Friday, 22 July 2016

Sidmouth revisited - progress

I have been pushing ahead with Sidmouth Revisited recently, as I need to get it finished now so it can appear in Today's Quilter's Christmas issue.  The photo above shows me tracing the feather circle in the centre, before the last four borders were added.  I have an A2 slimline lightbox which is so useful for work like this.  

Lilian Hedley drew this wonderful feather circle/wreath for me when we did her North Country design course at The Royal, Bridlington, last October.


The original Sidmouth Quilt has a central circle motif which is almost but not quite a true feather circle - more like a double circle with slanting lines.  But as I am not making a replica quilt and I'm only using the original's quilting designs as a starting point, I wanted to have a proper feather circle in the centre instead.  Yesterday I called at Just Sew in Penrith and bought a rather lovely cream cotton sateen for the backing, because I want the quilting design to show really nicely on the back, rather than being somewhat camouflaged by a print.  It should show very well on the cotton sateen. The back of the original Sidmouth Quilt is shown below.

Mary Jenkins has written several recent blog posts about the Mary Lloyd quilt in the collection at St Fagan's museum - about the quilting and about the applique and patchwork.  This quilt uses the same centre panel as the Sidmouth Quilt. There are also some similarities in the quilting, notably in the extensive use of cross hatching or square diamonds, which Mary had mentioned being more typical of the early C20th in Wales and not seen much before.  I wonder if the Sidmouth Quilt is originally from Wales?

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Sashiko course to run in Perth

I am going to run the Yuza and Shonai Sashiko course at The Peacock and the Tortoise in Perth from mid February 2017.  The classes will run from 10.30 to 4.30 on Thursdays and there will be eight sessions like my other courses, but we will have mostly a fortnight between sessions, so we can finish well before the summer holidays.  Trudi and Mhairi will be putting the info on the website when they have finalised the spring workshop programme and will be including the info in their newsletters as well, but if you can't wait until then, you can contact them via their website -

There will be a small difference with the course materials.  As the shop already stocks sashiko thread and fabric, they will deal with supplying the students.  I just don't have enough Yuza Sashiko thread and fabric to supply a third course as well as my other two!  We have chosen the Olympus dark blue sashiko fabric and there will be a choice of cream or white Olympus 100m sashiko thread.  These are the nearest equivalents to the Yuza Sashiko materials and this way we won't have the supplies shortage issues that I had earlier in the year, when I had underestimated how much fabric the two other groups would use up.

Bookings will be taken via the shop.  It's great to be running the course closer to home, as well as my other two venues.  Now we just need to finalise the dates for the Kaleidoscope course and I will announce those soon.

The sampler above was made by Liz Clarke who came on the course at Kaleidoscope.  She combined her samples with Moda 'Nocturne' fabric to make this very sophisticated bed runner.  Lovely!

Monday, 11 July 2016

The next sashiko course at Edinburgh Patchwork

I have only three places left for the next sashiko course at Edinburgh Patchwork, which starts on Saturday 8th October.  Please contact me if you are interested in booking a place. 

Edinburgh Patchwork, 4 Bellevue Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4BY,
tel: 0131 538 5030
Saturdays - 8th October, 22nd October, 10th December, 28th January 2017, 11th February, 25th March, 8nd April, 29th April (this date may need to move to later in May if it clashes with the Knitting and Stitching Show at Edinburgh).  Each session costs £38, payable one session in advance, and the first £38 is your deposit.

I will also run the course again at Kaleidoscope, Dobbies Garden Centre, Boclair Road, Milngavie, Glasgow, G62 6EP, tel: 01360 622 815 - dates to be announced soon.

On Wednesday, I'm going in to The Peacock and the Tortoise in Perth to discuss possible dates for running the course there too.  It would be a weekday course in Perth, possibly on a Thursday, and I would be looking to start it in the Spring.  More info about that as soon as I have it.

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.  Ganbatte kudasai! (Go for it/work hard!)

