Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tokyo Dome show part 2

Often we go to a quilt show with an agenda. It might be to meet friends or view particular exhibits or even find a hard-to-get item in one of the shops.

After finding our partnership blocks and those of our friends in one of those 63 quilts,

we ended up near the center area where the next of my agenda items were to be found.

Chikako Ueno has been a friend over a number of years. We first met at the Yokohama Quilt show which no longer exists ... but when it comes to quilters and friendship, those go on regardless.

Ueno-san always has something to enter in the show and this year she entered one of her wonderfully creative bags and a framed quilt. Since Ueno-san comes from out of town, it was not possible to make our schedules meet up this year as in other years but I couldn't miss  viewing her bag.

And, here is her framed quilt right around the corner from the bag display.

What a lot of work must have gone into this small quilt!

There are areas that seem like MOLA techniques and that is something I plan to cover in a later post.

There were quite a few framed quilts in the exhibit and the following were some that caught my eye.

This was one of the prize winners.

There is a lot of embroidery setting these flowers off.

With my in-house translator gone, I am not able to give credit to these, and I have had issues over the years  with the lack of even a simple English name.

This year I included the display information with these quilts so at least those quilters can get some credit for their hard work and creative ideas.

This turtle was another prize winner.

It also has rather a Mola look but certainly not as detailed as Ueno-san's fish.

What is it about kids and dinosaurs?

In our pre-school library, the shelf of dinosaur books is the most stirred area each time I go in to get the shelves in order.

This was a bit larger than many other framed quilts but it also contained a lot of small pieces.

As you may note by the plaque, it too was a prize winner.

And, here is another winner.

Colorful and charming.

How about this gathering of pigs?

Or this awesome piece of whole-cloth quilting.

Here are the three winner bags.

I think bags are very much personal things and it would be hard to make any judgement.

There was a really cute bag that has already been shown (Tanya's post?)It was a whole bag of cats.

I often think of making a bag to suit my needs. It would need lots of different sized compartments ...
Probably inside so not showing. It would need an open pocket for my train pass with a ring to clip the chain on. It would need a zipper that can open right or left. And NO VELCRO!!!

It would probably need a strap that could be lengthened to go over the shoulder but able to be shortened to carry over the arm or even by hand... and since I often have pinched nerves from a crooked spine, it might be nice if it could double as a waist-pack.

The closest I have ever come to making a bag like that was a needle point bag made back in the late 1950's that was stolen on a trip to NY. I have two quilted carrying bags but they are both showing wear after years of use.

Among the stalls at the quilt show, there were many selling bits and parts for bag-makers.

The show ended Wednesday but there are still many pictures to show so, for us bloggers, it will last a bit longer. Be sure to check out Taniwa and Queenie as I will be off for the weekend to the Women's Conference. I will be hoping to see a few finished beginner quilt projects and maybe win a convert or two to the quilting world. The prep-work for the classes is almost done. The last thing in the plan was to iron the folds out of the cut fabrics but my iron died without warning.  No shops selling irons in my area so it may be some time before it can be replaced. (and I will be picky because I need one that can be used left-handed).
Last item on the list is pack up my bag with class items and clothing and to cut a few scraps to sew on the ride there and back.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tokyo Dome Quilt Festival part 1

With a plan to meet Carin and Tanya in Friday, I was so excited I could hardly sleep through the night. Even though I set my alarm, I was waking up nearly every hour and looking at the time. Finally I just turned off the alarm and got up to take Nikko for her morning walk, checked and re-checked the train schedules and maps ... as if I had never gone before ... and set out on the mobile sardine can.

Tokyo keeps talking about "getting ready for the 2020 olympics" but from my point of view, they still have a very long way to go. When I got off the train, there were lots of signs... mostly in Japanese ... about making connections to other trains. Well, I knew the "Dome" was closer to the Marunouchi train station so, seeing the big red "M", I set off that way. Going through the gate there was a word, "Dome" and an arrow pointing to the left along with lots of other words and arrows in Japanese.

I set off in that direction but no further signs. I ended up doubling back, checking every underground gate for a possible sign and worrying that I would be late for our meeting. Finally I just picked an exit and came up above ground. Great! I could see the roof of the dome in the distance. I pulled out my map and wrote "Exit 6" in the margin for future reference, then hurried off to the meeting place just a few minutes behind schedule. Oh my, there was a huge line of people waiting to have their bags inspected and go in.... and luckily, just to me right side was Carin! Hurray, we were off.

