Saturday, 27 April 2013

TAST #63 Scrawl Stitch, er ... pardon me, Scroll Stitch

Time for TAST stitch #63. It is called Scroll Stitch but as soon as I saw it I thought it looked like handwriting and just had to have some Stitch Fun.

Here is a Scrawl Stitch letter, made up of Scroll Stitch and a few straight stitches and a handful of French Knots:

My 'handwriting' is so bad I can't even read it myself. Can you?'

I also thought this would make a good Sumptuous Surface Embroidery piece. There is a lot of structure and the stitches go in all directions, have different tension and angles. A variety of threads were used.

Oh, I like the freedom of Freeform embroidery!
Finally I added a few stitches to my sampler. With better tension they would be worthy of the name Scroll Stitch; these are a bit too scrawly!
If you want to learn how to do this stitch properly, find out more about TAST, or take part in this fantastic stitch project, or see how other participants have interpreted the stitch, then head over to Pintangle.
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

WIPW - Coffee Pot and Yellow Flowers

Here we are again with Work In Progress Wednesday. Sharon of Pintangle has not only started, but half finished, another beautiful block, and others will post their progress on her comments, too. Click here to have a look.

Progress on my quilt Kafferepet
I have received a lot of comments on my 'unconventional' fabric ink. Yes, I used an ordinary fountain pen filled with Waterman's Florida Blue Ink on the light blue cotton fabric. It worked well. For the brown line on the edge I used a felt tipped pen of fabric ink, Marvy, made in Japan. Both inks have survived a 'bath' so I am willing to use this method again.

In previous posts I have shown you the platter with nibbles, the cup and saucer for the coffee, and here is the coffee pot.

In the 'olden days' in Sweden, coffee  was often boiled.
A (coffee)kettle was filled with cold water and coarsely ground coffee beans, put on the wood burning stove and taken off the heat just as the coffee began to swell. It was then left, to let the coffee grind sink to the bottom of the kettle. From there it was poured into a heated coffee pot of china for serving. Boiled coffee is said to hold a much higher temperature than brewed, percolated or pressed coffee. I don't know if there is any scientific evidence in that, but think that boiled coffee 'feels' hotter. I remember that my grandmother's friends who had popped  in for a casual cup of newly made coffee would drink it from the saucer, thereby helping it to cool down quickly. They often bit a lump of crystal sugar between their teeth to sweeten the drink. Now I have digressed enough...
So back to the coffee pot. Today when most households use a coffee maker, either an espresso machine where individual cups are prepared, or a filter coffee maker with a glass pot, the coffee is not served from the elegant china coffee pots any more. I love my coffee pot I wanted to have it featured on my quilt 'Kafferepet', so included it.

Now what actual progress have I made since last week? Well, there are some more flowers on the border.

They are appliquéd and the leaves are 'floating' away from the stem. When time comes I will attack both petals and leaves with embroidery stitches, beads (?) and probably couching.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Poppy

I have a friend who told me about an event in her childhood that has meant a lot to her. For a long time I toyed with the idea of making 'something' with a red poppy for her.
Last year I bought Trish Burr's excellent book 'Colour Confidence In Embroidery' and have been studying colour and shading.
Based on some old photographs and a flora, I drew the design. Then I planned how to needle paint the poppy according to the principles in the book.
Although it took some time I am rather pleased with the result of my first needle painting.

Friday, 19 April 2013

TAST #61 Up and Down Feather Stitch + TAST #62 Raised Cross Stitch Flower

Today I have two TAST stitches to show. (To find out what TAST stands for, click here).

Stitch #61 is called Up and Down Feather Stitch and is a combination of Up and Down Buttonhole stitch and Feather stitch. Both of them are favourites of mine and this was a great combination stitch.

#62 goes under the name of either Raised Cross Stitch Flower or Whipped Cross Stitch

On my sampler #61 is in lion coloured Perle 8 and #62 also in Perle 8, yellow, blue and light green

 I wanted to make a picture using both stitches and was looking around for inspiration. Then one evening I was watching a documentary on TV about the gigantic drills used in tunnel digging (they are called tunnel boring machines) and thought that would make a nice, unique design.

Ha! Failure! Mitsubishi Heavy Industries may make great TBMs, but Queenie's Boring Machine was indeed 'boring', and had to be turned into something else, a bit more romantic. How about a flower wheel?
Please note that as spring is so cold not many leaves have opened although the Raised Cross Stitch Flowers are in full bloom. Also for the ones out there with eagle eyes you will notice that I have added a few straight stitches at the top most Up and Down Feather stitches.

