Sunday, April 29, 2012

In the shops... Japanese Eye Candy

I have some shopping - or at least window shopping - to share with you:

First.... what do you see in this photo?

I know - bolts of fabric, right?  That's what I thought, too.  But these are actually folded stacks of washi - PAPER!  This small store, tucked away in an almost impossible-to-find place, carries a generous variety of washi paper.  My friend is going to show me how to cover tea boxes with this paper, decoupage style.  Can't wait!  It was hard to narrow my selections down to just a few papers!

Last week, my great friend Alyson visited from the states and one day we ventured to the small town where she used to live and where her first child was born - Gotemba, at the foot of Mt. Fuji.  It was a mostly rainy day but the cherry blossoms were beautiful.

When we first arrived, we started walking towards Alyson's old house, and it really began to pour rain.  We were in a fairly "out in the middle of nowhere" part of town, and begged umbrellas from the very first store we encountered... here it is - the "Healthy Life From Good Sleep" store - no kidding!  Looked to us like they sold bedding, slippers, etc.

Later, when we returned the loaner umbrellas, we went to the back of the store and to our delight saw that they also sell fabric and lovely crafts.  We had a nice chat and purchased a few small handmade items, made by the shopkeeper's sister.  The prices were high, but not Tokyo-high.

I love this little cat!!  Couldn't afford whatever he was attached to, though.

The Japanese are really, really into making bags.  This was beautiful... with a high price tag too. 
Serendipity on a rainy day!

A day later, on a day trip to Kamakura with another friend, we stumbled across a little fabric shop.

I wasn't in shopping mode, but now looking back at these photos, I wish I'd picked up some of these silk remnants:

And on an unrelated note.... on the way home from Kamakura... sometimes standing on a crowded train is just totally worth it, for the general cuteness of Japanese school children!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sunbonnet Sue

And for the seventh of Grandma's quilts in seven days.... how about this wonderful, hand pieced and hand quilted Sunbonnet Sue, probably made in the 30's or 40's.  I love examining this quilt!  This one was made by one of my Grandma's aunts in West Virginia, many years ago.  It is in pristine condition.

Grandma and I both marvel at the expert detail on this quilt.  Oh how I wish the maker had labeled her quilt!!

And there you have it - seven quilts beloved by my Grandma Mary Lou.

When I am back home in Massachusetts this summer, I will photograph more of Mary Lou's quilts.


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Pretty Ugly Quilt

Here's another quilt top given to my Grandma.  I quilted it, right after being on a machine quilting retreat with Harriet Hargrave.  Somehow quilting it turned it from "ugly" to "pretty" so we call it the pretty ugly quilt.  This one was fun to quilt and seeing it again at Grandma's made me want to dust off some of the techniques I learned at that retreat.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Double Wedding Ring

Here's another quilt rescued and fixed up by Grandma ML.  In this case, the backing wasn't quite big enough for the top, and so Mary Lou added panels to the backing where needed and finished up the quilting.  This is such a sweet quilt.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another blue and white quilt

How's this for another simple, striking blue and white quilt?  

Grandma calls this "snowball" and it's one of her first machine pieced and quilted quilts.
 The pattern couldn't be easier - nine patches with alternating snowball blocks.  I love snowball blocks for their ability to link blocks together and make a secondary star-like pattern.
 We looked closely and saw evidence that Grandma tried out several machine quilting techniques before finishing the quilt with straight lines with the walking foot.
And Buddy settles in for a nap:).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Winding Ways

This is one of my all-time favorite quilts.  Who can resist simple blue and white?

My Grandma found this hand-pieced top and fixed it up, and I hand quilted and bound it for her.  This was one of my Mom's favorite quilts too and one I'd love to reproduce someday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Woolen quilt

This is a quilt my Grandma made in the 70's or 80's with woolen scraps from family and friends.  It really needs to be taken apart, the top washed, new batting and backing applied.  It is one of Grandma's early efforts and it's very warm and cozy.

Stay tuned for another quilt tomorrow!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grandmother's Flower Garden

While visiting my Grandma in Denver, I made a point of taking pictures of her quilts.  So many of them live elsewhere now... but she does have some gems still in her home and I really wanted to document them!

I have company coming into town and am starting a new job (!)... so I will be away from blogging for awhile but have scheduled a blogging treat.... seven days, seven quilts - starting with this one - Grandmother's Flower Garden, a quilt made by my Great Grandma Una Fisher Brown.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another one of Mary Lou's quilts!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Al's quilts

While in Denver I asked Al to tell me about a few of his quilts.  I never get tired of looking at these bright vintage quilts!  I would love to recreate this one day with 30's repros.  I'm not sure what it's called - a glorified four patch, maybe?

Al's mother made this Grandmother's Flower Garden - fabulous!

Thanks for the tostadas, Al!

Stay tuned next week ... for a week of Mary Lou's quilts - I've scheduled one for each day!