Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Lagging behind WIPW

It has been an intensive couple of weeks.
First of all INTENSELY pleasurable to read all the kind comments on the TASTy bird. THANK YOU all!
The workload on the home front has been intensive, too, keeping me away from needle and tread.

So last week Wednesday I did not post any progress on my work - there was no progress to report! (Others have been hard at it so do check out WIPW over at Pintangle.)

Today I can only tell you that I have continued the quilting in the border of the bias tape quilt.

From the picture you can see that I am using 'ordinary' sewing thread and a long needle. We all quilt in different ways. When I am doing just three layers (e.g. a whole cloth quilt, or top, wadding and back, and no bulky seam allowances from pieced work) I hold the needle between my thumb and index finger and use no hoop nor a thimble. The needle then needs to be long. MY way!

In this particular quilt I have used so many various kinds of thread for the ornamental stitches I also quilt in 'whatever' I have. After all, it is a wall hanging and will not be washed (ever?), so I can break all the rules! 
Here I am using a reel of thread from my mother's stash. I know just what dress she used this thread for. It is nice to think of her while working.


This has nothing to do with WIPW but I made a couple of birthday cards:

Spring flowers of felt with embroidery.

My brother- and sister-in-law are teachers of traditional Japanese dance and were ordering new summer kimonos for practise and lessons. I was given the fabric swatches left by the salesman:
Lots of beautiful fabric!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The TASTy Bird - A Summary Sampler

In September of last year I posted a picture of a summary sampler I had made of the first 33 TAST(2012) stitches. It featured a colourful bird, with the area around its body still being bare. I have now added the remaining 19 stitches in this area. To make the bird stand out I worked the surroundings only in light blue, to blend in with the fabric.
Many of the stitches are raised and give the surface an embossed look.
Here are Pistil, Drizzle stitches and Raised Herringbone Band with Inverted Feather stitches in the foreground, somewhat blurry.

Buttonhole Eyelet Flowers and Triangular Feather stitches.

For the bird's red crest feathers I used the Open and Closed Base Needlewoven Picots. Some of them are topped with beads.

If you don't know what TAST is, click here to read all about it.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

TAST #52 Triangular Feather Stitch

We have now reached TAST stitch #52, and in my very personal TAST book that means that TAST2012 is complete.

The Triangular Feather Stitch seems to be new to many and also a sure favourite, anyway of mine. I love all the stitches in the Feather family we have used so far.

I found a small space left on my sampler so added three rows. The first two were mirror images and whipped with yellow in the middle. I got this idea from Anneliese of Stitching Lady.

I then did a picture on felt, added a few Stem stitches and French Knots:
I particularly liked the basket. But the Triangular Feather stitch is perfect for a frame as well, don't you think?

Fancy trying out this neat stitch? Fancy joining TAST?  It's great fun!
Click here for more info.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy St Valentine's Day to all.

Many years ago I made a Valentine quilt while trying out Elly Sienkiewicz's Appliqué 12 Easy Ways. Every year in February I display this little wall hanging in my home.

                             I made two hearts of each type and found out which appliqué methods I like and which I dislike. It was a good learning curve and that makes this quilt very dear to me.

In Japan Valentine = a gift of chocolate. 
Julie Fukuda over at My Quilt Diary has written an excellent blog post about how this tradition of giving chocolate came about in Japan. I warmly recommend you to read it.

Here are a few examples of this year's chocolate haul:

Wrapping is important.
The red box in the next picture came in its own tiny carrier bag.
How should one react when one's husband is given a pretty box of exquisite chocolates in a red box with a heart dangling from the ribbon?

Well, one should be most pleased and put that little heart on a crazy quilt!

Information is important.
In this box there was a note about the NPO (Non Profit Organisation) that sells these chocolates to raise funds for their activities.
Clic here to read more.

In the bottom corner the six circles explain what flavours there are:
Raspberry, Maple, Black Tea,
Green Tea (Macha), Passion Fruit and Mango.
All have white chocolate as a base.
Individual wrapping is important.
Now what's in this box? Those who read French will know it contains something fit for a king's palate.

Actually this is a box of rusks! Rusks!? Well, not the Swedish wholesome whole-wheat rusks you need all your teeth to bite into.

Instead there are eight chocolate covered rusks decorated with gold dust! They are made from roasted French baguette.

Each is wrapped in its own little golden plastic bag with a sturdy cardboard disc to prevent the rusk from damage.

Individual wrapping is the norm in Japan and there are several reasons why sweets, biscuits and crackers come in their own little bags. They keep fresh longer, they are protected from moisture in summer, they can be served to guests in pristine condition, they can be given to take home to guests who were too modest to eat at your table, they can be served to other guests at another time, they might have a Best Before date printed on the bag...

Now I will treat my Royal palate to a gold dusted chocolate covered rusk before settling down to some quilting.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

WIPW - How to make boring time interesting

It's Wendesday once again and, well, you know that it means a progress report. 

I have started work on the last border of the bias tape quilt. The material is a length of  beautiful Jinny Beyer border fabric and I am simply quilting along the outline of the pattern. 

