A Quilting We Will Go

waf new year 2015

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Happy New Year.
A slightly belated Happy New Year for 2016, the year of the Monkey. I was born on a year of the monkey too. Oh my, that was such a long time ago. I put a little monkey amulet on my Wafuku New Year’s logo above.

A quilting we will go.
Some time ago I wrote a post or two here about wonderful fabrics I had bought, especially Christmas themed ones, but I hadn’t got around to making anything with them. During the 8 months up to the end of 2015 I used some of those fabrics to make 6 queen sized patchwork quilts, two double (full) sized ones and one single (twin) bed quilt, which my daughter and I made together when she was recovering from a collapsed lung. The Peanuts one was the first we’d ever made. My daughter swears it will be her last but I went on to make the others. I had no choice, I’d bought all those fabrics.

We searched for and bought many Peanuts (Charlie Brown & co) fabrics while she was in the early stages of recovery, then we made a quilt with them when she was well enough to share that task. Her recovery took 4 months and the quilt was made during the fourth one. She loves it.

I made a Dr Seuss queen size quilt, which I gave to my daughter, then another one, called Comfort Food, made from all those fabulous fruit and vegetable prints, another called Ghastlies, with cartoon prints, and a Christmas prints one, all queen sized, those three for myself. I then made queen sized Christmas print ones for each of my two sisters, which I gave them when I visited them in July. Next I made two double bed sized quitls, from which my brother got to choose one at Christmas. He could choose between another Comfort Food one I made (I knew he had liked the fruit and veg fabrics in the one I made myself) or one that I called Along The Garden Path, which was floral print patches in among a pebble print fabric. Each patch represented something about our mother’s garden and the wildflower field that my brother has been creating every time he visits her, which this year looked lovely.

I have now decided to combine two interests, Japanese textiles and making quilts, by using the many bolts and sampler books of Japanese cottons and silks that I have, to make more patchwork quilts. I have to justify that new sewing machine somehow. My next post will be about the Japanese textiles I plan to use for quilts while this one will show you the patchwork items I made in 2015.

Peanuts Quilt.
This is my daughter’s, the one we made together when she was recuperating from an operation. She wanted one to snuggle up in when on the couch watching television.



The white backing fabric is from a Peanuts duvet cover my daughter found.



Ghastlies Quilt.
I loved the style of the cartoons on this fabric. It reminded me of the style of the cartoonist Ronald Searle, who created the St Trinians stories and cartoons, books which I loved when I was a child.



I do love the Ghastlie family’s cat.


Those bearded hipsters get everywhere, even the Ghastlie family hasn’t escaped them.




The backing fabric has a sort of optical illusion. Of course that means it doesn’t photograph at all well. In reality it looks really good.



A Christmas Quilt for For Me.
I absolutely love these Christmas prints. Every time I see my Christmas quilt it makes me smile. Most of the Christmas fabrics were chosen because they remind me of Christmas wrapping paper. Some is very like paper that I remember from my childhood in the late 50s and the 60s, some reminds me of wrapping my daughter’s Santa gifts in cheap Christmas paper so they bore no resemblance to the more expensive paper I chose to wrap the gifts from me in. 



My daughter loved a book called Santa Mouse, when she was a child, and one of these fabrics was chosen because it reminded her of that book.



I really like the pine cones fabric below. It feels Christmassy to me but also very Japanese. I have an exquisite, cream, silk, Japanese kimono with magnificent pine cones textile art on it. That holly print is a fabric I bought simply because I felt I should get one with holly on it and should get more green prints. Once it arrived and I really looked at it, it became one of my very favourite patches on that quilt. I love it and wish I could find a bit more of it.





A Dr Seuss Quilt for my daughter.
I found a good selection of Dr Seuss prints available for a while. My daughter and I both remember Dr Seuss books from our childhoods. The one I remember best was The Sleep Book. I made this quilt and, because my daughter especially liked the subject of this one, I gave it to her. This one will fit her bed when the nights get coldest.



The backing is a wonderful African fabric that I found. It was a bit of a pain to prepare for use because the colour ran, so I had to wash it many, many times to get all the loose dye out, and it shrank in the process, so I had to add borders at the back to make it wide enough but I absolutely love those huge paint tubes on it.





