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Akemi Shibata- Quilted Bags and Gifts

We are overdue for a Japanese Quilting Study Group adventure! I recently learned of a new-to-me Japanese quilter, Akemi Shibata, and got her book, Quilted Bags and Gifts. It’s a delightful book.

I LOVE how she pairs taupe fabrics with little pops of saturated color. It’s a gorgeous combination. She uses lots of red and turquoise especially. There are 36 projects in this book, each one cuter than the last.

 

And she features hexagons in so many of her projects. In the very first project description of the book, she says “In fact, I love English paper piecing hexagons so much, that I often forget to stop and eat lunch while in the midst of sewing these cute little shapes together.” Woman after my own heart!

 

I am working on several quilts with Lecien Fabrics for Spring Market (so stay tuned, that means some super-cool FREE patterns for you!), and I wanted to do something special with the leftover scraps.

So many fun choices, but I decided to make Akemi Shibata’s Two Way Hexagon Purse.

 

Once I had the pattern chosen, I couldn’t wait to start prepping hexies. Look how well the hexies fit onto the triangle scraps!! She uses EPP for this project, but I’m going to hand-piece them instead.

So excited to see how this starts that I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. .. . marking hexies and sipping coffee. My happy place.

If you’d like to follow my progress, please check out my instagram feed, I’ll be posting lots more there.

 

 

Now I’m ready to start sewing hexies together.  Even though it has an inset zipper, the pattern has lots and lots of diagrams and it looks achievable. If it works, I think I’ve got the fabric to make two! Now I’m off to find coordinating fabrics for the rest of the purse, and hardware.  Do you have a go-to source for purse supplies? Please share in the comments, I’d love to know!

Happy Stitching!

Book Review: Cotton and Indigo From Japan

Happy New Year! As you may have seen on my Instagram, I have been spending a lot of my time lately snuggled under extra blankets, hot drink and good book in hand.  One of my favorites has been Teresa Duryea Wong’s new book, Cotton and Indigo from Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a book to savor. The photography is gorgeous, the stories and information are fascinating. . . . When Teresa’s first book came out, I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.  This one I made myself spread out over a couple of days so I could enjoy it a little longer. If you know anyone who loves all things Japanese, they will enjoy this book.  While the book talks quite a bit about quilting, it’s also a wonderful insight into many intriguing aspects of Japanese culture.

I also attended one of Teresa’s lectures about the book last fall.  I’d never been to a guild meeting before! At the time, I was wishing I had brought pen and paper to take notes on her lecture, but all the wonderful information is in the book too. Check out her website for a lecture near you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She also brought an amazing quilt to share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teresa made it from her own collection of lovely indigos and Japanese fabrics, and she hand stitched it in the chiku-chiku style. (What is chiku-chiku? Check out the book to find out! Me, I just might have to learn the technique, because chiku-chiku is loads of fun to say!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s on your reading list right now?

Happy Stitching!

 

Quilt Market 2017 Yoko Saito’s Schoolhouse Presentation on her New Fabric Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Schoolhouse this fall, Yoko Saito introduced her fans to her gorgeous Centenary 23 fabric line, available in 2018. You can see all 61 fabrics in the collection on Lecien’s website. As she showed the fabrics, she gave wonderful tips about how she incorporates the various fabrics into quilts.

Yoko Saito’s Tips for Appliques

The Centenary 23 fabric line included several fabulous brown prints, suitable for trees. Saito-san recommended using the prints vertically for tree appliques, and horizontally for representing paths or streets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She was also insistent that quilters use more than one fabric for tree appliques, because no tree has just one color!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several of her fabrics incorporated leaves and trees, and gave completely different effects when viewed up close or from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saito-san encouraged us to consider using both sides of the fabric, as sometimes the backside of the fabric provides the right amount of color and a softer design.

