Monday, 30 August 2021

May I Suggest ... Monday?

Every Monday I want to promote blog reading. The names of blogs I like have been written on pieces of paper, and today I picked two slips of paper from my box. 

Trish Burr is the Queen of Shading, there is no other title for her. I am sure many of you are already familiar with Trish's wonderful work. If not here you can see her lifelike embroidery of Long and Short Stitch, Satin Stitch and Knots, that make it so true to reality it is almost unbelievable.
You will be able to see her latest work, join online classes, shop her books, designs and iron on transfers as well as linen and thread, and more. Enjoy!

is kept by my friend Julie. She is American and has lived in Japan much longer than I have. We met through a common friend and together have visited quilt shows in Tokyo and Yokohama several times. I have seen some of her work 'in the flesh' and can vouch for the quality and beauty of everything she makes.

Julie is a traditional quilter, basing her quilts on old and well known quilt pattern, then selecting fabric from her stash with a trained hand. There is usually a great number of prints and various hues in her quilts, but they all blend in harmony. Cozy and homespun are two words that would describe her patchwork quilts.

Who does she quilt for? Other people! Julie is one of the most generous quilters I know, she donates almost all her work, gives quilts to members of her church, often as a farewell gift when they return to their home country, banners for her Church, Big Girl quilts for her granddaughters, small gifts for her neighbours and friends...

My Quilt Diary also records other things in Julie's busy life.  You can read about her involvement with the Scouts, choir practice, volunteer work to help the homeless of Tokyo, and her battle against weeds in a local park and the litter and fallen leaves along her street.
Julie is also an authority on trees, plants and birds. Go to her if you want to know the name of something in Latin! This expertise is also practical - she can make the most stubborn plant thrive and her collection of cacti repay the TLC (or neglect, when needed!) she gives them by showing off their fantastic bloom.

This is a blog well worth visiting, again and again.


Sunday, 29 August 2021

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 183: Walneto Stitch

Today I have a needlepoint stitch for you. It is beautiful. It also looks complex, and when you see the numbers on the stitch diagram your head might spin. However, with a little bit of patience and practice it is an easy stitch, well worth the effort.

If you intend to work on even weave fabric, take the help of waste canvas. 

Jean Hilton has good instructions on Needlepoint Teacher.

First I marked the area with soluble ink.

Start from the bottom and stitch 
across the first corner.

Before you go across to the next corner,
take the needle UNDER the stitched

Continue in the same way,

until you reach the starting point,
where you exit one hole up.

Make sure you have placed the thread 
in the correct way at every corner.

Now go under BOTH threads of the cross.

Enter and exit one hole away from 
the previous ones.

Go UNDER ALL the threads (now three)

Continue in the same way around 
the block.

You begin to see the starry pattern.

When you have inserted your
needle in hole #72, the starry 
shape is complete.

Work these three samplers as well as the Canvas Sampler.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Friday Homework for Lesson 182: Snail Trail Stitch

No problem stitching the Snail Trail Stitch as it is so similar to Coral Stitch.

I had problems taking photographs, so there are too many shadows. Sorry.

Aida Sampler

Sunday Stitch School Reference Chart

Teal Wool Tailoring Scribble Cloth

I also had time to finish last week's homework, filling a square on the Canvas Sampler with Woven Stitch.
It really looks like it has been woven, doesn't it?

Thursday, 26 August 2021

What's In A Quilt - 15

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

Block number 15 is in dark purple and beige/light green. You can see it in the bottom row.

The fabric in the centre, maybe it looks familiar? Yes, if you have followed my series of these blocks you HAVE seen this machine embroidered fabric before, but in different colourings. It is one of the swatches from a set of fabric a travelling salesman from Switzerland peddled in Africa. 

There are four more pieces of fabric, all plain. One is cotton of 'no interest', one is matt silk, one is my mother's upholstery plush, and the final is velveteen. That velveteen has a history to tell. 

In Japan weddings, and many parties, can be very formal affairs, so if there is a chance/risk/opportunity that you will be invited, you need at least one formal dress. 

It was my love for purple, as well as flexibility and thrift, that made me fall in love with this Yamamoto Kansai two-piece dress in the sales. All clothes designed by this fashion guru are of high quality, and of course expensive. The good news is that if you wait for the sales, they are sold at a good reduction, this one was 80% off. I am no fashion nerd and knew I would wear this creation long after it was 'out of fashion' so it seemed a good investment. 

