Friday, 22 October 2010

More Eye Candy

Here's a wonderful treat for the weekend.  Marisa has posted over 300 photos that she took at the Pacific International Quilt Festival.  There are some lovely quilts so make yourself a drink of whatever you prefer, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.  Thanks Marisa.

Pacific International Quilt Festival

Thursday, 21 October 2010

An Exciting Day

Today has been an exciting day.  Firstly I saw this:
Yes, it's a baby camel enjoying a drink from her/his mum.  We have an over-wintering circus near us and these are some of their animals.  Cute eh?
Then I had two lovely arrivals in the post.  A parcel I was expecting, which was this gorgeous selection of indigo-dyed fabrics from Glennis at Shibori Girl
To quote from her site the packs contain
a selection of indigo dyed fabric fragments - bits and pieces of vintage and collected textiles. These pieces range in colour from light to dark, cotton to silk, solids to shibori. No two collections are identical although some may be similar. Current collections include some solids, shibori bits include itajime,bomaki,arashi, and indigo derangements. Fabrics include cotton, linen, various silks, chenille, jacquards and more
Fabric sizes range (approximately) from 3" to 24"

Doesn't it look an inspirational mix of fabrics?
The other parcel was a complete surprise.  I entered the 200th issue of Patchwork and Quilting magazine giveaway competition and today received a signed copy of -
so that's my reading sorted out for this evening.  Although it is an introductory book a quick flip through revealed some interesting tips.  I think there's always more to learn anyway.
I've been working on a quilt for my daughter, Sara, today.  It's been quite a well dragged-out project but she has told me she'll be re-decorating her sitting room to match it in the very near future...  Just as well it's been so cold today, just ideal for sitting by the fire and stitching.  What have you been working on?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Sashiko at Norfolk Quilters' 30th Anniversary Exhibition

I just had to share this wonderful sashiko quilt by Christine Allen that I enjoyed seeing at last week's Norfolk Quilters' Exhibition in Norwich. 
Christine was given one of Susan Briscoe's sashiko books for her birthday last year and created this quilt to challenge herself to work on her hand stitching.  I had a lovely chat with Christine and hope to meet up with her again soon.  Her husband attended the exhibition with her and was really enthusiatic and complimentary about her work - and rightly so!
You can see some other quilts from the exhibition at Online Quilting.

Norfolk Quilters' 30th Anniversary Exhibition - 2

My favourite quilts from the Norfolk Quilters' Exhibition include this wonderful kimono.  It was made by Sylvia Allen who was inspired by a quilting friend in New Zealand and helped with developing the idea by her husband.
Isn't it strange how you can look at lots of quilts and then end up selecting two by the same quilter?  These are both by Linda Turner.  The wonderful "Dark Woods" was inspired by these lines from Dante's "The Divine Comedy":
"In the middle of the journey of our life, 
I found myself in a dark wood, 
for the straight way was lost"
It was one of those quilts that looked simple from a distance but then the more you looked the more there was to see and enjoy.
"Trailing Vines", also by Linda Turner, is one of a pair of quilts, designed for a friend who presented her with two FQs in the bitter winter of 2009/10 in Virginia, USA.  I was attracted by the positive and negative design and the colours.
My steward's "station" was directly in front of this wonderful sashiko quilt by Christine Allen.  I found myself  hearing so many lovely comments about it that I had to fetch Christine to swap stations with me so that she could hear for herself what people were saying. 
Christine worked from one of Susan Briscoe's books and was challenging herself with this quilt to do some hand stitching.  This quilt was completed in three months.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Norfolk Quilters' 30th Anniversary Exhibition - 1

Some eye candy from the Norfolk Quilters' 30th Anniversary Exhibition.  Close ups of my favourite quilts to follow tomorrow so don't forget to come back!
The Music Room, in the Georgian Assembly House in Norwich shown above, was a stunning venue for the exhibition.
A wonderful range of styles and techniques was on display.