Using Fabric as a Design Element

Saito-san is renowned for her extremely detailed, intricate appliques and quilting, so I was delighted with her tip about selecting background fabrics. She said that using a subtly busy print for the background makes it look like you appliqued more than you really did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Centenary 23 collection includes a basket print in several color options. She created this print because she loves Nantucket baskets. She recommends using the basket weave print in sashings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite prints from the new collection is this stunning black and red print.  It’s such a contrast to most of her palette, but it works perfectly with the other fabrics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new collection also includes new Etoffe Improvue linens for clothing.  Here is Saito-san modeling one of the three new linen prints in her gorgeous tunic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saito-san hinted that one of her new quilting books will also include patterns for making clothing, and knitting! I’m starting to learn knitting NOW  so I’ll be ready by the time this book is available in English (a couple of years down the road!)

So, that’s it for my Schoolhouse recap! Next week I will be sharing photos from Saito-san’s exhibit at Market and Festival.

Happy Stitching!!

 

Quilt Market 2017- Yoko Saito’s Schoolhouse Presentation on her Favorite Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re on Instagram and Facebook, you already know that I was INCREDIBLY excited to attend Yoko Saito’s schoolhouse presentations this fall. For the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing photos and notes I took throughout the weekend, over her presentations, her exhibitions, and even getting to meet her personally.  It was an amazing experience.

So, first up, her presentation with Priscilla Knoble of Stitch publications about her favorite books and projects. Saito-san was an absolute DELIGHT to listen to, even if you couldn’t understand her words, her enthusiasm and excitement were evident throughout.

Saito-san publishes two books PER YEAR, each with 25-30 projects. She typically makes these projects in about 6 months, and ONLY uses her sewing machine for sewing the bases to her bags. Now that’s productive. She also teaches 400 students, and prepares special patterns just for them.

Yoko Saito’s Favorite projects

One of the first projects she showed was her hand-sewing kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The audience giggled when Priscilla pulled a clover needle threader out of it. When asked about her choice of needles, Saito-san said she uses Clover black needles to get her tiny stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, a darling turtle pincushion, from her wool work book.

 

Then she showed a tote bag she designed for carrying piano books, based on a sketch of Mozart that she drew while watching a show about him on television. The top section with the notes on it is a zippered pencil pouch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She said one of the reasons she makes so many bags is that Japanese people don’t always have a lot of room to store lots of quilts in their home. But they use public transportation frequently, and enjoy having bags to take with them on the trains for their shopping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tote bag below is from a new book that she published with a publisher in Taiwan. Stitch publications will have an English version available next year. Quiltmania already has it in French, so of course I impulse bought a copy.  It lives up to expectations!!  I love the pop of red on this tote, which is also on the book cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The detail on this scallop tote is mind-blowing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last, but not least, here’s a project from her Japanese Taupe Theory book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fun facts

We had a chance to ask questions at the end of the presentation.  Someone asked what Saito-san’s home studio looked like. She replied that she never worked on quilting or sewing projects at home, only at her store workshop. She said she can’t even think about designs if her husband is around. How cute is that!?

Finally, Saito-san also talked a little about her inspiration for the Scrap Valley book.  She said that she loves antique American designs, and wanted to incorporate them into some larger projects.

Saito-san’s journey into fabric design

Saito-san started designing fabric for Lecien about 20 years ago.  She was having trouble finding Japanese fabrics that gave the effects she wanted, so when Lecien approached her about designing, it was a win-win for both of them. Some of her designs are based on a 100-year old book of patterns from Lecien.

Next week, I’ll be posting about her second schoolhouse presentation. It focused on her upcoming line from Lecien, and included some tips for using fabric creatively to achieve realistic textures.

Happy Stitching!

(And if you’re new to my site, you can check out the Japanese Quilting Study group tab at the top of this page for lots more information about Yoko Saito and Japanese Quilting!

 

Japanese Quilting Study Group- Focus on Hand Piecing

Welcome to a brand-new year of the Japanese Quilting Study Group!  For those of you new to the blog, this is a post series focused on Japanese quilting. You can see all posts in the series by clicking on the tab above. In years past, we’ve discussed lots about Yoko Saito and other Japanese master quilters, and even tried our hand at making quilts from Japanese patterns.  For those of you who have followed this group for years, my apologies for the lapse in posts.  I knew I wanted to try a new direction with this blog series, and it has taken me a while to figure out that direction.