Comfort Food #1.
When I found a fabric with large, red skinned potatoes on it I at first thought, “who on earth is that aimed at? Who would want a fabric with potatoes on it?”. It seemed a ridiculous choice of subject for a printed cotton. However, it turns out that the company producing it knew me better than I knew myself because that fabric remained in my mind until I grew to love the oddness of it and then to feel I had to have some, That led me to discover there were a good many very realistic food prints out there and I now had to have them all. From that was born Comfort Food, my costermonger’s dream of a quilt. Those fabric designers know exactly what they are doing, they know the world is full of people like me who can’t resist a bright, pretty and, more importantly, very odd fabric print.


The strips around the sides of the big squares are called sashing and I decided I wanted a woodgrain print sashing for this quilt, so that the fruit and vegetables looked as though they were in crates at a market. It took me a lot of time searching to track down any woodgrain prints and, of course, the very few I found were only available in the USA, so postage to the UK and import tax made even the fabric for this quilt’s sashing very, very expensive. It’s bad enough that the fabric for all the squares in my quilts comes from America or Japan, since that means costly shipping and import tax making it all fantastically expensive, but usually I can at least use plain fabric bought here in the UK for the sashing and posts (posts are those little squares at the corners of the sashing). All my quilts have been very costly to make because of having to import the patterned fabrics but this one was even costlier because of the woodgrain sashing. I do, however, think it was worth it. I love the wooden box effect. I now have two or three other woodgrain prints, also from America, and two basket weave prints, one sent here from Hawaii and one from Texas, and can’t wait to see how Comfort Food quilts look with those as sashing.



I can almost smell that basil in the next one.


Here are those red potatoes that suckered me in to buying the fabrics for this quilt in the first place. I really love those courgettes. I want to pick one up.


Check out these Brussels sprouts. Aren’t they just great?


Those blackberries look so juicy you feel your fingers would stain purple if you touched that print.


Everyone who sees this quilt has said, “Oh wow”. I can’t really take the credit for that, it is purely the incredible prints in it. I have still to quilt the squares in this one, I’ve only quilted along the seams so far. I stopped at that point because I wanted to get quilts done for my siblings and, as I was visiting my two sisters in July, needed to have their two made by then, followed by other patchworks in time for Christmas.



A Christmas Quilt For Each Of My Sisters.
I offered my elder sisters a quilt each and asked them which of the above themes they would like. They both chose Christmas. I showed them all the plain fabric colours I had and my eldest sister chose green and red for around her quilt’s squares and my other sister chose purple. I wasn’t sure that purple would look right on a Christmas quilt but it was what she wanted and I have to say I liked the end result. I can never capture purple well in a photo. This cotton was called Cadbury’s purple, so, if you know the chocolate wrapper and foil, you know the richness of this purple.

Here are those two Christmas quilts.







And for the other sister…


She is very much a dog lover.



She had a favourite fabric in it but then realised that her favourite kept changing; it would be one print one day, a different the next, then another, then maybe back to the first and so on, so she took to looking at it each night when she went to bed over the Christmas period and choosing her favourite for that night..


The vehicles transporting trees in the next photo remind me of people coming to buy Christmas trees from my father in the 1970s, who grew some in the field to supplement his income at Christmas. People would leave with a tree sticking out of their cars or tied to their car roofs.


Nativity illustrations take my sister back to her youth. Me too. I remember in primary school at Christmas we would get cards to colour in, usually with nativity images on them. I had forgotten about those until I came across nativity print fabrics.


I can’t resist a good bauble print. I remember we only got one or two new ones each year when I was a child in the 60s. They were expensive things then and made of very thin, fragile glass. We would unwrap them each year and discover which had survived its year in storage and which had broken. Occasionally, when hanging them on the tree, one would fall and there would be that high pitched Tsss as it smashed. I can still hear that sound clearly in my head and remember the sadness when it happened, especially if one of my favourite baubles.


I adore snow, the look of it and the sound of footsteps in fresh, deep snow. I love to build snowmen. How could I resist this fabulous snow scene, with caravans and Christmas lights? How could I resist a fabric with an Airstream on it too?


I like using completely contrasting backing fabrics sometimes, then you can flip the quilt over and have one that is totally different.



