Gifts of love

February 14, 2016

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day !

This small heart,  made of joyful scraps weaved together like a tapestry of friendship and love between us all, is my gift for you. I had so much pleasure sewing it slowly, seeing how simple stitches could create such movement on the various materials (cotton and wild silk). This is just the beginning of a new technique I discovered in a book by Claire Wellesley-Smith “Slow Stitch” (mindful and contemplative textile art).

DSC02044.JPGMany Valentine’s gifts of all kinds are shown in our shops. I chose a window presenting books for children. Love stories with happy endings, questions like “What is Love” ? and many more tales about those unforgettable friendships with a beloved dog, a horse or a rabbit.Maybe these books will remind you of those of your childhood or the ones you read to your kids later on ?  I do remember “The Family Bear’s Picnic”, a book brought back from the States and that I read countless times to my sons. Being in English, I had to translate this story for them every evening for quite a long time. Sometimes I would not find the very same word as the night before and…it was a drama: “No, no, Papa Ours  (bear) did not say that !” or “His sandwich was made with ham and not cheese”! Memories of love that made me smile today.DSC02029.jpgNature offers us hearts  and signs of love in places you do not always expect them. Like this  piece of snow stuck between two branches and that I had not noticed when taking the picture. In fact, I was more attracted by the setting sun caught in the forest. Hasn’t it got a shape of a heart too ?hiver, baies rougesAnd here is another gift of friendship and gratefulness for you on Valentine’s Day. Thankfulness for your visits and support even though I have not been regularly posting and visiting you these days. This is the landscape I saw this morning as I opened the shutters of the chalet up in the Alps. I am never tired of looking at it, morning or evening, at sunrise or sunset, in Winter or in Summer.DSC02062.JPGWishing you well on Valentine’s Day and on the other days too 🙂

Isabelle

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Hints of Spring

April 15, 2014

Did you think Spring had come ? I did too last March. Then one morning I felt everything looked too white, too cold.  Different. A patch of Winter had covered the landscape. Again. Just to give us a fright. It did not last long though.   DSC00321 When snow melted, the soil got warmer by the day and little by little tiny flowers, daisies, appeared in the grass. Some were quicker to open to the sun, others  more shy, stayed asleep. DSC00408 Dialogue between two cotton sheets in the open. “What is Isa thinking to hang us outside today ? Early March is too cold and what a Siberian wind this morning !!”.  “I know, I am freezing. Let’s huddle up together, get warm and dry. Isa will come over, bring us down into her basket and put us back nicely onto our beds”. Spring washing Hiding in the grass ? I saw you, pretty white primrose. You made my day. Thank you. DSC00356 Spring can affect some animals, apparently not these quiet cows grazing along the railway road. As I and other passengers were waiting for the train back in Fribourg, we were told that the train would have an indeterminate delay. We waited as the same message was repeated again and again. Finally we knew what it was all about :  heifers were on the tracks and  all trains from Zurich to Geneva (half of Switzerland, North-South) were delayed. Maybe it was the cows’  first day out in the pastures  after a long stay in the barn ? Such an excitement and joy ! There must have been some serious gap in a fence somewhere  too. Fortunately nothing wrong happened to anybody, the cheerful cattle was driven back home and the train moved on. Missed connections but more time to admire the scenery.DSC00368   Spring can also make you feel more tired. This is my case. I do not seem to be the only one… I was looking for Nino at home, no sign of him. I found him upstairs, dozing lazily on a comfy quilt, eyeing gently at an exotic parrot. Oh well, change of Season, you know.quilt, Nino, KOSince we are in a patchwork mood, let me show you my new Spring project. Something I have been planing to sew for a long time : a picnic blanket for Summertime. All different scrappy squares, economy blocks or diamond in diamond. I really enjoy going through my leftovers boxes. The quilt is far from being finished; I plan to separate each square with a plain fabric, white or green.  Spring has just started and I hope to sit in the open on this blanket next Sumer. How I love picnics ! DSC00448Just a few touches of my Spring that I felt like sharing with you, hoping yours is pleasant too. Any project on the way ?