I’ve been to several quilt shows with examples of Japanese quilts, and they’re even more amazing in person than in pictures.  What always impresses me most, though, is that they’re typically HAND PIECED. Seems crazy in today’s high tech world, doesn’t it? So my big question is, how do they hand-piece quilts so meticulously? And how do they consistently make dozens of quilts that way in a single year?

So, this year I’m working hard to improve my hand-piecing skills. One night while cruising on pinterest, I found an image of a Japanese quilt from the Tokyo show that captivated me.  I don’t know the name of the pattern, but imagine a 12-pointed star with pentagons and triangles as filler.  Or a completely pieced (no applique) dresden plate.  That’s kind of the look of the block.  I’ve found three different quilts made with this design, but so far I’ve had no luck in figuring out the name.  You can check out my pinterest board devoted to the subject here.

 

Eventually, I drafted my own templates to emulate this design in Adobe Illustrator.  Then I started cutting and marking fabric.  (If you follow me on IG, you’ve already seen some of these).  Here’s how far I’ve gotten on this little project.

So far, I’m loving it.  I’m not too worried about the centers of the stars aligning, as they’ll be covered with little fabric circles. The units piece together quickly. I wish I could find a good tutorial for matching the centers with this much fabric, but I haven’t come across one yet.

Soon after I started this project, I discovered patterns by Karen Tripp. And I just HAD to make her Obsession quilt.  Instead of doing it with EPP (too time-consuming for me, although she has lovely tutorials on EPP curves), I’m using her templates and hand-piecing.  Again, my points aren’t perfect.  But they’re improving with practice.  Here’s an in-progress photo of my blocks so far. The tricky combination of curves and points is intriguing to me, and it’s fun to piece.

But that’s enough about me and my questions about Japanese quilting. What do you admire most about Japanese quilts? Are you trying out any new techniques this year? Please share in the comments below so we can all encourage each other along this journey!

 

Happy Quilting!

 

Quilt Market Fall 2016 Recap

I hope you enjoyed the IG and FB updates as I was at  Quilt Market last weekend, I’m so excited to finally have those accounts linked (Thank you, Cheryl Sleboda!!) And it’s taken me the rest of this week to mull over everything, and try to present the most pertinent highlights of Market in this blog post.  I know a bunch of amazing fabric lines came out, and lots of quilting rockstars attended the show.  Here, however, I wanted to share about things that are most relevant to me, and hopefully interesting for you as well.

Japanese Quilting

This sector of market is GROWING! I saw a Japanese bag vendor selling wonderfully unusual handles and bag hardware, spectacular new fabrics from Lecien, and an entire “Wa” exhibit in the special exhibits hall.  Of course, Japanese quilters were well represented in the juried competitions as well.  This quilt was my favorite.  I could stare at it for hours.

Japanese Quilt, Quilt Festival 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up a copy of Scrap Valley, Yoko Saito’s newest book, from the delightful ladies at Quiltmania.  Speaking of staring at something for hours. . . . .this book is a treasure.

Yoko Saito Scrap Valley

Perhaps most exciting — Lecien and Stitch Publications announced that Yoko Saito will be attending Quilt Market AND Quilt Festival Fall 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She will have a special exhibit, and be teaching classes. I’ll pass along more details as soon as I have them, but how cool is that???  I’m hoping she has tons of attendees and folks stopping by her booth, so she knows exactly how much American quilters adore her.

Hand Piecing

Aurifil kicked off this year’s Quilt Market with an amazing Schoolhouse presentation, replete with video of how they make their threads.  It was absolutely fascinating.  They also announced a new line of 80 weight threads.  I was so excited to see “English paper piecing” and hand sewing listed as several of their recommended uses for the new threads.

