Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yoko Saito: Floral Boquet Quilt

You know I'm not one to resist the latest book by Yoko Saito.

This one is called Floral Bouquet Quilt - ISBN978-4-14-031183-7.

Although all her books are beautiful and have tons of taupe quilts, I really like this because of the focus on flowers and the number of small pieces it has.  Not a lot of full sized quilts, but many bags and small household items like place mats.

Page 6 has a small wall hanging quilt with a bunch of different vases.  It is so beautiful.  More simple than the Modern Objects quilt I'm working on, but not all that different in concept.
On p. 26 there is the most adorable bunny rabbit ever to have been made by fabric.

If you don't have this book, it is worth the shelf space in my opinion.  

My copy (purchased in California, USA) was $37 USD.  Looks like if you get it in Japan it goes for 1900Y which is something closer to $24 USD.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Modern Objects: Block 2 teaser and OMG Liberty of London

If you loved the first Modern Object block.... the next one isn't far off.

Again, a partner blog will be hosting the link to the free pattern.  

I'm using Oakshott fabrics since they have bold modern colors and lend themselves well to the clean lines of the modern objects.

Check out the photos you can find of how people use Oakshott:  Beautiful.

On the topic of Liberty of London fabric:

I was reading about the recent events at Quilt Market over at Monkey Do blog.

It seems that they will be introducing a quilting weight fabric that is more affordable (applause!!)  but still has that incredible look that they are famous for.

It's called Liberty of London Lifestyle Fabrics.  I am too excited for words.  Anybody who has bought Liberty of London fabrics for around $36 USD / yard...should be excited to know this new line will probably cost a little less than half as much.

Does that mean I can buy twice as much of it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Patchwork Quilt Tsushin #168

The latest issue of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin came in this week at Kinokuniya in San Jose so I rushed over and picked it up.

It has a lot of Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts in it, as you might guess from the cover.  It also has tons of stained glass quilts.  I've never been compelled to make one of those types of quilts.  I'm not totally sure why, since there is a ton of applique involved, but perhaps making all that bias isn't attractive.  

Sometimes I pick up this magazine and I feel like I want to make every single quilt inside of it from cover to cover.  This issue is not bad by any means, but I didn't get that feeling.  If you are REALLY into working with hexagons, this might be a good issue for you since there are some interesting hexagon settings shown.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Handspun Yarn and an interesting reason why taking photos in good light was a challenge this weekend

Above is a photo of the hand spun yarn that I navajo plied from the school kids that I mentioned in my last post.  

The fiber is from 3 different sheep breeds:  Targhee, Merino, and Polwarth.  I am not sure I would have spun all of these together into one yarn, but they look actually really cool.  The children did a really nice job.

I'm thinking I'll make some friendship bracelets out of the yarn for them with maybe a little felted wool bead similar to these ones I made for my son's class.

For the blog photos, I try to use good daytime light on the weekends to photograph my current projects for posts upcoming the next week.  Taking good photos for me only really happens during the sunny parts of the day and I usually only get a chance at that on Saturday or Sunday when I don't have other things going on.

This past weekend, I was trying to take some photos of fabrics I've been playing around with, but the light was not cooperating.  

Why you say?  Why during the afternoon was there no light?  

Well, if you got to experience the solar eclipse yesterday, I probably don't have to tell you that it was very cool (although not the best for quilt photography!).

We live about 4 hours south of the total eclipse, so we did not see the full ring of fire, but it was still very odd to see how dark things got.  We enjoyed seeing the phases of the moon blocking the sun with our 100% protection eclipse viewing glasses that my DH ordered.  

The kids really enjoyed it and ran up and down the street educating our neighbors on what an eclipse is, and letting them borrow our special viewing glasses.

His photo really captured what we saw.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Making New Friends: Cherry Schacht Matchless

This week I visited a local third grade classroom to demo how wool becomes yarn.  My quilting girlfriend teaches at the school, so it was a neat opportunity for me.

The kids were so excited to be part of the demo and to answer all the tough questions I had for them.  It was an incredible experience and I loved it.

They were so adorable that I kinda want to either become a third grade teacher, or travel the country explaining to nine year old kids how to take a sheep and turn it into a sweater.

I took with me my new spinning wheel - a Schacht Matchless in cherry wood.  It's a beautiful tool and I am enjoying not only using it to make yarn, but the way it looks in my house and even the smell of the new wood.

I created a little wool quiz for the kids.  If you are ever planning on such a demo, let me know, I'd be glad to share the game with you.  I printed it out on 3x5" index cards.