rusty quilt

February 21, 2014

It all started about one year ago after I visited a friend’s exhibition near my home. My friend is a sculptor, someone who looks at things she finds here and there in a way you and I may not always do. Marie-Chantal collects driftwood, pebbles, metallic parts, all kinds of abandoned objects transformed over  time and permanent evolution. Corroded steel is probably her favourite material to create her sculptures. She associates stone to solidity, wood is her symbol of evolution,  paper means malleability, glass she uses for transparence. Marie-Chantal likes to cite the philosopher Heraclite :

“The absence of consistency of things which move endlessly, never stay like they  were originally and that can transform themselves into their contrary”

To show you how her sculptures look like, you may wish to open this link on her website and see how inspired I was by her creativity :

http://www.marie-chantalcollaud.ch/fr/galeries-serie-1.html

http://www.marie-chantalcollaud.ch/fr/galeries-serie-3.html

Here is the result of my inspiration.

rusty quiltA quilt made little by little putting together many scraps. Rough and soft materials that looked “rusty” to me, textures like gunny, raffia, corduroy,  copper threads, cotton, linen, wool or softer fabrics like gauze and raw silk.

DSCN1280
rusty quilt 2 détails

DSCN1281It was a challenge to work with  materials whose texture did not always blend in nor fit perfectly with others. I used my scraps like Marie-Chantal used her little bits of stone, wood, corroded steel or glass. Looking differently at  things bring you lots of joy too.

And now, a long delayed work that I look forward to create. More scraps and more memories, dear ones. Pieces of materials, handkerchiefs, aprons, pillow cases, napkins and more that belonged to my mother. i am not sure yet what I will do at the end but I do look forward to remember moments, events, words and thoughts as I will sew these small pieces together.

scraps mamannew quilt with scraps

Broken landscapes

March 5, 2013

For the past two years, I have been sewing this quilt by hand, on and off. I started assembling  fabrics after the shock and distress I  felt when  a major earthquake hit the  Eastern coast of Japan in March 2011. The earthquake triggered  powerful tsunami waves devastating everything on its way and caused nuclear accidents. Friends of mine were living in the same area. They barely escaped this disaster but so many, many people lost their life, were injured and are missing. Towns, villages were destroyed, homes broken, roads and railways heavily damaged,  whole landscapes disappeared.

quilt Japan, 3

 

The quilt is better looked at from the bottom to the top. This is how I started assembling my thoughts and fabrics. Scraps of materials like the broken pieces of a familiar world that suddenly was “deconstructed” by powerful  and unstoppable natural elements. Layers of fragments and leftovers remaining after the devastation. Phases of life after the tragedy.

dét 4Huge black and fatal waves reaching the shore, blowing away and destroying everything   on its way, leaving only  unrecognizable bits and pieces.

dét 3

Destructive waves moving further inside the country, over scattered parts of houses and objects that were discarded and that used to be part of people’s life.

dét 2

Little by little as waves receded, life went on when men and women overcame their indescribable fear, loss and distress.  With immense joint efforts, resilience and great courage, people started reconstructing homes, birds found their way in a nature that slowly came back to life.

dét 1

The top part of the quilt is sewn with  some Japanese fabrics. Symbols and tribute to  the People of Japan, survivors of  many tragedies, moving on with life courageously, great willpower and hope.

The quilt below, “Friendship Squares”, is one I sewed several years ago; it was sent with many other quilts made by quilters all over the world to various Japanese rescue associations that distributed them to people in need after the devastating events in 2011. My quilt was not very large, but I like to imagine it  warmed the body and heart of a child.quilt, carrés d'amitié

calendar quilt

February 21, 2011

No, Summer has not come yet in Switzerland 😉 far from it ! These pictures were taken last Spring when I almost finished the top of a quilt started one year earlier, in January 2009. It is a calendar quilt. Each month I sewed together 30 or 31 pieces of different materials – scraps from other quilts –  according to the Season or  to a particular day : a heart for Valentine’s Day in February, roses for June or  a bare trees pattern for November, for instance.

January, February, March

April, May, June

July, August, September

October, Novembre, December

The months being all sewed, I still had quite a few scraps left. Scraps of scraps…   Beautiful ones too. So, what to do ? Thankfully was inspired by another quilter’s work and decided to sew together all those real small left-over pieces. It was quite an adventure, one which created an incredible amount of threads and tiny fabric confetti that spread  (I spread involuntarily) all over the house.

“Why are you making this “Benedictine work”” asked my Dad one day as he was visiting us ? (a French expression meaning a painstaking task, “un travail de Bénédictin”). An expression that most certainly was related to the immense work these monks accomplished when they copied manuscripts of classical authors and so preserved valuable books that otherwise would have been lost. The Benedictine monks also kept records of the most striking events of their time and acted as chroniclers of the medieval history of the Middle Ages. So much for history and quilting 🙂

Which reminds me… I must bring you some day to an interesting museum in my town : The Gutenberg Museum.

Now, to go back to the calendar quilt, my idea was to border it with more beautiful scraps. Which I did.

Underneath are a few examples of these borders before I added them to the quilt.

And here is the end result, a quilt of about 1m50 x 2m20.  I am very happy to have given a sort of  “second life” to my scraps .  I feel like  using  more of them in the future and I certainly will. Many colourful scraps are waiting in various ancient tin boxes  to be part of another quilt.

Quilting and embroidering the  names of the months  still need to be made but this is probably my favourite part and I look forward to this. A very relaxing work where thoughts  and  stitches meander along the quilt.

Et pour Karma, http://karmardav.wordpress.com/

another picture in close-up of the three months, January, February, March.

Winter colours

March 10, 2009

Back blogging after some busy time. Generally nothing has changed much… Winter is still here,  not really looking like leaving soon and giving way to Spring. Snow is falling almost every day with sometimes a ray of sunshine. Real happiness ! Mostly though the main shade you see all around is  grey and white and it makes you dream of colours.  Plenty of colours !neyruz-garden-jams-diary-006“Let the Spring come in !”

A good time for staying inside and quilt, one of my favourite activities in every season.  Through Flickr I came across this blog I visited with great pleasure :

http://calendarquiltchallenge.blogspot.com/

It inspired me to look for my scraps of  bright and colourful fabrics. Soon I started sewing my own calendar quilt. Here are the three first months of this year, Winter colours I imagined for January, February and March.calendar-quilt-spring-001Thanks to everyone on Calendar quilt challenge for their wonderful blog and creativity.

One of my favourite colours is orange. Looking around for this warm shade that would brighten up  my Winter, I spotted a basket full of  oranges, so juicy and sweet, just begging to be put into jars… Which I did ! more colours, scents, the cardamon, cinamon and vanilla adding a touch of sunshineneyruz-garden-jams-diary-004Those are the colours of my Winter, shades that look and taste good. Colours that  sooner or later will bring back Spring  !

forgotten strips

February 16, 2009

forgotten-stripsThere was this old wooden trunk that had sat in the garret for ages.  I knew it belonged to a family member who had travelled to North America in the late 19th century. He and his family settled somewhere in the state of Wisconsin, and lived  there for quite  a few years. For unknown reasons to me, part of the family came back to Europe (France). Again the sea trunk was part of the journey  home. It was transported here and there along the  years and the various movings until I received it from my own grandfather before he left for his own journey. And since then the trunk has been waiting patiently, up in the garret of the house until someone curious would open it !

I did so a few years ago  and was very surprised to find several sorts of thin and colourful materials (lining). Some of them were already cut and sewn together in narrow strips, others lay untouched on the flowery paper that covered the inside of the trunk. I have no idea who could have sewn these pieces of fabrics together, nor what their use would have been. On a cool and grey weekend I  decided to start sewing them together. Just the way the strips of materials  were assembled, sometimes adding a piece here and there to get more or less  the same lenght. Here is the beginning of a wall hanging (maybe but maybe not?) I sewed with some of these forgotten strips. More are waiting to be added.bouts-de-bouts

I am not sure yet how this pannel will look like when all the fabrics will be sewn together.  But I am  so enjoying the journey though !  The crossing over the Atlantic in a ship of  La Compagnie Transatlantique where many other hopeful passengers had embarked for a new life in America. Then travelling further from New York to Wisconsin,  finding work, settling down, raising a family, learning a new language and way of life. All so different from the mountainous forest area they had left back home.  Years later the family separated, the children stayed in America, the parents came back to Europe. If the trunk could speak… what stories would it tell ?