Thursday, January 5, 2023

Starting a new year

This year started with a lot of zooming. On the first, I hurried home from church for a zoom gathering with my kids ... spread from the east coast to the west coast of the states, and across the pond to Japan.

On Monday the zooming was with church friends, spread from Malaysia to the eastern US, and Tuesday it was with cousins and nieces and nephews living in the states. While viewing the screens of squares and faces, I was reminded  of a nine-patch. I had been marking and cutting squares of a number of scraps, and sitting right at my right side were two tins of two-inch squares, so full of pieces that the lids wouldn't go on. I think Mr. Zoom was calling out for me to fix the problem,  so I began arranging and sewing blocks while zooming. Wednesday and Friday added more finishes.

I think usually, nine-patches have the darker squares in the center and corners. I began with the alternate setting, and when I laid them  out, I liked the results. making contrasting blocks would give a checkerboard effect, but I like the way this looks,

I have hardly made a dent in the number of blocks, still in those tins. I do have a few that probably would not work in a 9-patch, but might be nice set with solids in a border. I think that I will wait before sewing these all together in order to balance the colors.

Years ago, I gave up on new year's resolutions, and began picking a focus year for the year. Last year was "purpose", and I was wondering what to choose for this year, when the word chose me instead. Jan1st, as I headed off to church, a neighbor shouted out "Happy new year" in english, and as I was rushing home for the zoom date, another neighbor stopped while passing by on his bike, to give me a high-five and wishes in english. The overflowing of love from family and friends calls out for gratitude, which will be a fine focus for this year.

Cleaning out the dust bunnies from under the eves at the head of my futon, I made room for the bunnies and a few owls to enjoy the new year and the reminder they bring of friends past and present and happy events.

I hope my blogging friends will also enjoy a year full of happiness and gratitude.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Time for an update

My Ohio Star Log Cabin was finished November 13th and went directly to my futon. Though this time of year, I am usually sleeping in a military "extreme cold" sleeping bag, this quilt over a fleece blanket that came from my Portland family, and a light down throw on top to protect the quilt from excess sun, makes a nice toasty sleeping nest.

This month, I have added two small Christmas pieces.
These both went to church friends,
This one to a member who has given me money to pay for gas as I drive to town for onigiri delivery.

The second one to a fellow onigiri deliverer who came in the early morning to rescue me when my car battery died and I had to travel to town by train. She caught up with me and showed me how to find the right exit in the maze of Shibuya station.

 These two are my angels, thus the center block.
I figured this might make a small table center or even a warm lap rug.
Just a small thank you for their kindness.

Tuesday was the last day of school for me, so hopefully a bit of time to tidy up my messy livingroom and get my sewing things organized before beginning a new project.There will be two Christmas eve services to sing with the choir. I don't enjoy riding the crowded trains at that time of night, but singing together after such a long break is such a joy. 
Warmest holiday wishes to you all.




Sunday, November 6, 2022

October was a busy month!!

October began with the celebration of our church's 150th anniversary. Ten years ago, I had collected signatures from those attending that anniversary, and decided to combine them into a banner. Some were on 1x4inch strips, and some on 2x4inch pieces. I used my vast collection of floral scraps to make setting blocks, and added the blue strip between them, and blank strips around the border.  During some of the anniversary events, I collected signatures of newer members to add in the border and to vine leaves and petals. Today I finally got a picture of the banner hanging in the entry lounge.


The week following those events began our three week stewardship emphasis time. The stewardship banner was hung at the corner of the stairway, choir activities picked up, I was asked to give a talk ... not my favorite kind of activity... Toss in scout meeting and school activities, and October zoomed by in no time.

As the end of the month neared, I began to worry about my Monday morning onigiri delivery. Last year, because of all the Halloween gatherings, the police had blocked off the parking along the main streets and when I arrived, I was unable to pull over and park. I kept going along the one-way streets crammed with crowds of costumed drunken young people, moving slowly a foot or so at a time until I came back to the parking space. Then, one of the homeless brothers ran out and moved the cones so I could pull over to park.  Remembering that, the week before, the same homeless man who meets me at my car, asked if I would be coming. When I told him I was worried it might be like last year, he told me not to worry, that he would be there for me.

Well, Sunday afternoon, as I was leaving church, there was loud noise and music and a huge group of young people on the street.

The crowd of costumed celebrants were walking up the left side of the hill in front of the church. When they got to the light, they turned back down, and soon the street was filled with people dancing along.
Here they come back past the church on our side of the street.

Watching them pass with no end in sight, I began to worry about what the morning delivery might be like.

The evening had more things to consider, A huge bouquet came from all my children. Then my Tokyo family arrived in bits and pieces as we had a date planned for dinner together.

here is a partial picture with Norie and all those flowers.

Well, we went out to a neighborhood restaurant for the planned dinner, and what a shocking surprise that was!

