Friday, 11 June 2021

Friday Homework for Lesson 173: Eyelet Wheel Stitch

I am very please with how steady this stitch is. I agree that it takes longer to make than the traditional Buttonhole Stitch, but it is worth it. I must also admit that it is easier to work the Eyelet Wheel Stitch on plain weave than on Aida.

Aida Sampler

Sunday Stitch School Reference Chart

Teal Wool Tailoring Scribble Cloth

Thursday, 10 June 2021

What's In A Quilt - 4

I recently finished my crazy quilt project Crazy for Crazy, and now want to write its story.

The forth block I made is in teal and peach, the second block from the top on the right hand side of the quilt.

Like the other blocks it is jam-packed with memories. 

In my late teens our family moved into a new house and my mother, who was a skilful, albeit non-professional, seamstress, made the curtains. 
We went together to shop for fabric and selected this most beautiful linen upholstery fabric from G.P&J Baker, UK, called Hydrangea Bird. (Strangely enough I can't find a single hydrangea among the flowers).
The curtains which were lined and had a double hem for weight, hung straight to show off the beautiful print of the fabric. 
My father had made the wooden pelmet box for the top of the window. Over this Mum fixed the pelmet with its scalloped edge.
These drapes looked stunning against the wallpaper of coarse linen. If I close my eyes I can still enjoy the beauty of the room.
The curtains are now in the possession of a family member, but I took some of the remnants as a memento. A piece with the plum blossoms found its way into this crazy quit block.

My thoughts also go to my maternal grandmother when I look at this block. There is a piece of lace salvaged from an apron she used when serving Sunday dinners. I dyed it light teal and added beads in the holes.

Another mother, my mother-in-law, has also contributed with a piece. This was from a tie, bought as a souvenir and given to some male member of the family, who unfortunately spilled something on it. It was pure luck that I could rescue it from the bin. 
The tie is 100% wool, of kasuri type weave. Kasuri is a technique where the yarn for the warp or weft, or both, has been space-dyed so that when weaving, a pattern forms. 
Here is an interesting article about the technique, the young girl who invented it 200 years ago and the explanation why it says TOYOTA weave on the tie's label. Do read it. 

Another classic pattern, but in a new version, is the quilters' cotton print of William Morris's Strawberry Thief. It was part of a charm pack from a friend in the UK.

There is more of that home dyed canvas from my Scottish friend (whom I wrote about last week), here I have worked Cross Stitch on the canvas.

The batik with gold lines painted on was bought at Festival of Quilts in the UK. Although extremely beautiful it is 'stitch proof' and you need a very sharp needle to be able to pierce it. Not suitable for hand stitching!

This block has its fair share of beads, floral sequins, rings and buttons. I made the Ribbed Wheel button by following the instructions from KDD&Co (Kate Davies Designs). The button sits on a pleated light blue ribbon.
There are some Buttonhole Wheels and a Dorset button, and two rings I joined together by covering them with Buttonhole Stitch.

I added a thin piece of teal braid that I made on a lucet fork:
This tool has a long history. Although mine is made of plastic, the lucets found in archaeological digs were often made of bone or wood. They were used by the Vikings to make the braids they needed to tie their clothing together or hang object from.

I made this block between May 2 - 16, 2018 and am grateful for the help and encouragement of:
Mum, Gran, Okibaba, Sylvia, Jacquie, Maureen, Sharon, Kate, Elizabeth, TAST, G.P&J Baker, William Morris, Kurume kasuri, Toyota, the Vikings, - and all the kind comments from my readers.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

WIPW - More Slow Stitching

Nothing much is happening to show for Work In Progress Wednesday.

Log Cabin Challenge

I assembled another set of 12 blocks. 

The next set was also prepared, but I only managed to stitch half of the 12 together.

Last week's work is on the left.

Actually these 30 blocks is a half-way mark. When I have assembled the remaining 30, the flimsy will be complete. 

Keep on, Queenie, you're almost there!

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

May I Suggest .... Monday

When I was picked for a blog award and then asked to nominate three other bloggers, I found myself in a pickle. There are so many blogs I read, how could I suggest only three?

Finally I picked

  • Hokkaido Kudasai, because Pamela posts every day, always has some beautiful stitching or an interesting travel report or some fascinating news/statistics/articles
  • Princess Bubbles Creates, because Angela shares my love for beads and shiny fabric, makes fantastic mandalas, comes up with good suggestions, and is extremely creative
  • My Craft Works, because Shami makes these very clear, easy-to-follow tutorials with great photographs and generously shares her patterns and skills
Now I have all these other blogs that I think are worth reading, so I wrote down the names on slips of paper and will pick a couple, at random,  each Monday and suggest you go visit.

