Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It is that time of year... 2014!!!

As I type this blog post, there are many people already celebrating the passage from 2013 to 2014. Others are getting ready to celebrate, so I thought it was high time for me to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year. May 2014 bring you joy, happiness and good health.

Reflecting on the year 2013, I do realize that this blog has enabled me to share my passion for needle and thread. I first want to thank all the designers that inspire me and make my fingers want to stitch continuously. I also really want to thank YOU all and to express my gratitude for your visits and comments. It is such a pleasure to see that I can share my passion with so many people all around the world.

Thank you also for your own blogs that I love visiting too ;-)

Yesterday, I managed to finish a little project from the book Quilt And Dog Cottage by Véronique Réquéna. This is the last project for 2013.


How about finishing another project on the first day of 2014 ?

Happy New Year,

Monday, December 30, 2013

Handquilting : second block

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Only two days and the year will end... what will 2014 bring ? I wish it will bring you joy, love and, above all, keep you in good health.

Here is my progress on the handquilting of my daughter's quilt.






For the quilting design, I have made no effort on this block as I have used Sakae's quilting design which was just perfect for the block. I only changed the basket quilting and used my fabric print for it.



I will try to be a little bit more creative for the other blocks as I will use the fabric design for two blocks.

Have a great New Year celebration,

Until later,

Monday, December 16, 2013

Handquilting

I love handquilting. It is a quiet and peaceful process, almost therapeutic. Handquilting really turns a top into a quilt. It makes the quilt alive, vibrant, filled with all the energy and love put into quilting it.


 


 

 

I have known that for  a long  time, so  could you tell me why it takes me so long to start quilting a top ?



One block done.  I hand quilt one hour a day to achieve my goal of finishing the quilt before mid-February. Wish me luck!

Until later,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Books review.

I have read so many books lately that it is difficult to choose which ones to talk about. The Kinfolk Table Cookbook is fantastic as are the people in the book. The age issue of Kinfolk magazine has made me think about life and the fact that we are all growning old. The beautiful book Passagère Du Silence by Fabienne Verdié which was recommended by Verom from Côté Passion has moved me deeply ...........but I will here only talk about quilting books.

Before starting this post I want you to know that the titles of the books are in italics and the publishers are between brackets. If you want to see sample pages, go to the publisher's website and you will find a link to see a few pages from the book. (No affliliation with any publisher mentioned)
All the photos come from the publishers' websites and I couldn't change the size.

Well, back to my post.....As you may know by now, I like different quilting styles and have stopped trying to choose only one or two. This is way too difficult for me! Indeed, I like traditional reproduction quilts, Japanese taupe quilts and country, folk art and primitive quilts. I like reproduction fabrics, homespun, Japanese taupes, wool, linen, to name a few... I even like modern quilts when they are reinterpretations of traditional ones.

In every magazine I read, what I prefer is the story behind the quilts : what inspiration is behind,  when it was made, what fabrics were used. For the same reason I am always interested by books about quilt history.


Chintz Quilts from The Poos Collection (Quiltmania) is just perfect to bring  delightful hours of discovery and learning. What I think I really appreciate in this book are all the close-up photos.

 

Still about traditional quilts inspired by antiques, I  like Petra Prins and Ann Moonen's Promenade Dans Un Jardin Hollandais (Quiltmania). It is great to see the antique version and its interpretation side by side. This is my first book by Petra Prins and it is inspiring.




Now about the Japanese books that arrived on my book shelves.

First, Reiko Kato's new book Mother's Dream Friends (Quiltmania). Though I am not really a great fan of Sue and Billy, I really enjoy making the Quiltmania's 2013 BOM. It is fun and as always with Reiko Kato, there are so many details that the blocks are to die for!!! For the book I love how creative Reiko Kato is in her designs and must admit that I dream of making this round quilt on the front cover. I especially like the last row of houses and  I know the technique to finish the roofs. It is the technique I had learnt when making the round tulle basket with the row of houses a few years ago.






 Another great book is Les Modèles Traditionnels en Leçons  by Yoko Saito (Quiltmania). I am very happy to have the French version as in this book, there is a text for almost every block in the book and I wanted to understand what was written. These traditional blocks made in Japanese taupe fabrics are just splendid!!




