Monday, 3 December 2012

1800s Schoolgirl's Quilt

Since getting back from Japan I have been stitching my Flower Garden Hexagons 
onto the background. 

I finally decided on the random layout and came to the conclusion that is is actually quite hard to be random. I kept up on ending up with them in straight lines or in diagonal lines.
But after much moving around and auditioning I got it!!

This is the final layout with borders on - now a little hand quilting will finish it off.

Having got to that stage I think I can launch into one of the projects I planned with 
my fabrics from Japan - I feel a bit of modern 'Boro" coming on. Now that is a conflict 
of terms surely. Check out my previous post from Japan on 13 November if you 
are not sure what Boro is.

And I am desperate to start it while the idea is still new and in my head! It is quite 
exciting to feel so inspired after the trip.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Shibori Class Kyoto Japan

Today we went to a Shibori Class at the Kyoto Shibori Craft Centre.

Shibori is a dyeing technique where you running stitch your design onto your piece 
of fabric – ours was silk. Then the stitched threads are pulled up tightly and secured. 
The areas that formed the flowers were gathered up tightly and then we bound up the
‘bubble’ that was created. The stems were just pulled up tightly. This technique is 
called Umbrella Roll or Ita-Shime Shibori.

We used a free standing frame that held our knotted end securely while we pulled each
thread really tight.

Then it was off to the wash and dye process. Wash first to get the marked design out of the fabric and then into the dye pot – ours were in for just five minutes.

Next rinse and dry. Then gently release the threads to reveal your creation. 
Jane and I dyed ours blue and Susie chose a lovely orange.

These are sticks for moving the fabric around n the dye pot.

I think the hardest part was sitting on the floor and concentrating!!!!!

This dyeing technique is the oldest in Japan and sadly the master crafts-people are getting on in years now and there are few younger people following them through. It is such time consuming work that it is no longer financially viable – it takes eighteen months to make one kimono that is completely shibori dyed.  It seems that before long it will be just a museum piece. Once again we have huge respect for the old fabrics and techniques that come out of Japan.
You can find more information on their website:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hi From Japan

As you can tell from the heading above, I am now in Japan - in fact have been here for almost a 
week now. We spent the first two days at the Yokohama Quilt Show which was pretty amazing.
The stalls were as usual incredible and we all had big spend ups on fabric, kimono silks, threads and more. The quilts were amazing - mostly quite modern and in strong colours.

One of the other highlights of our stay in Tokyo was our trip to the Boro Museum. Boro is described as “rags and tatters of the far North of Japan” that have been made clothing and bedding. These amazing textile pieces were made in very poor communities in Aomori Prefecture.

These pieces have been patched and mended with whatever scraps of fabric were
available  and held together with stitching.

Chuzaburo Tanaka put this collection together by walking through the farming and fishing villages of the area in the 1960s collecting and documenting these pieces. They are now housed in the Amuse Museum in Asakusa where we can admire, photograph and 
even touch these pieces – what a treat.

The large piece behind me is long narrow scraps of cotton woven through hemp 
fibres to create a new textile.

We saw more of this style at Tokyo's Blue and White Shop. They had an amazing window display of Boro made recently from old indigo and scrap fabric, so fed our new addiction nicely.

Don't you just love the intense stitching on this piece.

The next post will come from Kyoto as we headed south on the Shinkansen (bullet train) 
after visiting the Blue and White Shop.

Monday, 29 October 2012

More Hexies

Yes more hexagons in progress - even thought those last ones are not yet made up 
into the planned bag!!!! That required some thinking and more planning, so after busy days it was easier to just keep making more hexagons!

These ones are larger 22mm instead of 12mm last time. And they are in 1800s reproduction fabrics - I feel a little school girl quilt coming on. This will part of the 2013 Hexie Club 
that I am planning for the shop.

I quite like the idea of them scattered randomly across a background fabric.

Or maybe a more traditional layout all joined up together.

Or them maybe the absolute traditional Grandmothers Flower Garden layout.

Who knows - watch and see where it ends up.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Start of Hexie Club 2013

I have had a lovely relaxing weekend in Taupo with family and quilting friends and 
of course a little bit of sewing between times. It is a great place to meet family from Wellington.
I also got to visit a lovely group of ladies in Taupo who are busy working on my Yoko Saito "Japanese Applique" Block of the Month. Wow are they making amazing progress. Thanks Sue for another amazing afternoon tea.

I have been working on projects for a new group at the shop for 2013 and probably a
Project of the Month Programme for those who cannot make it to the shop for a 
monthly group meeting. o watch for Hexie Club.

The first project I have started is based on 12mm hexagons. When measuring 
hexagons you usually measure the length of one side,so this on is small, but 
not our smallest!