Cushions As Christmas Gifts
I made my two sisters matching cushions as Christmas gifts and two more for some friends.


Glitter fabric! I didn’t add the glitter, just a few of the fabrics came as glittered ones.


My ex had a vintage Morris Cowley pick up that looked incredibly like this one, it was even the same colour. My daughter really loved this fabric because it reminded her of that vehicle from her childhood.



The cushions have envelope backs and buttons, though not yet added when that photo below was taken.





Mmm. Smell the peppermint…


Glittering snow globes. I love the few glitter fabrics I found.


The style and colours of this design take me right back to being 6 years old again. It is possibly my most favourite.


Such stylish Santas.

I particularly like the style of this fabric, with its cut paper look and black background. Very striking, very retro.



This last pair were for friends of mine. Just the covers shown here but I did provide them with the inner cushions as well.


I do love a Christmas tree bauble print. Check out the transparent baubles in the next photo.


An envelope opening and button fastening works well. I will put the buttons a tad closer together in future cushion covers. I have fabric cut out to make a further 26, which I will put on for sale on Etsy from around next August



Finally, the two quilts I made for my brother to choose one from at Christmas.
These two are double (full) bed size. The first one is called Along The Garden Path. My brother comes to Scotland a few times a year to visit our now 94 year old mother. She lives in an ex-farmhouse, with a reasonably big garden and a 5 acre field. The field has a small wood in it because my parents grew pine trees to sell at Christmas, to supplement their income. My father died in 1973, after which the trees were left to their own devices and have grown absolutely enormous. Locals call it The Forest. There was also a section of the field that had been taken over by various self seeded trees and left unheeded for some years. My brother has been cutting down and logging that copse of self seeded trees over the past 6 years or so, to let more light back over to part of the garden and to provide logs for my mother’s two open fires.

The sloping top part of the field, the bit most visible from my mother’s house, was a solid mass of very tall fire weed (also called rosebay willow herb) that had long since taken it over. In autumn the air used to be full of its floating, fluffy, white seeds. At first the patches of tall purple-pink flowers were pretty but once the entire top section of field was solid fire weed, we grew to hate it. For a few years my brother spent every visit simply weeding it out, over and over, until he got on top of it. He then scattered seeds but he made the mistake of including couch grass and other strong, invasive grasses that wild flowers could not compete with, so he then spent two more years digging out the grass and trying to halt its progress. He has got rid of most of it, though not yet quite all, but now the wildflowers are starting to thrive. The addition of lots of yellow-rattle seed may help deal with left over grasses, as it attacks grass roots and provides a rather nice yellow flower. We had lots and lots of yellow and white daisies all over that area of field this year and, among them, various other flowers including red poppies. I bought and scattered millions of poppy seeds out there last summer and autumn plus a very good quantity of other things, so I am really keen to see how it looks this coming summer. Luckily I live next door to my mother, in an ex-farm cottage, so I get to see the field every day. I do her gardening now that she is too old to manage it. She does plant the odd bulb and deadhead things now and then but the garden is pretty much left to me now.

Along The Garden Path is a quilt with fabrics that represent my mother’s garden and field and work my brother has done here and in his own allotment at home in England.

Although it is full of mementos which are meaningful, I knew he had liked my Comfort food quilt and thought he might prefer one of those, so I made two quilts and let him choose.

Along The Garden Path Quilt.
My mother insisted on adding fresh gravel to her path every few years for decades. She seemed oblivious of the fact that it raised the path’s level each time. I only managed to persuade her to stop doing it when I was able to point out that her porch used to have two granite steps up to it and it now only had one, the bottom one having been swallowed up by the many, many tons of gravel she had added over the years. Swallowed too were all the edging stones around the front garden and lawns.


My mother’s long dining room table has been a real boon when it comes to sandwiching the top, the batting (wadding) and the backing together on each quilt. I have nothing so useful for that task in my house. I hate doing the layering.



My mother has a lawn that is completely covered in crocus in spring, then replaced by daffodils. It looks incredible, especially when it is the solid mass of crocus, so one fabric square is all crocus and one is all daffodils, both representing that lawn, Another square has the lilies she and I keep adding to her garden each year because they flower for ages and add a much needed boost of bright colour here and there. Another square represents the hundreds of tulip bulbs I was given by the head gardener of a park in Glasgow in 2015 when they took them out the park’s gardens and were just going to mulch them. There’s also a square there with frogs because frogs spawn in the garden’s little pond every year.