On quilting attention is shifting to the baby quilt that I'm hand quilting right now.  My sister's new baby is not so new anymore.  The goal is to finish it before her first birthday which is less than a month away.

Will I finish it??  Good question!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A visit to Flora Grubb

On Mother's Day I was spoiled in many different ways.

A picnic in Golden Gate Park is always my answer to the question, "What do you want to do on Mother's Day?"

There were lots of other mothers there, and this year we decided to get comfortable on an old quilt in the rose garden.  They had amazing roses there with my favorite one being the scentamental rose.  I'll have to share the photos I took there with you soon.

We then headed over to my new favorite spot on planet Earth, a nursery called Flora Grubb.

I had intended to visit here before but never actually made it there.  This time, we were caught in traffic again but arrived about 30 min or so before closing.

I will confess that I made off with a fair number of plants anyhow.  Let's just say that it's a good thing we didn't have more space in the trunk or much larger plants would have found their way home with me.

Their aesthetic is  completely modern and minimal.  The plants are succulents, air plants, the list is long.  I'll have to photograph the adorable little ones that came home with me.  They are so pretty.  I've never tried to grow them before, so wish me luck.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quilt Otaku Modern Objects: Norwegian Bowl

You know I'm bad at keeping secrets so thankfully that part is over.  I have been cooking up a little series of free applique blocks for you.  Here's the big reveal.

Norwegian Bowl is Block #1, and you can head over to partner blog Pink Chalk Studios to download your free pattern (PDF). 

I asked Kathy of Pink Chalk Studio to host the pattern for me because I love the modern aesthetic of her blog and the fabric that she has in her shop

I have been a huge fan of her work ever since I made her Pencil Roll pattern.  If you don't follow her yet, you probably need to add her to your list.  If you are in search of solid fabrics, her site is one of the better sources out there.

About the blocks:
There will be a total of 12 patterns in the first series of modern objects. 

Finished blocks are 6 inches in size as designed.

Each of the Modern Objects will be inspired by a modern designer that has been influential in the evolution of the genre.

About Block 1:

For this block, the inspiration comes from Norwegian designer Grete Prytz Kittelsen.  She passed away in 2010, but in her life she created numerous stunning modern objects.  Enamelware similar to the block above (Lotus Leaf design) was produced by Catherinholm. 

Once you finish your block:

Please post a photo of your finished block to the Flickr group for this series.  I cannot wait to see what all you creative needle artists do with this pattern. 

Block shown above was created using Oakshott fabrics.

This block will almost make itself since pieces are simple, there are not many of them, and the block itself is quite small.

Do be kind and observe copyright guidelines.  Use the pattern for your own personal purposes, and do not sell the pattern or the quilted items that you create with the patterns.

You will need to know some basics of applique in order to make the block.  If you are interested in a tutorial, give me a shout.  It certainly isn't rocket science, and I'm here to help.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A little treat for you

I mentioned before that I have modern design on the brain.

After designing all the modern house blocks, I felt there should be something next in a similar style but with a twist.

There are some free applique patterns in the works for you.

Keep an eye out...the first one is coming soon!

The complexity of these blocks is dramatically reduced as compared to the modern house blocks, so that should make for super-fast sewing time.

And in celebration of Mother's Day, I would like to thank my own mom for being so sweet to me and our family.  Having a mom is a huge blessing, I probably don't have to tell you that.  

I started reading through historic blog posts that mention my mom and she is either giving me fabric or other quilting goodies when I talk about her, or helping me finish projects.  Thank you Mom! xo.

I also want to wish the other moms out there a very happy day.  Raising kids is something that most of us really do devote our souls to and is more of an art than a science.  Perhaps Mother's Day is the perfect excuse to get out and have an annual picnic.  Enjoy the day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sheep Shop Yarn and Fiber

When I was in Monterey, I picked up this fiber at Monarch Knitting from Sheep Shop Yarn.

The colorway is called Sprite.  It certainly has some energy to it.  Untortunately, this South African company went out of business some time ago.  Too bad too, as I used to enjoy their yarns very much.

Back in the 1980's, this color was so 'in'.  I can remember having leg warmers in this color when I was in 5th grade.   I never got rid of my ski jacket that also has this color in it.  My hope was that it would come back into style again.

In the knitting and spinning universe, I sometimes see these neon colors again these days.  I have not seen a lot of them in quilt fabrics.  I think it would be really fun to see some of them made out of Oakshott fabric.  Maybe they will eventually do a neon line.