Soon this will be a small project bag to carry scissors, threads, etc when I head off to group.

The back of the bag will be a favourite taupe fabric with this wee hexie flower on it.

The Club samples will probably be taupe and 1800s reproduction fabrics.
Or maybe this two-sided shot cotton Pin Cushion will feature too.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Sashiko For Christmas

These are the start of our Christmas for 2012. 
We had them on display at the Hamilton Quilt and Craft Fair and will have them with 
us at Auckland Festival of Quilts (November 2-4 at Albany Rugby Stadium).

This is traditional Japanese sashiko stitching. This stitching is like a running stitch
but has a few extra rules – like the stitch is bigger than the spaces between stitching.

The fun part of these projects is that fabric comes pre-printed, so you stitch and then the extra lines wash away – how easy is that. I found them fun and really quick to make – in fact I think it took longer to stuff the stars than it did to sew them!

The one above is a little wall hanging. Then there are these little stars.

Both these designs are by Jane McDonald – I do love her sashiko ideas on this
pre-printed fabric.

Our Christmas display will go up in the shop window after Calico Christmas, so watch for other things. We have sourced some gorgeous ready-made Christmas textile tree decorations. I will post once we get the display up - although we will have them up at the Albany Show.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Parliament of Owls

The family of Owls - a 'Parliament' - are finished. Now did you know that is what a
group of owls is called!

Once I had done the chunky hand quilting around the owls I decided the whole thing 
needed lots more quilting. 

I tried clouds up in the sky chunky quilted with ecru embroidery thread, but that did't cut
it so that was pulled out. Then it was off to the machine for some outline quilting - I like
that much better, with straight-ish lines across the bottom outlining the tree branch lines.

Now it is bound and ready to go to Auckland Festival of Quilts (Calico Christmas) in a few weeks.We will cut some kitsets to go with us during the week.

See you there November 2-4 at Albany's Rugby Stadium.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Family of Owls

Calico Christmas, now named Auckland Festival of Quilts, is coming up over 
the first Friday and weekend in November. This is  a new project we will be releasing there. 

Carol, a local Auckland designer has made a set of plastic templates of these owls. 
The templates are made in heavy ruler plastic that you can draw around or cut around 
with your rotary cutter. There are three sizes of owls in the set. The ones above are
the smallest ones and they stand 4 1/2" high.

This is  a big owl - 7 1/2" high.

And this is the family all made in Japanese woven taupes - now I bet that is a surprise!!!!!!.
As you can probably see there are still pins in as I have not quite finished quilting them.
I am do big chunky quilting stitches  - in brown around he owls and I think more brown on the tree trunk and them ecru on the background - but all chunky and quick to do. You can just see the quilting around the individual owls in the top photos.owls

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Little Taupe Pin Cushions

I have been busy making little pin cushions. These are all from my Pin Cushion Club designs.

I am off to Japan in November and I like to take some little gifts with me to give away to quilting contacts, friends and suppliers, so I thought these would be good.

My favourite one is the Tumbling Leaves - I think.

Or then again maybe my favourite is the Crazy Patch.

But I also like the sashiko one - I usually do this with ecru thread on indigo fabric which is 
more traditional for sashiko. This time it was time for a change so it was off to the hand 
dyed pink sashiko thread form Takayama in the mountains of Japan and taupe fabric 
from my favourite Japanese supplier.

This is the latest little gift from Japan - one of my suppliers made it and sent it to 
me in my last parcel from her company. It is a macaroon and is just so cute. It is just 2" 
across and opens up with the zip going almost all the way around the middle.

And inside

I'll be back in a couple of days with Taupe Owls!!!!! See you soon.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Waikato Quilt and Craft Fair

We had a great four days at the Waikato Quilt and Craft Fair.
 We set up on Wednesday – can you believe it – it took us 5 hours!!!!!

This (the quilt in the centre) was the biggest seller for us at the Show which was really 
exciting. I think it is now my all time favourite quilt. I wonder how long that thought 
will last - quite a while I suspect.

Another of our Block of the Month programmes is Magnolia Blossoms. This was  design that I picked up on a trip to Japan a few years ago.

And you will have seen this big one as I was making it - it is the1800s Antique Sampler 
designed by Sue Daley. And you can see my Jo Morton quilt beside it and just around the 
corner. 1800s Reproduction fabrics are my favourite after the Japanese Taupe ranges.

And here is Tea in Provence on a casual coffee table at the end of the stall.

If you haven't been to a Quilt and Craft Fair you really should try to get to one next year.
There will be two next year - one in Palmerston North in February and the other in Hamilton in September. See you there - or hopefully before then in the shop or at Calico Christmas - now called Auckland Festival of Quilts - at Albany Stadium over the first weekend in November.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Tea In Provence

This small quilt is a variation on our ever so popular Days in Provence pattern. You may have seen our original version which was made up in the first French General collection.

