Monday, February 3, 2014

Origami....'tis easy.... isn't it?

I've been told it is......but I have always found it a tad puzzling. It seems that whenever I have attempted origami, there has always been a blockage from the picture of the origami piece before me, to the transmission of the electrochemical message to my brainpan!! Indeed, there is something amiss with my electrical wiring!! It was always embarrassing, when I worked in a before and after school workplace, that the kiddos 'got' it before me!!

So, one would think that, at all costs, I would avoid making a quilt which involves the skill of origami. But no, not me......I am going to stitch not one, but two quilts which to some degree, both, involve the  skill of origami.

The next two quilts that I am going to stitch are a cathedral window quilt and a quilt using Japanese silks which will have beautiful origami fabric flowers scattered upon it.

Crazy!! I know!! But I am going to conquer my inadequacies and give it a burl. After all we learn from our mistakes....don't we?

For a long time now I have wanted to make a cathedral window quilt. I have been traversing through cyberspace and found a wonderful tutorial over at Hyena in Petticoats which perhaps even I will be able to master.

Although technically not really origami, a cathedral window quilt does resemble origami in that each square is folded separately to give the appearance of a cathedral window. I have gathered oodles of scrap fabrics and cut squares in readiness for my quilt.

The folded plain fabric that makes the envelope-like frames for the patterned fabric scraps, is a white cotton with a paisley-like pattern printed thereon.

If nothing else, I will become quite proficient at the skill of envelope making upon the completion of this quilt, as there are hundreds to be prepared!!  What was I thinking when I came up with the brilliant idea of making a queen size quilt for our guest bedroom??

Here is the progress that I have made thus far. The windows are 4 inch squares.

I love the fact that this is a 'quilt as you go' quilt...sewing and quilting at the same time!
As my quilt has batting in it, it can be a little tricky to get the corners perfect......and those of you who read my blog from time to time, know that sometimes (oh all right...most of the time) I can be quite persnickety. I am not quite sure how one accomplishes every corner to be the same. I have found that sometimes they are pleasing to my eye and sometimes they definitely are not!! I have no idea why this is so, as the process is the same for each window.
Me thinks that this quilt will be one where I will have to adopt the attitude of satisfactionism and not perfectionism. It will be difficult for me, but I'm guessing that, by the time that I have stitched a couple of hundred or so of the blasted li'l windows, I really won't care. When I have stitched the last stitch, my brain will transmit the message that every corner is just fine! Besides, I will convince myself that most of our guests won't even they are destitute of vision anyway and depend on glasses for seeing their world!
When I started this quilt I hand sewed tiny invisible stitches around the edge of the window. Then I machine stitched around the window as well to give a quilting effect on the back. As this took oodles of time, I thought there had to be a better way to do this. I skedaddled down to my local fabric store ('tis only one and a half hours away) and bought some 'no more pins' glue. This enabled me to glue under the fabric at each corner and then I could 'quickly' machine stitch around the window, thus eliminating the need to hand sew. Excellento!! Now each window is less laborious and much, much quicker to finish; making me a very, very happy gal!

 I have looked at quite a few cathedral window quilts on pinterest, and to my untrained eye there are some that seem to have the same 'corner' issues as mine. There are quite a few quilts that have buttons on every corner.....mmm....I wonder if these are hiding little foibles or if they are there purely for decorative effect. Oh.....there are those, that as far as my eyes can see are beyond perfect....but I won't dwell on them as I am trying to remain upbeat....("remember...satisfactionism, satisfactionism....Kim"). I am thinking that if I didn't include the batting, the corners would be easier to make the same.....but I am only supposing.

Now........ for the second quilt on my 'to do list'. Have a bo peep at these lovely Japanese silks from vintage kimonos that I have been collecting for a couple of years.