First out are
  • VirtuoSew Adventures (actually Rachel was the person who nominated me), because Rachel is a very talented needlewoman with deep and broad knowledge and skill of all things embroidery. She works with many styles, successfully experiments a lot and is very active. On her blog there is also a slow Stitching Video.
  • Jizee6687's Weblog, because Chitra makes fantastic embroidery on Indian garments. She also created a large number of variations of any stitch used for TAST or Sunday Stitch School. Unfortunately Chitra has not been posting for some time, but her blog is still active and you can enjoy old posts.
I hope you will enjoy these blogs as much as I do.
Happy Blog Hopping.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 173: Eyelet Wheel Stitch

At first glance you might think this is a Buttonhole Wheel, but it isn't. It is made up of Back Stitch and keeps it shape beautifully, unlike the Butthole Wheel which has a tendency to loosen up a bit.

I found the Eyelet Wheel Stitch at Sarah's hand Embroidery Tutorials.

Work it like this:

First draw a circle, mark the centre and the spokes.

Make a Back Stitch at the edge of the circle.

Take the needle in at the centre and out at 
the next spoke in the circle.

Take another Back Stitch.


Go on.

Make that last Back Stitch.

Anchor the last spoke in the centre.

There you have it - a stitch that will stay round and steady....
or will it roll off?

These Half Rhodes want company, add some Eyelet Wheels on the samplers.

Friday, 4 June 2021

Friday Homework for Lesson 172: Half Rhodes Stitch

 Here are my four pieces where I have introduced Half Rhodes Stitch.

Canvas Sampler

Sunday Stitch School Reference Chart

Teal Wool Tailoring Scribble Cloth

Aida sampler

Thursday, 3 June 2021

What's In A Quilt - 3

 I recently finished my crazy quilt project Crazy for Crazy, and now want to write its story.

The third block I made was the one in red and gold, on the right side of the quilt.

It is made up of fabric from party dresses and 'second wedding dresses'. Now what is a 'second wedding dress' you might wonder. Right so. 

In Japan weddings are usually very extravagant and formal. The wedding ceremony might be attended by the closer circle of family and friends, but to the reception it is not uncommon that 100 people or more have been invited, relatives, friends from school and university, colleagues, the couple's bosses, former teachers and other important people. Also some dignitary, a politician for example, often an acquaintance of the parents, have been invited as an honorary guest.

So it is a lavish event with gourmet food and drinks, flower arrangements, music, speeches, a towering wedding cake to cut - and a change of dress for the bride and groom.

At the wedding ceremony the couple would wear either traditional kimonos, if the knot is tied in a Shinto shrine, or a white wedding gown/white tuxedo, if it is in a chapel.

During the banquet that follows,  the couple will leave and change into something different, and often more colourful. 
This is where the 'second wedding dress' comes in. 
You can read more about Japanese weddings here.

So how come I have 'second wedding dress' fabric in my crazy quilt octagon block? 
Well, I am lucky enough to know a seamstress who makes such dresses. Especially at Christmas gowns in red and gold seem to be very popular.
She gave me a bag-full of remnants. In this block there is velvet, lace, silk and gold lace trimmings.

Then there is a piece of dark red (wool?) with floral machine embroidery, that another kind lady gave me. 
This piece was in a set of sample swatches used by the lady's grandfather. He was a travelling salesman from Switzerland who did his trade in Africa, Senegal if I remember correctly. 
The swatches that remained then ended up in his granddaughter's attic in Sweden before they were given to me, who took them to Japan. Well travelled fabric, wouldn't you say?

Yet another piece of fabric that holds memories is a scrap of red canvas. 
On a quilters' dinner cruise on The Avon I made friends with a lady from Scotland who dyed her own fabric. She later sent a few pieces to me, and this one was just the perfect size for a crazy quilt block. On the canvas I made some hearts in Cross Stitch.

This red octagon block has a kumihimo braid that I made out of left over strands of thread of various weights.

Here is also my first Dorset button. I found the instructions in Elizabeth Healey's book, and used Japanese silk thread to make it. 

Red silk ribbon has been ruched into 'carnations', and there is a star made up of Detached Twisted Chain Stitch. Two clever ladies in Australia gave me the ideas and instructions.

At the time I made this block I got a question,  'How do you know when you've added enough'? My answer was: 'Ha, ha, I don't! I guess I either run out of space or run out of steam! I sure have not run out of stash!!!' 
This is still true, my stash does not  seem to dwindle - instead, by magic it re-fills itself!

