Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finishing up and starting again

At the start of 2012 I chose "Priorities" as my focus word.

I have to admit it was a good choice and helped me through many decisions I had to make as to use of time and talents and resources.

Those who really know me, know how I hate doing anything at the last minute. I can do "plan A","plan B", and even plans C, and D, but all need to have some end in sight.

I guess that is one of the reasons I really have no UFOs. I do have something like my blue runner waiting in the wings and I do have some ideas in my sketchbook to try out. (actually quite a few things I would like to try after seeing them on other blogs)

The Woman's Conference is the last weekend in January so the gift for the speaker is finished.

The kanji reading top to bottom, right to left, is Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. I sorted through my fabric bits to find two inch blocks that represent those seasons. The outlines of the kanji are quilted with glittery thread. (I always say, when that spool is gone, I am not getting more ... it is so hard to use)!

The lettering is quilted in light blue. Those letters are just 2cm. high and I had to split the verse to fit it all in without too much crowding.

Can you read it? I didn't want it too bright.

I will add a sleeve in case the speaker wishes to use it as a wall hanging. Since our house is short of wall space, I tend to make table runners rather than hangings.

The finished size is just over 22 x 34 inches if I count the binding.

When I took it out in the sun for a photo, I saw there is a lot of dog hair yet to be removed.

And while I am finishing up the year, I am enjoying the lovely songs of our newest family member.

"Piper" is a pied canary and was a Christmas gift from my husband.

My daughter thought it a rather poor name as the pied piper lured away the children in the tale. Well, he also lured the rats and I am a rat-year person and I probably would have followed along with the children.
Then, since I play the bagpipes, I am a piper too.

What a wonderful way to end and begin a year with song!
Warmest wishes to you all in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nikko picks the Blog Hop winners!

My husband set out to buy some cheese kisses to use in the drawing. Good idea! I could write the numbers on each little wrapping ... and , I had a chance to actually read the number before it was consumed.

As I sat on the sofa, opening the packs, Nikko came and stuck her nose into the package. "Well, I'm ready when you are",she seemed to say. She takes her tasks very seriously. I saw her glancing at the screen as I wrote the numbers, taking notes on the more flattering comments.

Finally, all was ready. Aren't they pretty in their colorful wrappers?

"Let's get on with this, mom, you know dogs are color blind"!

"Hmm, this one looks like a winner"!

OK, Nikko! This was a good plan. She dropped it in my hand when I asked for it. I get the wrapper with the number and Nikko gets the cheese.

#89  (Susan) gets the Zodiac panel.

Second pick,  #53 (Jeneta) gets the bear panel.

This is just like living with two kids! Papa comes in and says he wants to pick one too. Well, I do have a Beckoning Cat panel somewhere in the stash, so go ahead and pick one. (After all, he did go out and buy the cheese)

The bonus panel goes to #47 (Nadine)

So, that's it from the rabbit hutch!

The meal has been eaten, the dishes washed and put away, the legos have had a good working over, smile for the camera and it is time to drive the guests, (Well, Obachan and Ichi behind the camera) off to the train station.

I hope you too have had a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Under the trees, a bed!

Merry Christmas!

I saw Christmas trees on a number of blogs and thought about this quilt I made long ago.

I have no digital pictures so I thought this might be a good time to get a few.

Wrong! It is very very gusty out and it would take many more strong clips to hold this quilt to the chain-link fence!

"Sunny Glade" was finished back in December of 1990.

I had seen a small hanging in a local craft store of Christmas trees and made a sketch. I drafted a seven inch block and used many scrappy fabrics. I had no plan for the blocks but I was not really interested in making something for Christmas. I had to play around with the blocks to  get them organized into a quilt. The backing is turned to the front instead of binding.

I think this quilt was the one that started me keeping a quilt diary. It was also about this time that I joined a group of quilters. I have loved that group and learned much from the members. Sadly, there are few of us left as some move away and others can't get along. The remaining five, though make the occasional gathering a joy.

Our only real bed is up in the loft but space is at a premium so no over-all view. At least the wind was not carrying it off.

The little paper-pieced quilt on the window is used to keep the sun from fading the quilts.

There are a couple of Christmas trees on the quilt. My computer allows me to turn them in my file but for some reason, won't move them standing upright.

I think that tree is tired from the blustery trip to the park and just thinking about all that needs to be done before tomorrow.

Blessings to you all throughout this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

something old and something new

This past week I have spent time sitting under the + & x quilt. About 43 of the center blocks have been quilted in the ditch.

With that quilting there is a lot of stopping and starting and I have left long threads around the outside of the hoop so I can continue as the hoop is moved.

I have been asked to make "something" as a gift for the Women's Conference speaker. Since the conference is the end of January, it was time to get going on that.

I purchased this panel for the center.

The kanji says, reading top to bottom, right to left, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.

I went through my scrappy stash and my two-inch tin and gathered together some fabrics that might suggest the seasons.

