Saturday, January 17, 2009

A friend from Australia

Patchwork Thursday was a little different this month because we had guests! To make a long story short, our normal group of 5 or 6 people met and Noriko, our long time friend who lives quite a ways away joined us with two of her newly made acquaintances, Mariko-san and Lorraine.

Mariko-san is Japanese. Lorraine is her Australian mother-in-law and Lorraine was visiting Japan specifically to go to the Tokyo Quilt Festival (and of course to visit her son and family). Mariko-san thought it would be nice for Lorraine to meet some "real" Japanese quilters and so through Noriko-san they arranged to visit us. PRESSURE! We are such a small patchwork group and mainly do work on a yearly kindergarten bazaar quilt. We sent out word that on Thursday we were having a VERY REAL Australian quilter joining us.

Thursday morning I went to the station and picked up Noriko, Mariko and Lorraine and brought them back to Mrs. Furui's house. On the way we made a quick stop at a local quilt store just so that Lorraine could get an idea of what kind of fabrics and tools were normally available to us. The quilt show will have rows and rows of wonderful shop booths but we rarely have access to all those treasures.

After the quick 10 minute stop at the quilt store we arrived at Mrs. Furui's house and introductions began. I'm sure Lorraine found it a bit confusing because there were 10 of us and besides meeting Lorraine and Mariko for the first time, it was also the first time for many of our members to meet Noriko (though her name has been thrown around regularly. So Noriko was making new friends, Lorraine and I were chatting (in English). Mrs. Furui and Mariko were joining in (in English) and translating for whoever needed translation. On top of that, we were all getting together for the first time this year and many people had pictures of children and grandchildren to show so there was a lot of oohing and ahhing about how big the kids were getting or how beautiful the daughters looked in kimonos (Japanese Coming of Age Day was at the beginning of January and three ladies had pictures of their daughters all decked out for that.)It took us awhile to get around to the quilting aspect of our gathering.

Finally we declared Show and Tell time and asked Lorraine to show us what she'd brought all the way from Australia.

Can you picture a room of 10 chatting ladies suddenly going silent with everyone's mouths hanging open? And the eruption of questions and squeals of awe and the running for cameras and the fingering, and more questions and more questions and more questions! Lorraine's work was so amazing to us! Even though I translated, I couldn't grasp all that she was telling us about the technique used (with colored pencils?) and the designer etc. but Lorraine promised to write it all down for me and send me information by e-mail. Well, all I can say is that Australian quilters have some master designers and quilters in their midst! So beautiful!!! And Lorraine's handwork on the embroidery is exquisite! We couldn't believe it had all been done by hand it was so fine, but yes, nothing but hand could produce such textures and patterns. Just amazing!

All together Lorraine had brought 4 quilts to show us and they were all lovely examples of piecing and applique and embroidery and quilting that were definitely like nothing found in Japan! The colors used are different. The patterns are unlike anything seen in Japanese quilt magazines, and the techniques were ones we'd never heard of.

The last quilt that Lorraine brought out again was such an eye opener to all of us! It was a whimsical quilt of Australian animals. Oh such fun!!! All the animals were appliqued in a buttonhole stitch, something that none of us have ever tried and we all swarmed over this quilt too. We were so amazed at the precise machine quilting that Lorraine had done on this quilt and she gave us a lap demonstration of how she used her domestic sewing machine right there. We really should have arranged to have her do a workshop for us but we hadn't realized what talent was going to appear in our midst!

"Tanya! Find out if she has the patterns for this? Ask her if she knows a book that we can order. Make sure she tells you what kind of batting she uses. And pens. Oh and get the name of the designer."

The questions just flew!

Lorraine had brought our little group Australian magazines, Australian quilt fabric and chocolates!!! What a party!

Towards the end of the few hours we had together we finally did get around to discussing the bazaar quilt and it was unanimous that in honor of Lorraine and her lovely work that we should try doing this year's applique blocks in buttonhole stitching. Lorraine gave us some advice and demonstrated a few stitches and we all went home inspired to try something new!

The Tokyo Quilt Festival started yesterday and Lorraine is looking forward to going THREE TIMES while she is in Japan! Good for her! I know many of you won't forgive me but I'M NOT GOING! Can you believe it?! Too many unfinished projects in my closet already and I know I'd just come away inspired to start something new again. I'm inspired enough with just Lorraine's work!

Hope you have fun Lorraine! Thank you for all your presents! Keep in touch! Think of us as your extended quilt family in Japan!


Callie said...

Wow! What a marvelous experience and what a group of lovely ladies. How lucky you all are to have had the Australian quilting lady all to yourselves for that special time. Sounds like you are the go between again, work, but fun work. Maybe Lorraine will send you some photos from the quilt show that you can post? The Australian quilts are beautiful, but I like your "Me" quilt better because it so huggable and loveable... a quilt that says snuggle up in me. I'm sure Lorraine had a delightful time with your group.

Rae said...

I'm sure you all had a blast with Lorraine visiting and sharing. I could just picture the entire visit by reading your Blog. Perhaps Lorraine will come to visit her son or attend the next quilt show and you could make arrangements for a workshop. I love the inspiration this type of visit generates for others. Rae Ann

Sarah said...

What a small world it is Tanya. Lorraine recently visited me with her quilt group and was telling me that she would be going to Japan to visit her family. It is wonderful to read about it on one of the blogs I follow.

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

Sounds like your quilt group had a really fun meeting. And you really should go to the Tokyo Quilt Festival. There will be so many beautiful quilts to see. Your really shouldn't miss it.

Mary said...

I do very little applique but when I do I use the blanket (also know as the buttonhole stitch) by hand to sew it down. My Mom does a lot of it by machine but I don't enjoy machine applique.

Thanks for sharing the quilt photos - it's lovely to be inspired by other quilters isn't it??

BrendaLou said...

Tanya, Isn't it exciting to see the work of someone which is so different from our own? Our quilting world just opens up. There are always more quilts to make than we will ever have time to do!

Shasta said...

She certainly is a talented lady - how nice you got to meet her and get inspired by her work, and so nice that she is willing to share her techniques, etc.

Chocolate Cat said...

What a fun day this sounds! Didn't ever think of our styles of quilting being so different. I like to blanket stitch my applique.

meggie said...

Lucky Lorraine getting to meet you lovely ladies. Lucky you, seeing her lovely quilts.
In my most recent post, I have given links to some lovely Aussie quilters, & a magazine they are both featured in.
I use blanket stitch for all my applique.

Helen said...

I love this about quilters - instant friendships. What a great day you had.