Sunday, September 23, 2012

Making use of time and scraps

Projects pause but time marches on. After cutting out the kasuri pieces I had a chance to talk with my daughter about the kind of bag she wants and she decided she would like the muted solids to set the kasuri. Now, that is fine with me but at that point, the project ground to a halt because she needs to come by and pick out the colors that will best go with whatever she plans to use the bag with. I still don't have a clear idea of size and shape so no point in sitting around waiting. Kasuri carton returns to the second floor cupboard.

 As the week went on, I could see the weekend looming ahead with loooong bus and train rides and meetings.

So ... I needed something to make that time go faster. I thought of a church friend who is having a baby next month. This friend has helped me with the planning for Vacation Bible School and we have worked together on committees. I had remembered seeing a zip-lock baggy of pieces that were left over from an "I Spy" quilt I made many years ago for the grand kids.
They were all cut out and ready to put together ... cute little kid-friendly prints.
I pulled out some yellow solid and marked off some triangles to sew them together and stuck them in my back pack.

I have to say it was a good thing too, because to save money, I tool a very long bus ride and three trains to get to the Railroad museum where my Cub Scouts were gathering. I had lots of extra time there while all the boys took turns driving every simulated train in the whole place. Oh, what a lot of hands-on stuff there was too! Then, there was the long way home plus a 48 minute wait for the bus and heavy traffic back home.

Sunday after church I also had two meetings to sit through plus the hour trip each way. Above is what I got done. It is not a very big piece but I will finish off the star points and add some borders. I am thinking of a little quilt that can be used in a stroller or to put the baby on for changing or to cover when napping, maybe around 45" square. My friend is expecting a little girl and I thought the red heart print would show less dirt than a pink. I would say, a few more trips and meetings and this shouldn't take too long. (If I keep the size under control, I will even be able to baste it without clearing the whole living room of furniture).

There seems to be a new fad in my neighborhood. Many houses with enough ground to plant a "garden", have this vine growing wildly all over the place.

Between my house and the train station I am hardly out of sight of one of these. This picture is the barber shop. The rice shop has one too. It is a very aggressive vine and full of little yellow flowers.

The interesting thing is why it is growing in so many places.

Here is the "fruit" (if you can call it that). It looks like a little warty cucumber.

The plant is Momordica charantia. In Japanese it is called "Goya", a name that comes from Okinawa.
In English it is called, among other names, "Bitter Melon".  And, believe me. that is a very apropos name because it is the bitterest of all fall fruits.

The rice store lady sings its praises, telling me it is picked small and cut and sauteed  with meat. The only times I have tasted it, it was quite bitter no matter how it was prepared.

I think of my #2 daughter's garden in the Boston Fens and all the delicious produce she has for eating and giving away ... no goya ... give me zucchini any day, a few cucumbers and summer summer squash and perhaps a handful of cherry tomatoes. Yummmm!


  1. all that travel must be exhausting... I dont know how you do it! I would be asleep over my sewing! keep safe xx
    Dont fancy that "thing" ... no matter how it is prepared! lol x

  2. Nothing like a portable handpiecing project to make use oflong transport times, and this cutie is SO lovely, Julie !
    And nothing like homegrown (no bitter) veggies for a yummy, healthy meal!
    Here in our little corner, the veggies are going SO expensive - because of the bad rainy summer, so they say, but there's another excuse each season, and I can see many people now coming back to their own veggies garden beds - even small - Back to earth ! Good thing ...
    By next spring (March 2013), I'm planning to start a small veggies garden with my 7 years old grandson and, believe me, the least we'll harvest will be proudly presented on the table ! ;>)

    ENJOY your sewing, dear Julie


  3. That is sooooo cute! And is giving me ideas...
    No goya here in Australia (thank goodness) but just steamingsome broccoli from the garden.

    Miss you HEAPS!

    Tammy xxx

  4. I don't know how you do it! Every time I rode the train it was so crowded. the piece you made is ever so cute though. I think the fabric from japan at the store is just so cute. I hope that my son that is in the military now can get stationed in japan. He lived there when he was just 3-5,so it would be going back for him.

  5. Julie I've been stitching in the truck as we travel and I marvel at how you do it on a train - we bounce around so much it's a real challenge! However, this little quilt is perfect and the tiny little triangles I can barely see - how in the world do you do that! blessings, marlene

  6. What a beautiful hand-sewing project you've selected. It makes a terrific "take-along" kit. I never mind waiting if I have something to occupy me. That's whenI get all my hand-sewing done. Your little quilt is going to be so pretty.

  7. Wonderful project for traveling. I enjoy doing hexagons by hand.


  8. That little quilt is adorable! I always marvel at your intricate work - it's simply WONDERFUL! - ;))

  9. I like the little quilt, it's so colorful - any little girl would love it. I never heard of the goya fruit, it looks like a fat catepiller!

  10. Very colorful and adorable "I Spy Quilt"! You do have patience to be able to sew on a bus. My sister-in-law loves bitter melon, but I don't. Some veggies are best left to admire from a distance. The vine in the one photos looks like a waterfall of green, very pretty.

  11. You got a lot done and I have to admire you for being able to work on a moving bus/train ... I can't. Have tried and I just can't.

  12. Wow, you sure got that little quilt pieced together quickly!

  13. It is just as well you are a hand pieced with all that travel and what a gorgeous result! I love it!