Wednesday, July 31, 2019

One more finish

The answer is blowin' in the wind ... And a very hot and humid wind at that.
The "Rainy Season" has been officially declared over but the choice of stepping out the door into water falling from the sky or dripping from your brow makes staying inside to work on projects much more attractive.

Monday I went shopping for some bias tape but there was nothing close to the blue-green inner border. Somehow the light purple seemed to want to do the job and the farther I went in the sewing, the more I liked that choice. The linked hearts went rather quickly and, even with the busy print , seem to show up more than expected.

The size is 54" x 57". When I make quilts to gift to babies, I never know how or if they will be used. I think the I-Spy aspect will make it fun and it is big enough to toss over a sleeping child. I still have to add a label but I have plenty of time before it needs to be presented.

Next in line will be piecing the backing for the floral quilt, then getting it basted so I can begin quilting. In the meantime ... Vacation Bible School games need to be finalized for next week and a dental implant in the line-up  following that. August is just arriving but my calendar is filling up with each day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Done with dithering

The center hexagons and triangles are all quilted in the ditch and I have moved to the final border.

Yesterday I sorted through my collection of border stencils both purchased and home made. I had been thinking of a feathered pattern but all the ones I have were either too large or too busy.  I had a diamond cable that fit but I really had wanted more curving lines. There is also a bit of a challenge marking that wild fabric.

Finally I decided to draft some linked hearts. I cut a plastic stencil and I am now on the second side.
The disappearing ink is hard to use when it is so humid, but I can follow one line to the end of the thread and then stitch the second line, marking just a few hearts as I go along.

This takes me way back to when I was a kid, made to take a nap on my parent's bed (my twin got the bunk bed). I still remember following the quilting lines with my finger. This one would have been a winner, maybe seeing how many times I could circle the border before I was allowed to get up.

We have a bit of sun today with a lot of heat but more rain is predicted from tomorrow throughout most of next week. I have to keep moving so I don't rust and this is a great way to do it.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Back on track

For at least a week, this I-Spy quilt had been sitting on my ironing board while I dithered over how to press these seams.

Finally, with a little encouragement from quilting friends I bit the bullet and starting at the left side, just pressed all the seams, one row at a time, up and to the right.

After digging through all my donated fabric, I found some that would work for the backing but all the ones that might make a nice outer border were too small.

Thursday, I decided to go to Nippori "Fabric Town" and see if there was anything in one of those shops that might make a good border.

I didn't find anything like I had in mind but I kept going back to a colorful piece that looked as if someone had tossed the color at it and splattered it around.  This quilt is for my boss's expected baby and my boss is an art teacher at the pre-school. Though I taught art for a number of years, my style was big on representational drawing, so I am always amused at this teacher's approach that is what I would call "paint-flinging". Much of what the kids do is just that ... dumping or pouring or spraying colors at the canvass or paper. And, since she uses acrylic paint, most of my non-prep time is spent cleaning up after the class. Well, the fabric was made in Japan and not as expensive as the imports, and since I didn't find anything else that would work, I bought a couple meters of the wild print.

Saturday, after english class,I went up to the empty apartment and laid out the quilt with six-inch borders added. On top of that I laid out and pieced some thinsulate batting. Then I laid out and cut the backing for piecing. It was so hot and humid that I was mopping up the dripping sweat from the floor, so brought the backing back down to my living room to do the sewing.

Sunday afternoon I went back up and laid out the backing, then started basting from the center out. By the time it was almost too dark to see to thread the needle I decided to call it quits. The power is off in that apartment and I thought I had enough basting done. I brought the quilt back to my sofa and put it in the hoop, deciding to work from the center outward.

Now I have a couple more rounds to go and then I will be able to mark the outer border. Maybe I will use a feathered design or one I have drafted and made into stencils. The baby is due in the fall but I am glad to be far enough along that the pressure is off and I can enjoy the process.
I still have the floral quilt waiting in line. Next on that will be piecing the backing. Now I am contemplating what I can use for take-along work. In two weeks I will have lots of train-time into town and back for a week of Vacation Bible School. The feed-sack blocks are still waiting to be arranged but since they have already waited so long for their time to shine, a bit longer shouldn't bother them. At least they are now a "Work In Progress".