The ensemble consisted of a skirt with gold embroidery on the hem, and a blouse also sporting the same embroidery on the collar, cuffs and down the back. The front had a shirt design, could be buttoned all they way up for a strict look, open at the neck,  or totally unbuttoned and worn like a jacket with a camisole or sequinned top underneath. The back was longer and had tails, yes just like a man's tailcoat. I saw the potential - it was possible to combine these two items, or wear the blouse with a plain skirt, or elegant slacks. Here was a puzzle wardrobe.

I bought it about 30 years ago, wore it to numerous events until the blouse gave up several years later. The skirt, with its sturdy lining was still fine, as were the cuffs and the collar of the blouse. I didn't want to say 'sayonara' to a favourite item.

Then came the idea of making a jacket in purple velveteen, and use the collar and cuffs as decoration to tie the jacket to the skirt. For the same kind of flexibility as the original blouse, I can remove the collar and cuffs.

The crazy quilt block has quite a lot of decoration on it. There are floral and square sequins, bugle, seed and soroban beads, metallic braid, a lace butterfly ornament and three flowers. These were originally beige and I wanted them to be purple. What to do? Colour them with wax crayon and set with a hot iron! The flowers are attached to stems of Portuguese Stem Stitch. There is a length of Waved Chain Stitch, two fabric covered buttons and I also stitched a Webbed Wheel.

It took a bit over a month to make the block, between 10 June and 29 July 2020.

I am happy that these people helped me along the way: Yamamoto Kansai, Jacquie, Sylvia, Mum, Verena, Maureen, Sharon, Auntie, Mrs S and all of you, of course.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

WIPW - The Second Reel of Thread

It is time for a Work In Progress Wednesday report.

Log Cabin Challenge

I have started using the second reel of thread.

14 blocks were quilted, they are marked in brown in the note book.

Sunday Stitch School Stitch Sampler

I used a template and drew six curved drops on either side of the star. The shapes were filled in with #168 Croatian Stitch.


Monday, 23 August 2021

May I Suggest ...Monday?

Every Monday I want to promote blog reading. The names of blogs I like have been written on pieces of paper and today I picked two slips at random from my box.

Click on the title for a link to the website.

I guess most of my readers are well familiar with Sharon Boggon and her stylish website Pintangle. If not, let me tell you why you should pay a visit.

Sharon is a real advocate for hand embroidery and crazy quilting. 
She is most knowledgeable, she has created an extensive online Stitch Dictionary with clear and easy to follow photo instructions, she has led both in-person and online workshops. 

For many years she has been running TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) which is a GREAT online project to promote embroidery stitches. At TAST she introduces one stitch a week, gives examples of how to use and alter it, then encourage the participants to give it a try,  make use of it and share the effort on their blog or social media like Facebook etc. For those who have already learned the stitches and want to dwell further into the potential of the them, Sharon offers Beyond TAST. 
The best thing you can do is read all about TAST here

Sharon has written several tutorials, some as printable worksheets, others as all-free on the website. For example you can learn how to store crease free silk ribbons or how to make a Fargo Rose.
Her two excellent books, one on Crazy Quilting, the other on embroidery stitches, are for sale at her online shop. There you can also order smart templates for CQ stitch lines and beautiful tools.
Sharon = Crazy Quilting! You really have to look at her most beautiful blocks, how she blends stitches, ribbons, lace, buttons, beads and what-knots on top of a foundation of fabulous fabric.

Sharon also makes fantastic free form embroidery. I would say she 'spills the stitches' all over the place in a most artistic way.

Finally I would like to mention that Sharon is most kind and generous. She always gives credit to others, she always has some advice to give if you turn to her with a problem and for those of you who are left handed, here is a real friend: Sharon is herself a left hand user, and knows first hand, how difficult it is to follow stitch instructions made for right hand people. In her latest book she has included two sets of pictures, left and right handed. So if your dilemma is that embroidery instructions are too hard to follow, here is help for you.

Stitching Lady

Many years ago I met Anneliese online in the comments section of TAST, then started following her blog.

Oh, Stitching Lady is so creative! At this blogspot you will find great examples of how she has used the TAST stitches, e.g. she has draped stitched fabric over pebbles, she has made baubles and other hanging ornaments, textile chocolates and fabric books.

