Monday, 14 May 2018

To be “Moderne” or not to be “Moderne”, That is the question!

I bought this at a local newsagent today and it’s had me thinking and thinking. 

I really think that all of us who quilt, regardless of what kind of quilting they do (machine, hand, repro modern, whatever) are really modern Quilters. We are all living in the 21st century, regardless of wether someone makes only reproduction quilts or not, the materials and fabrics we make are all made with modern inks, techniques, base fabrics, even templates and sewing cottons, you name it.  In a hundred or two hundred years time, archivists and historians and interested folks would identify quilts by the materials etc and there is no doubt what they would call us. 21st century Quilters.

But ... that can mean different things to different people. I’ve really been thinking about that means for me as a Quilter/sewer/maker.  While I may not make Reproduction quilts, I really appreciate and admire and am interested in all the techniques and history that go into Reproduction quilts and the actual quilts they are based on.   No matter what skills (I think) I have, I can always learn more and always improve on the skills at my finger tips.

The lovely Di Ford-Hall, author of Primarly Quilts 1 & 2 is a master of Broderie Perse and Applique. I’ve have learnt so much from her. Her books inspire. Just because you may not be interested in recreating a 30s quilt or something much much older, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn and apply what you learn to anything you make now.  Learning is important and it does make our quilting and sewing much better!

I really think that now I’ll classify myself as a 21st century quilter with modern overtones, but learning from the past! Ah, labels!!! 

How would you classify your quilting and sewing? I’d love to see, I bet it’s not as cut and dried as we think. Comments below if you’d like to jump in on this!!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Passing it on ...

Copyright Getty Images. Selecting fabric for clothes.

Do you ever get what I call “prickles”. That shivery feeling when you say something or do something that unbeknownst to you, is important?

My kid and her friends were all together yesterday. I was there as well, some of them are doing a research project on the Great Depression for school. The only way I found that out was because out of the blue my kid asked a question at the dinner table.

“Mum, did people really wear clothes made out of sacks during the Depression?”

As we all know, yes they did! I think she got a surprise when my eyes lit up and I went racing up to my studio, and found my feedsack book. I was able to show her pictures like the one above and then show her in my studio, the real feedsack pieces I have.

Fast forward to yesterday. I had taken  the book and a piece of feedsack with me, I knew a couple of the girls were doing the same topic.

Picture a room with 5 tweens, all lolling (that’s a great word), 2 with ipads, one on a laptop at a desk, two others in front of Youtube and all talking at the same time. This is how the following conversation went:

Me: Darlings, whose doing the Depression for English?

3 heads look up:

Me: I thought you guys might be a little interested. This is a book on feedsacks. Y’know how people used to wear sacks that flour and animal seed came in and how companies put patterns on them. Here’s some pictures of the sacks, and stuff people made and here is some real feedsack.

Eyes wide, mouths open.

Kid bouncy: Is that real?

Kid learny: is that a copy?

Me: Nope. It’s the real deal.

Kid bouncy: so when is it from?

Me: the Depression.

Huge intake of breath and now all 5 sets of eyes are like saucers including my kid who can’t pretend it’s not cool any more. 

All five kids: Wow!!!!

Then they all touch it.

Kid bouncy: but it’s so nice.

Me: the Pattern is lovely but it’s only in one colour and white so it would have been super cheap to manufacture. And it’s just a simple loose weave cotton fabric so again not to expensive but it looks great. 

General exclamations etc.

Learny kid: why did they do that?

Me: cause folks had nothing at all, and the printed patterns gave them dignity.

Cue “prickles” all round.

We forget that everything we make has a history. We mightn’t see it now but we will in the future and so will the folks who wind up with the stuff we made. These little mirrors into the past are important. And what’s more, it elevates the stories from being words on a page to living reminders. The girls got a taste of that yesterday. That’s cool.

Monday, 7 May 2018

A brief, wee look at what’s coming next and trying out the app.

Here are a few pictures to have a look at:

Textile Design:

Pre motherhood, I went to design school and got a degree in Fashion and Textile Design and I worked in a studio design textiles for the fashion industry ( women’s and kids wear). After many years, I’ve picked up my brushes and fired up my Mac and I’ve put together a collection of fabric designs that will be going up on at the end of June. This picture is a little colourway of one of the designs. I’m a lover of Vintage so my collection has a vintage feel to it.

The Pattern Work Book. I’ve been working on this, off and on, for years now. I have decided to actually devote as much time as I can to see it realised. There is more on this further down.

The Theatre de la Mode is something that has fascinated me for years and years and I’m going to write more about it over the next few months. I first heard of it in 1992, and it was also a catalyst for the Pattern Work Book.

Sensei Chuck Nohara is a quilt master from Japan. Her book 2001 quilt books is amazing and I am learning so much. So I’ve stopped every other piece of quilting I have been doing and I’m just concentrating on this quilt until it’s done. So it’s going up here because I just love it.

