Monday, August 31, 2009

Latest Aviator -- or Bandit?

An old cushion cover, turned inside out, enrichens the aviator scene with a flamboyant green. In the twilight, a lucky charm (so believe the Chinese) appears, a foreigner, a kind of bird that I have a special liking for, the only no-bird to be in this collection. I often see them in warm nights in our backyard, once we observed a flirting couple of a small species. So quick and silent, almost too fast to be seen, now pinned to the silk.

Update on J's job search. Only the interview will happen in Berlin; the shop is in Hamburg. We'll be going together and spend a day in the capitol, and I'll be waiting for him in a café while he's having this interview. There was another chance, and the boss said, he wants him, but he must be patient, it won't work out too soon. So maybe he decides for the second one. While J was talking about having to sleep under a bridge next year, the headhunters seem to take up his trail.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quilts from traumatized women

Just found a website on a coming exhibition in St. Peterzell, Feldkirch, Austria. An artist, Lucia Feinig-Giesinger, in cooperation with women from Bosnia created art quilts of simple beauty. The artist arranged the tops, the Bosnian women did the sewing and quilting. Click the small grey squares to see them all! The title of the exhibition is "Vernaehte Zeit", "Time Sewn Up", because the women were in a refugee camp and hat a lot of time.
This is the website of Lucia. It is also in English, and there are very moving black and white photos of the women in action. As these quilts are for sale, I dare show two of them.

Lucia Feinig-Giesinger: " I wanted no pity story. The interest for these fades within half a year. I'd prefer people to come for beautiful quilts and hear about the reasons why they were made. They were made for a sad reason. But the message is that something bad can be the soil for something amazing to arise."

Berlin -- we'll be there

Will this be our new hometown?
At least we'll visit the place to celebrate the birthday of J's cousin.
But there may be more happening. J will have an interview about a possible job. Yesterday, there was a letter in our mailbox, 2 months after he sent out an application for a Hamburg furniture shop. The letter read: "Could you imagine to work in Berlin?" He would be leading the shop, not just be a seller, or -- as he wrote in his application -- do the complaints service. J asked me: "Can you imagine to go to Berlin?"

Oh, wow. He can.
It is much too early to think about it. But it is so tempting! This international, mentally open city is so different from our home. So much more spirit, art, intelligence. Interesting people.
Yes, we can imagine to live there. Both of us have relatives and friends in Berlin. My f-i-l was born there, but his Mom left it with her kids, just before a bomb pulverized the house.

All my life I've had a very loose connection to schoolmates and colleagues; it was only self-chosen relationships that mattered. Very often I had the feeling of not communicating at all. And most of my close friends were foreigners, English, Turkish, Tibetans, Japanese.
Am I living in the wrong country? And could Berlin be a step into the right direction?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sparrow and Wren

Latest progress of the bird quilt. Painted onto fabric and quilted. Some birds are visible at first sight; some hide.

I am not trying to make a beautiful quilt, I'm just collecting snippets. The parts of the quilt are so different in style, embroidered, appliqué and painting. It is not consequent, but is meant to look like a collection. Bits from different origin on a heap. Ah, before I forget, this update is for Judy, the background of the moorhen, the moor and dark sky.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Went out last night

Fascinating twilight at half past 8. We went into an Irish pub, hoping for Irish music, but there was none, neither live (as promised in the website) nor from the cd player. We had an Irish beer, and the place looked like a real Irish pub. But that was boring. We walked on. There was a restaurant by one of the canals which make the Hamburg city look a bit like a modern Venice. It was almost empty; was it due to the vacation, or do people hesitate to spend money at the moment? Eat and drink at home? Possibly so.
I was wearing my new jacket.
Later, in another familiar pub, we met friends and had a midnight coffee and cake in a gay pub. That was fun. At last.