The quilts and items in these glass cabinets will remain on display for a month.
Finally for today, this is the Norfolk Quilt, mark 2.  The first Norfolk Quilt, which was made in 1981 and donated to the City Library in Norwich, was destroyed in the 1994 fire which also destroyed the library.  In 1997 it was decided to make a new Norfolk Quilt, on similar themes to the original but not a replica, which was donated to the New Millennium Library in Norwich. Eighteen members of Norfolk Quilters created the new quilt which was then quilted by Margaret Rust.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Friday Night Sew-In

It's that time of the month again, it's time for the great Friday Night Sew-In, hosted by Heidi and Bobbi.  I'll probably not be able to post on Saturday morning so I thought I'd let you know what I'll be working on.
Firstly I'll be doing my second Roses from the Heart bonnet.  This one is for Ann Elizabeth Harwood who arrived in Van Diemen's Land in August 1820.  I haven't been able to find out anything more about her but will keep trying.  I'm making her bonnet with the remaining calico from the backing of the quilt I started with Jane Bottomley.  I only have the binding to slip stitch and the label to do and hope I will also have time to work on it at the Norfolk Quilters' exhibition on Saturday if I don't get it finished during FNSI.  This quilt is actually going to be a table cloth and so it is backed but doesn't have any wadding.  I suppose it's not strictly a quilt but a piece of patchwork.  I don't mind what it's called!  In fact I do mind what it's called, I need a name for it if I'm going to get the label done!  It is made using wonderful French General 'Lumiere de Noel' fabrics from Moda but isn't "Christmassy" and will be used all year on the table where Bonni, my lovely vintage Singer machine sits when I'm not using her.  Thinking cap on...
Oh I can't do another post without a photo so here's one of the full set of Global Piecers fabric postcards I received, aren't they great?

Enjoy FNSI everybody.

Fabric Postcards

These are my GP Fabric Postcards hanging at the window of my sewing room, aren't they a great collection?  Thank you to everybody for their great pieces of fabric art.

Monday, 11 October 2010

My Weekend

It has been another sunny Autumn day here in the Fens after a wonderful weekend but according to the weather forecasters it's going to turn cooler tomorrow.  I love these late "Indian summer" days, they're a real bonus.
DH and I went for a lovely walk around the town of Woodhall Spa yesterday and really enjoyed the colours of the trees and the birds singing in the sunshine.
I had a generally relaxed weekend and even got some sewing done.  I didn't manage to do any more work on the Cloth to Cloth workshop but I did complete the snowball/framed square quilt I started at a Jane Bottomley workshop a few weeks ago.  I just have to slip stitch the binding and add the label.  I'm planning to do that next weekend while I'm on duty at the Norfolk Quilters' 30th Anniversary Quilt Show.

 Wednesday 13th to Saturday 16th October
Norfolk Quilters 30th Anniversary Quilt Show
10.00am to 5.00pm at the Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RQ
Featuring a raffle for two beautiful quilts - the draw will take place on the 16th.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Mitsukoshi Quilt Show

I read on Julie's blog that she had enjoyed a visit to the Mitsukoshi quilt show and immediately set about trying to find out a little more. 
I didn't do very well but this site had pictures of some of the quilts and I was able to use Google Translate to come up with something for some of the Japanese.  There is certainly some inspiring work here.  I love this quilt illustrating the seasons:
  • 「日本の四季」岡部美咲(千葉) 
    "Four Seasons of Japan" Okabe Misaki (Chiba)

