Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tokyo Dome show - part 4

As I mentioned in the first post (and maybe those leading up to it) The quilt show was as much about friends as it was about quilts. From Day 1, Queenie and I met to "do the show" together. I continue to be amazed at how much more I enjoy the show and how much more I get out of it when I am with her.

We met again on the second day of the show ... this time, with the ultimate goal of meeting up with Tanya. We had some time before the set meeting, so went off to look at some exhibits we had missed the first day. We had hardly gone past two or three quilts, when there was a group of quilters calling my name. Oh, wow, it was part of the new quilting group I had visited for the first time the week before!

Finally, the time came to work our way over to the proposed meeting spot to meet Tanya. She was the first to spot us and it was nice to meet her group of friends. I really think, when it comes to quilters, friends of friends are friends too ... and many I have known bits and pieces of through Tanya's blog.
Do we look happy to have met at last?

You bet! We had a visit in the bleachers that was all too short but after all, Tanya had come a long way to see the show and you can't see much other than the crowds from the bleachers.

And if the meeting was not enough, Tanya brought both Carin and me a little mini quilt.

Oh, I had nothing to give in return! Carin hung hers on a wall at her home and mine is now in front of me on my coffee table next to another wonderful piece Tanya made for me a few years ago.

What a great reminder of our friendship!

Three foreigners, married to Japanese, living a long time in Japan.

Yes, we are all working on the blooming part.

(In fact, it was a Women's Conference in the 80's with this theme that got me back into quilting).

Tomorrow I am off to that same Women's Conference again. I have prepped for a quilt class and packed up the quilted gift for the speaker. I still need to bring my car nearer my home and remove the camping gear (and a ton of dog hair) so I will be able to fit in passengers.

I have more posts to make on the show but still need a bit of help with the translation.

If you read my posts about the Yokohama show, I mentioned I had met a quilter who recognized me as having posted a picture of her quilt in last year's show.

Following that meeting, we exchanged e-mails and Ueno-san told me she had submitted a bag in this year's Dome show and was waiting to see if it was accepted.

Later I heard from her that it had, so I went to take a look. Great job, Ueno-san! I love all those Japanese taupes and the title is so creative.... "Get a Handle on It".

There were about 39 bags in the show. For quilters living in tight quarters, sleeping on futons rather than beds, what better way to make and share their craft than with bags. Many of the little shops specialized in bag accessories and patterns.

I also had a visit with Mary Haunani Cesar who comes each year from Hawaii, bringing her little shop. Hawaiian quilting is very popular in Japan and every year there are more aand more shops offering fabrics and patterns. Mary is an expert on traditional Hawaiian quilting and  friend I love to welcome each year.

With all the train riding, I was able to complete 8 more blocks for the Gala quilt. Yesterday we met to see what we could do with all those blocks.

Here they are, laid out on the floor. We had a few extras to play with and a few late-comers so this is not the final arrangement.

It is fun to work with a group and try to satisfy everyone. We did it, though and the blocks are now together. The deep red will be the inner border and the outer border is being purchased today.

Next week we will meet to baste it ... and then the hard work of quilting it begins. I have to admit I was not sure we would be able to meet this schedule. There is still a lot to go and I know it will be spending days between sessions at my house (and probably collect a lot of dog hair in the process).

Please check out Carin's and Tanya's posts on the show while you are  at it . and

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tokyo Dome, part 3

I am still struggling to put names and titles on a number of quilts. I saw many foreigners taking pictures and wondered how they plan to use them. Will they post them on a blog without being able to give credit? I wonder how the quilt artists feel about having their quilt pictures flying through cyber-space anonymously. A few years ago when our Gala quilt used a quilt photo from the show for inspiration, it was helpful to be able to locate the quilter and ask for her permission to use her idea.

These quilts were made by some of the 60 well-known quilters and had both titles and names of the quilter in the posted sign.

This quilt titled "American Spirit"
was made by Keiko Ike.

The red piecing set on cream has a great amount of detail and is machine quilted.

Queenie showed this quilt on her third post. Called "Stories of Ties", by Machiko Miyatani, I was interested because I have been asked a few times to make a memory quilt using a deceased father or grandfather's neckties. I think this would be a lovely solution to the challenge.

Just look at the amazing detail in the stitchery, all hand done.

Also note the designer name labels from the backs of the ties.

How cleaver!

