Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All done but the shouting

The only thing left to do on the banner is to add the sleeves for hanging and assemble some dowels. Now I can go off to camp tomorrow without worrying about when I can finish.

The photo will be used to put on the cover of the booklet that tells about the various ministries at Tokyo Union Church. My husband is in charge of getting the booklet together and I was sure that there would be lots of pressure to get this done well before the actual due date.

I want to thank everyone who suggested the black. I think it was a good choice too. I used sashiko thread for the tower parts and have new respect for those who do this. Making large even stitches is not all that easy. Also one can not use such long pieces of thread as I like.

I ran into the strangest problem when putting on the bias binding. I used a commercial binding because I happened to have some on hand and it would take less time than cutting up the small amount of fabric in my stash.

After sewing three sides by hand, I needed to splice another piece. When it was added, I found that not only that piece but the one I had sewed already, were completely disintegrated and the whole thing ripped off. Luckily I had the package with the name of the store on it so I can take it back when I return from camp.

However, my plan to get this finished had gone "awa". This morning my husband ... hoping to see a finish almost as much as I ... went to the local "button store" (that is what a shop selling fabric in small amounts, notions, yarn, and the like is called in Japan) and tried to buy a similar bias.

The shopkeeper was very surprised. She said there are only two makers of bias in Japan and that one is the best maker so she only buys that product for sale. My husband showed her the two packages and how badly they ripped whichever way they were pulled. She said something must have gone wrong with that lot. She took out a package from her shelf and pulled very hard on it but it did not rip. Therefore, my husband brought home new bias and the banner is all but done.

I went back to my drawer of bias tape and found two more of the same make and age. Both of those were also deteriorated so I will have four to return to the store when I return from camp.

Those packs were not new. They had been in my drawer a few to perhaps five years but I did not expect them to rot in the package. I have not checked other packs and other colors but I do use bits from time to time and that event was totally unexpected. I am wondering if it might have something to do with the black dye. I have noticed on embroidery my mother made, more than 40 years ago, the black thread has not held up as well as the other colors. I have also noted when I hand sew with black thread, the same brand as all my other thread, that it frays out if I use as long a strand as I do white or other colors. I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience.

It has been extremely hot and humid in Tokyo. The neighborhood PA system has announced for the public to beware of heat related problems each afternoon around 2:30 and 3:00. Usually we only hear one message at 5:30PM telliing children it is time to go home.

This time tomorrow I will be at camp on the foot of Mt. Fuji. I was told I would need a jacket at night. Now, isn't that a refreshing thought!

This is the second camp this summer that I am going off in flip-flops. The toe did not heal and a week ago Monday the Dr. took an x-ray to see why and found the bone way off and too much swelling for it to even meet. It was pulled and set and treated for a week and a half with echo and electric gadgets and taped to it's neighbor. Now, in a pinch, I can put something else on for part of the day. The volcanic soil is a bit un-suited to flip-flops. Looks like big boots and bulky socks might be needed. We shall see.

This hybiscus is in the yard of a neighbor. I just had to take a picture. He has numerous varieties and this is so unusual. is other big one comes out pink in the morning and as the day goes on, the sun turns it to red. In the winter he whacks these all down to stumps but every year they return full of vigor. They will be blooming beautifully upon my return.

I hope my own plants will survive the week without me. I am almost tempted to haul them to the neighbor and beg his care. I hope all my blogging friends have a good week as well. I will surely miss you.


  1. The banner is so nice. I love the way you used lighter adjacent color values in the heart.

  2. Your banner turned out beautifully! Very pretty! I love the font that you used. Did you design that yourself?

  3. What beautiful work you've done on the banner. Hope the toe heals quickly. It's fun wearing flip-flops for fun, not because you have to. Have a nice trip.

  4. The banner is just wonderful - you are bery clever and I am in awe of all that HANDWORK! Enjoy your week in sight of Fuji-san! What an awesome sight it must be! Good luck with the toe!

  5. Julie, the banner is spectacular... just stunning! Well done!!!
    And now you are off to camp! Have fun, and I hope your toe doesn't give too much trouble. Lovely hibiscus, too. ...Karen

  6. Great job Julie. I've heard bad things about black over the years. I think it's something about over dying the fabric to get it black, not grey, that weakens the fabric. I've only used black once, and that quilt isn't finished. Have fun camping. Hope the toe heals quickly. It's hard to walk at camp in flip flops.

  7. Julie this banner is truly beautiful. I know everyone at church will be so pleased with it. I love the combination of blues and the black did indeed set it off. When I embroider with black thread it always frays worse than any other color. Perhaps it takes so much dye to get it really dark that it harms the thread. Have a wonderful time at camp - I'm envious of the jacket-needed nights. We hope to go to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado in September so I'll be packing sweatshirts and jackets too. :) blessings, marlene

  8. You have made a beautiful banner. Sorry about the foot.

  9. I really love it and the black came out perfect, the way you did it. The words really say so much, I hope they love it as much as I do.


  10. The banner looks great! The black really makes the colors stand out. That must have been frustrating to have the binding fall apart like that. I have never noticed any of the black fabric or thread fraying. Have fun at camp!

  11. Your banner is beautiful. Well done!