There is a lilac bush, like the one below, and lots of squirrels here. I feed the squirrels and 4 now come to me when I call, knowing I will toss them quality nuts in shells.


Her garden has many huge poppies and we have planted dozens and dozens of clematis over the years, They climb up every wall and over fences.

The top patch in the next photo represents the copse of trees that my brother logged for my mother. It may seem a shame to cut down a nice mix of trees but they darkened the garden and there is no shortage of all sorts of trees here, over and above ‘The Forest’. The entire house and garden is edged with huge trees. These trees had taken over a section of the field because my father was no longer around to keep them away the way he did when he tended the field to grow strawberries in it, as well as the Christmas trees. The logs the trees provided, however, have been really useful to my mother.


The next photo shows the quilt top before it was layered and bound.



Comfort Food Quilt #2.
This one has a few fruit and vegetable fabrics that are not in my Comfort Food quilt and the sashes are plain brown with woodgrain posts, whereas mine is vice versa.





The quilt my brother chose from those last two was Along The Garden Path. He liked the associations in the prints and how it will always remind him of our mother’s place.

My brother in my mother’s field in July 2015.
It should look much nicer next year, there should be more flowers and more variety of them but 2015 was its first year of proper flowering and it looked fantastic for months. The photos don’t do it justice.




Next year there should be the addition of hundreds of foxgloves. There has been a lot of foxgloves for some years, ones that have self sown themselves over the decades, and one particularly large clump of them too but this year there were hundreds of new little ones all over the place. so if even a quarter of those come up and flower this year it will be spectacular. My one regret with the Along The Garden Path quilt was that I could not find a fabric with foxgloves on it.



In my next blog post I will show you the Japanese, vintage textiles that I have decided to use for making quilts. Very traditional Japanese prints, weaves and colours. I will go for a rustic look to those quilts, I think. They are still at the planning stage but I’m quite excited about doing some Japanese ones. I also have some appliquéd quilts in mind and a couple of those will be Japanese themed but lots of others to do before I get to those ones.


You can also check out my website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 


Fabulous Fabrics – I Must Learn To Love Quilting

wafuku blog aug 12 logo A

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog


The Chore Joy of Patchwork.
Ages ago I discovered a range of fabulous fabric by Alexander Henry, with a design I particularly liked. The range is called The Ghastlies. The Ghastlies are sort of Ronald Searle style, slightly Addams Family type people, in various settings. I wanted them all and the only excuse I could think of for having them was for making a patchwork quilt. I bought the majority of them.

Here are the lovely Ghastlie fabrics.

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There are also prints made up of details from the cartoons, like the ‘bramble’ print you see below, the trees and the curly Romanesque flowers.

bramble GhastlyBrambleinsmoke

Reunion il_fullxfull.323750957

My picture isn’t clear enough to show it but the print below shows family portraits, so gives the name of each character.

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I have several of them in 3 to 5 background colour versions, as with the one below the one below.

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I rather like the various ‘wallpaper’ ones that are in the Ghastlie set. I didn’t buy all available, just a few, including these two.

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I like the muted colours used in them. The pattern is busy but the colours are calming.

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The next is Sebastian, the Ghastlies’ cat. I love that print. The different coloured versions don’t differ in scale, that is just in my picture, the print is the same size in each colour.

Ghastlies Sebastian

I love the style of drawing. It reminds me of Ronald Searle’s work. Ronald Searle created St Trinians, with the wicked, badly behaved, raunchy schoolgirls, with stories that were eventually made into movies, my favourite being with the wonderful Alistair Sim as the headmistress.