Japan has been brought to the patchwork quilt of cultures, about 40 years now. 
Initially, the U.S. began with imitation of antique quilts, the original material created by the Japanese sensibility, "Quilt of harmony" has already become the world's attention now.  
This exhibition, drawn from across the country with 100 leading Japanese quilt artist, "Shapes and Colors of Japan", which is to bring together a new exhibition on the theme.  
And was used as the material of the kimono fabric has been handed down from ancient motifs unique to Japan, including works by artists represented in sensitivity will again be able to recognize subtle Japanese aesthetic feeling deep.
  • 「春の海」黒羽志寿子(東京) 
    "Spring Sea" Kuroba Shizuko (Tokyo)
  • 「波曼荼羅」郡司祥子(奈良) 
    "Mandala wave" Gunzi Yoshiko (Nara)
  • 「千鳥」沢田淳子(神奈川) 
    "Tidori" Sawada Atsuko (Kanagawa)
  • 「悠久」宮谷真知子(兵庫) 
    "Hisa Yuu" Tomoko Makoto Miyatani (Kobe)
  • 「昔のおはなし」矢沢順子(東京) 
    "Old Story" Yazawa Naoko (Tokyo)
  • 「SYO#43 古人の想いを色に繋げて」 
    "SYO # colors to tie into the feelings of the ancients 43"
    Harue Konishi (Tokyo)

Dragonfly In Blowing Grasses - Sashiko Tutorial Finished

I am very grateful to Susan Briscoe for her comments on the sashiko I am doing at the moment.
I tried using the order of stitching that she explained and found I preferred it.  I enjoyed a better rhythm in my stitching and doing the whole motif in one go rather than returning to do the grasses felt right.  I also had shorter jumps across the back of the work.

Mind you, as Susan said, if I'd wanted to do the grasses in a contrasting colour it would have been better to use the original order of stitching.
If you have done this dragonfly over blowing grasses piece I would love to hear how you got on.  Susan Fletcher is planning to offer two more dragonfly designs in the near future.  Will you be using them all together in a quilt or are you making a set of table mats (there are instructions in her tutorial newsletter for this), or do you have other plans for your sashiko dragonflies?
I hardly dare post a picture of my finished piece.  I realised that my dragonfly would be facing the opposite way to Susan Fletcher's original design unless I transferred the image to the "sticky" side of the vilene and decided that I was quite happy with that.  What didn't occur to me at all was that the grasses would be blowing in the wrong direction. 
Now I'm going to point out that the prevailing winds in Lincolnshire blow from a different direction from those in Japan (probably) and therefore my nowaki are giving my sashiko a locational reference.  Hmm, what do you think?
It has made my mind up for me about transferring the design to the back of the work in future.  I'm going to investigate marking pencils/pens and work from the front on subsequent sashiko projects.  Lovely little design though, thanks Susan at Alderspring Designs.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Swap Update

I think it's safe to say the Fabric Postcard swap was a great success.  Everybody enjoyed it and we all received some wonderful cards.  Plus the cards arrived safely through the postal system.  Sal's cards are on their way.  She has enclosed hers with her Autumn/Fall blocks as she made her blocks in plenty of time.  We'll then have a full set of cards each.  I suggest we have another postcard swap later next year, maybe with a theme or a colour to link them.  Watch this space, as they say.
I have also completed my Autumn blocks and they are winging their way northwards, westwards and very south-eastwards at the moment.  I hope you like them and I look forward to yours getting here, I'm hoping to make a table runner with them all - including the two proto-types I have of my own block.  The pepper, salt and maybe the water jug will be strategically placed over the wobbly bits!
Speaking of table runners, has anyone made a finished article with the Christmas blocks from our first swap or are you, like me, intending to use a combination of last year's and this year's blocks to create something festive?  I'd love you to post pictures of what you do make.  Cushions, table runners, placemates, wall hangings, lap quilts are all possibilities I would think.
I have just heard that Teresa has joined Fiona Marie's Christmas swap and I hope she is having a good swap.  Sal and I have found that our partners this year as not as enthusiatic in the communication department as we experienced previously, but maybe we were just spoilt!  Hopefully as it gets nearer the swap things will warm up.
I hope you all received your Secret Santa partner details and are starting to think about making up a wonderful surprise parcel for them.  I'm going to the Autumn Quilt Show at Chilford Hall at the beginning of November, I think that will be a good shopping opportunity for quilty Christmas gifts, and maybe a little something for myself too.  Chilford Hall is also a vineyard so Al is coming with me for this quilt show.....I wonder how long he'll last in the exhibition hall?
Finally, our very best wishes go to Joan who is very unwell at the moment and in hospital.  You are in our prayers Joan and we look forward to hearing that the doctors have done their work. 