Another book by Yoko Saito has just been translated in English. Japanese Taupe Color Theory (Stitch Publications) It  is a study book for the use of Japanese taupe colors. No translation in French existed! Now there are many aspects of the use of Japanese taupes which appear less obscure to me. I can now start planning a palette with my Japanese fabrics and gain confidence thanks to this book. I can use the taupe color wheel to select and organize my fabrics for a specific project.



For my love of country quilts, Quilt And Dog Cottage by Véronique Réquéna (Tutti Frutti éditions), is a fantastic book with projects for beginners as well as more experienced quilters. It is quite different from other quilting books as the approach to quilting is seen through decoration in the very specific style of Véronique Réquéna's quilt shop "Born To Quilt".
I have already made two projects from this book : a scarf (see previous post) and a small framed design with buttons which you will see as soon as it is framed. What I like is that each project can be adapted for your own house and home decor just by picking up your favourite fabrics.



And to finish this books review, the last book is by Maggie Bonanomi and is entitled Another Place and Time (Kansas City Star). I love what the author creates. In this book, she uses lots of neutrals and beiges and browns, not too far, in a way, from the Japanese taupe color palette but definitely in a very different style! One might see contracdiction in enjoying the detailed crafmanship of Japanese quilts and the simplicity and primitive look of the creations of Maggie Bonanomi. Well, I only see variety!  I like both and enjoy making projects from all these different designers.



Last but not least, I have, like many of you, discover the new App for Ipad from Quiltmania. This is not a PDF version of the paper magazine but more an expanded version of it with more photos and videos. I simply love the design and the interactivity of this app.
Though I am not ready  to give up the paper version yet, I may download an Ipad version from time to time.



Well, Christmas is just round the corner now, so  enjoy the holiday season. Here we will have the visit of two friends from Lake Oswego, Oregon who will spend Christmas with us and after that we will relax and keep on taking care of ourselves so that spring can see us celebrate a complete recovery for my wife.

Until later,

Monday, November 25, 2013

a few finishes!! Finally...


 Sorry to have been away from my blog for such a long time. My life has been all upside down lately. That has kept me away from my needles and therefore I had nothing -quilting or stitching-related- to share.

From every hardship in life, there are always many beautiful things that come along. In this case my family and friends, living nearby or far away, have been awesome. This is such a relief to see so much humanity all around you. It helps you stay strong to help those who needs you in a difficult time.

Life goes on and I can assure you that I will not lose a single minute of it! There is so much to do, so much to share...

So let's start with the Stitch Me Club 2013 project! What I can say is that I absolutely LOVE Natalie's  (L'Atelier Perdu) designs. There are a bliss to stitch and finish.

Well, here are the photos, judge by yourself ;-)




 



 



So what do you think ? Isn't it the cutest project ?

Last week, I also managed to do some appliqué with  block 2 of  Reiko Kato's mystery quilt published in Quiltmania in 2013.
I think that Reiko's creations are full of charm. It is a pleasure to work with these tiny pieces of fabric.



 





I am now working on Reiko Kato and Yoko Saito mystery quilts at the same time! It seems I cannot work on one single project at a time! But I keep working on one block at a time and finish it before starting another one from a different project ;-)

Finally, from the book Quilt And Dog Cottage by Véronique Réquéna from Born To Quilt ( a great book BTW ), I made this scarf for my wife. It is not difficult to make and the result is really nice. My wife loves it and had it around her neck to go see my two daughters' concert on Saturday evening. It was the fall concert of the orchestra they play in. Emma is a flutist and Louise a clarinetist. Louise also plays the piano and the guitar but not with the orchestra. The girls were happy to see their mum being able to go out and feeling well. So was I!





 

I have received several quilting books since last summer. Moreover a copy of Kinfolk Table is now here so how about a books review for my next post ?

Well, it's good to be back and  keep the thread that connects us through this blog alive ;-)

Until later,

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Playing with Japanese fabrics and a visit from far away friends.

As you know, I have way too many WIPs but this is impossible for me to stick to just one project. I do make significant progress on each one though, thanks to my last year's resolution.

