If you’ve been around any length of time, you’ll know that I love me some fussy cutting. It makes quilting projects just that little bit more personalised, added fun to make AND fun to look at too! So I really love it when my quilting bee peeps ask for fussy cutting. Jane added in a bonus challenge – fussy cut prints in coordinating colours to the rest of the block.
Backin’ the story up first though, she chose the Double Star quilt block but couldn’t decide on what colours to go with, so she asked if I could help her out by doing mock ups in EQ8. She knew she wanted purples and teal, that’s a given with Jane! But what else? Anything else? And what colour placement? How about mustard?
Hmm, not really her. Although I love the mustard! So we switched around the colours and tried something different, adding in some fussy cut centres…
Ooh yes, getting there, but the stars are getting a little lost against the brighter wine/plum colour. How about swapping the purple and the wine/plum fabrics around?
Ahhhh, that’s better! Now, as I said earlier, she wasn’t wanting such random fussy cut centres, but rather ones that coordinated with the colours of the quilt. Not going to lie, this challenged my stash a little! As did the wine/burgundy/plum colour – couldn’t go too pink. But Lizzy House and Anna Maria Horner to the rescue for the centres… And thankfully I had the Karen Lewis print that Jane had shared as an acceptable option for the colour for the star!
It’s always interesting when making up two blocks of the same design and colourway but different prints. One looks considerably brighter, and one a little more muted (both have the same background fabrics, so you can compare them that way). Yet both meet the brief, and will fit right in with the rest of the bee’s blocks.
I’m also particularly excited about bee blocks at the moment, as my Treasure Hunt blocks are beginning to roll in from my month as queen last month! These are just the first four to add on to my blocks from last year’s round. I can’t wait to get this one stitched up and super snuggly – I’m still thinking I’ll just do a layer of cuddly fabric on the back (no batting) and simple quilting. I just want a soft and snuggly handmade quilt for the couch, like, yesterday!
When I started unpacking my Japanese fabric shopping bags, I knew that I would need to make it into two posts. Not because there’s that much fabric, but more because there were two pretty distinct groups of fabric – Liberty, and novelty. I’ve shared my Japanese Liberty fabric haul (with a dash of fabulous foodie fabric) from Yuzawaya, and now it’s time to share the goodies that I got from Nippori Textile Town.
I had minimal time to shop in Nippori, so I just headed straight to Tomato – the four-storey one – and got stuck in. I ducked in between all the other bargain shoppers to have a quick look through the cheap racks on the first floor, but nothing jumped out at me with screaming urgency to be bought.
So I headed upstairs to keep on browsing. My favourite floor is the one with all the Japanese cotton fabrics; a treasure trove of traditional, novelty, and quirky fabrics made in Japan. I had my eye out for some pretty specifically themed fabrics – Japanese girls, origami, ice cream fabric (to add to the foodie fabric pile), and anything newspaper. Because you know I now have a thing for Japanese newspaper fabric!
I hit the jackpot for origami and Japanese girls, and then that gorgeous space print jumped out at me with a bolt of design inspiration for a future project. So these prints represent three quilts with backings already sorted!
And my collection of foodie fabrics was rounded out with the perfect ice cream and cake print… in fact, I think the ice cream and cake print will replace the Yuwa patisserie print for the quilt I’m planning on backing with this print!
The top floor is where you’ll find all the international fabrics, i.e. USA fabric companies including Robert Kaufman, Moda, Free Spirit, and more. There’s tables of precuts organised by colour, and the bolts create the most beautiful rainbow around the walls.
I must admit to not even getting a snippet from the top floor for once. When I lived in Japan, I loved this floor as it was full of American designer fabrics (and now had a big Cotton + Steel featured section!) that I saw online… but without the international shipping costs! But now that I’m in Australia? Well, it’s still much cheaper than to buy locally in Australia, but the novelty of seeing it in person has gone. It seems I just wanted my novelty in fabric print form, ha!
