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

Thursday, 27 May 2021

What's In A Quilt - 2

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

The second block I made was in light purple. Here is the naked block. I always add strips of white and beige scrap fabric to support the block in the hoop.
What can I say about the fabric? 
There is a bit of batik and a piece of printed fabric from a charm pack, both of them were gifts from the UK. 
In the middle is some wool with structure, an aunt of my husband's who was a skilful hobby seamstress made herself an ensemble and gave me the remnants. 
The geometric purple and pink cotton was dress fabric I once made a summer frock with. Before it finally fell to pieces that dress was a seasoned traveller who had been on picnics in Hyde Park, visited quilt shows in Birmingham, enjoyed a sunset cruise in the Baltic Sea, given lectures near Mt Fuji, flown over the Swiss Alps, made a stop over in Karachi, eaten raw sea urchins in Tokyo Bay... All these memories are in that little scrap of fabric... 
The plain piece of silk, and a piece of lace that you can see in the pictures to follow, are from a swatch of a party dress I wore to many a weddings.

The ricrac was a gift from the UK. A Christmas present from Mum was once tied up with the silk ribbon, but the tufted braid I have shaped into arches was bought at Tokyo Dome from a wholeseller of ribbons and braids.

For the ornaments and embroidery I used the colour wheel to select an accent colour. Mint green was my choice.

The first thing I made was the 'visible mending' with mint green thread. How to do it I learned from Elizabeth Healey's book Stitch, Fabric & Thread. It was a bit more difficult than I first thought, but I still like that spot of green with the frame of Fly Stitch and edge of Stem Stitch. 
On top of the visible mending I placed a knot of kumihimo braid. At the time I got so many comments about braid making and the kumihomo disc.
Once again I want to assure you that making a braid on these rubber foam discs is not difficult at all. With a few odd ends of thread you can make beautiful braid to add to a crazy quilt, for example.

Sharon Boggon of Pintangle had taught me how to hold down a ricrac with Buttonholed Fly Stitch.
I added Bullion Knots inside the arched tufted braid, made a floral spray of Feather Stitch, bugle beads and French Knots.
To echo the arches, the round of the visible mending, and the rounded petals of the lace I also fixed a circle of purple felt and edged it with ricrac.
There are piles of small beads and buttons here and there, ribbon embroidery and sequins. 

So many people have made it possible to make this block.
May I show my gratitude to: Mother, Auntie, Sue, Sylvia, Jacquie, Kathleen, Maureen, Elizabeth, Sharon, Helen, and all my readers and their kind comments and constant support.

I made this block between March 7 and 28, 2018.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

WIPW - Getting Closer

Work In Progress Wednesday - well there is only one regular project that I am working on at the moment. That is of course the bed size log cabin quilt/bed cover, fondly called

Crazy for Crazy

I stitched together 36 blocks in units of 12, the three on the right.

All five units were then joined together,

and his picture proves there are more blocks that need to be added!

This sea of teal might seem endless, but  I AM getting closer to finishing the flimsy.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 171: Ray Stitch

Today, let's let Sarah at Sarah's Hand Embroidery Tutorials teach us the Ray Stitch.

It belongs to the straight stitch family and is an easy way to make leaves of various shapes.

Here's how:

Make a Straight Stitch, and another right 

above it.

From now on, fan out the 
leaf with Straight Stitch on both 

Depending on how you space the 
stitches the shape of the leaf will
Have fun!


Play around with the three samplers.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Friday Revision Homework - Stitches 166 - 170

 Wow this was fun!

Sunbonnet Sue was so fed up with the pandemic and really wanted to celebrate that she has been vaccinated against Covid-19 and can now travel safely.

She went to a Pacific island paradise and danced till sunset.

Please note that she is decent underneath her straw skirt. She IS wearing her Croatian bikini bottoms!

I would like to say Thank You to Sarah Aldrich who came up with the idea of using the Fringed Buttonhole Stitch for a hula skirt.

What would Blogging be like without readers' comments and suggestions?

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

What's In A Quilt - 1

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

Ever since I joined TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday - an online free embroidery stitch adventure) and got to know the extraordinary Sharon Boggon I have admired her beautiful embroidery and gorgeous crazy quilts. 

So when Sharon's book 

was published I jumped to the challenge of making a crazy quilt of my own. After all I had have LOTS of remnants of 'fancy' fabric, the perfect choice for crazy quilts, and a good stock of ribbons, braids, buttons, beads and whatnots.

You learn by your mistakes, and too late I found out I had made a grand one! 
Inspired by all those who make hexagon quilts, I thought that would be a nice shape for the blocks. 
Alas, in my ignorance I drafted an eight-sided template, so the blocks are all octagonal! 
The problem of joining octagonal blocks together was discovered, and dealt with, later. Luckily, there was a good solution, but I'll discuss that another time.

The first naked block looked like this, stitched together.
The piece of silk in the middle is from a tie of my nephew's, there is also upholstery fabric, silk from a pall I made for Nacka Church in Sweden 2008, 
The lacy braid was bought at Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival one year.

Below is the finished block.
I stitched on top of the pattern of the silk tie, 
added a heart of felt, 
there is a cluster of pink beads, 
the five pink Turk's Head (knots) that I bought in a shop in Tokyo brought back memories of an outing with my friend Julie,
I love the Thorn Stitch and floral sequins,
and the plain button with Woven Picots.
Many people helped me make this block, one way or another. I'd like to thank: Sharon, Masahito, Ms Iwama, Nacka Kyrka, Michan, Julie, Jacquie, my grandmother, Sue and Sylvia, and all readers who kindly commented and encouraged me during the four weeks it took to make this block.  
January 31st - February 28th 2018.


WIPW - Finished

 Work In Progress Wednesday is happy to report on a finish!

Crazy for Crazy 

is now completed and hanging on the wall.

I have covered the back with kimono silk 

which I fastened with the binding, at the same time as I added a hanging sleeve.

I launched the Crazy for Crazy project at the end of January 2018, so this has taken almost 3 1/2 years. Here is the first blog post.

I got my inspiration from Sharon Boggon's excellent book:

and have been much helped by Elizabeth Healey's two books, for the various ornaments added to each block.

You never make a quilt on your own, other people contribute in many ways - someone has woven and dyed the fabric, made the beads, braided the cords, twisted the thread... Others have made the quilt possible by donating fabric or notions, or given help and advice.

I am every so grateful to all who have made this quilt possible. 

In the coming weeks I will feature each block and talk a little about its background. It will be a Thursday posting called What's In A Quilt.

Log Cabin Challenge

I made another set of 12 blocks. (Last week's block is on the left).

I long to start some new projects, but want to tie up some loose ends first. UFOs are not only stitch and quilt related!