Friday, April 11, 2014

Shibori Workshop with Carol Anne Grotrian



Last Saturday I attended a day-long shibori indigo dyeing workshop taught by indigo master Carol Anne Grotrian at the New England Quilt Museum.  Wow, what a productive and inspiring day, exhausting in that great way when you are learning and absorbing so much with ten or so fellow students and one organized, excellent teacher.  The whole experience was such a treat!


Indigo stew!

Carol Anne's sampler - wow, what inspiration! - You can see a better photo of the sampler on Carol Anne's website here.




Carol Anne taught us the artful and efficient method of creating shibori using "arashi" - pole wrapping:


Into the vats go the poles with the fabric wound and scrunched:

Another method using folded fabric and clamps of various sizes:



Resting in between dips in the indigo vats:

And back for more folding, clamping, wishing and hoping:

This would end up creating that fan-like pattern in the first photo:



To finish off, we unfolded our pieces and boiled them in a soapy bath for about 15 minutes.

Then, voila:



Fellow participants' pieces - just so beautiful - lots of ooos and aaahhhs:



So interesting how the indigo is green in the water, and for a few moments while the fabric is still wet.  It all turns to blue soon enough:

What a great learning experience!

Once my pieces dried at home, I pinned them up (with now indigo hued clothespins!) to survey my results:


This reminds me of a city street in the nighttime after a rain:


Pole wrapping created these:

How cool is this?  I can see cutting out folk arty animal shapes from this:

I love this fan - wish I'd dipped it once more for a deeper indigo:

I have definitely fallen under indigo's spell - and am thinking of the ways I might use fabric with looser weave to create my own indigo dyed pieces for sashiko.  I see an indigo vat in my future...

Linking up here with the Slow Blogger's Linky at Knotted Cotton.  It's a manageable rewarding linky!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

another simple baby quilt with tenugui

Our new friends Alex and Erica are having their first baby soon... an opportunity for me to make another very simple "one patch" baby quilt.  It is fast and satisfying work to cut 80 5-inch squares and arrange them randomly.  I love making simple scrappy quilts.  

In recent years Erica had spent two young-adult years living in Tokyo as a missionary for our church, so I knew that using lots of Japanese fabrics would be just the thing.  I surely brought back a lot of tenugui (traditional Japanese woven, hand dyed cotton hand towels) for use in such scrappy projects.



 Wait... what is wrong with this picture?.... Mount Fuji is upside down - that won't do! ...
 Here we go....

 The little pink and red carp, and the teal pigs, green flowers, and orange and yellow pastoral scenes - those are all cut from tenugui.  Filling in the gaps are random scraps from my stash including several 30's repros.  A little birdie told me that the new momma likes aqua, so I kept that in mind too.  I do find that teal/aqua is a terrific unifying color in scrap quilts.

I backed it with this adorable print, found at a local quilt shop: 


I quilted it diagonally, very simply in wavy lines, using a darning foot, with monofilament in the needle and cotton in the bobbin.  Like all the baby quilts I make, this one is simple and meant to withstand hard use and frequent washings.  I hope it will be used and enjoyed! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

More sashiko

Tachibana - orange blossom 

Oh how I enjoy stitching sashiko.... sitting by the fire, while watching TV... in dentist waiting rooms... at book group...


This way I'm slowly working on my sashiko sampler...


I wish the beautiful indigo showed better in these photos.  Perhaps it's time to upgrade to a "real" camera?  I'm using my old iphone - I love the convenience.

Mitsu Ichou three gingko leaves 
 Some of these patterns are from Susan Briscoe's book Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match.  Others I got from my sashiko teacher in Tokyo.

Here is one of my favorites, Tortoiseshell (looks like flowery hexies to me!). You can see where I mistakenly extended the pattern when I was tracing it.  Those lines will wash right out.  I may redo the block - the stitches aren't as uniform as I'd like.  But then again..... when it is pieced into a whole quilt... it won't really matter... and I'm not a perfectionist.

Tsu no kikko - tortoise shell
 I will alternate these blocks with pieced blocks like this:



Little by little.... I love working with this indigo!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Quilts Japan 2012 at NEQM - part two

Here are a few more quilts from the show at NEQM - it's there til mid April - if you are local, be sure to see it!  There are many more, and they are all so interesting and special.

First, Flower Calendar - Where are all the Flowers? Flower Offerings Prayers - Keep Going! Japan by Emi Nii (what a title!).  A reminder that many of these quilts must have been created around the time of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.  
Flower Calendar - Where are all the Flowers? Flower Offerings Prayers - Keep Going! Japan by Emi Nii. 

 The indigo and white combination - so classic:
detail from Flower Calendar - Where are all the Flowers? Flower Offerings Prayers - Keep Going! Japan by Emi Nii. 

detail from Flower Calendar - Where are all the Flowers? Flower Offerings Prayers - Keep Going! Japan by Emi Nii. 
 Even in a classic two color quilt, bits of other color are used to great effect:
detail from Flower Calendar - Where are all the Flowers? Flower Offerings Prayers - Keep Going! Japan by Emi Nii. 

Another beautiful border here:
detail from Flower Calendar - Where are all the Flowers? Flower Offerings Prayers - Keep Going! Japan by Emi Nii. 

Hope by Kiyuko Miyashita: 

Hope by Kiyuko Miyashita
I know I have seen this quilt in person before.  It is famous, I believe.  The blocks are simple; the placement is genius.

Quilted (or perhaps, as the description implies, embroidered before sandwiching) in bright concentric circles, with sashiko-style stitches:

detail from Hope by Kiyuko Miyashita

detail from Hope by Kiyuko Miyashita
And on the other end of the emotional spectrum, Stripes and Kasuri Harmony by Reiko Saito: 
Stripes and Kasuri Harmony by Reiko Saito

Vintage indigo:
detail from Stripes and Kasuri Harmony by Reiko Saito


I just love these varied light indigo pieces, and the organic sashiko stitches:
detail from Stripes and Kasuri Harmony by Reiko Saito
As I mentioned earlier, the competition is open internationally.  Here's a quilt from the USA (imagine landing in Lowell MA, via Japan!).  It is At the Circus by Marianne Burr - just stunning!  

At the Circus by Marianne Burr

detail from At the Circus by Marianne Burr
 Beautiful stitching, glowy silks.
detail from At the Circus by Marianne Burr

detail from At the Circus by Marianne Burr


Lastly a stunning example of beauty, balance, attention to detail using vintage fabrics.   Flower Baskets of Patterns by Yukiko Uozumi:

Flower Baskets of Patterns by Yukiko Uozumi

detail from Flower Baskets of Patterns by Yukiko Uozumi


Notice the reverse applique:
detail from Flower Baskets of Patterns by Yukiko Uozumi

detail from Flower Baskets of Patterns by Yukiko Uozumi

detail from Flower Baskets of Patterns by Yukiko Uozumi

That's it from me, a little Japan fix in the middle of winter!  It's a small show, but so worth seeing.  There are many more that I did not photograph.  I may go see it again before it closes April 12.