Saturday, 4 October 2014

September Makes

I've seen multiple blogs complaining that September was over before it really began, so I won;t bore you by saying that again. Thinking back I am not really sure what I have finished apart from that teapot. There must have been something else though...thank god Flickr can jog my memory. It would appear that I actually had quite a creative month.
September Makes
From top left...

  1. Fabric teapot from a kit. 
  2. Bloghop bag accessory which I ended up throwing away.
  3. My sister's hat
  4. Kanzashi flowers for a workshop coming in a week or two. 
  5. The pottery bowls I actually made in July got their glaze and are so funny!
  6. Three more Lucy blocks made for my quilt. 
  7. A one pocket Sew Beautiful bags for a present with sashiko ish embroidered outer fabric. 
  8. Lucy block for a swap
  9. Lucy block for a swap
  10. Lobster pillowcase for the Pooch. 
  11. August's cross stitch made into a book cover. 
  12. The blank, which represents three projects with no photos!
Those three are two skirts - one simple and one complicated - and another cross stitch which is a present. I have also been slogging away on a pair of knitted, cabled socks which will probably be a christmas present for someone. I had a real growth spurt with them and have almost finished the second now. 

October's makes need to include the two (count'em) quilts following my disaster with the first. The second has been cut up into pieces ready for assembly so next week will be a big sewing week!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Tokyo Spinning Group 2014 Show

This was on Monday and was the tenth annual event they have held. This is their website and they are on Facebook too. I went along with some of the others from the Tokyo Stitch n Bitch group (which has daytime and evening factions - I occasionally do both). I had no idea what to expect but it turned out to be a kind of smaller version of a UK Knitting Show, except with weaving as well. This is the view from the main room looking into three rows of exhibitors.
The Show
By Tokyo standards it wasn't crowded at all because you could easily move your elbows. There were some great things on show.
Drop Spindles in Different Woods
Hand Spinning Wheel
Cones of Yarn
There were some practical demonstrations going on too, although I had missed the live sheep shearing the day before.
Women Weaving
There was also the usual straying into needle felting that seems so common now. This lady had made her own horns and pet dragon that way (and was very happy to pose for my horribly blurry photo).
Lady with Wool Horns and Dragon
While this guy had had his horns made for him.
Needle felted Ram
It did all feed my desire to get more into weaving. Especially after I discovered a book about Sakiori - Japanese rag weaving. This photo is on Flickr and belongs to Jim Austin so I have merely borrowed it to illustrate.
Antique Japanese Indigo Sashiko Sakiori Fisherman's Jacket
Not only is it rag woven from indigo cotton, but it is also sashiko embroidered on top. Pretty cool. There were two people wearing tops made from sakiori on one of the stands and their clothes were seriously amazing. I've done a bit of reading about it since the show and the cunning thing about making clothes from the woven cloth (and I suppose from most handwoven cloth) is not cutting it as that will make it unravel. This either leaves you with seventies boxy things like tabards (uk style) or avante garde draped angled creations (japanese style).

So many little time. Meanwhile though I am spreading the with my first taught workshop tomorrow - Sashiko for Beginners. It is full (although who knows if they'll all come) so hopefully by lunchtime tomorrow there will be six new sashiko-rs making their way in the world!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Whacking the Wadaiko

