Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's in a photo op?

At least three times a week I walk back and forth across the street at this crossing.

It is on Aoyama-dori, between Aoyama 1-chome station and Omotesando station, It is an "Outer Garden" of Meiji Shrine. At the end, there is a building which I understand to be a picture museum.

I have never been down the street, or visited the museum, but usually it is a quiet street with little traffic and I feel I am wasting my time standing there waiting for the light to change so I can be on my way.

Last week, however, I noticed the ginkgo trees lining the street had begun to change color. Oops, I had forgotten to bring my camera. Therefore, I made sure to put it in my bag on Sunday before leaving home.

 So much for the quiet empty street ... In fact, there were so many people standing in the middle of the road waiting for cars to pass so they could get a shot of the trees that a policeman at the curb was blowing his whistle and trying to move them along.

It was all I could do to grab a quick shot and hope I didn't get a head or shoulder in front of me.

Anyway, enjoy this much of the lovely autumn day with sun and blue skies. Today it has been very dark and gloomy with rain falling.

I was hoping for a different photo op because I managed to finish the advent calendar and hopefully it will go out in the evening mail and make tomorrow's plane to Oregon.

I still paste pictures in my paper quilt diary so before posting I tried to find a place with natural light for a photo. Well, everywhere outside was wet and dripping and my greenhouse was the only room with any light,but it was full of hanging laundry.

In the end, I tacked the calendar on to my door and got the best picture I could.

This is the fifth calendar I have made and one might think that they would get better with experience. Sigh ...

... I really have to start sooner rather than be controlled by deadlines.

The numbers on the pockets are somewhat wonky. I somewhat envy those sewing machines that embroider words and numbers with the push of a button.

I cut the wooden bits in the afternoon when the sound of the saw would be less likely to disturb the neighbor but traded that aspect for better lighting.

I took my knife and those bits to camp on Saturday and didn't finish but did get enough done that I could finish by Monday morning.

I was sanding the carvings during my skype call with the kids and then dug out my box of acrylic paint tubes.

The first two coats of varnish went on before bed time and four or five more coats during the day.

During the painting, one piece got lost and is still hiding somewhere.
It was an extra just in case so I quit looking and finished the 25 that were waiting.

I had to go shopping for a box of paperclips to cut for the hanging loops. I was sure there were some left over from other years. After all, they come 130 to a box, but there were none residing in the drawer where they usually live so they may have been re-purposed for other duties.

Tomorrow's forecast is also rain so I am glad I didn't wait for a perfect photo op. Perhaps my son will send me a picture of Ryden hanging the owl on the tree... but then, Oregon gets rain this time of year too.
Tomorrow begins a new project with a bit longer deadline.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Re-runs of the Yokohama Quilt show

I think I have waited too long to continue my posts about the show.

Since Queenie's pictures are so much better, I was kind of waiting to see what she would post before subjecting my viewers to my rather wonky takes.

Now my brain has become a bit foggy as to what categories my pictures belong or what Queenie has already posted.

Some of those categories were Contemporary, Traditional, Flower, "Wa" (Japanese quilts), and "Message" quilts.

Years ago I made a quilt of flower blocks on a black background, not as fancy as this quilt made by Kayoko Ozono, but large enough for a queen-sized bed. The bed was way too large for any bedroom in this house so the quilt was passed to one of my daughters but I still have memories that were brought to mind when I saw this garden,

This quilt by Harumi Asada has a title ...beginning with 100 flowers.
(something about colorful potential)...

What a lot of work went into that one. There are different flowers in the centers of each of those sun flowers.

This quilt is really more striking than my photo shows, so I include a close-up shot.

Titled "Clematis",
by Yoko Ozaki,

you can appreciate the amount of work that went into not only the background, but the applique and stitching.

It was done by machine but probably hand working over all those layers would have worn out a lot of fingers.

Now my memory becomes a bit foggy.

I can't remember what category this was but maybe still in the flower area.

3 x 3  (nine)

is the title of this collection of nine-patch blocks setting off lovely floral hexagons.

Since many of my plentiful scraps are in the one-inch box, I am always attracted to new ways of using them, and I think this is a cleaver possibility.

Both Queenie and I thought the border was a bit heavy on this Hawaiian quilt.

The workmanship by Yoko Kanazawa is excellent.
I was rather surprised to see print fabrics used in the boarder applique
because Hawaiian style usually deals in solids.

This quilt would be fun to see on a bed with the borders hanging at the edges.

This Bridal Bouquet quilt by Yasuko Hasegawa
seems to use either feed sack material or reproduction fabrics.

Since I grew up with clothing and quilts made using similar fabrics, it had a certain appeal. This pattern was also popular in that era.

(Note the little patches in the borders and you will know another reason it caught my eye).

