Zombies & Posies–A Peek at Kim Buteau’s Year-Round Halloween Etsy Shop

Happy Friday everyone! The project I shared in  Tuesday’s post was so much fun to make, I think there are a few more ideas brewing in my head. I love making Halloween-themed projects year-round. It’s never the wrong time to work on something for Halloween–at least in my opinion.

boo witch
Many of my closest friends are also obsessed with Halloween and I’ve partnered with one of them, Pam, to start our Etsy Store, Zombies and PosiesI drew a mascot logo and we named her Zweena –it means beautiful woman, which is perfect for a zombie don’t you think???

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Zweena items are still in development; so be sure to add  Zombies and Posies to your “favorite” list on Etsy,  to follow her as she grows.

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Pam and I are both interested in paper arts and have quite a paper stash!  We love to make tags, cards, books, collages . . . the list goes on and on and what better way to share our creations and support our paper habit than to sell our stuff on Etsy, right?  So far we are just starting out and getting our store stocked with items.  Here is a peek of what we have in the shop.

bat kitty

crow tag     ds tags

halloween girls    mix tag group 

witch collage

Be sure to check often–there are new items listed every week. We appreciate you visiting our shop! Thank You! –Kim Buteau

Quilts by Okan Arts

Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

Patricia Belyea, a self proclaimed Japanophile, imports vintage yukata cottons. Patricia is the owner of Okan Arts, a design studio and micro quilt shop, in her home in Seattle, Washington.

Hope by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, Yukata – The Summer Kimono of Japan , I met Patrica while she was traveling in the San Francisco Bay Area for lectures and workshops. I was not only fascinated with her incredible collection of hand dyed fabrics, I was also inspired to see how she showcased these very special fabrics into the artisan quilts she creates.

Patricia took some time out of her busy travel schedule to answer a few questions that I thought would interest our readers and to share her beautiful work.

Babbling by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

What was it that initially attracted you to these fabrics?  I’ve always been a “treasure hunter” when it comes to fabrics. At first, my quilts were made from fabrics found in free boxes at quilting meetings. I’ve also looked for unusual and super-cheap fabrics by the tablecloth section at Goodwill stores. And I’ve bought some vintage fabric on eBay. Once I started to visit Japan regularly, I looked for quilting fabric there. 

Once I discovered vintage hand-dyed yukata cottons, I was hooked. They are so easy to love—good quality cotton that’s a perfect weight for quilting, gorgeous hand-dyed colors, and wonderful patterns. I find the colors and designs inspire my artisan quilt compositions.

How has your involvement with yukata cottons changed your outlook on the Japanese and their culture? Before I ever bought a bolt of yukata cotton, I had been to Japan twice and hosted three Japanese home-stay students. So I already had a real interest in all things Japanese. 

Getting involved with yukata cottons and quilting has changed the focus of my trips to Japan. Now I seek out textile-related experiences—visiting indigo masters, wandering around flea markets, looking for small shops with vintage fabrics, going to museums, and anything else that touches on my interest in Japanese handicrafts, especially textiles.

Tangled by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

What do you see for the future of Okan Arts? My petite cottage business called Okan Arts is synonymous with me! I’m a one-woman enterprise who just keeps dreaming up more things to do.

Right now I’m working on a quilting book that combines yukata cottons and commercial solids in improvisational designs.

I just wrote an article for GenerationQ magazine entitled “A Quilter’s Guide to Visiting Japan.” (Look for it in the November/December issue.) I feel a calling to encourage others to visit Japan so I’m putting together a new Japan Travel section on my website as a resource for individual travelers.

As I’m out of town a lot this summer, I set up a pop-up shop with all my inventory in my local quilting store—The Quilting Loft in Seattle. Making my yukata cottons more accessible has been a good move as shoppers can only visit my home-based shop by appointment–I may do that again as I travel so much. – Patricia Belyea.

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

Aren’t her quilts amazing? Patricia also enjoys hand-quilting her quilts to add to the artisan feel. Being a big fan of Big Stitch hand quilting, I was immediately drawn to her thread work.  She uses colorful pearl cotton to create interesting shapes and line work. I loved seeing her perspective on applying this technique to the large scale prints and large open spaces of the yukata designs.

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea         close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea         close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

Thank you, Patricia, for a sharing this unique niche in our wonderful world of quilting. It is always fun to see how personal passions can merge with one’s creative interests.

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Yukata – The Summer Kimono of Japan

bon odori arthur banesAugust is the hottest month of the year in Japan. Not only is the temperature high, so is the humidity. Summer kimonos, known as yukata, are a common sight in Japan during these steamy summer days.

Yukata summer kimonos

Yukata are informal, festive clothing that are worn to outdoor summer events.

Tanabata Celebrated Across JapanYukata are extremely popular today. Perhaps because they reflect a nostalgic reminder of summers past in Japan.

