A Big Disappointment

My quilt has been back from the longarmer a while ago... I simply didn't have time to express how disappointed I am (just finished a long stay in China, plus a small surgery, and then back to work overwhelmed with so many projects)! All I want to do now is to take my seam ripper and rip rip rip!

So, at the beginning, we agreed that she would do light custom quilting and would use simple patterns like cross hatching, circles, swirls, etc. To me, simple does not mean rushing over something. I expect workmanship, and a well-planned simple layout. But when I received my quilt, I wonder if she is even qualified to do custom quilts. Look how horrible her swirls are:

I felt like she was learning how to do swirls on my quilt!

For sure I am gonna rip her swirls and replace with my own swirls and feathers, like this, but on a larger scale:

And her stitch-in-the-ditch is just stitch-outside-the-ditch!

And she decided that for the money she charged me, she could not spend too much time on my quilt, and so much of the background is not quilted!

The puffy background drives me nuts!

And so to save her time, she ruined my hand-sewn sunburst blocked with a big swirl in the center! 

Really, I think I can do much better myself. So today I went to a Bernina dealer, and ordered a Q20.

Tokyo Trip 2016 Part 3 - Jiyugaoka and More

I wrote part 1 and part 2 last year and felt obligated to complete the whole list. So here it is!

Jiyugaoka is a neighborhood in southern Meguro, Tokyo. Actually, Jiyugaoka is not just for fabric shopping, around the Jiyugaoka Station the tiny streets are filled with chic boutiques and zakka stores, cafes and restaurants that make the neighborhood a great destination for all tourists. I like the relaxed, petite bourgeoisie atmosphere of Jiyugaoka, less crowed than the in city centres but not lack of commercial developments. I visited four fabric stores in Jiyugaoka, all boutique style. So, if you are visiting Jiyugaoka, do not just focus on the fabric stores! Enjoy also other shops and cafes. Otherwise you will be disappointed because the shops are just too small comparing with Swany or Tomato.

Not far away from the station there is a lovely shop call Hobbyra Hobbyre. It is a chain store that has over 40 branches nationwide, some are located inside department stores. Their flagship products are Liberty fabrics printed in Japan, with also great selections of yarn crafts and embroidery supplies. If you like sweetie cutie refined and delicate handmade goodies, definitely visit one or two Hobbyra Hobbyre. They sell beautiful embroidery kits for wall hangings, bags, placemats and more. They also have Liberty fabric kits for dressmaking and quilts. I simply couldn’t resist the tana lawn, and brought a bundle of precuts home.

One of my current quilting-in-progress project is an Arkansas Crossroads quilt pieced with these Japanese tana lawn and those I got in the UK back in 2014. It reminds me of my joyful memories in the UK and Japan, with my sweet sister.

A bit further south from the station there is a home decor store, DDintex, that also sells Liberty prints as well as other European fabrics. They also carry their own in-house linens and sell ready-to-use home furnishing products and accessories.

Just to the east side of the station there is a lovely quilt shop called Nu: Hand Works. It is a bit hard to find that the store is on the third floor of a supermarket building! I almost missed it. The store has a nice selection of canvas, strips and ginghams, as well as quilting cotton from the US and Europe. Their notions and bag-making accessories are pretty decent, too.

If you walk about 20 minutes north from the station to the Meguro Dori street, on the south side there is a lovely little fabric store call FIQ (Fabric in Ideal Quality) that focuses on bold and beautiful Scandinavian inspired fabrics, with prices tend to be on the expensive side. I LOVE their medium weight cottons and linens!

Other places

1. Shinjuku

Love these Japanese basting cotton!

Love these Japanese basting cotton!

In Shinjuku, sewing-wise there are two places worth visiting: Okadaya and Books Kinokuniya. This was the second time I visited Okadaya and I was not disappointed. On the fabric building, my favourites are the medium weight cotton/linen-cotton prints displayed on the ground floor. The bottom line is: if you don’t have a chance to visit the Nipori Fabric Town or Swany, Okadaya is definitely the place to visit. It’s very close the the Shinjuku Station, the one that you will be most likely pass by… so no excuse.

Since you are already in Shinjuku, why not also pay a visit to Books Kinokuniya! They have the main store just outside the Shinjuku-san-chimo Station (not Shinjuku Station, but Shinjuku-san-chimo Station). Look how much craft books they have in stock on the sixth floor!


2. Kichijoji

There is also a Hobbyra Hobbyre in Kichijoji, but the most famous place there is Yuyawaya, the giant equivalent of Fabricland in Canada, or Jo-Ann in the USA! There are several Yuyawaya shops in Tokyo, and the one in Kichijoji is quite famous that many craft lovers mentioned this particular location (I don’t’ know why). 

