My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A day with Yoko Saito

My friend Barb and I had the most wonderful day yesterday in our class with Yoko Saito. Yoko is well known for her "exquisite designs and ingenious use of 'taupe colour' " (words borrowed from the blurb inside one of her books).
Because Yoko knows very little English, she was accompanied by another lovely lady, Satomi, who was able to translate for her.
However Yoko's hands told us much that we needed to know, she was very patient and clear in her demonstrations and there were many "Ahhh!" and "Wow" moments throughout the day!
Yoko and Satomi are in New Zealand for eight days I think and are squeezing in 6 workshop days in that time!
The project we were making was a notebook cover; in reality, what we were making was immaterial, what we learnt was invaluable.
Yoko's work is small (tiny at times!) and the way she works is simple, deft and efficient. What she showed us was that if you use the right tools or technique, doing small is achievable. Not that she has a vast repertoire of tools that she required us to buy, mostly it was using items that are already readily found in our craft rooms... although I think many of us will be purchasing the clever cutter she was using...(it's on her thumb in the photos above and below).
The notebook/diary cover we were making
Here is how far I got with my piece, doesn't seem a lot for a full day but there was lots to see and talk about of course!! (And morning, afternoon tea and lunch were all very well catered for!)
And Barb got about as far along it as I did!
Yoko finished the class by showing us two of the quilts which had travelled with her. Amazing!
And she tirelessly and graciously signed our copies of her books we had brought with us :-)

An added bonus of the class was meeting a fellow blogger. Fairly recently I have been delighted to come across another Raewyn in blogland!! Since I've been blogging I have had many comments and questions about my name... which intrigued me as it was a pretty common 60's name in New Zealand (I often seemed to have another Raewyn in my class while at school!)
I was excited to learn that she was doing the same class as us. Raewyn from Reconstructed Fabulousness is as lovely as her blog suggests. And she does the most beautiful handwork, her blog is well worth looking at and drooling over.
The two Raewyn Anne s in Red.
In case you think I may have neglected my animals for the day, this was how my day started (before the 3 hour drive!)
And I didn't get a photo of how it finished...dinner at the neighbours' place - the roast mutton was just being pulled out of the oven as I arrived after the big drive home. Absolutely fabulous!
A truly fantastic day!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Madness, Excitement and a Request

Madness on Sunday
You may recall a few posts back I made a Disappearing Pinwheel Block. After a comment to a fellow blogger recently wondering how small she could go with hers' I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and have a play —

Isn't it cute? Am I mad?
I made the HST for the pinwheel out of 2" squares and trimmed it to 2 1/4", I divided the pinwheel into 3 both horizontally and vertically, rearranged and sewed it up. The unfinished size of this block is 1 3/8". It is wonky but we don't sweat the small stuff, right?
And I don't think I could get any smaller!!
One little trick I have learnt when making little things is to start off bigger and trim down.
And I trimmed the seam allowances down to about 1/8th " as well.
Excitement for me!!
On Wednesday a friend and I are off down to Auckland to take part in a class with Yoko Saito!! How exciting is that?!! She does the finest fiddliest little applique and I love her use of fabrics and colours so I am really looking forward to learning from her :-) (Can you tell?)!!!!
In preparation for the class I needed to make myself an applique mat, so that was this morning's task. I used a piece of adhesive foam board and attached very fine sandpaper to one side. The back I covered in fabric (I didn't do such a good job of that, it's a little baggy) and edged it with binding using a hot glue gun as described by Lori Holt in her mini-design-board tutorials. I've been meaning to make myself some of her boards for ages, (which have batting on them rather than the sandpaper) so I guess now that I have the technique sussed there should be nothing stopping me :-)
Gathering my bits for my Yoko Saito class.
A Request 
Now this bit is for New Zealanders really, and in particular, those who live in or near Auckland. Our eldest daughter, Tarn, is counting down the weeks till the end of her study.... in November (or thereabouts), after five years intensive work, she will be a fully qualified Chiropractor!! Part of her training is working with clients in the school clinic with a certain number of 'new patient' visits and 'standard' visits each semester. She is down to single figures for her new patients but if there is anyone out there who would be interested in learning a little more about their body (and maybe any aches and pains) and having a new patient consultation please feel free to contact her. (No obligation)
Here is the blurb she sent me to use - 
Do you want to:
Reduce aches and pains? Improve performance and energy? Enhance immune system function? Improve balance and co-ordination? Improve digestive function?
Chiropractic care focuses on improving the communication between your brain and body via your nervous system. By ensuring that this system functions properly, chiropractic care can maximize your health, balance your body and improve performance. 
Enquire to at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic. 
Thank you :-)