Lately, I have cleaned up my sewing room and have arranged my fabrics by style (Japanese, country, repro...) and by colour. That made me realize I had quite a big stash of Japanese fabrics.

So, inspired by the Farmer's Wife Quilt made by Sakae from Pink Caramel, I have started making blocks using my Japanese fabrics. It is going to be a long journey as I make only one or two blocks a week, but that's what I like with this project.

Not only  am I learning more about Japnese fabrics and how to use them, I am also using Marti Michell's templates and Nat's (from Les Ouvrages de Nat)  tutorials. This means I am piecing the blocks by machine which is quite unusual for me but this is the perfect exercice to get better and better at it.

This is my favoutite block so far :




And here are the other blocks I made :


 





Last weekend, I had friends from Portland who came over. What a great weekend it was! We talked and talked, had great food and wine, went to the farmer's market and we even visited Toulouse on Sunday afternoon.







Thanks Dean, Laura, Collin and Rachel for coming over. I'll see you again in Portland, hopefully soon ;-)

That made me realize that I should try to go to Toulouse with a tourist eye more often. I took pictures and thought it would be nice to share them with you, mainly for my overseas readers who don't know my little corner of France.

 Toulouse's city hall, streets, buildings and river banks :















Can you see why it is called "La ville Rose" (the pink city) ?

Finally, I also wanted to share with you a new dish I tried a few weeks ago. It was a quinoa salad with grapefruit and mint leaves,   pan-sautéed prawns (lightly "breaded" with quinoa flakes) . Healthy, light and so yummy..... I served it with some ratatouille made with our garden's vegetables. Give it a try...




I should be back very soon with my Stitched Me Club project completely finished ;-) and some quilt book reviews.

Now that back-to-school rush is over, I will probably post more regularly.

Until later,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time for the flowers to bloom.

Time is something that has really upset me for a while. Time flies at certain periods and  sometimes it just seem that it never ends. What's more is that the older I grow the faster time flies!

It's all a question of perception though as a second, a minute, an hour, a week or a month lasts exactly the same... I know!



What I find fabulous in having a long summer break is that I have plenty of time ahead of me and that often leads me to many places I had no plan to go to. I often let my mind drift away, thinking about my life, my family, my friends, what is really important, what matters most... and the glimpses of personal truth I get are enlightening.

This summer is no exception and has been even exceptional in many ways! I have tried to relax, to take time with my wife and beautiful daughters -how they have grown.... still can't believe it as they were toddlers not so long ago- , take time to stitch, time to read, to talk to my neighbors, to have friends, colleagues, cousins, aunt and uncle over for a BBQ party. We have had many delightful evenings. We also met friends from Burgundy and Switzerland on the Meditteranean coast. We visited Barcelona, a city not very far from my vacation place but I had not find time to visit it before...
I even had the visit of a stitching friend who came for a day with her husband... I'm sure you probably know what we talked about!!!

 




And guess what ? Every single, simple, small gathering was filled with laughters, shared memories, good food, good wine and most of all, love and friendship... Blissful... Eternal... new memories are being made all summer long...

 This time, I have been able, more than ever before, to focus on the here and now, to rejoice in the company of the people I was with... Time is not so much important when you fill it with intensity and accept with humility the passing of it.

And that's not all!  I resumed running again on a more regular basis, going out four times a week for an hour or an hour  a half. Running in the countryside early in the morning or late in the evening  is fantastic... rarely do I have time to enjoy the beautiful golden hours. Lights are incredible, and it's like discovering my own surroundings with a new eye. I had no other choice though as it is way too hot to run at any other time of the day!

This has been a summer of renewal, and I still move slowly to the end of it, knowing perfectly well that the end of it means the beginning of a new school year, full of challenges and promises, and that the blooming flowers that have filled my summer both in my heart or on my piece of linen will last forever...




... and the stitching goes on with part 2 of the Stitch Me Club.

 

 Last thing I wanted to share with you is the magazine Kinfolk which is truly inspiring! I guess it perfectly fits in my state of mind these days. I have read, and read again the articles and have admired the beautiful photos.



Until later,