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Ghastlies graveyard il_fullxfull.271959092

The trees below are also in the picture above.

r forest


However, the fun was in the selecting and buying of them, making a patchwork is not my idea of fun and I have never made one before. I put it off for well over a year but recently came across the fabric again and felt guilty, especially as I didn’t stop at Ghastlies; my search for them led me to Dr Seuss fabrics and Christmas fabrics and I bought those too. Most of the Christmas fabrics I chose are ones that remind me of Christmas wrapping paper from my childhood and from my daughter’s childhood. I used to wrap her gifts in standard wrapping paper but wrap all her ‘from Santa’ gifts in cheap wrapping paper without any decorations added, so she would not think they looked like the gifts she got from me, so many of the Christmas fabrics I bought are ones that remind me of that cheap wrapping paper. I also learned that I can print my own fabric on my home printer, so I have an idea for patchwork made from printouts, though that one may have to be a panel because, due to the special fabric one prints on and the ink used, those patches will be expensive to produce and then there is the fact that you can’t wash these home printed fabrics too many times without them fading, so not ideal for bedding, better for something that won’t need washed or will only rarely need washed and can be washed by hand. However, they aren’t like the iron on tee shirt patches, which are sort of plastic in texture. If I ever do make that patchwork, I’ll show it to you but I’ll keep the subject matter of it to myself for now.

Here are my Christmas fabrics. I warn you, there are a lot of them.








This next one is my favourite Christmas fabric. It makes me feel about 4 years old.

£14.68 yd etsy

The one below, with the penguins and the tree one below it actually has glitter in it. Glitter, I tell you! It may only last a handful of washes but that will do me. I got those because I remember as a child in the 60s having Christmas wrapping paper with glitter on it that I really loved and made me excited about Christmas and thrilled by that pretty wrapping paper. Back then, paper was carefully removed from packages and saved to be re-used year after year and I cherished the glitter papers. Each year the saved wrapping papers got a little smaller, as the damaged edges were trimmed off, ready for re-use.



This red one with snow people reminds me so much of cheap and cheerful wrapping paper.


I was born in the 50s, so had to have this next one.


My daughter liked this next one a lot, it took her back to her childhood.


Nice touches of gold on this poinsettia one.



I really like rodents and my daughter went mushy over the next two because the mouse reminded her of one of her favourite childhood books, Santa Mouse, where a mouse helped Santa and was eventually given a little Santa suit by him.



Festive, fun loving dogs.


Snowmen printed to look as though they are cut out of newspaper.


The floating Santa heads are, again, like cheap Xmas paper


I grew up in the time of individually hand blown glass baubles. They were expensive, precious and each year a few would smash and a few new ones would be bought. One didn’t have the option to buy unbreakable and very cheap ones like one can nowadays, so they were very special, treasured items.

bonefulllcfabricsboutique ebay

This next two, with strings of lights, are actually a Peanuts/Charlie Brown one.


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Can’t have too many baubles!

DesignsByDona etsy 1yd

More cute little rodents. I’m a sucker for those.


Of course, there are a couple of Grinch Who Stole Christmas fabrics in my collection. They will also go in the Seuss patchwork.
fabric-angel ebay

Flower Fairies. Had to have those.


I find this snow scene very charming


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Any nativity ones and angel ones I have are to remind me of typical Christmas cards and especially of ones we used to get at primary school at Christmas that were just outlines that we could then colour in. I can remember them surprisingly clearly and seeing one in my mind momentarily makes me feel exactly as I did when I was given a pristine, uncoloured one in class.

fq B £3.75 inc the_royal_bengal_tiger

Some rather odd, scrawny, little Christmas trees, each with a big red light bulb.


fq£3.75 inc the_royal_bengal_tiger

Something about tin soldiers just says, “Christmas”.


The soldier in this next one is a bit creepy, though. His mouth reminds me of those scary, biting dolls in Barbarella. I didn’t notice before I purchased it.


A cute little Santa, unusually, not in red clothing, in three versions, each with a different coloured background.

The red and green gifts is another that reminds me of 1950s-early 60s magazine artwork. It has the style of a graphic in an old Homes and Gardens type magazine. It is both the colours and the style of drawing that evokes that.


I especially like the style of the next two.






Time for some more baubles.


I remember lights just like these one when I was little. They never worked two years in a row and it was murder to find the dud bulb. Bulbs were glass and really expensive. In this print, I especially like that you can see the filament inside each bulb


I live in a house that has a garden and, around one side and along the bottom, a 5 acre field. My father, who was a teacher,  planted pine trees to sell each Christmas, digging them up to order and selling them complete with roots. He died in 1973 and the trees were then left to their own devices. They are now huge and locally it gets called ‘the forest’, though is actually no more than a tiny wood, so this fabric and one other are to represent that.