First stop was the partnership quilts. Both Carin and Tanya's blocks were in quilt #1. Tanya has already posted pictures of the blocks but I can't resist a bit of duplication.

This year the walls behind the partnership quilts were painted green. Not too bad.

The blocks were made smaller this year. Each year there are over 60 quilts and if they were thinking smaller blocks would make fewer quilts ... well, there were 8,910 blocks submitted and 63 quilts. About the same as other years.

The project of assembling and quilting these quilts falls on a different well-known "sensei" or teacher and her disciples.

This year the teacher was Eiko Okano. Sponsored by NHK TV, there is a show with a few demonstration blocks. Even if you do not watch the show, it is pretty easy to guess which blocks were in the demo because there are multiple ones of that pattern.

This is quilt #1 and there are a few of each of patterns except for one with a bridge.
Maybe for quilt #1 they wanted the most variety.
There doesn't seem to be much else of a plan,

Can you find Queenie's block in the above quilt?
How about Tanya's ?

These are the ones suggested by the sensei.

I think you can find at least two of most of them.

Next to each quilt is a posted sheet of names,
arranged in order to indicate the makers of the blocks.

and ... below the sign is a box where you can deposit a raffle ticket (or if you really want that quilt, many more at 500 yen each ). There will be a drawing at the end of the show.

In these two quilts you can see a large amount of similar blocks. They almost seem to be competing with each other.

Though the theme was "Garden", this quilt looks more like a forest.

Here there seems to have been a plan to put blues and greens around the border and the lighter backgrounds toward the middle.

This one has red backgrounds and potted plants around the outside.

It might be that some people met in groups and worked on their blocks together because many blocks seemed to have used the same fabrics.

This is the quilt #61 that has my block.

My Ohio cardinal is planting his sunflower seed in the left border forth from the bottom.

There are a few more bird blocks and a few birdhouses.

And this one seems to have mostly Hawaiian style designs.

Tanya posted one with a forrest border and a large mob of moles in the center.

All the quilts were hand quilted with diagonal lines forming a square grid on point. The quilting was only in the background areas and stopped short if the applique designs.

I have no idea how many disciples a sensei has, but these quilts are a small single bed size and there were 63 of them. Assembling the sandwich, quilting, and binding, even with some help must have taken no small amount of time

Please look on my blog list and visit Tanya and Queeniepatch to see more of the show ... and better pictures than my camera could get.
More to come ........

Friday, January 13, 2017

Almost done

I might say this is all done but I noticed a few of the white stitches came all the way through when I was adding the hanging sleeve, so I will take those out and try again.

Though navy blue seems like an easy color to match, I ended up using a bit lighter blue for the binding rather than have something that was not quite there.
I think this dark blue doesn't distract much from the pattern.

I ended up turning the bias twice to make it narrower and kind of rounded. I think it will wear better that way and I like the narrow look.

The Women's Conference is still two weeks away but now the pressure is off.

Next week will be the quilt show at the Tokyo Dome. Everyone is checking their calendars to find the best time to go.

I have two quilt groups going at different times, one member of my old group is giving a presentation on the 20th and the group is meeting up afterwards for lunch.
I am looking forward to meeting friends I don't see quite so often and I think my other group is going the following Monday when I will be working. My "partnership block" will be in quilt number 61 and Tanya's and Queenie's will both be in number 1. This year the blocks are smaller but it seems there are just as many quilts as usual. Those will be on the list to see, and the show itself is big enough to gobble up the hours. I just bought a new chip for my camera so I hope to get some good pictures to share. I may end up making a second trip later in the show.

Then the following weekend  will be the Women's Conference so this week I plan to make up "kits" for the "Quilting 101" class I will be teaching. Meantime, I am quilting on a table runner of the same design as this for my own coffee table

Wednesday past,  was the first anniversary of Paul's passing and we held a small family memorial by Skype. Norie and Paul's sister came here and we sat together in a row on the sofa for the visit. (I think it was a first for Obachan and she was happy to be part of the clan) With time zones for Boston, Colorado, Oregon, and Tokyo, it is amazing we could pull it off. But then, when those kids come up with a plan ... there is no stopping them! It was a good two hour visit and we are hoping to do it again in the future.

So ... that is it for this week. It's back to school on Monday and the schedule picks up. I have to admit though, it was nice having down time for quilting and getting rid of my cold. Who knows what new germs the kids will bring back from their holiday travels.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Scouting out nature in Tokyo

As part of the rank advancement requirements, Scouts have to be able to identify ten native plants and ten animals in the wild.

