Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Bearing Gifts

And this is what the lovely postman brought me today (while I was having a great time in York at the Sashiko Exhibition and then at the Quilt Museum, more of that later)......  It's my prize from Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival which I received from Natalia Bonner at Piece N Quilt in Utah.  Isn't it gorgeous?  It's Moda's new "Birdie" range.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Quilty Gifts

This is what the postman brought me this morning (and no tax to pay!) - a wonderful parcel of quilting goodies from my Great Global Christmas Swap partner, Sal, who lives in Australia and has just been on a quilting trip to South Dakota (to meet up with her swap partner from last year).  The red batiks are wonderful and truly scary - I have challenged myself to use red - and the magazines are full of lots of exciting projects so I've set aside this evening for a good read.  What lovely people quilters are, I am so pleased Fiona Marie teamed me up with Sal.
More excitement is on the cards for tomorrow - a trip to York to visit the Quilt Museum and also the Art Gallery where there is an exhibition of sashiko textiles.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Sick Quilt

I finished William's (age 5) farmyard quilt today (fastest ever start to finish project) and backed it with fleece so it's lovely and cosy for when he's using it.  I suggested he might like it when he's tired and watching television or when he comes in from riding his bike and is chilly and he said it would be great when he's poorly so from now it's known as the "sick quilt" - I'm not offended!!  I'm not sure if the wavy seams would make him feel worse rather than better though!

Cotton Cocktails Giveaway

 You could win one of these!

Quilthaze is having this lovely giveaway to celebrate just over 3 months since she started blogging regularly.  Get over to Cotton Cocktails for a chance to win one of these lovely gift bags.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Talking Threads

There's a new series on television called Talking Threads which looks really promising.  It's on Sky 171 at 1900 hours every Wednesday, under the Country Channel CCTV.  For those without Sky it is possible to watch the programmes on the internet (isn't that brilliant?).  Go to Talking Threads website for all the details.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Quilt In A Day

Well not quite a quilt in a day but I did do the top today, from scratch, and so the quilt "just" needs layering, quilting, binding and labelling!
I made this farmyard quilt for my elder grandson using wavy seams as explained in my tutorial (my first blog tutorial!!) posted before this post.

Wavy Seams Tutorial

This is a little tutorial for sewing wavy seams, a technique taught to me at Dayspring Quilters by Jenni Dobson and all the credit for the written content of this post is due to her, the photographs are mine and the "I" comments are me.

Start by cutting fabric in strips - between 3" and 5" is effective and gives you room for seams even with quite a wide curve.

Select two strips of contrasting fabrics, iron them and place them one on top of the other, both right side up.  If they are not the same width then put the widest strip at the bottom. 

Cut a gentle curve along the length of the fabric pieces.  I find it easiest to use a rotary cutter on a cutting board but it can be done with scissors.  Don't go too close to the edge of the fabric and don't make the curves too steep.

You now have two pairs of fabric strips:  the top strip from the right with the bottom strip from the left and vice versa.  Pair them with their right sides together.

You will need to ease the edges to match.  Some people prefer to pin first, others match as they sew.  I find it better to pin as I tend to panic if I'm trying to match curving seams as I machine!  You don't need to clip the curves at this stage but you might need to clip a little once the seam is machined if it will not lay flat.  Jenni's advice was don't clip unless necessary.

Once the seam is machined, open it out and press carefully, clipping as required, you have a wavy seam!  (And crikey, what a state my cutting board is in!!)


This is how it will sit in the quilt I'm making today:

Once wavy seams are mastered there is no end to their use - what about a simple nine-patch with wavy seams, or what about wavy log cabin?

Ryokan booked

I have booked our stay at Ryokan Sawanoya so that we will get a good dose of Japanese culture during our stay, really looking forward to being there.  We'll be in a tatami room and be able to enjoy bathing, Japanese-style.  I just hope we follow the rules ok and don't offend anyone!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


This is what the lovely postman didn't bring me this morning!  This is what I had to go to the sorting office to collect...and then I had to pay over £11.00 for the honour.  I made the mistake of placing an order with lovely ZandS Fabrics in Denver that was over £18.00, so, not only did I have to pay £3.46 tax, which I accept, it was my mistake after all, but, on top of that I had to pay a staggering £8.00 "Royal Mail International Handling Fee".  This "fee" apparently just covers the costs of Royal Mail collecting the tax and passing it to the customs office, or some such explanation.  It will teach me to be more careful (and the lovely fabric still works out at a good price, just not as good as it could have been) and I thought I'd post my woeful tale as a warning to others.  Right, moan over, better get that gold fabric ironed and ready for my Christmas quilt project.

