Monday, 24 June 2013

log cabins, old traditions with a twist

 This spring I received the very exciting news that there would be some new babies in my world.  I took the opportunity to take a bit of a break from the hard work of design and retreat into the comfy cosy world of log cabins.  I also thought this would be a great way to bust up the growing stash of bits and pieces that I cannot bear to throw away.  This first one was made up entirely of my scraps, (except for the bright striped border)  the logs are one inch wide and I quilted in the ditch using a free-motion foot.
Log Cabin Quilt;  31 inches wide by 52.5 inches long. 

In the details, you can see that I decided to insert a 3 dimensional element between each block, this created some serious complications, but babies love texture, so I thought it would be fun.  I used the border fabric to brighten it up.


This is the back of the quilt. I decided, to be true to the original concept, I needed to continue using my scraps, and so began with 2 extra blocks and grew the back from there.  I think it has a bit of a wonky, gees bend feel to it.

Since I had SO much stash, I decided to make a 2nd one.  This time I laid the blocks out slightly differently and so the final size is 36 inches wide by 46.5 inches long. I decided to forgo the flange around each block and so it has a much neater look.  However I couldn't give up on the idea altogether and therefore the navy border is pieced dark blue scraps, 1.5 inches wide, folded and inserted just before the light binding. 
2nd Log Cabin Quilt , Detail

This is the back of the 2nd log cabin which was also made from scraps, beginning with 2 extra blocks.  This exercise was fun, with lots of sewing, since the logs were so thin. Gave me an opportunity to get into the 'zen' of sewing again.

Friday, 7 June 2013

chinese inspirations

 Two weeks in China

 I was overwhelmed with the amount of ornamentation, colour, and decoration.  Too much is never too much!

Walkway, rich in colour.
Bright silk hangings, all hand embroidered, yards and yards long.
Ceiling paintings imbedded amongst the patterned tiling, each painting was a different animal, based on a Chinese fable.

Children are clearly cherished, and are also very embellished

We saw many babes in arms with bare bums, not clear what the toilet training techniques are in China. Fascinating!

Koi fish tiling embedded in the pathway of a bonzai park
Ornate doesn't begin to describe it

 Silk painting
Jade carving

Silk thread painting


Our journey to China inspired me to consider new attitudes towards embellishment and ornamentation.  The Chinese craftperson clearly has a tremendous ability to attend to detail and develop technique to a remarkable degree.  But, I do wonder about individuality and personal statements.  It seemed to me that the people we met still worry about what the 'right' thing is to say.  Face saving is very important.  I marvel at my freedom in Canada, to do, say, and create anything that I want.