Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sashiko Needlework Cases

At the Festival of Quilts a couple of years ago, I picked up a Lynette Anderson pattern for a set of covers for a needlework case. The back cover was pieced hexagons and it gave me the idea to do a sashiko design. It took me a year to decide exactly what I wanted to do, which was a diagonal line of flowers on the front and hexagons on the back. I wanted to do two cases, one as a present and one for myself. To make them different, I decided to have cherry blossom on one case and plum blossom on the other.

I wanted to experiment with transferring designs using my Silhouette Cameo, so I put created the front design using the Silhouette Studio software. The blossom designs came from Susan Briscoe's Ultimate Sashiko Source book. I used a Frixion pen in the Cameo pen holder and it worked very well.

The hexagon design for the back was created using a graphics package, which I imported in Silhouette Studio. That didn't work so well, because the Silhouette Studio software added some extra lines when it did the import. However, it was good enough and because I had used a Frixion pen, I knew I would be able to iron off the extra lines later.

I managed to transfer the design the weekend before we flew off to Tenerife on holiday, so it spent  some very enjoyable hours stitching on our hotel balcony listening to the soundtrack to Hamilton. This is one of those projects that will have strong memories of where it was stitched.

For the sashiko stitching I used some silk thread I had bought from Kimonomomo at the Houston Quilt Festival. It was beautiful thread to use but I used up most of a spool on each case.

I used a circular need to attach the covers to the cases. The black cases I had bought at the Festival of Quilts worked well for the plum design but didn't work at all for the cherry design. Fortunately I managed to find a cream case which suited the blue thread much better. That means I now have a spare case. I just need to decide what I want to do with it - maybe bead embroidery.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Ski Chalet Cake

As it's still January, I think I can get away with sharing this year's ( or should I say last year's) Christmas cake. Jen was super busy at university up until the week before Christmas, so she didn't have a lot of time to plan the Christmas cake. As she's had such good results with the cake designs from Cakes and Sugarcraft magazine, I suggested she had a go at the Ski Season cake by Sherry Hostler in the December 2016 issue. As usual it was a great success. Jen modified the design a bit by putting a snowman next to the chalet rather than a fir tree. Over time he developed a bit of a lean, perhaps due a to a bit of apres ski!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Honouring the Journey in 2017

I have decided that my mantra for 2017 will be "Honouring the Journey".  The idea for this mantra came from two sources. The most recent source was the film "Passengers", which we saw as a family on Christmas Eve. In the film Chris Pratt's character was given a piece of bartender wisdom that many people are so focused on their destination that they forget to enjoy getting there.

The other source was some management training I attended a couple of months ago, which covered the theory of growth mindsets developed by Carol Dweck of Stanford University. I won't try to explain it in detail because I'm in no way an expert. In principle, the theory says that intelligence can be developed and effort leads to success. One key aspect is that mistakes should celebrated and not feared because they are all part of the learning process. If you want to know more about growth mindsets there is a good video by Train Ugly here.

In the spirit of honouring the journey, here's a picture of the current progress on my latest piece of Japanese Embroidery. This is a JEC phase 4 design which focuses on goldwork.The red butterfly is the first of three. When it's finished the circle around the butterfly will be completely filled with gold circles and should look like hammered gold. It's very difficult to work on this under artificial light, so this piece is going to be a long journey.

Before I took the photo I turned the frame over so that I could tap the back to loosen any dust that had settled. We don't often look at the back of Japanese Embroidery, so it can be a complete surprise what the back looks like. It certainly was in this case. The path of the couching thread had created some interesting spiral patterns.

So in the year coming I will be doing my utmost to enjoy the journey and if not actually celebrating my mistakes, accepting them as part of the learning process. I would like to wish you all a creative 2017 and an enjoyable journey.