Where to stay?

I've been trying to choose accommodation for our stopover visit to Japan next year.  It's so difficult to know what and where to go for but I have narrowed it down to Ueno/Asakusa area (take a look at the map, you'll notice the proximity of interesting things like shrines and gardens!!) and I've emailed a selection of places - including a traditional ryokan which I'm most excited about - why go to Japan and stay in an international chain hotel with a load of tourists?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


A good day sewing today - and keeping my promise to get some UFOs done.  I completed a little Christmas wallhanging "Under the Ponga Tree" which I bought in New Zealand and is based on Kingi Matutaera Ihaka's adaptation of The Twelve Days of Christmas which became A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree:

On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A pukeko in a ponga tree

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
two kumera
And a pukeko in a ponga tree

On the third day of Christmas
and so on, until...

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve piupius swinging
Eleven haka lessons
Ten juicy fish heads
Nine sacks of pipis
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming
Six pois a twirling
Five - big - fat - pigs !
Four huhu grubs
Three flax kits
Two kumera
And a pukeko in a ponga tree!

I also layered and basted a Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt for my grandson - I've decided it must be ready for Christmas 2009, if you look back through my blogs you'll see I was working on it in April!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Another Giveaway, aren't we lucky?

The Quilting Cat is having a lovely giveaway which includes a Moda jellyroll, mmmm.  So go over there now (even if it reduces my chances!) and please say I sent you.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Prize Winner!

Wow, I've just visited Amy's update on the Bloggers' Quilt Festival and found I've won a prize.  Am I a happy bunny?  You bet I am!!  The prize was given by Natalia at Piece N Quilt in Utah and I have won a Birdie charm pack, jelly roll and honey bun.  Watch this space for a photo when it arrives.
Amy has published a summary of the responses to the quilt festival which is interesting reading, especially the common threads in quilt making.

Stitch In Kyme

I had an unexpected trip to a quilt exhibition yesterday, courtesy of Trudi who mentioned it on Facebook!  Alan was up for it, thinking there would be cake, and it was at North Kyme, so not a very long way from home.  The quilts were exhibited in the small local church and there was an impressive array of work, lots of different styles of quilt and a good variety of other crafts too.  There was a section on the Amish, with fabric dolls making up an Amish family and some lovely fabric Advent calendar hangings.  There were maybe too many quilts on display as the church is small and some of them had to be draped over the pew backs making them difficult to appreciate but I'd rather there were too many than too few!  In the village hall there was a trader from Ruskington, raffle stall, selling stall - where I bought a gorgeous book cover - and several demonstrations taking place.  I had a lovely chat with Brenda who was working on a wholecloth and she generously gave me some tips and encouraged me to try it - starting with a cushion rather than a kingsize quilt maybe!  All in all, a very good exhibition (it's on today, Sunday, as well), well done to Stitch in Kyme.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

David Paul is fundraising for The Prince's Trust - JustGiving

Sponsor David here

David is my son, my little boy (age 25!!) and he is going to Borneo on Saturday to take part in the Prince's Trust challenge.  He'll be testing himself to the physical and mental limit with a team of friends and competing against teams from all over the UK.  The challenge involves climbing a mountain, white water rafting, trekking through jungle, mountain biking and a lot of worry for his Mummy.  There are more details on his JustGiving page and it would be fantastic if you could sponsor him.  Even if you don't send money, please take a look and keep him in your prayers, thank you.  I'll let you know how he gets on.
With many thanks for taking the time to read this and for your donation and prayers, it is all greatly appreciated.