These are BSA requirements, and though comparatively easy in the USA, trying to get them signed off in Tokyo has its challenges.

There is very little in the way of resources in English, and even parks that label trees use only the Japanese common name, written in Japanese.

Even books that are for identifying plants, often do not have the Latin names.
In 1990, I submitted three proposals for projects to earn a PHD in Commissioner Science, and this was the one selected. I had one year to do the research and illustrations and descriptions and turn them into a usable resource. After all the drawings were done, they were scanned and using a word processor,  were turned into a book by printing each page on A4 paper, folding each sheet in half, and stapling the pile of pages along the open edge. I then added a heavy paper cover.

If you are interested you can view it at this  website A few years ago another Scouter, for one of his Woodbadge training requirements, took the book and scanned it to a file to which additions can be made.

For animal identification, the surest way to find ten is a visit to a lake or pond in the winter when mixed flocks of migrating birds join the local residents. For that, I made a page with pictures of those most likely to be seen at Shinobazu pond in Ueno, a rather central location that is easy to get to. I have a number of those laminated sheets and the scouts can use them to make their own identification.

Saturday morning was the first walk of the year, but as it was still school holidays, there was only one leader who showed up. Norie and Leia came along and I gave her a crayon/pencil to check off her finds.

The past two years there has been some construction going on next to the pond and though the pond used to be cleaned out, it has become increasingly choked with lotis plants.

The dead weeds make it harder each year to see the water fowl.

What, in the past has been a great variety of mixed flocks, was down to very few and even some of the local residents were missing.

The tufted ducks that usually show in great numbers were only a few among the reeds.

and ... all of those were males.

There were coots all over the pond, in and out of the reeds and a few diving cormorants.

There were no Mallards, no Teals, no Wigeons, no Pochards, and not even any Spot-billed Ducks which are a common resident.

There were a few Pintails but far fewer than the average year.
A few Shovelers but only males...

There were lots of sparrows and a host of domestic pigeons but no Rufous Turtle Doves.

No Japanese white-eyes, no Great Tits, and only one Brown-eared Bulbul.

I heard a Little Grebe once but could not spot it among the weeds.

One of the two Black-crowned Night Herons we saw was sitting out on the open on a float in the section of the pond used by paddle boats.

We usually see many more of these in the grasses of a small island.

I think this may be the first time not to see either a Great Egret or Little Egret.

There were vast numbers of Black-headed Gulls.

Many were juveniles and getting into fights with each other in every section of the pond.

Here is one sitting atop a "No Fishing" sign ...

This is a good view of the weeds.
There are fish as I did see the cormorants bringing up small fish to gulp down before making their next dive.

There was one immature Glaucous Gull which was a first for me to see there.

Of course there were lots of Jungle Crows.

Leia was able to check off 13 birds that she identified. Ten would have met the requirements for an 11 or 12 year old scout but I am wondering if they would be as observant as an 8 year old.

I am wondering if it is the strange weather that has kept the mixed flocks elsewhere, or the construction going on ... or the water filled with weeds ... parts that did not look all that clean.

I am wondering if I need to go around Tokyo to check out other ponds. There are a few on the outskirts of town ... not as easy to find or as centrally located. Some cost money to access. Next hike is scheduled for early February so I do have a bit  of time to check other sites. Certainly I will not be able to make up hand-outs for the scouts by then.

Sunday was blustery and very cold. I turned in early because of the early rise for rice patrol.
But ... I kept hearing the rain and wind pounding on the windows and rattling the shutters. It was very hard to sleep. The numbers of homeless had increased but there was enough rice to go around and some got seconds. I counted 78 dead and abandoned umbrellas on my way around the station and back. Some were shredded and some only bent up spokes and some on the move carried by the wind. By noon the rain had stopped and the sky was back to winter blue.

Today was "Coming of age" day and prettier than Saturday's birds were the crowds of young girls dressed in fine kimono. I should have taken my camera when Nikko and I went for a walk! Now that is a sight to behold ... and luckily, this year their pretty white tabi did not get wet and dirty.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Almost there ...

This morning I finished quilting in the words on the border of the runner I am making as a gift to the speaker at the Women's Conference.

I don't know if you can read them but stitched in white on the navy border, they show up pretty well without "taking over".

From the left side around ...

Women's Conference 2017
Celebrating 60 Years
Sharing our stories ...
God's stories.

The speaker's theme is weaving stories, ours and those of the Bible, together.