And with that, I thought I was done. But as I exited the stairwell onto the bottom floor, I happened to glance towards the back of the store and spied a big rack of double gauze fabric… and was struck with inspiration. I had wanted to get my closest quilty BFFs a little something, and this would be perfect!
I’ll share what the inspiration was another day once I’ve finished with them, but let’s just say that the result made me very happy I happened to glance at the back of the shop!
So there you have it, the last part of my Japanese shopping haul. Well, the only other bits I didn’t photograph was a new Clover seam ripper, and a Sewline pen… nothing much exciting.
I should also let you know that I have fully updated my Fabric Shopping In Tokyo blog post that I first wrote over 5 years ago. It’s got updated information, new photos, and is all ready for your own fabric shopping adventures in Tokyo!
Phew, I knew that the past few months would be intensely busy, but I didn’t quite foresee that I wouldn’t even be able to bind one simple quilt that I was aiming to finish in March! I did at least finish the quilting on my Milky Way Sampler quilt, and the binding was made… and then used for another project, ha, oops! I had an aim of finishing 12 UFOs and WIPs over the course of 2018, and that goal is still achievable! It just won’t have happened one per month as expected. AND THAT’S OK.
So, July. I have two projects to tick off this month – bind my Milky Way Sampler quilt, and my Alison Glass Aurora quilt. I’ll have to see if the store has any of the original fabric I chose for the Milky Way Sampler binding! Otherwise, I’ll need to find something else.
I think I’ll try and make a scrappy binding for my Aurora quilt… I’d like to keep it all Alison, but without having to cut and sew 100 strips of scraps together, haha! I’ll have to check my stash for larger pieces. This has been quilted already by the fabulous Katrina, but I don’t have any updated photos of it yet! So this quilt top pic will have to suffice.
And of course the other big project this month is to survive school holidays These first two weeks are our winter holidays here in Melbourne, so I’ve been using my Quilter’s Planner to try and schedule in some work and sewing time in the midst of all the play dates and the like. The Quilter’s Planner will be up for pre-ordering this month, and I’ll definitely be ordering it again!
To do so, I make sure to block out (at least) a couple of sessions each week – one computer and one sewing – and make notes of what to achieve in that block of time. There’s usually a couple of sewing sessions, though – one to cut and prep, and one to actually sew. During the holidays, though, I do have to remain flexible as to when during the day that session happens! Or if it even remains as a block of time or gets squeezed in throughout the day… And the chunk of computer work may end up taking place at a playcentre cafe, haha! But this is the only way I can keep track of what tasks I need to do – write it all down, set goals, try to stick to them. Today’s computer tasks for example? Not started until 4pm, and will definitely continue on into The Bachelorette tonight…
It has taken me over a week to finally get around to pulling my Tokyo fabric shopping out of their shopping bags! In my defense, I didn’t want to do so until I had the time to photograph them and write this blog post, and with a house guests, a family wedding, and more, it has taken that long to find time. But now that I have, are you ready for the onslaught of words and pictures?!
There were two things, well, three… ok, four things, that I was super excited about doing during our holiday back to Tokyo:
Hitting up my old “local” Yuzawaya (Japan’s big chain craft store)
Going to Disneyland
Fabric shopping in Nippori
Eating all the Japanese food
Well, 1 didn’t quite turn out as expected (more on that in a minute), but 2-4 were as awesome as expected! We did both DisneySea and Disneyland (two separate parks), much to the kids’ delight. My favourite is Disneyland, though, and one reason is because I just adore the It’s A Small World ride. The outside has inspired quilters worldwide for years, but Tokyo’s has just recently reopened after being renovated, and the inside was even better than it used to (it reminded me a lot of the Frosty The Snowman movie aesthetics), so I was doubly happy.
Fabric shopping in Nippori was a blissful couple of hours to myself, and I’ll share more about that in a whole other post!
And as for the eating all the food? Well, that was most definitely ticked off as we revisited all our old favourite restaurants… some more than once!