I had to add this one for Debbie over at Woolen Sails.

(Sorry I failed to add a link but you can visit her from my sidebar).

The title is "Because I Like Wool" and it is hand made with crocheted details by Hitomi Hanaoka.

Queenie also posted this one. It is really stunning.

"Wonderful Small Flowers of Japan" is made by Fumiko Miura.

There was plenty of silk and what I first thought to be machine stitching, on closer look was very fine couching.

Just look at all those shades of purple!
And the variety of flowers as well!

Just to show that there was a lot more variety,
I had to add this eye-catcher.

Called "I HOPE" was made by Reiko Nakanuma.
Also a lot of machine applique and quilting.

"The Evening Sun" is the work of Kiyoko Goto.

She sure knows how to make that machine do her bidding!

This quilt, "Garden Party" by Tomoko Matsuura made me recall a recent post by Quilt Inspiration.

The one they showed was a dinner setting with all the plates in different styles.

I think Queenie posted one of the Junior division quilts that also had a nice selection of obento boxes with a wide variety of food items.

This quilt, "Spring Midnight" by Yoko Sekita really has to be seen in person to be appreciated.

Queenie has a good picture of this on her post.

The Hina dolls usually are seen sitting very properly in a given order on a step stage.

These dolls seem to have taken the night off for a bit of sake and a party.

It was a very popular piece surrounded by smiling quilters and cameras.

I have hardly scratched the surface of the pictures I wish to post.

The original design quilts, the "Wa" quilts and the framed quilts all will need some translation first.

I did want to show you one quilt that got an "Excellence Award"

When I was admiring this quilt made entirely of tiny hexagons and hand quilted a fraction inside each little piece, I got in a conversation with a gentleman and his wife.

I was surprised to learn that this award-winning "Traditional" quilt was made by the very person to whom I was talking.

And here he is, Mr Shingo Nakano!

I don't know about you, but I am impressed!

I can't imagine my husband fighting his way upstream against this mob of women, let alone sitting still long enough to sew thousands of one centimeter hexagons together. Mr. Nakano, you have my admiration!

More to follow ......

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tokyo Dome part 2

Still on day one, after looking at the large collection of traditional quilts, Queenie and I decided to check out the "Partnership" quilts. Queenie has written a wonderful post about these quilts and after all, it was her information that connected me with this project.

I had been seeing these group quilts for years but didn't have much of an idea of how they had been assembled.

Queenie mentioned that she had participated each year and shared the information on how to go about taking part.
In early July I posted a picture of my contributing block. The theme was "Flowers" and the quilts were assembled by Kathy Nakajima and her crew.

It must have been quite a task because they assembled and quilted 86 quilts, all but two with 130 blocks per quilt.

Toward the end of the summer, I received a post card with the information that my block would appear in quilt #17.
You can see it in the top row, just right of the center, a basket of roses. Beside each quilt is a little chart telling the names and locations of each donor. This quilt seemed to take many yellow blocks and arrange them getting lighter toward the center. It was difficult to get a picture here because this was a busy pathway with shops on the other side crammed with shoppers. Queenie and I looked at many of these quilts, trying to figure out how which blocks were selected for which quilt.  With something over 10,500 blocks, it must have been a monumental task! I stopped by Kathy Nakajima's shop to thank her for all that work.

After taking a look at #17, we hunted down #28 to find Queenie's block.

And here is my dear friend, celebrating opening day in her Swedish costume.

Her block has a white dove in flight carrying an olive branch and trailing a Swedish flag.

And, here is a bit closer view.

We discussed the blocks selected for this quilt and thought many of them had been selected because they contained various birds and animals ... in addition to the floral theme.

 Here is a quilt made of all the same block in different color selections but with blue backgrounds.

The NHK TV program about the making of these blocks used this pattern and was taught by Kathy Nakajima.

Some of these quilts seem to have blocks made  as a group effort.

On some of the quilt information posters, there is also a picture of a group of women ... perhaps those who assembled and quilted that particular quilt?

A variety of patterns and colors
were used in this arrangement.

And yet another quilt made from the same block in different colors.

Inside walls and walls around the outer edge of the stadium were used to display these many quilts.

They were listed as "charity" quilts and are to be raffled off. At a booth near the entrance, one can purchase a ticket for 500 yen.

Half of the ticket has a place to write your name and phone number. That half you tear off and drop into the box next to the quilt you would like to take a chance on.