Talking of books, she once added textile objects  to the illustrations of a children's book, Rapunzel, if I remember correctly, with the long braid of hair coming down the tower...

Anneliese also stitch by machine and has made a smart cover for her piano keyboard, hilarious machine appliqué and quilting designs, fabric boxes and masses of bags (which she shares the tutorials for).

For a while she had a weekly post called WOYWW = What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, with a photo of her latest work in progress - in progress, so to speak, messy or tidy, always colourful and vibrant.

On this blog you will also find knitting and cooking/baking, as well as photographs of beautiful landscapes around Europe.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 182: Snail Trail Stitch

 Quiz: What stitch is this?

Answer: Yes, you are right. It is Coral Stitch.

Now I am at a dilemma, is today's stitch a new stitch or Coral Stitch?

The thing is, that Coral Stitch has many names, one of them is Snail Trail Stitch. 

I have noticed a difference, though, in the spacing.

When you insert the needle at a wider angle and bite into more fabric you get this 'Twisted Chain' look.

So I want to keep calling the purple stitch seen above Coral Stitch, 

and use Snail Trail for the blue stitch.

The best pictorial instructions I have come across are at Kimberly Oimet.


Let a Snail leave Trails on these samplers.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Friday Homework for Lesson 181: Woven Stitch

This homework took a bit longer than I had anticipated, and I did not complete the work on the Canvas Sampler.

Here are the other samplers, though.

Sunday Stitch School Reference Chart
I used waste canvas to make the stitches as even as I could, but they are very wonky.

Teal Wool Tailoring Scribble Cloth
These are also done with the help of waste canvas and for some reason they are much more even!

Aida Sampler
Just plain black thread.


Canvas Sampler

Thursday, 19 August 2021

What's In A Quilt - 14

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

Block #14 also has a lot of green in it. This time it is teamed with magenta. It is in middle of the top row.

I am sure you have already spotted the green upholstery plush in the middle! There are only four other pieces of fabric: a beautiful check in green and purple silk, with a dash of yellow. Where the yellow is interwoven with the purple you get a lovely orange tint. I haven't done much weaving in my time but love following Diane's blog 'sooner or later everyone will be blogging' where I can see how the waft and warp thread form magical patterns and colour shades. This checked silk, as well as the silk at the top, were a gift from a friend in the UK. Another UK friend gave me the light green quilter's cotton with rosebuds. The shocking magenta is from yet another ball gown made by Mrs I.

There is quite a lot of ribbon embroidery here: There is a row of Fargo Roses, I learned how to make them from Sharon of Pintangle, there are green flower petals and the Turk's Head (knots) are surrounded by ribbon stitches.
The two lace ornaments, the butterfly and the floral spray originates from Australia. The green and magenta metallic thread is probably from thread company Oliver Twist and bought at Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.

I used one of my favourite stitches, Double Buttonholed Chain (it looks like a ladder), and I think I whipped the edges with metallic thread there, too. The rope like stem is Portuguese Stem Stitch.

I made several changes while working this block. The seam between the plush and the checked silk used to hold a ruched ribbon, but I removed it and worked the Fargo Roses instead. 
Then there was a green butterfly, identical to the pink one, but it was such a garish green it overwhelmed the block. So instead I added a very plain button and fixed it with four Woven Picots.

What memories does this block hold?
Let's begin with the button. I once had a Japanese student, a teenage girl whose school English was just that - SCHOOL English. She knew her grammar, spelling and probably got quite good scores on her written tests. However, her speaking skills... well, she just wasn't able to create sentences by herself, or speak, and she was by nature such a chatterbox - I had heard her smattering of Japanese. 
I knew her dream was to study abroad, to make foreign friends, but however much she tried to follow the English coursebook we used, she failed, got flustered and downcast.
One day there was a violent typhoon and she was the only student who turned up for the lesson. There was no point in using the textbook with so many students absent. She had with her, though, a fashion magazine. We started looking at the pictures and suddenly she stammered:
I like! 
This dress, very pretty. 
You like?
 Pink very beautiful, girl colour, flower and lace, romantic... 
I want to buy, my mother NO! 
Too much money! 
I want work fashion shop...' 
and so the 'lesson' when on. I helped her fill in prepositions, articles, verbs and form her words into proper  sentences. 
After that I asked her to come a bit early for the lessons and we spent ten minutes with a magazine or a topic she wanted to talk about, before the other students arrived. She blossomed.
She eventually got everything she wanted, she went to the UK to study, she made foreign friends, she mastered English, she got a job as a sales clerk in a famous Japanese fashion house, then in the overseas sales department in another fashion house where she gallantly juggled English and Japanese on the telephone with many foreign customers, she then got married to an American and has lived with him and their three children in various countries around the world.
She gave me several bags of buttons from one of the fashion companies. They are plain and dull, but hold such good memories. I am so happy to have used one in this block.