But back to fabric shopping… I’ve previously shared a post full of tips for fabric shopping in Tokyo in which I raved about Yuzawaya in Tsudanuma. Myself and several other fabric-loving friends who had been to a few different Yuzawaya locations highly recommended this particular store for being large, convenient, and a great range of everything. Alas, no more. The store used to cover two floors, where most of one floor was dedicated to all sorts of fabric and notions and the like, but it has now been downsized to just one floor. The fabric selection alone is now well under a quarter of what it used to be, and it honestly bummed me out. Excited expectations dashed! This location was close to where we used to live, and I had such fond memories of going there! I did pick up a few Liberty prints, though, so I didn’t leave completely empty-handed.
The first were these three fussy cutting prints – small, medium, and large scaled prints. I need to finish up my I-spy economy blocks, and these will fit in like a treat! Psssst – like these? You could win a fat quarter of them over on Instagram!
And most of these Hello Kitty Liberty prints were also bought at Tsudanuma too…
Thankfully, I’m married to an amazing man who could see how disappointed I was and said that we’d just simply have to head into Tokyo to the flagship Yuzawaya store(s) in Kamata. How could I turn down an offer like that?! The next day, we headed into Tokyo for a day out in the city, which started with shopping and lunch in the shops under Tokyo Station, and then it was time for fabric shopping.
Yuzawaya in Kamata is actually spread over a few different buildings, and a few floors of each building at that!
Number 6 is the important one – helloooo fabric! Now, fabric shopping with the whole family isn’t the most peaceful of ways to do it. My husband is great, that wasn’t the issue, but I found one good trick that really helped with the kids – first direct them to the fun novelty fabrics section and let them ooh and ahh over finding familiar characters. Secondly, give them a job to do: “Guys, I really want some ice cream fabric, can you find any?”
So while they were off hunting, I first picked up some novelty fabrics on the first floor. These are destined to be backings for specific, future projects. Cryptic? Yes. But also a hint. Psssst – like these? You could also win a fat quarter of them over on Instagram!
I then headed upstairs to the second floor where the Liberty was located, and grabbed a few more pieces! These was this lovely green print for adding more green to the Liberty stash, and this unique colourway of my all-time favourite design! Very excited about that one.
I added one more Hello Kitty Liberty print to round out the haul to 8 prints.
And lastly, I was keeping an eye out for any orange Liberty prints – a hard colour to find! And I found these three. In the sale section, no less! A floral, a patchwork, and a tonal… can you spy the cats?!
With that, I was happily done at Yuzawaya, and it was time to head to Nippori… stay tuned for that post! So, yes, I now need to update that tips post, and I now know that if I want to go to Yuzawaya again, just head straight to the Kamata location.
Due to my trip, I’m a little late to share the wonderful news that I’m returning once again as an Aurifil Artisan! I’ve long loved and used Aurifil, so it’s always a thrill to be able to officially represent the brand and product I love so much.
It’s an incredibly talented group of Artisans – there’s quilters and bag makers and artists and sewists and more! Such a diverse range of skills represented this year, and I’m excited to see what we all get up to over the next 12 months. We will be sharing posts on Auribuzz (Aurifil’s blog), and they also share a lot of projects on their Instagram – @aurifilthread.
The day we have been counting down to for several months is finally here… tomorrow, we’re heading to Japan for 11 days! It has been over two years since we moved back from Japan, and I have been itching to go back and visit ever since.
People have been asking what I’m most looking forward to, and honestly? The food! Yes, yes, the fabric shopping as well, but I really miss the food the most. My son’s top priorities are the two Japanese curry shops we used to go to regularly! My daughter is most excited about Disneyland… no, DisneySea… no, Disneyland… And that’s why we’re planning on going to both, haha!
Me, well, the food, and Hello Kitty! Especially the Hello Kitty Liberty. I’ll be buying up with the plan of sharing around some bundles of Hello Kitty Liberty… fat 16ths? 10″ squares? Let me know what size you’d be interested in!