As with kimono, the general rule is that younger people wear bright, vivid colors and bold patterns, while older people wear dark, matured colors and dull patterns.

Summer Kimono Festival In Himeji

A child may wear a multicolored print and a young woman may wear a floral, while an older woman would confine herself to a traditional dark blue with geometric patterns. Men, in general, wear solid dark colors.

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The fabrics are cotton,  beautifully hand stenciled and dyed, with the designs showing on both sides. Traditionally, yukata fabrics were primarily made of indigo-dyed cotton, but today, a wide variety of colors and designs are available. The fabric is a standard kimono width of 14 inches. The fabric has a slightly crisp, but soft touch, and ranges from black to dark navy to indigo for the classic tones. The colors and designs will immediately draw you in!

P1020168     Yukata Fabrics 5

Since the late 1990s, yukata have experienced a revival. Not only with the fashionistas . . .

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. . . but  with those passionate about unique textiles–including yours truly. Which leads me into my story for this week!

Vintage Japanese Yukata Cotton

Yukata Fabrics        Yukata Fabrics 2

These remarkable fabrics are from Okan Arts of Seattle Washington. My newfound obsession happened while attending a lecture and workshop with Patricia Belyea, owner of Okan Arts. Her 550-bolt-strong collection is a kaleidoscope of vintage Japanese yukata.

Yukata Fabrics 3

The beautiful green roll in the center of the photo above was the one that hooked me. I loved the free flowing brushstrokes of dark indigo, lavender, and gray.

Patricia is making it her mission to share this collection with others. Lucky us!!!

Yukata Fabrics 4

On Friday, I will chat with Patricia about her passion. I will also share a sampling of blocks created in the workshop I attended with her, plus photos of the beautiful quilts she has created to showcase these very special fabrics. Be sure to stop by to meet Patricia!

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Correction: A few quilts were forgotten or mislabeled in last week’s post on the Indie Modern Quilters Challenge. I wanted to be sure to share them with you. My apologies for the error.
Tracy Allen Judy Miller Carol Roach Patty Flynn

 See you Friday!

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Meet Lori Lott: Quilter, Pattern Designer

100_1073  I love hearing success stories of people who find a passion and turn it into a business. I have known Lori Lott for years, but recently had the opportunity of collaborating with her while working on my book, QQQ3. She is a talented stylist and assisted our photographer with room settings. This positive working relationship lead us (Diana McClun and myself) to seek her help again with our book signing party. Lori is extremely organized and brought our vision into fruition. I couldn’t resist asking Lori to consider being the “day of” person for our recent wedding. Fortunately for all of us, she agreed and everything ran smoothly with her behind-the-scenes guidance.

Lori is a also an avid quilter and teaches classes at local quilt shops. Her line of patterns attracted Clothworks Fabrics to her work. Please let me take this opportunity to introduce you to Lori and share some of her work with you. 

Lori started sewing at age 9 while in 4-H. This gave her a foundation for sewing. During this time she was encouraged to model her garments. Walking in front of judges was nerve racking for a 10-year ld girl, says Lori, but it gave her the confidence to keep sewing and hone her skills in clothing construction. She later earned a degree in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). She initially worked in the fashion industry and later moved in to Visual Merchandising.

Lori came to quilting through a friend in 2000. Creating her own designs is what inspired her to continue learning about quilting. Although she says it wasn’t an overnight process, she felt she was truly hooked after working with her local community of quilters and being exposed to their amazing work.

Lori was recently approached by Clothworks and her Heartstrings pattern will be featured in one of their new “All My Heart” fabric line by Iron Orchid designs. Click here to view the fabric collection.

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When I asked Lori what style of quilt she enjoys making, she told me that her favorite quilts to make are those with traditional piecing using contemporary fabrics. She loves machine piecing and the symmetry that goes into each block that then translates into a finished quilt top. Lori feels that piecing is like solving a puzzle using fabric. “In the end it all has to fit together like a beautiful mosaic. There is gratification in the end result. There is also a Zen quality about piecing. It causes me to focus with my two favorite things:  fabric and my sewing machine.”

Lori’s pattern company is called Uptown Girl Quilts and her patterns are sold on her website. Here are just a few of her designs. Click here to view her full line of patterns. She says she gets her inspiration from many different avenues. Color and shape are the two biggest factors for her. Color dictates emotion for her while she is designing a new quilt. shape and form are the next elements that drive her designs. Here are just a few.

"Sadie Hawkins" by Lori Lott, 70" x 70".
“Sadie Hawkins” by Lori Lott, 70″ x 70″.

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Sweet Lola patiently waiting for her morning walk.
Sweet Lola patiently waiting for her morning walk.

