Ali Wilkinson

Sunday Stash – The Japan Edition

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This is the first of two posts about the stash building I did in Japan last week. This week I will focus on fabric and next week I will focus on notions.

The photo above shows the three packages I bought at Mihama Cloth – a kimono fabric and two Echino prints. I love that kimono fabric even though I have no idea what I am going to make with it! The pack contains 2 metres and the width is 110cm. I think it was a bargain at 920 Yen (about $10 NZ). In Kyoto I saw so many beautiful kimonos and if I thought for a second I would wear one I would have been spoiled for choice. At this point in time I think I might make a few cushions and a pouch or two with this fabric, but I am open for suggestions!!

The Echino fabric was an afterthought purchase largely driven by the price (360 Yen for a half metre WOF cut – so about $4 NZ). Luckily this is one of my favourite prints in two colour ways! No plans for these fabrics either!

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I couldn’t got to Tokyo without buying Cotton and Steel Tokyo Train Ride fabric! The print the left was also available in the mustard colour way but I decided to stick with just these two versions. To complement these four fabrics I have ordered a few more from the range from Pink Castle Fabrics and I plan on making a Bionic Gear Bag for travelling from theseneedledown_nz_sunday_stash_11_ 9As I mentioned in my earlier post, there was quite the abundance of Cotton and Steel fabrics, though lots were the lion faces or the mustang ponies, which I am not such a fan of. I settled on just a few coloured and black and white fabrics. Those word search designs are so useful and I love the matches, especially in this sunny yellow.

needledown_nz_sunday_stash_11_ 10More Cotton and Steel, this time the Black and White range. This range must have been popular as the bottom three designs were only available in fat eighth remnants.

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And finally some Echino solids. Who knew they produced solids?! I certainly didn’t and was quite delighted to stumble across these with their intense colour saturation and lovely hand and weight. I was a little spoiled for choice and so I decided to get us these two colours which I will no doubt use for pouches or tote bags or some other 3 dimensional project.

Next year I will take more time to browse and forage and find the real gems rather than sticking with safe and standard Cotton and Steel. Just a note on prices – the quilting fabrics are between 1000 and 1200 Yen (including tax) per metre, which is less than half the NZ prices. Cotton, lawn, knits and other “non-quilting” fabrics of quality are between 250 and 1000 Yen a metre. Big brands like Echino (non-solids), Kokka and Nani IRO are more, from 1200 to 2000 per metre.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles.


Ali Wilkinson

Quilting Butterfly Syndrome

Does this happen to you? You are mid way through a tidying frenzy and realise that in order to keep your chargers and cords tidy in stylised way that would make Martha Stewart jealous , you HAVE to immediately go pull fabric and sew up a basket. So you leave the half tidied area/drawer/room you were working in and start pulling fabric and finding the pattern for a basket that you have never made before but know that right now is the best time to do it.

On Sunday that’s where I found myself. You know, the day after I had posted about all the unfinished things I had and how I was on a mission to focus on the Wheel quilt. I think I am suffering from Quilting Butterfly Syndrome, where you jump from project to project so excited by the colours and possibilities and not finishing anything properly.

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I chose to use up some of the Cotton and Steel and Dashwood fabrics left over from the Indian Blanket, combined with the home decor weight Rashida Coleman-Hale clamshells/scallops that I picked up in Spotlight a few weeks ago. Luckily I had some fusible interfacing and fusible batting to hand ready to go.

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I think I have mentioned previously that I am not such an expert in 3D sewing. I have heard great things about this pattern online and I have to say I found it quite straightforward. The only times I was scratching my head were when I had missed instructions by not concentrating properly, like when I completely missed reading the bit about how to add both interfacing and batting to the exterior which I missed as it’s the first instruction in the section on external pockets, which are optional and I chose not to add on this first attempt.

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I used my trusty Clover Wonder Clips to hold the exterior and lining together before top stitching to join. Those clips really do come into their own for situations like this when pins struggle to cope with the thickness of the fabrics and/or distort the end result.

