Friday, 3 July 2015

Earth Diary Project in China

Christine Porter, author of numerous quilt books and a very well known quilter, asked me if I would be able to go to China to teach machine patchwork and quilting on a project run by her former student homestay guest, Angel Yao.  Called the 'Earth Diary Project', it has set up various schemes to help disabled minorities people into work.  This project will be in Guizhou province, near Kaili, Quiandongnan, which is about three hour's drive from Guiyang city.  Our group will be learning how to make machine sewn patchwork and quilting, so I am going to start them off with a simple bag or cushion in stitch and flip patchwork, and then we will move on to making some group quilts, again using stitch and flip.  If, as seems the case, they haven't used machines before, I think this will be easiest.  A big challenge for me will be working metric!

Our group are disabled women from the Miao minority.  I am aware of the Miao's stunning traditional embroideries and clothing, and our project is not trying to undermine that, but to give the students a means to earn an income by making patchwork and quilted items for sale.  We are being sponsored with sewing machines from Singer and they are also providing us with fabric and other equipment we need.  Angel's initial idea was to use recycled fabrics as that fits with the eco ideas of the wider project but it is going to be easier to start off beginners with new fabric.  We have also been sponsored with some threads from Aurifil which I will be taking with me - thanks to the lovely Alex Veronelli at Aurifil.  These are simply, IMHO, the best threads I've found for regular patchwork piecing and they will keep the sewing machines happy and lint free while we work.

I've set up a blog page on my website, as I won't be able to access Blogger while in China (it is a Google service), so if you want to follow my progress there (as wifi access allows!), please look at 'Chinese Diaries' on my website.  I'm going on 19th July.  A few quilts, including the Denman Kannon (above) will be going with me, some for teaching, some for including in a local craft exhibition.

享受絎縫!Xiǎngshòu háng fèng!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Rhona's Fanoe quilt

Rhona Thomson, one of my former Loch Lomond sashiko students and now attending the same City and Guilds patchwork diploma course as me, brought her version of my Fanoe quilt along to our Sunday class.  She has used Hungarian Kekfesto cotton prints from Gilly Thomson as a change from the red and white I used for my original version, but there is still a variety of blues and whites in the patchwork similar to the red Fanoe patchwork.  I asked her to pattern text the downloadable pdf file for me - you can buy the pattern as a download via my website now.  Rhona decided to finish the patchwork without the border but I don't know if she's going to use a white or blue binding.

I love the effect of the Kekfesto cottons for this patchwork and somewhere I have a little collection of these gorgeous prints that might just make their way into my own version of this, although I also have fabric set aside for a red and cream remake...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Saturday is World Textile Day Scotland

I'm getting things ready for World Textile Day at Bridge of Allan, Stirling, this week and we have some great new fabrics for you, plus a few rather exceptional kimono/karinui (untailored kimono fabrics).  All the info is on

Monday, 15 June 2015

Summerhouse roof and painting

The drier weather means we have been able to get some more summerhouse details finished.  Glyn added the roof ridge and the onigawara tiles yesterday.


Some details of finishing off by adding the trim under the eaves.  The little blocks at each end were made from oak salvaged from an old chest of drawers.

The onigawara were a perfect fit and didn't need packing underneath to fit the angle of the roof.  This was quite surprising.  Although we cut them very precisely and made foam supports for them to stand on while drying out, clay shrinkage and warping during firing must have been minimal.  They are screwed to the top of the UPVC bargeboards and into the rafters.

I painted a second coat on the shingles, so the colour is looking much more even.  The windows, doors and trim need painting next, and then the UPVC corner trim can be fitted.

Village fete and a sashiko workshop in Perth

Here's a few photos from last week.  As it was our village fete in Kettins, I took some quilts along to see if people were interested in the idea of having a monthly quilt group in the village.  We had a good response so I'm looking into setting things up, hopefully for a Wednesday evening monthly, from September onwards.  I'll post more information about it once things are arranged.  The idea is to meet in the old village hall until the new one is built, and then move to the newer building.

On Friday, I was at The Peacock and the Tortoise in Perth for a 'Sashiko for Summer' workshop.  There were some lovely colourways - this bright blue cotton/linen mix is being stitched in red and will have cream accents when finished.

Fresh green stitched with dark blue and a very subtle cream on textured grey.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Summerhouse and Lundby dolls houses

Yesterday it was dry enough to open my dolls house boxes that arrived last week - two Lundby dolls houses, the Gothenburg and the wider Stockholm, the first one spotted by my quilting friend Tracy at her local auction house a few weeks ago, and the second a birthday present from Glyn.  I set up the Stockholm rooms with some furniture for these photos.

The sewing room could do with some shelves at the back, and boxes/baskets of fabric - that should be easy to do from my scrap box.  The tiny Lundby sewing machine was another present.

The Gothenburg, with the two basement extensions.  It needs a little repair work on the garage door, but is otherwise in very good condition.

It came with a fantastic Lundby car, and other bits and pieces of furniture.

Glyn has been getting on with the electrics for the summerhouse over the last week.  He made a junction box to go inside the main house and link the summerhouse and the garage in to the mains. 

The brick wall turned out to be very hard engineering brick when he drilled through it last week.  The armoured cable runs in a trench to to summerhouse.

We fed the cable through via a channel built into the summerhouse wall when we were adding the shingles. 

The junction box inside the summerhouse.

The mains cable fed through.  Now it all needs connecting.