Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tenugui for Memorial Day

Beth at lovelaughquilt has put a call out for 12 1/2" star blocks here.  She is making a Veterans quilt for a VA Hospital in her area - what a lovely idea.

Here's my block, as simple as can be.  I auditioned several fabrics for the center but in the end, the school of fish won out.

The fish print is from a tenugui - a Japanese woven, hand-dyed cotton towel.  They are traditionally used by people who work with their hands - carpenters, chefs, gardeners, etc.  Long and narrow, they can be worn as headbands or neck scarfs, or used as hand towels.  There are many beautiful contemporary examples for sale at Blue and White.  They are utilitarian and beautiful - love it!  This one just seemed to fit the spirit of Beth's project.

And now.... back to Tommy's 4-patch.  He started piecing these scrappy blocks himself several years ago.  Mostly blues with a healthy dose of greens, and tiny bits of red here and there to keep things interesting.  This may be the most truly scrappy thing I've ever made.  I think I have 25 blocks to go... and so now after today the tenugui  fish above will make their appearance in it as well. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Miss K's graduation quilt - finished!

So I think we're calling this simply K--'s quilt.  The working title was "lipstick" but really, it's her "NYC Dreams" quilt I think and that's what I put on the label.  It is another iteration of Millie's Quilt and Miss N's quilt.  I do think it's cute that she wanted a quilt so similar to the one that's been in our family room for ages.  It's exactly the same as her big sis's college quilt - but in her pinks and reds.

I labeled it today and when she got home from school, I wrapped her in a big hug and tried not to cry!  We do have a summer with her yet!

The grey is antique kimono silk

All Japanese linen - love the polka dots!
Lots of older fabric brought from my stash in MA 
The star print is a Liberty.
The pink is a chirimen print.  The grey is a textured fabric bought at the Tokyo Quilt Festival.
I used monofilament thread in the needle for the quilting.  It disappears nicely, but did show on this dark batik. 
Border and binding: Fairfield by Lisa DeBee Schiller for Windham Fabrics, purchased in Denver at Harriet's 
Stripy backing. 

Linking to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story - see my sidebar for the link - always lots of lovely projects to see there!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side
I have seen a lot of posts linking to the Bloggers' Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.  Check out her blog - there are hundreds and hundreds of quilts linked there - I mean - hundreds and hundreds of quilts - wow!

On a whim I had my son hold up the Butterfly quilt this morning so I could snap a pic and add a link as well.  This is my favorite finish so far this year.

It is a loose reproduction of a Butterfly quilt my Grandma Mary Lou made me when I was a 'tween in the 70's.  I first blogged about this quilt  here and its 4-patch twin here.

I wouldn't want anyone to look too closely at the quilting (um, "organic", ya, that's it), but overall from a distance I think it's pretty:). I really enjoy using 30's repros - they are so cheerful.  This was the first time I've tried invisible machine applique using freezer paper and monofilament thread (thanks Grandma for teaching me!) and it was a lot of fun to do.

Miss K has really used and enjoyed the quilt - maybe too much:).  At one point I took it off her bed because I thought she got fingernail polish on it!  I put it back on the bed though - I do think quilts should be loved and used, and for teenagers that love and use is usually messy:).  She will leave the nest soon and I will surely miss her.  The makeup and marker smudges are kind of like toddler fingerprints on a window - impossible to resent for long:).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Miss K's quilt well underway

I am really in the final stretch with Miss K's high school graduation quilt.  In the fall she'll be off to NYC to pursue her dreams... I will miss her so.

Wouldn't you know, Miss K wanted the same quilt I made for her big sis... only in pinks and the kinds of reds that go with pink... and plenty of Japanese taupy neutrals (and polkadots for fun!) mixed in.  This quilt also has a touch of Liberty, some scraps from Millie's quilt, some Japanese chirimen fabric, antique kimono silk, lots of linen.  This particular one will really, really be "tattered" looking I think, which is what Miss K wants.  It's that same quilt I've already made several times and blogged about here - the one I can't seem to stop making!  I'm sort of tired of it at this point, but Miss K is thrilled with it, so... onward ho!

Getting there with the piecing.... about 2/3 of the way there.... 

Fussing cutting a border.... 

Random strips for the backing... and the project is really taking over the apartment...  

I know that starching the heck out of each strip will help when it comes to machine quilting... and one benefit to piecing a backing is that I can do this ironing in small bites as I go. 

What will we name this quilt?  "Strawberry"? (Ah, Japanese strawberries, a daily staple!)

Or...."Lipstick" ? 

I'll decide later.  Right now I've GOT to commit to piecing the backing, sandwiching, and basting before Miss N arrives from Boston Tuesday night!  At some point, I just can't take over the whole apartment with quilting.  

And... it's Mother's Day.  The shrub across from our apartment gets bloomier every day.  

Today I dearly miss my Mom.  She passed away way way too young, over ten years ago.  If you are with your Mom this Mother's Day, take a picture with her!  I wish I had more pictures of me with my Mom.  Tommy snapped this one yesterday morning of me with Miss K. 

Happy Mother's Day, happy quilting!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

rain... tea boxes....

It rained a lot last week....

I hijacked the dining room table nearly the whole week with this project - covering two large tea boxes with washi paper.  The boxes are lined in tin - very sturdy and practical - beautifying them with washi paper is a favorite craft among expats here in Tokyo, and my friend was kind enough to take me shopping for washi paper and show me the ropes.
Very quilty design, wouldn't you agree?

I cut the strips for the lid rim just like I would fabric.

One large sheet of washi paper costs about 600 yen,  or about 8 dollars.

Mod-podge type goop and careful folding, overlaping...  to adhere the paper to the box... plenty of drying time... then several layers of shellac....

And now voila - two functional and pretty storage pieces.  They are tin inside - mildew and water proof.  Very practical.

This next one holds Christmas decorations (thereby freeing up some precious closet space) and replaces a generic end table in the living room.