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Let’s not look too closely at the way those two top stitched lines are not parallel or even…. (something for me to work on in the next attempt!)

It came together very quickly – perhaps 2 1/2 hours in total. Which was quite a relief as then I could corral those cords and chargers into the two pockets and stash this basket back in the place I had allocated for it and continue with my tidying frenzy! Oh happy days!

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Ali Wilkinson

Indian Blanket ready for Quilting

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I hadn’t done much in the early part of this week due to some pretty heavy work commitments and focusing on family time, so this weekend I have been on a sewing marathon the past few days to try to catch up a little. I managed to complete not only the top but also the backing for the Indian Blanket quilt.

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The directional fabric in the top had resulted in a large pile of triangles which pointed in the wrong direction, so I decided to use these on the back to add a little interest. The whole quilt has quilt a light spring feeling about it and I used one of my favourite Carolyn Friedlander Architextures hatch patterns to keep that lightness flowing onto the back too.

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I really enjoyed making these triangles and was very surprised how quickly it came together – I am sure the cutting took longer than the sewing!

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I plan to quilt this by hand using these bold threads that are only 50wt but give the impression of being heavier. I am going to go for a sashiko stitch echoing the triangles in contrasting thread. I didn’t plan the placement of the triangles on the back to ensure the stitches from the top match up, so it will be interesting to see if I can make it look Ok even on the back. I will glue baste using 505 spray which I have finally got to grips with (no pun intended!), but as it’s still warm here I think I will set this to one side to wait for the colder weather to come in before I hand quilt it.

Now I need to get back to my Curves Class assignments as a deadline is coming up!

Ali Wilkinson

Indian Blanket is Underway

Last year I did an online class called Angled with Rachel of Stitched in Color. The class was focused on sewing precise angles using diamonds and various kinds of triangle and there were several quilts as projects to put into practice the newly learned techniques and skills.

During the course I focused on a huge large Queen sized project that incorporated all of the skills we learned. That quilt is called Tangential and I will post more about it soon. At the time I found it quite difficult to choose which project to do – all the designs were gorgeous – and I watched the other class participants post pictures of their renditions of the different designs. Finally the time has come for me to start my second favourite design – this one is called Indian Blanket and the design is entirely equilateral triangles in rows of varying sizes. Here is Rachel’s original post about the quilt and the Angled class.

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My initial fabric pull was inspired by the Wendy Kendall Petite Street triangles print. I liked the idea of a triangle printed fabric in a triangle design quilt. The colours seemed really fresh and quite different from the sea of Kaffe that was 2014 for me! Using this print as my colour inspiration I chose the other fabrics which are Cotton and Steel, more Petite Street and Bonnie and Camille Raindrops. These fabrics will be used for the upward pointing triangles.

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I decided to keep the quilt quite light and airy and will use low volume prints for the downward facing triangles.

Sometimes you know it’s good but not great, and this was one of those moments. I let the fabrics sit on my cutting mat for a few weeks while I worked out what was missing – I decided the selection needs grounding and so I chose some brown toned fabrics to work in.

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These are Pearl Bracelets (a great standby!) and a couple of prints from Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft at Michael Miller. I have to say I have surprised myself by my choice of novelty prints but I think in small doses and all mixed together they won’t look twee!

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Rachel kindly provided a quilt design layout which was very useful for colouring in and noting which print goes where. I didn’t have a teal coloured pencil so you will have to use your imagination! You can also see my notes on the height of each row’s triangles, and the cutting rules at the top – these little notes save me having to go back through the pattern over and over. I find these planners really useful as often I pick fabrics and spend hours planning and then only cut and sew later on, and in between I forget what I had planned so end up repeating the process. Sometimes this ends up in fortuitous new designs or combinations, or other times I end up with a stack of left over fabric and no memory of what the goal was for it!

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Row A is complete and so far I like the size of the triangles. Row B is cut and pinned ready to chain piece. Elise is away at the lake with her grandparents from today and Gary has late shifts this week and next, so I am hoping for a good amount of progress being made on this project this week!

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