Friday, 28 February 2014

Plans for a Quilting Day Alone

Next week we shall open up the Bach (yippee, Summer's coming), and then I shall treat myself to a sewing day there. 
I have been auditioning "Spring" fabrics for a Global Piecers' swap and I've rediscovered a beach hut/seaside themed quilt project I bought all the fabric for a few years ago. Those two projects should be enough to keep me busy. When the seaside quilt is finished it will live at the Bach. 
What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Maltese Patchwork

In all my visits to Malta I have hoped and failed to find any evidence of patchwork and quilting. I've even searched through the "Yellow Pages" but the craft shops I've found have offered mainly knitting wool, cross stitch and tapestry and there is some card making appearing. Of course, Malta, and especially the smaller island, Gozo, have their own tradition of lace making and still produce very fine work although it is getting difficult to find younger people to continue the skill. There are many haberdashery shops and recently I found a small shop that seemed to be selling tassels and very little else. There are also shops selling dressmaking fabric and suiting cloth. I have, however, at long last, found some patchwork and I proudly present to you:

The Marsaxlokk Fishing Cloth

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


The colours of Malta; the sea and the rocks. The beads are cut and polished Maltese calcite, the blue is silk. I'm not usually attracted to yellow but this is so warm and golden that I couldn't resist it. 

"Yellow Calcite will stimulate the intellect, help one organize intellectual thoughts and information as well as boot one's general energy level. From this it will naturally increase ones personal power and sense of self worth."
"Honey Calcite is a stone that will gently amplify energy. It also assists in the challenges associated with change in general. It enhances psychic abilities, astral projection and higher consciousness."
(From thehippi2000, eBay seller)

Monday, 17 February 2014


An interesting patchwork of building materials, green plants and water. The colours and shapes of Malta in a modern version. 

Friday, 14 February 2014

A Gift from Japan

I enjoyed seeing this pagoda in the San Anton Gardens in Attard, Malta. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Boro Journal Cover

I have been stitching into those pieces of indigo cloth remaining from my principle boro piece. Have I finished? 
I have included hearts because St Valentine's Day is approaching. Does Fuji san look a bit bare? Should I add a little something to the heart on the front of the cover? So many questions, I am never sure when I am finished. 
There will be an edging and lining of Japanese fabric, probably in cream, blue, pink and grey like the piece hiding behind the woven fabric here:
There will be Jean's button and a cord to close the journal. I think I need to see it at that stage and make another assessment. Maybe I need to add initials, or a date. Maybe I've finished. It doesn't matter, what is important is how much I am enjoying stitching these fabrics and recalling my time in Japan. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Designed by the Sea

There are some interesting shapes here, eroded into the rock by the power of the water. Inspiration maybe?

Monday, 3 February 2014

Review of Indigo & Sarasa by Shizuko Kuroha

In her final post from the recent Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, Carin wrote about Shizuko Kuroha and shared a link to more information about her work
I was very taken by the incredible work of this lady and when I found she has a book available, well, you can guess!  It was a little trepidation that I ordered it from France, from the Quiltmania website. They are the publishers of the book and the price was considerably less than on some other websites I looked at.  However, you may like to look at this link as there are several pages from the book shown.
I need not have worried, the book arrived more quickly than if it had come from up the road.
The initial impression I had of this book (which is written in both French and English in this edition) is that it would be something of a "coffee table book" full of wonderful illustrations of Mrs Kuroha's work to inspire the reader.  There are many illustrations, of exquisite quilts made mainly with vintage fabrics and a lot of gorgeous, gently worn indigo, but this book is much more than that.
Mrs Kuroha writes about her journey with quilting and with these fabrics, her way of working and they way her work has influenced her life and her thinking.  A gentle, thought-provoking read.  

She is also incredibly generous with the techniques and patterns she has included in the book, it is like having a private workshop continually on hand.  There are step by step, illustrated instructions for the various techniques Mrs Kuroha uses:  hand piecing, log cabin, chenille, quilting.  There is detailed information about sewing tools and about the various textiles that she uses.
Finally, there are extremely well-illustrated patterns for many of the quilts and smaller items shown in the book, including layouts and full size templates.
Many books on my shelves have a combination of things that attract me and are useful and chapters that I can happily ignore as not appropriate to me.  "Indigo & Sarasa" has nothing that isn't of interest to me (except for the French text but two of my friends in Country Roads Quilters are keen to look at my copy and to read the French, because they can!) and I thank Carin for introducing me to Shizuko Kuroha.

ISBN:  978-2-916182-53-7
First published, in Japanese, 2005

Indigo Memories

What a delightful afternoon I have had, one full of memories.  I have finally sorted out my Japanese Textile Study Tour "stuff" and incorporated it all into the rest of my sewing things.

When I returned from Japan (in April 2012), I put everything related to the Tour in a large "Curver" box on wheels:  fabric, my journal, souvenir pieces of packaging, fabric, threads, gifts from my Indigo Sisters, fabric, gifts from Bryan's neighbours and students, books, fabric, indigo seeds, CDs of everyone else's photographs…..

I have been delving into the box for various projects but the contents remained together under the heading "Japan 2012".  This afternoon I have sorted out the box and indulged in memories of the Tour and the wonderful people I met.  I have put the various books onto my bookshelf, I have put the threads in my threads drawer, I have stroked the fabrics and allocated them to various new boxes according to whether they are new fabrics, vintage or created by my own fair hands.  You get the idea.  

I have also started a little portable project with the remaining pieces of indigo dyed fabric from my boro cloth.  These little pieces will be stitched in sashiko thread as the mood takes me and will then become a book cover.  The Dorset button was made by one of my Indigo Sisters, Jean, and I will use it to fasten the book cover.  More memories every time I use it.