Saturday, February 28, 2009

History thread into patchwork

If you do nothing else this weekend, take some time to look at these beautiful patchwork skirts. They are not just any skirts but garments that tell a story of people's hope and courage. At the Fries Museum, they exhibited a few of what is referred to in Holland as a Nationale Feestrok or National Celebration skirts. These patchwork garments tell a very deep story about a country that was torn apart but not defeated by a war as well as the story of a courageous woman named Mies Boissevain-Van Lennep.

You can read her story here online and also see another skirt here at another museum. I think after you have read this story, you will not help but to be inspired by the fortitude of those who went ahead of us in history. For Dutch readers, another interesting article here.

1940 - 1945 "Bent, not broken"...

The Jewish star...

Red cross patch...

I am always touched at how woman turn to needle and thread to leave an imprint of themselves in history. Remember as you perhaps sit down this weekend to stitch or quilt, that your piece is not simply something for today but can also have an impact on your family as an heirloom for coming generations.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's laundry day...

...and that means work is being done on my wash day quilt. I have lots of fun while I wait for my washer to switch off. I am pulling out fabrics from my stash to add more colors and textures to this quilt.

Here is what I have come up with so far. I hope to get most of blocks sewn together now this week as I have it all laying out on my cutting table. While trying to find enough reproduction background fabrics, I started borrowing the fabrics I am using for my Centennial Sampler. They are melding very well with the other fabrics. I want to use many of my purple fabrics in this quilt.

It was a fobbing weekend this past weekend for me. I got started as I needed to make a fob as a gift. I think I got a little carried away. I made key chains this time too. They are birthday gifts for my grand nieces and nephew.

And finally, here is my French ABC sampler all caught up. My goal was to be right on track with everyone in the SAL by the end of February and I finished it with a week to spare. The new part should be out this week and I am excited to print it out and start it because there is a sweet little squirrel this time.

I had many questions about what color I was using for my sampler. I am using DMC 3787, DMC 3721 and DMC 223. I am enjoying balancing these three colors throughout the sampler.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

For the love of old quilts...

I just love old quilts. I love the feeling these special textiles give when you see them. So I arranged to go to a quilt exhibition with some of my quilting friends this past week. There is even something here for stitchers so keep on reading...

Imagine our shock at seeing this color, among others you will see later, as a backdrop to these incredible pieces of history! I must admit I would like to see them all over again simply because I see that I was so distracted by the walls and the way they were hung. More on that with the next photo! I hope you will be able to enjoy that photos regardless and remember that they can be enlarged by clicking on them. I have purposely left them as is instead of cropping the walls away. Get ready for a clashing colorful ride...

This wall 'hit' us as the first thing when we walked in the room. We were all horrified that they hung these quilts so high. You had the urge to want to pull them all down again to wear a normal human being could see them. I felt like I could not make contact with them even visually.

I felt like Little Sprout from the Jolly Green Giant commercials but still loved seeing what I could of these beauties. These are my kind of muted colors in a quilt!

This looks very Amish ~ a log cabin quilt in the Barn Raising setting.

A blended quilt as those that inspired the books by Marsha McCloskey and Sharon Evans Yenter.

This one is similar to my wash day quilt.

This was a sweet display of little samples and an early fabric sample book.

A pretty sampler from an early day. Have you put on your sunglasses yet to hide from those walls? *grins*

I will be sharing more of the dresses this week over on my other blog but this one was set up so cute right in front of the pretty hourglass quilt. Can't you just imagine the little girl who wore this dress?

In the medallion center of the hoursglass quilt were the stitched initials and date of the quilter. The label becomes part of the quilt. Not only does this add to the intrigue of the quilt's history, I pondered how I get upset with myself if my points are not just right. I am redoing a block I just did as I noticed on the photo that I had it sewn poorly in the points. But this quilt is simply a labor of love and not perfection. And I find this utterly charming!

I only took two photos of the modern quilts in this room. I am never drawn to modern quilts. I do admire their workmanship. One of my friends loved this quilt and I wanted to be sure to try and get a photo for her in case hers did not come out. We were rightly not able to use a flash and it was difficult to get clear photos.

This modern quilt really does appeal to me as it combines the old and the new together.

I will continue sharing the quilt show with you later this coming week. I hope you enjoyed looking closely as some pretty old quilt!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A gift for Karen

When I mailed the swap box to Karen, I decided to throw in some Dutch candy and cookies for her to enjoy. I also made her a scissor fob. I know she likes autumn tones as I do so I created the fob using an rust brown beading and a stork scissor charm.

Once the quilt group has seen the blocks at our next meeting, I will share the American blocks with you. That will be sometime after the first week of March.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

International block swap

My quilt group has just received a box of blocks from an American group for our patchwork block exchange. I set this swap up with a fellow blogger Karen. We had the ladies make blocks sharing something about our area, culture, history or ourselves. This is the results of the blocks made by the Dutch ladies...

"Windmolen" or Windmill ~ block by Nell

Some choices for our quilt blocks are very obvious as is the Dutch windmill. Holland has always been known for its windmills that were used for various purposes. There are windmills in polders used for irrigation or mills used for pressing seeds for oil or grinding various things from making flour to powders used for paints.