This next one makes me think of 1950s and early 60s women’s magazines around Christmas time. This is the style of illustration one might see decorating their baking pages or their crafts page.




Another to remind me of ‘the forest’ and my daughter whose name means small star. I find it a little odd that the trunks look sort of threaded through the branches.


Another two Grinch prints.



These faces in the next two turned out to be huge, which I didn’t realise until the fabric arrived. A 9.5 inch square is almost filled by one face.


More in cheap wrapping paper style.

il_fullxfull.382850084_6ue5 etsy MySewingNook

There is something pleasing about old style caravans in the snow.





mac8097  ebay






This pine cone and branch one is exquisite up close. I had to buy a yard because that was all that was on offer and they only had one. It reminds me of Japanese designs as well as evoking thoughts of ‘the forest’ in our field. It would make a fabulous dirndl skirt

Over the raibow on Etsy £10.32 17 dec 14

The next four are more delightful Peanuts ones.



I have the Peanuts nativity in these two colours.




the_royal_bengal_tiger ebay

This holly one is especially effective. It wows me each time I see it.

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More baubles but nicely stylised.

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Juicy looking little lights.

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A very 60s feel to this next one.

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This next one, with Santa Claus, reminds me of Christmas cards.

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It looks as though someone shook up and poured out a container of elves.

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Just in case I need some small baubles…


WhimbrellasAttic etsy

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and just in case I don’t have enough baubles after all…


That is most of the Christmas fabrics, around 100 there, though I have a handful more still to arrive from the USA, part of my gift from my daughter, so I don’t yet know which ones.

Anyway, one thing that put me off, after I cut out loads of squares of the lovely, printed fabrics, was the thought of cutting all the strips that go round them as an outline, called sashing. Over Christmas, my daughter borrowed a pair of cordless, electric scissors from the wardrobe department at her work and cut the plain black fabric for the Ghastlie patchwork’s sashing into lots and lots of strips for me. The navy blue strips for the Dr Seuss quilt are cut too but the plain, bottle green fabric for around the Christmas quilt is not yet cut at all. I then went on the hunt for good, electric, cordless scissors. I did very well, I got a pair of Black and Decker ones quite cheaply. The ones my daughter brought home cost about £115 and that would have been out of the question.
I’d worked out the size of sashing strips needed for my patchworks, which have 9.5 inch squares (giving 9 inch squares when sewn), so it all got cut into 2.5 inch wide strips of two lengths. I started sewing the sashing around the top and two sides the Ghastlie print squares but, after I’d used up all 141 strips, I realised that not only should I have only sewn them onto the top and one side of each square, not both sides, I also had a size wrong. I now have to unpick 94 side strips and do it without damaging the very expensive fabric used for the squares. Because I back-and-forth stitched about half an inch at each end, to make it extra secure, it means that about half a cm at each end of each strip an utter nightmare to unpick. On top of that, it is black stitching on black fabric, so my 58 year old eyes don’t like it and struggle to see it with any ease and the patterned side has too much black in it to make it easy.
Of course, I have now gone and looked online at sites and videos about making patchwork. I know I should have done it before starting. Before buying too, I suppose. This woman, from New Zealand ‘s, is particularly good and I am now going to do the sashing like she does in this video tutorial, with the separate squares in the corners (called sashing posts), though my sashing and posts will be all one colour. Using corner posts is how it is generally advised to do sashing, for beginners especially, because, when sewing strips of sashed squares together, lining up the seams on those little corner posts helps ensure the correct positioning, so all squares line up, which can otherwise be rather trickier than one might expect. This video she did about sashing is one I find very helpful.

