Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday progress

Today we basted the quilt. We had to lay it out on the floor because the school multipurpose room was not available. I did not take pictures of six or seven mothers on their knees in an apartment kitchen getting that sandwich together.
I'm sure anyone who has done that task can figure out what it looked like.

Now the quilt has followed me home and I will work on the crests in the plain blue blocks and maybe finish the quilting on the middle blocks that will be more difficult to reach when we meet next week around a table.

The batting is thinsulate which is easy to quilt but a bit thicker than I might like. I wish I had not started in the middle as I am finding it hard to adjust the stitch size so that the design will show well. I do not think my usual sized stitches will go through with enough regularity. If we have enough time at the end, I may do some of this over.

Our master piecer joined the borders so perfectly. I am in awe! ( and ironed all the seams.) Kendra, you are a wizard! So ... off we go ... five weeks ... is that right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ASIJ quilt progress

Today we finished sewing the top together and decided the borders.
This is the time of year I start looking at what we have done and counting backwards from the finish date. I have not yet hit the panic button. Next week we plan to baste and will begin to quilt. Each of the dark blue squares will have a crest quilted in white. (my homework) The little kimono blocks will be quilted in group sessions (in the ditch)and the border will have a simple quilt design as yet to be decided but most likely with white in the diagonal white squares.
We have had very good turnouts of willing hands. Some are new and a few are "old timers" having helped with one or more quilts in the past. Gambaremasho!

Monday, January 24, 2011

one thing one week challenge

I hardly need a challenge to get things done but when Amy posted her one week challenge, I figured it would be reasonable to finish the last blocks for this batik "round and round" quilt and lay them all out in a space bigger than I have at home. I was handed this kit by a quilting friend over the summer so I would have something to travel with and thought by adding my own stash I could make it large enough for my daughter's bed. This is not the final layout. I will allow my daughter to decide that in March. So...what was the hurry? We climb the mountain because it's there.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Refreshed and moving on to the next project

This weekend was theWomen's Conference in the lovely hills of Izu Southwest of Tokyo. This yearly conference was started many years ago by missionary wives from all denominations all over Japan for a bit of relaxation, renewal and inspiration. Though not a missionary, I have been a hanger-on to these conferences over the years and as the years rolled by, many have retired and left Japan and many more non-missionaries have joined. This year the planning committee had movers and shakers from our sub-group which has almost become the majority.

The theme this year was Health and Healing Mind Body and Spirit. There were too many workshops to choose from and friends to do them with. The new banner as well as it's companion banner and the banner made a few years ago were all hung.

Although I did not go into a lot of detail about this year's banner, it had it's beginning years ago in a friendship forged at this conference. Carol Sack, a missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1982 is involved in the field of Pastoral Harp through a project called Lyra Precaria. She and her colleagues offer prayerful presence through harp and voice, mainly to persons who might be ill or dying. For many years she has been asking (suggesting/nagging) me to make a banner of David. When I began to think of making a banner for this conference, I came across the printed Psalm fabric and thinking nothing could be better for healing than the Psalms, (and perhaps God was doing a bit of nagging as well) came up with the banner I have been working on the past few months.

Needless to say, the women, but more so, Carol were very pleased. Now Carol is doing classes and lectures all over Japan and was very happy to take over custody of that banner and it's companion. It seemed that was a better solution for everyone than having one more banner rolled up on a shelf most of the year. It will get used and enjoyed by many and if I ever have need of it, I know where it is. She has a class on the Psalms this week so the banner will not have to be stored at all. If it comes back to the conference, I do not have to bring it.

Of course there was take-along-work. I took a challenge to complete the blocks for the batik quilt and finished the last one this morning so I could lay them all out on the floor where there was a big space and no dog hair. There seems to be one orphan block left over. I have decided to finish this quilt for my Yonbanme. (fourth daughter) Just before leaving for the conference I learned she will be visiting in March so I did not spend a lot of time arranging the blocks. She will do a much better job of it than I ever would.

