Thursday, November 29, 2018


Finally, a bit of fall color!

This little Japanese maple was rescued from a friend who had to move to an apartment with no outside space to keep it.

While neighborhood trees have been dropping dried green and brown leaves, this tree has been patiently waiting for a hint of fall.
This week it's waiting time was over.

The lace-leaf maple took a clue and has changed colors too.

A gardner stopped by and trimmed the vine-leaf maple, third in the row, and though there are few leaves left, it decided to add a bit of color to the equation.

The enkianthus in the shade of the plum tree has added some color too

Though fall has finally arrived, this little potted Hosta that had already begun to lose leaves for fall, has tossed up a flower bud. I hope I will get to see it bloom before winter arrives.

None of my hostas bloomed during the hot summer so this will be a treat if it lasts long enough to open.

With much cooler days, it has been nice to sit under the hoop containing the big-boy quilt.
Today the in-the-ditch quilting is done in all the 80 blocks and I will get to begin the sashiko big-stitching.

Wednesday I went shopping for more of the black and white thread. Hopefully I have enough because I cleaned out those two drawers of thread at my little friendly shop.

Each day, Nikko and I walk down to the parking area and I run my hands over all four tires of my van. So far, I have found no screws, but If I do, I will call the police while the evidence is there. Hopefully that will not happen. Our church prayer-chain is blasting the unknown guy with prayers for peace.

Sunday will be our "Choir-Sunday" where we will give music in place of a sermon at two services. It has been fun preparing throughout the fall months. Last dress rehearsal was last night and even though I was the only tenor to make it, I felt confident with holding my part, so I am looking forward to the real thing.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Well, maybe ....

This morning's sweeping gleaned a few red leaves,
but that doesn't mean the whole tree got the message.

One colorful persimmon leaf from the neighbor's tree, and a few red bits from my vine-leafed maple...

The lace-leaf maple in the top left corner has a wee bit of pink tint in the top leaves, but hardly the showcase of former years.

The corner plum has contributed a few yellow leaves and the neighbor-to-the-south's Japanese maple is only dropping shrivelled brown leaves.

At least the sauna weather has been replaced by cooler days and cold nights.

Thanksgiving brought talks by facetime or phone with all my darling kids and grandkids. Norie and I had a nice lunch together to celebrate the day. Then we made a trip to the ward-office to gather up a few of the papers needed to claim what small social security payments might be available.

The week has been spent trying to solve the problem of someone putting screws into my back tires on my van. I at first thought it might have been an accident of driving over a nail. Then, on Saturday, at a scouting event, my tire went flat for a second time. My Scouting friends leapt to my aid and repaired my tire, and I was surprised to see that the object they removed was not a tack or nail, but a hardboard construction screw ... the kind put into walls with a power tool.

When I returned home and told my daughter, I learned that that was the same thing that had happened to the other back tire a few weeks before. The screws were both stuck in the center of the back tire, pushing in as the car drove along. I had been having some problems with the car being damaged while parked in the lot, and began to think about my former parking space.

That lot was owned by the owner of a construction company. At one point, they had called the police saying I had damaged their fence. Well, it was a very battered fence and none of the damage lined up with anything on my car, though I had a scrape on the bumper from a time at camp when the car slid on snow up against the curb. For that, I had statements from the two Scouters that pushed my car back on the road. The insurance company stepped in and the construction guy gave up ... but then the car was keyed. Pee and poop was put on my doors, and the fee was raised so we looked for a new spot a bit farther from home but cheaper.
It has been probably 8 years at our "new" spot with no problems. Then, the lot across the street from the parking lot gate became a construction site. Ever since that work began, there have been small issues of keying the doors, breaking the mirror cover, paint sanded off the fender, and now the second flat tire.

I talked to the police. They said they would check on patrol. Yeah, once a day check ....
Norie called the parking garage. No cameras ... too expensive, and no open spaces to move to....
The insurance company (a new one) can't do anything without increasing my insurance to above the price of the tires....
I wonder is the former guy has discovered my car ... not hard to identify, as it is a camping van, and within sight of the construction across the street. The workers do not seem to come to work by car, so may be local or even part of the former problem. Meanwhile, I am looking for a place to park until the problem is over. I talked with other drivers in my area and they have had no problems. I talked with the owner of the lot where the construction is being done, and told him what was going on.  I really don't need a problem to interfere with my sleep at night, so hopefully I will find a solution.

Meanwhile, the blocks on the big quilt are almost finished with the in-the-ditch quilting.

Choir practice for our "Choir Sunday" presentation is winding down with two more big practices left before our delivery. (And a big beautiful electric keyboard arrived from Ken for my birthday so I can check my pitch in the home practice.)

School goes on. Scouting goes on. And I am giving great thanks for my wonderful family and friends. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The test piece is begun

Today I finished in-the-ditch quilting around all the blocks. This is the single quilt I intend to give to our Pastor, and I thought I would try big-stitch quilting in the blocks ... black on white and white on black.

I had intended to quilt within the curved center too, but looking at these results, I think this might be enough. I rather like the puffiness of those curved pieces.

