Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Japanese quilters 1 : Reiko Kato

Hello dear quilters and friends,

Those following me on Instagram know that I am back from a fabulous and amazing trip to Japan. I visited many places : Osaka, Koyasan, Hiroshima; Itsukushima, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go, Takayama, Hakone and Tokyo.

I have been impressed by what I have seen and about the cleanliness of all the public places. The trains are fast,  clean and on time. And the people were so nice and helpful all along. Believe it or not, there has not been one night since I came back 3 weeks ago without dreaming of Japan! I will return for sure!!

If I find the courage to write regularly again, I might post about this trip.

But for now, I have decided to write 3 posts about the Japanese quilters I have met in Japan : Reiko Kato, Yoko Saito and Masako Wakayama. I love their work. I discovered them a long time ago because they are regularly published in France. I even took several classes with Reiko Kato and Yoko Saito in France.

There will be three posts.  Let's start with Reiko Kato.

If you love Sunbonnets, Reiko Kato is THE quilter!!! She has published several books with Quiltmania, has done a mystery quilt with them too and teaches and exhibits regularly in Spain and France as well as in Indonesia and Japan.

Her quilt company is called Mother's Dream.

Having met Reiko Kato several times in France, I was really looking forward to meeting her again and discovering her new shop! Indeed she has a new shop close to where she lives which is very convenient for her. Imagine that you forget something at your workplace and need it in the evening to finish your quilt top ;-)

Reiko's shop is full of charm. It has an American look from the outside as well as the Japanese style and elegance in all the details. A perfect blend!

There is something that really fascinates me about the Japanese quilters! It is the delicate hand work they do. They piece, do appliqué and quilt by hand, which, as you can guess, is very appealing to me! As I told Reiko, the motto "quicker, easier, faster" that I hear so many times,  is something that does not make me want to learn about the technique. This might sound strange but "quicker and faster" is not what I am looking for when I quilt. I like the process even when it is slow. I am a slow quilter and this is true that I do not finish several projects in a year but I don't mind. Handwork takes time. But Reiko works a lot and works a two new projects each month!! Quite impressive!

I was also happy to discuss extensively with Reiko about how the Japanese quilters learn quilting and their school system around a master teacher. This fascinates me because this is a way to pass down the techniques with respect for beautiful handmade objects. Judge for yourself.

It is nice to see all the models I had seen in the books exposed above the kits for sale.

When a quilter sign up with a master, they usually do a 5-year program. 2 years are dedicated to learning the basics. The next 2 years are for more advanced work and the last year teaches them how to become a fully professional teacher, how to write a pattern and so on.

Something I also noticed  is that the students work on a quilt as well as an "applied work" during the lessons. An applied work could use the same block you've made for the quilt that you will use to make a pouch or bag or any other quilted item.

It is more a step-by-step approach of teaching than what we do here in France. Indeed, many French quilters learn a technique here, then they try another approach there and they eventually either switch to or incorporate the new technique into their own quilting. It is a different approach and I do not consider one better than the other; It is just different! Yet, it tells a lot about the culture you live in.

When you arrive at Reiko Kato's shop, you see two separate buildings. On your right is the shop and on the left is the classroom. It was wonderful to see in person this place. Reiko's kindness is incredible. She is happy to share with you her experience and her quilts reflect who she is.

Her work is delicate, the details in her quilts are impressive and her hand quilting is jaw-dropping!

The general atmosphere of Reiko's shop is warm and welcoming. And the taupe fabrics that are so difficult to find in France are everywhere!!!

Add the charm of some old furniture and quilted objects and you understand that it is a quilter's heaven!

Isn't this miniature Reiko Kato's shop, with all the covers of her books displayed, the cutest thing she coud have in her classroom?

My wife and I spent the evening with Reiko and a friend of hers in a restaurant in Tokyo and so we talked a lot about her country, France, quilting. My wife even told me that I talked too much!!! That's how I am when I am happy ;-)

I hope that Reiko will one day come to the south of France to teach the quilters in my area. I am sure that many would be interested. I know dreams come true, so let's make it happen ;-)

 Thank you SO much Reiko. See you next year in Nantes and hopefully in the south of France sooner or later ;-)

I hope you have enjoyed discovering Reiko Kato's in her environment.

Until later,

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pure and Simple by Maggie Bonanomi

A new book by Maggie Bonanomi is always something to look forward to.

