Archive for May, 2010

In reviewing the statistics of my blog from time to time, I know that there are a lot of folks out there searching for Yuwa fabrics.  Common searches that I see on a daily basis are often something like “Yuwa retailers”, or  “Yuwa fabrics US”.   From this I get the sneaky suspicion that there are a number of people on the hunt for these fabrics.

So, when I tell you that I asked my friend Keiko, who was at Spring Quilt Market last week in Minneapolis,  to take some photos of fabric at the Yuwa booth you’ll know why.  And, no surprise…she really came through and has very graciously agreed to let me share the photos with you.  

Although I don’t have any idea where you could actually purchase these particular fabrics, I thought you’d like to see what is new and upcoming in Yuwa Fabrics. 

But if these photos get you curious to see more, check out the retailers listed along the bottom of the right handed-side bar.  In fact, my local shop, Prairie Queens  (www.prairiequeensquilts.com) , has a number of bolts of Yuwa fabric — just not the prints shown in this post.

Enjoy…and thanks to Keiko for her expert photo taking.



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"Pocket Full of Posies" by Robyn Falloon

I thought I’d brighten everyone’s Monday with the photo of this new block of the month pattern, Pocket Full of Posies, designed by Robyn Falloon from Bon Bon Designs in Australia.  I just love how exuberant the design is!   It’s being offered as an exclusive block-of-the-month pattern from the Fragrant Cottage quilt shop in Warmambool, Australia.  Not on that continent you say…well you can either book your fare or, through the magic of the internet, you can be transported there by clicking here www.fragrantcottage.com.au/Fragrant_Cottage/.

I’ve shown Robyn’s designs on my blog before, and she has graciously allowed me to include the photo of this new quilt here.  But, my showing it here should not keep you from looking around on her website (www.bonbondesigns.com/).  It’s chock-a-block full of wonderful patterns and photos from her workshops; there’s lots of inspiration there.  I believe she’s even offering some of her patterns bundled together in sets of two at a price reduction.

 My friend Eleanor asked her daughter for one of Robyn’s patterns for her Christmas gift this past year, and we were all impressed how wonderfully packaged and presented the pattern was.  Full size pattern sheets in a wonderful folio.  Those Aussie’s…they really are taking the appliquérs of the world by storm.


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Celebrity Quilts

English Medallion Quilt

   It always amazes me that some quilts become so well-known that they actually become fiber celebrities.  A case in point is an English medallion quilt with appliqued baskets surrounding a field of mosaic pieced hexagons and stars.    

 I first saw this quilt late 2007 when it was being offered on the Christie’s  London Auction website.  I almost fell off my chair with deep fiber envy and was actually seriously considering digging deep to find the money for it.  Just imagine, an English applique in a medallion format.  This was just my kind of quilt!  I even when as far as to call the auction house to get further information about its condition as well as some close up photos.  (To see the original auction description, go to: www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5018313)  

Well, the photos were disappointing and I never got a real good idea what the condition was so, I abandoned the idea thinking I’d never see the quilt again, alone get to see good photos of all the blocks.  Oh…was I wrong!  Not only was this my kind of quilt, but it appears to be a lot of other folk’s idea of one great textile; this coverlet has become the lastest phenom of the quilt world.  Don’t ask me how it made it from the auction house to the hands of Karey Bresenhan, because I haven’t a clue.  But, she generously showed it to the world at the International Quilt Festival held in Chicago this past April.  And from there…the rest is history.     Information on the quilter has long been lost, but her design has captured the hearts of quilters around the globe some 200 years later.

You may have already seen photos of this quilt, but I thought it would be helpful to pull some of these resources together in case you missed one.  Of note are the photos that Vicki posted on her blog What a Load of Scrap (whataloadascrap.blogspot.com/).  She gives us a complete set of the applique blocks, noting their location.  Thanks Vicki…you know what us appliquists really want.    There are also photos that show more of the non-applique and mosaic bits on Taryn’s blog, Repro Quilt Lover (http://reproquiltlover.blogspot.com/2010/04/19th-c-folk-art-chicago-3.html).    

 On Tara Lynn’s Sew Unique Creations blog you can  see closeups of the fabrics used in the quilt as well as the exhibit description signage.  You may note that what was  described by Christie’s as a mid-19th century quilt has been re-dated at c. 1800 (which may be more appropriate).    (http://www.sewuniquecreationsblog.com/2010/04/wow-2-back-to-back-quilt-shows.html)  

On Susi’s blog Susis Quilts (http://susisquilts.blogspot.com/2010/04/top-border-is-finished.html) you’ll see the reproduction she’s made.  It’s truly an amazing amount of work given the short time since it was first exhibited.  And, it looks* so* much like the original.  

Virginia Cole from the Galloping Pony Studio (//gallopingpony.com/Digital%20Patterns.htm) has come up with a little wall hanging pattern inspired by the quilt which you can download for a modest fee.   It’s really a cute, quick project that includes all the major elements without having to take a year to complete the project.  

And, finally, I have it on good authority that the quilt is in a recent issue of Quilt Mania magazine.  Since I haven’t yet seen a copy, I can’t really say which issue.  So, if anyone out there knows, please let me  know so that I can track down a copy.   

 I’m sure that this is only the beginning for this quilt’s celebrity.  I would imagine that we will soon see derivatives and quilts inspired by this fanciful design.   Who knows, some ambitious designer might be presenting patterns at tomorrow’s opening of Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis.  One can hope.  And, I know that I’m not alone when I say that I’m going to be keeping my eye out for the perfect brown background fabric!   