Now refreshed in mind, body and spirit, I have returned to finish the on-going projects and find more take-along work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's in the mail

From my earliest years I loved dolls. I got a teddy bear for my first Christmas and from then on, almost every photo of me includes one doll or another. I learned to sew at a very early age because my dolls needed changes of clothes, coats, hats, sweaters, bedding, you name it - I made it. My dolls were my world.
Now I have dear granddaughters that love dolls even from an early age. When I was told Naomi could use a doll quilt for her birthday, what more could I do? I think this quilt even has fabric from her own baby quilt. I see also bits from Uncle and Aunt's quilts. There was a bit of pink left from the Hawaiian Wedding quilt to even make a pillow. It will be happier in a doll bed than on the ironing board. So...Happy Birthday Sweetheart. I wish I could have put myself into that envelope!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Flattered by Feature

Today the ASIJ quilt is featured on Quilt Inspiration - .If you have never visited this site and are looking for ideas or inspiration, you should take a peek. I could spend lots of quilting time brousing on the past features.

Monday, January 10, 2011

All kinds of HAPPY

Little did I know when my son set up a "blog" what I was in for other than simply letting my kids see what I had made. At that time, he pulled up a couple of quilt blogs already in existence and posted them along the side of my page. Where did he get those names? Was it only an accident or does God really work that way in our lives.

Some were like shops promoting themselves or long arm quilters looking for work but the first ones I read were Taniwa and Stitchin By The Lake. It was some time later I figured out what it meant to become a "follower". That may sound dumb to you but most of my friends my age don't even have a computer.

Now I am part of a virtual quilting group and that makes me happy but if you have not read either of these blogs, I will attempt at the end to add a link because you must see that they are about much more than quilting and have connected up those loose ends that seem to fill our lives. The first picture brings the happiness off those friendships. The Lovely pile of goodies sitting by my plant and coffee cup were sent by Marlene. The cozy hot pad she made with her own hands and is almost too dear to use. The other mini quilt on the table was made by Tanya. It has the kanji (characters) for my name. Fuku brings fortune and happiness and Ta or Da is a paddy field. She then selected a Psalm to print around the words. And such a perfect one it is! I am still blown away by the friendship of these two women who went to such lengths to make me happy.

Next you will see that the Psalm banner is DONE. I finished yesterday but it was much too windy to take a picture. Don't zoom in to closely because you will see a lot of threads and dog hair but when I returned from school today the weather was just fine for getting that picture and I grabbed the ladder, the banner, and the dog and raced to the park. As I was hanging it I saw the generous amount of dog hair covering every area.

Lest you think the dog must be bald by now ... here is my assistant, Nikko, guarding the work from the little kids with the frisbee. (Or maybe thinking she'd like to play with the frisbee too.)

And here is one more reason to rejoice. Today the little kimono blocks were complete and we began to arrange them on the floor. The dark blue blocks in between will be quilted with family crests. Today we copied them to the blue and then arranged everything into rows for assembling.

These last pictures are arranging and pinning.
Since there were only a few left to mark, we decided to get that part of the process done so we can get it all together and start on the quilting.
To mark the crests on the dark fabric, we centered the paper copies where they were to go. Then we went over the lines in the paper with a ballpoint pen. After picking up the paper, there was a line depression where the pen had drawn and we went over it a second time with a white chalk pencil. The Japanese sewers often mark fabric with a "hera"which is similar in that it leaves a light line in the fabric. This is quite useful but requires good lighting and may be difficult to see on figured fabric.
We had a good turnout for the work and you can see the happiness on the faces of the remaining three that we were able to get this much done.
So, now you see the blessings the day has brought. Thank you for being my virtual quilt group. Thank you to Marlene
and Tanya (check them out now, if you haven't already) And smile for the joy that quilting brings and the friendships that blogging brings too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New year's wishes in picture form

I am beginning to realize, since I began this blog, that my little picture notebook I had been using as a diary all these years is missing a large number of small quilted items. Probably I did not consider these things to be "quilts" as they didn't go onto beds.
Here is a little hanging I made years ago. I can't remember when it was made but I do remember the little blocks were in a set to be embroidered. The center block contains rather stylized characters for New year's greetings with parts of the characters made of pine, plum, and bamboo, an auspicious combination representing evergreen, constancy, straight nature Other blocks in order contain a dog (a common gift for children wishing a healthy growth of children, loyalty and intelligence), A top (a traditional New Years toy representing non-stopping motion),A mallet of good fortune, a fan with pine (evergreen opening up), a traditional new years decoration that stands outside the gate, a gourd sake bottle (celebration) A kite and a battledore both traditional new years games.
In this small hanging about 18 inches square with its many hidden meanings, one could truly say, "a picture is worth a thousand words". If you find this strange, the food that is eaten in the traditional New Years meal is even more full of double and tripple meanings.