I discovered Maggie's creations a long time ago and her style, simplicity and authentic creations have always touched my heart.

I met Maggie once in a class in France and made the peapod pincushion. It has been on my blog banner ever since and I can assure you that I have received hundreds of emails asking me about it... which means that I am not the only one touched by Maggie's creations.

Her new book do not disappoint and the title sums it up : pure and simple.

In this book, Maggie offers projects of all sizes and for every season and festivity.

There is something for everyone and there are some cute smalls that are perfect for a present, but you may end up making them twice as there are SO cute you might want one for you too ;-) I think it won't be long before I start making the Radish Scissors Pocket.

The Step Into My Garden table runner is another project I want to make! But, to tell you the truth, the more I browse through the book, the more I find another project I want to make.

Maggie has included many tips such as how to piece the wool background or how to work with teeny tiny wool pieces and how to work with very narrow stems, to name just a few. She also gives us hints on how to find your own "wool voice" and how adapt the project and make it your own creative piece.

If like me, you love Maggie's wool creations and have her other books, then this one will be a nice addition to your collection and you will have 17 new projects to warm your home.

If you do not know Maggie yet - is that possible? - well, this book will introduce you to her beautiful wool world.

By now you probably want it right away! ... But you will have to wait just a little bit because the book is available in early May... just enough time to stack up on some beautiful wools. Some shops have it available for pre-order though ;-)

FYI, I have not been paid for writing this book review and have no professional connections to Martingale publications. But I graciously accepted to do it, because I truly LOVE Maggie's work and she has inspired me for many years and still does :-)  I am happy to write about the artists I admire.

For more photos, you can go here ;-)

Until later,

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The finished quilt.

I must apologize!

I have just received a comment on my previous post and that's how I realized I had promised to post a photo of the entire quilt once it is finished! Well, it was finished a month ago so it's high time I post a picture of it!!

You probably do not realize it on the photo but the quilt is huge!!!
96 1/2 X 96 1/2 in ( 241,5 X 241,5 cm)

I love how it turned out. I have used mainly reproduction fabrics.

Sarah Fielke designed this quilt and proposed it last year as a BOM. Now the pattern is available as  a book and you can also have access to the videos she posted every month.

Sarah had organized a quilt show/competition of the quilts that were finished no later than mid- February.
The link is here.
If you want to see the many different versions of this quilt, grab a cup of tea and enjoy ;-)

I really wish I could take the time to post more but life gets in the way in a very positive way : work family time, gardening, travelling, quilting and stitching!

Until later,

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A new BOM in 2018 ?

Are you looking for a BOM in 2018? I thought I would share with you my experience with the 2017 BOM by Sarah Fielke .

The 2017 BOM is called Down The Rabbit Hole. Sarah Fielke's BOMs are kind of special in the way they work. You have a sketch of the final quilt given but no measurements and the borders and motifs are not drawn to size. But you have an idea of what the quilt will look like at the end when you sign up. This was the sketch which has tempted me.

Each month, you get a very detailed document with lots of explanations, all the measurements and photos to explain everything. It is like a class document and each month contains many pages in a .pdf format. But the real bonus are the videos where Sarah shows all the techniques that are explained in the .pdf document. I am not a beginner quilter and yet I have learnt a lot. I am also certain that a beginner quilter can achieve great results!

Let me show you my progress all along this year.

This was after 5 months.

Two borders have been added on the following photo.


I am now working on the following large borders with the jumping and sitting rabbits. I started with the flower in the middle of the border.

 I have already added flowers and bees to these two jumping rabbits borders (but have not taken a photo yet) and  I am now currently working on the sitting rabbits borders which also have vines, leaves and flowers. then I will add the last pieced border and the quilt will be finished. I think I will have finished before New Year's eve. The quilt is quite big as you can see on the photos. There were some new machine piecing techniques for me and lots of hand-appliqué which I love!
Moreover there were bonus patterns throughout the year which is also great!  The Hussif I blogged about last February was one of the bonus pattern.

Many versions are done with bright modern fabrics by quilters from all around the world. I have, on the contrary, chosen to work with repro fabrics and to work with my stash only, apart from the background fabrics. It was a challenge but it has been a real stash buster and I have discovered some treasures I had completely forgotten about!!!