3. Nishi-Ogikubo

The Nishi-Ogikubo Station is just east of the Kichijoji Station (Chuo Main Line). I went there specifically for a lovely quilt shop called “Sweet Flap”. I love the quilts designed by the owner, Naoko Sunagawa. Her place is about 450m south of the Nishi-Ogikubo Station. It’s a nice walk wondering around the cute shops in the district, too!

It's just so much fun staying in Tokyo for two weeks.

The gorgeous cherry blossoms and yummy noodles are so much to be missed. Besides sightseeing and food tasting, the fabric shopping experience is simply amazing and most unforgettable! I want to go back, again and again!

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Here is a mini quilt of my original design, and the latest FO.

Size: 16"x22.5"
Techniques used: piecing, raw edge machine appliqué, turned-edge machine appliqué, a little bit of hand appliqué, and a little bit of embroidery stitches. 
Batting: Quilters Dream wool and thin cotton (2 layers together)
Thread for quilting: WonderFil Invisafil

I really like making mini quilts! It's much easier to maneuver on a domestic sewing machine, and quick to make. I can't wait to make more!

An Orphan Block and a Finished Quilt Top

My productivity is not bad since my last post. My sampler quilt top was finished before Christmas, and I decided to send it to a longarm quilter to finish it. I contacted Michelle from Quilted Memories for some custom quilting, and yesterday I finally brought the quilt top (with wool batting from Quilters Dream) to her place. We opted for simple fillers so the focus will be on the blocks instead of the background. This will be my first quilt that's longer-quilted. I can't wait to see the result... in two weeks!

With the epic quilt top finished (it took me over a year, on and off), I had two orphan blocks (a Baltimore Rose and a Nosegay) and decided to make a mini quilt using one of them. 

I used WonderFil DecoBob (DB115, a linen colour) on top and AuriFil 50 weight cotton as bobbin thread. The top thread is slightly darker than the background fabric, making the quilting stitches quite standout. The finished "quilt" measures 16"x16". 

The is a turned-edge machine appliqué block. I used washed-away appliqué sheets, glue sticks, and the Tweezerman cuticle sticks to prep the edges. The wash-away sheets actually would stay in the appliqués after washing, but becomes softer. To reduce bulkiness, I cut open the background fabric and pullout as much paper as possible. 

The batting includes a layer of wool and a layer of thin cotton (both from Quilters Dream). It's thick and lofty at the beginning, but the dense quilting did a nice job of compressing the background and bringing a trapunto effect to the appliqués. 

Some in-progress photos of the block... 

The finished block. The zig-zag stitches using Sulky's invisible thread and a #60 sharp needle is very much invisible, indeed. The only thing that I don't like about a size 60 needle is that my machine cannot thread through the tiny hole...

Finally a sneak peak of my sampler quilt top:

I made another Baltimore Rose block using mostly traditional fabrics to blend in more with other blocks. 

A Decade

It's been tens years since I started my first blog in 2006! In the mean time, I went through undergrad, masters, marriage and have been working full time for almost 4 years. Looking back, I am really glad that I kept a (not so complete) record of what I made, what I bought, what I suffered and what I accomplished. Indeed, I also used to write about life in QQ zone and MSN space. I also occasionally (and still) post in Weibo, WeChat Moments, Facebook and Instagram. Once in a while I would enjoy pinning for 30 minutes in Pinterest. Hmmm... Seems like I am so keep up with the social media! The only place that I never have an account is Twitter. 

Today I hang out with an Instagram friend at a Starbucks near my house, and we talked a lot about the knitting community (while finishing our socks). I found I have missed a lot about the "hit" stuffs and designers in the knitting world! Just now, I went through a Toronto Yarn Shop blog that I created in 2006, and was surprised to see many of the local yarn shops that I visited 10 years ago have disappeared. Maybe it's time to refresh the blog entries and put in new ones (and include fabric shops). If you are in the GTA area, please share with me your favorite shops and I will take a visit. 

(Not So) Recent FMQ Samples

These are placemat size (about 13" x 18") samples I made back in July and August. I love the freedom of no-marking free motion quilting. Just relax and doodling on fabric! My favorite thread for dense quilting so far is WonderFil InvisaFil, paired with Size 60 Microtex needles. My favorite batting combo so far is one layer of Hobbs Tuscany Silk + one layer of Quilters Dream Angel Request Cotton (very thin batting). Love the drape and the trapunto finish! 

Unfortunately, there is something wrong with my camera lens, so you see an off-colored strike through many of the pictures.