Friday, 31 May 2013

NHK Partnership quilt 2014

Last night NHK (the Japanese state run broadcasting company) announced the theme for next year's Partnership quilt project.

You can read what I have written earlier about NHK Partnership quilt here.

Last year it was CIRCLE and I contributed with this block:

For 2014 the theme is FLOWER LANGUAGE.

This is something the Japanese love and is often used in TV dramas, or indeed for quilted gifts between friends. Here is a list of flowers and their meaning.

Be sure I will not make a Lettuce or Cypress block! I might even stretch the rules and make a fantasy flower with a new meaning. After all, language is always changing!

Sashiko, crazy quilt, appliqué, pieced, Celtic bias tape... I am sure anything goes!

Should you wish to participate, then these are the rules:

  • one block per person
  • 22cm x 22cm with a seam allowance of 1.5cm included
  • flimsy block, i.e. no wadding, no quilting
  • your name should be written with pen in the seam allowance of the lower right hand corner
  • your block should have reached NHK by 31st August, 2013
  • enclose a note with your name, address, tel no, email address
  • send to:
Partnership Quilt
NHK Sutekini Handmade
2-2-1 Jinnan
Tokyo 150-8001

Your block will be joined with other blocks into large bed size quilts and quilted by volunteers. These quilt will be displayed at Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival in January next year, where they will be raffled off.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

WIPW - Tårtspade & skedar

For the Work In Progress Wednesday today Sharon of Pintangle has an item made of plastic to show you. No crazy quilt block! What a tease!

On the other hand I have some items made of 'silver'.


Last week I introduced you to a green cake, Prinsesstårta.

At a coffee party in Sweden such a cake is passed around the guests and it is up to each and every one to cut their own piece. For that you need a 'tårtspade', or cake server in English.  Many old ones are made from silver with beautiful engravings or patterns.

The Princess cake is fluffy with cream and has a lid of green marzipan that can be difficult to cut through. Nevertheless, we seldom use sharp knives but try to cut a reasonable piece with the cake server. You then need to place the piece of cake on your plate carefully and try to make the wobbly cream cake stand.
The saying goes that if your cake falls to one side you will not become married. Happily married people make their cakes flop over on purpose!
To eat the cake you use a spoon; only few people own cake forks. These spoons are also used for stirring your coffee, of course.
I have put the initials Q, P and S for Queenie Patch Stitches on the spoons.

In the two pictures above you can also see some of the handmade bobbin lace from my mother's collection. I have placed the lace on top of either blue or yellow fabric; the national colours of Sweden.

This week's border flowers look flat and uninteresting. They will be stung by needles, tied down with thread and burdened with beads. Poor flowers! Or will they like the body piercing?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

TAST #67 Fancy Hem Stitch

In the beginning of May, Sharon of Pintangle blogged about her Sampler Band and showed us a section with a fantastic stitch, Fancy Hem Stitch. In answer to our request she added it to the list of TAST stitches. Thank you, Sharon.

TAST #67 is therefore the beautiful Fancy Hem Stitch.
Here on my sampler:

On Sharon's Sampler Band she used it as a filling stitch, which is very attractive.

I thought I'd use it in a curve, and made these lines:

For a bit of extra glitz I also stitched two parallel lines with metallic thread and then added some golden beads.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

WIPW - Prinsesstårta

This is my Work In Progress Wednesday report on 'Kafferepet', the Swedish coffee party quilt.

So far I have shown the following blocks:
Coffee pot, cup and saucer,  glass of raspberry squash, cinnamon rolls, cup cakes,  platter with seven kinds of biscuits

It is now time for the pièce de résistance, the TÅRTA - a gateau, a cream cake, a decoration cake... The most famous, and probably the most popular, one in Sweden is the Prinsesstårta. Who can guess what the name means? Yes? That's right, the Princess Cake.

It consists of a sponge cake layered with whipped cream, custard cream and, in most cases, raspberry jam. This is then covered with a lid of green marzipan and decorated with a rose or carnation.
Here is a picture of one I made recently for a birthday party:
To see how Camilla Jakobsson makes a professional cake watch this Yutube video here. (Narration in Swedish)

And this is my appliqué interpretation for the Kafferepet quilt.
I topped some green fabric with silver printed organza (similar to the organza used for the pressed glass and ice in previous blocks) in the hope this will look like the frosting sugar, I ruched some pink fabric for the carnation and used lace for the doily.

Another rose has grown on the border:

Over at Pintangle yet another crazy block has sprung to life. Go and have a look at the 'naked' block, then return next Wednesday to see how Sharon has embellished it. I am sure you won't be disappointed!

