Thursday, May 1, 2014

Guest Blogger Julie Fukuda from Japan

Give a big welcome to my guest blogger, Julie Fukuda from Tokyo, Japan (formerly of Ohio).  Julie has completed fifteen blocks for the quilt she's making to go with the books we've been reading in the Quilters' Book Club.  This is her post describing the block she made for A SINGLE THREAD by Marie Bostwick.  If you enjoy what you read below, check out her My Quilt Diary blog here.  I have loved getting to know Julie (as well as Japan and Japanese quilting) through her blog.  She's a wonderful person and an amazing quilter.  (She does all of her quilting and piecing by hand!) 

This week I finished reading our book for April.

My final task was to come up with a block to represent that book.

Sometimes finding a good block is more challenging than finishing the reading.

Our first book in February last year was the Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.
At that time, I dug out from my stash, a piece of paisley fabric and decided to use a little bit in each of the blocks for the Quilters Book Club. That fabric will tie the blocks together and represent this group of reading quilters.

Since the amount is not so large and getting smaller each month, I wanted to make blocks that pulled out the colors from the paisley as well as added a bit more variety of color to the quilt I will make.

I have several books of quilt block designs and it is a good thing because many of them are two or three color blocks. A number of months I have given up and drafted my own pattern. I did find two patterns that might have worked for this month but the book's ending gave me another idea.

In the story, the Friday night quilters at the quilt shop make a quilt for Ivy, each one making a block to represent their home. Ivy's house block is placed in the middle, a white house with blue windows, a red door, a stone fireplace and a garden are a few of the points described by her little daughter as the "smiling" house.

In each corner were the other houses of the four members "like mismatched sentries on a guard points on a compass, fixed and immovable." Well, I wasn't going to try making four more houses but last year when we read the first of the "Cobbled Court Quilts " series,"A Single Thread", I had made a block of four spools, one representing each character, with the threads joining in the center.
I decided to use the spool colors representing those women in each corner and the paisley as compass points.

This is my 15th block. If I make a quilt to snuggle under while reading, I may have to change from reading on the train to reading in bed!
Julie Fukuda
f you'd like to read more of Julie's blog posts related to our Quilters' Book Club and see the rest of her quilt blocks, please click here.

Julie does all of her piecing and quilting by hand.  I, on the other hand, do everything by machine except for the binding.  Do you piece and quilt by hand or by machine?  Inquiring minds want to know!

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Home Circle Quilt Block and a Family of Friends in A THREAD OF TRUTH.


  1. I prefer to do applique by hand. I piece by machine and am terrible at it. I'm working on that this year. I am also going to do a small wall hanging and quilt it by hand. I have come to the conclusion that I like to do the tops and create something but really do not enjoy the quilting process. However I *do* love to hand sew on binding. Not sure if that is because I know it is the last thing to do besides a sleeve (also sewn on by hand) or just because I like to sew by hand.

  2. I love that you pulled in things from your previous block from one of Bostwick's books. How clever!

  3. Piece by hand.

  4. I do all the piecing and quilting on my sewing machine. Sometimes I tack down the binding by hand and sometimes I do it completely on the machine. Depends on my mood (for doing hand work at that time).

  5. I usually use the machine. I did piece blocks from neckties but joined blocks by machine and will quilt by machine.

  6. Thank you Susan for posting this as well as your kind words. Once I tried to make a quilt by machine. It was hard to get all the seams correct ... the seems sometimes went the wrong way ... there were sometimes tiny tucks along the seams ... and often the corners were not precise. I spent a lot of time un-sewing and still was not happy. I ended up appliqueing little cats over the worst places and named the quilt "Who let the cats out?". When I sew by hand, I mark the seam allowance with a pencil or fabric marker, I sew point-to-point, checking the back side before pulling the needle through, and enjoy the process more. After all, I can carry it to meetings and travel time ... I can watch TV or join in a conversation and don't need an electric outlet.

  7. I like to do it by hand and machine love Julies block

  8. I LOVE Julie's block. I haven't even read the book but I fell like I have, seeing her block and reading her words. I'd love to win the next book! Blessings. Beth

  9. I've followed Julie for a few years now. It was Julie that led me to your blog. I prefer to sew tops by machine. I do like hand quilting, if I'm not rushed. Being rushed takes all the fun and relaxation out of hand stitching for me.

  10. I do everything by machine except the binding. There are times that I need the binding done quickly so I do that by Machine also.

  11. Hi Julie, enjoying seeing your fame spread! This was the post that introduced me to the Quilters' Book Club and for which I am very grateful.
    I started off doing all my piecing and quilting by machine, the piecing was okay, the quilting pretty dire! As I grew in confidence and started to be influenced by Japanese textiles and by traditional methods, I started to do more work by hand. I usually use a mixture of hand and machine now, using the machine as a workhorse for joining large pieces, sewing the binding (before hand stitching it over) etc. I much prefer to work by hand, I feel more in touch with the fabric and thread, more relaxed as I work and less under pressure to produce things quickly. "A quilt in a day" is probably my worst quilting nightmare now! Each to their own though, and it's so interesting to read other comments.


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