Wishing you all lots of FUN while stitching!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

WIPW - China and Ox Eyed Daisy

Work In Progress Wednesday. Look at how Sharon has completed her lacy crazy quilt block! Read the comments to see how others have been busy. Click here.

My progress:
Here are some more facts about 'Kafferepet'.
Last week we looked at the biscuits on the platter.

This week I want you to look at the platter itself. 

The design comes from a real china plate. Actually you might remember it from the post I wrote about St Valentine and chocolate.

I really wanted to use this set of china dishes for the quilt.
First I selected the light blue fabric, then copied the design onto the fabric with my FOUNTAIN PEN and INK, and finally drew the brown line on the edge.

This china pattern comes from Rörstrand and is called Ostindia. You can read its history and see some of the parts here.

Now with those biscuits you of course need coffee, and a coffee cup:

Again this is drawn with fountain pen and ink on fabric and then appliquéd onto the checked fabric. The text on the little sign invites you to the coffee party: Välkommen på kafferep!

All this was done in the past couple of years, it is a UFO as you know, but I have now started working on the border (which I will show you in full later).

I have added an Ox Eyed Daisy, so this is my Work In Progress Wednesday.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Modern Samurai Play Baseball

This is just an update on my post about Children's Day and the samurai armour. I had to laugh when I saw Yomiuri sports newspaper this morning:

The Children's Day spirit lives everywhere; these two baseball players of Yomiuri Giants are ready to fight the Hanshin Tigers.

Which do you think is the better baseball bat, the bat or the sword?

These replica suits of armour are quite fantastic.

Monday, 15 April 2013

SSE course completed

As I mentioned in a previous blog post I have been taking the excellent Sumptuous Surface Embroidery course that is run by Sharon Boggon over at Pintangle.

The first SSE embroidery I made was monotone and after reading all your kind comments I decided to name it Dancing Hearts instead of the less attractive Wonky Hearts - although I still think I should not have used Backstitch for the outlines; on counted linen they make any curve wonky, or have I missed something?

Anyway, the second part of the course is based on colour and my theme was the end of the cherry season with the petals falling off the trees. Right now 'yaezakura', or cherry trees with double flowers, are turning the air and streets of Tokyo pink.

A tree near my house makes the street look like this....

My second SSE piece is this scene: blue sky, sunshine, leaves, petals, wind, pink concrete, ground, gutter, puddle of rain water...

I've tried out many styles but it is only the bottom right corner that is really textured and sumptuous.
That must be the petals that have fallen into the gutter and got soaked in a puddle of water.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Children's Day

Do you remember Hina Matsuri, the Doll Festival or Girls' Day which is celebrated on March 3rd? I blogged about it here.

Well it is now time to prepare for Children's Day, formerly called Boys' Day, or in Japanese Kodomo-no-Hi or Tango-no-Sekku. For indepth details you can read this article.

The actual day is May 5th but just like Hina Matsuri, you decorate the home from about a month beforehand. So it was time to take out my wall hanging of flying carps:

I made this many years ago using whatever I had available so there is a mismatch of material. It depicts a streamer at the top, then Daddy Carp, Mummy Carp and Baby Carp.

In the countryside huge streamers are hung near farmhouses (these are at Shimoda, in Kyushu) or across rivers, but in the city smaller ones are displayed from balconies.
Carps are strong fish and symbolize the fighting spirit parents want their children (sons) to have to overcome any problem in life.

There are other symbols of strength and courage used for decorations. The most famous is the samurai armor, and some of these 'dolls' take up a lot of space in homes, (and make a big dent in the grandparents' bank account!):

Is there anyone out there who's interested in braids and cords?  Feast your eyes on the details.

Well if you can't find space, or money,  for something like this, why not make a small helmet yourself? This one can sit in my palm.
I got the pattern from a friend and made it from chirimen and kimono scraps. The golden 'braid' is a thin string from a box of sweets. Three cheers for recycling!

Someone gave me this little doll, also made of chirimen, of Kintaro. Note his helmet made of folded paper (origami).

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

WIPW - What is a 'Kafferep'?

If you want to see actual WIPW results head over to Pintangle. This link will take you there.

