Saturday, 25 January 2014

Turning Japanese

With the New Year, thoughts turn to endings as well as beginnings. While looking forward to starting some new projects in the pipeline, I am focusing this month on endings, namely finishing current WiPs.

I revisited the Mood Indigo quilt - log cabin blocks which I pieced last year - sewed these together and, inspired by the recent Sashiko workshop I went along to, I backed this with dark blue fabric and am sashiko stitching it with a circular design. So it will be a coverlet rather than a quilt.

The inspiration for this came from both the lovely Kasuri fabric by Moda, and from reading about Japanese "boro", clothes and household textiles, heavily repaired with scraps and layers and stitched into, sometimes with simple lines of running stitch, or with beautiful sashiko embroidery designs.

Taking this idea further, I used the  left over scraps and strips of fabric from the log cabin top and tacked them onto a long  piece of indigo cotton and am stitching into it with long lines of running stitch in white and navy sashiko thread. This slow stitching is so meditative, I end up in a zen - like calm...very appropriately given the Japanese theme!

This, my own version of boro, will do very nicely for my Guild's "That Darned Hole" project where we have to produce a piece of work in any technique, inspired by that title.  I have sent for some lovely lighter toned Japanese fabric from the Sansui collection by Makower which I will use to bind this with a view to making a wall hanging. Sansui means 'mountain and water' and is a perfect description for this gorgeous collection,

Fabric from Sansui Collection by Makower. Sashiko thread

I am using more of the left over Kasuri fabric to make Suffolk Puffs (yo-yos). Myself and a friend are running a workshop next week for our Guild on making a brooch from Suffolk puffs and buttons or beads. The Kasuri collection makes lovely puffs and I am using self-cover buttons to sew into the centre of each one. I am hoping to make enough to create some kind of wall hanging.

I am enjoying my slow stitching, but now that my order for more curved safety pins has arrived I need to finish pin basting DH's Manchester City of process and progress soon.

Linking up, albeit a bit late, with Brit Sewing Thursday.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy 2014 and lots of quilty gifts and goodness

May 2014 be a year of delight and discovery for the many lovely friends I have made both in the on line creative community and in quilt classes I have gone along to in recent months.

If your thoughts are turning to fresh starts and new aspirations, Julie Moberly, a creative coach who writes the Artful Life Newsletter has lots of great suggestions and gentle reminders about planning and goal setting for creative people, including excellent advice about achieving what makes your heart and soul sing, not weighing ourselves down with 'shoulds' that feel burdensome or unrealistic.

Lots of quilty goodness came in the form of a gorgeous ceramic patchwork bowl - very much a surprise gift from my SiL - made by the talented Catherine Daniels over at PotterJotter.  Check out Catherine's website for more beautiful quilt bowls and patchwork inspired ceramic gifts.

A Liberty's of London mouse pincushion -  isn't she a darling?

Two books, Quilts 1700-2010, Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, edited by Sue Prichard, textile Curator at the V&A. The book was written to accompany a major Quilt Exhibition at the V&A in 2010. Sadly, I missed this, but am looking forward to reading about the men and women behind some of the U.K's most stunning historical and contemporary quilts.

And another lovely surprise, 500 Quilt Blocks co written by  Lynne Goldsworthy of  Lily's Quilts Blog and Kerry Green of verrykerryberry.blogspot. The book is a compendium of quilt block patterns to suit all skill levels, with instructions and suggestions for material choices and ideas for projects. 

And, I have started in earnest on one of my aspirations for 2014 - learning how to knit lace.

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog meet over at Lily's Quilts

Lily's Quilts

I'll leave you with this thought for 2014, a quote from Zora Neale Hurston,

"There are years that ask questions, and years that answer."

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year with plenty of SLOW STiTCHING ! Remember, it's not all about how fast or how much!