The other half, you keep ... just in case you are lucky enough to win the drawing.

Well, Sunday, while I was out with the Scouts, Nikko ate most of the ticket stub. She did manage to leave the edge with the numbers on it. Wouldn't that be funny to win and turn in a chewed up ticket?

I am still trying to put names with my pictures or decide to just post the pictures and let the blog-world guess who made what!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2014 (Tokyo Dome show) part 1

Long awaited with much anticipation, the week-long show has begun.
For me, it was as much about friendship as it was about quilts.

"Queenie" and I had plotted and planned for weeks ahead to meet for the day, beginning with the opening ceremony. Because of her work behind the scenes and connections, she as able to supply me with free tickets so I could really enjoy the show more than once.

The opening was attended by the organizers, The ambassador and his wife from Finland, and even an Imperial Princess. In this picture after all the speeches were made they are cutting the ribbon in the opening ceremony. NHK was busy filming assorted aspects of the show and later my husband watched events on TV at home.

On opening day, there was a bit of time to view the show before the general public was let in.
Who needs a princess when you have a queen to shadow?  We set off to view the "traditional" Quilt Category.

One of my frustrations of the past 12 years is the practice of putting all information  ... title ... maker's name ... and other details in Japanese ONLY. This year was no improvement. Even the catalogs of the show are all in Japanese.

I am certain every one of these participants knows how to write her name in "Romaji" or Roman script. It is difficult enough to translate the quilt titles into English, but names are a challenge even for Japanese. (whenever you fill out a form of some kind, there is a space above the written name to note the pronunciation ... since many characters can be pronounced more than one way) Even so, s simple common name like Sato could also be written Satoh. Only the person possessing the name would know.
There were very few foreign quilts so where are the "International" aspects? Only in the public that attends?

This "Flower Garden I long for" was made by Michie Arai.

Here is a detail of the hand applique and embroidery.

Although machine quilting is beginning to make inroads to Japan, the traditional category was mostly hand pieced or applique and hand quilted.

It is hard to imagine the amount of time these quilts would take to complete.

This "Wreath and Small Birds" is the work of Sachiko Serizawa.

Each of these little birds was carefully appliqued in a different combination of fabrics.

Note the fine hand quilting.

"Blue Forest" by Sawada-san uses those same types of "Japanese Taupe" fabrics and is a masterpiece of detail in piecing and quilting.

This "Everybody Shining"

was made by a person whose name could be read either Shioya or Shiotani.

Even the Japanese viewers probably don't know her name by reading the kanji.

At any rate, it is a quilt with quite a lot of work involved.

Note the poor lighting caused shadows on many of the quilts. I guess I shouldn't complain because it has only been in the last few years that photographs have been allowed.

"Moment of Heightened Pleasure"

is a simple Amish style quilt that is anything but simple.

Created by Satomi Makino, it is closely quilted in trapunto.

Check out this detail!!!

Here is a detail of  a quilt called "Heart Compass"

By Masako Yoshihara.

Look how she fussy-cut the fabric on each of those rays!

And if you like sunburst or compass patterns, here is another detail of "The Sun of Tenochtitlan"

The center star has a huge Aztec figure and you can see smaller figures embroidered in the corners.

Note those tiny mola border blocks and fine quilting.

This is the creation of Miki Kanno.

"Cool Breeze of Highland" was another quilt with fine detail.

This one was made by Kazuko Ito.

Loosely translated title of " Harmony towards Reconstruction"

Well, even titles like names are sometimes difficult to figure out.

This quilt with many tiny pieces was made by Chieko Kudo.

By this time in the show, the thundering hoards had arrived and it became more and more difficult to take pictures without heads and elbows or whole bodies covering them.

For many years I had given up trying to see these shows with other members of my quilt group. It is hard to keep a group together under the crowded conditions and many people are interested in only parts of the exhibit or shopping in the stores. It has been a joy to go along with Queenie to more than one show. We move at about the same pace and both of us notice different things even in the same quilt. Often her observations give me cause to take a second look and find things that attract me in quilts I might have otherwise passed by. She is also a font of information so please pop over to her posts . Also check out my friend,
Tania, who met with us the following day. (Yes, two days so far and I have only covered the first hour spent there).

For now, this is probably enough to whet your whistle. Tomorrow after church, I will be doing nature study with the scouts. (my other life) My camera took quite a while to down-load so you can imagine there is a lot more to come.

