1. What am I working on?
At the moment I am participating in a Quilt-Along. This block per week challenge has been running for 26 weeks so far and has 36 blocks total. The subject of the project is the family of Jane Austen. Each week the blogger Barbara Brackman chooses a block and relates it's name to someone from the extended Austen family. She does a great deal of research and I've learned lots about the history and way of life of that era. The blocks have a wide range of difficulty level and I have learned so much by working each one out. Her blog is posted here. I post each block as it is finished here on this blog with a brief synopsis of the blogpost. I chose at the beginning to use fabrics I had collected while living in Japan; not silk, but cottons mostly in solids, stripes and woven patterns.
2. How does my work differ from others of it's genre?
My general background in sewing goes back to the days when I wanted new outfits for my doll. My father encouraged me and was really talented in being able to tell me how pieces should be cut and sewn together. He and my mother could both do embroidery. In the early Sixties I started taking Home Ec in Junior High School. Subsequently I majored in Home Economics Education at University. However I have always been primarily a garment sewer.
With reference to quilting in general I have to state at the outset that my experience as a "Quilter" is quite limited. I learned a lot about color theory while working at a Fabric Shop where they also sold quilting cottons. I was asked to teach different individual techniques that were being promoted by the sewing machine company the store was in partnership with.
This jacket is from my sewing shop days and was made in anticipation of a trip to Japan. The fabric is a quilting cotton and the laces are from my stepmother's stash. The techniques used include all kinds of machine "Heirloom" stitches, and piecing the parts together.
That being said, I have to credit any abilities I have in quilting to a combination of all my life experiences and then being guided so skillfully by my experience with quilters in Japan. I was so fortunate to be able to participate in twice monthly classes with a well known Japanese Quilter who thankfully is not only quite talented, but bilingual, and we lived in the same city. Her influence on my life radiated out to much more than quilting, to the point she has "adopted" as her younger sister! Sensei's first instruction to me at my first class was to "design my own quilt"! The result, a bit more than a year later was my "Japanese Memory Quilt"
There is quite a bit of needle turn applique on those blocks. I have to give credit to the talented fellow Left Hander and Left Handed Quilter, Julie, an American living in Tokyo. To learn the technique I sat behind her on a couch as she sat on the floor working on a huge Hawaiian quilt, a gift for the wedding of one her kids . You can visit Julie on her blog: My Quilt Diary. There's probably a photo of that quilt in her archives.
|Julie talking and hand piecing.|
|Sensei teaching a class at the 2011 Great Quilt Festival, Tokyo Dome|
I later produced a baby quilt for a dear friend that was composed of 16 bear paw blocks that I called: "4 Bears for Maiko chan." In my haste to get it finished I threw caution to the wind and didn't pay much attention to the distribution of the colors of my scraps. Live and learn.
3. Why do I create?
I learned something about myself when I agreed to supply some little calico cats in baskets for a friend's shop some years ago. It is almost physically painful for me to make something exactly the same way twice. I may follow a pattern exactly the first time, but am thinking all the while how I might do it differently the next. So you see, I create, I just have to.
I have tagged my dear friend who writes a blog called "Evelyn in the Garden" to write the next blog in this series of "Around the World Blog Hop." She lives in the UK and we met in Japan. Our friendship not only spans miles and years, but age differences. I think you'll enjoy her perspective. On October 6 you can find her blog entry at: http://evelyninthegarden.wordpress.com/