Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tommy's four patch

 Tommy's four patch, finished!   A bright clear morning, good for a quick photo-op downstairs outside our apartment.  The photos outside give a truer idea of the colors.

Tommy pieced a bunch of these blocks years ago... scrappy.... so fun to finish piecing, and I tried to make it truly BLUE as a whole... but with plenty of greens and reds to keep it interesting. 

I am so pleased with this quilt, with the exception of the big sashiko style stitching.  Next time if I use big stitching like that, I'm going to be more careful at the intersections... it looks sloppy to have intersecting lines...

But then again... "whatever".... it made for utilitarian quilting, for a utilitarian quilt... and was fun to work on in the evenings while watching TV.   I used variegated sashiko thread.

Back up to the apartment.... I was teasing Tommy really, with these last two photos... but he doesn't read my blog and his peers don't either, I'm sure:).

It fits his bed perfectly and I know he likes it, because it shows up with him on the couch a lot.  Success!

Knotted Cotton Check out this slow blogger linky at Knotted Cotton.  I can so relate.... I'm not a high-volume blogger:).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I've just been busy with regular life, and fun things such as the fall matsuris (festivals) at the high school where I work part time:

And in our neighborhood: 

The start of school for Tommy.... getting back into our Tokyo routines.... and in the evenings, what could be better than this: 

Sewing binding while watching TV.  This is Tommy's 4-patch.  

Meanwhile I'm also starting a new sashiko project - a "sashiko sampler" table runner using vintage yukata lining cotton:

I ate up this recent "Crazy Sashiko" post from Amy Katoh at Blue and White,  where I take sashiko lessons.   Looks like I missed something really fun while away in August!

And now.... off to Costco (yes, we have Costco in Japan!  And I am lucky enough to have a friend with a car who generously invites me along)... which means Costco prepared food for dinner tonight... and more time for creativity:).

How about these linkups?  Let's Get Acquainted Monday at Plum and June, and Quilt Story.

And these blogs from Plum and June's Blog Hop:

Sep 18
       Lina from Smultronbo's Pieceful
       Chase from 1/4" mark

Sep 20
        Jen from Closet Quilter
        Anna from Pink Padme

Sep 25
        Amanda from Material Girl Quilts
        Amanda from Fabric Engineer
Sep 27
        Vicky from Vicky K Creating
         Francine from Mocha Wild Child

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grandmother's Fan

Here's the last of the quilts I brought out at home in MA for photographs in the front yard:

Grandma Mary Lou found this quilt top in a semi-complete, sort of sad kind of shape, and she lovingly fixed it up and finished it.

She spent many hours fixing up the blocks.  Many of them needed to have fabric added or replaced in order to be properly squared up.  She spent many hours fixing up the blocks and then piecing the completed blocks together.

She gave the top to me several years ago and I tied it with just a backing, no batting, to create a sort of large lightweight summer coverlet.   It's become a sore subject because Grandma really feels that it deserves to be quilted.  I'm sure she's right! Any volunteers? ha ha... mmm... someday...

(Come on Mom, enough with the quilts!  Let's go to Kimball's for icecream)...

Back here in Japan, my thoughts turn to several ongoing projects, two of which are truly almost finished!  I am itching to clear the decks a bit in order to start on a couple of brand new projects.  

I always tell myself, don't you dare start yet another new quilt until xyz is complete!  But it seems I've always got a dream of a quilt going... which is half the fun, wouldn't you agree?

Monday, September 10, 2012

9/11 wall hanging

I made this quilt right after 9/11.  It is machine pieced and hand quilted.  Maybe only in retrospect did it seem like a response to that awful day.  I think I was going for a sort of abstract stained-glass effect.  I hung it on the wall above our red couch and it looked nice there, but after awhile it ended up feeling sort of sad and violent to me, so I took it down.

Always sobering to think of that day and its aftermath.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sashiko pillow with "Mottainai" stuffing

I finished this little ditty in various waiting rooms over the summer... 

And when I got back to Tokyo, decided spur of the moment to turn it into a pillow right away... and after a summer of spending too much moolah in the states... the concept of "mottainai" came to mind... 

Mottainai means "waste nothing"... so I felt really virtuous, filling this little pillow with scraps of batting and fabric.

Getting there... wow, it takes a LOT of scraps...

It's very heavy (I like that) and a little lumpy... and just fine.:).

Linking up with Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday.  It's been awhile... lots to see over there!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Burgoyne Surrounded

Millie started piecing this quilt in the mid 80's, and lost steam with only a few blocks to go. She wondered whether I'd like to take over - um, yes!  Don't you love it when one quilter's burden becomes another's exciting new project?  It's a classic red, white and blue Burgoyne Surrounded.  Some of those pieces are teeny tiny!

I matched up the fabrics as best I could, finished piecing it, machine quilted it, and promptly gave it to Tommy.  He loves it and even brought it back to MA in his suitcase for the summer.  He likes the total American-ness of it.

That's a glimpse of Molly the poodle in the foreground.  She lives with friends while we're in Japan.

Plum and June
Linking up with Plum and June here

First quilt, baby quilts

Here's my first ever quilt, made in 1991.  Felt like it took about a million hours to complete - all by hand, with telephone tutoring from my Grandma every step of the way.  I hung it on the wall over Miss N's crib.  Here she is with it all grown up:).  It's a simple nine patch using fabric from my Mom, Grandma, and even Great-Grandma.  I struggled with and loved the process of making this quilt -  I was hooked!

This is the Dutch Doll baby quilt Grandma Mary Lou made for Miss N in 1992.  It remains one of my all-time favorite quilts.  Grandma's friend Millie helped her select fabrics.  It is machine quilted in a "hanging diamonds" pattern.

It was followed a year later by this Tulip Applique for Miss K, also machine pieced and quilted by Mary Lou.  The light green alternate blocks were made with fabric from my bridesmaids' dresses.