Without the following people I would not have managed to make this block. 
Many Thank Yous go to: Mrs Iwama, Verena, Maureen, another Maureen, Jacquie, Sharon, Elizabeth and Auntie. They all who supplied material or instructions. 
Encouragement and comments from my blog readers were, and still are, most appreciated.

I made this block between 5 - 25 April, 2018.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

WIPW - Jumping the Queue

Why do Wednesdays come round so quickly? 

I have frantically been stitching a log cabin set of 12 blocks all evening, otherwise I would have no ongoing progress to show. The other two projects just jumped the queue.

Log Cabin Challenge

Here are the 12 blocks. There are 48 more to assemble and add to the quilt before the flimsy is completed.

Queenie The Tailor?

I was set to make five pieces of After Bath Lounge Wear out of Terry towelling.

I have made the same 'garment' before so it was not difficult, just boring and time consuming.

Queenie The Silk Jeweller?
I was given some scraps of  kimono silk and had to make a few gifts to show my gratitude.
Four brooches and a sachet of powdered incense.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 172: Half Rhodes Stitch

Today I picked a stitch from, Half Rhodes Stitch.You can see the instructions here. This stitch is also listed in The Embroidery Stitch Bible and in Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches

Half Rhodes is a nice stitch, on canvas, or any other fabric with a clear grid. It fans out beautifully and adds movement. To top it, it is an easy stitch, and fast.

You need a grid like this:

Go from 1 to 2.

3 to 4, and so on.

Here are the photos.

One complete stitch.

Work the next one half way up.

Then half way down.

The forth stitch is level with the first.

Add this stitch to the usual three samplers, use waste canvas where needed.
Also fill a square of the Canvas Sampler.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Blog Awards

 I was very honoured, and certainly surprised, to learn that a good blogging friend, Rachel of VirtuoSew Adventures, had nominated me for a Blog Award.

Rachel has a wealth of knowledge, and generously shares it with the stitching community. She always looks closely at my work and leaves valuable comments. I have learned so much from her.


For the award, there were some questions to answer:

What would my perfect holiday be?

To do something or go somewhere that differs from my ordinary daily lifestyle. I like a blend of activity and relaxation, for example, I might want to go for a long walk in a place I have never been before, then sit down and look at the view.

Or take up yoga under a blossoming tree...

Where is my favourite place to walk?

I like city parks with mature trees, gravel paths,  flowers, bird song,  some water feature, people walking or having a picnic...

Well, no one is having a picnic in winter...

What inspired me to start a blog?

When I first started reading others' blogs,  I realised I could start one, too. If I remember correctly, the very first blog I read was a travel blog.

I also like the diary format of a blog - it helps me keep track of what I did when, and how my work has developed.

Furthermore, I find it is a good place to store instructions/tutorials and tricks I want to try.

Especially those 170+ Sunday Stitch School stitches I keep forgetting...

What did I miss most during lockdown? 

Well, we are still in a state of emergency in Japan, a kind of lockdown. 

All through the pandemic I have missed stress free shopping (even grocery shopping is a hassle), visiting the library, meeting friends and eating out.

Oh, the luxury of not having to cook a meal...

What was the last book I read?

The pandemic has meant reading books I already have, and have read before. It is like meeting old friends, and sometimes also noticing that my taste has changed.

At the moment I am reading Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. I read it in three languages (Japanese, English and Swedish) simultaneous, and also listen to the Japanese audio book - to study Japanese, to compare the translations and to find things I might have missed in previous readings.

Is Y.K. turning in his grave at the way I am dissecting his work...

Thank you Rachel for the nomination.

Now it is my turn to pick three nominees. 

This has been a very difficult task, as there are so many interesting blogs and talented bloggers to choose from. Finally I picked the following blogs, because they are very different.

Hokkaido Kudasai

Princess Bubbles Creates

My Craft Works

To Pamela, Angela and Shami, I really enjoy following your blogs, the interesting snippets of news, the beautiful creativity with beads and things that glitters, the excellent tutorials, the regularity in your postings, the inspiration, the knowledge, the energy... I hope others get as much out of your blogs as I do.

To all others I follow, a day without checking your blogs is a wasted day!

Long live Blogging!

Friday, 28 May 2021

Friday Homework for Lesson 171: Ray Stitch

I made a number of shapes based on the instructions.

Sunday Stitch School Reference Chart

Aida Sampler

Teal Wool Tailoring Scribble Cloth