Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A second runner

This is what happens when making lots of pieces of blocks so that you can pick and choose.
On the first runner, the goal ... other than to look good and balanced ... was to use 60 blocks without repeating any of the fabrics.

That runner is now waiting for the border and quilting. I added to what was left over and made this piece for my coffee table. Well, it is not together yet but laid out on the dog hair. This is a good project for train rides and meetings so may get done by the time the Christmas runner makes it's showing.

I really don't care about repeats and there are a few blocks left over even yet. Maybe the top of the trash bin will get a matching one ... or the genkan ... We shall see. I still have plenty of scraps.

It is amazing how quickly time flies ... especially when a holiday is tossed into the equation. Every day seems to want to grab a share of attention ... whether with an earthquake or snow or work or choral presentation or three meals out with friends. Even so, I count all as blessings and will give great thanks for each and every one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What are they thinking?

Or, ARE they thinking?

My walk to the train station takes me down a quiet street lined with magnolias.

All winter I watch the buds swell and wait for the first ones to open as spring rolls in.

Today, as I walked the street there was a large truck with a platform arm in back. Two men were sitting on the curb smoking.

Well, later in the day, walking that same route I found out what they were there for. TREE TRIMMING!

The Japanese people are very polite and careful not to say anything that might offend someone, but I can't help thinking it a good thing that my Japanese skill is so poor because they would surly have gotten a piece of my mind.

Surly those who make their living trimming trees, know that there are trees that set their buds during the summer.

Why, then, do they cut off all those branches with the buds in the fall?

These were not the only trees hit either. The dogwoods got a close trimming too. And off in the park I heard the sound of chain saws ... probably the plums got a hit as well.

I wonder if the tree guys are so eager to make a buck that they don't even care if they are spoiling the tree's beauty. Surely they could just as well trim the trees in the spring after the blooms are finished.
It has been a rather sad rainy fall with much of the leaves being blasted off the trees before even having a chance to change color. Now it looks as though spring will be lacking it's usual color too.

The runner for the Women's Conference speaker is now assembled ... all 60 blocks ... after making changes here and there from my earlier plan.

I think I am satisfied so far and will begin looking through my stash for a dark border.
I am thinking of something in maybe navy or dark purple, and then quilting in words with white thread.

I have yet to check out something for the back.

The latest earthquake didn't have much effect on the Tokyo area. One person I talked to living in a tall building had things fall. There was some interruption of train schedules and I heard Tsunami warnings had been called off before noon.

On my one day to sleep in, I did not appreciate the 6am shake-up. More after-shocks are predicted but I hope they wait until day-light hours.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Playing with blocks

I feel like I have arrived at my second childhood ... playing with blocks.
I have finished sewing 121 blocks so far.

Today I went through the piles of dark on light and light on dark and pulled out any blocks that use the same fabric so I will have 60 blocks, all with different fabrics.

Then I started laying them all out on the floor and moving them around, substituting spare blocks, and trying to find a balance with color placement and light and dark.

I am thinking of a dark color for the border that will show up the stitching of words, so I tried to keep darker blocks toward the middle. I may end up re-arranging a few of these but have begun sewing the blocks into groups of four.  I am happy with the way all the corner points match up and the way the seams look when ironed.

I will add a few more blocks to the left-overs and make a runner for my own coffee table. With mine, I do not care about repeats. I will also use some old clothing scraps with memories attached.

Somehow, half a month has flown by without any reports from family activities.

Some of these are due to lack of photos. On the 29th of October, Leia and I held our regular fall cookie factory
and in the evening, we went to a neighbourhood Indian restaurant for dinner which was to be a small birthday celebration.

SMALL, it was NOT. That was the reason it ended up in a place with more seating than my dining room table.
It included my local family, SIL, Kids on loan and close friends.
Norie made the cake and brought it along and fun and fellowship prevailed.

Next morning was Sunday and I was out early for choir practice  ... before anyone other than Nikko was up and about.

During the service, I happened to notice in the back of the bulletin that flowers for the fellowship hall had been donated by my children in celebration of my birthday. I was surprised that some mention at all had been made of a birthday but other than that, didn't think much about it.