This one was inspired by the grey French food fabric that we have featured across the quilt. 
Di Partington (from the shop) quilted it for me on her domestic machine and I just love the designs she has chosen.

We have it on a low table as a table cloth at the Show and it looks great.

The original pattern is by House on the Hill designs and I have found it such a versatile pattern – I used it for a cot quilt earlier this year by adding another row of blocks.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Yoko Saito Quilt Revealed

Well my Yoko Saito quilt now called “Japanese Applique” (sorry that isn’t a very exciting name) is finished (well almost!) and hanging on the wall of our stall at the Hamilton Quilt and Craft Fair. And I must say I am very pleased with it. Now you can all see it too.

I have almost finished the quilting – I am going to cross hatch the blocks – I have only done it one way on most of them at this stage and the border is also only stitched one way and I am thinking of mixing it up a bit – some cross hatching and some parallel lines just one way.

We have cut lots of Block of the Month sets and hope to sell many of them at the Show. Or of course you can pick them up from the shop - Patchwork Passion, Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand. We have included a copy Yoko Saito's wonderful Applique Block book within the Block of the Month Programme.

Over the next few days I will post some of the other projects I have been working on and we have just released. So you will go to hardly ever hearing from me to getting lots of 
news over the next few weeks.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Sue Spargo Visit

We have had a fabulous week with Sue Spargo from America teaching for us. 

She works mostly in wool fabric with touches of cotton to add interest. Then she does the most amazing embellishing with embroidery around and over the applique pieces.

We had a two day class embellishing leaves. This leaf is layered up with fabric and 
then embellished with stitches. Sue has a fantastic repertoire of stitches - most are 
traditional but not widely used these days so everyone added  to their personal 
knowledge of new stitches.

The two class was followed by a one day class embellishing circles to make the cover 
of a needle case. In this she taught her basic and most popular eight stitches and 
variations on them.

It was also great to meet her sister, Wendy, who does all the wool dyeing of Sue's fabrics.

This is Wendy with their African Quilt - they grew up in Africa before moving to America.

We were thrilled to have these two talented women visit us and hope they will return 
when their busy schedule allows.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Shopping at Fabric-a-Brac

Today was the first Fabric-a-Brac event in Auckland. This is an established event that raises funds for the Hospices. It has been going in Wellington for several years. It has stall holders selling pre-loved fabric.

I went off looking original 1930s fabrics like these already in my collection.

I didn't find any old ones but I did find some 1930s reproduction fabrics that will sit very nicely with the old ones. I fee a new tangent coming on!!!

I hope they have another one - it was a great event - all sorts of treasures to be had.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Taking a Break ..... from Hand Quilting

The hand quilting is going well -the Yoko Saito Applique blocks are all quilted and now it is on to the sashing. I feel lots of straight lines coming on.

So I have had a few breaks while I work on a class that I am attending a the shop. I am loving being a student and the project I am working on. This is a hand embroider and embellish class so it it is right up my alley with all the handwork.

You can see the fabric that I have chosen on my 6 June post and the start of the project - now I have lots more flowers embroidered, but still lots to go. It isn't going to be finished overnight!!!!

We have learnt so many different stitches and Alison has encouraged us to combine 
them in a variety of ways.

I have always wanted to do see stitching and love the effect it has in this flower.

We are going to be rerunning this class at nights soon so I will go along to those too and keep working on my project. I have a half metre piece of fabric cut across the width to embellish!

But now back to the hand quilting - I do still love this applique quilt.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Still Quilting

I thought I had better touch base again to let you know that I am still around and still quilting - two big quilts to get done - my Yoko Saito one and the Antique Sampler in the 1800s fabric. I am doing lots on the Yoko Saito one at the moment as I want to get most of it done before the Waikato Quilt Show starting on 6 September - oh dear only about a month away!

I have also been busy creating some other new projects to release at the Waikato Show but I can't show you those yet - you will just have to be patient - sorry.

There will be lots and lots of posts after the Show or come and see them all in person there - they always look so much better in real life.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Busy Quilting

Hi there - I'm back! I have been busy quilting but there it is nothing very interesting to show you,
but I just thought I would check in because it is so long since I posted.

I have finished quilting my Jo Morton Quilt and just have the binding to sew on.
Now I am alternating between the Antique Sampler - the 1800s project  - and my Yoko Saito Block quilt. And progress is going well. Here are a few photos of a corner of the Yoko Saito quilt all quilted - I have outlined the applique pieces and done diagonal lines across each block.

Back to quilting - will be back in a wee while.