While attending schoolhouse sessions and walking the Market floor, I saw no less than FIVE new methods of English paper piecing and sewing hexagons. FIVE.  I’m hoping to purchase some of the tools to test out these methods, look for blog posts coming soon!

hand-quilting-supplies

I also picked up a copy of Millifiori Quilts 2, which promises to be as lovely as the first book.  The little turquoise pouch is an organizer from Yazzii.  It’s filled with little clear zipper pouches.  I think it will hold at least two hand-piecing projects at a time.  No more losing my thimble when I’m out and about!

The thread cutter in the picture will get it’s own blog post soon.  It is AWESOME!!

Marti Michell templates and news

I always enjoy seeing what’s new in Marti’s booth, and this year I got to take some classes from her as well.  So fun!  Her new Starry Path templates look incredible.  As you can see, I’m already testing ideas with the coloring pages provided in the template instructions.  I can’t wait to get in my studio and bring that design to life.

starry-path-templates

In one of her classes, Marti talked about a fun new Hexie Club for quilt stores.  I know I will be talking to my local quilt store about running the program, and you should too!  It promises to be a terrific way to build up your hexagon piecing skills, and the accompanying pattern previews we got to see were beautiful!!

Other Quilt Market Highlights

I think the coolest booth we saw this year featured a technique of quilting on leather. Cathy Wiggins created the quilts, and Olde City Quilts has the supplies. Please check out Cathy’s website for more pictures.  It was spectacular.  My husband took a picture of this quilted dragon.  Her name is also Emily. How fun is that?

Quilt Market 2016

Sometimes, with social media, you become friends with people you’ve never met.  That’s what happened on IG with me and Wendy Sheppard.  I went to her schoolhouse presentation, and can attest that she is as sweet and vivacious in person as she is online. Then we got to visit over coffee, and my admiration for her grew even more!!  Can’t wait to share her new book with you next spring!

Finally, I took a class on social marketing with Cheryl Sleboda. I learned more in that one hour than in WEEKS of culling through internet tutorials and classes.  It was a fabulous, funny, understandable presentation.  I would highly recommend the webinar on her website, it’s worth every penny if you’re a store owner or designer looking to grow your online presence.

Whew.  Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this lengthy blog post!  If you went to Quilt Market, what were your favorite parts?  If not, what things would you like to learn about for next year’s markets?  (Yes, I am absolutely already planning that far ahead, and would love to know what kinds of information you’d like!!)

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS- There are a bunch of links in this post to provide you with additional information about the products referenced.  These ARE NOT affiliate links.   If you’d like to support my blog, please visit my Craftsy store. Thanks!

 

Three Little Birds QAL- a Finished Pouch!!

Welcome back to the Three Little Birds Quilt-a-Long! I have to confess, I stalled out  on this project. Adding the seam allowances confused me, and so the pieces got pushed aside to a corner of my studio.

The instructions specified cutting the front portions of each piece with a 1/4” seam allowance, and the backing and batting with slightly larger allowances. And the back inside lining piece was enormous compared to the rest of the pouch.

Three Little Birds pouch

Last night, however, I decided to just muddle through and see how it worked.  I figured, if all else fails, all I have wasted is a little time and fabric.  But it did work, and I’m so pleased with the results.

I promise, for next month’s installment of the quilt-a-long, I will have in-progress pictures as I work through a second pouch.  Part of getting over my hang-up with this pouch, though, was just sewing without worrying about setting up a photo shoot for each step.

If you’d like to join in on the Three Little Birds quilt-a-long, you can find the pattern at One World Fabrics.  They also have a gorgeous selection of Japanese homespun fabrics to make your pouch.

After finishing this pouch, I think I have a better understanding of WHY Japanese patterns don’t include seam allowances.  It’s kind of a personal preference, not a set rule.  On this project, I used a slightly larger seam allowance for the lining, because it made it easier for me to bind the inside seams.

What’s your preference– you prefer a pattern that gives exact finished measurements, or templates with seam allowances already included?