Anyone who has done this kind of quilting knows that it can be quite tedious, however pretty the design. To turn the boring work  more interesting I am listening to audio books. Right now I am enjoying Stephen Fry as he reads the Harry Potter stories.

Another pastime for longish quilting sessions is to let my thoughts wander, sometimes without a plan, or I set myself a Question. E.g. Why and since when do I like purple? or Is it OK to cross the street when the light is red but no cars are coming? It was after reading the Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie stories I started this highly private 'The Quilty Philosophy Club'.

How do YOU spend time while doing a boring job?

WIPW, Work In Progress Wednesday, an excellent idea of Sharon Boggon of Pintangle, means that you 'show and tell' about your progress on an ongoing needlework project. Take a picture, write a line, or two, post it on your blog and then put a link in the comments field on Sharon's WIPW post for the week. It is interesting to follow fellow needleworkers' work, share tips and ideas, give and get encouragement. This is a good way to turn that UFO into an FO.

(UFO=UnFinished Object  FO=Finished Object)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

TAST #51 Raised Herringbone Band

This week the TAST stitch, Raised Herringbone Band, was perfect to work onto my sampler band. Instead of making a project or thread play I simply made three different combinations with this: a slightly curly woollen thread in orange, a variegated blue-green perle cotton #5 and a purple loosely woven rayon ribbon with silver from Art Fibre Endo, a tread maker in Kyoto.

Which do you like best?
 Aida is not such a good choice for Satin stitch and there is too much white fabric showing through in the middle row with perle, I think.

To learn about TAST, take part if you want to, and it is great fun, and to see what other wonderful things have been created with this stitch, head over to Pintangle.

By the way, this is what I bought from the AFE stand at the Quilt show:

They really do have a lot of eye candy thread!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More photos from Tokyo Quilt Show

More and more pictures begin to appear on various blogs of pictures from the Tokyo International Great Quilts Festival.

The show is huge and it is impossible to see, and take pictures of every quilt. It is therefor interesting to see on others' blogs some quilts that I did not notice, or just skimmed over.

There is much to drool over on these blogs:
My Quilt Diary
A Quilter By Night
Blossom Heart Quilts
Thread and Needle
Lynette Anderson

Thanks to all for sharing YOUR visit to the show with the rest of us.


WIPW - Sequins and beads

It's mid week and time for the Work In Progress Wednesday report.

So what progress have I made? Well, I've added sequins and beads in the open spaces created by last week's Chevron stitches. 260 sequins and equally many beads. It took a bit of time...

I'm not the only one to have something to report. Go to Pintangle and see for yourself.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The HINA Rabbit

Here is the tutorial for the HINA rabbit I promised yesterday.

First make a rough cardboard pattern like this for the body and ear.

I have used polyester chirimen which is nice and stretchy, but any fabric is OK.
Mark the seam lines. One body part should be mirror image.
Use pink or pattern fabric for the inside of the ears.
Cut out the pieces with a seam allowance.  

Stitch all sides except bottom with tight backstitches.

Notch out small triangles with scissors.

Press the seam allowance over the cardboard pattern.

Turn right side out and stuff the rabbit's body with wadding.

Then stitch up the belly. Turn and press the ears, they don't need wadding.

Stitch the bottom of the ears together then stitch them in place on body.

Mark the mouth and nose with a Fly stitch.
Make the eyes with red glass topped pins,  cut off most of the pin and fix with bond.
Insert strands of white cotton thread for the whiskers and 'starch' them with bond.
Leave to set and dry.

Have fun!

Monday, 4 February 2013

HINA 2013

It is time to prepare for Hina Matsuri, the Doll Festival, celebrated by families with daughters. I have written about it on the Hina page (found at the top of this blog, or click here).

Traditionally you display the dolls from about a month before March 3rd, which is the main day. The best time to put up the decorations is on a TAIAN (大安), a lucky day, according to the Chinese calendar. Today is Taian:

Many families have a set of the traditional dolls, the Imperial Couple and their attendants in ancient dress.  You can read about them here.

Families with less space might have other decorations, like these made of paper, Japanese lacquer, clay or porcelain. 

I, on the other hand, continue to stick to my favourite type of ornament, the Hanging Hina Dolls. Making stuffed dolls and ornaments from kimono scraps is an old tradition in mainly three areas of Japan: Inatori a hot spa town on the Izu Peninsula, Yanagawa in Fukuoka, Kyushu, where the dolls are hung across the river and the best way to enjoy this festival is of course from a boat on the river and Sakata in Yamagata Prefecture where the dolls are dangling from Japanese paper umbrellas. Click on the links and enjoy!

So I spent yesterday making three new ornaments for my own display; a Rabbit, a Flower and a Bag of Fortune:

Tomorrow I'll post a tutorial for the rabbit.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

TAST #50 Inverted Feather stitch

The TAST stitch this week was the Inverted Feather stitch. See and read more on Pintangle.

It was a new stitch to me, and I found it a bit difficult to keep the tension even. I started out making a rectangular frame, then saw that the stitch had a 'Roman Numeral' look about it (IX or XI). Adding a clock face and some hands was then the obvious choice! The result, a very wonky clock!