In the early '90s I had gone to the fabric outlet area of Tokyo looking for Japanese fabric and
stopped in a kimono shop to see if they had any sample books to sell cheaply. The books are made up of pieces of fabric from the end of the roll, the width of the fabric (about 13-14 inches) and about the same in length. They are sewed into a pile with one large stitch, maybe 20 or so in a "book".
The store did not have any for sale but took my name and address and telephone number and said they might let me know if they did.
Much much later, a package arrived in the post from that shop and in it were some assorted fabrics and fabric sample books. Now, on many of the samples, as you might see in a wall paper sample book, were scribbled notes with black marker. Many of the prettiest fabrics were so marked but I saved the lot and have found ways those fabrics can be cut around the ink and used in projects. These are what I dug out for this runner.
I drafted simple square in a square five inch blocks and arranged them light on dark and dark on light. After considerable trial and error I finally came up with an arrangement I liked. I had considered quilting this with sashiko stitches but was afraid that might detract from the fabrics but used a typical pattern of interlocking circles for the quilting. I like the result and am thinking some day I might make one for my own coffee table.
I am still reminded of the day Marie was born. It was the year of the "Fire Horse" which was considered the worst possible year for a girl baby to be born. Very few risked having a girl and the maternity wards were rather empty. I was near the window of a 6-bed ward and all the babies were kept down the hall in a nursery. At feeding time the infants were put on a cart and rolled into the ward to be handed out to the waiting mothers. BUT ... Ahead of the cart came a nurse carrying one screaming baby which she placed in my arms. Small but mighty, she was! And the nursing staff always "forgot" to pick her up at the end of the session (or maybe that was intended)
Marie liked to be held. Unlike the doll that closes it's eyes as you lay it down, her eyes would fly open no matter how gently you placed her and the screams would follow. Living in a neighborhood where houses are poorly insulated and only three or four feet apart, I spent the next year and a half carrying that fire-horse everywhere. I learned how to do every task with a babe in arms. I sang every lullaby I knew over and over. I'll bet I have the best repertoire of lullabies of anyone my age. Is it any wonder that that daughter turned out to be musically gifted!
Maybe she was making her own music in self defence. So... one more runner for the birthday girl.
Outside our front gate is this pineapple lily. We had a clump of them in our last house and they were frequently the victims of the plant vandal. Before we moved I separated the group into several bunches and placed them out of reach. I must have brought one tiny bulb with me because I notices the fleshy leaves last year among the agapanthus and gave the bulb a pot of its own. I noticed last week there was a small bud and took this first picture.
Today, when I went to the park to see if I could get a better picture of the runner, I noticed the lily had begun to bloom. I'm so happy to have this reminder of the years spent at the Suginami house. I also noticed when I was there a little more than a week ago, that the plants had buds that were not vandalized. Hooray for small blessings!