At first I thought the scraps were rather bright for the somewhat sophisticated panel colors and fabrics. After I laid everything out, though they were bright, the kanji itself is rather fun with pictures used as some of the strokes ... a bamboo shoot and cherry blossom on spring, a fish and some peppers and watermelon  on summer, eggplant and persimmons on the autumn, and a shrimp and maybe an acorn on winter. The more I mess with arranging the blocks, the more I think it will work out. I plan to use a dark blue binding.

I'm not sure how this will be used but it could be a table runner or hanging. I can add a sleeve just in case she wants to use it that way. I plan to quilt the gold lines around the kanji and the border blocks. I also plan to quilt in the words, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven".

I have not showed this to the committee. I hope it will meet with their approval but I don't think I need too much input. Sometimes it is easier to say, "Here, this is what I came up with". I am a person who hates last-minute work, so the time has come to get my show on the road. Since this is a little under 2 x 3 feet, it will make a good take-along project. My big quilt will still be in the hoop on my lap while I am home.

The blue and white runner waits in the wings  to be finished and replace the holiday runner. We can just celebrate the holidays until it is completed!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Bloggers are hopping again

I am not very good at the technical aspects of Blog Hops but I tried this before and it was fun, so I will give it another shot. Earlier in the week I went to "Fabric Town" (the fabric wholesale district of Tokyo) and picked up two panels for the give-away. The first one is a panel of the twelve animals of the oriental zodiac.

This panel is about 19" x 44" or 48cm. x 112cm.

The second panel is a child-friendly print of bears. The block pattern around the border says baby baby baby.
It might make a nice backing for a baby quilt.
The size is 44.5" x 35" ... or 113cm x 89cm.

Both panels are cotton.

So... what do you need to do to win one of these useful objects? You might try bribing my dog, Nikko. (She will do anything for cheese and she will get to pick the winners on Christmas Eve.)

Please leave a comment saying which of the panels you might like to own.......

And while you are at it, I have a problem you might help me solve......

I have assembled the blue and white blocks for my table runner.

As you can see in this picture, the runner is a wee bit narrow for my coffee table.

It would probably be OK except I have a husband who fills glasses of water, or tea, or whatever with ice, and then puts them on the table and forgets them, thus leaving white rings (like the one in the upper left). Another inch in width might save the table from further destruction.

I could add one-inch blocks along the outer edge using fabrics found in the mixed blocks.
Or, I could add a one-inch strip  of yukata fabric along each side.
Then, again, I might add a border of darker blue around the whole thing. Perhaps there is a better idea I have not considered.

Well, Nikko is watching to see what comments come our way. She is also thinking of how Mama will use cheese to reward her for picking two winners.

Have fun hopping to the other blogs I'm sure there will be plenty to see and lovely give-aways and friends to be made. Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

or here... Blog Hop Party  Having begun my third year in the blogging world, I celebrate the friendships I have made, both personal and virtual, and wish you all peace nd joy this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

a present from me to me

Today I went to the fabric wholesale district in Nippori.
This area is known as "Fabric Town" and one can pretty well find anything  ... except today, I was looking for more red felt for my Scouts to make patch vests. They had every color EXCEPT red!

I also purchased some printed panels needed to make a gift runner and something for the blog-hop give-away coming up in less than a week.

The big buy ... well, not in price but in size... was this roller shopping bag. I am too often carrying heavy or bulky things to the station and on the train. This past week I made a trip to town just to carry Scout history items ... patches and photo albums, a patch blanket and a signature quilt ... for display at our anniversary gala.

The two bags were heavy and I didn't want to carry them on the Saturday hike or rent lockers while hiking.
After returning from the hike I went directly to Training for Council board members, then the Gala, and still had those two heavy bags to lug home in the late night hours. I gave away the prize plant I won rather than add one more heavy item for the trip home.

Today I found a shop selling a variety of rolling bags. I took lots of time to study them all and their assorted features and prices. I had borrowed one carrier from the church when I had heavy items to tote to a Pack meeting, but the cart itself was quite heavy and often there is the issue of stairs.

This roller bag was quite light. It has a big compartment that will fit art supplies and even my big quilt if I want to take it to a meeting of my group. It also has a zipper pocket on the back and a large compartment to hold magazines or large flat items. There is an umbrella compartment, a handle on the side for carrying when necessary,and the main bag has a drawstring opening and is waterproof. There is a hook which holds my backpack, very handy, and the wheels do not make noise when pulled down our rough pavement.
It came in yellow and red and purple and black and a few printed canvass fabrics but I thought this one would not show the dirt too much .

My husband commented on all the features and said he could just see me standing on the street weighing the pros and cons of each bag design and color choice. I don't often spend money on myself but I think this will really change my u-haul life for the better.

Meanwhile, the colder weather is just right for quilting. I can quilt about two blocks in one hour...
at 7 stitches per inch, that is about 374 stitches per block (one stitch at a time the way I do it).
15 rows of 15 blocks ... That is 225 blocks. If I were better at math, I might figure out when to expect some degree of completion. Of course that is rather silly because life is forever getting in the way.

Maybe I should offer a fabric panel to the person who figures closest to the finish date. Hmmmm...
I do hope I can make a bit of progress each day. 14 blocks have been finished as of today. 211 left to go.
I hope you are having a productive week as well.