Monday, January 20, 2014

How did I get here?

In the late 1980's I bought a blank notebook thinking I could use it as an album for quilt pictures and some details about the quilts in my life.

I referred to that as "my quilt diary". Not all the quilts I have been involved with have made it into that notebook. Some had the final stitches put in place only minutes before they were passed to the new owner and many had no  photographic record made ... but by in large, most items made it into the record book. I guess it is a good thing there is some record because most have no labels at all.

This poor notebook was not designed to have photos pasted in but it was well made and stitched and has held up remarkably well, considering.

Each time I traveled to the States, my kids requested me to bring my quilt diary so they could see what I was up to. Note the small blue strip.
That is the original back of the notebook. Yes, it was falling apart and consigned to a zipper pouch to save it from further damage.

Last week, I cut a new cardboard spine and using some old denim from recycled jeans, added a new back to hold the book together. A cloth ribbon keeps the denim from fraying. Hopefully, the notebook will hold up until the last dozen or so pages are filled.

It was a number of years ago, while I was attending a Scout Jamboree in Virginia that my son took the diary and scanned it and put it on a blog. We have a family blog to share photos and events and as far as I knew about blogs and blogging, this was a way my kids could keep up with my quilting.
Other than our family's, I had never seen any blogs (about quilting or anything). To improve the design, my son added a side bar with some other quilt blogs he had found.

One of those other blogs was "Taniwa", so before I even knew what a "follower" was, I was following Tanya's blog. I think it is quite accurate to say, Tanya was my blogging "sensei"... and she didn't even know it. She posted nearly every day and I not only learned about writing replies, but I checked out those who wrote comments I found interesting and made new friends through her blog. Over the years we have become virtual friends. There is a beautiful table runner on the table in front of me that was a gift made by Tanya. It keeps a smile on my face each day that it greets me.

I have been blessed to meet a few blogging friends and every one has been as wonderful in person as in the virtual world. Starting Thursday, Tokyo Dome will hold the annual week-long quilt show. It is always a super event but this year offers a bigger reward than looking at spectacular quilts. The opening ceremony will be a special treat with my blogging-buddy-turned real-life-friend, "Queenie" (also known in real life as Carin) ... And the next day, the two of us will be lurking at the entrance to meet Tanya and her friends. Would that make you excited? Well, it does me! Thank you, Jon! (I wonder if you knew where this all was leading).

This past Friday was also special in that I was invited to visit a group of women that also meet to quilt or stitch and share some fellowship right here in Tokyo. It was lots of fun and there were a few people I already knew. I plan to continue meeting with this group and am looking forward to making new friends.

I took along my homework for the Gala quilt and managed to put together all 11 blocks. I think marking and cutting them was the hardest part and that had been done for the most part on Wednesday afternoon.

We still have a rough up-hill challenge to finish but we are on the way.

I hope you all have a great week! I know I will!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Something to be happy about....

I am so happy to have this piece finished.

All that is needed now is to add a hanging sleeve and remove a ton of dog hair.

I think I need to look over my left-over stash of panels because the size plus the three inches of border is almost a perfect fit for my coffee table.

I used the same gray color for the lettering as for the binding. I think it shows up well enough.

This promises to be a busy week so I am glad that I won't have to worry about finding time for this project.

The "Gala" quilt group meets Wednesday so I suppose there will be homework pending.

The Tokyo Dome quilt show is nearing and I am especially excited at the promise of meeting up with blogging friends one of those days.

And quilting class sign-ups are on Thursday.
I plan to go with samples and answers to any questions.

The other thing that is making me smile is this picture my son posted on the family blog today.

All that is missing of my Oregon bunch are two sons-in-law.

Kimie and Julie Alice made the trip from Portland with a car full of kids to visit Ken and Zia and baby Ryden in Grants Pass.

I wish I could have been a mouse in the corner but this picture is the next best thing to being there.

I hope this week brings you all some smiles too.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

After a busy week....

Friday night was my Pack meeting and our theme for the year is "Onward and upward".

Have you ever tried to build a tower using spaghetti and mini-marshmallows? Well, it is not as easy as you might think.

We had six teams seeing which could build the highest tower... three teams of Tiger cubs, one of Wolves and Bears, one of Webelos, and one of Dads. At one time or another, each team was ahead.