Vintage typography and illustration: Beautiful. You’ll see my favs here.

This is the first part of the The Pattern Work Book. I thought it looked lovely! 

This is the front cover (illustrated by me) for the first part of The Pattern Workbook.

There are a couple of Applique patterns coming (but they are  being refined now) and once a year we go to Japan, so there might be a little bit about Japanese design and culture plus some other little surprises coming. I feel like there isn’t enough hours in the day but in the best kind of way.  
It was five years ago that I posted here. Five years!  I nearly died when I saw how long ago it was. So much has happened during that time, too much, but its all been leading me back here.  But ... there is a change coming.  In the next month or two, is going to be on Etsy, on InstagramSpoonflowerZazzle and Society6 as well as here and this blog will be the heart of it all.

I'm just tying all the bits together, crossing the t's, dotting the eyes and getting everything ready to launch. Very exciting!  Watch this space - I am, woohoo!

Monday, 9 September 2013

New block...

I keep forgetting to post, sorry if you read this and want more but I post when I can.

Here is the new block for the Monday mums sampler quilt, the girls are kicking along nicely. They wanted a new block to do and here it is. Interested in the others? I'll add them here as well.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Dear Jane, Dear Jane, Dear Jane ...

It's time I earned my stripes.

Its Dear Jane time.  For anyone who doesn't know, the Dear Jane quilt movement has been kicking around the globe since the original Dear Jane book was published in 1996.

Most blogs on the net about the Dear Jane quilt (and there are hundreds) start with the basic details about this amazing quilt.  The original quilt was made in during the American Civil War by a woman named Jane Stickle.  We know who she was, she embroidered her name and the date and the very poignant words "in a time of War" in one of the corner triangles.  You can find out more about her and the quilt here.

I'm going to be really honest, I am not a fan of repro quilts, I have always liked to do my own thing.  If you look through my blog, I guess you can see that in what I have done.  Four years at Design School have really hit hard with me.  I have to say that there is something so special about this quilt. it seems to appeal to every one.  There are versions of this quilt made with 30s fabrics, moderns, brights, neutrals, repros ... anything.  It can appeal to anyone, Jane Stickle was a great designer and she never knew it.  She probably felt she was no one special, and yet here we are over a hundred years later making her quilt.

That is so cool.

So, along with all the other projects I have on the boil, I am adding Jane to the list.  Starting from today.  I am aiming at one block a week, and I thought I would see if anyone else is interested, we can start a Jane-A-long.  If there is interest, I'll do up a button for blogs etc and lets get cracking.

First things first.


This quilt requires some preparation.  Well, it does if you have hidden OCD tendancies.  A lot of folks who have done a Jane quilt have given plenty of great tips, I'll put some here.  A lot of Janiacs pull their books apart and put the contents in folders.  At first I was horrified.  Pulling apart a book, oh mercy!  But ... when you see the book you get the idea why.  The book needs to be pulled open to copy the patterns.  Either way you look at it, the spine of the book is going to get trashed so its best to pull it apart and stick it in a folder.

There are a lot of blocks in this quilt, 225 in all.  169 x 4 1/2" square blocks, the rest are triangles for around the edges.  Yes, it is a lot but it is manageable.  I'm going to do a block a week, and keep it ticking along while I do other bits.  So getting your brain around doing 225 blocks could be daunting but one at a time ... not to bad.  The folder gig really helps. 

This should give you an idea of what a page in the book looks like.  Each block is to scale, and next to each block is a picture of the original.  That's a good thing, it really helps with planning your colours and fabrics.  But as you can see, there are a bunch of little yellow sticky notes in my folder.  These are for the block templates that don't match the pictures.  Some of them don't, I am sure that the author had very good reasons for doing that, but I thought I would try and make my Jane as close to the original as possible.  So as we go, I'll adjust a block to what I see it to be, and post the details here if anyone wants to see it.  

And here is a wee look at the triangle blocks.  I can't wait to have a go at these, some of them look tricky, some of them look easy.

There is a great way piece of software that really helps with putting a Jane quilt together.  The EQ folks have developed it.  I have a mac, and I use it using another piece of software called "Cross Over" by Dream Weavers.  The software gives the ability to print the templates in any size you want, play with the layout and size.  Anything you need to help you put your very own Jane in any size together.

It seems to be universally accepted that this quilt needs a lot of fabric. I was very sceptical at first but no, after a bucket of research it seams that 15 yards of fabric is needed for the background of the quilt.  That will cover sashing and borders and backing etc.  I can't get a clear indication from anywhere exactly how much printed fabric is needed for the quilt, so I have attacked my stash and I have a jelly roll, some FQs, some yardage and a fat 8th bundle (coming from Hancocks of Paducah) all ready to go.

I'll post some pics in the next day or two of the fabric I have chosen for my back ground and my prints. My Jane has a very french feel : )  Are you doing a Jane quilt?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

About Japan Quilt Show Pt.1 and something new ...