Originally, I made sketches of several blocks that gave an impression of weaving fabrics together.
After testing this one, I liked the effect and did not try out any others. 
There are 60 three-inch blocks,
each with two colors and I sorted through what I had pieced so the arrangement would not repeat any one fabric.

In the past I have used printed panels for the center and quilted in words. I also put a hanging sleeve on those runners.

I have not decided if this needs a hanging sleeve as it seems more suited to being a table runner. 

I know the last one I made has been used as a runner ever since it was presented ... but that is one out of many.

The finished size will be about 35"x23".

One more decision will be the binding.

I selected the backing you can see here from among a batch of stuff that came from a friend.

I thought it looked like streamers and confetti ... kind of good for celebrating 60 years. The piece was large enough and the price was right. (and it doesn't show my uneven stitches)

For a binding I am toying with the idea of using the medium blue in the backing. I have left enough backing that I could just turn it to the front but being a directional print and colorful, it would probably be a distraction more than anything.

I always get good advice from my blogging friends and I still have a few weeks before it needs to be presented ...

So I await your feedback with much gratitude for all that has gone before.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Welcome New Year

Norie, Leia, Hero and I enjoyed an end-of-the-year party with extended family, my husband's half sister and her children and grandchildren.

We don't have an occasion like this often so this year was very special to have the gang together.

That was Friday ... then Norie's family was off to Hiro's parents and I returned to Nikko's side.

This year, other than hang a new-year's quilt, I didn't do much else in the way of preparing for the new year. That was something Paul always did with great joy and polish.

Saturday, volunteers met at the church basement .. and fellowship hall to prepare a special New Year's meal for the homeless ministry.

This had been a tradition begun by Paul, and our family had donated money from his memorial service to keep the tradition alive.

There were mutterings that it was too much trouble and not enough help, but just the opposite was true.

Saturday there must have been nearly 40 people working to prepare packs of the special new years treats.

In the kitchen were those slicing pink and white kamaboko,
preparing the black beans and creamed chestnut and other things that are part of the meal.

The tables were set out in a big U shape and the plastic trays, like those that hold the usual onigiri for morning delivery,

traveled in a constant train, picking up items down the line, to be closed with a rubber band at the far end and stored in bags for Sunday's meal ... numbered and put in the refrigerators.

My job was just beyond this bowl of cooked carrots, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms...

adding little foil cups of black beans.

As the packs were complete, some of us stayed to chop carrots, mochi, and other items for the Ozoni soup that would be served hot along with the meal.

The white bag on the table was filled to the brim with chopped carrots by the end of the afternoon.

I got to experience the frustration of using right-handed knives ... the beveled edge on the right that makes the blade go crooked when used with a lefty. It was only luck that that bag contained no finger parts.

The meal was given in Paul's memory and he attended in spirit

... his picture above the apron ...

Norie cut jonquils from her garden and brought those along with other gardening trimmings ...
plum branches, pine branches, and some branches from the nandina that had begun to turn red.

I was given a huge vase to make an arrangement and it was the first time for me to use blocks of foam rather than a kenzan ... another challenge.

Leia supplied the caligraohy on the left saying Ohshogatsu or New Year.

Our sextant brought out the folding screen and there was a guest book that many of both helpers and homeless signed. I was rather surprised on Sunday morning to find the arrangement and screen had been brought to the sanctuary for the service.

Sunday, from two pm, the homeless came through the line to get their bowls of hot soup which had been in preparation from the morning service onward.

That was also an assembly line of workers, arranging items in the bowls and passing them along to the last table to be filled with hot soup.

The tables had been set with cups , chopsticks, and the packs that were put together the day before.

The homeless could come back as many times as they wished for refills of the soup.

I usually wash dishes at these meals but yesterday I was in the line passing prepared bowls to those filling in the soup.

There was a second seating and some of the helpers joined the meal with the guests.

There was a mad rush between the sessions to clean and re-set the tables.

In all, maybe 200 or more were served.

and this great gang of kids were not only showing off their juggling skills, but handing out fresh sweet mikans to the departing guests.

I don't know how many of the helpers had gone to parties or stayed up late to watch the new year arrive on TV ...

I only know the service was well attended and lots of people stayed around to help prepare and serve the meal.

Some left early and some were still in the kitchen when this commemorative picture was taken but Paul, whose photo is behind Norie must have been smiling down upon these servants of the Lord, doing the very thing he spent the last day on his feet doing.

I might add that some of these are experienced dedicated helpers in meals month-after-month but there were also those who chose to start their year with a new experience... a true global team, working together to serve others.

What better way to welcome in 2017!