If you are tempted to try this, I would advise using the larger marshmallows. Three tiers and a spire were about all those little ones could support.

As I left the American Club at the end of the meeting, the Tokyo Tower seemed to be flaunting it's height.

Well, yeah ... but you are not built with marshmallows!

Today was bright and sunny and when I stepped outside to sweep the street, I was surprised to find it warmer outside than it was in the house. With the new buildings going up, we get only about ten minutes of sunshine coming in the diningroom window each day and slightly under twenty minutes in the livingroom. The sun does hit the greenhouse on the roof so I decided to take down the decorative lights outside and put them away in the storage area.  Today, the door behaved a bit better and after five or six tries, went in place.

I actually had a good chunk of the day left to work on the gift runner.

I have finished a light gray binding. I had a choice between that and navy but I think the gray looks better with the rainbow border.

I decided to go with the Bible verse from Ecclesiastes, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."

I have begun to quilt in the text using light gray thread.

The coming week has lots of activities lining up, so I am glad this task is on the way.

Oh look, my holiday runner is still on the coffee table ... maybe it needs to be washed and put away too. At least it doesn't have to go into THAT cupboard! Whew!

Monday, January 6, 2014

storage challenges

When we were building this house, I think I drove the carpenters a bit nuts trying to make use of every tiny space. There is storage under the stairs, accessible to both sides and drawers in the stairs that are too low to put things under.

There is a porch on the third floor roof where clothes are hung to dry and that has been turned into a greenhouse... or maybe solarium sounds a bit more fancy.

That is where I sleep. It is very hot in the summer and cold in the winter but sunny and pleasant on a sunny winter day like today. I decided it would be a good time to put away the Christmas decorations while it is light and warm.

Well, see those doors? As wonderful as the storage space is, the two doors will try the patience of a saint ... and I am no saint! First, my futon has to be folded up and moved out of the way. Then the section on the left is removed by lifting it by the two handles and pulling the bottom toward the room and out of the groove at the top. That takes no time at all.

The things I store in this space are holiday items/decorations. Christmas, New Years, Girl's day, boy's day, Halloween, Thanksgiving,   etc. This is NOT an everyday closet. The reason is, getting those two doors back in the grooves and standing straight is the most frustrating, time consuming project one could imagine! The door to the right keeps rocking over to block fitting the left door in place. holding the door by those handles and trying to aim it into the groove at the top is hard enough but kicking the bottom into the lower groove without getting the top out of place takes a few hundred tries and more luck than I can muster. I also manage to leave several knuckles worth of skin on the door frame. I think if the back part of the upper groove came lower it would be easier to find a position and probably my very talented son-in-law could fix it for me. The thing is, taking it open to show him the problem means picking up my bedding so that there is a place to stand and then putting the whole thing back in place.

Well, the stuff got put back ... I thought ...   and I put my semi-single futon back. My sleeping bag enjoyed an airing in the brisk winter wind.

Now I have come back down as the sun is setting and the room is getting darker and colder, and what do I find???
Two wreaths forgotten on the front gate and garden door.

Well, Hina matsuri is about two months off. Maybe I should wait until then. I have had enough of the storage challenge for today!

The other day I finished the rainbow border on the gift I am making. 

Saturday I bought a roll of 40 weight thinsulate and pieced some yukata fabric for the backing. 

I had plenty of fabric I could have used but I thought a speaker coming all the way to Japan might like something that will remind her of her visit.

I am now quilting the last Kanji (spring) with gold thread. Every time I use this, I say it is the last because it is hard to quilt with even the best metallic thread. I am using Coats, which is better than some others I have tried, but it is not easy, especially if, like me, you like to use a rather long length of thread. I don't think I would choose this other than the panel is printed with gold outlines on the pictures. I will quilt the border in the ditch with white thread. I have a choice of navy or gray for the binding.

Next I need to put a bible verse. Last year's I put "To everything there is a season...." I really have to check with the committee. Trouble is, when Yahoo made the most recent non-asked-for changes, my contact list went bye-bye. Well, all the e-mail addresses are there but how many people use their names as e-mail addresses. It used to be, all I had to do was type in the name of the person and the address went to the out-box. 

Who was it that said, "some kind of help is the kind of help that helping's all about, and some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without"? Thanks but no thanks, Mr. Yahoo!

And someone else said, "Never do today, what you can put off 'till tomorrow". Guess I'll quilt things now and worry about the rest tomorrow.