Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Stepping Stones finish 2019, typhoon, baking

My first finish in Japan.  Another Stepping Stones quilt - to be given to a "graduate" of an orphanage here in Tokyo.  This is a "Helping Hands" project now organized by Japanese members of our church across greater Tokyo. Some of us Westerners help out year by year as we are able.  We started this back in 2012 or 2013 when I lived here the first time.  We team with the Franciscans, who provide a futon and a rice cooker to each graduate.  A Stepping Stones quilt is a nice touch and a warm hug as a young person begins to take "stepping stones" into independence and adulthood.

I started it in the US before we moved, so all of the fabric is from stash and Quilted Threads.

I like to include a butterfly print of some kind, since the butterfly is a subtle but powerful symbol of Christianity in Japan.

The pattern is Bonnie Hunter's free "Sticks and Stones" quilt and can be found here.

Very simple grid quilting.  Monofilament thread in the needle, walking foot.  Loving my Bernina 475QE - a small, solid machine, perfect for my space here, permanently set up in the living room.

For binding, this time I simply trimmed the backing to 1 inch, folded and brought it around to the front, stitched it down.  Fast and practical.

I pretty much take over our whole living space when I make a quilt;).

The green you see outside my window is Hinokicho-koen (koen = park).  We love the park for so many reasons.  It's David's twice daily dose of zen, as he walks to and from the bus stop.

I personally take a lot of comfort seeing the several giant old trees in the park.  Reminds me of home in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Here's one of my favorites:

And imagine our dismay when we saw that it fell, during Typhoon Faxai Sunday night.

How sad, but what a good long life that tree had. 

On a completely different (and happier) note, you guys.... I figured out my mysterious Japanese combination microwave/oven! 

Banana streusel muffins, from King Arthur Flour, via NYT Cooking:

To give you an idea of the small space I'm working with, here is my drying rack! 



  1. Nice finish, Cynthia, and how generous and loving of you (and others) to make these quilts. I'm tickled by the basic essentials- a futon and a rice cooker! Along with a quilt, naturally...
    Small space living can be challenging, but perhaps liberating in some ways. Sewing projects are always fairly chaotic, but you look to be well organized.
    Nice you figured out the oven ( muffins - yum!) I had to crack up at the instruction panel!

  2. Pretty special gift the graduates receive - practical and comforting! You are doing so well with your quilting space and Love the photo of your drying rack...I remember living in a 4.5 tatami apartment - my space was always put into perspective when I thought of the young family of four living in a similar apartment next door.

  3. Nice finish. (I've been to Quilted Threads in Henniker when visiting my daughter who lived in Meredith, NH at the time.) I like the symbolism of the stepping stones pattern for those "stepping out" into the world on their own. That has got to be a hard thing without the foundation of a family to back you up.
    I also like the butterfly included in the fabric. A great little added touch.
    Wow--that must have been quite a storm to bring that big tree down. Was it scary?
    Don't know how you ever figured out your microwave/oven combo, but the muffins look delicious!
    Seeing your sewing space and your kitchen space makes me feel guilty for ever complaining about mine.

  4. Congratulations on a terrific quilt finish--the colors and the pattern are a perfect donate quilt, and like others--I love the gifts they receive. Sorry about that tree, but what a beautiful park to have closeby. I'm also impressed you figured out that cooking box. Nice work!

  5. What a wonderful gesture to provide those "Stepping Stones" to the students! Your quilt is lovely and the hidden message of the butterfly is so special. I'm not going to complain about my lack of countertop space ever again--lol!

  6. This is such a special finish, and I love the softness of the blues and greens together. I was recently reminded by my son that grandson #1 was in need of a new bed quilt, and since I hadn't made one for him since 2012 (when he was 3) I guess it is about time. This pattern looks perfect. So sorry you lost that beautiful tree, the park must be such a nice respite/oasis in the sea of high and mid-rise building of a mega-city. Not to mention those wonderful home baked muffins!

  7. Beautiful quilt with a great color range! Love the little red cornerstones. I didn't know about the butterfly symbolism.
    I admire you for being able to confine everything to such a small space.
    Yes, how sad about the beautiful tree. Was there other damage? Were you and your husband safe and what was it like having a typhoon so close?
    Congrats on figuring out the microwave and the oven. And I guess, with such a tiny drying rack, not much gets left to air dry?
    Delicious looking muffins!

  8. Stepping Stones will be a wonderful quilt for some special. I love your inclusion of a butterfly in these quilts. I was wondering about you and the typhoon. Seeing how you function in your tiny kitchen makes me realize how we can adjust to new and different situations. I can see why it was hard to figure out your microwave/oven. :0)

  9. congratulations on finishing your first quilt finish in Tokyo! It will be loved and appreciated.
    Poor tree!!! :( it looks like it had a disease so at least no one was hurt. I long for the prairie since I'm from Illinois, but I also appreciate old trees.
    I loved seeing your apartment. Wow that drying rack is tiny! yay for sorting out your oven/microwave and yum those muffins look good!

  10. The quilt is wonderful. I love the color and also the symbol of the "hidden Christians". I would be embarrassed to show a picture of my work space ... smaller than yours with twice as much stuff and no machine. Glad you could figure out that oven. Just knowing what the buttons say is not a lot of help when it comes to using one of those things. I can only make toast and heat up frozen foods.

  11. The Stepping Stones quilt is beautiful, lovely gift~

    I enjoyed seeing your home in Japan, and how you work in your small space. The microwave made me laugh, a bit. Can you order takeout instaed of cooking? Do you like to?

    Very sad about the large ancient tree, tho I am glad you weren't yourself much affected by the storm.


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