Friday, 17 May 2013

TAST #66 Coral Stitch

Here is a TAST stitch I am well familiar with, #66 Coral Stitch. It is much easier to do than the Scroll Stitch and immediately inspired me to work another piece for my Sumptuous Surface Embroidery sampler journal.

When I turned the work over and saw the straight stitches that had formed on the back I liked them so much that I worked quite a number of lines on the back to be displayed on the front as 'Back to Front Corals'.

These are the stitches I added to my TAST sampler

A couple of years ago I made a small quilt, 50x50 cm for the Yokohama International Quilt Week's Miniature contest. It is a 'fake' crazy quilt, a pattern of irregular crazy pieces painted with crayon onto a single piece of fabric and then embroidered on the 'seams'. Some seams have the Coral treatment:
If you want to see more examples of Coral stitches, or want to join in the fun of Take A Stitch Tuesday, click here.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

WIPW - Cup Cakes

Work In Progress Wednesday.  Don't miss the progress Sharon of Pintangle has made; it's another stunning crazy quilt block created in no time!
Here is my weekly progress report on the quilt.


At the traditional Swedish coffee party you start with coffee and a bun, a cinnamon roll like I showed last week, or one flavoured with cardamom, butter or custard.

After that it is time for sponge cake. It is often baked in a tin and cut into slices. Here I have 'baked' them in paper cups instead; cup cakes are called 'muffins' in Swedish. There might be some kind of filling, blueberries or nuts, or topping. I used cherries and orange peel on mine.
However much I tried to pleat the fabric for the cups, the folds were difficult to get even. Now I think they look realistic and have the air of 'home baking' stamped all over.

Then there is another daisy for one of the corners of the border. Isn't it summery?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

TAST #65 Buttonhole Bar, and a Pink Pinks Doggy for Mummy

This week's TAST stitch, #65, is the Buttonhole Bar. For instructions click here.
I think it is a dangerous stitch - highly addictive, and you should think twice before you give it a try, as it is almost impossible to stop once you get hooked.
Having said that, I have been very busy finishing off the Miniature quilt (picture won't be posted until after the show, sorry) for the Festival of Quilts, which will be held in Birmingham in August, so there has been no time to be a 'stitchaholic' in the Buttonhole Bar.

These are the stitches I added to my sampler:

Here is a variation with beaded picots I made several years ago and  they are part of the decoration on a photo frame:

Today is Mothering Sunday in Japan.
Mothers all over the country are honoured with gifts. The modern child will give a piece of clothing, or treat Mum to a meal in a restaurant or even a new haircut or other beauty treatment.
Traditionally, though, THE gift is a bouquet of carnations. The Japanese are famous for arranging flowers and love 'cute' things. So what do you say to this arrangement of a Pink Pinks Doggy for Mummy:
(pinks is another name for carnation/dianthus)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

WIPW - Pressed glass and cinnamon rolls

Work In Progress Wednesday - the best way to get a move on and finish those Un Finished Objects. Go to Pintangle and see bustling activity. Then, why not join in?


I got a few inquiries about the ice cube I made last week.
The fabric used is synthetic 'organza', one piece is raspberry pink and the other white with a pattern in silver. Both were given to me by two good friends in the UK, many years ago. It is wonderful to dig such treasures out of the stash and remember opening the Christmas presents... Oh, no, I've started to digress again!

Back to the ice cube. I cut a small piece of each fabric and folded them over and over and over before appliquéing onto the glass, taking care to place the red fabric along the line of the raspberry squash.

This silvery fabric has also been used for two of the other blocks on the quilt.

On the block I feature today, you will see a plateful of 'kanelbullar', cinnamon buns. (If you've ever been to an IKEA store, you might have had a cup of coffee and such a bun, although there is a huge difference in taste between a factory produced bun and the home made ones on this plate - golden brown cotton, delicious cinnamon thread and French Knot sugar , SCRUMPTIOUS!).
The plate is supposed to look like pressed glass.

Then I have a few blue blooms on the border:

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A Change of Decoration

The Children's Day is over and all decorations related to it have been packed away. The Koinobori (Flying Carp) quilt has been replaced with a small 50x50 cm quilt I made for the Yokohama International Quilt Week's Miniature contest in 2001.

On a trip earlier that year to the island of Shikoku I had bought a small pack of fabric from the island. Some of the pieces are the very attractive Awa Shijira-ori which is woven in Tokushima prefecture. It is a kind of seer-sucker often used for summer wear and yukata.
I mixed in other Japanese fabrics, as well as a piece from a Swedish table cloth. True to form, there is (a lot of) embroidery, and in metallic thread.

