Friday, April 10, 2009

Lessons from my Father and Sewing Machines...

When I began quilting about a dozen years ago,one of the first quilts I ever made was this little wall hanging for my parents. It was an anniversary gift and the four flowers were symbols that represented my 3 siblings and myself. My parent's good friend, B. made the beautiful shelf to hang the quilt.
I made the floral wallhanging before I had ever meandered a quilt. I had an old Kenmore sewing machine that I bought with one of my first pay cheques as a teacher. This is my 31st year of teaching, so that Kenmore was a good investment. It was a good mechanical machine and did most of the things that I needed it to do, for many years. The one thing it couldn't do was meander, because there was no darning foot that would fit the shank for the foot. My friend and teacher L., quilted this wall hanging up for me. Not long after that, for my birthday, my thoughtful husband, Bruce, bought me my Quilter's Dream by Elna. Since that time, I have enjoyed piecing all my quilts on it. I subsequently had the opportunity to quilt on a Juki. Then Bruce later bought me a Baby lock Quilting machine that goes like a hot damn (1100 stitches per minute) that I use only for quilting ( though I could piece with it). It sits on a durable old chrome table that my folks got as a wedding present. The table is a bit high but it is solid so I don't get any shaking when I put my peddle to the metal. The Babylock is good with most kinds of thread and the extended table surface makes it easy to quilt a large quilt without feeling like you are wrestling with a bear.

I love both of my sewing machines and feel fortunate to have them. Still sometimes a girl needs to have dreams....

What kind of machines do you own? What would you own if money was no object? Do you dream of having other kinds of machines and toys to help you quilt?

I think that embroidery is beautiful and often have thought that it might be nice to have an embroidery machine too, but then I think about the cost, versus how much I might use it. Maybe some day if I win the lottery..

Sometimes I think about a long arm machine, but it is not a possibility in our current house; there is just not a space large enough for one. I admire the beautiful designs that one can make with the pantos stencils. However sandwiching the three layers together with fancy quilting is not my passion. I want to quilt my quilts so that they stay together. I enjoy the piecing, creating and playing with the fabrics more than the final quilting part.

What part of the quilting process do you enjoy the most?

Dad's Flower Garden is a vivid floral quilt made from batiks and set with black sashing. The pattern is called "Constant Curves" and is made using a template. I have used other fabrics and used this pattern to create 3 other quilts.

My father celebrated a birthday this week. He and my mother are retired. Dad is a fabulous gardener who loves flowers. These days he has kept busy previewing the seed catalogues and looked for new varieties to add to his Iris collection. He and my sister will enjoy a visit to the local greenhouse in May. They will find some new annuals to plant with the perennials. By summer, his flower beds will be awash with color.
My dad grew up on a farm and is a pretty talented guy. He is very good with his hands and enjoys puttering in his garage. In his later working life, he was a fastidious drywaller. Anyone who had the privilege of having him lay the dry wall was guaranteed to have the walls flush and plumb. He and my son, K. hung the wall board in his garage. K. has learned many wonderful lessons from his beloved Poppa. K.often would be found following my dad around, exploring in his tools and helping him do the jobs that many young boys love.

Lessons from my Father

My dad taught me to have high standards and to always give it my best effort.
A job that was worth doing could only be called finished, if it was the best that one could do.
Buy the best quality that you can afford and take care of your belongings.
Be a good neighbour and help out others when you can.
Think before you speak- ill spoken words can hurt.
Kindness and thoughtfulness can go a long way towards making this world a better place.

A hard days work never hurt anyone.
I am responsible for the choices that I make.
Treat your elders respectfully- both with words and deeds.
If you make a mess clean it up.
Keep the coffee pot on in case some one drops by.

These are just some of the values that I was taught as a child.

My dad is a private kind of guy so this post may make him feel a bit uncomfortable. However I wanted to tell him how much he is loved and appreciated. Happy birthday Dad - may you long continue to enjoy time fishing, gardening, puttering and having coffee with your wide circle of friends.

This weekend we will go visit my folks. They still live in the house in which I grew up. The drive takes about 2 hours. I look forward to the time spent with my husband without other distractions.

It has warmed up here in Alberta and much of the snow is gone. Perhaps we will find some buds popping their heads up in my father's flower beds. It will be awhile before the beds will be rich with color but it will be nice to see some spring greenery. I love spring flowers- tulips, daffodils and such- they remind me that spring brings with it life's renewal.

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend. May you enjoy some good times with your family.


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