Friday, 31 January 2014

Friendship Quilt

Today I have finished my quilt made up of birthday blocks received from my friends in the Global Piecers (plus a block I did in a Pat Archibald workshop at Festival of Quilts).  I have posted about this project at various stages. I struggled with the busy-ness (is "business" correct, it doesn't feel right?) of the blocks and got some good advice from Wendy at Camelot Crafts about introducing somewhere for the eyes to rest, in the plain black frame around the blocks before the border. There is a mix of hand and machine quilting and I incorporated some of the extra fabric I was sent in the sashing and in the detail on the back of the quilt. The label is a little tray cloth that fits the leaf and Autumn theme. Thanks GP ladies, I will be thinking of you all when I use it. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Sam is Six

Today is Sam's sixth birthday.  Oh my goodness, I have a daughter who has a six year old, how do these things happen?!
The celebrations will be spread over the week and began last night with a birthday tea at Pizza Hut in the company of grandparents.  
Sara bought Sam a till and it was the success of the evening, Sam "scanned" all his presents and he and Sara had a great time playing "shops" between courses.
 A pirate cake went down well, especially as the staff and most of the restaurant joined in singing "Happy Birthday" to Sam,
Of course, with a child's birthday party it is to be expected that someone will get over excited, maybe be a bit silly and spoil themselves!  All that junk food and being up beyond bedtime can be blamed. Not the child in this case, who behaved perfectly, but the adults who had a wonderful and silly time with the balloons!!
Happy Birthday Sam!!

Arsenic and Old Lace?

Inspired by Mandy Pattullo this is what I'm doing today. It is grey, cold and wet outside and it's lovely to be in the warm and working with these old textile pieces. 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Taste of Japan

We held a bring and buy sale at Country Roads Quilters on Tuesday and I was tempted by a wooden pin cushion/cotton reel stand. Okay, so it isn't an antique Japanese sewing box, shown below, with the elevated pin cushion but it's probably as close as I'm going to be able to afford (and if I squint)!
Image from
Today I have made it more "me" and more Japanese by re-covering the pin cushion with a little piece of persimmon-dyed tenugui all the way from Fujino and a little sashiko-style stitching. I'm very pleased with it. Thank you to whoever brought it to the sale.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Happy New Year Country Roads Quilters

What a lovely meeting of Country Roads Quilters we had yesterday.  This photo was taken when we decided to replace saying, "cheese" with saying, "appliqué"!  We are showing off the 41 bags we made for Beads of Courage and we have decided to do it again in November.

It was great to meet up with everyone after the Christmas break and it seemed as if we did a lot of talking as well as our sewing.  We welcomed a prospective new member and founder member, Tina McEwen, popped in to see us during the afternoon, cue more talking.

We talked about forthcoming events, including several workshops, and had a great show and tell.
The ladies are so talented and create such a variety of different projects.

Although we meet primarily to quilt several ladies have spoken to me about the importance of the fellowship and friendship they find in the group.  We also have wonderful members who surprise us with yummy homemade cakes or delicious sweets to share.  What more could any one want?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sewing, At Last

I have finally got sewing, after a long break.  My sewing room is tidy and I know where most things are (the drawer of "gadgets and accessories" still needs attention) and I have a running order.
So far this year I have made a second little bag for Beads of Courage, almost finished my Hadrian's Wall journal quilts and made them into a textile book and layered and machine quilted my birthday blocks from my Global Piecer friends.
I have some enjoyable hand stitching to do.
Firstly, the final page of the Hadrian's Wall book which is dyed with leaves, lichen and bark found in the area and needs embroidery.  Secondly, the birthday quilt needs some hand quilting and then binding and labelling.
I also have an additional project.  Before Christmas my sister and I sorted out a lot of Mummy's art and craft things.  She was a talented water-colourist, a knitter and did tapestry.  In addition to lovely examples of her work in these areas we found a partly worked quilt.  In typical Mummy fashion it is all recycled fabric, the plain is curtain lining, the patterns are from sample books, old clothes etc.  The papers are cut from Christmas cards which makes the work very heavy at the moment and quite rigid.  The weights of the fabrics vary and the colours represent the entire rainbow.
In with the quilt was a stock of fabric pieces, a supply of old Christmas cards, a reel of thread, a needle and Mummy's Singer scissors.  I agreed with my sister that I would finish the quilt.  I will be making hexagons and half-hexagons whenever I have time to spare, in front of the television, in the waiting room at the hospital etc etc, it will be my current portable project.  We haven't discussed what we will do with the finished quilt.
On Tuesday it will be the first meeting of Country Roads Quilters in 2014.  We have an exciting year ahead, with a busy programme of meetings, I'm looking forward to catching up with all the members, it seems a long time since we met for our Christmas event.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Starting the Year with a Sort Out

How do you store your fabric? 
I have emerged from several days in my sewing room, restoring it to a place to stitch and be creative rather than somewhere to dump things that weren't needed over the Christmas period. 
I keep fabric in plastic storage boxes, but how to organise it?  I have ended up with:
Plain colours 
Plain black, white or natural 
Patterned, lengths
Patterned, FQs
New Zealand & Australian
African and batiks

Then there were the projects to organise. (Yes, this wasn't all a result of the Christmas dumping).  I have new projects to start, started projects to finish, started projects that probably won't be finished...and some projects that I'd completely forgotten about. 

Threads.      Gadgets & Tools.      Notions.     Books.   

I think things will work, I've found my sewing table, which has got to be a good  start. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Takehisa Yumeji

A "game" to promote art and artists is running on Facebook at the moment.  "Like" the status and your friend sends you details of an artist to explore.  You then post your favourite piece of their work and copy the status, giving your friends artists to explore when they click "like".  Susan Briscoe gave me Takehisa Yumeji, who I had never heard of, but guessed might be Japanese!

There is a wealth of information on the web of course.  This site:
is well illustrated and this picture of a young, pensive Takehisa put me in mind of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

So, I have to choose a favourite.  Too difficult when I've only just met the guy.  I like the "art nouveau" style ladies in their beautiful kimonos:

"Toronagashi (Lantern float)"

the natural settings and also the Mabel Lucie Atwell style illustrations for children:
Ring Around the Mountain
December 1922. Takehisa Yumeji

So today I choose an appropriate picture as my favourite and continue my exploration of Takehisa Yumeji's work.  This is Waiting for Spring.