Until then, I'll spin this into something very light weight.  Probably for a lace shawl.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quilting in Monterey

This weekend our family friends took us for a vacation in the Monterey, California area.
We had a lot of fun and spend some quality time together, away from the noise of real life.  

My favorite part was taking photos at Point Lobos, which is land set aside for conservation as a state preserve.  Tons of animals, including sea lions and their babies.  Cute, although they still smell like sea lions!

You can see many photos of this place online, they will give you a feel for how dramatic it is.  Hiking around is not difficult, but it was a little tricky for our 3 yr old at times due to uneven ground and rocks.

Not far from there is the town Monterey, where we ended up playing around a little bit.

Here's the scoop:

1)  Quilting: Back Porch Fabric 
(photo above)
Great selection of fabrics.  Very friendly staff.  Tons of Kaffe Fassett Fabric.  Quilts hanging up on the walls are clean looking and inspirational.
Best Find: awesome selection of batting, my favorite kind was there for the taking - Quilters Dream in request (super thin) loft.  Also loved some fish themed fabric by Anna Griffin.  Lastly, near the counter, they have hand blown glass seam rippers.  I didn't buy one since I would lose it, but they were beautiful.

2)  Knitting and Spinning:  Monarch Knitting and Quilts
Large shop, excellent collection of various kinds of yarn, tools, books, and supplies for spinning.  Not a huge selection of fiber that is pre-dyed, but lots of un-dyed fiber and huge selection of acid dyes.  The shop itself has 2 dogs that seemed to spend a lot of time there, very cute.  Staff was extremely friendly and informative.
Best find:  Kromski Spinning Wheel Oil - very long nozzle for getting in those hard to reach places of your spinning wheel.  Super cool.  $8.

3)  Lunching: Victorian Corner
Cozy lunch spot with American food, sandwiches, salads, and they offered us a choice between both breakfast and lunch menus.
Best find: Meatball Sandwich - home made sauce.  Don't miss it.  2nd generation family business, yummy food, friendly service, great for families and super cute vibe.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Liberty of London Fabric...just a little more

Have you tried eating Sushi made out of laser cut seaweed (nori)?

The shapes the cut it in look exactly like Sashiko.

I have to figure out how to get some of this.  Too fun.

Am I avoiding a confession that I picked up a little more Liberty of London fabric from Purl Soho?  Ok, maybe, but hard to hide that fact with that glorious photo up above.

They also have a solid green fabric on sale right now in my younger son's favorite color.  Almost an evil color actually.

Do you collect Liberty of London fabric?  Could you pick a favorite?  What do you to to catalog it?  Have you ever accidentally bought the same fabric twice?  I am not sure if I've done that with Liberty (thank goodness, due to the price tag).

Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Report Time: Quilts Japan Issue #146

I have a subscription to both Quilts Japan and Patchwork Quilt Tsushin.  Both of these are the two most popular quilting magazines in Japan.

Each issue has many gems in there and patterns galore.  My favorite part is usually the fold out paper that has tons of applique designs on it. 

Kinokuniya will ship to addresses in the U.S. for subscriptions of these.  Not sure about other countries. 

Issue #146 of Quilts Japan does not disappoint: 

  • Pages of Hawaiian Applique
  • Adorable 3D stuffed fruits on p45
  • Incredible vine and leaf applique on p52
  • An advertisement on p66 for a book in English called Flowers Hearts & Garlands.  Why do I need to read a Japanese magazine to find out about a book this awesome?  Sigh, I need to get out more.
  • Beautiful house quilt on p104 with a very interesting block setting
If you love hand work like I do, this issue is certainly for you.  If you really don't like Hawaiian applique, you may want to skip it, as there is quite a lot of it in here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Roll in a Day Photo Project

I mentioned that for this 2nd round of "Roll in a Day" - a photography project where you shoot an entire roll of film in one day and post all the photos, even the bad ones - I decided to join in on the fun.

I loaded my camera with some Illford HP5Plus and ran around clicking photos.

We went all over town that day, as we usually do on the weekends.  Check out a slide show here that includes all the photos I took, even the bad ones. 

The shot above is one of my favorites of the day.  DH with our older son.  They look very much alike those two.

Other photographer participants have started posting their projects to the Roll in a Day flickr group

While bouncing around on flickr I noticed a group of quilters in love with Liberty of London fabrics.  You know I had to join that group right away.

I also did a flickr search for the word "scanography" where people put all sorts of things on their flatbed scanners to create images.  At times, this includes their own faces!  Some beautiful things here though.

Did you notice that Purl Soho got more Liberty prints in?  I have not ordered any yet but this one called Red Willow Rose is making me think hard about that.