Ginko Sueyoshi created this lovely "Christmas Rose".

As I recall, it was machine work and there was a lot of detail in the quilting.

There were a number of "Japanese Quilts".

This was somewhere between those and the flower quilts.

I guess cherry blossoms say "Japan", even on quilts. Matsuko Morishita put a lot of hand work into this quilt.

This quilt also seems to have been among the Japanese quilts.

The title has something to do with "Wa"

Made by Yuko Koshikawa.

There was plenty of embroidery in each of those circles both in the blocks and in the border.

And, here is a bit of folk art.

The title escapes my translation skills but I thought you might enjoy this struggle with a giant carp and the amazing hand work of Sanae Yamaguchi.

This quilt by Emiko Kushi caught my eye because all these designs are copies of manhole covers.

Somewhere in the quilt world there is a book of these covers and I have seen them and even photographed them in my travels around the country.

Tokyo's manhole covers have a large cherry blossom but they are not in color ... probably just too many to justify the expense.

They were first brought to my attention by my friend, Marion Fox, living in Maryland and visiting her son who was then working at the US Embassy. I still have a small album of pictures she sent me of manhole quilts taken at a show in her neck of the woods.

And, because I love to see kids getting hooked on quilting, I have included this photo of a group quilt made by Fujieda High School Students,

entitled "SU*I*KA", which is the name for watermelon.

One of my goals before leaving the show was to meet up with my new friend, Chikako Ueno.

As, in  the past, she found me before I found her. I had just said good-bye to my friend Queenie and was heading over to the Nihon Heritage Quilters Guild exhibition area.

This is always a wonderful example of how quilting brings people together. Their theme for this exhibit was "World Costume". Quilters from France, Korea, and Japan were given the name of a country and then made a small quilted hanging representing the traditional costumes of that country. This was the group's 15th Anniversary exhibit and very cleverly done. This is a picture of me with Ueno-san beside her wonderful interpretation of Korean costumes.

The group members were chatting around the center table and trying to think up a new theme to be used next year. We had an all-too-short visit before I spent my last bit of time hunting through the shops for pencil lead and batiks in purple. (I did find purple and green batik ... the color just right but it was already cut in pieces too short and had goldfish swimming all over ... Maybe not quite what that rainbow wants, but I still have two more places left to look).

Between the show and now, I have been hustling to finish up the Christmas present for my elder son.

This is the fifth Advent calendar I have made and I still need to add the hanging sleeve and get those pieces of wood carved and painted so it can get into the mail before Advent begins.

I don't think Ken looks at my blog but even if he does, he already knows I have drawn his name this year and this is probably what he will get.

I have a Scouting event from early tomorrow and in some of that outdoor time I plan to do some whittling ... rather than add wood chips to the dog hair that is already covering my floors.

So ... off I go to re-fill my coffee cup and hunt up my sharpest knives.
Hope your weekend is productive too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yokohama quilt show, part 2

I have been rather distracted by my senior driving test that I had to deal with today, and am now glad to have that behind me. There is really no way to prepare for the test. They check  your memory, your eye sight, your reaction time, speed at certain tasks, and driving skills on a tiny course in a strange automobile. It is a three-hour workout to maybe check your stamina because they lecture to the class as if everyone was a five-year-old crossing the street for the first time.

I was the only woman in the large class and the oldest but I got 98 out of 100 and passed. Some of the tests I finished up early and had to sit around for 30 minutes wishing I had brought some quilting to do.

Looking over my pictures, I think they are rather poor.

Queenie has posted much better pictures of the same ones I took.

There were some nice close-ups of these pieces in the "Small Quilt Contest".

I rather liked this bright cheerful sunflower by Mariko Hayasaki.

This challenge is a good place to see some interested embellishments.

This one entitled "Marriage" is by a Chinese quilter.

The names on all these quilts were in kanji only.

A few of the titles were in English, but only a few.

Both Queenie and I were attracted to this small piece of quilt art bu another Chinese quilter.

If you haven't seen Queenie's post yet, please don't miss it because she has some wonderful details.

At the entrance of the "Genji" quilts, there was a counter of Hagoita ... decorated battledores.

Though the game is played by hitting a feathered weight as in badminton, it is just as likely to see fancy decorated ones with seasonal themes.

There were many and these only happened to be some that were visible between the crowds.

These were the Tale of Genji quilts.

They seemed to be very popular with the crowd and though no pictures were allowed, I saw many cell phones being aimed in their direction.

These must have been inspired by woodblock prints.

There was a section of bags and wearables ...
some of those with matching bags...

This coat caught my eye and I am sorry I cannot put a name of the quilter on it.

It must have been hiding somewhere.

Queenie had some very good shots of the winning quilts.

A few over-all pictures will give you an idea of the exhibition hall.