Quilting feathers of the Red Grouse

I was thinking how to give the birds an adequate structure. And I thought of using the ripples of the quilting. Now I tried to make them look like feathers. This is meant to be a grouse, in German "Moorhuhn". I never knew it is called Red Grouse. The background is due next.
Piece by piece, the quilt is growing. Slowly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Silk is a wonderful stuff to handquilt

Quilting waves on silk is a very pleasant thing to do. I use parts of a cushion cover, made in India, in a beautiful but too dark ikat pattern. Then again I do some appliqué, but I don't have the patience to turn the edges. So I close them with a hand zigzag stitch that I have become quite familiar since I did the witch gown.

Then I had the idea to cover the flying duck with these stitches all over. It looks like a net. Crazy thing to do, but is it worth the time?
And then there are more chickens from the chickenshack quilt I haven't made into a cushion cover yet. Shame on me.

By the way, there is a wonderful Uzbek ikat for sale, way beyond my wallet, but a museum piece.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Evening in our Town Park

If you live in New York, you have the Central Park which must be way more interesting and beautiful. Hamburg boasts to be the "gate to the world", but in their habits and opinions, people in Hamburg are very conservative and boring. The rich can even be compared to the stiff upper lip English upperclass kind. It might be like some smaller town in the American Middlewest or so. This is the reason why people from different continents seem to enjoy a place where they can live a more joyful lifestyle.
J and I spent a few hours in the largest park of our town. First we had a drink in this very Bavarian beer garden (another reason why we don't have to go to Munich). Then we took a walk. This park is not in the center of Hamburg; there is another about which I made a report sooner. This one is more in the suburbs, and the lawn is HUGE! I knew it is a Sunday pleasure of Hamburg's inhabitants to make a barbequeue. The Turkish started this years ago, and other minorities have followed. There were Latino groups who grilled big steaks, causing a lot of smoke; Africans played football, and some youth went for a little swim in the lake.

There was a good mood and litter all over and big metal containers for the leftovers of smoking coal.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Do you know the moments...

... when you hate the result of your efforts?
I wasn't sure about that bird quilt. I overdid the quilting of the background around the first birds. While working on, I'm quite pleased with the latest parts (working from inside out).
I pieced an old red fabric to have a base. This will be covered completely.

I found that my method of working reminds a lot of the way Jude works. It would be embarrasing to be copying her, and my abilities are way behind. I hope to find my own distinct style. Hand quilting always looks similar. And as she does, I don't plan a quilt, I let it grow.

In the upper left corner there is a painted bird. I guess I'll do some more of that kind (sorry, Rayna...). This textile paint is not as stiff as the acrylics I used before and allows hand-quilting -- which is addictive, I agree! I think I'll be adding more painted and printed parts like the two roadrunners in blue frame.

It is a real slow cloth. Of course, I wasn't getting on during vacation. So when I have time now, I add a piece, and in the evening when sitting with my hubby, I enjoy quilting by hand and listen to the stories being told by the TV, giving the set a glance from time to time. I found out that in most cases you don't have to watch a lot to follow. The Hollywood ritual and the music indicate precisely when it is time to watch.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ironing ahead / Pin Cushions finished

Last week when we went to see J's parents, I asked my m-i-l if she has leftovers from her sewing. She used to do a lot of doll clothes, also custom-made, and clothes to wear. Yes, there were things she wanted to get rid off, and we looked through her stash. Things she wanted to keep were exactly those I was not keen on, and vice versa. So she kept all the pastel flowers, and I got the powerful colours. Happy!

But first, I will cut these cuties apart and sew 3 biscornus for my friend who ordered them.

They will be a giveaway for her colleagues in the museums she works for.