The title of the quilt is Naruto-no-maki and illustrates the fantastic whirlpools in the Naruto Strait that I saw on my trip.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

May 5th - Let's celebrate our children

May 5th is a national holiday in Japan, Kodomo-no-Hi, Children's Day. I wrote about it here.

In that blog entry I forgot to add the flying carp streamers I stitched last year for the TAST stitch #16, Wheat Ear.
They were featured in my old blog, the iWeb based blog I had before I started using Blogger. iWeb is no longer and my old blog has disappeared into cyber space... Sigh! The price we pay for not being good at computers!

As I wanted to make a new decoration for this year I dug out some fabric origami. This type of weaving is called Iyo kasuri and is from the island of Shikoku. Each piece is appr 10 cm square with a stabiliser on the back.

I followed this pattern and folded and ironed a small Samurai helmet.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

TAST #64 Top Knotted Buttonhole

TAST stands for Take A Stitch Tuesday and you can read all about it on Pintangle.

TAST #64 is another Buttonhole stitch,  the Top Knotted Buttonhole. It is not difficult, but a bit fiddly.

On my sampler I first made a simple row of stitches in pale Perle 5, then worked a row of orange,  uneven, free-growing stitches in a tricky thread from Oliver Twist, a very beautiful but twisty thread!

What a difference between the two rows of stitches; all sorts of ideas came to mind, enoki mushrooms, railing, flowers, weed, writing, WRITING! How about using detached Top Knotted Buttonhole stitches in all directions, angles and heights, upside down, back to front and double, and wouldn't it somehow resemble Thai script? I just had to try it out!

I don't think I have managed to make a good look, there should be more circles instead of knots, (should I have used beads?)...
To anyone who can read Thai - this is just imaginative writing -  I do apologize if you feel I have misused the language. It is meant to look like a poem.

Every character is made up of TAST #64 stitch + a few Straight and Pistil stitches.

As you can see the 'Thai' poem is mounted on a card.  I wrote about how to use cardboard to mount pictures here.
I had a lot of the other TAST projects unmounted  and spent some time making them up.

For storing, I wrap the cards in acid free tissue paper and keep them in a box. See a corner of such a parcel in the bottom right corner.

However, before putting them in my Embroidery Archive, I display these cards around the house. The Thai Poem is now leaning against a pot plant.
My philosophy is that the more we have on display, the less we see. That's why I like to have just a few quilts or embroideries on show at a time and then change them around. 
A good time to switch decorations is of course when we celebrate an event or the season is changing. Why have a Hallooween quilt on show then the cherry trees are in full bloom? 
Why not have something with a heart around St Valentine's Day? 
How about a theme, all the Blackwork you own on display in one room, the canvas cushions grouped together on the sofa, on a side table a collection of ATC cards in May make way for some pincushions in June...

I also like to have a bit of 'eye candy' when I open a cupboard door. Here, another TAST card is nestling with some socks in the cupboard. It makes me smile every time I open the door.
To me this is a great way to enjoy those small 'useless' items we have. Haven't you heard the question: 'But what's it for?' when you show a mini quilt or doily to someone who is not into needlework. To me the answer is: 'Visual Delight'.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

WIPW - Saftglas

'Work In Progress Wednesday'; it's a great way to keep up with your stitching work. Go to Pintangle and have a look at Sharon's completed Lacy Crazy Quilt block, and the Comments, to see others' progress.

My report is on quilt in progress, Kafferepet

Last week I talked about the coffee pot and how coffee used to be prepared. Some of the guests at the party might want another drink, tea for example. The tea culture in Sweden has changed a lot recently but it used to be a bit 'primitive'. Water was boiled, not in a kettle but, in a saucepan on the cooker, and then poured over a tea bag. Loose leaf tea for me, please, so on this quilt there is nothing for the tea drinker, I'm afraid.

Now what about the children, who wouldn't drink tea or coffee? They are often given a glass of this:

and it is NOT a Campari Soda!!!

No, this is 'hallonsaft', hallon = raspberry, and saft = squash.
You boil the berries with sugar and water and then strain the drink. The concentrate is bottled, then before serving a bit of it is diluted with water, and sometimes an ice cube is added.

I first decorated this appliquéd glass with a straw (you can still see the needle marks) but last night changed my mind and stitched on some ice instead.

I also have a pink rose on the border to show: