Monday, August 31, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

On Building Walls

Humans must have been building walls since the beginning of time. First, to keep animals out, and to protect the members of the clan who were ‘in’. Then, to keep invaders out.

China's Great Wall, picture taken from here

To protect cities in difficult times.

City Wall of Nördlingen (Germany), photo taken from here

Later on, when cities were growing, the walls around them were torn down to make room for new citizens, new houses, new developments. Walls had proven to be a hindrance!

But they came back. Walls to keep people fenced in, as in concentration camps. And then, in the bizarre development of the Cold War, a whole country was turned into a huge concentration camp, the ‘Berlin Wall’ (and its counterparts on the other borders of the German Democratic Republic) was built because too many people were leaving the country. Thirty-five years, and then it fell, because the people within weren’t taking it any longer.

The Wall enclosing Berlin, picture taken from here

You can find more pictures of the Berlin Wall here. 

That end of the Berlin Wall came twenty-five years ago – and one would assume that humanity might have learned something from history.
But no, we are building new walls. In Israel.

Wall between Palestine and Israel, picture taken from here.

In the United States.

The Wall between USA and Mexico, picture from today's Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In France, to ‚protect’ the Eurotunnel so that refugees cannot get to England illegally.

"Security" Fence at the Eurotunnes, picture taken from here.

And now Hungary, the country that first took steps to open the communist wall, has finished the construction of its new wall – against refugees trying to reach Europe. Just imagine how much help could have been given to the refugees if the amount of money which went into the construction of that wall, had been spent on food and water for the refugees instead, on investments in the countries they are running away from?

Wasn’t it an American President who demanded that the Soviet Leader tear down that wall? To me, right now, it seems as if this is the wrong film. Do we really think walls are a solution to the problem?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer attack

My son’s summer vacation cabin fever attack this year was slightly more severe than usual, and definitely more severe than we were counting on.
It has presented us with a fish pond (though, luckily, a small one) in our back yard. That kept him occupied for a few days, including catastrophes such as a leading plastic foil and a re-construction by buying a sturdy tank. Tomorrow he is going to camp for 10 days and we will have to take care of the fish.

First version - with a plastic foil
Second version, with a tub, still waiting for completion

This keeps parents on their toes, and quilting is unfortunately more on the backburner than in the focus of attention. But I managed to progress my quilt for SAQA’s diaspora exhibition beyond the nibbling-stage, after which the final machine-able seams didn’t take very long.

Then I re-planned, or better: redesigned the text I will stitch on, and just now have returned from the printer where I had it printed to size. So this afternoon will probably – hopefully be spent tracing the letters onto avalon so I will be able to transfer the outlines onto the top.

And I received a very special Syrian Thank-you-'note'. One of the refugees is an upholsterer, and has repaired a chair of mine, which had a rip in the seating.

taking off the old piece...

Now it matches my great-great-grandfather's wing chair, because we could use a piece of leftover fabric from when the old chair was redone ten years ago. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thread Spool Device, II

As promised yesterday, here are photos of my newest achievement.
This is the basic construction, with all the metal holders put into place, On the spur of the moment I decided to go for an alternating arrangement of the holders instead of the strictly regular arrangement which I had been calculating with when ordering the holders in the hardware store. Now I have a couple left over, but as there is room for extension to the right and the left side, I am certain there will be a time when the left-over holders will also be put to use.

Right now I don't need all places because there are not quite that many spools to put up yet. But as I am planning to extend my collection to be able to offer longarm quilting with a third kind of thread as opposed to the two kinds I have right now I am sure that these holders will not remain empty very long.

Here is another pretty perspective: face on into thread spools!

I finished the binding of my first pantograph-patterned quilt, too. It is a sampler of star blocks I had been using to teach a local workshop and just never put together and finished. Now that the longarm made things so much easier, it will finally find its purpose as a donated prize for a lottery for a local organization that supports families with Down-syndrome children.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Thread Spool Device

My husband is very supportive of my quilting activities, and I have repeatedly acknowledged his advice and willingness to carry rotary irons down into thebasement, or large sewing tables up to the first floor, or to assemble longarm machines  over a series of several days.
But for various reasons (which I understand and regretfully respect) he would never make me something as beautiful as this thread spool holder, which I saw recently in Barbara Lange’s   work room. 

Her husband is a fantastic woodworker and makes all kinds of cool stuff like this. She wouldn’t rent him out, though, and to be honest I did not dare ask him directly... But as my boxes in which I had been keeping my large thread spools (and which I have written about on my German blog here) were getting too small, especially now that I stocked up on threads for the longarm machine, I figured I had to find a solution.
After some thinking and several trips to hardware stores I had made up my mind as to what I was going to do. Loosely based on the thread spool storage I had seen in the room I was teaching in in Landshut a couple of years ago, I developed a plan.
I got myself a wooden board, screws, and various pieces of equipment.

I took exact measurement

and then I started attaching six metal bars that can hold supports for shelf boards. 

The board is larger than I need right now - first calculations mentioned up to 90 spools, a number which I don't have right now, if I am correct (haven't counted, actually), but assume that I could reach in not too far a future. But I can add a few more of those metal bars. My husband's battery-driven screw-driver was very helpful, but as I have some experience in putting up shelves entirely on my own I had not expected any difficulties in this stage of the evolution of the project.  (The only difficulty I encountered was when I was trying to bring this board home from the store on my bike, and I had to throw out all my womanly pride and call my husband to come and pick me up, uh, well, the board. And then he told me he had been expecting me to call...!)
Anyway - it's finished. And I will install all the holders on it tomorrow and  put it in the workroom .