Wednesday, October 16, 2019

sashiko, typhoon, Asakusa Ufufu

It was a strange week here.  We were hit with the biggest storm in decades.  For most of us, all was and is well, but for some, the big typhoon brought flooding, landslides, evacuation, even tragic loss of life.

David and I were grateful to be in our sturdy building, on the 5th of 8 floors, with no loss of power or water.  We were prepared with plenty of food, flashlights, and all devices fully charged.  We kept our heavy outer curtains closed, and hunkered down.  (I just looked up the literal definition of "hunker down" and came across this funny definition from urban dictionary.  No, we did not play this game - but we ate plenty of junk food). 

Empty shelves at our neighborhood "conbini" (convenience store):

It was a time for ... Netflix, reading, stitching.  I'm working on a new, small sashiko project -

We had 30+ hours of continuous heavy rain.  Some strong winds, and even a small earthquake in the middle of it all.

The next morning we were happy to see this old soul still standing strong in our nearby park:

A couple days before the storm, I was at sashiko class at Blue and White, where all the talk was on storm prep.  I finished sewing up this little pouch - for keeping my sashiko things tidy and portable.  Design is by our sensei, Kazuko Yoshiura.

The motif is scissors or thread snips -  hasami (はさみ) -

I prefer using small scissors on a lanyard when I stitch:

Meanwhile, I've started to introduce sashiko to some ladies here from my church, in small groups now and then, casual and simple - but I keep forgetting to take photos!  Small groups are ideal for learning just about anything!

In other news, last week a few of us went to the nearby neighborhood of Asakusa.  It has an old Japan feel -- well, with a touristy veneer.  Just off the beaten path is this charming gift shop, Ufufu, where we saw so many treasures - bags and wonderful furoshiki (風呂敷) wrapping cloths.  Corrie and I had met the owner, Ito-san, at a class we took together.

Not *everything* in my life needs to be indigo! ;)

Julie W, Corrie, Ito-san, me, Aya

Here's another group of friends - hope they enjoyed their photo shoot.  

They stood stock still for so long - good little doggies.  You never know what you might see on the streets of Tokyo. ;) . 

Thanks for reading - til next time -


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Tokyo Quilt and Stitch Show, ladies getting together

I randomly bought this magazine and I'm so glad I did, because it alerted me to a terrific quilt show at "Sunshine City" here in Tokyo.   

Just a few of my favorites from the show: 

I was on the lookout for a Yumiko Higuchi embroidery piece - look at this beauty:  

Yumiko Higuchi, Cactus Flower

Yumiko Higuchi, Cactus Flower detail 

Yumiko Higuchi, Cactus Flower detail 

A terrific quilt from Keiko Goke: 

Keiko Goke Heart Series II

Keiko Goke, detail 

Keiko Goke, detail 

Julie W and Tammy were with me.  It's nice to wander a show together and apart, together and apart... 

 We all loved this one, by, (I think - according to Google translate), Akiko Hirata: 

Izumo Beauty, by Akiko Hirata 

detail, Izumo Beauty, Akiko Hirata

When I heard someone speaking in a microphone (of course I didn't understand a word), and saw this crowd, and that quilt, I asked a guard... "Chuck Nohara?" and he nodded.  Yes, THE quilt icon, in the house!  Too bad I couldn't understand a word she was saying!  It sounded like a Q&A session. 

She was there promoting her new book, a collection of her antique American quilts. 

If you are unfamiliar, read this fabulous post by Elizabeth of OPQuilt.   All I can say is.... tempted, so tempted.  

And on our way out, a little silliness (only in Japan): 

Last week I also got together with Kazuko K (she has a "Nifty" blog here.  I can't seem to subscribe to it or add it to my sidebar).  I know Kazuko from when we studied sashiko together at Blue and White with Kazuko Yoshiura-sensei.

 Kazuko gave me some precious pieces of indigo left over from her long ago sashiko projects:

And, bonus!  She went with me to the grocery store to show me her favorite curry mix, and just the right pickles to serve with curry.  It means so much to have a Japanese friend share these tips for living!

And then yesterday, Julie (My Quilt Diary) and I met up (yes, I am selfie-challenged):

Julie brought along her trademark handwork, which she carries everywhere.  She sews everything by hand, so beautifully.

More indigo from a friend's stash - thank you Julie!

When we left Japan in 2013, after our two years here, I didn't know we would ever be back.  It's so nice to see both of these remarkable wise women and start again where we left off!

Not a lot of quilting this week but one day I had to be available 9:00 - 3:00 to wait for a fire alarm inspection,

so it was a good window of time for piecing log cabins:   


Monday, September 30, 2019

September mini - Bears with Boro raindrops

For this mini, I appliqued some vintage indigo 'raindrops' onto this adorable Naoya Hata bear fabric.   It's for my son Tommy, who loves bears, and indigo.  Lots of rainy days in August and September while I worked on it, and lots of Netflix too.  My initial idea was just to applique various indigo circles onto a background.  While searching my stash for a background, I thought ah ha! ... indigo raindrops for these delightful bears.

The striped borders are from some contemporary tsumugi from my stash.  Cornerstones had to be... of course... bear paws!

I cut the single fold binding 1 1/8 inch wide.  For some reason I machine stitched it to the back of the quilt, not the front, which meant a less than perfectly smooth finish on the front when I hand tacked it down, but, no matter.

The backing is leftover from the 4-patch Tommy took to college.

Will link up HERE with Wendy at The Constant Quilter when she posts the September mini links.  Thanks for the push Wendy.  Deadlines are useful!  Now...... what to do for October's mini??