"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Monday, September 28, 2009

Loving charms!

Can it really be that I have neglected this blog for a day short of two weeks? It has not been that I am being lazy here at home though. I have been working away at a couple of projects.

Click photos to enlarge.

Now if you followed both this and my previous blog, you will know that the theme for my quilt group this year is charm quilts. What is a charm quilt you may ask? It is often confused with a scrap quilt. A scrap quilt uses any scraps of fabrics you wish as often or little in the quilt as you like and using any quilt pattern. A charm quilt is a quilt where you use a one patch block ~ postage stamp, triangle, hexagon, kite, apple core, etc. ~ and each block is from a different fabric. It is a quilt that to me speaks of olden days of the past. It is the spirit of 'Little House on the Prairie' for me, a show I grew up watching. Charm quilts are great fun to make with a group as you can help each other with collecting fabrics to use in your quilt.

A quilting friend and I had decided to start cutting postage stamps for each other a couple of years ago as we did other quilt projects. This was long before the group decided to use this as a theme. Postage stamps are squares of fabric measuring 2 inches or less. This is about the size of a postage stamp which is how this quilt got its name. In August, I was working on my organization of my quilt studio and came across our postage stamps once again. I still had them here as this friend and I had planned to sew them together. We used to get together often and sew. Life has taken some tragic turns for her and we don't get together any longer as she no longer has time to quilt. I felt sad thinking this quilt was still not made and decided to give her the little box of fabrics I had cut for her when I saw her next and get started on my own quilt. It felt right to finish this quilt during this year's theme.

While I was sewing them together, I started thinking of names for the quilt. I always give my quilts a name even if I am giving them as gifts. It came to me while I was machine quilting this that life has been so good to me and each blessing seems sewn into this quilt. I have a wonderful husband and we love life together. I am very close to my mother. I immigrated to Holland 23 years ago and have been enriched by having two countries and cultures which I treasure. In the course of the years, I have built up a life with many wonderful friends who come share creativity in my home. I feel so blessed with my online friendships and have even been fortunate enough to meet a number of these people all of whom are really amazing people whom I may not have had the chance to meet otherwise. This year has been a trial for Jos and I. I got sick exactly a year ago and am still on the road to becoming better but still I can reflect on how blessed I feel! So for each of you out there who I call (blogging) friend, thank you! You are a blessing to me.

My charm quilt fever is still going strong and I am working on another one which is using the tumblers block. In the meantime, I am really excited to be able to share this finish with you. It is a 36 inch square quilt. It is going to be perfect to drape over the couch or lay on a table with decorations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Primitive ornaments SAL - An Elf's Work is Never Done!

The 15th almost passed me by this month as we are home enjoying Jos being home for two weeks vacation. But here is the 10th ornament in the Primitive SAL. Now I have to tell you the story of this little ornament...

I realized on Sunday that I only had a short time and the ornament needed finished. So I ran upstairs and grabbed my graph paper and sat down to think. Immediately, my mother's nickname for me popped into my head. She calls me Miss Pickles The Elf. *grins* I pictured making a skinny Elf who looked great in those green tights. HA...in my dreams right? Well, there is nothing wrong with being a chubby Elf. *wink* So here is my rendition on the old addage "A Elf's (woman's) work is never done."

To print the chart, simply click to enlarge and either copy to an email or Word. I forgot to add that I used Carrie's Threads 'Garnet' for red.

I hope you have as much fun stitching this as I had designing it!

I received this photo from Letty with her The Holly and the Ivy ornament finished and hanging on her cupboard door.

Hetty also has completed four of the ornaments so far. She does not have a blog but I can tell you that these are going to be a new addition to her Christmas things for her first Christmas in her new house.

Hetty's The Holly and the Ivy ornament.

Thanks to both of you for sharing your photos. I enjoyed seeing them. Photos can be emailed to the address on my profile page.

My old blog NeedleNecessities is still available and the Primitive ornaments from January through May can be found there.

Remember...it is never too early to start stitching for the holidays...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A witch's curse?

It must be! I started my Halloween Witch's checkerboard recently and just love this design. It is not for lack of enthusiasm most certainly but I am having major problems with this. I definitely think that I have a witch's curse placed on me. How else could I continually make mistakes counting the stitching?

First I recounted the witch three times before I found out that I did not make the mistake in counting the stitches but in having jumped two threads by mistake where her broom goes off diagonally. I went down over two instead of over one. Now I am very Dutch and find it very wasteful to frog this much overdyed thread. On top of that, I don't have more than one card of this thread. Yikes! So I considered stopping and turning her into something else with only a few stars and one Jack 'o lantern. I found a way to make this work keeping my mistake and knowing I will have to repeat this same mistake with the witch's sister on the other side. That is going to be fun...not! But I am up for this challenge or at least so I thought.

I then realized the Jack 'o lantern to the left of the witch (no you don't see it in the photo as it is no longer there) was falling on the wrong line. Again, I smacked myself in the head and thought how could I make such a stupid mistake again! So I did frog this one and started back up at the stars to get my count right. Well...guess what? It was right! I have the Jack 'o lantern to the right wrong. UUGH! Now I have to frog it and put the other one back in.

I cannot remember ever having so much trouble with a chart. But it is not this wonderful chart. I am certain I have a witch's curse. She is laughing at my reflection in her cauldron as she awaits Halloween. But if she does not leave me along soon, she will not have the checkerboard to play with on Halloween night!

I found this fabulous poem online today and just had to share it. It was written just a few years ago and I just loved it to accompany this post...

A Witch

"I’d never like to be a witch
Except on Halloween
To ride upon a bushy broom
Before a full moon’s gleam

A wart upon my crooked nose
I’d hold a big, black cat
And on my long and shaggy hair
There’d be a pointed hat

I’d drink no potions, no, just eat
Those gooey trick-or-treats
I’d get by stopping house to house
Astride my broom’s rough seat

And when the night is over
And morning streaks the sky
I’d leave my haunted mansion
And broom rides wild and high


I’d never like to be a witch
Except on Halloween
To ride upon a bushy broom
Before a full moon’s gleam"

Authors Den/Martha J. Robach

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wise and foolish stitching

A goal achieved feels very good! I set a goal to have one of my major WIPs finished by the end of August. My sampler of the Parable of the 10 Virgins was the piece I choose to finish first. It feels wonderful to know this sampler is completed and can now be framed so I can hang yet another sampler on my sampler walls in our bedroom.

This is a free sampler available from Gigi. It is really beautiful and well worth stitching. I decided to use colors that would work well with the other samplers hanging in my collection. I choose DMC thread ~ 3750, 3781, 730 and 3858. It was stitched on 40 count lambswool linen ~ 1 over 2.

As I have spoken of many times, I like to connect to the past with my stitching and quilting. I think this influences most of the things I do. I also love anything with an alphabet on it! This sampler seemed to call me the moment I first saw it on Gigi's blog for these reasons. In the 18th and 19th century, samplers were becoming more decorative and sophisticated. Biblical references through symbols and verses became common on a sampler. This sampler shows the 10 wise and foolish virgins from the Bible.

For anyone who may not be familiar with the text of this parable, I am including the text...

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."