Lori says: “I routinely walk my dachshund Lola every morning after we have coffee and toast. It is the highlight of my day (and Lola’s too!). I love clothes and fashion and wish I was a Design apprentice for a haute couture house in Paris like Yves St. Laurent or Givenchy. If I wasn’t a quilt designer I would be an architect, a professional golfer, or fragrance designer. The three love’s of my life are Robert, Andrew and Brian, my family.”

Giveaway-Gold

 

Lori is offering one of her new patterns to a lucky reader. Simply tell us what you would do if not making quilts – astronaut, doctor, scientist?  Submit comments by end of day August 14th. The winner will be announced on August 19th.

As always, thanks for stopping in. Hope you are all enjoying a restful summer. Until next time . . .

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Organization is Key to a Stress-Free Wedding

flowersAs I write this I am away on a much-needed sewing and quilting retreat in beautiful Tahoe Donner. After several weeks of constant wedding prep, I must say that it is taking some time to ease into a relaxed lifestyle.

If there were just one piece of wedding prep advice I could share with you, I think it would be: get organized. Never did I dream that my years of  working trade shows would serve me well during this time of wedding preparations. Anyone out there looking for a good wedding planner? I think I’ve got this down now . . . just kidding! I’ve got another one coming up next May–it should be a piece of cake.

Fortunately, two weeks before the wedding I asked my daughter the important question of how she planned to get all the “stuff” to the venue; since the wedding was being held in Grass Valley which is two hours away. Is a trailer rental in the game plan, or what?

Just a fraction of the stuff going to the wedding.
Just a fraction of the stuff going to the wedding.

Since neither of us would be available the day of the wedding to assist with set-up, it was important to communicate the design vision clearly for the set-up crew. For the prior two days I had Molly set-up each space (welcome table, head table, cake table, etc) exactly as she wanted it. I took photos and made a list of all the items included at each space. Each space was assigned a letter (A, B, C, etc). Finally, all the items were boxed and assigned the appropriate letter. It was a lot of work, but as a result, everything ran smoothly.

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We have not yet received all of the photos from the photographer, but I wanted to share a few of them with you today:  1) The sweet flower girl getting ready for her runway walk. The robe was made by yours truly. 2) Princess Brooklyn could not have been more precious. 3) A special father-daughter moment. Laura's collage Here’s one of my favorites:

The setting, the lighting, the couple . . . everything was lovely!
The setting, the lighting, the couple . . . everything was lovely!

Thanks for letting me share this special time in my life. My best to all of you.

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An Indie Modern Quilt Group Takes on a Color Challenge

As promised in Tuesday’s post, here are the fruits of the recent creative labor of Indie Modern Quilters, Danville, CA. You’ll recall that the group explores modern quilting. Meetings take place every first Thursday of the month at Wooden Gate Quilts to chat about projects, take on challenges, and share a love of quilting.

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In the first challenge each member created small quilts with a modern twist using a limited color palette. The variety of interpretations was really interesting and a lot of fun to see. They are on display at Wooden Gate Quilts, but we’ve got photos here at SHWS for you to enjoy.

Kerry Reed          Patty Flynn

Sandra Chan Brown (2) (1)   Sandra Chan Brown (2)

Catherine Jarett    Gina Chang

Kim ButterworthKim Buteau

Linda Harding    Carol Roach

Judy Miller     Tracy Allen

H.J. Martin      Pati Fried

Teresa Zaste     Mary Tigert

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Status Update:  Indie Modern Quilters Stretch Their Wings—Maybe You’d Like to As Well?

Some months ago, blogging sis Pati sent out query to quilters in our geographic area to gauge interest in forming an Indie Modern quilting group. As luck would have it, there was an enthusiastic response plus a quilt-shop owner who wanted to host regular get-togethers. We thought it would be a good time to update our readers about their activities—you might find a good model for a starting your own Indie Modern group in your own area.  ♥ Jennifer ♥

Setting Up an Indie Modern Group:  One Group’s Adventure

I have been a member of the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area for a few years now, and one of the things that repeatedly caught my attention was the curiosity and interest in the Modern Quilting movement in its neighboring county, but no resulting push to establish another guild.  Each time someone asked me about my guild, they lost interest when considering traveling to Berkeley or the Peninsula for regular meetings. That all changed once I spoke to Gina Chang, the new owner of Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA.  We decided to create an opportunity to gather enthusiasts once a month and to see where our efforts would lead us. I opted to call the gathering Indie Modern Quilters because I didn’t want to limit the group in any way and to encourage independent thinking and out-of-the-box-creativity.

The turnout was great for that first meeting and for each since! Typically, we start with a social hour/shopping, move on to a member’s tips-and-tricks segment, and then finish with Show-and-Tell.  As a new group, we are having fun creating something that fits everyone’s hopes and interests—and getting to know each other as well. After discussing our preferences, we decided that we don’t want to be a guild or a drop-in, but we would like to meet monthly as a group of like-minded quilters. We are slowly defining what we would like an Indie Modern Quilt Group to be!