My Work In Progress Wednesday report this week is stitch free. Instead, before actually progressing on the UFO, 'Kafferepet', I pulled out of the cupboard last week, I will give you some background to this quilt.

What is a 'Kafferep'? Well, it is a traditional Swedish 'tea party', with the exception that coffee is served instead of tea (Swedes run on coffee). You have probably already figured out that 'kaffe' is the Swedish word for coffee!

For the Partnership Quilt project at Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2008 the theme was TEA TIME and each block should have something to do with 'having a cuppa'. There were blocks with tea cups, latte mugs, cakes, kettles, instant coffee jars, tea bags...

My contribution was a block with a Swedish platter of home made biscuits and a bun. (excuse the poor quality of the mobile phone photograph)

I enjoyed making this block so much that I thought I'd make a full quilt, called Kafferepet' and featuring all the things that make up a real gossipy gathering around the coffee table.

This UFO was started in the summer of 2007, so it is high time it got finished.

Today let me talk about the biscuits:

They are 'Vaniljhjärta' a soft biscuit, shaped like a heart and filled with custard, 'Uppåkra' where a bit of the top is folded over, 'Syltkaka' with a dot of raspberry jam in the centre, a 'Strassburgare' is a biscuit that has been piped and dipped in chocolate after baking, 'Gaffelkaka' has the imprint of a fork, 'Schackruta' has got its name from a chessboard and in the middle is 'Chokladsnitt', a chocolate flavoured thing sprinkled with coarse sugar and cut into diamond shapes (a TAST #60 biscuit!!!)

The 'chessboard' is pieced, the others are appliquéd, the forky one has pleats and the Strassburgare is ruched. There are a few scraps of fabric to make crumbs and French knots for the sugar and almond. One great advantage with these tea time treats is that they are totally non calorific and the only allergic reaction is a possible craving for appliquéing more of them!
Tuck in!

Monday, 8 April 2013

TAST #60 Re-cut Diamond Stitch

In my last post I joked about sending my badly cut (stitched) Diamond Stitches off to Amsterdam to be cut (stitched) perfectly.

It did not take long before I got expert advice from Annet in Holland how to manage the stitch. I sat down and worked a new row of grey stitches. Look at the improvement. They are not PERFECT but definitely a better, more even diamond shape. THANK YOU, Annet!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

TAST #60 Diamond Stitch

TAST stitch #60 is called Diamond Stitch.

Diamonds might be 'a girl's best friend', but the Diamond Stitch is not this girl's best friend! What a teaser, a real trickster...

On my sampler below I have a selection of real rough diamonds - off to Amsterdam with you to get a proper cut! I know several Dutch ladies who can hone anything with needle and thread!

 Right now I am taking the Sumptuous Surface Embroidery course, and this week I worked a few samplers for my study journal. On one of them I tried out the Diamond Stitch again and with the aid of waste canvas underneath the tension was slightly easier to control.
Used as a filling stitch this could be good to depict a fishing net - a well-used one where you can see through which holes the fish have escaped, ha, ha!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

WIPW - relaunching 'Kafferepet'

WIPW, Work In Progress Wednesday, read here what it is and what others have accomplished.

My ACTUAL work in progress just now is a birthday card and the fantastic online course Sumptuous Surface Embroidery by Sharon.
The former is a needle painting job that I don't want to show just yet, sorry.
The latter is keeping me busy studying. Sharon has supplied us with a course material of about 200 pages, jam packed with theories, examples and advice as well as lots of new stitches. Right now we are working on colour and this is an area where I have no previous 'academic' knowledge (although I have tried to grasp the theory of colour from other books in the past). It it by actually LOOKING, MATCHING, COMPARING and WORKING examples that I have begun to understand colour. Until now I have used my intuition or gut feeling. I hope the course will improve my sense of colour and also be a support when I reach a 'colour block' and feel I have got stuck in a rut.

So what progress can I show you? The simplest of simple: I have taken an old UFO quilt top out of the cupboard! Great progress, eh?

The title of this quilt is 'Kafferepet' and its theme should be obvious to any Swedish reader. You might notice the colours of the Swedish flag, some summer flowers,  a famous pattern on the china and to the initiated e.g, anyone who has joined in a 'kafferep', the corner of a checkerboard patterned thing on the plate...
More of the history of this 'flimsy' quilt top next week, when I also hope to show you some actual progress!