It's Saturday afternoon and Pickles is playing with one her BFF's in her bedroom.  An epic story involving wands and vows and all sorts.  My man is on his way home from seeing mates and is popping into the supermarket to grab me some cream for dinner.  I told the girls I would make Cabonnara for dinner, fairy cabonnara to be exact.

Katie Noonan is singing (check out itunes if you haven't heard of her) and I thought it might be a good idea if I added something to my blog.  Poor wee thing.

Japan. Was. Amazing.

So amazing in fact, I think we might be heading back there in October to check out Kyoto in Autumn.  But I thought I would put up some pics from the 2013 Tokyo International Quilt Show.

Just to prove it.  I was there :)  See, told ya.
This picture does not convey exactly how many people where there.   All very ordered and polite but watch out for the little old ladies, they push like a fury.

These two quilts were a real highlight for me, everything and I mean everything was done by hand.  I thought I could be detail focused, not one tiny bit.  The Japanese quilters are the best in the world.  If you disagree, the next Tokyo Quilt show is late January 2014.  Go.  Be amazed.

The venue was a huge indoor baseball stadium and this is only part of the show.

The aisles were packed and the shopping unbelievable but you had to be prepared to be utterly surrounded and sometimes, I found myself have to be a bit forceful to get to see in stands but it was still great.

 I'll do another post with some more pics to give you a bit more of a look at the show.

But I can't help myself, here is the quilt show loot.  I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy more back issues of the Quilts Japan.  And I didn't see Patchwork Tsushin there, I think I may have missed some of the stands, in fact I know I did.  Oh well, guess I might have to go back. :)

Quilts Japan Back Issues.

Not technically from the show but from a shop on the outside of the stadium but honestly, you can never have too much TOTORO phone bling.  (Google "my neighbour Totoro" its a family favourite here).

I'm normally not a fan of kits but I bought a couple at the show, because I loved them .  I liked the technique in the top one, there are tiny crystals sewn on the points of the petals.  The bottom one is a robot.  Help me.  A robot.  So very cool.

Gorgeous Yuwa Fabrics, from the source. Nuff said.

This was my "why DID I get this?" purchase.  But ... into the stash it goes.

How gorgeous are these?  If we go back in October I'm on the hunt for quilt shops in Kyoto.
Now this was something I was directly looking for.  These are for Boutis and there is a lovely lady in Japan who has made it her specialty.  I'm going to do a post on her and boutis in the next little bit.  But this is the boutis thread and needles I'll need for Jane Francaise.  And more on THAT later too ...

More yummy fabric and another wee kit that I got really for the fabric scraps

A great pair of scissors, they are now sitting in my take everywhere quilting kit. The cat, that's my cat.  She is priceless :)

Gorgeous needles from Tulip.

Another bag of gorgeous scraps, lovely lace and a FQ with Ballet Dancers  all over it, to make "something" for Pickles.

I'll post some more pictures and write a little more about the show in another post but here is a picture of something new I have done. Its a mini quilt, "La Belle Fleur".  Roughly 60cm square.  The lady bust  came from a french fashion magazine of mine from 1949.  The fabric is the re-released Three Sisters "Paris Flea Market" range by Moda.  It was done for a local Quilt Shop competition.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Oh, I forgot these...

Here is a travel journal cover I made and a little pocket thingy for my designing journals ....

The wild blue yonder ...

It seems like yesterday that I said we "might" be heading off to Japan. Yet here we are, house in an absolute uproar as I get us ready to leave on Friday.

My roll on bag is filled with my lovely canon camera, my quilting and this ...

It's funny the stuff that sticks in your head. I was a very little girl when I saw a cartoon about a girl who was dressed up like a muskateer. I can barely remember it, but her image has stuck in my brain for a million years and it's taken me another million years to find out who she was and her made her. Questions solved :)

Princess knight in English or Knight of the Ribbon in Japanese by the legendary Osamu Tezuka. Anyone ever seen Kimba the White Lion or the original Astro Boy? The same guy. Anyways, it's her. Why have I remembered her all these years?

She had black hair? She had a sword?

What? Why? Well my local kids bookstore had two volumes in English . So there they are, tucked in my bag and ready to go. I am hoping to post pics
Here, especially of the quilt show. That's is if we can find the right power adapters before then.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Look what came in the post yesterday ...

Howdy howdy. How busy is for you? I feel like I'm the tornado in the wizard of oz, with chicken coops and little old ladies in rocking chairs whizzing round my brain.

Anyhoo ... Have a squiz at this. I've been watching Spoonflower for an age and finally thought I would give them try. I am working on a quilt for the big show in June , if it's finished in time, if not I'll enter it in the Tokyo show for next year. I'm a bit hexie possessed at the moment. I'll post pics as I go. But on to Spoonflower magic.