Happy quilting, don't forget those Autumn/Fall blocks should be in the post by 15th October,  Lis x

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Sewing, Sam and Quilt Show Tickets

This morning I went to my local sewing group, Crafty Time Out, for the first time in absolutely ages (what with the summer break and then my little stay in hospital).  It was so lovely to spend time with my friends there again, see what wonderful things they are doing and generally catch up.  I did a little work on my latest sashiko piece and managed to resist the fantastic cake that Georgie brought in for us, baked by her hubby, Mark.  Georgie's giving away a great cross stitch book on her blog by the way so do pop over and say hello.
I could only stay for part of the session as I had another lovely task to do - looking after my scrumptious Sam for the afternoon while my daughter revised for her OU exam next week.  This was a hard job but somebody has to do it, and what a delight he was, as ever.
So it's been a good day, and it was great to see the gradually turning leaves and the autumn sun today.  Plus, when I got home my tickets for the Autumn Quilt Show at Chilford had arrived.  My beloved is joining me for that one, something tempting about the vineyard I think!

The Order of Stitching

If you are receiving Susan Fletcher's email tutorials for this project you will have all this information (and a lot more besides) but here are her instructions for establishing the order of stitching a sashiko design.

When stitching a sashiko design we need to think about the order of stitching.  By stitching in the right order we will not waste any precious thread, or waste time, and we will be able to get into a good rhythm and keep our stitches even.
This usually means identifying the continuous lines within a design and following those rather than stitching motifs individually.  With this design the first thing to stitch is the line of curves from one side of the design to the other.
So I completed all the horizontal curved lines first:
Note the small loops of thread left when changing direction, these prevent the stitching becoming too taut and possibly gathered up.

If it is not possible to stitch in long lines then we need to make the jumps between stitches as short as possible.  Generally speaking, if it takes less thread to cast off and cast on again at the next point then that is what we should do.
With the blowing grasses pattern the next stage in the order of stitching is the small grasses and we can see that they form a diagonal pattern of their own and this is the order in which we stitch.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Dragonfly In Blowing Grasses - Getting Started

I've got my Dragonfly in Blowing Grasses marked up ready for stitching. 
I used an ordinary permanent marker to trace the design - the kind that comes with a packet of labels for ironing onto children's school uniform - it does the job. The last thing we want is for the ink to transfer to the white thread.  I'm using DMC Coton Perle in weight 8 by the way. 
I'm still not sure I like this method of transferring the design to the back of the work but do like the way the interfacing supports the sashiko fabric. I think for my next piece I will use interfacing on the back and mark the design on the front.
I have a meeting of Crafty Time Out tomorrow (the first one I've been to for some time after my spell in hospital) so I'll take my sashiko with me and should be able to make a good start if I don't chat too much. 
So, here goes.  If you want to join in with Susan's second tutorial the details are here.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Good Sewing Afternoon

After overcoming a migraine this morning (thank goodness for the drugs) I have had a very productive afternoon and also an exciting parcel.

I ordered the Aurifil "Basics" collection from New Threads Quilts in Andover on 30th September and my beloved picked it up from the sorting office for me today.  If I'd been home to sign for it on Saturday I would have had it then - pretty impressive service.  I've not used the company before but I will again.
This afternoon I've done the Autumn/Fall blocks for the current Global Piecers block swap.  I can't share a  picture here, not until the blocks have arrived at their destinations,  but I used fabrics that I posted a picture of when I bought them from Quiltessential at the Festival of Quilts .  I was pleased with the way the block worked out (after a couple of false starts and some frog stitching).
Tomorrow I'm going to start on a new sashiko project that you can see here.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Autumn's Bounty

It's a beautiful, autumn day here today and I've been collecting conkers.  Not to bash against each other in the school playground but to keep the spiders away.  I don't know if this really works but it's worth a try, the spiders are massive this year!

