Thursday, 17 April 2014

The 1718 Coverlet - coming soon...

My next book! We are finishing off the editing over the next week and the book is scheduled for publication in August, hopefully in time for Festival of Quilts.  This is what I've been really busy with over the last six months or so, but we were keeping it under wraps.  Royalties from the sale of the book will go to towards the charitable aims of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, which include the upkeep of the quilt collection of The Quilters' Guild of the British Isles, housed at the Quilt Museum and Gallery, York.  The image on the cover is the original coverlet, which is the star of the book, with all new high resolution photographs and newly drafted block patterns.  Put it on your wishlist!

UPDATE - I should have mentioned, the original is going on show at the museum in York in the autumn, 5th September to 13th December 2014.   LOL, I suppose this is the first book I've 'ghost written' - literally.  It has been quite strange at times drafting patterns and writing instructions for someone else's blocks, especially when that person isn't around to ask for info.  I also forgot to mention that the instructions are for the original technique AND modern techniques (i.e. machine patchwork, needle turn applique, freezer paper applique etc.), so you don't have to make everything over papers.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Summerhouse Gothic


While I've been editing my new book, Glyn has been getting on with the summerhouse.  After constructing the frame for the back wall, repairing the Gothic window frame was the next job, before it can be put into the wall.

The window was salvaged from Plas Newydd, Llangollen in 2005, when an old outbuilding was converted into a gallery/education room.  It had been full of junk, mostly timber and fittings from the two wings that were demolished in 1963.  These weren't part of the original house but were added after the death of the Ladies of Llangollen.  It may be the window in the gable end on the left in this photo -


I had it stripped as soon as I got it, but there was still a bit of wet rot in the bottom.  Glyn cut this out, treated the rest of the timber and recast the bottom corners in resin.  The woodwork was in very rough condition but it has been filled and smoothed, ready for painting.


We are going to glaze it with painted perspex.  The other windows and the doors are also salvaged, but not quite as dramatic as this one.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Koyotcollection tenugui sale on eBay


Gary Bloom at Kyotocollection has got a fantastic selection of tenugui in his eBay shop at the moment, and this week he is having a sale.  He has a wide variety of designs, more than I've seen in for sale in one place (and I shopped for a few tenugui on my last trip). There's everything from kabuki cats to traditional ukiyoe scenes and geisha to more contemporary designs like this fun sewing motif tenugui -



Although they are technically towels, tenugui aren't fluffy but flat weave, absorbent cotton and make unusual panels for patchwork, rather like the cotton furoshiki Gary also sells.  He supplied the 'rabbits and moon' panel for the 'Furoshiki' quilt in 'Japanese Quilt inspirations and is also the person behind the Furoshiki Shop link on my blog.  Unfortunately the large size rabbit furoshiki I used has now sold out, but he has many more furoshiki to choose from.  Have fun browsing!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Summerhouse in Spring

Work on the summerhouse had to be put on hold during the very wet winter we've had, but Glyn got on with some more wall framing while I was in Cullen.  We tried out the Gothic window in the back panel tonight, just to get a sense of how much wall will be on either side.  This is the back wall so it will be at the other end of the summerhouse.  The outside dimensions are 12ft x 8ft, and approx. 11ft 5in x 7ft 5in inside, allowing for the 3in frame depth and the tongue and groove panelling.  More building this weekend...

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Kimono World on Youtube

Kimono expert Sheila Cliffe in Tokyo, aka Kimono on Facebook, has started posting an excellent and inspirational series of kimono related videos on Facebook, as Kimono World.  Have a look!

Boro and Vikings in London

Sunday was rather frustrating, as our planned route into London had to be scrapped because the Northern Line was closed, but we still managed to see both the exhibitions we had planned - Boro at Somerset House (mentioned on my blog in mid March) and Vikings at the British Museum.  The exact location of the Boro exhibition wasn't too obvious once in the courtyard at Somerset House, but we tracked it down to the far left corner.  Rather than huge and obvious banners favoured by the likes of the British Museum, you need to look for information posts around the square.


(It took a minute to line up the following photo just right...)

The boro were mostly mounted on canvas stretchers like this. Combined with the original interior features of the building, this gave the boro a different feeling from how they would have originally appeared. Plus, of course, what we are viewing is often the back of the boro fabric - the front would often have neatly turned repairs in the style of reverse applique, while the backs show the overlapping patches with simple running stitch holding them in place.


I have included some of the information panels, not in any particular order.  There was no set flow through the exhibition space and no individual labels on any of the pieces.  You were free to enjoy them on a very intuitive level. As usual, left click the photos to enlarge.

This is the back of a yogi or kimono shaped top futon quilt - it may be the lining rather than the outer fabric.  In use, this would have had heavy padding.  It is easy to tell that it is yogi rather than noragi (work wear) because of the length, the gussets under the sleeves and the width - anyone who could wear that as a work jacket would have to be a giant.


This was one of our favourites. It is for sale (£25,000).  I think all the pieces are for sale, with some already sold, but the price list isn't displayed.



As there was no information on individual pieces, it could be difficult for the viewer to understand their original uses.  While this was obviously the intention, it removed them even further from the people who made and used them - and the marks of wear which are of such textural interest to the viewer loose their original meaning while another one is imposed by their presentation.  The exhibition was fascinating and inspiring, but perhaps if you are interested in the social history of how boro/boromono/ranru were created, you may wish to supplement the exhibition catalogue with "Boro: rags and tatters from the far north of Japan" (the best deal on this book at the moment is to buy via here - used on starts at over £65 today but you can find a copy at around 6,000Yen on, although shipping costs are higher).

Vikings at the British Museum was interesting and I'm glad we got to see it before our museum membership ran out (no need for a timed ticket).  I went to the 1980 Vikings exhibition too.  This time, a lot of the smaller pieces were displayed in recessed wall cabinets, which made viewing difficult as two or three people effectively blocked the view for others - in 1980, I remember central glass cases, and a less crowded exhibition (although I went to see that on a Saturday).  Also the linear exhibition layout bottlenecked right at the start this time - the same thing happened with the Pompeii exhibition last year.  Although the exhibition set out to "place warfare and warrior identity at thecentre of what it meant to be a Viking", there seemed to be more emphasis initially on the Vikings as traders and settlers, whereas the 1980 exhibition (if I remember right) seemed to have focus more on the Vikings as warriors.  Weaponry, ships and beliefs were left to the final room, which housed the remains of the longship Roskilde 6 in a massive metal skeleton cradle, on loan from the Viking Ship Museum. Read some reviews with photos here , here and here.  There will be a cinema screening of the exhibition on 24th April and the exhibition is open until 22nd June 2014. Watch a video clip of the exhibition here.

Vikings was interesting but I am really glad we didn't miss Boro, which continues until April 26th.