"Klompen" or Wooden shoes ~ block by Hanneke

What person in the world does not associate Holland with wooden shoes? They are still a useful item to this day for many Dutch people. You see people wearing them in a garden as they are a great way to keep your feet dry. You will even see a farmer on his bicycle wearing his wooden shoes.
"Tulpen" and "Bollenvelden"or Tulips and Bulb fields ~ tulips by Albertha

The Dutch are famous for their fields of beautiful color where they grow various flowers for their bulbs. Some examples are hyacinths, daffodils and tulips. These fields are like artwork until it is time to cut off the flower heads to prepare to harvest the bulbs. Blocks of color in perfect rows can be seen.

The Dutch brought the first tulip bulbs to Europe in the early 17th century from Turkey. It became a prized and expensive commodity.

Block by Elly (see description above)

"Botter" or Dutch sailboat ~ block by Heidi

Ship building remains an important part of the Dutch culture. During the Golden Age, the Dutch were leaders in ship building. So much so that the Russian Tsar Peter came to Holland with a group of Russians to learn the ship building trade incognito. In this day and age, sailboats are popular in Holland. The "botter" is a special wooden sailboat that is seen on the waters. It is noted for having brown sails.

VOC Golden Century period of Holland ~ block by Anita

The Dutch were leaders in the Golden Century in bringing many precious commodities back to Europe. They found and imported items like spices, porcelain, fabric, coffee and tea. We have two blocks representing this period. The first is teapots for tea import. At that time, tea was considered more precious than coffee. The woman of the house would keep her tea leaves locked away and mix them for the servants to make tea. The servants would then be allowed to make a pot of tea from the used leaves.

"Sitsen" or Chintz fabrics ~ block by Enny

The Dutch imported much fabric from India and the Far East. These Chintz fabrics were called "Sitsen" in Holland and used for the dresses. This block represents the idea of the colorful and heavily patterned fabric imported.

"Trapgevel" or Step gable ~ block by Joke

Dutch architecture of old is well loved the world over due to its various gabled houses in the major cities like Amsterdam, Haarlem or Amersfoort. Amersfoort is the city where the ladies of the Gouden Draad Quilt Groep are from. A gable is often named after the shape of its roofline. Here is the step gable named for its jagged roof looking like a step ladder.

Delft blue tiles ~ block by Bep

One tradition still going strong in Holland is the Deflt blue tiles being produced. They have seen a new found popularity lately. These tiles were produced originally in the city of Deflt. The technique using paints the turned the shades of blue while in the kilns.

Dutch tea towels and washing ~ block by Mieke

Dutch women have a love of order and neatness. They enjoy hanging their sheets and towels out on the washing line in the fresh air on a bright sunny day.

Dutch buttons and trims ~ block by Saskia

There used to be many wonderful haberdashery shops in Holland. Unfortunately, they are slowly closing but there are open air markets where a wide choice of buttons, trims and laces can be purchased. There used to be button factories around the country. As women started sewing less, these factories closed.

Dutch royal connections ~ block by Miep

The Dutch still have a royal family but there is a connection to a Dutch king in America. The Dutch king William III married the British queen Mary II. They gave a royal charter to the college baring their name in Williamsburg which is the second oldest college in America. The name of the college is College of William and Mary.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wash Day quilt

Mondays are often wash days in my home. I work on laundry over the weekend but often have an overflow to Monday. I decided while I was waiting for my dryer to shut off that I would start a long awaited new project on wash days. Normally I stitch while I wait but decided I would do my patchwork thus dubbing my new project the Wash Day quilt.

This photo is of an antique Dutch crib quilt dating to around 1815. I have seen quilts like this in museum collections and long wanted to reproduce this quilt in a small doll size.

First to choose a size to work with...I am making 2 inch blocks. The quilt consists of a center star block, hourglass blocks, 4 patch blocks and applique circle corner blocks. My quilt will end up 23 inches wide by 27 inches long. Starting the 4-patch blocks was very easy since I have a draw of cut scraps some of which were 1-1/2 inch squares. All I had to do was match some fabrics for an old look and start sewing. I then cut some half square triangles to start some of my hourglass blocks. The quilt is starting to take shape.

I will work on this project each time I work on my laundry. This will be fun to do this in the coming months. I like the idea that a job in our home will be marked by a pretty new, old quilt.

“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.”

~ E B White

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Primitive ornaments SAL - Let It Snow

I am excited to share the second Primitive Pillow ornament with you...

I decided to use Let It Snow this month only to find we have possible snow flurries in the forecast for today. I also know it is still snowing in places like Scandinavia, America and Canada. So celebrate that snowy blanket by stitching up this ornament today.

I will be using beads on a couple of these ornaments but although I considered enhancing the sides of this design with little while beads, I decided I wanted them to all stay very simple and primitive looking. There are a couple of the designs where the beads are necessary. Please feel free to add beads to your Let It Snow if you would like. There are also little snowflake buttons available which would also look cute.

I am using two fabrics that match to back my own ornaments but you could choose to use scraps making each pillow unique.

If you missed the first ornament and would still like to stitch them all, you can find the first one here. I am going to look forward to receiving more photos of finished ornaments in the coming weeks.

Here is a photo of the beautiful version of Believe by Barbara. She has made primitive go elegant. I love her twisted fabric hanger.