Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A small finish

Another I-Spy quilt for a new church baby.  This did not take long to piece because I had a tin of four-inch blocks already cut. Sashing strips needed to be made, but by this past Sunday, the border had been added. I went shopping for batting on my way home from church. I am very sorry that thinsulate is no longer  in local shops, because I like it best. Yuzawaya had an assortment of samples I could choose from, but only two were large enough for this quilt. My first choice was not available but they might be able to order it. Well, how long might that take? I decided to buy the higher loft, just right at 150cm x 125cm. polyester 92% rayon 8%, and unlike the rest  of what they had, was not "iron on". (KSP-120-NP) and the bag says "Owl's Mama". 

Anyway, I found it a bit thick and hard to quilt through. I think my stitches were around five to the inch, and the resulting finish is a lot puffier than I usually get. Of course the baby getting this will not be comparing it with other of my quilts.


Now, all I need to do is add a label and find a bag to put it in. Sunday I will pass it to  its new owner or leave it in the office for the family to pick up.

The rest of the week I will plan the leaves for the 150th anniversary signature quilt.  I figure that if I make them oval and pointed at both ends, I will be able to arrange them either left or right on the vine.

The day started out quite sunny and nice. It was warm and had been predicted to get warmer, but by the time I went to the park for a photo shoot, it became cloudy and windy with a slight chill. I sure am glad my job is not predicting the weather!

Monday, May 2, 2022


 A month  has flown, and what do I have to show for it?   Not a whole lot!

I have been working slowly on the banner for the church's 150th anniversary. I joined all the signatures I collected at the 140th celebration, and April 9th, we had a whole day kick off for this year's anniversary. It was at church, beginning with a half hour of meditative organ music, then a history presentation by our current pastor, then a whole day discussions by former pastors, members, Taize and prayers for Ukraine, etc., ending with a program by the youth, ending around 5:pm, then replayed on line. 

I had added segments around the border for members to sign, and after the first hour, took the work to the basement fellowship hall where I could quilt and take signatures.

By now I have quilted all the floral areas and the signature areas, I don't think I have enough spaces to add more signatures (about 30) and am wondering what to do next. I had been planning to quilt in vines in the open spaces, but now thinking if I added vines with leaves, people could sign those leaves ... or perhaps just mark and cut leaves, let people sign them, then applique them on later, I did that for a friend's wedding quilt, adding the leaves to a vine. Any ideas out there?

An additional project is this table runner as a thank you th our associate pastor for youth, who will be leaving back to the states at the end of the month. At this point, all I have left to do is quilt in the bible verse around the border. These are just more floral scraps, and the verse is; To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

The pattern is "bento box" and I like the floral prints that represent our very diverse congregation. No calories in the bento box, but a bit of food for thought. My daughter suggested a tenugui with children for the backing, but this is just too wide to use one of those or even yukata fabric. I did have enough of a Japanese print with beckoning cats, daruma, paper cranes, and the like all over. Maybe I could have pieced blue and white fabric for the backing, making it reversible, but that would have made the quilting rather difficult.

There have been LOTS of online meetings each week. Scouting has had Eagle boards of review, district board meetings, and Council executive board meetings, plus training, My Cub Scout pack has met in person. We had a shrine hike on Sunday afternoon.

Church meetings for outreach committee, Communication committee, Stewardship committee, Women's Conference three Saturday mornings in a row, plus regular morning meetups Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,  and several other meetings during the week. The thing I really miss is choir, and that will probably be the last thing to return.

There have been community things too. I met friends the last Sunday in March to go to a quilt show in Tokyo. This was to replace the now past history Tokyo Dome Show. Mostly the work of well known quilters, with many things seen in the past, and no pictures allowed. It was a three day show with vendor's included, but the best part was meeting with friends in person. Hopefully the Yokohama quilt show will take place this fall. 

Other than quilting, time moves on. Plenty of church events. Last week was a wonderful ballet of the messiah. I try to take time out to visit my friend living in a senior care home without many opportunities for speaking in english. Sometimes my daughter goes with me. And, of course, Monday mornings are still out early for onigiri delivery to the homeless. 

I spend time tidying up, and about the time things are looking better, I sit down to do something and can't find what was right here before I did the tidying... then I mess up everything looking for that item.  It seems every day is about the same, and without reminders, I might forget which day it is.

So, that's about it. If I didn't have friends to worry about my silence, I might have let another month slip by. Thanks Kitty!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Not too much to post about.

 Thanks to a great kindness, the "Big-Girl" quilt has met up with my granddaughter in Colorado. Our Pastor's wife was travelling to California, and offered to take the quilt with her and mail it from there, thus saving all the problems faced with mailing anything larger than a  letter from here to the states. I got a facetime call at the time and could enjoy Maile hugging her quilt.