I’ll be sharing our travels over on Instagram – @blossomheartquilts – so if you’re intrigued about what we get up to, be sure to go follow and check it all out! We’re staying in an AirBnB apartment in the middle of the suburbs near where we used to live, so there’ll be the daily life aspects of Japan, plus all the eye candy touristy bits and pieces too.
So in the meantime, all emails will be answered after June 20, and if you’re wanting instant pattern downloads, grab your Blossom Heart Quilts patterns from Craftsy as my website’s store doesn’t auto-fulfill orders. Any paper patterns ordered will be shipped after June 20.
Earlier this year, as I was assessing what quilty goals I’d like to achieve over 2018, I realised that I wanted to pick up my Spanish Farmer quilt project again. I accepted the fact that I was well and truly over the 1930s Farmer’s Wife book, and decided to instead make up the rest of the block count with other assorted 6″ finished sampler blocks.
If you haven’t heard of this quilt before, that’s because I started it a long time ago and haven’t worked on it in ages, haha! I started the 1930s Farmer’s Wife quilt along in 2015, and made about 1/3 of the 100 blocks needed – you can see my progress here. My blocks are tone-on-tone in fabric choices, and all Kate Spain fabrics. Kate was the first fabric designer I fell in love with when I started quilting in 2011 – her Good Fortune line amazed me as my first taste of modern quilting fabrics, as they were Asian inspired, but in bright, fun colours! This was when we knew we were headed to Japan in 2012, so I was all about that modern Asian fabrics, and my Good Fortune quilt is still in use on our couch today.
So over the years, I had collected a lot of her fabrics (at least one piece from each of her fabric lines) knowing that one day I would make an all-Kate quilt. The Farmer’s Wife quilt was the first quilt I was attempting that could make use of small pieces of fabrics – all the charm squares would be handy!
But after moving back to Australia in 2016, this project has languished. I made a couple more random blocks last year, when I tried to pick it back up again – even with the decision to make whatever 6″ blocks to make it up. Oh how keen I sounded, haha! But alas, with no deadline or scheduled time set aside for it, it languished yet again. Although, I did find a photo of block 65 – Mother – that I can’t find anywhere on my blog, so let’s just say I managed to get one more made since then?!
Now this time, it’s different… I think, I hope… Because I have a scheduled plan. That’s how I make things happen. In August, I’m heading off for my annual quilty friends retreat, and I’m taking my tub of Kate, my 6″ Qube and AccuQuilt GO! cutter, and having a play. I may even throw in my Tula Pink City Sampler book for further inspiration too! I’ll set up my portable design wall, pin up the blocks I’ve already made, and start to fill in the gaps. I’ll start with the Patisserie block patterns, have a play with my next AccuQuilt BOM plans, and just have some fun.
The other part of taking some forward-moving action with this project was bringing up my Kate Spain stash to being current. I will still have at least one piece of every one of her fabric lines up until the final block is made, and I was a few ranges behind! Thankfully Fat Quarter Shop had some of her older lines still (and some on sale too, no less!). So I grabbed a piece of Merry Merry, Bungalow, and North Woods.
And Missouri Quilt Co. came through with Longitude, Latitude, Grand Canal, Early Bird, and Voyage – which clearly I really really like as I just had to order the layer cake.
I have a plan, I have it scheduled, I’m excited to see what I can get done!
Another month, and another set of blocks for my quilting bee! This month’s queen is Bec aka @skyberries, and she asked if I could EQ8 up her ideas before committing to her choice for the month. Now Bec makes some AMAZING quilts, and I was so excited to see what she’d choose. Firstly, she chose the Fizzy block. Good start! I’ve been really enjoying curves lately. Then she said black and white prints (uh oh… a big gap in my stash!) and florals.
I wasn’t sure what type of florals she was wanting, so I first did up a quick one in sweeter florals…
Nope, that’s not what she was wanting. She wanted a riot of florals like Caroline chose! Well then, that I can do.
Oooh, this is going to be one amazing quilt! The black and white prints, with grey on white in the diamonds, and a crazy explosion of florals.