When we came in the door, there were two of my church friends that I worked with at Vacation Bible school,  a girl who has become my "daughter on loan" and a good Scouting friend. We hadn't settled in long, when my "Son on loan" and his darling wife showed up. It ended up a birthday party ... with even a little cake and candle.

That night, Norie stayed over and went with me to Shibuya for the onigiri delivery. There were cones around the station area and the scramble crossing was full of young people, but my homeless friend was waiting and the parking space was clear. It may have been the disaster in Korea turned the Tokyo gang into a better controlled outing.  Other than my family and friends, that was the best birthday gift of all.

Now we are into November. I can't believe how suddenly we went from the sauna weather into warm and wooly clothing. Sitting at my computer in a winter jacket while all the fall clothing hangs untouched in the closet. Friday I was lucky to have the day off work and could meet friends for a quilt show. That will be my next post later this week.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Another Banner

Today I added the hanging sleeve and took this banner to the park for a photo opp. Not too easy getting a good picture in the wind blowing through the fence.

 This is the 13th banner over the years, and I am finding it harder each year to work with a committee, especially a committee that wants some "feel good" sentiment. We have added lots of new people to our congregation, and feeling welcome is important, but getting involved is much more what I would like to see. Most of the suggestions were themes we have done over and  over. Why bother making a new banner?

"Where will you fit? was rejected because it might hurt someone's feelings. Really?

After spending a good part of what might have been my dinner time, and with the help of my daughter, I got the EMS postal form filled out and printed up to send the labyrinth to Boston.Today I walked all the way to the big PO and waited in line, only to have my form rejected. It was in a B4 brown envelope, but not paper, as the computer choice expected. A complete waste of an hour and a half, not to mention getting the form filled out and printed. There is no choice for "quilted fabric or wall hanging"

The anniversary banner went to church last Friday, and was hung on Sunday, gathering a few more signatures. I added vines with leaves that could be signed in the empty spaces, but have no idea how many more signatures it might collect. October 1st and 2nd are the "big" days, so I will know soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Finally finished

 Finished after a long day yesterday, and posed for a picture this morning...

My friend from church brought me printouts of the kanji. I decided to just embroider them, doubling a single strand of floss. The photo doesn't show the autumn one well. Red on purple isn't much of a contrast, but it is actually clearly legible in person. I just put small  quilted images in the corners... cherry blossom, sunflower, colorful leaf, and snowflake. 

Next challenge will be getting it mailed to Boston.

Meanwhile, a stewardship banner needs to move from graph paper to fabric, and a hanging sleeve needs to be added to the church anniversary banner. Both of those have about half a month to get finished. No more time for dithering....

Friday, September 9, 2022

A small project

My daughter, Marie in Boston, is involved in distributing food to those of her community in need. Unlike my Tokyo daily onigiri delivery, there are rather large bags for people to pick up, and some need to be delivered, requiring a day of physical exercise. 

Thankful for the dedication of a Chinese Christian fellow's help to lighten the load, she asked if I could make him a small gift. 

Similar to a labyrinth I made for myself, I put this together. I used the same quilting templates I had created for mine, but in the corners, I am planning to put the kanji characters for spring, summer, fall, and winter.

I have used those characters before with applique on a big quilt, but am thinking of outlining the strokes with embroidery, using pink, green or yellow(for summer) red, and white.

I used Olympus pearl cotton for the labyrinth ... a light violet but ran out and had to finish it with a different brand (DMC 4) which was close enough that it doesn't show.

A church friend has offered to print out those characters in the needed size, and pass them to me tomorrow. 

Today I hope to sew a hanging sleeve on the signature banner for the 150th anniversary celebration at our church the first of October. There are still signatures to be collected, but I am thinking if it is hung, it could still be signed and might attract others to add their names.

This year's stewardship banner is still waiting, so that will be next on my list ... needing to get finished by October. Progress is a wee bit slower since I have returned to work three or four afternoons a week. And the giant spoon is again stirring up my room.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Complete and gifted

 With a rather heavy schedule and school beginning soon, I was anxious to get this I-Spy quilt finished and into the hands of the new youth ministry person before the end of the month, when classes resume. I was lucky to have enough thinsulate for batting, making it fine for simple pin basting.

I laid the flimsy out face down on the floor, put the batting on top, then the backing, and smoothed it all out making sure the edges were even. Then I just pinned it around the edges and flipped it over to check. I made sure the top was smooth, then put safety pins, spaced out in the top. The quilting was mostly in-the-ditch, with some inner quilting in the 4 inch squares. I used my hoop and it went very quickly. A simple linked-hearts pattern fit nicely in the border.

Saturday, I had to pick up my car from the inspection place, so while going through town, I picked up some bias tape to match the blue border sashing and all the little blue dots in that orange print. My last task was to back-stitch the doubled binding on and then turn it to the back and add a label. I may have been a bit later than usual going to bed, but could rest well having finished.