This quilt was finished on the 9th of this month. It is not heavily quilted, as I wanted it to be a bit puffy and thus warm. With thinsulate batting, I don't have to worry about shifting. It has been passed to my friend on Sunday, the 13th when we could meet up in person at church.

Next on my list is the banner for our church's 150th anniversary. I started a while ago sewing the signature blocks together. Those were collected at the 140th anniversary and joined using my vast collection of floral prints. 

I separated the large and small signatures into two halves, and have added a blue sky between. Now I am busy adding a garden in the blue area.

This was probably not the smartest move, because it is somewhat difficult to be appliqueing stuff in the middle of a large space without catching in surrounding fabric.

Also, it is a bit of pick and choose when it comes to selecting flowers to add.

I thought moving along by season might work.

Well, I got in a few camellia and plum blossoms.....

Now it is cherry blossom season, so I added a branch and some petals.

I'm finding this is really going too slow, and I have upped the challenge.

Our church is having a "Kick-Off Celebration" on the 9th of next month. It will be a 24 hour, partly in person, and livestreamed  for those not going in person and former members living around the world.
By then, I would like to have the rest of the garden planted and blooming, and a border added with more strips to be signed. Then, I want to get it basted for quilting and take it to work on that day, while gathering a few more signatures
from those attending.  If I add a piano key border, I think it will become too wide, but maybe a white one-inch strip all around could accommodate more signatures. 

Here is a picture of it, spread out on my sofa. (too big for the floor space). I sketched more flowers on the tracing paper, hoping to fill a bit more of the space in the middle.

I hesitate to add too much detail, as this will be the hardest part to fill.

Maybe I could add a bird or another butterfly...

So, this will be next on my list.

I hate deadlines, but this is a bit self-imposed. 

I hope I can pull it  off in a timely fashion. I certainly an still open to suggestions.

Guess I'd better stop dithering, and get to work!

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Where has time gone?

Maile's Big-girl quilt was finished on Valentines day. It is a bit difficult to find a fence area large enough for a picture, as any sunny area has lots of crossing shadows or the fence is too small. These days there is a lot of wind to add to the challenge as well.

 I am fairly happy with the results and the light blue bias binding worked well. I still need to add a label, but it will be some time before I can get this sent to Colorado.

The backing is all tenugui and yukata fabrics. Since the finished quilt is square, there is no top end, so I turned the prints in every direction. Two "Girls Day" (Hinamatsuri) prints remind me of that first granddaughter.

Having taken out lots of yukata fabrics from my stash, I began to realize I have way more than I can ever use. I started sorting it into categories and have one box of large strips. Another container of medium pieces and samples I was given many years ago. 

Then... Having used these fabrics in a number of quilts over the years, I found LOTS of cut pieces and scraps. Some of those, I decided to put together in a small throw for a friend.

This is now in the quilting stage. I am just quilting in the ditch to begin with and thinking what to do next.

It is basted, so I don't need to use a hoop, which goes somewhat faster. The center squares are three and a half inches and the batting is thinsulate so won't shift with use. I am debating quilting within those squares or leaving them puffy and warm.

I plan to use a karakusa design around the cranes. This friend teaches tea ceremony and is an expert on Japanese traditions. She has also been very generous in her friendship over the past years. I am hoping this will be something she will like and use.

The days seem to drag by with little change. No decorations went up at Christmas or New Years. Valentines day was just another day here, except for a giant basket of flowers coming from my kids,

and no  Hina dolls went out to celebrate Girls day. The plum tree we planted to celebrate my first daughter's birth, has been very slow to bloom this year, and the Sweet Daphne we planted for daughter #3 has taken the clue and late to bloom too. Junk piles up on my coffee table and each day seems like the last. 

Now it is the season of Lent.
I will celebrate with a haiku for the day.

As with a compass

May the needle in my hand

Keep me right on course.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Next to last step

 The thing I worried about most, was quilting the floral print border. Should I outline the pattern with navy stitching? That might have been a plan, but using navy thread on the navy background could be a problem. I had tried it on the Hawaiian blocks, and in some places the thread left a small loop and it was hard to see until it was too late to fix.  It really didn't show up in the echo quilting either.I left the parts I had done in navy, but switched to a regular blue.

I decided to use white thread on the print instead, as I had just bought a new spool, so am sure I will have enough. Then next, what should I do in the larger areas? This design is not really suitable for echo quilting. I used thinsulate for batting which will not shift and does not really need heavy quilting. 

