Saturday, October 28, 2023

The quilting has begun


Last week I finished the banner for this year's Stewardship campaign. 

I only purchased the thread and the binding. All the rest came from stash that was "gifted" from friends.

The batting was a piece that also came as a "gift" and just happened to be the right size. I have no idea what kind it is, and it seems to be a bit puffier than what I usually use. I decided not to quit around the lettering, as that might make the hanging even puffier.

The committee seemed to be happy with the results, so I was happy to turn it over, and get back to work on the next quilt.

While I was in Boston, visiting my #2 daughter, I picked up some twin bed size batting. It was all packaged in plastic so I had no idea how it would work other than size. 

When I laid it out on the quilt, I was surprised to see it seemed more like felt than what I am used to using. Now that I have pin-basted it a number of times, I finally began to quilt it today.

Well, this is not going to be easy. I can hardly get five stitches to the inch, and have to do some stab-stitching at the corner points. 

I don't think I will be able to do much fancy quilting in the blocks or border.

The batting is Warm & Natural and somewhat heavy on my lap ... though it should make a warm enough quilt.

I'm glad to be back at work on this, but I have a feeling it will take lots of effort. Wish me luck!



Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Back to the usual

 Well, I arrived home to a dead AC and lots of dead plants. Luckily the first week back was filled with Vacation Bible School. The church was plenty cool and I actually had to take something warm to keep from freezing in the AC. Then ... return home in the packed sardine can they call a subway, and find the coolest spot to recover from excessive jet-lag.

I had a broken tooth to deal with and also trying to recover as many of the plants as possible. That effort is still going on daily. The jet lag took several weeks to recover and a new AC has been installed, The potted maple tree with brown leaves, has just begun to put out new green leaves at the tips of most branches. I poured water at it's base every morning since returning.

Friday, school began. It's nice to be back with the kids, though the long walk to and from the stations is rather miserable in this heat.

I have finished a pile of blocks that are waiting for a cool space large enough to arrange them around the center block. I'm thinking of adding four flowers to the corner area once that the layout is decided. The blocks are all floral prints and I want to coordinate those flowers with the block arrangement. I may be able to use the church fellowship hall floor if I can some good timing. My cub pack has our first meeting this Friday. I might be able to use some space there, as I will not have time to go home between school and the meeting. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a bit of progress. I bought batting while in Boston.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Flapping my wings

 At the end of June, I took off on an adventure to visit my kiddos in the states.

First stop was in Oregon, though I took a short trip up to Washington, to visit Vashon Island, where I had worked one summer as a college student.

The rest of the time was divided between Portland and Grant's Pass with Oregon kids and grandkids. All the Oregon crew posed for a photo before leaving. 

Next stop was in Colorado, where we took in lots of mountain scenery and a quilt show that included a talk by the featured artist.

There was also an exhibit of log cabin quilts, arranged in a wide variety of styles.

The frosting on the cake was a family dinner at a Japanese restaurant with yummy eels in a bento box.

The next morning, was out early to catch a plane to Boston. 

Now I am enjoying being pampered on the last leg of the trip.

This trip has been full of adventure ... with a few still to go ... and friends along the way.

In the end, my granddaughter will get her "big girl" quilt created on a trip around the world. The take-along work could be done on the plane and in trips by car.

More than 40 of the 52 blocks are together, and I am trying to save a few for the plane ride home. 

Meanwhile, there adventures still lined up for the week ahead.

(How can anything be more fun than I have already had!) I'll have to wait and see what in to follow.....

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Zoom finish

Monday morning, after onigiri delivery, and during the morning zoom meeting,  I finished turning the binding on this quilt. I had thought on Saturday to walk into town and buy some bias binding, but then, this being a scrappy project, why not use leftover bits of binding saved for smaller projects. I was not too sure how it would come out, but in the end, with the variety of squares, it is hardly noticeable.
The day was clear and sunny so I took it to the park fence for a photo. It was my first chance to see how the diagonal quilting turned out. I think it looks OK and a bit less boring than if I had gone all in one direction. With the 80 loft, this will be more of a winter quilt.

Because of the "Golden week" holiday, I have had a few days off school, and not as much time for planning my next project, as I had been expecting a visitor ... well, not a person staying over, but a bit of dog sitting for my daughter's friend.  I was a bit worried, as I had not met the dog before, but as it turned out, Ricola, an elderly Jack Russell Terrier, has been a fine guest. She loves walks so we have put in some nice long strolls and the rest of the day she is content to zone out in her kennel or on the sofa. 

This evening she chose my comfy chair seat, placed on the sofa.

Attention is also shifted to a dozen young silkworms. There might have been thousands, but I was late finding the bag of eggs, many not having survived without being fed.

It is just as well, because almost all the mulberry trees in the area have been cut down, and leaves will be hard to find.

Tomorrow I will have a buddy for onigiri delivery, and her owner will pick her up in the late morning, Heavy rain is predicted so I'm thinking of giving her breakfast in the parking area under the train line and thus roofed over and big enough for a long walk.

That's about it for now. Thanks for all the nice comments. I really have to get my blogging mojo back and see what the rest of my friends are up to. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023

A small finish

My zoom quilt is still on the inner border with about halfway left to go. What is needed to finish is more time on my sofa. It is not something to be carried around, and my past week had little sitting time.