In the morning I went to the park to get document the finish with a photo. It was quite cloudy, so not looking so colorful, but at least I did not have to deal with wind or shadows messing up the results.

I had to get to church early because of an early discussion with a group reading Shusaku Endo's "Silence".  Then it was time for the service and I could pass the quilt to the new owner at the following coffee hour. Next thing I need to do us get a print made for my paper diary.

The log cabin awaits basting and a small labyrinth quilt is the next on the list, as well as a stewardship banner for later next month. I sewed signature leaves on to the anniversary banner and will have to check out my stash for a strip to add a hanging sleeve. There are still areas where people can sign, but maybe those signatures can be added when it is hanging.

The weather is still hot and humid, though the morning was a bit cooler than yesterday. Since I missed last week's weeding in the park because of rain, I got a huge bag of weeds on today's outing.  I left a few piles of weeds for the "gardeners" to collect rather than start another bag. Saturday it will go to the corner to be collected.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Another flimsy flapping on the fence

 I was finally able, with my daughter's help, to buy enough thinsulate for my log cabin quilt. It is now laid out on the apartment floor waiting for basting. What is holding it off is the summer heat and humidity. The electricity is off in that unused space and each day is so very hot.

Meanwhile, I had Vacation Bible School for the first week of August, and since the program activities were about nature, and written for children living in the states, they had to be tweaked to fit Tokyo. Leaves, bugs, birds, and animals and stuff for nature crafts had to be rounded up.

The days began with an early rush hour ride in the crammed sardine can subway, Only the youngest, fastest, and most aggressive got the senior sitting. I felt like a minnow swimming upstream in a typhoon! Ayway, I survived and hopefully the kids enjoyed the week. Then, the next week I was playing catch-up and getting ready for my Friday Cub Scout meeting

As it turned out, I heard from one parent that the cub had a fever and would not be coming, but I went early, set up the room with chairs and table for activity, and waited. Half an hour into the meeting time no one had come, so I slowly began folding the chairs and taking them back to the storage area. I got the room back to empty shortly before our usual closing time, and hauled my roller bag of materials back to the train station. The good thing is, I have something all ready to go for another meeting later on. It was gusting and rainy with the edge of a typhoon passing through, so I am not surprised that parents hesitated to drag their kids out in the storm.

  After the VBS week, I decided to make an I-Spy quilt for the new children's ministry director to use while the kids are gathering or waiting for parents to pick them up. 

I had a tin of 4inch blocks already cut and plenty of small solids to use in sashing, so this did not take much time.

Next will be to face the heat and get both this and the log cabin flimsy basted so the quilting can begin. I have a labyrinth wall hanging on my to-do list at the request of my Boston Daughter. I might be more motivated if it wasn't so difficult (bordering on impossible) to mail things larger than a small letter to the states! 

The end of the week, my car will go for it's three-year inspection. I get to sit on the room and wait some hours, but it is air conditioned and would be a good time to work on quilting. That alone will be my motivation to stagger up to the apartment floor and get to some basting. Hopefully the day will remain cloudy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

on hold

Considering the heatwave we have been having here in Tokyo, I have left the log cabin waiting on the floor in the upstairs apartment for basting... hoping that the predicted rain later on in the week may cool things off a bit.

Looking around for a "zoom activity", I found a small cut of the fabric in the lower half, "Island Style" by "Kathy Mom", that is a Hawaiian print produced by Kathy Nakajima, a well-known Hawaiian quilter.

The piece was only 25.5 inches long, but there were 4 repeats of the design, so I decided to try making four repeat blocks in the "stack 'n' whack" style ... only I mark and cut rather than play around with rollerblades and machines.

It didn't take long before I had 20 five-inch blocks assembled. Now, what to do with them?

There aren't really enough to make something very big. I can use sashing or an alternate block setting ... maybe include the leftover piece in the center ... that might be big enough for a table runner.

I thought I would solve the problem of unused fabric. I hope I did not just create another UFO... 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

It's on the fence

I was thinking of something light blue for the inner border, but going through my assorted scraps, I couldn't find anything that would work without a lot of piecing. Then, I found a wood print that wanted to visit the cabin, and had enough to work with. I did have to piece the long sides, but that would have happened anyway.

The dark blue had two long strips that may have been cut for some other of my friend's quilts, but was not cut straight and had to be resized at 4 1/2 inches to allow for seams. The side pieces needed to be sewn but don't seem to show that much.

It is quite a windy day, but I was lucky to find a section of fence that was high enough for a photo with the quilt turned sideways. I was rather pleased when clipping it up, to find how uniform the blocks and measurements are. I didn't have to pull it in any direction to make it square up.


So ... next on the list will be finding something for the backing. I could piece tenugui or there might be something in the acquired stash that is large enough. I am determined NOT to buy anything other than thread.