Then there is the strange ribbon. It is a mix of velvet (magenta) and grosgrain ribbon (green). Again this has connections with a student. She knew I wanted some elegant ribbons for crazy quilt seams and introduced me to a shop supplying high quality ribbons to tailors and seamstresses. I think she used to pass the shop on her way to collage every day as she had nothing to do with sewing.
This ribbon and another in brown and turquoise silk are the two most beautiful ribbons I have ever seen. What remains of my purchase I keep under lock and key! I have no recollection whatsoever of where the shop is!

Finally, and I have mentioned this before when I wrote about block #1, are the pink Turk's Head knots. It was with my good friend Julie, also a teacher of English, and patchwork quilter extraordinaire, that I ventured to the wholesale district at Nihonbashi Bakurocho and bought these silk knots at Kanda Shoten's Shinmichi B Kan. It was such a good day and stands out in memory.

So I want to extend my many thanks to: Julie, Catherine, Midori, Helen, Sharon, Maureen, Sylvia, Auntie, Mrs I, Mother

This block was worked between 22nd April and 3rd June, 2020.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

WIPW - Wheels and A Circle

 This is a new Work In Progress Wednesday report showing progress on

Log Cabin Challenge

Fortunately enough I had time to quilt 21 blocks (marked in yellow) and you can see there is not much thread left on the bobbin. I have the next reel standing by.

Sunday Stitch School Stitch Sampler

I placed a #147 Woven Circle in the centre of the star and four  #124 Laced Wheel Stitch around the star's edges.
This wool fabric photographs so badly. All the colours are much more attractive than in the photo.

Monday, 16 August 2021

May I Suggest ... Monday?

Every Monday I want to promote blog reading. The names of blogs I like have been written on pieces of paper, and today I picked two slips at random from my box.

To visit the blogs, please click on the headlines. (Yes, the first blog is actually called 'sooner or later everyone will be blogging'.)

Please visit Diane's blog and enjoy the work of this most multi talented artist and crafter. 
It is well worth the time to look at old entries to see: patchwork and machine quilting, dyeing, bead embroidery on printed fabric, Diane's work on TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday, an online embroidery stitch course/stitch along at Pintangle), beautiful freeform hand embroidery... 
Then there is a bit of travelling, reports from workshops, gardening, cooking....
but most of all this is a blog about weaving, fantastic weaving.

Here is a blog where Kim is showing her excellent hand embroidery with the clearest and most detailed photographs. This is a good place to learn new stitches. Enjoy!

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 181: Woven Stitch

Welcome to a new lesson. 

Today's stitch is called Woven Stitch, so will we be weaving? No, we will learn a stitch that LOOKS like weaving. I found it at a website called Needlepoint for Fun. 

This is a very easy stitch, a bit like Cross Stitch, you stitch one row of slanted stitches and then return, but one hole up and askew. You can find the instructions for Woven Stitch at Needlepoint for Fun, but I will of course display my own photos here.


The thread looks like woven, because the hole where the thread goes in and out is the same and hidden under the stitch above it.
It is sturdy and looks neat on the back, too. 

A good Canvas stitch.

Fill something on these three samplers, as well as a square on the Canvas Sampler.

Friday, 13 August 2021

Friday Revision Homework - Stitches: 176 - 180

The last Sunbonnet Sue Sampler I made was a sunbonnet.

This time, for the most recent five stitches, I wanted to put them in a similar sampler - a bonnet. This bonnet is not for sheltering Sue from the sun though, but from prying eyes. I made a mourning hat where the Fancy Stitch would make a good veil.

The pandemic is far from over,  too many people across the Globe have been devastated by the high death toll, too many people have lost a loved one, too many people have wanted to put on morning wear but not been able to attend funerals or take a proper farewell.

This mourning hat is a symbol of this sadness and sorrow.