Monday, 28 December 2009

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Secret Santa's Delights

These are the lovelt Secret Santa gifts I got from my pals on BQL. We could sign up to make something, to buy something or both!  I did both!  The scissor spot is amazingly strong, it will hold a large pair of scissors in place on the machine.  The gifts were wrapped in the tartan fabric which I've put in my Christmas box ready for next year's festive projects!  I sent some Australian design fabrics as my bought gift and as my made gift a sashiko pincushion.

The made gift that I received (and I do hope to find out who from so that I can thank them properly) was this gorgeous notebook and needlecase, plus a beautiful handmade Christmas card.  The front of the notebook cover has a hearts design

and the back has a cat design

and there is a gorgeous beaded bookmark inside

I shall be using this notebook when I attend workshops and exhibitions and I will (eventually) try to have a go at the technique Secret Santa used on the cover - is it called "faux chenille"? I love it - I  remember seeing a gorgeous bag made with the same technique.  Thank you to my Secret Santas, I hope you had a lovely Christmas.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The First Christmas

I have just got home from a delightful Christmas lunch with my SiL and his family and found the postman had left a parcel from South Dakota containing the final three of the Global Piecers' Christmas swap blocks and some other festive goodies.  Aren't they gorgeous?  Tomorrow will be spent making a Christmas wallhanging (probably).

We are still enjoying freezing temperatures, no more snow today but a great frost and freezing fog too.  My grandson, Wills, is keeping this icicle in the freezer so that he can see it in the summer.  He enjoyed his presents, particularly a book of dinosaurs which was a great hit.  He did extremely well with his present giving too -
I got this book and a massive box of Thorntons' chocolates, boy am I a happy Nanny!!  I also had another great piece of post, this time from New Zealand.  It was notification from the Timaru mini-symposium that I have got my first choice of workshop there in April, yeah baby, I'll be doing a miniature foundation-pieced Storm at Sea quilt with Meryl Caudwell. Finally for today, here's a shot of me with my first bowlful of Christmas pudding, complete with brandy butter and a sparkler, excellent.
Oh and a friend had left a brace of pheasant hanging on the front door handle - no photo in case some of my dear readers are vegetarian or of nervous disposition but that will be another little task for tomorrow!
Have a very Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Ice Inside

This is my "arty shot" of the ice on the inside of our bathroom window this morning - I really must persuade my beloved Scrooge to put another log on the fire!  Minus 7 C here in the Fens but the sun is shining so everything looks gorgeous.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Let It Snow

This was the view from the main road as we tried to make our way into town this morning.  Hearing on the radio that a lorry had overturned, blocking the bridge, we decided to turn around and spend the day at home in front of the fire!

Back in our garden I took this photo for my blogging/quilting friends in New Zealand - it can't be that often that you see a flax plant festooned in snow.

Silk Samples

This is the lovely little kimono silk sample card I received from Kimono Flea Market:

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A Christmas Party and an Exciting Parcel

These are my lovely friends (and Father Christmas) at our Crafty Time Out Christmas party this morning.  We stitched until about 11.00 a.m. (and I finished my "Life's Journey" holdall pictured below) and then we put the needles away and hit the chocolate cake.  Crafts and cake are such a lovely combination.

This is the holdall I finished which will hopefully be my carry-on bag for our forthcoming trip to Australasia.  It's pieced with a bargain selection of fabrics all with a retro-travel theme and is the first bag I've made.  The pattern was from Blue Willow Cottage based in Australia, which seems appropriate.

Returning home I found the lovely postman waiting with a parcel for me to sign for, all the way from Japan.  Please pop over to my sashiko blog to see what was inside and while you're surfing around please go and see the lovely work in Natalia's Show n' Tell.

Exciting Delivery from Japan

This is what arrived for me this morning, it looks exciting doesn't it?  I placed an order with Ichiro and Yuka Wada at Kimono Flea Market in Osaka, Japan a little while ago and my goodies arrived today.  Ichiro and Yuka deal in used and vintage Japanese clothing.  Just looking at their website is a fascinating experience, they add new items to their lists daily and these include kimono, obi (belts), haori (jackets), michiyuki (coats) and even jyuban (undies).  There are also wonderful bolts of kimono fabrics and samples for sale.  Prices vary from about $20 (US) to thousands of dollars for museum quality items.  Every item is photographed in detail and all areas of staining or wear are clearly highlighted.