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I am excited to announce that Wooden Gate Quilts has scheduled some dates this Fall for Indie Modern Sew Day drop-ins. Other items on our Wish List are field trips and weekend retreat getaways.  And of course, more challenges and projects to explore. Feeling independent? Give our group a spin! – Pati

The first group challenge was to create a small quilt in a modern style using only the colors in a selected paint chip sample, along with one tint + white, as a color palette.

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The little quilts are beautiful! Wooden Gate Quilts graciously offered to host a mini quilt show of the work–they look wonderful hanging together!

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Don’t live in the area? No worries! Stop by SHWS on Friday and we will share all the wonderful quilts from the Indie Modern Color Challenge. For locals, Gina’ll give you a sneak peek if you stop by!

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Yoko Saito Redux: English-Language Patterns Available Now + Giveaway!

Inspiration-J:  Summer Flowers
Happy summer solstice (a little tardy). My parents celebrated their 68th anniversary on the 21st–holy guacamole that’s a lonnggg shared history! Felicitations to all those June brides and grooms!

1-Giveaway IconLooks like I’m not the only Yoko Saito fan in search of English-language versions of her patterns. (BTW:  Here’s the link to my earlier Yoko Saito post.) World Book Media out of Salem, Massachusetts has entered the market with a Japanese Quilt Artist Series pattern line (translated into English) featuring Yoko Saito for their debut as well as Zakka Workshop projects–quick and fun scrap-friendly projects made in mere hours. Both product lines are available at World Book Media’s Etsy site.

Let’s take a look at the Yoko Saito quilt pattern fare:

Patterns-J:  Joko Saito Series

Would you like to see more?  Here are my top 2:

Love, love, love this pattern!
Love, love, love this pattern!

Yoko Saito creates evocative designs with such simple touches like outrageously perfect fabric choices. Also, her simple quilting motif enhances the blossoming cherry trees and stars without being overwhelming.

That melting snowman featured below is so charming and just a little poignant. (Plus she finds yet another perfect venue for her bare trees fabric.)

Isn't this the cutest winter mini quilt?
Isn’t this the cutest winter mini quilt?

The remaining trio of patterns are fun projects for personal use and home decor. The Afternoon Tea Mats pattern makes me laugh for the eccentric use of language–short . . . cake maybe?

Pattern-J:  Yoko SaitoPattern-J:  Yoko SaitoPattern-J:  Yoko Saito

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Giveaway Details

I’m looking for 5 winners this week. Yup, 5! No guarantees which pattern you’ll receive.  Random drawing, random numbering on the patterns as well. Leave me a comment by Thursday, June 26 and I will announce the winners in my Friday post. Answer this question: Given the opportunity to win a pattern, would you go Yoko Saito neutral or color mad?

On Friday I’ll be featuring a small birthday project I adapted from the center wreath block of the Quilt-Along: Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La! I hope you’ll stop by and find inspiration!

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Gwen Marston Retrospective at See How We Sew + Giveaway Winner

Quilt-J: Gwen Marston Quilt Featured in Minimal Quiltmaking
“Turquoise” 41 x 45 inches, 2013, by Gwen Marston.

Hello dear readers! Gwen Marston is always a hit when we feature her at See How We Sew. Today we’ll take a look at more quilts from her latest AQS title, Minimal Quiltmaking, and revisit past posts about Gwen written by our blogging sister Darra. Gwen and Darra have been both friends and collaborators for years. In fact, Darra’s skilled editorial hand can be experienced in a number of Gwen’s quilting books. Keep scrolling to find the name of the lucky winner of Minimal Quiltmaking.

Throwback Posts

Darra gave us a peek into Gwen’s creative process back in February of this year in The Latest from that Amazing Quilter Gwen Marston.

And, before that in 2012, Working in a Series Gwen Marston and 37 Sketches.

 

Quilt-J:  Gwen Marston Quilt Featured in Minimal Quiltmaking
Minimal in Neutrals, 35 x 35 inches, 2012, by Gwen Marston

Giveaway Winner

And the winner is, Kathy in Florida–Congratulations! Many thanks to Gwen Marston for her continuing support of See How We Sew. Perhaps she’ll return for a visit soon?!? I hope so!

Final thoughts from Jennifer:  I’m taken by Gwen’s works of quilted art.  Can’t you just see these painting-sized quilts adorning the walls of a modern art museum? What if we started a grassroots movement to persuade our fine arts venues to open their galleries to our textile arts? Just a thought . . . we’ve got our Studio Art Quilters and any number of other art quilt groups. Time to come out of the shadows and into the limelight with the rest of the artsy crowd!

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