Wadaiko are tradional japanese drums and come in many shapes and sizes.
Tamburi Taiko - Wadaiko Shien
You get school bands that use them and they appear in every festival and parade. There are even arcade game versions.
There it is!
Last night I had the chance to attend a lesson and concert from a group called Wadaiko Sai (the link is to their japanese website and includes videos of them playing). It was awesome! The group leader explained various things about the drums (most of which sadly passed me by as it was in japanese - who'd have thought?) before calling on volunteers to come and try playing them. I was with a complete mix of nationalities as this was a event and got noticeably British in my reticence to go on stage, contrasted with my bouncing about in my seat with excitement at it all. I eventually got volunteered by the guy on my right, who was a solar engineer from India, and went up in the third and final group. I was the last one to climb on stage and was presented with the mahoosive drum mounted on its own frame which no one else had played up til then. It was just so huge I couldn't stop laughing. Behold the Byrne in strangely flat faced profile in the background of this photo!
Me in Profile Playing the Big Drum
This one puts the size of the drum in context.
Me in the Wadaiko Line Up
It was the Big Daddy of drums. But before I got my turn there were some terribly cute little drummers who had a go.
Little Wadaiko Player
The little one more or less hidden behind the drum in this one was eventually given a chair to stand on.
Old Lady Playing Wadaiko
The elderly lady is laughing because she had just been told off by the musicians for being too keen and energetic as she started drumming before he said 'go'!

The concert itself was played by the five guys there who had the most amazingly toned arms I've ever seen. Photos were not allowed so I can't share, but they didn't just sit about and whack them with sticks. There was real dynamism in their performance and at one point four of them were lined up with drums in front of them and were playing each others drums and rippling the strikes back and forth along the line - it's hard to describe but it really was amazing. And quite sexy, as a french neuro-surgeon, also part of my eclectic group of watchers, put it in his equally sexy accent. As I told the Meetup's organiser afterwards, it is so brilliant to have the opportunity to come along to these things - especially as a government grant meant we had got in free. I am getting better at using google translate to google for things in japanese but I still mostly search for events in english and never would have found out about this one without the meetup group.

By the by...don't these soldiers also have the same profile as me?
Odo bayeux tapestry.png
"Odo bayeux tapestry". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Never occurred to me until I saw that photo of Drummer Byrne. I never knew my forehead was that flat. I shall have to examine my parents in greater detail when I next see them, although my Mother still occasionally reminds me that the forceps required to get me out, way back when, did leave me with a pointy head so perhaps they laid me down on my face too early and only my nose sprang back? Or maybe I'm just a Roman throwback?
Dio coin3.jpg
"Dio coin3"Uploaded 4 May 2006 by E.coli. Licensed under GPL via Wikimedia Commons.


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Material Discord

There has been a tragedy Chez Byrne. It has brung me low.
Sad Kitty
It is no doubt partly because I just posted about how I choose fabric, and said I had gained confidence doing so. Suffice to say that the outcome is the ripping of all blocks for a king size disappearing nine-patch quilt top which had been assembled into rows ready to just sew the rows together in order to finish it. But then, just as I was laying it out to pin the rows, it was like I saw something familiar from a new angle.
cat scan
It was FUGLY! How could this have happened?


I urgently beckoned the Pooch, who, hearing the pure terror in my voice actually put down his laptop and came over. "Do you think this quilt is ok?" I asked, piteously. "Ummmm." said the Pooch. Now although he is not always a terribly intuitive man, and does not pick up on subtle signals unless they're being semaphored directly in front of his glasses, he clearly sensed that this was a delicate moment. "Hmmmm." he said. " It might perhaps be.... a ....little....bit....busy?" he said with the sentence ending at a very high pitch to make it clear that this was not his opinion - but only one possible opinion that a group of strangers might give were they asked about it.

I slept on it. Not literally. The next day was ripageddon.
heavy ripping
This was the state of the floor and of my person below about waist height once it was all over. Fabrics had been amputated and all other big squares, small squares and rectangles of two orientations had been decoupled and ironed. In the end it was these four innocuous looking baddies which had been the key culprits.
ripped fabric pile
So now I have lots of small pieces in ironed piles plus an extra couple of simple half metres I can use to replace the rejects. I just need to doodle a pattern and sew it up. 'Just'.


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Everything in my Etsy Shop Half Price

My idea to sell second hand japanese craft books has not really taken off. So, to clear those that I have I am offering everything half price! That includes all the washi tape and kits and so on.

To get your items half price enter the word HALFPRICE (no space) in the coupon box when you checkout. 

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