This year, there are 2 BOMs offered! Looks like it is going to be another fabulous year! The quilts this year are called : Simple Folk and the Grasshopper and the registrations are now open. You can clik on the image to learn more or even watch Sarah's introduction video.


I will post photos of my Down The Rabbit Hole quilt when it is finished.

Until later,

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Brouage 2017

For those not familiar with this name here is some information about this lovely town on the French Atlantic coast :

Brouage was founded in 1555 by Jacques de Pons on the Bay of Biscay facing the Atlantic Ocean. Its economy was based on salt and access to the sea. The town was fortified between 1630 and 1640 by Cardinal Richelieu as a Catholic bastion in order to fight against the neighbouring Protestant town of La Rochelle. Gradually the harbour silted up in the last part of the 17th century, leaving the town stranded and useless as a port. It fell into ruin.
The town's most celebrated son is the French navigator Samuel de Champlain, who lived there when young, before being the co-founder of French settlement in Acadia (1604–1607) and Quebec (1608–1635).

Now, Brouage is also famous in the quilting world because every other year, there is the exhibition : Quilts de Légende. This year was the 9th edition. It is sponsored by France Patchwork which is the French guild.

As is mentioned in the catalogue of the exhibition, get ready for some amazing reproduction quilts, made by talented quilters with outstanding skills! Perfection is what comes to mind after seeing the quilts. It is difficult to post about each quilt in one blogpost so I have decided to select the photos that first where good enough to be published and which will show you what stopped my eyes and picked my curiosity.
There will be  photos of the  rooms in order to give you an idea of the general view when you enter these old historic buildings. Then, I have selected photos of quilts, of quilts details and finally some to show you the handquilting which is one of my fascination and passion.

Even if each quilt is stunning, three of them where my favourites. I will mention each one under the photo. I still cannot decide which of the three I like best... and there are several others that I find really fascinating too!

All the quilts are reproductions from antique quilts. I will give the name of the quilts and the quilter who made it to pay them tribute. Though it takes time, it is the least I can do to thank them for inspiring us. If by any chance, there is a mistake, contact me so that I can correct it. I will also give the name of the original quilt and where it is from when I know it, in order to give credit to the institutions that own these quilts. If you are interested in antique quilts I really recommend that you visit these institutions or buy books and patterns from them. This exhibition has developped in me a desire to know more about antique quilts and I have bought and read many books about them since the first time I visited The Quilts de Légende exhibition.

Are you ready? Better grab a cup of tea ;-) Enjoy :-)

Here is Marie-Henriette, made by Martine Crabé-Lanux, inspired by an American quilt, 1813 from the Shelburn Museum Collection (USA).
It is one of the three of my favourites. The details and the quilting are amazing! I would love to know how you can possibly reproduce such a quilt from a photo.

I absolutely love this appliqué quilt! 

My second favourite is a pieced quilt.  I was truly amazed by the fabrics selection in this quilt. It looked like a real antique quilt. So beautiful!!!! I don't think my photos do the quilt justice but it is so big that  I could not take a picture of the entire quilt facing it.
This quilt is called Ogeechee and is made by Aline Joulin, inspired by an American quilt ((1860-1890), saw in the  Grand Rapids Public Museum, Michigan, USA.

The third quilt I fell in love with is  Vases de Fleurs et Roses Grimpantes, by Michelle Beugnon, inspired by a quilt from the Poos collection owned by Kay Triplett. Middle of the 19th century.
Note the red quilting line in the center of the quilt and along the border! That's just the perfect detail that adds to an already stunning quilt!  This quilt is inspired by a quilt from the book The Red and Green Quilts from the Poos Collection by Kay Triplett,  published by Quiltmania.






Médaillons et Sabliers by Colette Bourgain, inspired  by a quilt from the end of the 18th century which was discovered in Pennsylvania, probably brought by a Dutch emigrant at the beginning of the 19th century.


Art Déco Quilt by Dominique Husson, who is also the person in charge of this event. The quilt is inspired by an American quilt, c. 1920.

Military Coverlet by Isabelle Muzeau, inspired by a military quilt from the Nova Scotia Museum, made by Caporal Thomas Nooman (1870).  
Stunnning quilt!

Quilting detail from Swafford Road by Anne-Hélène Nedelec, inspired by a Mennonite quilt from Pennsylvania, c. 1888.

