Sunday, January 31, 2016

Donna's Runner....Log Cabin Batik

 Log Cabin, Barn Raising, Sunshine and Shadow, Straight Furrow......whatever you call it, it's steeped in dark  and light. A centre square, symbolizing hearth, or heart, always in red, and straight pieces radiating outside. Dark and Light. Sun and Shade. Just like life. Just like the home.

 It starts with paper piecing for the squares. In pioneer times it would have been fabric, numbered and ruled.Gives the squares a lot of stability.
 Stitching on the back side of the pattern.
 Using a light to see ow the fabric lies in relation to the lines.
 Then it's stitch. Dark and Light. The spokes and logs. Stitch and Stitch and Stitch....
 Checking to see how it lines up.
 Trimming as you go  along, so that there isn't too much fabric hanging around.
 Pressing the log cabin squares.
 You can see the sunshine and shadows forming.
 Even Bo wants in on everything. She loves the "Happy Lite" I use for sewing.
 This was my first format. All Log Cabin blocks. But wasn't crazy about it.
 I was trying to keep it to 68 inches. It was a tad longer than I wanted.
 Time for the border. I  had a good look at other patterns,and decided on "piano keys". That meant sewing  strips of fabric together till I had a long segment.
 I changed the middle square to a batik "Fox and Geese" square. I thought it  made the runner settle better, with the log cabin on the outside.
 Then the border was added. Fabric cut into "keys" like a piano keyboard.
 And stripped with a great green. Makes everything pop. The first signed Log Cabin quilt was discovered in 1869.These days I just sew my label into the corner.
 Time to back and fill. I like a fairly flat filler for runners. Easier to machine quilt.
 My two cats, Bo and Bunny  were extremely helpful.
 Though, Bunny forgot her duties and went to the door to see Smokey.
 Then it was back at the batting and the backing. I discovered, when I was reading up on this quilt, that there were Log Cabin designs from the 1700's in Scotland.I had no idea. I thought it was fairly recent.
 But the earliest Log cabin pattern can be found in Egypt, on the mummies of animals. The unmistakable pattern of interlocking log cabin wrapped around the bodies. I would like to know who was the  enterprising soul who noticed it.
 Machine quilting is something I never used to do. But I have discovered Free Arm quilting. It's fast and  fabulous!
 And in about two hours can do a runner like this ( 68x32") so quickly.
 For binding I  used up leftover strips, so sewed a ton of different fabrics together. I didn't cut on the bias, too fussy for me. I just strip them straight on, then iron the edge and sew it onto the quilt.
 From start to finish this large wide runner took about five days to make.
 All covered with swirlies.
 Awash with batik, log cabin sings. And it's Bunny approved....

Friday, January 29, 2016

In praise of "Stolen Child"

 There's something about classic poetry that gushes and coils through the brain. It's unforgettable. I've been learning celtic songs  written from the poetry of William ButlerYeats . Now I find myself reading his works, immersing myself in  that celtic imagery. SO beautiful. This poem was set to music by Loreena McKennitt in 1985.  It paints a haunting picture of a child being stolen by the faeries....well worth a listen.Well worth a read. Again and again.
 STOLEN CHILD ( 1889)  by William Butler Yeats:  Where dips the rocky highland of Sleuth Wood in the lake, there lies a leafy island where flapping herons wake.
 The drowsy water rats; there we've hid our faery vats, full of berries and of reddest stolen cherries. Come away, o human child" To the waters and the wild, with a faery , hand in hand. For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
 Where the wave of moonlight glosses the dim gray sands with light,Far off by farthest Rosses we foot it all the night.
 Weaving olden dances, mingling hands and mingling glances, Till the moon has taken flight;
 To and fro we leap and chase the frothy bubbles, while the world is full of troubles and is anxious in its sleep.
 Come away, O  human child! To the waters of the wild
 With a faery hand in hand, for the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
 Where the wandering water gushes from the hills above Glen-Car,
 In pools among the rushes that scarce could bathe a star,
 We seek for slumbering trout and whispering in their ears
 Give them unquiet dreams' Leaning softly out
 From ferns that drop their tears.
 Over the young streams...
 Come away O human Child! To the waters and the wild
 With a faery, hand in hand, for the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
 Away with us he's going, the solemn-eyed;
 He'll hear no more the lowing of the calves on the warm hillside
 Or the kettle on the hob sing peace into his breast,
 Or see the brown mice bob round and round the oatmeal chest.
 For he comes , the human child to the waters and the wild
 With a faery;hand in hand, from a world more full of weeping than he can understand.
 "Stolen Child" was first published in Dec 1886 in the Irish Monthly. Yeats was fascinated with fairies and celtic stories.  I found this in one of my old poetry books, with the cover ripped off and the pages torn and stained. But the poem intact.
 He was a Symbolist poet, influenced by T.S. Eliot,  and William Blake, and  involved in politics for a good while, during his lifetime.  Yeats died Jan 28th 1939 in France, 77 years ago , yesterday....