I had three black and white prints, so I did have to go shopping again, oh no! And for once, my Fizzy blocks actually went together smoothly. I chronically forget to trim the drunkards path blocks before sewing the block together! But not this time.
And I also arranged them correctly the first time around too. I’ve messed that up before, too!
Next month is my month! And I’m so excited, because 1) I get lots of happy mail this month! But mainly because 2) I chose June because I’m headed off on a big trip, yippee!
I have shared a few times about how much the quilting community has played an integral part in making me the person I am today. Most importantly, when my family and I were living in Japan, it was the online quilting community that helped me through the tricky days of culture shock – an English-speaking people who understood how my creative passion made me tick, all at my finger tips! And I’m thrilled to share one fantastic, unique way of sharing in this beautiful community that is quilting.
Our Song, Your Reflection is a collaborative project between Andrea of 3rd Story Workshop and Meaghan Smith and is a celebration of community through music and quilting. It’s a quilt pattern, an original song, a community-builder, and more. To help bring it all fully to life, Andrea and Meaghan have started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the pattern and song development. The video they put together as a part of their fundraising campaign beautifully explains about their desire to connect with the quilting community by asking us to reflect on what the quilting community means to us.
The quilt pattern part of the collaboration is a stunning take on a Lone Star quilt design. The stars, the swan, the reflection… so beautiful!
The quilt incorporates a few different techniques, and is so cleverly put together.
To help spread the word, there’s quite a few quilters making up an #oursongquilt star block – it’s foundation paper pieced and is super quick!
Whew, that title is a tongue twister! All of which to say is that my local modern quilt guild is hosting a mystery medallion challenge this year, and I’m making mine as a mini quilt. Our Swaps and Challenges coordinator has come up with a list of 7 mystery prompts that she gives out every 4-6 weeks. We then complete at least two borders on our medallion quilts with whatever method and technique we like to interpret the given prompt. It’s been a lot of fun so far!
For my medallion quilt, I decided a few things:
I would only use Liberty, and solids from The Creative Retreat’s Solids club.
My medallion quilt would be a mini – I knew I couldn’t commit to a large quilt, but mini? I can do that.
It would be improv. GASP! My MQG is full of improv quilters, so this was the time to challenge myself. No rulers allowed except at the end of each round to create a straight edge for the following borders. No squaring up, eek!
The final “rule” was decided a little later on, as I started my quilt, but I would do two borders each round – one lighter and one darker, on opposite sides of the quilt. It also emerged that it would become a rainbow quilt!
The first prompt provided for our medallion centres was nature. Each prompt includes a mood board of inspirational images to get our creative juices flowing, and I was taken by a photo of succulents, with the leaves (petals?) rippling out from the centre. I had two ideas I had to try out, so I went with an improv block, and improv log cabin blocks.
The second prompt was linear. Creating stripes seemed like a great next step from log cabins, and this round did challenge the straight-and-square-lovin’ quilter within. And by now, I was realising that improv with some self-set guidelines is quite quick! I can easily whip out a border in under half an hour. Awesome!
Next up was signs. The inspirational moodboard was full of road signs, and I pounced on the triangular signs. Although improv is a little bit of a challenge for me, I do love that I can keep to my love of geometric lines and shapes. This is also the round where my rainbow palette plan is starting to become visible…
The last round was negative space/contrast. Now, this prompt threw me a little. I wasn’t sure how to interpret this for my quilt, and it took until the very last day of the round for me to settle on using just four pieces of fabric for each border. Strip-pieced, sliced in half, and rotated to create the rectangular four-patch. Not as busy as the first few rounds, which is a contrast. And there’s more “negative space” in the way of the “background solids”.
That photo also shows just how not square this quilt top is. I’m unsure if I will even square it up at the end! Maybe that’s the statement/perfect end to this challenge for me. We shall see.
Now we’re up to round 5, and the prompt is right way up, rotate, flip, repeat. Not gonna lie, this has also thrown me a little, as my first thought would be triangles rotating around! But I’ve already done triangles… I’m going to have to mull this one over a bit. But if you have any ideas, feel free to throw them at me!