Friday, September 25, 2015

Silver week? What's that?

"Golden Week"? Now, that is a holiday I know.
It happens in May and includes the former emperor's birthday and what used to be Boy's Festival but now is referred to "Children's Day". (I guess that was easier than turning "Girls' Day" into a day off) Anyway, the days in between get sucked in to the holiday spirit and everyone ends up with time off.

Recently another holiday, "Silver Week" has been added to the equation. I was rather relieved to read in Tanya's post that I was not the only one not having heard of this holiday.

Respect for the aged day and the autumnal equinox have now been lumped together to make a long holiday ... week? ... well, we are also tossing in the weekend.

So, how to celebrate? I was asked to come in to school on Monday and Tuesday. Hmmm. The kids were off and I had no idea why or what I would be doing.

Monday begins early with rice patrol, leaving home no later than 4:am. Heading off to school was not so hard as I was already awake and dressed. It turned out the two days were a teacher's work shop. As a part-timer it was nice to have been included ... to talk to other part-timers and compare notes ... to get to know some of the teachers and staff when not trying to keep kids on task ... and to play a few team-building games and planning activities.   Another surprise was that, because of the holiday week, the train was not a sardine can as usual but I could actually sit!

When I returned home Tuesday evening, I had a message to "call Teddy". (Teddy is a long-time friend and former fellow tenor in the choir) He is now only part time in Tokyo for his business of decorating and was in a pinch, trying to do a job with people away on holiday ... and regular help occupied elsewhere. Would I help him out? He knows I sew and he needed some sewing done.

Oh boy, what we do for our friends!!! The sewing was 12 large outdoor drapes to hang around two, what Japanese call "pagolas" on an apartment balcony. Well, I met Teddy in front of the church Wednesday morning and went to see what it was he was needing. Then, using the large floor of the apartment, we measured and cut the pieces of what turned out to be heavy canvass-like material,

Then, stopping off to buy thread in a suitable color, I went home to see what I could do. No way all that could be hemmed and sewed by hand so the first thing was to locate the little Brother machine. Well, I thought it was on the shelf in my work-room closet, Nope! The last time I had it out was about 4 years ago when my daughter used it. Finally I found it stashed in the storage loft and dragged it out. Oh, it is all in Japanese and I can't remember which button does what. Finally I got it moving more or less, wound the bobbin, pinned the first hem along the edge of the heavy two and a half meters of fabric, and pushed the sew button. "NO WAY!" says that machine. "I am only a baby brother and I cannot chew that heavy stuff"!!!!

Back to the drawing board .... I had been given a Singer machine as a wedding present from my folks but the last time I used it was in 2003 and it barely chugged along. No longer anywhere to have it fixed, I reluctantly said goodbye to it earlier this year when we had to sort stored stuff and find a place for it. There was one more machine I had never used. It had been given me by a scouter who had left Japan. It was in a box and I had pushed that box to the back of a shelf without even looking at the machine.

Since it was a bigger machine, I decided to give it a try before calling Teddy and saying the task was impossible. Imagine my surprise to find that machine still in the box, taped up and like new. It is a very pretty singer and all the instructions were there in English, Spanish, and Italian. It took a few hours to read up and figure out how to use it. BUT, it reluctantly took on the task and by the end of the day, some of those heavy drapes had the sides hemmed. I also made one tie (out of 8 needed to pull the drapes back at the corners of the pagola.

Thursday night before choir practice, I was able to pass a few of the finished drapes to Teddy and he was pleased with them. Thursday evening I ran out of thread and I still had the remaining hems to sew and seven of the eight ties. Of course the thread store was closed so I measured, cut, and pinned the ties. Friday morning Paul went out to find me some more thread and I took the drapes up to the floor of the loft and measured and pinned the hems.

Friday after putting the new thread ... a little different color than the first but luckily not noticeable ...
I sewed like crazy. That machine really didn't like sewing through those thick seams. I broke one needle and found one a bit stronger among the spares that came with the machine. My dining table is round and it was hard to keep the heavy drapes from falling off to the side and making the stitches crooked.  No dining at the table  ... I stitched all day long and finished up in the evening thinking I would meet Teddy back near the site. Giving him a call, I found he was at a different site and, since Paul had a meeting at church in the morning, he would pick them up from him today. Whew!!!

It sure was lucky I had a machine I could use. I am glad I could help my friend in a pinch, but I will never sew for a profession. (Teddy hinted at another pending job but I suggested he book his regular guy right away) As I was carefully packing up the machine to return it to its box I noticed the instructions had settings for quilting. No thank you. I will be happy to return to sewing for pleasure.
I guess I will be getting some pay but it will go for road tax that is way overdue.

Meanwhile, new snowflake patterns have come from kids to add to the tree skirt. I have Marie's door hanging to plan. And I have begun an alphabet quilt for one of the teachers who is having a baby. I do love stuff I can take long ... and Nikko is glad to have her floor space back and no sounds of sewing.

Silver week???I guess I added a bit more silver to my hair and pocket but a holiday? Not really.


  1. You did "sterling" work for your friend but I agree, sewing is for pleasure, not a profession, way too much pressure.

  2. Definitely not a holiday. Sounds like a lot of hard work. Sometimes our friends really do not understand how much work is involved. But we still do it because they are friends.

  3. Sew, you got your machine stitching 'fix' for the decade ;)

  4. What a great friend you are. I always always always regret it when I agree to such a project for someone/something. There always sees more problems ahead than I can anticipate - and I'm very good at anticipating. Glad you are back to happy sewing again.

  5. Hi, Julie. You've certainly been busy. I would have passed on heavy curtains...a heavy-duty job. Love that pretty pink flower in your garden!

    best, nadia

  6. That is not something I would want to sew either, I am not a seamstress so making curtains and straight seams is not in my skill set;)


  7. Too bad you didn't have access to the machine I used in Ichikawa. It was a Janome and did amazing things for me. Then of course there's Sensei's Juki... You made do as you do so well.

  8. Too bad you didn't have access to the machine I used in Ichikawa. It was a Janome and did amazing things for me. Then of course there's Sensei's Juki... You made do as you do so well.

  9. Julie, you are a Golden girl, and manage to always be doing for others and I think that is wonderful. I had an old singer in a very nice cabinet but it could never, ever sew very well on thick fabric. I still have it but never use it. Hope the coming days are filled with golden moments. What is the average size of classrooms where you teach. I taught school for 30 years but todays youth have so many distractions that I am sure it is more difficult to keep them on task.

  10. Good for you for tackling that machine problem. Wish I could have helped you out though I don't know if my machine would have like heavy seams much either... My gray is coming in enmasse. I call it tinsel in my hair!

  11. Oh my goodness. Sewing outdoor drapes? I think you need a rest! That was a lovely thing to do for a friend.