Bonne Année!

Happy New Year!

My babies are back!

My Twelve by Twelve Theme Series quilts arrived back home from their journey around the world. They are in very good shape. It's hard to believe they travelled for several years.
A big thank you to the Twelves for this great adventure!


As you know, the theme for this new Twelve by Twelve challenge was "Sweet".
Wagashi are Japanese sweets and I just love them. They are sweet, of course, and so beautiful. If you've never seen any, you have to do an image search in google, and you will see how pretty they are, almost too pretty to eat!
Actually "wa" means "Japanese-style" and "kashi" means "confectionery". Together they become "wagashi".
One of the big challenges in learning Japanese is to master the writing system. I now know my hiragana and katakana pretty well. But of course I am only starting to study kanji.
Anyway, for this quilt, I decided to print some fabric with the word wagashi written in hiragana:
I tried lots of things, made many test prints, and finally settled on using only the hiragana わ (wa). By the way, "wa" means "Japanese-style", but it also means "peace" and "harmony".
The flavours and shapes of wagashi are often inspired by seasons and flowers. This is why I added this sakura on my quilt.
Here's another close-up.
And now I'm off to the Twelve by Twelve blog to see what my sweet friends have done for this last challenge of the series.

First snow

We had our first snow yesterday night. Not much, but enough to make the roads a bit slippery, especially this morning.
I did some more calligraphy exercises the other day. I'm using Japanese brushes and sumi (ink).
The idea was to use these as designs for screenprinting. First I made a very small screen. I wanted to see how well this ink is burning the plastic coating of the mesh.
Then I prepared some larger screens. This is some test printing using fabric paint.
Now, I need to print more fabric.

Here are the first attempts at lace making:

I have another flower on the lace pillow, just learning how to do sewings.

Sweet fabrics

Today, I chose my fabrics for the next Twelve by Twelve challenge.
Here they are on my design wall, next to three other pieces of the series. The new theme is "Sweet".
I spent some time this afternoon practising writing wagashi in hiragana with my ink and brushes.
This one isn't too bad, I think. Except that my "wa" is a bit flat and my "ka" a little crooked... ;-)
Tomorrow, I'll work on the kanji signs.

The weather has been pretty dull these days, but there will be some myosotis in the grass next spring!

I just bought the Bernina Cutwork tool.  The software is installed now I just need to learn how to use it.   I was wondering if I can use the Kaleidoscope Kreator designs I posted last time.   I think it might just work.   How wonderful would that be.

I have also started a new class, me as student.  I am learning bobbin lace.  I have made a couple of bookmarks and am now embarking on a lace flower.   Photographs will follow shortly. 

I have also just finished a lovely machine lace christmas design.  Reindeer and carriage.  It is lovely.   Photograph will follow soon of this as well.   I have been busy but not posting to the blog of late.   Not enough hours in the day.    

Off now to teach class.

Some news from the studio

I'm doing fine.
Just a little bit immersed in all this... :-)
Now that I know my hiragana, everything seems much easier. No kidding!

In other news, I got myself this beautiful and very early Christmas present...
It's a Louet loom, a David. It's a new one and it arrived dismantled in a big box. But I must say it was quite straightforward to assemble, and in just a few hours, it was operational.
I first warped it with these colourful cotton yarns.
Here are the threaded heddles. I used only 4 shafts.
And here's my first sample.
I tried plain weave and some twill patterns to see how the tie-up and treadling are working.
I am really pleased with how easy to use this loom is, even for a neophyte like me. I've now ordered some thinner wool yarns and while waiting for them to arrive, I'm weaving a simple scarf with leftover sock yarn. Not the best choice I know, but it's all I had at hand.

On the quilting front, I'm working at getting a few pieces ready for an local exhibition, mainly adding labels and hanging sleeves.

またね。  See you.

