Monday, 2 March 2015

Quilt show, workshops etc.

The last fortnight has been rather busy, with several different workshops and the Spring Quilt Festival at Edinburgh.

This sashiko kinchaku bag was made by one of the students at my workshop with Dundee Embroiderers' Guild the previous weekend.

Last week, I had an evening sashiko workshop in Broughty Ferry and some of the quilters brought their finished 'Japanese Circles and Squares' quilts from the group in Monifieth a couple of years ago.

While I was teaching at Scotstoun on Saturday, Glyn got a bit more done on the summerhouse shingles, dodging the rain.  He has started shaping them to fit around the top of the gothic window, using a cardboard template for the curve.

The last but one row is finished on both side walls, but all the remaining shingles on the front and back are having to be shaped individually, so that is going slowly.

Rain on and off yesterday afternoon meant indoor projects later on.  We put together the Ikea kitchen counter for my workroom - this is the new cutting table.

It seems smaller than I remembered it! Having a slightly higher worktop for rotary cutting is going to be so much better.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Spring Quilt Festival at Edinburgh

I'm getting ready for the Spring Quilt Festival at Edinburgh today- finishing off packing things and will be setting up there this afternoon.  I'll be taking both versions of my 'Sakiori' quilt from 'Japanese Quilt Inspirations', which I'm doing as a workshop at Edinburgh Patchwork on 28th March.  The pinky red one was longarm quilted by North Sea Quilters - the fabrics are from a range by Momo for Moda.

'Kamon', the other version, was a scrap quilt and hand quilted.  

This was gold print version was made by Nina MacDonald - she brought it to one of my workshops at Purely Patchwork to show me (along with a few other quilts she'd made from my designs).

I am teaching sashiko workshops every day at the show as well.  I'll be next door to Kaleidoscope apparently, near the workshop room.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Yuza and Shonai Sashiko Courses 2015 - 2016

I have just about finalised details for my Yuza and Shonai Sashiko courses for 2015 - 2016, which will start running in October 2015.   These photos show some of the samplers made by the 2013 - 2014 group at The Studio, Loch Lomond, which have been exhibited at the Loch Lomond Quilt Show, Yuza Sashiko Guild's exhibition at the Sanno Club in Sakata, at the Japan Handcraft Teachers' Associations' exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum (above) and at Otsuma Women's University's New Gallery, Chiyoda Campus, Tokyo.

I am currently running the course for the second time at The Studio, but sadly that venue will close at the end of March when the lease finishes.

While it is traditional to stitch in white on dark blue, there is scope for using colour and of course every sampler is unique...

From October 2015, I will be running the course in two venues - Kaleidoscope at Milngavie near Glasgow and Edinburgh Patchwork.  Both these shops have excellent workshop rooms with good lighting for doing hand sewing.  The course at Kaleidoscope will run on Thursdays and the one at Edinburgh Patchwork will run on Saturdays, so there is a choice of day as well as venue.

Dates are as follows -

Kaleidoscope, Dobbies Garden Centre, Boclair Road, Milngavie, Glasgow, G62 6EP, tel: 01360 622 815
Thursdays – 8th October 2015, 5th November, 3rd December, 28th January 2016, 11th February, 3rd March, 31st March, 5th May

Edinburgh Patchwork, 4 Bellevue Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4BY,
tel: 0131 538 5030 
Saturdays - 10th October 2015, 7th November, 5th December, 30th January 2016, 13th February, 5th March, 2nd April, 7th May

  We will be learning how to stitch numerous hitomezashi (one stitch) and larger sashiko patterns from the Yuza town and Shonai district of Yamagata Prefecture in Japan, an area noted for its special sashiko patterns and long tradition.  Exploring the different groups of patterns, we will make a series of samples – finished sizes 9in and 4 1/2in square, plus some rectangles 9in x 4 1/2in – that can be combined later into a patchwork sampler.  These patterns are handed down through the Yuza Sashiko Guild and among other stitchers in the area, and this is the only longer course taught with their approval outside Japan.  

Next season's sessions will be structured slightly differently from the previous two years, as the first seven sessions will all work as stand alone sessions, although you will definitely achieve more from the course if you aim to do most of them - I would recommend doing at least session 1 or 2 if you intend to do some of the later sessions, as these will give you a huge head start in terms of stitching techniques.  If you have already done my 'Introduction to Shonai Sashiko' workshop it will stand you in good stead and I have plenty of more challenging stitch patterns for you to try if you have already mastered the easier ones!  Please note - I will have to give priority for places to stitchers who want to do the full course.  At Edinburgh, places are limited to 10, while at Kaleidoscope I can teach up to 16.

Session 1 - rice stitch variations and woven stitches - small samples –on 4 1/2in squares, with grids directly drawn on the fabrics.

Session 2 - persimmon flower stitch, coin stitch and variations - small samples and long sampler, plus more variations on persimmon flower stitch - triple, igeta pattern, infinite - on 4 1/2in squares.

Session 3 – introduction to flower diamond pattern, fish scale stitch, diamond stitch, abacus stitch - on 4 1/2in squares plus stitching on stripes and patterns in circles.

Session 4 – fans and kamon crests – marking and stitching corner fans and family crests – on 9in squares, using paper templates for the fans and chaco transfer paper for the crests.

