Monday, 27 June 2016

Sashiko and applique in Dunfermline

Saturday was fun with Busy Bees in Dunfermline, where we combined sashiko with needleturn applique to make these lovely panels.  Having a choice between applique or reverse applique means we could use some of the thicker sashiko fabrics for the circles as well as lighter weight ones.  There were lots of variations on chrysanthemums in sashiko too, with everyone cutting their own templates.

We tried out the new Aurifil #80 cotton thread for the applique and it was amazing - it was so invisible, I couldn't use it to demo the needleturn stitches, because no one could see my stitches at all!  That was quite funny, because I had to switch to a #40 thread in a contrasting colour just so everyone could see my stitching.  This lovely new thread is going to be available in August.  It comes on cute little wooden spools.  I also want to try it out for miniatures.

I am going to add this workshop to my main workshop list.  It worked very well in terms of how long it took to do and was a relaxing day.

On Friday I was at The Peacock and the Tortoise in Perth, where we had an Introduction to Shonai Sashiko class.  With 10, we were full and I didn't get a chance to take photos.  Maybe some of the students who came could send me photos of their completed samples?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Are all strip cuts the same?

I love Tim Holtz's nostalgic steampunk designs for scrapbooking and papercrafts materials (he has a rather cool website too) so when I spotted his quilt fabrics, I had to add some to my stash.  First I got some yardage of his map prints and then I spotted this wonderful strip roll for sale online.  I had it on my eBay watchlist for ages in case I could find it for sale at any of the spring quilt shows or the Knitting and Stitching Show but after no luck, I ordered it from a shop in the USA.  It arrived a few weeks ago.  It wasn't cheap (nice strip cuts aren't) and I had to pay VAT and admin to Customs when it arrived, so I wanted to do something really special with it.  I have a variation on my Japanese Circles and Squares design with a redrawn block size that is perfect for a strip roll so yesterday I opened out the fabrics to start cutting.

There are many different brands of strip roll available now, commonly called jelly rolls by most quilters.  As the name 'Jelly Roll' is trademarked by Moda, other companies call them things like design rolls, strippers, pops etc. The one thing they have in common is the standard 2 1/2in width, which is normally measured from the edge of the pinking on one side to the other (not in the bottom of the pinked Vs along the edges).  They are also normally the full width of the fabric.

Before I opened the roll, I thought it looked a little on the wide side.  It can be hard to get an accurate measurement when the fabric is rolled up though.  Unrolled, the strips measure between 2 5/8in and 2 11/16in - not 2 1/2 in.  While there are some cheaper brands that aren't cut so accurately, I didn't expect this from a quality brand.  The roll is produced by Coats.

The oddest thing was the way the selvedges had already been trimmed off.  So despite the roll claiming to measure i '2 1/2" x 43/44"', the strips are between 41 and 41 1/2in long. The metric size is given as '6.4cm x 109.2/111.8cm', which is an accurate conversion.  It just doesn't measure that.

I've e mailed Coats and await their response.  I will have to modify the pattern to allow for the shorter strips i.e. less pieces from each and trim the width to the correct measurement.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

World Textile Day Scotland is on Saturday

We will be at World Textile Day at Bridge of Allan, near Stirling on Saturday - all the info is at 

These are some of Bob's photos from the brilliant WTD we had at Kings Sutton near Banbury just a fortnight ago. You can see my new vermillion and black yukata cotton fabrics behind us in the photo below - gorgeous!

Monday, 13 June 2016

More from Quilts UK

I didn't have a lot of opportunities to take photos of the quilts at Quilts UK this year, as I was on my own on the stand most afternoons while Glyn went out on coach trips with Yuza Sashiko Guild.  This is the quilt I chose for my Judge's Choice.  I had no idea who made it and it was a surprise to find out it was by Rebecca Collins, who I know from the North Wales quilting scene.

I just loved the way she had used the African fabrics and other batiks.  The back was fabulous too - a medley of African wax prints.

This quilt was an interesting project.  The blocks were started by one quilter and the quilt finished by her friends after her death.   It had a large variety of fabrics, but the simple design and placement of colours made it really special.

Andrea Stracke sent another perfect wholecloth.

To give an idea of her precise and tiny stitches, I held my hand about an inch from the quilt surface for the photo above.  If you click on the photo and zoom in, you should be able to see the stitches.

I think this quilt is by Birgit Schuller?  Another lovely design.

Lesley Brankin's view of the Malvern Hills.

I will have to check my catalogue for this maker's name.  A wonderful quilt, inspired by Roman mosaics.

Glyn did do some work on my stall - so I could go and teach with Yuza Sashiko Guild.  Here he is with Noriko Murata.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Yuza Sashiko Guild - the Quilts UK photos

I'm catching up with the last of the photos from the trip in May. Yuza Sashiko Guild's workshops at Quilts UK were a very quick sell out every day, with all the tickets gone in about 5 minutes.   Here's some photos from (I think) Friday's and Sunday's sessions.  We alternated between two different patterns, masuzashi (square box stitch, also known as juuji tsunagi or linked crosses) and zenizashi (coin stitch).

Here are their quilts, starting with the Maruike-sama series, inspired by the pool at Mount Chokai.

Three other quilts included Reiko Domon's 'A Hill in Edinburgh', which uses lots of different tartans from their 2014 trip.

The following Monday, we waved off our friends at Manchester airport.  We had a great trip showing them around Wales and the Borders, and plan to see them again in Japan soon!