The gorgeous sampler in the photo above was made by Hazel Clark at the Kaleidoscope course. The shaded Moda print she used for the border and sashing looks wonderful.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Time and Time Again on Orkney


I visited the Creative Patchwork and Quilting group on Orkney last week and had fun with them creating many more new versions of both Time and Again and Irori, since the two quilts share the same basic block.

Getting there was quite an adventure.  This is the furthest north I have been in Scotland and my first trip to Orkney.  We went via John O'Groats.

We took a short crossing from Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope with Pentland Ferries, which meant we had a lovely drive up through the main island to stay with Gina Patterson, one of the quilt group.


Here are some of the lovely fabric coordinations used, many from jelly roll precuts.

Barbara Morrison worked really hard on her quilt top and brought it when she came for dinner at Gina's on Thursday night - almost finished.

The quilters must be inspired by the wonderful colours in the Orcadian landscape - I will post some photos of the Orkney mainland soon.  We had a great time on our trip and hope this won't be our only visit to the islands!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Sashiko and applique in Dunfermline

Saturday was fun with Busy Bees in Dunfermline, where we combined sashiko with needleturn applique to make these lovely panels.  Having a choice between applique or reverse applique means we could use some of the thicker sashiko fabrics for the circles as well as lighter weight ones.  There were lots of variations on chrysanthemums in sashiko too, with everyone cutting their own templates.

We tried out the new Aurifil #80 cotton thread for the applique and it was amazing - it was so invisible, I couldn't use it to demo the needleturn stitches, because no one could see my stitches at all!  That was quite funny, because I had to switch to a #40 thread in a contrasting colour just so everyone could see my stitching.  This lovely new thread is going to be available in August.  It comes on cute little wooden spools.  I also want to try it out for miniatures.

I am going to add this workshop to my main workshop list.  It worked very well in terms of how long it took to do and was a relaxing day.

On Friday I was at The Peacock and the Tortoise in Perth, where we had an Introduction to Shonai Sashiko class.  With 10, we were full and I didn't get a chance to take photos.  Maybe some of the students who came could send me photos of their completed samples?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Are all strip cuts the same?

I love Tim Holtz's nostalgic steampunk designs for scrapbooking and papercrafts materials (he has a rather cool website too) so when I spotted his quilt fabrics, I had to add some to my stash.  First I got some yardage of his map prints and then I spotted this wonderful strip roll for sale online.  I had it on my eBay watchlist for ages in case I could find it for sale at any of the spring quilt shows or the Knitting and Stitching Show but after no luck, I ordered it from a shop in the USA.  It arrived a few weeks ago.  It wasn't cheap (nice strip cuts aren't) and I had to pay VAT and admin to Customs when it arrived, so I wanted to do something really special with it.  I have a variation on my Japanese Circles and Squares design with a redrawn block size that is perfect for a strip roll so yesterday I opened out the fabrics to start cutting.

There are many different brands of strip roll available now, commonly called jelly rolls by most quilters.  As the name 'Jelly Roll' is trademarked by Moda, other companies call them things like design rolls, strippers, pops etc. The one thing they have in common is the standard 2 1/2in width, which is normally measured from the edge of the pinking on one side to the other (not in the bottom of the pinked Vs along the edges).  They are also normally the full width of the fabric.

Before I opened the roll, I thought it looked a little on the wide side.  It can be hard to get an accurate measurement when the fabric is rolled up though.  Unrolled, the strips measure between 2 5/8in and 2 11/16in - not 2 1/2 in.  While there are some cheaper brands that aren't cut so accurately, I didn't expect this from a quality brand.  The roll is produced by Coats.

The oddest thing was the way the selvedges had already been trimmed off.  So despite the roll claiming to measure i '2 1/2" x 43/44"', the strips are between 41 and 41 1/2in long. The metric size is given as '6.4cm x 109.2/111.8cm', which is an accurate conversion.  It just doesn't measure that.

I've e mailed Coats and await their response.  I will have to modify the pattern to allow for the shorter strips i.e. less pieces from each and trim the width to the correct measurement.