Unlike the Tokyo Dome, which is a covered baseball stadium with a great deal of natural light,
This hall is at the lower floor of a huge building.

It is not unusual to have different conventions going on using all or part of different floors. The space here was all taken up by the show and, vendors.

Instead of being well lit from above, there was a spotlight on each quilt.

Sometimes it was to the quilts advantage showing off the quilting but other times it made for a challenge to get a really good over-all picture.

As at Tokyo Dome, it is usual to see these huge banner quilts hanging above everything at the center of the hall. I wonder what they do with them when the show is over.

As the day wears on, the viewers begin to leave for home duties and the quilts get much easier to view and photograph without shoulders and elbows getting in the way. Of course, by then one is getting more and more tired.

I do have a few more favorites to show but I still need to sort through and pick out things that Queenie has not posted. I do hope you will check out her posts if you have not yet done so,

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Yokohama quilt show, part 1

With my battery charged and a brand new chip in my camera, I was ready to head out to the train station. My husband said I should take a picture of him, just to make sure I had the chip set right.

Smile and say "cheese".

Actually, Nikko will do just about anything for cheese and you don't have to hold her head.

Yep, camera is working, I've got my train schedule and even remembered my cell phone just in case. Off to the mobile sardine-can! 860-some yen and I had to hang from a strap for the first hour of the trip! So much for senior seats!

As I came down the escalator at the site, the line was building up in front of the entry.

This is the third day crowd and among them a good number of foreigners. There was a large tour group coming from Australia, and my Friday group had a contingent too.

I met up with Carin and headed in with map in hand and a plan in mind.

Some of the first places we viewed requested no pictures. Those were special exhibits by well-known quilters. Probably many of those quilts have been featured in books or magazines. We did notice an improvement in that many of the names of the quilters represented were written in English.
Also, the exhibit areas were covered by volunteer staff in pink smocks, and many of those spoke to me in English. Though conversations quickly switched to Japanese, I was pleased to see that an event that calls itself "International" is working in that direction.

Some of the featured exhibits were "Colorful World of Kaffe Fassett, (we saw him giving a presentation to a standing-room-only crowd), Kathy Nakajima, (who usually has an exhibition spot featuring her Hawaiian quilts), Fumiko Nakayama's wonderful Mola quilts, (saw her giving a talk too), Faculty showcase ... whatever that means, and quilts by previous judges.

Yoko Saito had a spot and there were "Japanese Quilts" by Yoshiko Katagiri. There were quilts from Korea and Taiwan, "Tail of Genji" quilts, and a few other exhibits where photographs were not allowed. I felt I was watched because I had a camera hanging around my neck but I saw many Japanese and foreigners taking pictures with their cell phones and I-pads. I see many wonderful pictures on different blogs of quilts taken at shows in the States. I have only been to one show there (except for museum shows) and pictures were allowed everywhere. I wonder why pictures are not allowed. Certainly those taken are more "snap-shots" than anything that might be put in a book.

Well, the contest areas DID allow photos and some of those were astounding.

The first area we viewed was a Miniature Quilts "Star challenge" ... in fact there were several challenge areas and all of those were quite charming. The "star challenge" gave each participant three small pieces of three different fabrics.

You can see them on the poster below,  a yellow print with small pictures printed on it, a purple and blue check on a white background, and a brown floral print with yellow, white and dark red flowers.

The rules were to make a star design.
Use each of the three fabric bits somewhere in the piece,
and finished size, 20 x 20 centimeters.

There were plenty of star patterns but there were some that were not readily easy to spot. Some of those feature fabrics were easy to see but just as many were very cleverly hidden.

There were a few with little ribbons attached which I assume were given special prized.

This is how they were displayed.

There must have been several hundred of them.

They reminded me of the "Partnership Quilts" at the Tokyo Dome show. In that case, the blocks have a theme but no fabric requirement other than size, and they are placed in quilts that are then raffled off.

Here the stars are in the background .

One flower from the brown print is on  the cat's tail and the other two fabrics are appliqued in the stars.

Here is a cute one.

I am fond of owls so took note.

Considering the total size is only 20 cm., this is very lovely piecing on this little feathered star.

Challenge pieces are in the center star and star points.

Here are a few with pink ribbons attached.

Can you find the star and the featured fabrics?

Here is another.

I will be waiting to see what Queenie might post.

We were both running around this place with our cameras.

It was fun to examine the many entries and hunt the stars and fabrics... Kind of like an adult game of "I Spy"!

Names of the quilters and title of the bock are listed on the slip below along with the location of the quilter.

I think I recall a similar challenge last year so it must have become a regular feature of this show and has picked upin popularity.

