Monday, 26 September 2016

Travel Update

Decision made.  I am making a return visit to Japan!

I had a long chat with Jill Clay of Festival of Japan when I was at Festival of Quilts in August, and since then I have studied the website, asked a lot of questions, considered my finances and tried to persuade dearly beloved that he would enjoy a textile-based trip to Japan!  Al decided against the trip, I think he would rather make another visit to New Zealand, but I really want to go, and Jill's itinerary sounds fantastic, plus she only has small groups, so I've reserved my place on the Autumn Maples and Textiles visit in 2017.

I'll have thirteen nights based in Kyoto with a host of activities and visits that I'm sure I don't have the connections or the language skills to arrange for myself.

It's a long way off and I don't have exact dates yet but when I do I will decide whether to extend my trip and visit friends in Tokyo.  I've also sent the details to my sister, now she is no longer teaching she has time to travel and I think she might be up for the trip.  Golly, could we share a bedroom again, it's been about 50 years!!?

Before then, however, Al and I have had 25 years together and it's time to celebrate.  We're soon taking off for a lazy holiday in Akumal Bay, Mexico.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Gentle Stitching

Today I have begun work on a printed panel I bought in Japan in 2009.  Just gentle hand stitching, very relaxing.  I am in the process of deciding to make another trip to Japan, hopefully next year, so the contemplative sewing is perfect.  Hoping the weekend has been good for you all. It's back to school for children (and teachers) this week.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Journal Quilts and Omiyage

I had a lovely gift from my good friend and co-conspirator in Country Roads Quilters, Fenella, the other day, a delicious "omiyage", a gift.  The little bag, the design of which is daffodil or trillium, is made in "our colours" - Fenella's green and my blue, and it contained a blue and white crystal, sodalite, which is perfect for me at the moment as it is believed to promote creative expression and also diminish sleeplessness.  Thank you Fenella. I think, made in Christmas fabrics, these little bags would be lovely on the table instead of crackers, I wonder whether I'll get round to it for 2016?
It is fast approaching the end of the month and the end of the middle phase of the Journal Quilt challenge, quilts for May, June, July and August have to be published by the end of August.  So today I've done the final binding and taken the photographs.  Here are all four "green" JQs together:

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016 - Confessions of a Needle Buyer

Okay, I guess it's time to own up, especially as several of you dear readers don't seem to believe there were only needles and a thimble in my FoQ bag!

At The New Threads Quilt Shop stand you could mix and match Aurifil threads to your own requirements.  Although Aurifil do their own sets there is always one colour or two that I don't really want so I jumped at this opportunity.  How strange, I ended up with a box of blue and white thread!!  I have the 12wt lana (red reel), 50 wt (the orange reel ends) which I use for almost everything and I bought two reels of 28 wt (the grey ends) for hand work.
Next to Japan Crafts and the lovely Katie who was doing a roaring trade with bolts, FQs and kits.  I bought these two fabrics to make a reversible skirt
and this very cute bag kit (and admired my self restraint).
Next, an unusual purchase for me these days, a quilt kit.  I'd seen this Blue Barn fabric from Moda on The Bramble Patch's Facebook page and fallen in love with it.  
The next purchase was more of an impulse buy after I'd seen a friend's beautiful bag pattern and fabric from Fabric Affair who sell Donegal tweed.  I bought a length of tweed and a set of nine squares to make a double-sided and very warm and cosy throw.
Finally, I visited Caroline Hill and bought these wonderful eco-dyed fabrics and threads as well as a beautiful scarf.  I know I could do things like this myself but I don't seem to get round to it and her pieces were so gorgeous I just couldn't resist.
Oh, and I bought some needles too, but no thimbles, I've decided to attempt to make one out of leather using my Japanese one as a pattern.

Manipulating Fabric

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to do a workshop with Cynthia McNair at Angela Daymond's studio near Spalding. As well as creating some wonderful textile art, Cynthia is the powerhouse behind the Ailsa Craig Quilt event in Ontario, Canada.
The workshop was on manipulating fabric to create trees and although I didn't get very far I did have a lot of fun.
Here is Cynthia helping me with the background to my piece, based loosely on Fjordland, NZ.

Others made more progress, here are pieces by Jackie and Dorothy so you can see where I'm heading.

I think it's going to be fun to work on this piece and I'll post an update or two. Now, as we approach the end of August, I must get my four "green" journal quilts finished, photographed and posted on the Contemporary Group's Yahoo site.  Did I tell you I visited the Group's stand at FoQ? It was lovely to meet other members and to see some of their JQs. It was interesting too to see different interpretations of the "rules" for this year's challenge!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016 - Bernina Baby

This wasn't in the bag with the needles and thimbles (and thread, and fabric, and...), it has just been delivered.
What's in the box? Looks exciting.
Oooh, threads, my colours too, that's clever Bernina!
Lots of gadgets. DH is reading the manual and I'm thinking I'll make a special bag for those feet and little bits.
Happy bunnies.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016 - Shopping

I know that what you really want to know, dear reader, is whether my "Natsu" bag was big enough for the needles and thimble I wanted to buy. Well, fortunately, it was!

Festival of Quilts 2016 - Favourites

There were over 1000 quilts entered into the FoQ this year and I thought I saw them all.  Looking at other visitors' blog reports I find that either I missed many or I was at a different show from them!!  Anyway, here is a selection of quilts that just caught my eye for various reasons, and not just the blue and white ones!  It is quite interesting for me to note that many of them could be categorised in the "Modern Quilt" style, which I profess to dislike, I guess that's the difficulty with categories!
Sittin' in the Morning Sun, Burgess Hill School for Girls

On the Beach with Alice, Hazel Ryder

Starry, Starry Night, Jane Appelbee

Ebb and Flow, Roberta Le Poidevin

52 32' N, 04 03' W, Laura Kemshall
My favourite quilt in the exhibition and too long to photograph in one go, especially with the crowds of people surrounding it.  I'm sure it will be featured in the patchwork and quilting magazines' reports of the FoQ 2016.

Bubbles of Joy, Anne Lilliholm Jorgensen

Blueprint, Hilary Jackson

Background Noise, Lisbet Borggreen

Little Lollipops, Kathleen Moore

Pride, Charlotte Ward

Charming Checkmate, Sheena Norquay

Narrative: walking, Terry Donaldson

Bulrushes, Hilary Beattie

In the Fields, Linda Burgess

X Doesn't Mark the Spot, Nicholas Ball and Trudi Wood

Eccentric Crosses, Heather Hasthorpe and Mandy Parks

Life on the Reef, Rosemary Muntus

Diving Bird, Katrin Schroeder