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Maid's Prints Quilt c1860

I’ve saved the best for last on my diatribe on souvenirs purchased on my trip.   The pictures shown in this post are representative fabrics from the antique quilt in purchased in the north of England.  It’s a wonderful, albeit somewhat worn, medallion pieced quilt.  The other antique English medallion quilts I own are predominantly brown…so it was the lavender/mauve fabrics that caught my eye when the seller showed us this c. 1860 quilt.

Put together without batting/wadding, it is quilted with a chevron design thoughout.  The backing is a heavier woven fabric; I can only imagine what it was like to quilt through.

The merchant casually stated that the fabrics were “maids prints”.  And, uncharacteristically, I didn’t utter a word.  Not one question came out of my mouth.  Why didn’t I have the presence of mind to grill her on this point?  Was it fiber overload or sticker shock?  Oh, probably.  Or probably too darn excited.  And, when inspecting the tag…I couldn’t read what it said.

So, I’m putting the question to you.  What do you know of these mauve/lavender “maids prints”?  Any information or references would be wonderful to know.  Some of the questions rolling around in my head are whether this practice was wide-spread or limited to the North Yorkshire/Durham area.  How long was the fashion that maids wear these prints…and why mauve/lavender.


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The Loot

First, this is just a quiet little photo of some of the wonderful things I brought home with me.  I thought you’d enjoy seeing some beautiful trinkets.   Included are some Victorian “target” brooches, a vulcanite brooch of the same period, and two cameos.  The lighter pink one is called angelskin and is made from coral, rather than shell.  The framed picture is a mid-19th century miniature portrait on ivory of Maria de’ Medici.  


 The tablecloth shows at the right is not antique and mostly likely from the 1970s…and was probably made in China.  But, the work was so exquisite, and the price so reasonable, I couldn’t resist using it as ballast in my luggage.  

My friend Cindy Needham takes these types of pieces and machine quilts the life into them.  To see what she might do with such a beautiful piece of embroidery, check out her gallery at www.cindyneedham.com/slideshow/slideshow2.html.  

Now, to the quilty stuff….while I was in the UK a friend of mine was showing me her vast assortment of Welsh quilts that she had hand-pieced and hand-quilted.  While she was flipping through them I noticed she had these lovely striped and solid fabrics on the back and she mentioned…”oh, those are Oakshott”.  Well this was a fabric I had never heard of before.   

Oakshott Fabrics

So leaving no fabric behind, I was on the hunt and a couple of fabric stores later I was able to bring home a few assorted pieces (and one large enough for a back) of this wonderful striped fabric.  

If you haven’t heard of it before, Oakshott is a range of fabric that is hand-woven in India at the specifications of the company.  The fabrics come in solids, checks, and stripes…and are woven with warp and weft threads that differ in color.  Very much like the shot cottons that Kaffe Fassett puts out, the Oakshott fabrics are a bit meatier…and the colors are lovely.  

Just through you’d like to know.  Check out their website at http://www.oakshottfabrics.com/ for a look at their range, including the gradations pictured here.  

Only one more “Treasures from my Trip” to go…but, I’ve saved the best for last.  So, check back.  Hint, it includes Maids Prints.  


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Liberty of London Tana Lawn

I’ve known about this wonderful shop in London that sells discounted Liberty of London fabric for several years.  I used to hold the information quite confidentially, only passing along their business card to those friends who I deemed worthy of the experience.  After all, I wanted to make sure that I got everything I wanted before the masses cleaned them out.  And, over the years I’ve purchased some amazing fabrics there including old colorways of Strawberry Thief and some of the Liberty Craft Fabric that came out more than 15 years ago.  I was spoiled for choice, and limited only by the weight restriction imposed by the airlines.  But, I’ve had a change of heart and realize that this experience should be in every quilter’s trip to London.   

This amazing shop is called Shaukat and is conveniently located at 170-172 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 0BA.  It’s not all that far from the V&A — although I’d advise taking the tube or a taxi there; it’s not what I would call walking distance.  And, it should be said that this shop should not be seen as a replacement destination for Liberty of London itself.  You’ll just need to put on your walking shoes and go to both.  But, if you want to see the largest number of Liberty of London fabrics in a single location…it is a must-do.  

 The owners are smart…very smart.  In past years I’ve noticed that not only do they have the London’s largest collection of Liberty of London fabrics for sale, but they also sell inexpensive luggage, and will ship for you too!  Gee, do you think they are catering to the fabric hoarding travelers?   

A word to the wise….if you happen to visit this shop, make sure you ask to go down to the basement.  You’ll be presented with a maze of subterranean rooms filled with Liberty fabric bolts, cut Liberty fabric, nightdresses made from Liberty fabric, etc…it just goes on and on.  And, if you feel a little drained after shopping at Shaukat, you can go down the street to the Hummingbird Bakery (www.hummingbirdbakery.com) to revive yourself with an American-style cupcake.  Globalization does have its benefits.  

If a trip to London isn’t in your future, you can also order fabrics on their website by going to www.shaukat.co.uk/.    


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And, the winner of fat quarter of V&A Fabric is comment #9, (#9, #9 — being a true anglophile, you gotta know that I love the Beatles)….. Mary Kastner.   TA DA!

I can’t wait to see what you do with it Mary.


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