Friday, 26 September 2014

Oga quilt done

So finally the horse quilt is ready. Weather is bad so for now there will be no better pictures.

It is very special quilt for me as this horse was born right in my arms, I was the one who opened the sack and since then I watched the baby growing. Now it belongs to my good friend and I can assure you that Oga is one very well pampered horse.

The quilt has an official name as well - after our folk song "Tumša nakte, zaļa zāle" (Dark night, green grass)

I'm quite happy with what I achieved with the quilt. I wanted to concentrate mostly on quilting, and I think it has starting to improve. Still a lot of learning to do, but at least I see some light at the end of tunnel.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Ode to Singer

While the starch is drying out on the back for Oga quilt, I can finally tell the story I promised to tell long ago, about my oldest and most loved Singer (model 16K , serial number J1652230).

My grand granparents, 1906
When my grand grand mother Ann Beitan married Theodor Ozolin in 1906, they got a posh and useful wedding present from Ann’s mother Trine Beitan – this sewing machine.

The life was full of promises for them. Ann was a daughter of a wealthy farmers and Theodor – a teacher and an aspiring scientist.

My grandomother, 1908
But these were troubled times around – the waves of the Revolution of 1905 hadn’t settled jet and many were arrested, including Theodor, leaving pregnant Ann alone.  Theodor never returned. In prison he cought TB and died soon after their little daughter Zenta was born in December 1907. 

Ann never re-married. She returned back to farm and raised her daughter, sewing one fancy dress after another for her little orphaned princess.
When the First World War started, Ann had no illusions – her darling sewing machine was in danger as Russian army was well known for looting, so still new and shiny, Singer was wrapped in endless layers of oil cloth, packed in an old butter box and drowned in the pond, while empty wooden box was left open in the attick. 

Ann’s decission was wise as farm happened to stand right on the way of Russian and German armies the whole war. If my granny counted right, different armies walked in and out of their farm 17 times during the WWI. 

My grandomother, 1930
When all settled, the sewing machine emerged from the depths of the pond, but a lot of shine has gone, and rust had cut its teeth in. But it still worked, and was perfect to provide my grandma with fashionable outfits for her college years while she studied accountancy and farm management.
My mum 1937
When my grandma married, she took sewing machine with her, and produced many fancy outfits for her little precios princess (my mum). Sadly, her marriage also didn’t lasted long, but that’s another story. My grandma spent hours on this sewing machine right until 1987, when she died, and my mum took over. 

Now this sewing machine belongs to my youngest daughter who is learning to sew on it right now.  

Friday, 12 September 2014

OGA top

Today I completed the top of Oga quilt. This time no short cut applique, only proper paper piecing.

The quilt already has official name and the song to go along to it but that all I hope to tell next time when the quilting will be done.

The quilt is quite large, about 110X110".

The background is very bare this time, but I want to play a bit with fancy quilting.

The rough borders might seem strange but they do have meaning. 

This is the sign of Usins, the god of horses, bees and light in Latvian mythology. The symbol of Usins represents the Sun's chariot - the part in the middle represents the chariot, while the two E's - the horses. 

 So this symbol's job is to protect Oga, the horse in the center.
At the corners I put so called Laima’s broom - the symbol to bring luck. Laima is goddess of Destiny; she determines whether one's life will be short or long, fruitful or poverty-stricken, carefree or worrisome. Laima’s broom is among the most acient of Baltic symbols.

This symbol's job is to bring luck to the horse and her owner. 
This sign belongs to Zalktis (grassnake). Zalktis is the deity of general well-being and fertility, a sacred creature protected by goddess Laima, known also as the envoy of other gods. To harm one brings terribly bad luck. This sign is very ancient, also dating from the Iron Age, and is seen often on the borders of shawls.

So this will take care of general well-being of the owner. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014


These are not only two nice bolettes, these are also the symbol of Jumis and are supposed to bring me luck. 
We have had plenty of rain for past few weeks and now forests are bursting with mushrooms, especially boletes.
We are rather paganic nation, with loads of gods and deities roaming around our culture. One of such deities is Jumis who personify the harvest.

This deity was believed to live in the fields thus the symbol of Jumis is two stylized, crossed corn stalks, and we believe this symbol is one of prosperity and good fortune.
Any Jumis signs, found in nature (like two nuts grown together, or like in this case – two boletes) were kept at home for prosperity and fertility – simply the good luck sign, similar like four-leaf clover

Anyway, autumn is in the air and first jars of mushrooms and Rowan Berry jelly are stored away already. 

I also started to tidy up slowly my this year's scrap bag. It’s not even a project yet and maybe never will, but at least instead of unruly bags with rubbish I can stack some neat blocks.  

Oh, and I already have started a new project. After pheasants comes the horse. 

It’s not just a horse, it’s THE horse – one rather feisty red mare, who will gallop all over this  quilt. Her name is Oga. So, Oga quilt is on the table now.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

O happy day! I'm back!

Skipping and dancing around the table! I finally ... FINALLY.... finished quilting the pheasant quilt! Hurrah!

I must admit there were moments when I was ready to rip it apart, wrap tightly and hide in the deepest drawer, or drown in the sea...

Right now, before washing, it contains about two pints of my own sweat ( I carried on at +38 C in shade), daily from March till August. And now the quilting is done. My biggest project so far. And hardest.

I took advice about practicing on quilting, and slowly I'm getting there. The quilt is very densely quilted, just for practice, overall about 25 standard 400 Y spools of yarn for the top (the same amount went for the bobin). Of course, there are still plenty of mistakes, but I can see some improvement in my quilting so it was well worth it.

Tomorrow it will be washed and all that, but in general it's DONE! WHOOP-WHOOP!

So now it's time to tidy up the scrap bag - the minute pieces of scrap had built up past the last 6 months. Already divided the leftpvers into three colour schemes and will put as much of these bits together - plenty for few quite large blocks. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Finally getting there

Right. I finally did it - I started quilting the pheasant quilt. It has no deadlines, so I probably will be having fun the whole July over it but who cares - I started it. 

It's not a show quilt, it will be tested by dogs and cats, so I'm not afraid of rough environment while making it - it must be ready for spinning in washing machine instead of gentle "dry clean" only approach so as it was a nice sunny day,  I got my sunbathing gear on and voila! Birds singing, butterflies passing and right beyond these little pines is sea.
Here, see - it's a proof! I do take holidays seriously, you know. 

Sometimes (only sometimes) life can be sooo good!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Free motion quilting

While in general I’m still doing nothing, there are others working hard for me. Yesterday I studied a bit of free motion quilting.... by sea. 
 I must admit, sea is an expert and creates some fantastic stuff even without a long arm machine. 

Look at these beauties!
So it is rather difficult to open the sewing machine still - competition is too hard! 
There are so many distractions – all around here is pine forest and as I have discovered, the first chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius) of the season are out! Yay! They are gorgeous in cream sauce. 

Och, and then there was the Summer Solstice to celebrate which we do all night long (the next day is public holiday here). Big bonfires, a lot of singing and dancing with ocassional beer and BBQ on the side... One must have time to recover after that, right?  
So I’m spending more time lurking around and watching the Nature doing all the jobs.