Well, I am having some issues with blogger and will make another post if this one goes through.
... maybe tomorrow if time allows.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An adventure awaits

In less than an hour, I will be out the door and on my way to the train station.
The sky is bright blue and the sun is just getting up.
The wind is playing among the leaves in the maple outside my window.

I am smiling ... because ... at ten I will meet my friend, Carin, and we will "do" the Yokohama quilt show together. Being pretty much a loner, group viewing has often been rather frustrating to me ... keeping up with the group, adjusting to group schedules, and the like but there is one thing about viewing a show with Queenie, both of us see so much more! Our pace is much the same (and she is easy to find in a crowd).

My Friday sewing group will be there too and we will be meeting with Ueno-san who we met last year. It is going to be a fun day and I hope I will have a few pictures to flash on a post.

This is what will be waiting when I return.

I finished the little genkan runner.

Even my husband noticed the change.
This is our small entryway. To the right is the front door, a floor space for taking off shoes, an umbrella stand below the post box, and a small coat cupboard.

The space under the runner is a "geta bako" or cupboard for storing shoes (so there is space to get in the door).

For a very tiny space, I am happy we could plan this area for the best use. The space to my back has stairs going up and the area underneath is also storage space.

The window has levers and can be left open even in the rain. My #4 daughter made the hanging owl planter
and a few other owls keep watch ...helped by a few other critters. The horse will move to make way for a sheep next January.

This is the scrappy runner.

I started to quilt it on the diagonal through the centers of the blocks. Half way I decided I didn't like it and it stalled to a UFO pile. Finally, when the rainbow quilt was assembled, I needed another take-along project. I decided to take out all the quilting and start over.

Now the pieced blocks are in-the-ditch ... much better. I began to quilt tulips into the three-inch blocks but some were a waste of time because they didn't even show. Then I noticed the fall runner on my coffee table has three inch blocks and only every-other one is quilted with a leaf design, So,,, I decided to leave some of those blocks in-quilted, bind the edges, and say "Done"!

So ... now I'm off! Three guesses what will be in the next post... and the first two don't count!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A busy weekend

Norie and Leia came Friday evening with the promise we would put the Halloween cookie cutters to use.

We spent some fun quality time together, and even though we got a bit behind the day, there were plenty of fancy painted cookies to go around.

At Christmas last year, less than a year ago, Leia was hardly able to part with any of the cookies we made. BUT, this time she was not only ready to share, she picked out some of the favorites for me to share with the choir on Sunday and her "Jiji" to take to his Homeless Ministry meeting. When I set them out on the counter Sunday morning, there were many phone-cameras recording the results ... and I think some even made it to facebook.

As I have been going through "saved stuff" I pulled out the costume box and things that had not seen the light of day for decades, got a good workout. Clowns, Indians, witches, magicians, pioneers, ... I can't even remember what all these were used for.

Leia found one dress at the very bottom of the trunk that matched one I had made for the doll she loves to play with.

This could have been made for her mom or aunt back when there was a big celebration in New Jersey for the Bi-centennial.

There is still a bit of that fabric hanging around the stash box and Leia was able to find some scraps in the quilt I have been working on.

Friday evening, I managed to sew the last few blocks together and now I can sing a rainbow.

I wanted to take a picture to show my Grandson, Ben, but it was raining all day Saturday so no chance.

Sunday I took it to church and put it out on the floor of the fellowship hall for a picture.

It still needs a border and it is already too big for my tiny futon.
I have been thinking that it will make a good "Big Boy" quilt for my Grandson, Ben. He had requested purple and lime-green but though I have been collecting fabric for over a year, I still am far from having enough ... and much is on the pink and flowered side of purple, not too boyish.  I thought if I could add a purple batik border, it might be something he would enjoy. Of course, I can use it and really love how it is turning out and I didn't want to make Ben change his idea of what he wanted. After seeing the picture, He said yes, he liked it!

I stopped at Yuzawaya fabric department on my way home Sunday but they had no batiks at all and very little purple.

Friday I will be going to the Yokohama quilt show and perhaps there I will be able to find something good at one of the shops there.

If you could see Ben's sunny smiling face, you would know a rainbow is perfect for him.
You can't have a rainbow without sun and that smile lights up my world.

I was glad I added the sashing when I began putting these blocks together. It made the whole process a lot easier.It should be easy to quilt in the ditch ... maybe over the winter, keeping my lap warm.

A five or six inch border should hold it all together. I wonder if it needs a narrow white inner border as well... hmmm.

Meanwhile I am quilting a small runner for the "geta bako" (shoe cabinet) in our entryway. I had been quilting the pieced blocks on the diagonal and the more I did, the less I liked the results. Yesterday I un-did all those quilting stitches and began quilting in the ditch. Much better!

I hope you all had a happy Halloween too. Wish I could share some cookies with my blogging friends.