Christmas sewing project

To be honest, I’m more likely to instantly blog something on Instagram or Facebook these days. I don’t get much time to do long posts. But then occasionally I do, or I read something a friend has written and I think, “really should update the blog…” and then the feeling passes.

Still, we’re in the new year and I thought I’d share one of my Christmas presents with you.

The Knitting and Stitching Show has become a bit of a thing with me and mum over the past couple of years. Charlie and Martin couldn’t think of anything less like fun, so we get a pass for a day of pottering around Alli Palli, getting trampled by little old ladies with surprisingly sharp elbows and wishing we had brought our own picnic lunch.

We’ve got our favourite stallholders. One of them is Euro Japan Links, a small company specialising in Japanese fabric and sashiko embroidery supplies. Our kitchen table runner is made up from one of their kits.  I fell in love with the Japanese boxes kit at the October show, and Mum bought it for me for Christmas.

japboxcushionThis is what it’s supposed to look like. I loved the Escher-ness of it. Escher isn’t usually my thing – he’s too precise and mathematical for me – but there was something in this fabric optical illusion that really appealed to the unexplored tidy part of my consciousness.

You’ll find the kit on the website or at the Knitting and Stitching Show. They don’t ‘do’ ecommerce, so you’ll have to order it the old-fashioned (well, 1990s -it’s an AOL account!! ) way, by emailing them a request.

The Kit

box-kit-package

The packaging is pleasingly simple: a plastic bag containing a selection of pretty Japanese fabric squares, a fat quarter of the one of the box colours, and a large piece of each box colour. The instruction booklet is nicely laid out with good illustrations.

The instructions are nice and clear too. The design is based around two basic shapes (that’s one more than I usually work with). Piecing together was  doddle once I got the hang of it.

pieces

The next step is to sew the patches into diagonal strips. Easy enough, as long as you get them the right way round.

img_1201

The really hard bit is matching up the corners. I had to do a lot of unpicking and repositioning at this stage. Though being me, there was a point where I decided, “f*** it, that’ll do…”

img_1204

Not perfect, but it still looks nice.

Once the piecing together is done, you’ve got the full front panel. The kit supplies enough fabric to make a border. After that, it’s up to you to do what you want with it. I wanted to make a cushion cover but decided that the front piece was too fragile to withstand the attentions of two cats, so I used the fat quarter piece supplied with the kit, plus a bit of spare wadding, to make a quilted piece.

img_1244

Basically stitched in the ditch along the outside of the squares. I considered making it more detailed, but stopped caring about halfway through the first few lines of stitching. This is my usual approach to quilting, tbh; lots of big ideas that melt into nothingness when it comes to actually doing it.

I dug into my stash to find some denim fabric for the cushion back. It’s a simple envelope fastening, but the shape is a non-standard cushion shape, so I’m going to have to dig into the stash again to find some disposable fabric (and stuffing) to make a cushion.

Still…it was fun to make and the finished product makes me look cleverer than I actually am, which is always nice.

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