them and in a butterfly garden. We also had fun talking to a goat that thought we tasted pretty good and licked each of our hands. We then returned back to my house for a wonderful lunch that Carolien had arranged for us.

Carolien brought me a French lavender soap from her summer holiday and I also received a beautiful bouquet of orange lilies. I was given a pretty handmade necklace from the girls. Isn't it pretty? I took a photo of me wearing it. I had to use my mirror to judge I had the camera right. I really like it and will enjoy wearing it. Actually I am wearing it right now. I put it on right away after you had left.

Valérie en Sofia ~ Bedankt meiden! Ik heb hem meteen aan gedaan toen jullie weg ging en hij staat erg leuk. American hugs!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Life really is a patchwork quilt!

Any of my regular readers know that I am working on a medallion quilt that is full of symbolism of my life and family. We are waiting for the summer to end and vacations to be over before sharing the last borders of this project. I will share them with you this fall. I love using real things in life that translate into my patchwork and find myself doing it once again with the Centennial Sampler.

There are my three latest blocks. I have choosen each of these blocks for a specific reason this time.

'Patience' was choosen as I feel I need it right now dealing with my own emotions over that personal issue I mentioned in my last entry. I decided on all different red and pink fabrics. They blend and clash at the same time. This is something a quilter uses to add depth to a quilt. I also like the symbolism of this being a picture of how life moves sometimes in different directions and yet still makes one beautiful whole when put together.

'Old Maid's Puzzle' was choosen to represent my friend Saskia (not because of the further) who is also making this quilt. Each year at Christmas, we exchange gifts in our quilt group's Christmas party. There is a theme each year and one holiday we all made eyeglass cases. When your name was called, you are able to go the gift table and pick one package. Saskia picked mine and I made the eyeglass case using this pattern with blue and white fabrics. I asked her the last time I saw her if she remembered the pattern and she did. You can see her progress on her blog.

Last but not least, 'Clay's Choice'. This block is to honor my mother. Her father's name was Clay and she was very close to him. I remember having repeated dreams of this grandfather that I never knew. He died before I was born. She showed me a photo of him later and I told her that is the man who is in my dreams. I choose the color red as it is my mother's favorite color.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A sampler update

Sorry for the big gap in posting on this blog. I have been going through a personal issue that left me feeling a bit disconnected for a little while. I have even gone a couple of days without a needle in my hand which is very abnormal for me. I realize I really do need to connect with my needlework each day as it is a wonderful release and relaxation for me. My husband has been encouraging me to pick things back up again and move on. Good advice. I will be posting my patchwork sampler update again on Monday.

Here is my Friday update of my summer challange. I know I will be able to finish this before the official start of autumn. I may finish it before the end of August and can then pick up another project to focus on finishing. I am anxious to finish Silent Sampler for yet another reason...I will then start a new project. I am going to start a series of Ohio samplers. For my previous udate, click here.

Click on the photo to enlarge. This is a really pretty and unique sampler.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of creative energy!

Sewing mends the soul. ~ Author Unknown ~

Monday, August 04, 2008

Summer's bouquet

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
~ Claude Monet

Could this also be perhaps the case for quilters? There are many vintage patterns that are based on flowers as is my latest block for the Centennial Sampler. This weekend I choose to only make one as I wanted to get some time in on my hand quilting. I sewed "Bridal Bouquet" and love the old fashionedness of this block. Okay, I know that is not a word but I like it. I was actually glad I had only prepared this one block as there was quite alot of set~in piecing (visible Y seams if you enlarge the photo) to be done and I would not have finished a second block. As you can see, I have now added yet another color which is pink.

I wanted to answer a question Joni asked in my last entry about using 3 purples and 3 greens when I sewed the spider web. I did this deliberately as in days gone by, they were less acurate as we are now. They used what they had not going out to buy quilt fabric for a project which is a modern day luxury. For this reason, I did not want the fabrics to be too well distributed among the design. I am making subtle 'mistakes' along the way to continue with that old~fashionedness theme. I have had humorous comments from ladies in my quilt group about not matching the stripes in my hourglass block too. They said it was 'so unlike Heidi'. *grins*

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hand stitched with love...

With having to post the tutorial, I was unable to share my latest Centennial Sampler blocks this past Monday. I sewed two more blocks over the past weekend ~ left is Spider Web and right is Crossed Canoes. Enlarge the photos to see them better.

I also promised in my last sampler post to share a photo of all the blocks so far on my design wall in the quilt studio. I am very pleased with the way they are coming together so far. I will still be using some pink in upcoming blocks so yet one more color to add. So far, I think it is taking on a pretty and vintage look seeing them all together.

Another great thing is the a quilting friend Saskia is also doing these blocks along with me. Hopefully, she will share a photo of hers too.

I received a fun 'just because' package in the mail from a dear online friend from Canada. Thank you so much Christine! I already have two projects in the magazine that I would like to make. Oh my!

I also received a belated birthday gift from Francoise in France. She made me this dainty little needlebook. It is just so beautiful and I adore acorns! Along with it came a little pouch of sea salt with a wooden scoop. I love sea salt and will put this to good use.

I can't decide which I like better, the front or the back?

And when you open it, there is a little pocket and a felt page attached with a pearl button. Isn't the lining fabric just the perfect compliment to the design. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Francoise!

I hope your weekend inspires you to pick up a project whether it is stitching or quilting and find yourself lost in creative energy. It is a great way to spend a summer's afternoon.