A long time ago I saw a cover of a book on Pinterest. It was in Japanese and there was not any information about this book, but I fell in love with all the colourful patchwork and applique squares on its cover. I did not even know it was a quilt. It took me a while, but I found a copy of this book in Chinese. It was the only version available at that time. This book is called Happy Flower Quilts by Atsuko Matsuyama and it's full of prettiness! A collection of 30 lovely projects designed by Atsuko in her unique style combining pretty prints and bright happy colours to create the most adorable bags, pouches, mats and quilts using applique and patchwork techniques and sewn entirely by hand. Last year this book was translated into English to the delight of so many quilters and crafters. Finally, many of us can read and understand the names, comments and instructions for the projects in this book. Last month Kristyne Czuperyk, who is one of the technical editors of the English version of the book, ran a giveaway on her blog Pretty by Hand. I had this book on my wish list, but to my huge surprise I won a copy of the English version from Kristyne's blog. Oh my! I did a happy dance when I got an email from her and then another one when I received the book from Lindsay from Zakka Workshop. Thank you so much girls!
The Herringbone stitch was a lovely finishing touch between the scallops on this pouch. Since I am not good at different kinds of stitches, I was going to skip it altogether, but I am so glad that I changed my mind and gave it a go. It turned out much easier than I anticipated and I absolutely love the way it looks. I used Aurifil embroidery floss in this beautiful soft red shade, #2230.
I said it so many times before and I'm going to repeat it again - I am not good at reading and following instructions and this pouch is a good example of that. The back side was supposed to have a scallop panel as well as the front part, but I realised that only after I hand quilted the back side of the pouch. I was going to add the scallops, but after some thinking I decided to leave it as it is. Maybe as a reminder for myself for the next time to read instructions better. The pretty green binding is from Faith from Sarana Ave that I also won in a giveaway a while back. Even though I love green, it never is my number one choice, but this time around it was absolutely perfect for this pouch. These tiny flowers go so nicely with the pink gingham and the floral prints of the scallops.
The idea of installing a zipper by hand scared me a lot, so I made sure to keep all the photos in the book as a handy visual guide and I made sure to read the instructions this time. Apparently, I can do it sometimes. :-) But once again I was surprised at how easy this process was. The zipper was just falling into the place by itself. All I had to do was to keep making tiny stitches. I used a very sharp Tulip Hiroshima needle and my Clover Leather thimble. It made all the work go smoothly and pain free.
Combining different prints and colours is never easy for me, I tend to overthink my choices and quite often go to safer options. This time I decided to try and use what I liked and not think too much about it. I picked all the things I love - Lilies of the Valley, strawberries, pretty petals, apples, tiny dots and flowers. I just could not stay away from pink. I absolutely love all these prints together. Maybe next time, when my Atsuko Matsuyama fabric stash grows a bit bigger, I would select a different colour palette.
I went to get some felting wool at Lincraft right after I finished the pouch, but instead I found this sweet tulip charm. It's silver and does not really match the golden zipper on the pouch, but it goes so well with the body of the pouch. So I put it there for now, it can be easily replaced at any time if I need to.
So...once again I realised that all I have to do is just give it a go. There is no need to be scared of a new technique or approach, just go for it and even if it does not work out, there still will be something new and valuable learnt from it. Thank you for stopping by and keep on sewing, my Dear Friends! Larisa xox