Shibori to ori

This was not an easy theme. "Maverick" didn't speak a lot to me! I decided to forget "maverick" for a while and to think "different" instead. Much easier!
Some time ago, I started to teach myself to weave. It's always been a kid's dream for me. And now my new quest has become to somehow incorporate weaving into my art and to do something DIFFERENT from what I've been doing for the last few years. I really don't know yet where this will lead to, but in the meantime, I thought I would simply add a little woven piece to my quilt.
My Maverick quilt had to follow my self-imposed Japanese theme and fit in with the first three quilts of the 20x12 series. I thus used a shibori piece of fabric I had dyed when I was working on my "Mythology" quilt. This dyed piece in itself is a bit of a Maverick as it came out really different from my other shibori pieces, with very definite marks, strong contrast and lots of personality.
The small weawing was done with a paper yarn purchased in Kyoto last spring. At first, I only attached it to the quilt with some hand stitches, but it kept moving as it is rather loosely woven.

Thus, I added some machine stitching using the same variegated thread as for the quilting of the solid blue part of the quilt.

I also used this thread to quilt one square of the shibori fabric, to add a little layer of Maverick to my piece...

Two other squares are quilted in dark blue. I might quilt the rest of the shibori piece in the same way (i.e. blue), but I'm not sure yet it really needs it.

The title means "Shibori and weaving". Thank you to my dear Japanese friend for suggesting it.

Don't forget to visit the Twelve by Twelve blog to see the other Maverick quilts.

Back in the studio

During the summer, I didn't have much free time for sewing. But when I could, I went on piecing my little scrap blocks.
My first idea was to make a doll quilt...
I had so many scraps, and so much fun sewing them together, that the quilt ended up much larger than I first thought.
And now, I'm enjoying quilting it by hand, very slowly, in the evening.

And here's the reason why I didn't spend much time in the studio these last two months...
On this picture, little GD is looking for the last strawberries in the garden.

I can't resist showing you two excellent drawings that she did in August.
Isn't she gifted?

We also did some fabric painting together. In fact, we did it outside on a sunny day and she did most of the painting herself. Then we put down some jar lids on the wet paint in order to get the lighter shapes.
I can see some aliens in there. Can you see them too?

This week, I finally made it back to the studio and started working on my next Twelve by Twelve quilt. The theme, chosen by Brenda, is "Maverick"...
I plan to start quilting it tomorrow. And then, I will have to embellish it to make it as much Maverick as I can! ;-)

Festival of Quilts

I spent three days at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham last week. As always, the show was just great.

First, I was very moved by the lovely tribute to Marie Roper. She had been my teacher during the Creative Computing City and Guilds course I followed some time ago. On top of being a great artist and a wonderful teacher, she was a very kind and sweet person.
Here are two pictures of the gallery space that was devoted to her beautiful work.

The competitions of the Festival were interesting. Some excellent work, and some, hum, how could I say?... not so excellent. ;-) There is no selection, and thus everyone has a chance to take part. And once you know this, I think it is perfectly fine. The list of the winner quilts, with some pictures, can be found on the Twisted Thread website, here.

As for the invited artists' galleries, they were as good as usual.
Here is the amazing Anne Woringer with her quilt "Ciel de traîne"...

I liked very much the "Heavy Metal" exhibit by the group It Happens. Their work is so good, well presented and also documented through their sketchbooks. What a treat!
Here is "Gate" by Anne Tuck...

Among my other favourite exhibits, there were also Masters 2 by SAQA, European Art Quilt VII, Kate Dowty, CQ@10 by the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters' Guild, Cas Holmes, Pauline Burbidge, and probably a few more I'm forgetting at the moment.

The Virtual Studio was again a lot of fun to visit. Here is Susan Chapman busy demonstrating screen printing.

I believe the green fabric behind her was printed by Fiona Wilson.

So much inspiration!
Of course, I also talked with lots of old friends and made a few new ones.
And now, just for my friends of Twelve by Twelve, look what I spotted on the first day in a bookstore display...

Patchwork in Provence

As I told you, I was lucky enough to visit a nice patchwork show during my stay in Provence.
The show is held at the Domaine des Girasols in Rasteau. In addition to many contemporary and traditional pieces, there are some lovely antique quilts, as you can see in the first picture, and also a great collection of authentic molas.
The show is organized by Marie Elisabeth Joyet, who's with me in the next picture holding a beautiful quilt she made for her daughter.

The show will be accessible until September. If you are in the area, don't hesitate to visit. (And if your hubby gets bored, he can keep himself busy with wine tasting! ;-) )
Information here.

L'exposition reste accessible jusque début septembre. Voir les infos ici.

Next are two more pictures of beautiful Provence...
Time to get back to the studio now.