Here's my latest letter from the Country at Heart Alphabet. Too sweet :-)
{I've run out of thread for my Let's start Christmas stitching, just as well I had something else to carry on with, isn't it?}

Have a lovely week, happy stitching,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Market Day and other stuff

It's been a funny old time since I last wrote, although it was only about 10 days ago I have no idea where those days have gone!
I've spent a little time finishing up my second little quilt from Pam Buda's Marketday sewalong, it started here and finished here on her Heartspun Quilts blog
When Pam offered the sewalong in two different sizes, of course I wanted to do them both! I showed the first, made with 3 inch (finished) blocks, a couple of posts back, here is the second one, made with 1 1/2 inch blocks.
For this one I used (mostly) some fabrics from one of Anni Down's ranges, I thought the tiny print would work well in a mini quilt.
I had an interesting time with the borders on this one, I had the sudden thought to insert an extra border using the same blue as in the outer corner half square triangles, acting as a sort of frame; then I couldn't decide which fabric to use as the next border. Pam suggested the same as the one we'd used in the centre block but mine was a bit dull. I decided to lighten it up a bit with a cream.
(Looking at my photos I'm sure either would have been ok, the cream actually looks better in real life, I reckon!)

 And here are the two of them together - probably the last time I will ever put them side by side as the colours don't work so well together!! {Although I do love them both, just not together :-)}
Both are still flimsies but it's great to get them to this stage nonetheless. Pam is doing a show and tell on her blog soon (about the 15th I think?) so I look forward to seeing how everyone else's ones look.
It was a rainy day when I took this photo out on the concrete - there
was a dry spot under the shelter of a tree!
The colours in these last few photos are a bit off but oh well :-)
AS well, I've been piecing a few blocks for my second red and white quilt (not to be confused with my first one, *here* which is still a work in progress!). This one I started in May at our annual retreat; I needed to do a few design alterations, which needed a little thinking, I have finally thought and now I am back to it. Love these fabrics I ended up with... they are sewing up a treat.
Unpressed but you get the idea of what I'm up to.
I feel like I have done so many small projects lately that I am really enjoying sewing a bigger quilt - and just two colours means not so much time is spent on trying to decide on fabrics!! It doesn't mean it is all plain sailing though as the photo below shows —
Where's the quick-unpic!
I've continued my evening stitching with the projects I was working on last post. I've stitched two more letters from Michelle Ridgeway's Country at Heart booklet. I was thinking of snowballing them when I put them together but then thought maybe offsetting them, one up, one down so they aren't too straightlined. We'll see.
I'm using my favourite threads, Cottage Garden Threads (from Australia) for these.
All the little critters and details are so fun, just love this mouse!
And below is Block Two completed of Let's start Christmas which Wendy of Sugarlane Quilts has designed. Lovely. Block three is released but I haven't stitched it yet, better hurry up as block four is due out on Thursday. 
Plenty in the pipeline as always, hope you're finding some creative time too,
Happy sewing!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Friday Night with Friends

It was nice to sit down and stitch in the company of 52 Friday Night with Friends stitchers last night. We all gathered at Sheryll's, a most lovely hostess. I must admit to feeling pretty relaxed for the evening as yesterday I redeemed a birthday voucher the MOML gave me (way back in July) and had a lovely facial and 'destressing' back massage - ahhhh so nice - and the good feelings survived being splashed by old (calf) milk and having to carry buckets of that same milk around for the calves (call it extra nutrition for my face and good strength training!)
I started out with the lightbox doing a bit of prepping, tracing some stitcheries to keep my evenings occupied over the next week or so—
More of the alphabet out of Michelle Ridgeway's Country at Heart book.
Doing random letters so that when I run out of this fabric it is
scattered throughout my project...
...didn't notice at the time though that I was spelling Happy - almost :-)
I also traced Block 2 of Wendy of Sugarlane Quilts' 'Let's start Christmas' stitchalong and after organising myself with a hot drink and a sliver of chocolate cake I was ready to stitch.
Block Two - made a good start. 
Below is Block One which I completed last week —

 Details of this gorgeous stitchalong are on Wendy's blog *here*.

Thank you Sheryll for having us all to stitch, and thank you ladies who kept me company :-) Visit Sheryll's blog here to visit other stitchers and see what they were up to.

I had two OPAM finishes last month which I had forgotten to blog about so will just add them in here. I made these two cuties out of Gail Pan's latest Christmas book, Simply Christmas. 
Pin cushion. I filled this with walnut shell - very cute.
And good old Santa makes a showing on this cushion.
 Thank you for visiting, I hope you find some sewing time over the weekend to keep your creative juices flowing,