Aren't they just too, too gorgeous?? Panel after panel of the most exquisite silk fabric overflowing with innate and intuitive Japanese style and design. Mmm.....did you spy with your li'l eye, the hexagon pattern?? You didn't think I was going to make a Japanese style quilt and not include a hexie or two...did you??
Now for the stitching of my Japanese masterpiece. I am referring to these books for the 'how to' of the origami fabric flowers that I want to add.
I happened upon some gorgeous books written by Kumiko Sudo a couple of years ago and had to, had to buy them. Every page is filled with wonderful Japanese narratives (the stories are as beautifully evocative as the quilts) and sumptuous photos of fabric origami flowers and beautiful quilts. Every page is a visual feast of inspiration to be enjoyed. These books inform me......and I quote "Even if you have never folded paper origami before, do not worry. With Kumiko as your guide, you will find the techniques easy to learn." I am further told....."this book contains designs that magically transform simple shapes cut from fabric into beautiful, decorative flowers."
So......there you have worries! I will magically turn little scraps of gorgeous Japanese silks into beautiful origami-like says so in the books. It is written in black and white. The authors wouldn't lead me astray...would they?? The very word 'magic' did compel me to look to see, if perchance, there was a magic wand included within the covers of the books; thus helping my origami flower dreams come true....but!!
Anyway, perhaps fabric will be a little more forgiving for the molding of origami-like flowers than paper. Perhaps I will even become quite savvy at the art of fabric origami, to the point, that I will be able to make gorgeous fabric flowers almost without thinking. Well, I can only try!
So....I'm off to retrain my rather inadequate brainpan.....I will get back to you....shall I??


  1. I love your colour selection and your windows are just divine.Look at it as a whole picture. Most excellent , I want to call you all sorts of filthy names for being such a clever dick! Makes me want to make one too. So many things to do so little time or I just waste so much time looking on the internet and galavanting about town. Life is full of challenges , mm I wonder what shall become my next one
    Inspirational work anyway. Love Japanes style as well- girl after my own heart!
    Cheers Moniquex

  2. You write so well - I loved reading your post! And I love your cathedral window quilt so far!! All those beautiful scraps - what lucky guests! Great idea using the glue. I've not tried it before (I am very grateful that my LQS is 5 minutes away), but will definitely use it if I make a similar quilt. It is pinned, but that is no guarantee that it will get done! Your kimono fabrics are divine. I can't wait to see the magic that you create!

  3. Your cathedral window quilt is absolutely lovely and very, very neat. You have greater patience than me because I have often thought how lovely it would be to use this technique in a quilt but after just a few blocks my patience has run out. I did, however, make 6 into a box to carry our wedding rings when we got married (I used a piece of card rather than wadding to provide the required stiffness for the box.) I have that Fantastic Folding Fabric book and made those lovely flowers on the front cover in a bag. Not too difficult and very effective. I shall look forward to seeing all your gorgeous fabrics put to similar usage. Philippa xx

    1. Thank you Philippa; you sure know how to perk a gal up! Yes, I suppose patience is the key ingredient in the making of a cathedral window. It is very easy to get frustrated....but I will press on. When it is looked upon as a whole, it is such a pretty quilt......if only my eyes were more visually impaired to ignore the li'l foibles.;D All jokes aside, I do love the pretty scraps set in the white windows, it is such a fresh and bright quilt. I must say that I do love the concept of your origami box. Origami must come easy to you!! Thanks again for your lovely comments!! Kim xx

  4. Oh my, your cathedral windows are heavenly! And such a lovely stash of kimono silks! Can't wait to see what you do with them.

  5. Oh my dear Kim...your windows are totally divine!! I can't believe that you are machine sewing all of those tiny turns. It is always such a pleasure to read your stories and your goings on. You make even the mundane seems so adventurous. Your silks are wonderful. I am sure that you can do whatever you put your mind to.

  6. Can't believe your Cathedral windows. I have always loved those quilts but never started one. It is beautiful and it looks pretty perfect to me.

  7. Oh my goodness beyond amazingly beautiful! I'm in awe! Love your fabric choices!

  8. I have seen pin cushions with this pattern, but never a quilt. WOW is all I can say and that it is beautiful.

  9. WOW....impressive work. I love the fabric and the pattern. Maybe someday.....would love to try a Cathedral Windows. XXXX