I was very pleased with the service I received - the day after completing my order I saw another item I fancied and put an order in for it.  I immediately received an email from Yuka asking whether I wanted to combine the two orders, thereby saving on postage costs.  The items arrived well packed in tissue, and included a little sampler pack of the various fabrics used for kimono.  I will certainly be using Kimono Flea Market again.  My original thought was that if the items were disappointing  at least I'd have an amount of silk that I could cut up and use in quilting projects.  In fact they are even better than they appeared on the website and I will be wearing the haori and expecting a lot of appreciative comments.

So, this is what I bought.  Firstly, length of silk dyed in the traditional shibori method, listed as

Exotic Shibori Seigaiha Pattern Vintage Kimono Fabric


This is a fabric of a kimono from pre WWII. It has exotic 'seigaiha'(wave) pattern, which is dyed with shibori technique.
Textile is rinzu silk and has soft touch.
There are some flaws as in the photos. 

The fabric measures 35cm x 125cm and here's a close up of the design:

I also bought two haori - jackets.  This is the first which is silk and very soft, it was $18 and its condition described as "very good".

Here's a close up of the lovely fabric and you can see the colours more clearly:

and here's a close up of the front and the fastening and you can see the interesting lining:

The second haori, is in gorgeous autumnal colours and was listed as:

Contemporary Haori Charming Dyed Pattern
Item No
quite new

This is a contemporary haori and has charming dyed pattern. Textile is exquisite silk, and has very soft touch.
It is in excellent condition.

Here's a close up of the fabric:

And as an extra bonus the thank you slip in with the parcel had been personalised, so here's my name in Japanese:

Friday, 11 December 2009

Would you like a handmade surprise?

This sounds like fun!! I'm playing along with Catherine at the Sewing Attic Won't you come and Pay It Forward with me?

1. I will make a little something for the first three people who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and it will arrive on your doorstep when you least expect it!
2. I will have 365 days to do it in.
What's the catch? To get a handmade prezzie from me, you have to play too.
1. You must have a blog.
2. BEFORE you comment here, you must post about your Pay It Forward on your blog to keep the fun going, and display the Pay It Forward button.
3.  THEN come back here to let me know you've posted and to give me the link to your blog.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Jellyroll Christmas Quilt

I have finished my Christmas Quilt today, although with the rotten cold I have there is a sniff rather than the more usual love in each stitch!  It was a straightforward pattern from a Fabric Freedom "Spirit of Christmas" jellyroll that I bought at Harrogate in September.  There was a good range of fabrics in the jellyroll, I omitted the ones that had too much blue in and also left out a couple of black with silver strips that I didn't think went with my design.

Each block was made up of three full length strips stitched together, trimmed to size and then topped or bottomed with a strip in gold and creams fabrics.

I arranged the blocks so I was happy with them, added a narrow gold border, a pieced 2" border made with the remaining strips and finally a wider gold border.  The binding is made with the leftover bits from the original piecing of three long strips.  No waste!

I handquilted the central area with a holly leaf design which doesn't show up very well on the patterned fabrics - you can actually see it more clearly on the back (but I have a few tucks so I'm not showing you that!)  I used one of my machine stitches, a pretty star to quilt the narrow gold border.  I've joined in with  SewCalGirl  who is having a virtual Christmas quilt show so do go over there and have a look at some great Christmas projects.  I hope you like it and "Happy Christmas" to all my readers and fellow quilting bloggers.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Travels Down Under and Around the UK with Vikki Pignatelli

There is a great article by Vikki Pignatelli on Subversive Stitchers today - click on the link to read about Vikki's trip to wonderful New Zealand (and some other adventures) and some of the inspiring things she saw. It's really excited me for our forthcoming trip in 2010 and, spookily, the class photographed is in Pukekohe which is where Al's brother lives and where we'll be based! Maybe I'll meet some of those ladies in the LQS, The Old Sew and Sew, King Street, Pukekohe.