Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And now... the rest of the story...

The batik quilt is done ... kind of.

Yesterday morning, when I went to check my e-mails, there was a message from Cheryl, one of my blogging buddies, that my blog was GONE. Well, I went to check it out and, sure enough, Google had blocked it because of some activity that had taken place which had not been explained. I was asked to leave my "cell phone e-mail address" in order to get a code so I could get my blogs and dashboard and all the rest back. Yeah, right! They were going to send me this code within ten minutes. Now, I am sure everyone carries a cell phone and can use it to get text messages. I do have that app on my "smart phone" but had never used it. Husband Paul went to his computer and pulled up the forms and sent out the information. Well, at 11pm there was no code and it was already past my bed time so I fired off an e-mail to my fine guru of a son (the one who got me into this in the first place) and when I woke in the morning, there were his soothing words and everything was back to normal. I think he can talk googleese better than I.

Anyway, there was no way to waste time catching up on blog-reading, so I bit the bullet and finished the binding on the Batik quilt. Gosh, that was a LONG way around! 225  cm square. I will have to figure it out in inches later.

This quilt began  with a kit, given me by my good friend, Marion Fox, two years ago when I was visiting her while at my son's in D.C. after the Jamboree. I had just finished a project of a table cloth for my son and she said I would need something to do for the rest of the trip. The name of the kit called this "Round and round". It was meant to alternate one large block with four smaller ones but I have yet to use a pattern as intended. When I got back to Tokyo, I pulled out some of my own batik stash and made enough blocks for a double sized quilt. I intended this quilt to go to my #4 daughter, Kimie, as I had not yet made her a wedding quilt.

Last March, a few days after the quake, Kimie came with her daughter, Irene, for a week's visit. At that time, the kind rice-store lady offered me the use of her big tatami room floor to lay out the blocks. She even dug out some toys to keep Irene busy while we moved blocks around the room.

From then on, every time I passed the rice store, which is at the corner of my street, my friend would step out of the store to ask if I was finished yet. I promised her she would be the first to see it when I did, and today I could keep that promise. Of course, half the neighborhood of little shops ran out to share the good news and oogle the results and get a running description of my last 50 years ... kids... teaching ,,, scouts...the whole works. You do nothing in secret in this community!

I could not afford my prefered border material so I bought this Kathy Nakajima print and added the flower centers and colored thread to make this border work. The flower quilting is repeated in the blocks. I have decided to call this quilt "Round and round the garden"

This picture is not very clear, but since my daughter is a teacher of young children, I decided to back the quilt with tenugui of Japanese children's games. I had collected these a number of years ago and been saving them for a special quilt.

Here are stilts and hoops and kendama, a singing game, and some others you might be able to guess.

I could almost say I am completely happy with the way this quilt turned out BUT.....
You may not remember, that at the end of last summer, I made a hanging for out church. At that time, I took out some old bias tape I had been saving for making stained glass blocks, and to my dismay, every one of those packages of black tape had completely disintegrated. I was able to take them back to the store and have them replaced but I thought that was just a one-of-a-kind event.

Saddly, when I was turning the bias to the reverse side, I found that in several places, where the black dye was darkest on the bamboo yukata fabric, the same thing had happened.

Just below the v there is a one-inch split in the fabric. I began looking at other places where the dye is darkest and this is not the only place. I am NOT going to take out all this work, that is for sure. I thought of cutting green bamboo leaves and appliqueing them over the slits but one of my friends at camp suggested I repeat the colored dots I used for the flower centers. I think that would be a lot easier and tie the front and back together.

I had a whole roll of this bamboo print and have used it in other places, mostly backs of quilts. Those have been washed a few times and have no problems so I suppose the dye sitting un-washed on this vintage fabric was the problem. I think I will ever be suspicious of black fabric from now on.

This is a disappointing end to a two-year project and I wonder how my blogging friends would deal with the situation. In a week I leave for the states and this quilt is asking to go to Kimie. I sure don't want it to become her problem. As is, it will have to be washed right off. Dirt from camp... dog hair ... and a husband with allergies... and my washing machine is too small to do the job. This is one time I might say, "It isn't over 'till it's over"! If you don't hear from me, you will know what I am doing with my time.


  1. That is a stunning quilt Julie - a riot of colours! The back is just gorgeous too!!!!!

  2. Julie
    I am in awe of the work you have done on this quilt. It is such a shame that the fabic is breaking up. I hope you are able to fix it without too much extra work.

  3. This is such a beautiful quilt, made extra special by your original creative flourishes- the tenegui backing, the flowered border and of course your artful hand quilting! I like the idea of a bright patchy fix for the problem fabric.

  4. Good luck with the applique. Sorry the black is ripping. Hopefully the quilt will wash up well at your daughters. Have fun in the USA. Travel safely! Glad you got the blog back.

  5. The quilt is truly beautiful and I am totally in love with the back. I do like the idea of the colored dots to tie everything together but what a shame that the black is doing that. I have a couple of my grandmother's quilts where one particular fabric has shredded to nothing while all the others remain stable. I assume the dye is the culprit though I have no idea why one dye is okay and another is not! blessings, marlene

  6. Beautiful colorful quilt! The front so colorful plays nicely with the back of the quilt. I love the use of the tenegui as the backing since it captures the feeling of summer, children, yukatas, matsuri, and strolling through the narrow street of Tokyo.

  7. That is disappointing. I've heard that black rots faster than any other color. Great quilt though!

  8. what a time you are having !! Applique was ment to cover the bits that go astay xx good luck xx

  9. This is a masterpiece Julie. Good luck with getting all the repairs done. It is such a gorgeous quilt. and scary news about your blog!!!!

  10. Gorgeous quilt!! - front and back. The black dye must have something in it to break down the fabric. That's too bad, but I do like the idea of using applique to cover and strengthen the weak areas. I have done that several times over the years.

  11. Love the title of this post, Mom - I remember listening to Paul Harvey with you as a kid. I think Kimie is the perfect candidate for this one, she's handy with a needle and thread if it continues to need a patching here and there. It came out great, fabric challenges aside. Glad you're back up and blogging - sorry I didn't realize sooner or I would've had you back up in a jiff... glad your readers didn't forget about you, much love, -Jon

  12. Hi. So happy you are back.:-)) and nothing wrong had happen :-))
    The quilt are beautifull.
    Hugs :-)

  13. You have done an amazing quilting job on this quilt! I love the idea of putting the centers on an already flower fabric... and then quilting around the flowers. I'll try to remember that. And looking at the zoom pictures I can see all the detail in the quilting. Absolutely fantastic. For two years that is really great timing!

    Oh dear... I would be having nightmares if my blog went by the wayside even temporarily. And my son (though computer literate) doesn't answer back to requests as quickly as yours does. Do you want to hire him out if needed?

    I'm taking off for the States in two weeks... Probably will continue to blog myself but not get around to visiting much. And I give up on replying to comments while I'm visiting my family (not that I do a good job even on a regular schedule.)

  14. Your quilt is so bright and cheerful, and the backing is very special; this quilt will be much loved. You are so resourceful that I am sure you will come up with the right solution for the bamboo fabric. Also: I have read about people washing fragile quilts in a bathtub - basically you make a sling using an old sheet underneath the quilt, then soak in soapy water followed by many rinses, then lift the whole thing up using the sheet as support, drain, and lay flat to dry on layers of towels - sounds a bit messy but might be worth a try?

  15. The quilt is gorgeous and I shall now leap to your next post to, hopefully, discover how you dealt with the problem fabric....