Friday, 29 April 2011

Totally New Look

Now here is a totally new direction! What a change from Japanese murky silk fabrics!

Modern Cot Quilt Fabrics
As many of you may have heard over Easter we set up a Modern Quilt Guild - this is a huge worldwide movement for 'modern quiltmakers'. These are quilters who like to use some of the modern quilt fabrics in traditional quilts. Most of these quilters are making quilst that are not complicated but use stunning clear coloured fabrics. Spots, stripes, plains and geometrics seem to be more popular than multi-coloured florals.

So this is going to be my first attempt at a 'modern quilt'. Or maybe I should say second as I did make a Triangle Quilt as a class sample over Christmas. It used the hot pink Kaffe Fassett fabrics set in amongst plain white. This a photo taken when the quilt was on the design wall - sorry I don't have a better one at home - the sample is at work.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend the new cot quilt will be completed ready for you to see.

If you would like to find out  more about the Auckland Modern Quilt Guild go to or Google modernquiltguild to find the original group info - it was set up in Los Angeles several years ago as an on-line group, but most groups now have meetings and sew days as well.

I am off now to see if the Royal Wedding has actually started yet.


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Another Japanese Quilt Block

I am pleased with the progress I am making on these blocks - sometime soon I am going to have to decide how I am going to put them together. The original idea was three long panels with applique blocks alternating with sashiko blocks. But as with most projects, those thoughts are changing. I am not so sure that I like the sashiko block so it might have to go and the basic revisted. Maybe the applique blocks will alternate with a pieced block form Susan Briscoe's
 book instead.

This block is all appliqued on at even intervals around the circle. In her Japanese Quilt Block book Susan Briscoe gives good instructions about how to get these petals evenly spaced. All you need is protractor and a compass - I haven't used these tools for many years, but now realise just how useful they are to get circles the right size and petals evenly spaced around a circle. I am sure I will use this technique again in the future - it does make placement easy.

I have my Japanese Group in at work today so I must take these blocks in with me.


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Taupe Cushions

Today I gave one of my newphews and his new wife a set of taupe cushions to go on their new lounge suite.They got married a few months ago having returned from several years in London and are setting up their first home together - how exciting is that for them.

Their lounge suite is a medium taupe colour so as you can imagine that I had plenty of suitable fabric to make cushions for them. I raided my stash of woven taupes and made these five cushions.

The Collection

This is the first one I made - one piece of fabric with a large feature button pulling it in tightly. It is actually pulled in much tighter than it looks in the photo. This was Deb's favourite - she just loved the big button with its vintage painted look.

The next one was five strips of medium woven taupes pieced together with a plain back.

This one has a flap like an envelope - I made the flap and added it into the top seam. I have quilted the underneath fabric with serpentine stitch going across on the diagonal both ways. Serpentine is a wavy stitch on my Bernina that I use a lot a sit create the curves automatically and I am not a great machine quilter. I really prefer hand quilting.

The next one was just a stunning piece of fabric that I picked up at a Quilt Show in Japan - no I didn't have to stitch on all those little cross stitches - thankfully the fabric came like this.

The final cushion is one piece of fabric quilted in straight lines. I quilted across on the diagonal from corner to corner first and then filled that half of the cushion with parallel quilting lines about an inch apart. The other half I did a line from the centre of the first diagonal line out to the corner and then quilted each section in two different directions. This gave a nice texture to this cushion without distracting from the fabric.


Friday, 22 April 2011

Japanese Quilt Block

I have finished off the next applique block. It has embroidery  on top of the applique.

I did the embroidery with the some silk thread that I picked up in Japan.
It looked really nice in the hank, but was not that great to work with - it shredded quite quickly.
I think I will go back to the Japanese Cosmo threads which are cotton but do have a slight sheen. I love them.  They are easy to work with - come  on rolls of just two strands and are nice to stitch with.

The weather in Taupo imrpoved this afternoon and we went for a long walk down the Waikato River to the Huka Falls. This is such a picturesque walk, especially at this time of year when the Autumn colour is just starting.

Sashiko Block

This is the latest in the Japanese Quilt Block series. I have done some sashiko this time from Susan Briscoe's book "Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match".

Tsuta - Ivy Leaf
I have used Cosmo Embroidery Thread instead of sashiko threads.
I used red and chocolate - four strands of chocolate and and two strands of red.

