Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
However all seemed to get completed in time, even if there was a fair bit of stitching completed on Christmas Eve, once I had our daughter safely out of the house. So, the kimono wedding quilt is fully quilted and bound and just waiting for a label.... I'm very pleased with it and am sure there will be a few more of these to be made. I had an idea a few days out from Christmas that I could do something with blankets and doilies to create a picnic blanket for an extended family member. However, my daughter found me in the sewing room as I was in the early stages and declared that it was far too good to leave the house as she loved it and wanted it for her room.... What can you say? The next day she was asking what I was doing with the blankets and I told her that I had put them away as I had no time to work on it. In reality I was frantically stitching every time I could get her off the property or into bed.
The result was this blanket which is now on her bed - she was delighted, so it was an effort well worthwhile.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Jacky asked me where I had come by them - and there in lies a tale. We have a wonderful shop here in Wellington called Asian Gallery. Its down a little lane in Kilbirnie and it is a veritable treasure trove of all manner of things Japanese, but most particularly of kimono, obi and other textiles. The owner has a licence as a antique dealer in Japan, which is apparently very hard to get, and he is able to buy up all manner of textiles which are not normally seen.
I well remember the first time I ever went there, as I was so overcome by the sight of all the kimono that I started hyperventilating and had to leave. There are literally hundreds of kimono in the tiny shop and the vast bulk of them sell for a mere NZ$25 - that's cheaper than the price of a tee-shirt. My hyperventilating was bought on by the realisation that it was impossible to make rational buying decisions faced with such variety and beauty at such reasonable prices.
The kimono that I have been unpicking were even more of a bargain than this though - they all came from a large collection right inside the door of the shop which are only NZ$5 each. These are all older kimono, some with holes or patches, but others in perfect condition. As you can imagine I find these irresistible whenever I am on that side of town - undoubtedly this is why I seem to have so many. If I take my boys with me when I visit I have to generally bribe them with a treat to ensure they will calmly wait while I wade through the stock - this also raises the average cost per visit! Here is a handful that have all been unpicked since I took this photo and this is my current favourite. It is still to be unpicked and will be kept to go into a quilt for me. I think this one was from the more expensive rack - although this of course is relative given the costs.
I particularly loved the floral designs on the red kimono so have put a couple of larger pieces in to show it off.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I started out with a few new fabrics selected just for this project - here's one of the lovely Japanese fabrics I got from Stitchbird when Lindy came to our Guild last month for sales night. Her fabrics are just lovely - do have a look.
I decided simple was best for Harrison's first quilt so it has all come together quite quickly with nine patches alternating with zoo and car fabrics.
Finished off with a red border
In the meantime I've been spending my evenings deconstructing old kimonos for another quilt that is lodging itself into my brain. So far I have taken apart five kimono and have a few more to go yet. I learnt on the weekend that kimono were usually taken apart for washing and then reconstructed. All I can say is that the women responsible for these tasks must have had more success keeping clothing clean that I manage in our family! If not, they must have spent all their time deconstructing and reconstructing them.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
The idea for this quilt came several years ago when my mother-in-law sent me a package with several pieces of family embroidery. I was (and still am) collecting them up for a quilt I plan for my daughter. It is still several years away - maybe for her 21st. Anyway I showed the pieces to Kay and she said that the piece below had been on her dressing table when she was a child. It was stitched by her mother's cousin, Mavis Grey, who died last year. This of course gave me the idea for a quilt for her and given she was 40 this year, it seemed the perfect occasion. In the interim I collected a number of similar embroidered sets in the fan shape to add to the quilt.
The other significant family pieces I put into the quilt is the small piece below. This is one of two which are on each side of the main fan. These were stitched by another sister-in-law of mine, who died in 1985. I had met Jill a couple of times but didn't really know her well when she died unexpected. She was the eldest sibling in the family, while Kay is the youngest. Jill's embroidery is lovely - I think we would have got on very well together.The quilt top has been finished for a while - actually within a couple of weeks of the actual birthday. I never normally show a quilt in progress to the recipient as they change so much through the quilting process. However I felt so bad about not having this finished in time that I did show it to her. I was also worried that my mother-in-law would mention it to her as I had told her that I was putting these special pieces into the quilt for Kay. She was delighted with it and moved to tears as I told her about the providence of these pieces. Can't ask for more than that!