I decided to try randomly sketched hearts, and use the lighter blue thread. Once I put those in, I decided this will be the way I quilt the rest of the border. I basted the border every 6 to 8 inches, and I can work on this part without using a hoop. I think this quilt has decided what it wants, and we are both happy.

Sitting here in my livingroom quilting, I am enjoying the birds visiting my window cafe. Last week I re-stocked my supply of sunflower seeds. Then, I began to notice they were disappearing at a faster rate.


I had seen this visitor last year, and moved the window cafe up higher, so it was not in reach of the fence below. That had seemed to be working, but this "Kuma nezumi" is a bit smarter than I thought. He has found a route along the top of the window ledge, that he can drop down into the feeder.

When I opened the curtains to get a better look, he did not jump down to the fence and run along the top, but leaped up in the air to the top of the window.

With him gone, the birds returned, but at night he must have come back, because the feeder had nothing left but seed shells.

I wonder if I need to remove the feeder from the window at night, or just buy more seeds. I wonder if this is the guy that chewed the electric wires to my heated floor.

My english student says he has seen the rat at the entrance to the house across the street. We have a number of old houses that were built in the day the area under the house was open with a few grates around the base. In the past, when we had rat problems, we closed off those open grates at our house to keep the rats out. I knew it did not get rid of the problem because I often see droppings or evidence of plant seeds being chewed.
We have many feral cats in the area, but they don't seem interested in that kind of problem solving. This guy probably knows I'm a rat-year person, and is taking advantage.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

border progress

I decided that, as long as I have to move the hoop around, I may as well do the next two borders together.

Since the 5-inch squares are made from a variety of yukata fabrics, I didn't want to use a quilting design that would either distract from the print, or not be seen at all. 

I decided on just a square inside the square, one inch from the border. I think that is enough to keep the batting from shifting, and the puffiness will be warmer. 

I had planned to use the same vine pattern for the second blue strip, and decided to use a blue thread instead of the white. Since I was doing this along with the squares, I drafted a different pattern that could be done square-by-square. It is quite convenient because I can keep two needles ready for the squares, white on light, and blue on dark, and I like the way the blue thread shows up in the third border.

I am finished now with three sides, so will have to think about what I am going to do with that floral outer border. I have a basic idea but am thinking between navy and blue threads, and how much I want that quilting to show.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Slow progress

On December 22 I finished piecing the backing, basted the quilt on the apartment floor, and began quilting the star in the ditch, from the center out.  Once the star was done, I began working on the Hawaiian blocks. At first I stitched around the applique using navy thread. It was hard to see against the navy background. I didn't take out my work, but decided to switch to a regular blue thread,  The applique quilting was done in white but it is not easy to see the quilted details 

Today, I finished quilting the first narrow blue border. 
The next task will be to select a quilt design for the border of five-inch blocks.

I really don't want heavy quilting, as it would distract from the yukata prints.
I am thinking of doing the second blue border with the same design as the first, only using the blue thread instead of white. 

It's nice to have a cozy quilt to work under, but my fingers are very sore working through the many seams in the backing.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Quilt top done

Last week I added the last small border to Maile's "big girl" quilt

I cut the floral down to just eight inches, as the whole width was a bit too overpowering. Then I added a one inch combination of assorted yukata fabrics to the outer edge. Now I am piecing yukata/ tenugui fabrics together for the backing. 

Working by hand is very slow progress. The days have become colder and I am looking forward to when I can sit with a warm quilt in the hoop in my lap. Maybe the light blue can go for the binding... but that is a long way off.  Laid out on the floor, this quilt takes up the whole space almost to the wall. Basting is going to be a challenge if I decide to do it here.



Sunday, November 21, 2021

First border added

With the five inch yukata squares added, the size is now 65 inches square. I have several rolls of yukata fabric that would add a wide border or could be cut unto narrower borders. I also have enough of the light blue to add another strip in the border.

If I make the quilt square, it can be rotated on the bed. I could add a row of cranes to the top and bottom to lengthen the quilt. The geometric print is similar to the applique hibiscus fabric, and would probably be easy to quilt following the pattern. I'm not sure how I would quilt the floral.  

If I get this pieced in a timely fashion, it will be a nice cozy item for snuggling under while quilting in the increasingly cold of winter.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Next step

Two of the setting triangles have been appliqued and one is now set in place. My granddaughter decided on an anthurium. I guess this fills the space evenly. It is a lot easier to sew around than the hibiscus.


Once I finish putting the star together, I will have to decide on some kind of border to expand the size for a double bed. I am hoping the quilt will tell me what it wants next.

I apologize that responding to comments has become so difficult without any coming to my email address. It requires regular checking, which I am not so good at, then taking notes and looking up addresses, and then remembering to whom I have responded. There has to be a better way!