Hi there! It's finally my stop on the Happy Flower Quilts book blog hop! I've been waiting patiently for my turn! (Ok, maybe not quite so patiently. The truth is that I worked right up until the last minute on my project, fueled by the limited edition Peeps Oreo cookies. They have yummy hot pink marshmallow-flavored filling.) You might have already seen a few sneak peeks of my project that I shared on Instagram (I'm @greydogwoodstudio.)
So let's talk about the book. I've known about the elusive, legendary Happy Flower Quilts book by the great Atsuko Matsuyama for several years. Some of us have referred to it as "the pink book." I wanted that book so badly, but it was only available in Japanese print. But now everything is coming up roses because there's a brand new English version!
The new English translation is published by Zakka Workshop. My friend Kristyne Czepuryk of Pretty By Hand is one of the English editors. Now at last we can sew up those cute designs! So when Zakka Workshop contacted me and asked if I'd like to help promote the book, of course I was as excited as a daffodil on a March morning. (I am positive that daffodils, tulips and crocuses are excited to pop up through the ground. If only they could read this book!)
Now that you know the history of the book, let me show you my project!
My Lovely Vines pillow is an interpretation of the Lovely Vines quilt. The quilt is by far my favorite project in the book. It features five columns of leafy vines alternated with postage stamp columns. I'd love to make the whole quilt some day. To make my pillow, I purchased a fat quarter bundle of the latest Antique Flower Pastel fabric by Lecien for the leaves. How pretty is this fabric?! I used one of my favorite light green prints for the stem - it's High Tea by Jera Brandvig for Lecien.
My leaves were made by tracing the applique shape onto freezer paper. Then I applied starch to the edges with a small paintbrush and pressed them to the paper with a hot, dry iron. It's my favorite way to prep applique shapes because I'm able to get nice clean edges with no distortion. And for my stems, I used a Clover bias tape maker, although the book illustrates an easy method that doesn't require any gizmos. I hand appliqued the shapes using Kimono silk thread in Zen Zen 375 and a number 11 straw needle (I even use these needles to stitch quilt bindings), and then hand quilted around each shape and a grid in the background. You could definitely speed this up by using iron-on fusible web and a zigzag stitch. I like the slower method, and it gave me LOTS of time to catch up on some older The Splendid Table podcasts.
The book has quite an assortment of projects that can be completed in a short amount of time. There are 30 patterns for quilts, mini quilts, pouches, pincushions, totes, satchels, placemats, wall hangings. There is piecing, applique, embroidery, 3-D applique and embellishment. And more! The book cover has an amazing sampler quilt. Plus, there are two large tear-out sheets of applique templates to be traced (some of which I might use for other projects. Those birds are too cute!). There is truly something for everybody here.
And now it is giveaway time! Zakka Workshop is generously providing a copy of Happy Flower Quilts at each stop of the book tour. Just leave me a comment letting me know which flower makes you happy and I'll chose a winner on March 1. Contest is open to readers of my blog, and it is also open to my Instagram followers. And be sure to check out the other stops of the book tour, too - there are some really pretty projects that I've seen!