Sunday, July 28, 2013


 The royal blue silk dupioni is at least 40 to 50 years old.  My father bought this silk when he was in the Air Force and traveled all over the world.  I'm not sure where he bought it Japan..India..Indonesia.  It works beautifully as a border for the hexagon.  I auditioned other colors, but this just popped and made the other silks really shine.
 The dragon came from a Dover clip art.  Ellen told me about it and encouraged me to sign up for the weekly email of free clip art.  Each week, I would look through the selections and save the ones I liked into an excel spreadsheet.  This dragon clip art was actually only 3 inches long and it was holding a flower in its talons.  I used the excel picture tools to crop the dragon.  I measured the border at 10 inches by 15 inches.  Since 1 sheet of paper is 8 x 11, I expanded the dragon to cover 3 sheets of paper.  These were printed out in black and white and pinned onto the border.
I used a gold thread from Superior as the top thread with a size 90/14 needle.  I free motion quilted the dragon using the printed paper.  My mistake is using the regular copy paper.  I should have used either a tissue paper or light interfacing.  As I tried to pull off the paper, it was too heavy and strong and lifted the gold threads.

One of my favorite books is Dragonsong by Anne MacCaffrey.  A quote from her book is "When thread falls, dragons fly".  Thread had a different meaning in the book, but I just love the thought of the dragon flying around the edge of the quilt looking for loose threads to singe.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Phoenix border

 This is the phoenix border that I am quilting on the silk quilt.  I am using a 100 wt silk thread from YLI and a 50 wt Gutterman cotton thread.
 Have you guessed how this is quilted?  The silk thread is in the bobbin and the cotton thread is on the top.  I free motion quilted the lines and the phoenix birds from the back of the quilt.  To prepare for this, I hand basted the edges of the quilt and used a red thread to baste around the hexagon middle.  The red thread helped me to define when to stop.  There were some instances when I continued the phoenix into the hexagon because I didn't want to just cut it off.  I have decided to hand quilt the inner hexagon.  After seeing Joan's beautiful hand quilting, I thought that would be the best way to quilt the beautiful silks.
This is the end of the bolt of cotton yukata that I used for the back of the quilt.  Yes, I think this is an indigo blue stencil.  There is a repeat that I haven't figured out.  I washed it and ironed it.  I don't know how old the fabric is, but the washing could not remove all of the brown spots.  Still, I thought it was better to use it than to let it sit for more years.  .Luckily, I had enough to cover the whole back of the quilt, since it was only 14 inches wide.  You'll see why I was so happy to choose this phoenix fabric when you see the next post.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Red and White dolls

 Here are some pictures of the Japanese Red and White dolls.  A friend of ours gave us these two dolls about ten years ago.
 Here is a back view
 Here is a side view.
The beautiful silk brocades in this new quilt came from my friend who made the dolls. She carefully kept all the scraps of the silk that were used to make dolls.  Her collection of dolls is awesome.  Her collection of scraps were more awesome.  To me anyway.  There were so many fabrics with gold thread in them.  I have never seen these types of silks for sale, but I'm sure they are very expensive.  I'm very fortunate to have these beautiful fabrics.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rice Bag Challenge

This is a 100 pound rice bag.  A local quilt shop in Hawaii made a challenge to use these rice bags in a quilt or garment.  Carol sent me two of these rice bags so I could compete in the challenge.  Since I had just finished the indigo workshop, I decided to dye one rice bag in indigo and keep the other as a white with the lettering.  

 This is how the challenge quilt came out.  Do you recognize the stencil from the John Marshall workshop.  The stencil is of a plantation worker with a brown staff and a hat and gloves. I was hoping to better match the lettering and white graphics with the indigo blue graphics.  That didn't work out.  Even though I put the placement on the design wall.  When it came to sewing the blocks together, they got all jumbled.  It started out as a log cabin furrows, but it looks like she is in jail.  In a way, it fits that plantation workers had to work long hours, in the hot sun with very little pay.
 This is the label on the back of the quilt.  It is made from one of the leftover blocks written with a sharpie fine tip pen.  The name is "Obachan" which is japanese for grandmother.  I named it after my grandmother who worked in the Waialua Sugar Plantation.  I don't think rice was ever grown in Hawaii, but the state was built from the Sugar and Pineapple plantations.

 This is a closeup of the quilt.  I used the stencil that I bought from the Santa Rosa quilt show to pounce chalk on the blue indigo.  That gave me a wave pattern to quilt.  I used the Blue Aurifil 12 weight thread as the quilting thread.  From far away, you don't see the quilting or even the indigoed rice bag.  Up close, you can see the that the blue is made from a rice bag.  Cool.