Session 5 – drawing larger patterns with straight lines – raimon (lightning spiral), masuzashi (stacking boxes), asanoha (hemp leaf) and elongated asanoha – all on 9in squares.

Session 6 – moths/butterflies, grasses and bamboo patterns – patterns for all over pictorial effects - on 4 1/2in squares

Session 7 – drawing larger patterns with curved lines – shippou (seven treasures – like wineglass), fundou (balance weights – like applecore patchwork), nowaki (grasses in clamshell shapes), seigaiha (ocean waves, also clamshell shaped) and ganzezashi (sea urchin stitch, a variation on shippou) – all on 9in squares.

Session 8 -– sewing samples together into a patchwork sampler – with a brief look at some of the denser hitomezashi patterns - paving block, kasuri (ikat) check, ground stitch, cedar stitch, facing butterfly, arrow stitch.  It will be possible to do this session with any combination of samples made in the previous sessions – 4 1/2in and 9in – using 1in sashing strips.

Book your place either with me or via your chosen venue.  Sessions at Edinburgh patchwork will be £37 - prices for Kaleidoscope will be announced shortly. We will stitch on genuine Japanese sashiko fabric and threads from Yuza Sashiko Guild (fabric costs 35p for 41/2in squares & £1.40 for 9in squares, thread costs £6 for 300+m skein, at current prices).

I'm looking forward to starting two more great groups and helping everyone create some wonderful sashiko, learning lots of new patterns! 

Here's some of the 2013 - 14 samplers to inspire you.  By Irene Beattie - 

By Valerie Preston - 

By Isabel Patterson - 

By Ruth Higham -

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A handy cutting mat - for marking sashiko

Last Sunday, I was with the Dundee branch of the Embroiderers' Guild for a sashiko kinchaku bag workshop.  They did some lovely stitching although I didn't manage to get any photos - hopefully some of them will send me pics of their finished bags!

One of the group had a very interesting A3 cutting mat for marking her grids.  After class, I went to the Range, a nearby craft/home emporium that I somehow hadn't discovered yet, and bought the A5 version of the same mat.  What's so great about it? The mat has metric markings on one side and imperial on the other and the imperial markings, on all sizes of the mat, are a continuous quarter inch grid.  While this might be a bit confusing to use as a patchwork cutting mat (too many lines to follow easily) it is ideal for marking the quarter inch grids we use for many hitomezashi (one stitch) sashiko patterns, like most of these designs (stitched by a member of the Loch Lomond sashiko course group).  You can buy them online here - the metric side is shown in the photo - or use the store finder to locate a branch near you (they seem to be all over the UK).

Monday, 16 February 2015

Quiltfest 2015

Now Quiltfest is over at the Royal International Pavilion (the exhibition at Llangollen museum continues for a little longer), here are some photos from the exhibition.  On Saturday, I taught the '1718 Revisited' day workshop once again.  Kitty, Anne and Marjie were up for having a go at the monogram block in needleturned applique too... so I decided I had to have a go with needleturn myself - I've started a block with Glyn's initials and mine, which can become the monogram block for the bright colours version I want to make.

Anne had finished hers by the next morning!

The 1718 turned into a recurring events over the weekend. DeAnne Hartwell Jones, one of our previous guest artists at Quiltfest 2011, brought her 1718 quilt to show me.  This is the first finished quilt I've seen made from the book, so it was exciting to see it interpreted in such a lovely colour scheme.  DeAnne is a big fan of English paper piecing (mosaic patchwork as we called it in the book) and that's how she constructed her version.  She's going to be writing an article about it for "In the Frame", the journal of the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles Traditional Quilt Group. 

We were at trading day with all the goodies, including some new fabrics and sashiko threads we brought back from our recent trip - we'll have many of these at the Spring Quilt Festival at Edinburgh next weekend too.

This year, there was a contest for Region 13 members - 'I like Region 13 because...'


These are some of my favourites.  The journal quilts competition was for members of the Contemporary Quilt Group.

Overall winner of the Region 13 category was Gwenfai Rees Griffiths with her friendship star tree.


A few photos around the pavilion once it had got quieter towards the end of the afternoon...

Photos from this year's exhibition will be added to the Quiltfest website very soon.

It's always good to go back to Llangollen, as I know so many quilters and other textile enthusiasts in that area, so I can catch up with friends.

Now I am getting ready for the Spring Quilt Festival next weekend.  I had a fun time last Saturday and Sunday too, giving a talk (Japanese Textiles for Special Occasions) and a workshop (Sashiko Kinchaku Bag) for the Dundee branch of the Embroiderers' Guild.  At this time of year, there seems to be an event every weekend!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Reviving a quilt pattern - Roman Perdu

This quilt pattern appeared in Popular Patchwork magazine about ten years ago.  It is still one of my favourite quilts, made from ultra cosy brushed cottons recycled from sample books, with other fabrics I bought at a charity fundraiser from one of the Gresford Craft Group gang.  Should I republish the pattern?

I remember it took a bit of working out, as the sashing made calculating the setting triangles a bit tricker than usual.  The quilting design was a bit of a mash up between sashiko and traditional quilting patterns and was 'marked' with masking tape as nothing would show up as a marker on those busy busy plaids.