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Just for you Michelle

Michelle asked me whether I bought any of the Lecien fabrics available at the weekend, so here, just for you Michelle are a few photos of my latest acquisitions:

These are the Lecien fabrics I chose and I even think I know what I'm going to do with them! I also bought some lovely bags of embellishing ribbons etc, some sashiko needles and thread:

 And finally, a fellow quilter has achieved the almost impossible - a sort out of her stash!  Hazel was having a big sale at Dayspring Quilters last week and I bagged this little lot:

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


These are some links I've been given to have a good look at with a view to buying fabric in Japan - as if I have any intentions of doing that!



Japan Now & Then


How Sashiko Started It

I did a sashiko taster workshop in Norfolk last weekend and am absolutely hooked.  I have always had an interest in things Japanese but no great understanding of the country, the culture or the people, and as for the language....
My little piece of sashiko was designed by the worskhop tutor, Jenni Dobson, herself a veritable expert on things Japanese, and is a little pin cushion with a furoshiki - a wrapping cloth -  which has been stitched in sashiko - little stabs - style. It is a long way from perfect but I am delighted with it.
I am at last fulfilling an ambition and visiting Japan.  We are staying in Tokyo next year and it will only be a taster visit but I'm very excited about it and want to make the most of it.  This blog is the story of both my trip to Japan and my journey with Japanese textiles.

Vintage Log Cabin

When I saw that Amy had posted a picture of a quilt made by her grandmother as her entry in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival I just had to share this beautiful quilt.  Sadly I cannot claim it as my own.  When I visited New Zealand two years ago I stayed at a wonderful place called Kahoe Farms in Northland.  This quilt was in the kauri farmhouse where we stayed and had been made by the owner, Lyndsey's, mother and is a fantastic example of original quilting with old fabrics and a make do and mend style.  It includes fabrics of various weights and is a gorgeous, classic log cabin quilt in a real log cabin!

Sashiko started it

What a brilliant weekend I had.  I attended my local quilting group in Norfolk on Friday and as well as completing the BOM (Spider's Web) for the sampler quilt I learned how to stitch wavy seams.  It was so good and so straightforward (forgive the pun) that I think I'll do a little tutorial post in the next couple of days so look out for that.
On Saturday I headed to Fleggburgh in deepest Norfolk to join about 50 quilters and Jenni Dobson for the Quilters' Guild region 9 area day.
During the morning Jenni enlightened us about the kimono and all it's layers, detailing and tradition.  Apparently a Japanese Emperor once restricted the Court to twelve layers of kimono to curb displays of extravagance.  Jenni explained that she had bought her kimono at a quilt show in Tokyo a few years ago where they were being sold to be cut up for quilting - aaaagh!  The talk reactivated my love of things Japanese and I decided to post my Tukusan Tsugi (many patch) quilt for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

In the afternoon Jenni taught a sashiko  taster workshop.  I was quite worried - all that accurate handstitching - but I loved it and can't wait to get started on another project (but I must do a UFO first).  We learned that our stitches should be twice the length of our spaces and that they represent grains of rice.  Sashiko (little stabs) is worked on a double layer of fabric without a layer of wadding between. It was traditionally used to strengthen and even to repair fabric and it is possible to find garments with one pattern worked over another.  The pattern we learned is called Shippo (Seven Treasures) and is worked, not in circles but in diagonal curving lines across the fabric, starting and finished with a little knot.  With the addition of four tassels to hold it closed the sashiko sampler piece became a furoshiki - a cloth to wrap - for a small pin cushion in a contrasting fabric.  I filled mine with fine sawdust and lavender flowers and it's a lovely treat to use it.  Jenni told us that furoshiki are used to wrap a gift and the recipient would return the wrapping to be used again - how very environmentally friendly that is.  She also said that a Japanese friend of hers uses a furoshiki to keep all her underwear in when she travels which I think is a lovely idea - much nicer than a plastic bag.
There are many websites with information on sashiko and, very generously, some free patterns available online.  I have a wonderful book by Susan Briscoe called "Japanese Quilt Blocks to mix and match" which includes sashiko designs among many other blocks and ideas.
Of course I bought some fabric from the trader at the area meeting.  He had intelligently brought a lovely range of Lecien fabrics, all taupes, greys and lovely soft shades and also some sashiko needles and threads.  All in all a great weekend (except that I didn't win anything in the raffle!).