Making a patchwork quilt is certainly not quite the quick and easy thing I thought it would be, not even when using big, 9.5 inch squares. By the way, I am using inches in my quilt making, instead of centimetres, because some of the templates I am using came with just inches on them, probably because that is all they use in the USA and the templates I have are mostly aimed at that country’s quilters.
It is rather a labour of love and very time consuming, even if sewn by machine. Sewing is just one part of it, there is so much more to it. It is brain melting to try to calculate how many pieces are needed, it takes a lot of careful planning, a ton cutting , sewing and ironing and that is just the patchwork layer. I have to add a layer of batting (wadding) and a cotton backing layer, then cut and sew binding all around the edge and a king size quilt has a long, long edge, then I need to actually quilt the darned thing.
I knew it would need a backing, I vaguely had an idea that it might need a layer of something in the middle, I had not for the life of me thought it would need a bound edge or that I’d have to quilt all over the thing to hold the layers together and that job is something I am dreading on king sized quilts.
I also didn’t think about the stuff I’d need to buy; that batting is horribly expensive and, of course, I want to make king sized quilts (which I actually have no real use for), not dinky little wall panels or bags or ornamental fancies, which are not my kind of thing at all.
I’ve also had to buy a new cutting mat, a rotary cutter, quilting pins, lots of thread, the metres of cotton sashing fabric, the expanse of cotton for the backing, acrylic templates and rulers, scissors sharpener, seam ripper, £50 worth of thread (5 colours) etc. Luckily, my daughter is going to make me a neat, square, table top ironing mat, so I only need to buy a heat reflective cover for that, and she will cut me a few acrylic templates so I can eventually cut smaller squares from the left over fabric, for other quilts.

A few of the purchases can be seen in this photo. On the bottom row you can see a double cone thread holder, this is required because thread is cheaper bought on cones and I will need a lot of each colour but cones don’t fit on the sewing machine, so a cone holder is required. Luckily, this one was surprisingly cheap. I saw many at 5 times the price. The last thing in that picture is a tiny ironing mat that one threads strips of binding fabric through, which helps one iron them accurately folded. I will need to make miles of binding, so it seemed worth buying.

stuff bought

Bear in mind as well that almost all these printed fabrics had to be purchased from America and I am in the UK, so shipping was very, very costly, sometimes more than doubling the cost of the fabric in the package and often I got hit with import tax too and, on top of each import tax bill, there was the delivery company’s £8 fee for passing my payment to the Customs’ payment department for each package requiring customs duty payment and it amounts to quite a few packages, to say the least. Annoyingly, the Customs charge is not calculated just on the value of the contents of each package but also on the cost of the postage, which is the bit that really cheeses me off. Anyway, this all made the fabrics exceedingly costly. These are going to be very, very, very expensive quilts.

Before I continue, I may as well show you the Dr Seuss fabrics I have. Not nearly as many as the Christmas ones, of course, though there are about 6 more I’d like to get. Fortunately, unlike Christmas ones, there is a limit to the number of Dr Suess ones available. These fabrics are often produced in relatively short runs, not made year after year, so you there are never all that many of this theme around and some are no longer available anywhere.




























StitchStashDiva etsy



On top of that, I have more fabric than I need, a lot more. A fat quarter is a sort of quarter yard in that it is a half yard that is then cut in half width-wise, so, rather than being a narrow strip that is a quarter of a yard in length, it is a more squat rectangle of fabric. A fat quarter will give me two of the big, 9.5 inch squares I want for my quilts and leave enough for two smaller ones as well, but several of the fabrics could only be found in half yards or metres and some in full yards, so I have enough to make more than one quilt of each range of fabrics. Since the subject of the fabrics and the need to get around to getting these patchworks made, came up a couple of weeks before Christmas, my daughter asked if I’d like a few more fabrics as one of my Christmas gifts. I immediately went looking for ones for her to get me and, of course, not only found some for her to buy, I also ended up buying many more myself, mostly Christmas ones, an absurd amount of Christmas ones. Way too many for one quilt. I think I could easily make two King size quilts without even repeating any of the Christmas ones. I will certainly have enough to make several Christmas quilts.

This means I really have to make more than one and try to sell the extras to recoup some of the money that I spent and have been too scared to work out the total of. I don’t even want to make my own quilts, let alone extra ones. I am hoping that once I make one I will have got the hang of it and it will have become quick and easy, so I won’t object to doing the extra ones.

I now underestimated the knowledge required, so realise that I have not planned well. Actually, have not planned at all, so now that I have learned more about it, I have to unpick all those flipping strips, iron all the pieces flat again, carefully work out sizes and numbers and start again properly but I must not use that as an excuse to put it off for another year or two. I MUST get these quilts done.