After the service, I went up to the choir room to put away my music and hang my robe.

I was a little surprised to find no one up in the room. Leia came behind me and took my hand to go down to the fellowship hall for coffee hour.

What a shock! When I entered the room, the choir sang a birthday song they had made up specially for me. There were two  long rows of tables filled with food and the one behind me had 8 cakes, each containing ten candles.

I started at one end of the table blowing and Leia helped from the other end and a big room full of people enjoyed these refreshments provided by friends with lots of scheming and plotting. Someone brought me a plate with eight pieces of cake.

I won't need to eat dessert for the rest of November.

Every one of those cakes was different and delicious.
Note, I had to sit to eat them all.
Oh yes, and someone brought me a cup of coffee fixed to just the color I like.

They know me so well!

There were not only church friends but some others from the scouting world had also shown up.

And, here are the beautiful flowers my children donated.
And behind me is the chief plotter... president of the choir.

I left the flowers in the lobby for others to enjoy the rest of the week. They were an amazing selection of color and variety.

A few friends have sent me wonderful pictures of the celebration but I just can not put them in any spot where I can share them ...

Monday morning, my real birthday, (yes, I am an old bat born on Halloween) I left home at 4:am for rice patrol as usual. Shibuya, where I deliver the onigiri, was crammed with young people in costume and noisy celebration. Many of the homeless were having trouble finding a quiet place to rest but Nikko and I made the delivery and I returned to grab my school bag and head out to work.

Thus, my actual birthday turned out to be a quiet Monday of work. No one even knew it was my birthday or exclaimed about my age ... which at that point was only four days older than the last time they saw me.  Since at 50, I began counting down rather than up, I have enjoyed a year at 21 and am now back to my second childhood.

Maybe I could blame my lack of computer skills on my youth ... but probably that won't work because all the youngsters I know have much better knowledge than I. Doesn't it make sense that I am back to playing with blocks?

Friday, November 4, 2016

mathematical musings

It is a long time until the end of January but I have been working on ideas for a gift for the Women's Conference speaker. (not that I don't have other things making demands on my time ... ) I really am enjoying the possibilities of this block and thought since it is the 60th anniversary of the WOCON, maybe something with the number 60 might be appropriate. 

I was thinking of 30 blocks, each with two different fabrics and a total of 60 fabrics. Well, I am no mathematician but there is no way I can think of to use this block and use only 30 of the smaller ones.

Well then, how about making a runner out of  60 blocks? That would work a bit better, though it might be a bit harder to make sure all the fabrics used are different.

My plan is to add a solid border, quilted with a bible verse or something else. That would mean adding maybe one and a half to two inches to the size all around.

I was wondering what the usual size of a table runner might be so finally I dug out my quilt magazines and spent a few hours going through them looking at published quilted runners.

If I eliminate everything smaller than either of my ideas, of the 16inch width there was 16x28, 16x40, and 16x44.  There were none with a width of 22 inches but one 23-1/2x84"and many larger, plus "table toppers" up to 39" square.
My own coffee table is 21x44 so it would be possible to make a runner to fit by making the border a bit narrower. I did not record the size of all the past runners I have made but some using Japanese panels with an added border range from 25x48, 22x46, and 22x34, so I guess either of the two would be a useful size.  Maybe the 60 block one to represent the 60 years. I still have plenty of time to assemble more blocks so that all the fabrics will be different.

Going through those magazines was fun too. I pulled out an article in a 2014 Quiltmaker about "Quilting Buddies" and quilting together. It was only two pages but there were quotes from quite a few quilters about the impact of their quilting groups and friends. 

Thinking about the quilting groups that have entered my revolving door world ... here today and gone tomorrow, my first reaction was envy and a touch of sadness. But then, I thought of my blogging family and realized I am not the only one who works alone and I do have a go-to group when I need help or ideas or encouragement to carry on.

Thanks for being there ... For support ... for someone to bounce my ideas off of ... for taking the time from your busy life to read my ramblings and sometimes leave a comment.