Tukusan Tsugi

Here's my entry to the Blogger's Quilt Festival being organised by Amy  As I'm in a Japanese frame of mind after the sashiko workshop at the weekend I thought I'd share my Tukusan Tsugi (Many Patch) quilt made in May this year from a pattern in Fabrications magazine (issue 59). 
I've acquired a lot of Japanese fabric, I just love it, and thought this quilt design showcased the fabrics beautifully.  The fabrics come from shops all over the world, including in Florida and in New Zealand, but not from Japan! I am visiting Japan next year so I hope to replenish my supplies!
As always this quilt came with some learning - in this case, not to use polycotton sheeting for backing fabric in an attempt to save money, disappointing results, yucky to use and to feel!
I hope you are enjoying the Festival, it's very inspiring isn't it.  Thank you very much for visiting my blog, God bless you, Lis.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Quilting Fever

Kwiltmakr posted this lovely poem on her blog, Under the Rose,  after it appeared in Country Woman magazine.  I thought you would enjoy reading it: 

Quilting Fever
I can shop all day
And hardly spend a dime.
But let me in a fabric shop-
I nearly loose my mind.

I see those lovely fabrics
So pretty and so bright
My eyes take on a glassy look
(it really is a fright).
My knees, they start to shaking,
My nose begins to twitch.
As I look at all the colors,
My fingers start to itch.

I picture Dresden Plate
Done up in yellow and blue
Oh, look at that lavender
Just right for Sun Bonnet Sue!
Across another aisle
It’s true I almost ran
For a shade of brown I had to have
To make for Overall Dan.

Drunkard’s Path or Ohio Star
Pieced in that real bright red
Would be absolutely beautiful
Covering my bed.
I gasp, I pant, I simply
Lose all sense of time
As I pick out all the colors
That I have to have as mine!

I hurry home, my purchases
Clutched tight beneath my arm,
Dreaming of the quilts I’ll make
And how they’ll keep us warm.
Housework gets forgotten but
I have no pangs of guilt
As I start cutting and a-piecing
‘cause I’m going to make a quilt!

By Beverly Page

Sashiko workshop

Very exciting - I'm off to Norfolk for the weekend and will be attending a sashiko workshop with Jenni Dobson at the Quilters' Guild regional day on Saturday. Jenni's also agreed to come to Dayspringers in North Walsham to do a mini workshop at the monthly meeting on Friday. Not too sure what to expect, I've got a requirements list but no picture of what we'll be making so it'll be a surprise, a good one I hope. I'll put a photo of what I end up doing on here next week. I've never done any sashiko before, just hoping my hand stitching is up to the challenge!

It is a beautiful, sunny, autumn day here in Lincolnshire, the trees are glorious in their autumn colours, I really must get out with the camera before it rains and the wind blows and it all turns to a slippery mess.

Fans of Jennifer Chaverini's Elm Creek Quilts books may like to look at Quilt magazine's website where you can download a free pattern for an Underneath the Stars quilt  to tie in with Jennifer's new book which is due out on 3 November.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Quilty Christmas Presents

BQL is having a Secret Santa event.  Thus will be great fun - we can buy and send quilting-related gifts, or make and send a quilty pressie.  You have to subscribe to take part and all gifts have to be in the post by the beginning of December - which is not as far away as we think!

Click to join BQLSecretSanta

Click to join BQLSecretSanta

New Quilter

I had a great time at the weekend - went with my sister to her LQS (having persuaded her that was a much better idea that the nearby craft supermarket if she wanted expert advice and specialist items!) and got her started.  She bought a Very Hungry Caterpillar panel and is going to make a border for it with English-pieced diamonds in blue, orange and green batiks, it'll be stunning.  She's going to start on Lynne Edwards' sampler quilt book at half-term and has various ideas of things to do with all the Christmas fabrics she saw.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how she progresses.
She lent me the latest Jennifer Chiaverini and we're both waiting for the new one on 3 November :)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Lincolnshire Day

Happy Lincolnshire Day to all fellow bloggers, just to let you know it's warm (ish), sunny and autumnal here in the Fens.