I nearly have the next applique one ready so hope to share that one with you very soon.
We are on holiday in Taupo and the weather is cool and a bit overcast so there is time for sewing.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Japanese Quilt Block Number 3

It is such a rainy day here in Auckland that the sewing room just kept on calling. I started the morning by quilting four Little Quilts that we make for NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit). These little quilts are just 20" by 24" so are fun and quick to quilt. And I get such good feedback from the staff and parents a the hospital who received these quilts that I just have to keep on going making more.

Last night I finished the next block from Susan Briscoe's Japanese Quilt Block book - I am so enjoying making these blocks with my old kimono scrap bag fabrics.
Japanese Quilt Block # 3

For applique I use the long, thin Jeanna Kimble Straw Needles and Clover Silk thread 
colour # 39. I use the freezer paper technique as I seem to get  a better finish 
with this method than iI do with needle turn.


Taupe Pin Cushion

My week has been very busy, but I have still squeezed in a little bit of sewing time, 
so I almost have the next Japanese Quilt Block stitched. 
Then it will be time for some sashiko blocks to add to the applique ones I think.

On Thursday night I had Pin Cushion Club. 
Each month we get together to make a new pin cushion and learn a new technique.
This is the first in the series of ten that we are going to make.

Tumbling Leaves Pin Cushion

This little pin cushion is just 5" square and is made with my favourite Japanese woven taupes.
Taupes or taupe-ism as they often called by the Japanese manufacturers is a bit of a
misleading title as they can be any colour from cream through browns to black, not just taupe.

As well as taupes I just love doing hand applique like on this pin cushion and the chunky hand quilting is also fun. I used Cosmo embroidery threads.

These threads are just two strands which I just love as there is no separating them out 
and then losing the extra strands. I really enjoy sewing with them and the slight sheen 
that they have even tho' they are 100% cotton.

I had better leave you to it and finish stitching that Japanese Block so I can send
you a photo tomorrow.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

To and From the 1840s

Today I had my 'To and From the 1840s' group meeting and we talked about Album or Signature Quilts. This is the little signature quilt that I took for Show and Tell.

This quilt is just little 26" by 35" and it is signed by all the girls in last year's 1840s group.
These quilts were popular in the 1830s - 1840s and they weren't usually as small as mine.

Indelible pens had just come onto the market so everyone was excited about being
able to write on fabrics and not have the words wash away as soon as the quilt was washed. These quilts were often made to give to people who were moving away from their community.

The fabrics that I used are all 1800s Reproduction fabrics.

1800s Reds

I had better sign off as my Amish Group are about to arrive.
Maybe tomorrow I can show you some of the work we are doing in this group.


Next Japanese Quilt Block

Well, the next Japanese Quilt block is stitched, but it is probably the last of the sewing for this week. This one is also from Susan Briscoe's book "125 Japanese Quilt Blocks".

This one uses a piece of silk in the centre that I collected in a Japanese recycled kimono 
shop in Tokyo. These pictorial pieces are used in the lining of men's kimono jackets.

Some of these kimono silks are very fine so I have ironed on a stabliliser - the lightest weight knit one that I could find as it doesn't change the feel of the silk - it is still soft and floppy but maintains its cut shape much better. And it hand appliques well.


Monday, 11 April 2011

Art Quilt Club

Today was our Art Quilt Group Meeting - we meet once a month to share ideas, get feedback from each other on our latest project and have Show and Tell. This is a piece that I had finished recently. It uses plain fabrics with just a touch of a Kaffe Fassett print.

Window on Colour
It is inspired by a photo that I took in Morocco. The window was part of a pre-school 
building up in the High Atlas Mountains. It was the most picturesque area with high mountains, lots of walking tracks scattered through the mountain villages and it was Spring so there were blossoms everywhere.

Moroccan Mountain Preschool

Close up of the window


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Japanese Quilt Block

Welcome to my first Blog post. I hope you return regularly to see what patchwork and quilting I am up to at home. As many of you know, I own Patchwork Passion - a Quilt Shop in Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand, so I spend my days working with fabric, helping customers plan their next quilt project, enjoying their Show 'n' Tell quilts and running various quilt groups. But my Blog will be more about what I am up to outside those hours.

Today I finished stitching my first block from Susan Briscoe's book "125 Japanese Quilt Blocks". This is going to be along term project using a variety of blocks form her books. Some will be appliqued, others pieced or sashiko stitched.

I am using a roll of kimono silk for the backgrounds and various scrap bag kimono silks for the applique pieces. I have picked these up in Flea Markets in Japan.

Kitano Flea Market

A pile of old kimono for sale
I must get back to the sewing room to get the next block prepared so I can sit and sew tomorrow night.