So two days ago I decided that she had waited long enough and started the quilting. Its a big quilt so it be a quick finish, but finished it will be!I think this will be the last of these type of quilts for a while - I would hate to be too predictable. It's my third and I think its time to develop some ideas that have been brewing in my brain for while. But first this needs to be finished. I'm putting a grid onto it, with variable distances of 3/4inch and 1inch gaps, which will result in an irregular grid pattern. It's being quilted with a variegated cotton thread in pale pastel tones - and its starting to look different already, as they do.... I'll keep you posted on progress.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
It also provided me with an answer to my recent textile question on the origins of a hanging, for in my friend's home, hanging over the banister, was the exact same stitched hanging. It was in a different colourway and this one was made in silk, rather than wool, but it was definitely the same. They had been gifted it but told me it was from India. I think its done in a densely stitched chain stitch - can you imaginehow long that must take? Still more research required.... I will report in due course.... I had some real fun creatively while I was there. My friend's daughter showed me the materials she had purchased to make herself a fascinator to wear to Canterbury Cup Day yesterday and said she was planning to glue gun it all together somehow. Those words (glue gun) are enough to make me shudder!
Perhaps unsurprisingly the words were out of my mouth offering to help and stitch it before I had even thought about whether I could do it... nothing new here! We experimented with pinning it to get the right shape
and then I stitched it all together for her. It was such fun that had another of her friends turned up with a bag full of materials I suspect I would have started straight onto another version. Infact I find I have ideas for more of them already... Kara was delighted with how it turned out.
Monday, November 1, 2010
So here is my quilt for the festival. I blogged about it really recently, finally telling the story behind Friday Morning Coffee, which I made as a celebration of friendship and as a memorial quilt for my dear friend Denys who died two years ago of breast cancer. You can read that post by clicking on the quilt name.
Going through my stash to make this quilt I was pleased to discover that I had so many fabrics that seemed perfect for the quilt - speaking to me about Denys, our friendship, the things and colours she loved. The quilt is full of colours from her clothes, her garden and plants she had, many teacups to remember the cups of coffee we so regularly shared, and even a plaid fabric from a shirt of her husband.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
It all started off with an idea that I wrote about at the time and called What If. I had the idea of using the embroideries that had belonged to my mother's dearest friend, my Auntie Dorothy, to create a quilt that honoured friendship and the central role that it plays in my life, my mother's life and, I am sure, the life of most people. It is also a memorial quilt.
At the time of having my "what if" thoughts I had very recently lost a close friend of mine, Denys, who had died after 5 years of living with breast cancer. She was a friend that was loved by many, many people and who, two years after her death, is still greatly missed by her friends but especially, by her family.
I met her through the local kindergarten where our eldest children were friends. They are still friends and were recently discussing the possibility of flatting together when at University. That would have made her smile. She was part of the special group of friends that I meet with and have coffee with every Friday morning, hence the name of the quilt which was the idea of my daughter.
My quilt recently hung in the Wellington Quilters' Guild exhibition and was hanging there on the second anniversary of both her death and funeral. This felt right and was my tribute to her. Losing friends is awful, infact it is 1000 times worse than that - but it has also helped me to really confront what is important in life.
For me that is love, friendship and laughter - without those life would be truly impoverished.
Friday, October 15, 2010
I've had a full on year and blogging, stitching and quilting has all taken a back seat. My focus instead has been on museums, heritage and how that's able to be expressed through textiles. It has really absorbed me and I have loved it. New pathways running ahead....
I'm itching to get back to the sewing room, my sewing machine and the ideas that are running... Can't ask for more than that! I promise there will be more - very soon!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
On the upside I have another completed quilt to show off, which definitely makes me feel successful. Tomorrow I'll be jumping on a plane to head for Brisbane for an Easter with far flung family members and this quilt is a birthday gift made especially for the gathering.Late last night I finished off hand stitching down the binding and now have only the label to go - nothing like cutting it fine! I'm very pleased with the mix of Dutch and Japanese fabrics. I think they work well together and I hope will please the unknowing recipient. I've held onto the Dutch fabrics with this person in mind for almost 15 years, so its certainly been a long time coming!
Friday, March 5, 2010
I also keep pondering this little pile of trimmings. Normally I would toss these without a second thought, but they look so appealing I've been wondering just what I could find to do with them.