Now, while my daughter told me, “Don’t by any more fabrics!”, when selecting a few for a Christmas gift for me, she found herself sucked in by the Peanuts character ones she kept coming across and then she ended up buying herself a big selection of those,so that I can make her a quilt out of them (I offered, she didn’t just presume). Like mother, like daughter.

So here are my daughter’s Peanuts fabrics.

A Wee Bit Irish St. Patrick's Snoopy Woodstock Doghouse

christaquilts  ebay



Happiness is Peanuts Characters Marbled Green

Happiness is Peanuts Snoopy and Woodstock Red


Hugs for Heroes Peanuts Snoopy Squares Green

Hugs for Heroes Peanuts Snoopy Stars Grass Beige

Nativity Scene Peanuts Gang Charlie Brown Snoopy Lucy Christmas Program Blue


Peanuts Gang Easter Fabric Snoopy Colorful Eggs


This aloha one was especially expensive, I guess because it is out of print now.


peanuts gang



There isn’t a season, a festival or celebration that isn’t portrayed in a Peanuts fabric.

purple halloween

snoopy autumn

Now, my guilty secret is that during my most recent browsing, when both my daughter and I selected and bought more Christmas fabrics for me, I also bought six with a Japanese theme to them, which means that, eventually, I will have to buy several more so that I can make a Japanese themed quilt.

I get somewhat obsessive when it comes to things like this, I lose all self control and common sense. This is why I went from wanting a kimono, to obsessing about them to having so many that I simply had to go into the business of selling them.

I will finish this blog post with the three Japanese ones I have so far. I really ought to be making practise pieces, instead of blogging, so I can get all these made into big patchwork quilts. Maybe tomorrow evening.

Etsy Fabrics4Kids 1yd Fuji Afternoon 01 jan 2015

Etsy Fabrics4Kids half yd Oriental Traditions  01 jan 2015





Oh, and just before I go, a rather random one, a cotton print of potatoes. Who wouldn’t want fabric with a potatoes on it? Not what usually springs to mind when one hears talk of a potato print. I’ll tuck it away and, if I do get into making quilts and not hating it, I may make a fruit and vegetable based one, as there are lots of fruit and vegetable prints like this one.



You can also check out my website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Snow… man, robot & squirrel… snow play!

wafuku new year

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Christmas has passed and New Year beckons.

I loved having snow thick on the ground here on Christmas day, it’s been so long since we had a white Christmas. My daughter came home to spend Christmas here and, even at 36 years old, was really excited by the snow.

On Christmas day we started making a snow man, by 27 December we had built a snowman, called Lyle, a Kid Robot and a snow squirrel and were quite exhausted by it.

In the photos below, you can get an idea of the snowy conditions and the outcome of all our snow play. The first shows my daughter in part of the back garden, the second shows the snow topped, permanent sculpture there, a stylised mule called Mr Lamb.

In next few photos you can see us making the snowman. He got named Lyle because my daughter decided to add a quiff and he suddenly looked a bit like Lyle Lovett. We used some ash from the log fire in the house to outline his hair a touch. He was built near the front of property, to be seen through the kitchen window

Next was Kid Robot, built on the lawn called the washing green.

It was started in daylight but time flies when carving a snow figure and we continued to work after dark, relying on a little light from the house reflecting off snow. Most of the light in the photos below is from the camera flash.

Next his chin was bulked out a bit, his mohican adjusted and his eyes worked on but he got crumbly towards the end of his construction, so we stopped at that and didn’t add the ear discs for fear of the head breaking off (again).

We then moved to the top back lawn, to make the next and final thing, before it got too dark and the snow got too icy to manipulate. The final one we made was a snow squirrel, because we like watching the squirrels scampering about on that lawn. By then it was pretty dark and the snow had thawed enough to have dropped off the trees but snow still lay over the ground and had got quite icy on the surface, so it was hard to work. It’s still there and I’d like to make some adjustments to it but it’s now so frozen and the snow on the ground is powdery below a crisp frozen layer and none of that lends itself to making changes to the squirrel, so I’ll leave it alone now

The picture below, printed on a man’s, silk juban kimono, shows geisha building snowmen. Notice the extremely high geta they have on their feet, to raise them out of the snow.


A happy New Year to you all.