A Japanese Theme Today

I moved my sewing room this week so that my son could have the room I usually work in. I can see it is going to take a while to get reorganized! I am hoping that I can use this move to sort through and declutter. But isn’t that what anyone would say! Here is the last block I sewed in that room before the move:

phpZCtDTNAM japaese lantern

This Japanese Lantern block is one of my favourites at the moment! So good for using up the leftover bits.

This next picture is from Quilt Festival, Houston. It is part of a Trip Around the World quilt by Satoko Okamura from Yokohama in Japan. The thing that I really liked here (apart from that great combination of fabrics) was the quilting.

phprqwdKRAM Satoko Okamura quilt

What you are actually looking at all over the quilt (all those little white marks) are thousands of little cross stitches!!! This is a stitch from the Sashiko style of quilting. I found some information on it on Susan Briscoes website. It is called ‘Juujizashi’, ’10’ or Cross Stitch. The texture it creates on this quilt is amazing. Sigh. Yet another technique to find time to have a go at!!! And I can see great possibilities with it in my ‘Utility Quilting Class’.


Lori, this is a much better photo of the quilt and this one is in the same vein!

Old Quilts and New

This week has been busy, more busy than I had anticipated. I still have a list of stuff to get done, and it looks very similar to when I wrote it last Monday afternoon!

First off, my copy of Sew Hip arrived, and I could see in print lots of things I had worked on during the Summer for them. I was busy!

Then on Friday I was at Creative Quilting in Surrey as a student on a day class with Lilian Hedley.

phpH8P4c7AM Lilian Hedley

I was so excited about this. Lilian is an expert on Durham and North Country Quilting in the UK.


 She had been a pupil of Amy Emms and she had so many interesting stories and information that she had learnt form the women who quilted these quilts. It was fascinating to hear how these patterns on the whole cloth quilts were ‘designed’. We worked on a cushion size sample using templates that Lilian supplied. Time just sped by! So thanks to Issy for organizing the visit (in conjunction with Region 1 of the The Quilters Guild).


And now today I need to get some pictures of the Perkiomen Valley quilts for the information for the class I will teach in France next September. This class is such fun as there are so many different quilts that you can sew just from a basic block, it will be a good job we are there for a week, as on the day class we just scim the surface. We can really get our teeth into our quilts…. so to speak!

And I need to get packed , as I fly out to Houston next week for Quilt Market and then Festival.I thought I had more time, but when I read about Rosalie  referring to the number of sleeps before she flies out… I thought, ‘Wah! Better get started!!!’

I will let you know how much fun it was when I get back!

Split 9-Patch

A new favorite for the quilt cupboard!

phpJ2kIfxAMsplit 9patch

Re-purposed Shirts

There have been some creative people out there starting some lovely projects with mens shirts! Go and take a look:

Mrs Schmenkman Quilts


Over the years I have had phases of saving my husband’s shirts. Sometimes he would discard one and I would selvedge it from the charity bag, and other times when ironing I would comment that the collar or cuffs were looking worn, and perhaps he should replace the shirt. This is my ploy when I have my eye on a particular shirt for a particluar quilt!

I first made this LeMoyne Star quilt about 15 years ago (or maybe longer! Gulp) from a range of paids by Roberta Horton which I liked because they looked like old shirts.

You might be able to see that I was using the Baptist Fan quilting for the background of the quilt way back then! And I am still sewing string quilts now!



Other Peoples Quilts


These are pictures from my Intermediate class from this Spring at the Quilt Room, Dorking Surrey.

All the class follow the same pattern during the six lesson course, but give their quilts their own personality with the choice of fabrics and applique. I love teaching these classes as I get to see finished quilt tops. Often when teaching day classes you only get a small glimpse of the quilt yet to come.

The picture  above is Naomi’s quilt, and the one below is Jillys. Well done girls!!


And if Amanda is checking in here, hope you are settling in to your new home!

Pre cut fabric:Jelly roll sampler

phpqxawx5am-jelly-roll-samplerHere is the quilt I was inspired to sew using one of the Moda Jelly Rolls! That’s pre cut strips of fabric cut to 2 1/2″  wide to those of you haven’t come accross them yet, or have come accross them, but were too afraid to even imagine what a ‘jelly roll’ could be! Obviously those creative people at Moda haven’t heard of Swiss Rolls! But then that would probably be even more confusing in translation!

