Block NE-2 come to us from the heart of Massachusetts and Akiko of withhugsnstitches. Central Massachusetts is known for its history and culture.
Akiko lives in a small, historic, rural community in the midst of much natural beauty. But she is only about an hour's drive to Boston -- the best of both worlds!
Nearby Akiko's home is the 132 acre Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, operated by the local county Horticultural Society. It will celebrate its 25th anniversary next month.
And if you've been following Akiko on Facebook, you'll know that she started raising chicks last year. They all have names and their own personalities and have grown into beautiful chickens.
Akiko is shown here with Chobi.
And here is Chobi sunbathing.
As you can see, Akiko has to keep some space shovelled for the chicks to exercise, even in the winter. Recently she had to rescue them after they got stuck in a snow drift!
Akiko was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. Her grandmother was a kimono maker who passed her knowledge down to her granddaughter. After Akiko moved to the United States, she learned to quilt, and brings all her traditional skills to that craft as well.
In between raising 4 children, with all their busy schedules, Akiko creates wonderful quilts and other fun things, often involving sea creatures. Akiko admits to being obsessed with whales and fish.
She recently combined an interest in the selvage craze with her love of whales to develop a stuffed whale named Bubbly.
There have been many Bubblies (of varying size) who have been featured in countless treasuries and blogs, including the coveted selvageblog by Karen Griska. Bubbly was also featured in the April/May 2010 issue of Sew News Magazine.
Akiko's garden hat is also a permanently featured item on selvageblog as well!
Some of you might recall Akiko was the one responsible for making the 'S' in the big Quiltsy project a couple of years ago for the etsy headquarters.
When you see the entire Sisterhood quilt all put together, look for the block with the fish in the center and you'll know that's Akiko's.
Look at more of her beautiful creations here in her shop, withhugsnstitches.
Addendum: Akiko posted this on March 15th to the team -- "It's so crazy in Japan right now. My family lives far far away from where earthquake happened (like 500 miles away) but still got 3 ft tsunami. My mother lives just about 300 ft away from ocean and river. I was so worry about her. But thank God, she is safe and so is my other family. But my friend lost 7 people by tsunami. Since Saturday, every midenight she gets phone call from Japan about the bad news. Please send prayers to Japan!!!!"
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