Thursday, April 24, 2014

caohagan quilt...


I purchase few quilts as the whole point of all this fabric acquisition is supposed to be to make my own but am thrilled that I am now the proud owner of a Caohagan quilt. Caohagan is a tiny island in the Philippines owned by Katsuhiko Sakiyama. Junko, his wife, taught 120 of the 500 islanders how to quilt so that they could sell their work offshore to improve their education, housing and general standard of living. This cottage industry now represents about a third of the people's income.




I first read about these bright and charming quilts in Patchwork Japan and Quilts Japan over a decade ago. At the time, I wrote a letter with the help of a Japanese friend to try and purchase a quilt but never heard back. I have no idea whether the letter even reached its destination. Since further articles about Caohagan have been written in western magazines (such as in Quiltmania #78) and the quilts exhibited at some of the AQS shows in 2013 am so excited to say that there is now a website where you can easily purchase one of these works online. I always assumed because the quilts previously were sold to Japan that they would be crazily expensive but that is not the case. I received ours within a week of ordering and am completely and hopelessly in love with it...

The islanders make their quilts out of mostly donated fabric. Their work is filled with rich imagery of island life. The quilts are bright and fantastically cheerful. Here are some detail shots...




Our quilt is filled with birds, flowers and animals...




Also, the maker sent the most charming letter with the quilt which is very touching...

Below is a short Youtube video of an interview with the Sakiyamas talking about Caohagan. You can donate fabric to the quilters so I am bundling up a box to send. As M. pointed out, this quilt is the most happy thing he's ever seen made out of fabric. It is impossible to look at it without smiling and we are so excited that Lolita's quilt found its way to our home!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

new kathy doughty book and some news...


While busy sewing the test quilt that I wrote about here, some very enticing things arrived in the mail. I forced myself to put Material Obsession Kathy Doughty's new book aside until I could look at it properly. Like all her others, it is filled with innovative designs and creative mixes of fabrics. The way she talks about her process and suggests ways to develop and expand upon your own is particularly interesting. After my recent improv experience, using a ruler or template seemed kind of unappealing until I saw "Vintage Spin".


It is an intriguing pattern with lots of movement and already beautiful versions are popping up everywhere. Kathy challenges her readers to stop collecting fabric and start using it especially older prints that may have been sitting on a shelf for years. I have a huge collection of check shirtings purchased and thrifted ages ago with the intention of making shirts for M. I decided to combine some of them with a Joel Dewberry fat quarter bundle.



For "Vintage Spin", you sew wedges into circles and then cut them down to square blocks. This is my first one. Mine differs from the original in that my wedge is a different angle so there are 4 extra blades. This technique produces a fair bit of waste so you must check out the most amazing blocks Wanda made with her leftovers.  This is a fun design and making the blocks could become pretty addictive...


Lastly, am so excited to shyly write that my improv quilt was picked as a potential contribution to Sherri Lynn Wood's "The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters"! It was shipped to the photographer on Monday. I don't want to jinx myself as it could end up on whatever the publishing equivalent is of the cutting room floor but have fingers crossed and am smiling euphorically.