Son Jon, and his son, Kai, came for a short visit. We had some mornings together before I had to run  off to work, and some evening wrap ups before hitting the sack. Some mornings were extra short to fit in visits to the clinic, some zoom gatherings got lost in the shuffle, and church activities snatched up extra time as well. Though the back treatment is painful, the results are getting better and I am not tossing and turning all night anymore trying to find a pain-free position to sleep in.

Jon had three day events with his high school class reunion, but our time together was all quality time, even being rather short. They left the 6th while I was at school. It was just as well, because I had choir practice both Thursday and Friday followed by worship services. There was no time to go home after school, but a bit of spare time for a small quilt to piece and finish off. I made this one for some very kind neighbors who had invited me to their house for coffee and cake and a nice visit. Their home stands on what used to be the "weed lot" and now is decorated with many climbing roses and other flowers. The couple both speak English fluently and are a fine addition to the neighborhood. 

With my pending schedule, it will most likely be 5 days more before I can get back to working  on the Zoom quilt border. I was reminded when working on this small piece, how much easier it is to baste and quilt without a hoop. The stitches are much more even and smaller and turning curved lines, not a wrestling match.

The Easter bunny will be enjoying his year of the rabbit tomorrow, and I hope my quilting friends will have a hoppy day too.


Monday, March 13, 2023

Time flies when you're having fun...

Well, that is the way the saying goes...

In my case, fun or work, time seems to take off on its own. I keep thinking, that one of these days, I'll be going out the door, and meet myself coming in, and not be able to tell which is the real me!

 My "ZOOM" quilt is still getting a bit of attention.
At this point, I am working on quilting the blue inner border.
I used thinsulate #80, which is rather puffy and a bit difficult to get small stitches. though I usually would quilt this in the ditch, I decided to try quilting it on the diagonal, thinking I might go in both directions, but after doing a few rows, decided I would rather have it puffy, and probably that much quilting is enough to hold it together. It is quite cozy to sit under while working, and I ended up changing the direction of the lines in a few places, so all the quilting wouldn't be pointing in just one direction.

The border quilting is taking some time, and I probably should have done something simpler, as it really doesn't show up on the floral print.

Looking through all the "gifted" fabric for making a backing,  I was amazed to see so many large amounts ... I'm talking meters of fabrics ... with maybe one ten-inch corner cut out, and the rest just jumbled up in a pile. At the speed I work, it will take several lifetimes to use half of it! Yet, throwing it out does not seem an option ... which is probably why I was "gifted" it in the first place.

I thought as I got older, I would have more time for sitting around and quilting, but somehow that is not the case.  Four days a week, I am at the preschool, helping the art teacher (preparing for and cleaning up after) her after-school classes ... as well as working with the kids and her classroom activities. I usually don't get home until after 5pm, and turn in early. (can't sit on the train in rush hour

Monday mornings I still deliver onigiri to the homeless in Shibuya, but for a few weeks without my car, I began bringing the bags home by train, and then delivering them, taking the first train out in the morning. That was a lot of walking, and the bags are heavy. Since I am back singing in the church choir, I also had an extra bag with my music to carry, and wished to shop on the way home from the station, rather than walk there and back another time. 

Even when my car returned home, I thought it might save time and gas to bring those onigiri home on Sundays. For the last few weeks, my back has begun to protest, and a pinched nerve in my right hip is getting more attention than I would wish for. The only place to find any relief is on the heated toilet seat, not the place to do quilting...

Meanwhile, the zoom quilt gets attention while zooming three times a week for morning meetups,  noon  and evening sessions plus women's conference workshops, gatherings with kids, scout stuff beyond our monthly pack meeting, to the point I have to post stickers on my laptop for reminders ... hoping I can remember what day it is, and keep my grandfather clock wound up so the bonging will remind me of the time. (It just now reminded me that it is time to get going)

Maybe tonight, after my zooming, I can get a bit caught up on what my blogging friends are up to!

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Starting a new year

This year started with a lot of zooming. On the first, I hurried home from church for a zoom gathering with my kids ... spread from the east coast to the west coast of the states, and across the pond to Japan.

On Monday the zooming was with church friends, spread from Malaysia to the eastern US, and Tuesday it was with cousins and nieces and nephews living in the states. While viewing the screens of squares and faces, I was reminded  of a nine-patch. I had been marking and cutting squares of a number of scraps, and sitting right at my right side were two tins of two-inch squares, so full of pieces that the lids wouldn't go on. I think Mr. Zoom was calling out for me to fix the problem,  so I began arranging and sewing blocks while zooming. Wednesday and Friday added more finishes.

I think usually, nine-patches have the darker squares in the center and corners. I began with the alternate setting, and when I laid them  out, I liked the results. making contrasting blocks would give a checkerboard effect, but I like the way this looks,

I have hardly made a dent in the number of blocks, still in those tins. I do have a few that probably would not work in a 9-patch, but might be nice set with solids in a border. I think that I will wait before sewing these all together in order to balance the colors.

Years ago, I gave up on new year's resolutions, and began picking a focus year for the year. Last year was "purpose", and I was wondering what to choose for this year, when the word chose me instead. Jan1st, as I headed off to church, a neighbor shouted out "Happy new year" in english, and as I was rushing home for the zoom date, another neighbor stopped while passing by on his bike, to give me a high-five and wishes in english. The overflowing of love from family and friends calls out for gratitude, which will be a fine focus for this year.

Cleaning out the dust bunnies from under the eves at the head of my futon, I made room for the bunnies and a few owls to enjoy the new year and the reminder they bring of friends past and present and happy events.

I hope my blogging friends will also enjoy a year full of happiness and gratitude.