Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Basketweave quilt is finished.  I used 1 roll each of classic red and blue Kaffe Fassett 2 1/2 strips along with my own hand dyed fabric.  I was lucky to purchase the Kaffe fabric at our Voices in Cloth show earlier this year in March.  In an earlier post, you can see how it was constructed.  Very free form.  For instance, I took the first strip that was cut into 2.5 x 6.5 inches and pieced them together with my 2.5 x 2.5 squares.  Then I worked on the next strip.  After I used up all the blue roll, I worked on the red roll.

 The Kaffe fabrics are such a joy to work with.  The colors and free form just interplay so well with each other.  At first I thought oh the dot fabric would detract and stand out too much,  there are 4 dot fabrics, but can you spot them from 10 feet away?  no.  Somehow the busy weave (positive space) makes the calming plain (negative space) work well with each other.
 This is a close up view.  I was hoping to capture the metallic thread I used in the quilting.  There is an Amy Butler fabric on the back.   I put Glitter Metallic thread in the bobbin case and free hand stitched the flowers from the Amy butler fabric.  It sparkles.
This is going to be a wedding gift for a good friend who we've known for over 30 years.  This is his first marriage.  He is so calming and reserved and she is so energetic and positive.  Perfect for each other.  Who would have thought?

Ann Horton Workshop

I took a one day workshop Monday with Ann Horton on designing quilts with textured embellishments.  It is too bad that it was only one day, because there was a lot of information in the class.  Thread painting, digitized embroidery and textile applique ....they all sound so intimidating, but like anything else once you try it, it can be fun.  

 This is a picture of what I accomplished in one day.  We drew out our picture first on paper, then free hand cut out our images with a scissors.  For the hills and fence posts, I turned the edges under a quarter inch with an iron.  Then I sewed it in place using my general foot.  Do you see the negative and positive space created by the fence posts?
 I changed my general foot to the free motion foot to make this butterfly.  We used tear away stabilizer, drew a butterfly on it and then placed a piece of organza on top of the drawing, then hooped it all.  I used three different colors on this butterfly yellow, golden and brown.  I haven't done it yet, but she said to tear away the stabilizer, cut the organza and place the butterfly on your quilt.
At the top left of the top is a cut out bird from fabric that Suzi let me have.  Thank you Suzi.  On that last hour of class, Ann was showing us how to stitch the bird.  Her sample quilt had grapes and a bird on a branch.  She changed about 8 different color threads in her demonstration.  Shading, outlining, choosing color to make the bird and grapes just pop out at you.  The master at work.  She has hours and hours of experience at doing this and made it look so easy.  I wish.  Another technique she showed us was to stuff the flowers and leaves with a little bit of stuffing and applique it on.  Haven't gotten to that part yet.

I am going to try and finish the flowers, finish the butterfly, finish the bird and not worry about how great or not so great it looks.  Try the new techniques.  Wow I actually made a butterfly.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sashiko thread

I wish I had taken the time to look through this book before I started hand quilting my clamshell sampler.  The book "The Classic Quilting of Sashiko" is an 1998 publication from Quilter's Resource publications.  It looks like a Japanese publication that has been translated to english.  The graphics and projects have a very Japanese feel to them.  Thankfully the centimeters are also translated to inches.

I don't remember how I got this book, but I do remember my Mom giving me her Sashiko thread stash.  She had taken a class in Hawaii and had some wonderful samplers made with mostly the white thread against the traditional indigo fabric.  I guess she was planning to make more colorful samplers with the thread stash that she collected.  I am very fortunate to have these, since they are probably very expensive now.

 As an example, I purchased these 2 small packets of sashiko thread from the "Calico Cat" store in Hawaii for $3.95 each.  These small packets are about one third the size of the upper threads.

 This is the sampler that I worked on with the Sashiko thread.  It is a clamshell pattern using some of my hand dyed fabric and other japanese fabrics.
This is the back of the clamshell sampler which shows the knotted threads.  After I read the book, I realized that I was not supposed to knot the thread, but take 2 or 3 backstitches.

Doing this sampler made me realize the following.  Do your homework.  Learn as much as you can about something. Take the time to read the instructions.  You'll save yourself time and a lot of knotty situations.