I am using sashiko thread and anything larger than that half square would have been even more difficult with the number of times that thread has to be pulled along. I rather think I could have done regular quilting in all four blocks in the time it takes to do just one, even if the stitches are larger.

I will be interested in any comments or advice. This is my first attempt of big-stitch quilting.

Now I see this post was never published.
I have begun quilting in the ditch on the second quilt ...
this time a bigger one for my #3 Grandson. 
If he approves, I will quilt it the same way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It's in the hoop!

After making yesterday's post, I decided to just get on with the next thing on the list.

I took the big quilt to the empty apartment and tried laying it out on the floor.

Nope! Not enough room to spread it out. Well, then I decided to try the loft. First I had to wrestle down the two heavy futons. Then I spread the quilt out face-down on the floor. It just fit with no extra space to walk, but I crawled over it and made sure all the seams were lying flat.

Then, I went back to my closet and pulled out the rolls of thinsulate. There was plenty left on the #60 which I had used on the test quilt. My grandson is living in Colorado, where they already have snow. so I think the #80 might be more useful ... though, in the end I don't know if this quilt will serve as a warm cover or a top spread.

Well, there was surely not enough batting left on the #80 roll, so I would need more anyway. The last batting rolls were bought at Yuzawaya and there are no branches in my area. The last one I used in Shinjuku closed over a year ago. I did not want to set out without knowing whether or not my goal would be met, so I pushed my "phone-phobia" aside, and made a call to the main store in Kamata.
Actually, I had to call a number of times to get through. Then, after apologising for my poor Japanese, I asked if they had thinsulate #80, and that I wanted to buy a whole roll. Yes, they did, and they would hold it with my name on it for pick-up in the afternoon.

I quickly went back to the loft and folded up the finished top ... trying not to mess up the seam allowances. Then loaded that and the backing, my basting thread, sewing kit, big scissors, and just in case, my box of basting pins.

The finished quilt went neatly into another bag, along with a note, and after stuffing Nikko's kong with multiple treats, and making sure I had enough yen to cover trains and batting, I set off with my purse on one shoulder, the big bag on the other shoulder, and the finished quilt on my arm... and the train route notes in hand.

No matter how many times one goes to the same station, those areas are always changing. It was less than a year since I had been there with my friend, Cynthia, at, and it was still a struggle to find the right building. I think I ended up asking at least three different people.

When I finally found the right place. there was a long line at the cutting counter and only two people doing the cutting. I finally stepped up, because I could see the roll of batting standing in the corner behind one of the women, and asked if that was the thinsulate saved for me. Whew, after checking my name on the note, it was passed over and I could move to the checkout on the first floor.

The guy tying up the bolt for carrying was frustrated with the size and the fact it couldn't be folded, but I was happy to tuck it under my spare arm and pay the reduced price using my members card.
By 2:00pm I was at the church. I passed the bag containing the finished quilt to the office secretary, and asked if it would be OK to use the floor of the fellowship hall to do the basting.

I am so happy it worked out! by the time my meeting was beginning at 6:30, I was just putting in the last of the basting stitches. The pins were not needed and the basting thread still lasted. Both the Pastor and his wife came down while I was working to thank me for the finished quilt. I was happy those left-over blocks had made a hit ... and of course they both had noticed the print in Afrikaans donated by my friend, Ester.

In all, though lugging all that stuff two ways on the sardine can trains, it was well worth the effort. I can do my sitting at home on the sofa ... much more comfortable than a train seat should one be offered ... And Tuesday was the day of the super-aggressive shovers needing seats at any cost ...

The in-the-ditch quilting is well on the way, and I await feedback from Kai as to the big-stitch results.
At least I have something to do while at home. Maybe time to start prepping pieces for the new grandchild on the way....

Monday, November 12, 2018

The test is over

Sunday evening I finished turning the binding on the single black and white quilt. I was hoping for a bit of sunshine for taking a picture, as I plan to give this to my friend and pastor this evening.
Alas, Monday was on and off rain, and rain is predicted for today too. I decided to take quilt and camera to the park while on Nikko's morning walk and see if I could get at least one picture before the rain begins again.

This was my first test of sashiko "big stitch" on a quilt. The batting is #60 thinsulate but it looks as puffy as the #80. I decided to go with puffy rather than quilt inside the larger areas. Thinsulate is good in that it will not shift, even when loosely quilted and with much use.  The border is just quilted in diagonal rows on the white. All the blocks are quilted in the ditch first. The rather busy prints didn't show the big stitches so much but I think I am satisfied with the all-over effect.

Now, the next task will be to lay out Kai's big-boy quilt and get it basted so I can begin quilting that.
It is 8 blocks by 10 blocks with a larger wave print in the border. Getting the seam allowances to lie in the right direction and line up the backing in a small space is going to be the first challenge. If only I didn't have to travel to church in such a crowded train, I could take it there and use the floor in the fellowship hall... since I have to go there anyway tonight.

Anyway, time to stop dithering and come up with a plan... At least the test worked out and I found a purpose for the extra blocks caused by my poor math.