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April 13 Blog Post -- New Batiks, New Yarn-Dyes, What’s a Yarn-Dye Anyway?, Project for Kids, Tokyo Quilt Show, Japan Story, April 23 -- Big Spring Clearance Sale…

posted Apr 13, 2016, 2:06 PM by Lorna Shapiro   [ updated Apr 13, 2016, 2:10 PM ]

Hi everyone. Spring is here and the second bloom of cherry blossoms is upon us.

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These cherry trees have thick pouffy blossoms, unlike the variety that blossoms first in the season. I learned today from Hiroko, who lives with us, that in Japan the sakura (cherry blossoms) of this variety are called “8 layered sakura”. One of you, I’m sure, can tell me what the proper name for this variety is here in Canada.

I am happy to say that new fabrics have kept rolling in since last I sent you a newsletter:-). I have a large order of Robert Kaufmann batiks and Asians arriving this week. Also, I’ve added to my collection of variegated and ombre batiks, some of which are shown here. They are generally about $16.95/M.

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And I’m also expecting, in about 10 days, a large new collection of yarn-dyes from Japan. Here are photos of some of what I’ve ordered, but there are 155 kgs in all…


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What’s a Yarn-Dye anyway? Yarn-dyes are fabrics created by first dyeing the yarn and then weaving a pattern with different coloured yarns to create a fabric. This is as distinct from a printed cotton or a dyed cotton (as in batiks). Japan is well known for its yarn-dyes. For me, working with yarn-dyes provides a chance to add lovely texture to my quilts. Also, because the colours are often quite muted, quilts made with yarn-dyes tend to be calm feeling rather than vibrant and exciting.

A great project for grand-kids… I’ve recently worked with three children, aged 5, 6 and 7 on a simple project that they have all enjoyed enormously and which I think is a good introduction to some of the rudiments of quilting. It started when I had my 7 year old granddaughter during spring break. She wanted to make a pillow. So I first had her select the fabrics she wanted for her pillow…


Then I drew on graph paper a basic irregular log cabin block the size of the pillow top we wanted to make. I had Aidan colour in the graph paper drawing with coloured pencils that corresponded to the colours she had selected for her fabric. Here is her drawing:

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Aidan had created her “pattern”. I explained that we would construct from the centre out and she would tell me what piece would be sewn next, and count squares to tell me the length and width of the piece.

Sewing day came and I cut the pieces under Aidan’s direction, she pushed the power pedal on the machine while I guided the fabrics, and she ironed each seam. When her pillow top was completed, we added the back and a pillow form to complete the project. She sleeps with it every night, and her younger sister and a young neighbour were both anxious to design and construct their pillows. Three happy young girls!

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Tokyo Quilt Show photos… complements of Nancy Chan, here is a link to some photos of the Tokyo International Quilt Show in January 2016…  Tokyo Quilt Show 2016

A small Japan anecdote for you… It’s tax time here, and Vic does accounting so we were talking over dinner with Hiroko about tax time in Canada. Hiroko, I learned, has never filed taxes even though she is 34 and an LPN in Japan. The reason? Because in Japan, the paternalistic view of the role of corporations means that employers all have a section of employees who file the tax returns for all the company’s employees. So when she worked for the hospital, she handed all her tax receipts to the appropriate section of the finance department of the hospital and they filed her taxes. And when she worked for a temping agency, the temping agency filed her taxes. So how sweet is that?

Saturday April 23 -- Spring Clearance Sale -- 10 AM to 5 PM

It’s time to CLEAR OUT some shelves for all the new fabric that is arriving! Here’s what’s happening:

50+ Clearance Bolts Priced at $8.00/M, or $6.00/M for whole bolt

Silk and Wool Batting -- 20% off

Books -- 40% off

Non-clearance fabric -- 15% off

Kits at show sale discounts

Laughter, Advice, Visiting and Snacks… all free!!!!

I look forward to visiting with many of you a couple of Saturdays from now… I’ll post photos of the clearance fabrics the day before for out-of-town orders. Minimum cut on clearance fabrics is 1M.