There are lots of lovely blocks that you can sew really easily and speedily and if you run short of ideas there is a blog  called ModaBakeshop to give you more food for thought.

However, if you want something a little closer to home, come for a class at The Patchwork Dog and Basket in Lewes on Tues 12th May or Just Between Friends at Buckhurst Hill on Sat 23rd of May and start your own Jelly Roll Sampler. You can even cut your own strips to work through that stash!

Busy Week

I had a busy weekend! On Saturday I was teaching at a lovely shop in Kew, London called Tikki Fabrics. If you are in the area you must drop by! We had a productive day sewing ‘quilts that quilted themselves’ whilst we stitched them on the sewing machines! Here are some of the results:

quilt that quilts itself

Wednesday will be courses at The Quilt Room, Dorking, so lots of busy stitching there and then:


 next Saturday I will be at The Eternalmaker School House day in Chichester to show you how to sew a bag and a pincushion in an hour! Yes really! Here’s a sneak peak at what we will be creating quickly.

And even though I don’t do that much sewing myself on the days that I teach, I do a lot before to prepare!


Information Overload


I taught my last classes of the year this week, so we had a bit of a show, the girls had sewn some great quilts. I am always so excited to see the complete tops!

Schools break up today, so I will have less sewing time until the first week in January 2009! So I have been busy using my last free morning to look at inspirational antique quilts here : and after Kathie over here suggested a source for the Wheel of Fortune pattern (Thankyou!) and Barbara Brackmans prompt, I have finally taken the plunge and purchased the BlockBase programme! Phew! I got it from Lawrence at www.RioDesigns.co.uk. He is sooo helpful and patient especially as I am fairly hopeless with the computer! But I think Blockbase will suit me, and I also treated myself to the Dear Jane programme and the Mariners Compass 1&2. I will have a lot to play with, and not much time to do so!

I also have to order some of the great shot cottons from Oakshott, as they are discontinuing them next year, so after deliberating for ages, I don’t want to miss the boat!

Saving Thread

In keeping  with the ‘economic climate’ I offer this tip, incase you weren’t already aware.

If you keep a small piece of fabric  about 2 1/2″  wide by 2 ” long ( I use the left over pieces from when I bind a quilt), fold it in half, so you have about 1 ” width and feed this into your machine beofre you start sewing. Whilst sewing CHAIN PIECE as much as possible, and when you are finished, snip your thread saver from the start of the work, and put it at the end. This way there are no tails of thread going to waste, only about 1″ on your thread saver. Someone worked out that you can save one reel of thread per single quilt top, so that’s more money we can spend on fabric!

I also helped the economy along this weekend when I was teaching at Just Between Friends. They had some lovely DMC linen thread that I want to try out for tying a quilt! Oh! and I got fabrics for borders for a quilt that needs finishing and some lovely Licien linen……! We were sewing Stasbusters quilts there this weekend ( and I forgot to take pictures, sorry) but I did take some when I was there earlier this year. Then we stitched blocks from ‘strings and strips’ aka ‘free fabric’! These were the pieces of fabric you usually discard, so another idea to help us through the econmic down turn!

There are lots more of these ideas in the class, so it was a busy one!

Jumping in!

Friday 26th Sept, 2008 

Friendship block backFriendship Ring Block

Autumn is a time when thoughts often turn to quilts and patchwork. Something to do with all the dewy mornings and the evenings drawing in I expect. Thoughts turn to cosiness and the need for something to do with our hands if we are watching TV!

For me it is the time of year when my teaching picks up again with new groups starting their quilts! we have had quilt shows in the summer to whet the appetite and even a few yet to come.

So my sewing over the next few months will be a bit more focused than it has been over the summer (lots of ideas/quilts started, but few finished!)

On a more positive note though, the Friendsip quilt block at the top of the page was how it looked at the start of the summer and now is quilted, as is all but the border of the quilt ! Let’s hope I keep up the momentum!!!