Te Quiero by Yvonne Calvez, Inspired by a quilt dating C. 1846 from the Poos Collection. I didn't have this information on the catalogue. It was given to me by Kay Triplett who wrote to me to let me know.
 I find this quilt very feminine and soothing with its pastel tones and the pink squares. I really like the blend of pieced and appliqué blocks or borders in a quilt.

Though at first, I thought that this quilt was not as impressive as other quilts in the exhibition, I ended up spending a VERY long time scrutinizing all the details and the fabrics. Many fabrics were, from my point of view, very masculine and the blend with many pinks makes it very unusual and fascinating.  The plain borders were creative and the pieced ones incredible! The quilting was absolutely fascinating and the embroidered name in the bottom right-hand corner very cute.
Vermont by Louise-Marie Stipon, inspired from a medaillon quilt, C. 1880. Quilt collection from Vermont (USA)
I wished some of my photos were better but they were the best I had that could be published.



Though I do not use plain fabrics often, I find these two quilts fascinating.

 First, Voyage by Simone Patouillard, inspired by an Amish quilt, Ohio (USA), c. 1930.
The contrast makes the quilt comes alive.

The second one is breathtaking and the quilting is over the top! I just LOVE it!!
The Twinkle Stars Remake Quilt, by Helma Huisman Hildebrand, inspired by an Amish quilt from 1895.


Here is a view of one corner of the second room. At the back you can see Les Faux Jumeaux, Original Design and Les Faux Jumeaux, Etoile du Texas by Marie-Josèphe Véteau inspired by a quilt from Oklahoma, USA, 1930. 

Another corner of the room.


There is Mosaïque de Losanges by Gabrielle Paquin, inspired by an American quilt from the American Museum in Britain, Bath (UK).
It has a beautiful poison green fabric that my photo does not show well. On my photo it looks faded but it is not!

Quilt à la Couronne de Fleurs by Marie-José Charpy, inspired by an American quilt saw in the the American Museum in Britain, Bath (UK)

And finally Les Amandiers by Anne Marie-Schmitt, inspired by a Blossom wreath pattern. Dated 1850-1860.



I was amazed by the quilting on the border and how effective it was!!! Look carefully... clever, isn't?
I LOVE this detail!


 This is Victoria by Marie-José Manière, interpretation of a work made inEngland, c. 1830s.

Another quilt I fell in love with is Alpha Lirae by France Aubert, inspired from the famous Star of Bethlehem, Morning Star, Mathematical Star, Star of the East of Lone, c. 1830.
And not only the quilt is stunning! Look at the quilting!

Who doesn't love baskets? I think that this quilt has the most beautiful basket border! And the broderie perse adds to the overall charm of the quilt.
Daisy and Basket by Helma Huisman Hildebrand, inspired by a British medallion quilt, 1835, saw in the "Chintz Quilts from the Poos Collection" book published by Quiltmania.
Once again, I wished my photos were better.

Another beauty!!!! Blue Jasmine by Ghislaine Lucas, inspired by different medallion quilts, 1840.
Lots of creativity in this quilt. Indeed, some floral motifs have not only been quilted but  some basket details or stems have been accentuated by an appliqué piece of contrasting fabric. It is full of charm. And it gives texture to the quilt. The fabric selection for the borders is also very clever. She used old and reproduction fabrics.

To finish here is India Mosaica by Domminique Husson, inspired by a quilt from the "Surrender Dorothy" collection, c. 1840.
Another masterpiece!

I wish I had photos for Coup de Coeur Crazy by Anne-Marie Uguen, Millefiori by Maud Devesly, Modesty by Christine Dujardin, Pas Si Classique by Cécile Lacoste, Zig-Zag Variation by Martine Viellard, Eclats by Marie-Françoise Grégoire which is a quilt I have loved, Bleu De Prusse by Will Vidinic with the most beautiful Prussian blue fabric, Deuxmillehuitcenthuit by Ewa Guérin and Vagues by Maryvonne Marmion. Unfortunately the photos I took turned out blurred. I am really sorry.

I spent quite a long time admiring all these quilts and I also spent time talking with the ladies in each room. While talking to Dominique Husson, she showed me the most beautiful quilted bag. It was a present she had just received from a friend of hers. What an amzing present! Here are two photos of this beauty!!!! The perfect bag to bring a few quilting stuff along with you when meeting friends :-)

Thank you, Quilteuses de Légende, for your talent!

Until later,