Monday, February 24, 2014

Tokyo: 'Moomin' quilts, a lot of shopping, a little bit of raw chicken and more...

Hello, Steph here!

A couple of weeks ago, Riana, Danielle, Jessica and myself went to Tokyo to visit the Tokyo Quilt Show. It was brilliant and I thought I would share a few of my favourite photos from the trip with you today. 

View of the show

Part of the theme at this years show was the Swedish cartoon 'Moomin'. There was a whole area in the hall dedicated to all things 'Moomin' from quilts, bags and crockery to miniature 'Moomin' houses. The quilts were all extremely detailed, made up of the tiniest pieces of fabric, I couldn't even begin to think how to make one! Here's a few of my favourites....

Another area in the show that caught my eye in particular was the indigo quilts. All the quilts in this area were made of hand-dyed indigo fabrics. The color of the dye was so rich and full that the quilts seemed to glow. Each dye is slightly different and most of the quilts here were pieced with tiny pieces of fabric with slightly different dye colors. This gave the quilts a natural depth and flow. 

What amazed me with a lot of the quilts on show were that they were hand-pieced and quilted. The lack of space in Tokyo means that most people don't have the space for a machine and so they do all of their sewing by hand. The level of detail in the quilts in the show was staggering and most must have taken years to complete. This knowledge makes me feel slightly less bad about all the 'in progress' projects currently taking up space in my sewing room! Also, the level of planning needed to complete some of the quilts was truly amazing. There must have been thousands of tiny pieces of fabric in the quilts and each piece of fabric has been given a specific place before any sewing has even been thought about ....mind boggling! Here are a few of my picks....


And now for my favourite 'quilt' in the show....

Tiny hand-pieced balls made with Japanese silks

Each ball (and there was hundreds if not thousands of them) is about 1 inch in size, and has been hand-pieced with Japanese silk. It had a beautiful three dimensional quality whilst hung on the wall that changed as you walked around it.

There were also a lot of 'make and takes' in the stands for trying out new machines and functions that you might not have tried before. Here we are tackling a couple of projects on the Brother stand...

Riana having a play with the embroidery on the Brother V3

Happy days at the Brother 'make and take' stand

Jess with her 'make and take' project from Brother

There were lots of stands surrounding the exhibition selling all your crafting needs and more, from bag handles and hardware to super cute miniature sewing machines and pin cushions. There was also lots of cute kits for small projects and we've come back with lots of ideas for the next round of our clubs. 

A tiny craft shop!

Trim heaven

Origami dress

Perfect for Dubai!

Beads galore

We've come back with enough inspiration to last a lifetime!

When we weren't at the show, we were shopping. Fabric shopping to be exact and there was a whole town to keep us occupied!

My kind of town!

There was so much to choose from and we even brought some cute fat quarters back to the shop!

Tired after a hard days fabric shopping

A few of the fabrics we brought back for the shop ...hurry, they're selling fast!

I couldn't tell you about our trip to Tokyo without giving you a quick glimpse of what the food was like! We were very adventurous and tried some new and super tasty things. One of the downsides about everything being in Japanese, though, is that you don't realise you've ordered raw chicken...

The infamous raw chicken!

Not even we were brave enough to try that one!

On our last day, we fit in a little bit of culture and some touristy things. We visited Tokyo tower and a beautiful shrine and we even got to see a little part of a Buddhist service. 

Tokyo tower

Buddhist shrine

It was a fantastic trip and you could win the chance to visit the quilt show in Tokyo next year! It is one of the fantastic prizes,  offered by Brother, for taking part in our 'Quilt and Stitch Art' show in May. All you have to do is enter a quilt and you will be put in the hat for the lucky draw. It can be the first quilt you've ever made, you have the same chance as everyone else (details about 'Quilt and Stitch Art' to follow soon)

So get sewing...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crochet & Knitting by Jenny Williams

Crochet and Knitting : by Jenny Williams.  Teacher at Craftland
When choosing between crochet and knitting the application is key. If you want something that is thicker and more structured or you would like to make a lot of non-linear designs using negative space (e.g. lace), choose crochet. If you want something smooth that drapes well, choose knitting. For instance, I prefer to crochet house slippers and knit socks because the crochet house slippers are thick enough to keep my feet warm and I don't mind if they are a bit stiff but for socks I need the smooth flexibility of knitting as I will wear them with shoes over them--which would push the knots of crochet socks into feet painfully.

People of all ages—can learn how to knit, crochet and craft with yarn because its fun, relaxing and you can make great things, Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn, Craft Land wants to help you get started today. We teach you all the basics and give you instruction about how to make the basic stitches, tips and how to read patterns.

Once you feel that you are ready to begin a project, we have some pattern suggestions for you and as you begin your project, we have clinics you can attend to get the help of a teacher and enjoy the company of other knitting and crochet enthusiasts.

Have fun!