Monday, July 8, 2019

When the dust settles...

It has been a real busy few weeks. My Son-on-loan, who arrived before I took off for Scout camp, took off for the states a week ago.

Son, Jon and his family flew in on the 26th of June, right after my return from camp and, from then on until they left last Friday, there was a full schedule.

We started off with lots of family time ... mostly over meals.
Our first and last were at a local soba-ya, but in between there was a lunch with my SIL and her family on the top of the tall ku-office building. a huge gathering of extended family celebrating Jon's birthday and the graduation of twin cousins.

The kids were taken to lots of basic sight-seeing places, made a trip to Lake Nojiri (a place we had spent bits of many summers) where they biked around the lake in the rain, and the Great Buddha in Kamakura where they hiked a long pilgrim's trail in the mud. (Well, that is what you get in a week of rain) .

Because Nikko is in a decline and needs to be walked at regular intervals, I did not accompany many of these trips.

Staying close to home, I was able to finish off these two table runners or banners to be presented to the two retiring staff of our church.

This one will go to our receptionist.

The 27 yellow petals, made of 27 different fabrics represent her years on the job.

The heart shaped leaves show our love.

The 27 flower print blocks in the  border represent those members who have come and gone over those years.

I ended up quilting the background with a "Karakusa" vine design. This is a popular symbol of longevity and prosperity owing to its strength and perpetual growth.

I look at it as if that vine binds us all together.

The second one will go to the secretary after 25 years of service.

Basically they are alike ... though the border florals are different.

The batting I selected was something that came from a friend and I have no idea what it is. It resembles a light felt and could be cotton.
I chose it because the piece was just the size of the two runners but once I began the quilting, I quickly regretted my choice. It was quite difficult to quilt through and get small stitches. It is certainly something I would not recommend for hand-quilting. Maybe I am spoiled from my continual use of thinsulate.

When I see batting sold in stores, it is always packed in plastic and there is no way of knowing how it will work.
I see on facebook there are always people asking for advice and some of the recommendations from some people are criticised by others so it would be rather impossible to find the right one without spending money on something that might work like this one.

I really become rather anxious when given projects that contain deadlines and feel quite relieved when, like these two, I can turn them over as finished.

The next deadline on my list was my block for the partnership quilt,

due by the end of this month.

The theme is my favorite animal.

Well, Nikko might be a bit disappointed in this one, but considering my relationship with owls, I had to use this.

The Ohio cardinal who has been a part of each block over the years wanted to be in the block and he brought along a friend to celebrate.

Actually, in real life, two male cardinals would be attacking each other so the owl is a good distraction.
Next walk with Nikko will be to the post office to get this in the mail and I am glad to cross that off my list.

Saturday I was able to move my english lesson to the morning so I could attend a concert.

Actually it was a recital that included my granddaughter, Leia, playing the harp.
She played a number of selections with skill and grace.
I am amazed how harpists can keep up the rhythm while continually reaching up to flip levers to change the pitch.
It sure makes a piano look a lot simpler.

Here she is, perched on the edge of a high chair where her feet don't even reach the floor.
Her lovely outfit was made specially for the occasion by her talented grandmother. (the one who knows how to use a machine)

Just look at the lace on that top!  I am completely in awe of both the musician and her dressmaker.

It was a lovely afternoon and Nikko was kind enough to wait until I returned home to take her potty break.

And ....

I have to add one picture of the first blooms from the bulbs that came to me from Norie on Mother's day.

These are on the east side of the house that gets more sun and the first of multiple bulbs to bloom. Usually I miss out getting pictures of blooms. There is still one to open and another plant to the left.

Those to the west will probably be a bit later. I rather like that they do not compete for attention but seem to bloom one-at-a-time.

So now I am back on schedule, working on the baby quilt with plenty of time to spare. The house is quiet again and most of the dog hair is in the entryway, as Nikko is now limited in access to the house. As she keeps walking in small circles, the tile floor is large enough, cool, and easier to wash than wood flooring.

So ... now for a quick walk to the PO before the rain sets in again ...