Now the flat squares shall be turned into 3D objects. I start sewing a corner of square A to a midpoint of square B. This means that the next corner of square B will end up at the next midpoint of A. In this way they will alternate until the object will be almost closed. Then I stuff it -- wool is better than batting, because batting blocks the needles when pushed in. Then I pull a thread from the middle of the front side right through the filling to the back and fix it with beads; also small buttons are fine for the purpose. There is no copyright on the patterns, I constructed them after Estonian folk motives, so please feel free to copy them if you like.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Carpenters on the journey, a European tradition

Who are these people? Yesterday, I was lucky to take this picture. They are wandering carpenters. There is a tradition in Germany, in Scandinavia, Belgium, Netherlands and in France: When a carpenter or other building craft apprentice (stonemason, bricklayer, wood or stone sculpturor) has done his journeyman's piece, he goes on a journey. Persons male or female, under 30, single, not in debt, no children, no criminal record: These are the conditions to be allowed by the guild. These guys wear a traditional suit of dark corduroy, a large hat, a twisted stick and a piece of cloth instead of a bag. They ask for jobs, a bed or a meal in rhymes. They take jobs as carpenters and they have a small journal in which their employers sign, so they have a recording of what they have been doing and where. They are not allowed to spend money on bed, meals, and journey. They have to remain at a distance of 50 miles from their homes. They wear an earring; in old times it was ripped out if a carpenter did something illegal; that's why we call a cheating person "split ear". After 2 or 3 years they settle down.

Full Moon

A powerful moon, I agree with Jude. We came back from my p-i-l's place. On the way home, we have to cross the Elbe river via tunnel. As we were riding into the tunnel entrance, I said to J: We are too fast. My spider sense tingled. J said, no, we are allowed this speed. I said, no, you are too fast. He slowed down a bit. At that moment, a car crossed right in front of us, changing trail without using the mirror, obviously. J applied the brakes, and away we got luckily without touching the other car.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Galery is almost finished --- no, finished.

The photo galery on my Denmark Journey is not complete yet, but being updated, whenever there is time to do so. It contains some collections like "found on the beach", "doors of Denmark" and this series of house inscriptions. They were all in German; and they are all older than 1848 which marks the beginning of nationalism in this region and the end of peaceful coexistence for about 100 years. Some places in South Denmark and North Germany saw battles rage. There is a history museum on the strategic point of Dybboel near Soenderborg, see Google Earth. Today, there is a Danish minority in Schleswig-Holstein and a German group in Denmark.
The following pictures are taken from my Aabenraa galery. There are more of these house inscriptions/Christian mesusot, and I added a translation of the motto or blessing in the galery. But I took them out of my blog again, in order to prevent the misunderstanding that Denmark might have converted me into a pious Christian. --
The region has been a center of brickmaking. A square in town is covered with old bricks.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

During the bright hours

This is part of the little bit of embroidery I was able to do in Denmark. The patterns are Estonian again, surprise. And they will be two of the 3 biscornus which my friend C ordered. I started another embroidery I don't really like; it is meant to be an abstract landscape in the colours of the Danish landscapes I saw. The blues of the water, dim shores on the other side, green hedges, ripe wheat fields. I had all the beautiful shades of blue crewel wool and not enough light in the hut. The windows were small, and the lamps took more light than they gave. Alright, when the weather was good enough to embroider outdoors, I was able to do so until half past nine in the evening. And writing the journal + illustrating it with water colour was one of my regularly kept habits. And here is the beginning of my galeries. More is on the way!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Good Morning! I'm home.

Just returned from a wonderful 14 days stay in Denmark with more than 700 pics on my camera. What the hell can you photograph in just 2 weeks? Wait and see... I'll be back in a few minutes.
This is the landscape of southeastern Jytland/Denmark. We rent a cottage (not too small). Jens just unlocks it; the key was hidden near the house, we got a mail with the description.

We had a wood stove for colder evenings, and we did not always have good weather, sometimes the wind was cold. And we had a few rainy days. We visited the castle of Soenderborg and more beautiful places. I will compose a website to show you more as soon as possible. Fiber Art? Did not do much, it was too dark in the house and too windy outside. No internet either, only very few German TV stations -- very good for a real recreation!

In this picture, you can see the German coast on the other side of the fjord. The bad weather always came up from there. We did not care, put on the right clothes, and off we went.