Thursday, 26 February 2009

Edinburgh Spring Quilt Festival, Quiltfest and more sashiko

The Edinburgh Spring Quilt Festival was very enjoyable. The new sashiko workshop went down well (I'll take photos of what we do at next week's Exeter Spring Quilt Festival), the Denman Kannon stitching progressed and I met lots of interesting quilters. Everyone seemed very inspired by the quilts on show in the exhibition, including the antique quilts that were at the Malvern autumn quilt show (some wonderful wholecloths among them). I was too busy to buy much fabric, but found a few very specific pieces for projects I have planned - quilt shows are such a good place to find exactly what you need. It won't be long before I'm back in Scotland again (twice this spring) teaching two different groups. The quilt behind me in the photo is "Masu" (please scroll down link page for pattern info) made entirely from vintage Japanese kimono wools and silks. "Compendium of Quilting Techniques" was very popular and I'll be signing copies of that at Exeter too.

I worked on the clouds and halo on the Denman Kannon while I was in Edinburgh. I used a shaded blue - white sashiko thread (I think it was either Olympus or Yokota brand, but as I bought it in 1992 and lost the skein label I'm not sure). The shading helps to contribute to the glowing effect, but I want to add short 1in long lines around the outside edge, inbetween the shaded threads, using the brilliant white Olympus 40m medium sashiko thread I used around the halo edge.
I also began filling in the scales on Monday. After a lot of thought, I decided to stitch a hybrid between masu (stacking measuring boxes) and hishi seigaiha (diamond ocean wave) - details immediately below (from the pattern directory in "The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook"). So the tops of the diamonds have the crossed corners found on masu (the stitches don't cross on the front). Click photos to see more detail.

I considered using the hitomezashi (one stitch sashiko) pattern urokozashi (scale stitch) for the fish scales. However, I would have either had to stitch the scale outlines at half the size (i.e. dividing each scale outline into four) or have very large scales, as shown in this detail from Reiko Domon's quilt inspired by Gaudi's architecture. Only having a small amount of the hand-dyed thread I wanted to use for this section ruled out such dense stitching. I also felt that urokozashi would be slightly innapropriate as an all over pattern on the koi, since it is used in Noh drama for snake demon costumes! I used a single row of this pattern around the halo, but it doesn't read as all over urokozashi there, so I think it is OK.

First section of scales complete-

More scales - these have only 2 pattern rows instead of the 3 rows in the first section, so more of the background fabric shows through the scales in the centre section. Yesterday, I wasn't sure that looked right, but seeing the photos, I think it is the best solution. As the scales at the back of the tail are so much smaller, without enough room for 3 stitching lines and crossed corners, at some point on the fish body it would be necessary to change the number of stitching lines... tricky to get it in the right place. Plus I am trying to eke out what I have left of that lovely hand dyed thread that shades from yellow through persimmon to purple, by including very small sections of plain yellow and persimmon and another hand dye that continues the purple shading along the whole thread.

Before the extra scale details -

After - there's still quite a lot more to complete, but the stitching lines are marked in place.

What do you think? Anne took a good photo of me stitching and you can see it on her blog post about the show. Guy is right about my glasses - he commented that I look a bit fierce when I've got them on !

I went over to Quiltfest yesterday with more supplies of "Compendium..." and the place was buzzing with interest all day. I wonder if other exhibitions in public galleries around here are generating as much interest and enthusiasm? I stayed and stitched on the Kannon panel. I'll be back there on Friday and there is an extra opening day on Sunday because there is an antiques fair on at the Pavilion.


Jane said...

The panel is looking fabulous. I'm enjoying watching it grow.

On a related note, or maybe not, do you know anything about kogin (or koginzashi). One of the members of our Japanese embroidery group over on stitchin fingers asked, but I've not heard of it. Thought you might know.
You can find the page for the lady who is asking here

Susan Briscoe said...

Hi Jane,


Re kogin (also called koginzashi), I learned how to stitch it properly on my last trip to Japan. I'd been expecting to have to go all the way up to Hirosaki in Aomori to learn how, but it turned out one of my friends in Peaceful Heart Quilt Group, Keiko Hori, had done just that over twenty years ago. We had a lovely afternoon at her house where she taught me the basic technique. It is counted (unlike sashiko) but equally addicitive. Unfortunately there aren't any books in English and not a lot in Japanese. I wrote about it in the history section of "The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook". Compared to sashiko, even getting suitable threads and fabrics is quite hard - all the Japanese books I have are out of print. I'll have to write something about it! I had a look at stitchinfingers but it looks like I wouldn't be able to join as (unfortunately) it would probably be seen as joining to "market goods". For example, it is already a bit tricky as I often have to stay silent on another group where I'm a member rather than refer someone to a book because it is my own book. Sorry, that's a long reply! But I hope it is helpful. I'll post some pictures for you in my next blog post.

Anonymous said...

Very nicce!