Happy Stitching!

emily

Three Little Birds QAL- Applique

Welcome to month two of the Three Little Birds Quilt-a-long! Have I mentioned that we’ll be working through this project at a leisurely pace?

For this month, we’ll be focusing on the applique pocket of the pouch.  It’s not the first step in the pattern, but it was what I wanted to do first because, well, hand applique intimidates me. I figured if I did this first, I’d be more motivated to finish knowing the hardest part was over.

three-little-birds

There are loads of applique tutorials online. For this size and scope of project, I picked this one from Suppose Create Delight.  The prep work is time-consuming, but well worth it in my opinion.  I loved that all the pieces were glued into place so I could take the applique with me and sew.  I stitched down my three little birds while sitting in the car waiting for my kids to get out of school.

As I mentioned before, I’m making a second pouch using the cherry blossom motifs from another Yoko Saito pattern.  The pictures below are some of my in-progress steps of prepping the blossoms.

flower-templatesstarching-petalsflowers-ready

So, how about you? What’s your favorite applique method?  Have you started stitching your Three Little Birds?  I can’t wait to see!! Please link up your in-progress photos below.  (Your pictures can be from a blog, Facebook page, Flickr stream, or Instagram.)

Speaking of IG– did you know Yoko Saito herself is on Instagram now? Check it out @yokosaito_quiltparty.

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Little Birds Quilt-A-Long

I’m so excited to finally launch my first Quilt-A-Long!  We’re going to be working with a gorgeous Yoko Saito pattern, the Three Little Birds Pouch.

Three little birds pattern

Each month, I’ll share progress on my pouch (or pouches. . . .I’m seriously thinking of making several of these), along with tips and hints for construction. At the end of each post, you’ll have the opportunity to link up your progress as well.  If you choose not to make the pouch, then please link up your progress on any Japanese style quilting project.  You can also share pictures of Japanese quilting books or tools.

You can find the Three  Little Birds Pouch pattern at Willow Lane Quilting Company and One World Fabrics.  Both sites also have lovely collections of Japanese fabrics to make your pouch.  The pouch is tiny, so you will probably be fine with 4 fat quarters and some assorted scraps.

So, let’s get this linky started!  For this month, link up with your Japanese fabric collection, or whatever fabrics you plan to use for your pouch.  Next month, we’ll be cutting into these beautiful fabrics and prepping the pieces for applique.

patterns and fabric

Here’s my pattern, and a bundle of taupes I plan to use with it.  And a Yoko Saito pattern I’ve admired for years.  I’m not sure I have the skill to tackle this one yet, but I’m going to make a second pouch, using the cherry blossom appliques from the wallhanging pattern in place of the birds on the pouch.

 

I can’t wait to see what you’re creating!!

emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JQSG 2016- Where Shall We Journey Next?

It’s hard to believe we’re starting year three of the Japanese Quilting Study Group.  I have learned so much through researching these posts, and “met” some of the most amazing quilters ever!  Certainly Japanese quilting styles continue to grow in popularity– did you notice that Teresa Duryea Wong’s book was mentioned in the March/April issue of Quiltmaker?  So fun!!

But with the new year wide open before us, I must admit, I’m a little baffled at where to go from here.  As you can see from my bookshelf, there are plenty of Japanese authors and designers left to explore. .. .

JQSG2016

 

So we can continue merrily along, sharing information as we discover new things, but I’m considering shaking things up a bit. Less me talking, more your input. Would you be interested in a Quilt Along? Sort of a practicum year for the study group if you will.  I’ll set up the website for link parties, and we’ll check in with one another monthly to see what books you’re reading, what patterns you’re trying out, what Japanese fabrics you’re stitching with. Maybe there will be some sponsors, discounts, and prizes along the way.

I’m thinking about starting the party in May, which gives you plenty of time to pick out a project, or search your stash.  And it gives me time to finish a rather massive project that is due at the end of April 🙂

So what do you say?  Are you in?  If not, where would you like to see the Japanese Quilting Study Group go this year?

Happy Stitching!

emily