I'd forgotten how beautiful horsechestnuts are.  I'd read that, because of the weather and a disease affecting our trees that they were going to be small this year but I found some of very impressive size.
That prickly outer case must be a good deterrent to whichever animals would like a feast on horsechestnuts but is soon cracked open by small boys seeking a good conker.  Then the soft, velvety, "blankety bed" is revealed and there might be one, two or even three horsechestnuts nestled inside.
The patterning on the conker is like a wood grain and so shiny and intense in colour, a little miracle of creation that is revealed to whoever opens that outer shell.

This morning though the spiders' webs were sparkling with dewdrops, like diamonds in the sunshine once the early fog cleared.  If only the creatures themselves would stay in the garden.

My blog list was getting a little unmanageable and so I've tried to sort it out this morning.  All the lovely Japanese-linked blogs I read are now linked to my sashiko/Japanese textiles blog:  Sashiko Started It
and the quilting and other blogs that I find inspirational are listed to the right.  I hope I haven't accidently deleted any blogs I enjoy.  Blogs of quilting shops and other suppliers that I use are listed separately, along with those wonderful blogs full of tutorials, links and great tips - thank you for all the work that you do keeping these up.
If I've deleted you or put you in the wrong place, please shout and accept my apologies now.

Plan for the rest of the day
1.  Complete and post my registration form for the Quilters' Guild AGM in Exeter next April
2.  Buy some edible goodies for our anniversary meal tomorrow, 19 years, incredible, where does the time go?
3.  Sew.
4.  An evening of relaxing television, Merlin, Strictly....I know, I know, but why not?

Hoping you all have a good weekend too.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Lincolnshire Day

Lincolnshire Day - How did it all begin?

October 1st marks the fourth official ‘Lincolnshire Day' and historically, the date commemorates the Pilgrimage of Grace, which began in 1536 - the widespread revolt against the rule of Henry VIII.
Although the initial uprising, which began in Lincolnshire, was short-lived at just two weeks, it represented a major threat to the government at the time due to the ‘dignitaries' behind. Not just a working class revolt, people of note and standing within the community were up in arms. This shook the government so much that troops from other parts of the country were drafted in as the local militia were thought to be sympathising with the rebels.
The uprising quickly gathered pace and within a week there were 40,000 supporters on board. The gathering proceeded to march in an orderly fashion to Lincoln, where they received a warm welcome. However, upon reaching the city, they heard that the Duke of Suffolk was on his way with an army in tow. This proved to be the stumbling block for the noblemen who realised that they may well have too much to lose and withdrew.
Those that stood firm and defied the gesture of a review of some of the policies by the King in return for spared bloodshed were shown no mercy and rumour has it that they paid with their lives. However, the cause was then taken up by the people of Yorkshire, where the revolt continued at length.
Whilst Lincolnshire was the epicentre for the unrest, the campaign was by no means regional and sympathisers from around the country voiced their indignation. It has been regarded as the biggest threat to the King's reign, largely due to the vast number of supporters from all backgrounds. For this reason, this date was chosen when deciding on a specific day to celebrate the counties - voted for by readers of Lincolnshire Life magazine and BBC Lincolnshire listeners.


Yoshiko Wada Collection on Exhibition

Jenny at Romany Quilting (and in New Zealand) enjoyed a great exhibition of kimono from the collection of world-renown Yoshiko Wada, textile and shibori expert.  There were also some exquisite netsuke on display.  She has shared some photos and a review on her blog which is well worth a look.  Thanks Jenny, I wish I could have been there.