Tuesday, January 5, 2021

FUN quilty beginning to 2021 (and Covid realities)

Happy New Year fellow quilters.   

David and I had a quiet Christmas and New Year's.  FaceTiming with our children all together was a highlight.  Hopefully they will be able to visit us here sometime in 2021?  So far, the borders are still  closed to tourists, even dependents (like college aged children) of "permanent residents" (that's us).  It's not the best feeling that Tommy can't come "home" to Tokyo.  Every day I'm thankful he has each of his older sisters a flight away, and great friends and extended family near him in Utah at school.  We live by texting, phone calls, and FaceTime.  David has yet to meet baby Charlotte and she will be seven month in a couple days.  Sigh.  

It looks like because of the spike in cases in Tokyo, we are on the brink of another state of emergency.  In practical terms it may just mean shops and restaurants are asked to close in the early evening - nothing as strict as last spring.  However, they are mentioning further tightening border restrictions, and the word "collapse" is being used to describe the hospital situation.  

We just have to live wisely and hope the vaccine reaches us as soon as possible in 2021.  My heart goes out to folks starting a new year in a state of grieving, or in a state of ill health due to COVID, or crushing financial difficulty, or crushing emotional isolation.  What a time.  We have to cherish what we have and help each other out. 

I say it so often... but what would I be doing with myself, in this little Tokyo apartment, with David working from home just down the hall, without quilting??  I am so grateful for it in my life!  I'm grateful to you for reading, for other blogs, and for the friendships made across the miles, through our blogs and emails. In some ways it feels like a virtual quilt guild.  Or awesome pen pals!

I'm starting off my quilting year with FUN.  I really do love making these improv log cabins. 

This one is for a very special young family friend, Paulina.  You know how some of your kids' friends end up feeling like family?  I have been thinking I'd like to make her a quilty hug.  So why not now.  

The brief is UNSTRUCTURED (yay!), BOLD (ok!) with lots of DEEP PURPLE (time to shop!).  

The time difference worked out so we texted back and forth to make quick fabric decisions in real time while I shopped at Tomato.  It was so energizing!  

And I discovered that Paulina likes red almost as much as purple. 

We thought we were done, and then I rounded the corner to.....  Kaffe Fassett -   

 Perfect backing fabric: 

Random logs, big blocks, so easy to trim up with my 12.5" square ruler.  These blocks are such a pleasure to make.  Making them feels like some great combination of play and meditation.  

What else in '21?  Are you like me?  Do you over commit to BOMs, swaps, challenges??   There are always a lot of sew alongs happening.  I thought about Kathleen Tracy's Schoolgirl Sampler (72 simple 4" blocks) which looks sweet and I have the book.  I also thought about Cecile's curved piecing challenge at Patchwork Inspirations.  

In the end I'm just going to bite off this much -- the following two BOMs:  

Poppy's Polka Dot Garden (free downloads for two blocks, around the first of every month - from Sentimental Stitches,  for 2021-2022).  This started a few months ago.  I am REALLY enjoying this appliqué.  Anyone else?  Someone started #poppyspolkadotgarden on Instagram.  I think there are just two of us so far.   

Barbara Brackman's 2021 pieced BOM, Hands All Around.  Second Wednesdays.  Louisa May Alcott, simple blocks, variations on Sawtooth Stars, need I say more?  Barbara's posts are always so interesting if you like quilt history, and she has a great sense of humor too.  (by the way Santa brought me the new edition of her encyclopedia - it's beautiful).   

And, as much as possible but with no pressure: 

Hoping to keep my quilting life balanced and fun this year - thank you for being part of it! 

x gratefully 


  1. Your log cabins are so colorful and definitely FUN!! I wish I could get the beautiful fabrics that you can buy... but no! I’ve got stash to use up!

    The numbers are rising aren’t they. I’m pretty content with staying home and quilting too but wish my sewing room was warmer!

    When will we get to hug our kids again?!

  2. Numbers rising here too; so disappointing and distressing...[no Fed. roll out program at all--that doesn't help with vaccines at all!]
    Anyway, I am only doing RSC and a Log Cabin Loonies at Julie K's blog this year for any group efforts...
    Many times I begin and then drop out--i guess i like doing my own thing...
    Hope your State of emergency doesn't last too long...
    hugs and stay safe Julierose

  3. Loved seeing your log cabin blocks. What fantastic colors and combinations. I was surprised and excited to see the fussy-cut big flower in the middle of one of the blocks! I can't wait to see more! So glad you and your husband are safe and well. I live in Detroit MI, and since I am older and have health issues, I'm in my own lockdown.

    1. Hi Juliana, looks like you are "no reply." Thank you for your nice comment. Yes, I had just enough of the backing fabric to steal a little to fussy cut three of those huge flowers! Being in your own lockdown is prudent and I hope you have all the warmth, nourishment, connection and creativity you need at this challenging time!

  4. sorry your children are all so far away - I'm not sure if I ever read why you and your husband are in Japan living and your children in the US - I only found you several months ago - I'm sure it must be a job - several states are saying their hospital systems are on the verge of collapse also -- what would we do without our quilting to keep busy

    1. Karen - we are empty nesters here, for a two year assignment for my husband's job (he works for a Japanese company). We have two married daughters, and one college age son, all back in the U.S. We had lived here before, for 2 years, at which time our two youngest were still in middle/high school, so they experienced Japan with us at that time, and our then college aged daughter was back and forth all the time. It's so different now.....

  5. Like you I don't know what I'd do without quilting. We've got a new strain of the virus heading out way. I guess I'll be staying in and getting more quilting done. Hugs

  6. Thank you for sharing your Tokyo situation and your fun quilting. Did you go out to a fabric store? Or was it online. Isolated here in Charlotte. Afraid to go out.. Kids are so frustrated with remote learning..but we hang in..no other choice xo

  7. OMG Cynthia, I love it! Improv log cabin blocks are so much fun, and your colors/fabrics are amazing! I know what you mean about the sew-alongs. How do you choose?!? I think I’m going to have to do BB’s Sawtooth Stars, and I already have a good start on Kathleen Tracy’s Schoolgirl Sampler. I too, long to see my family. They’re not as far away as yours but they might as well be. Like you I’m so thankful for texting, and zoom. And quilting!

  8. Oh wow is this gorgeous! I have to say there are good things about technology. It must have been fun to shop together from 2 different worlds. Such a happy project! And alas, I too have committed myself to too many sew-a-longs. Luckily there is no law saying I have to finish them all!

  9. I am sorry that Tommy can't come "home". That is hard.
    Hoping things don't continue to get worse there. Hard to believe we have been at this almost a year now! Who would have guessed?
    That is a really fun project, and how fun that you could "shop together". Last week I zoomed with a bunch of gals from around the world--mostly Australia. So fun!! Quilting has definitely aided my mental health this past year! And blogs are the only guild I have.
    Those are absolutely fun and stunning blocks. I think purple and red together are so vibrant!!
    I did sign on to Cecile's SAL, but when I see what others are doing, I wonder what possessed me. Sounds like Barbara Brackman's is doable. I have started a couple of hers in the past, but never got beyond the first couple of blocks. Maybe I will do better his time. And those two should be it for me, as well. :)

  10. A beautiful colorful start for the year. Not much has changed for almost a year. I hope your family can be together soon.

  11. So colorful. I don't dare buy any fabric, I have too much "gifted" stash to ever use up. And since the heater has been on, I will be lucky just to pay the electric bill. You are becoming a pro at log cabins. I have to start chopping wood.

  12. Here in England UK we have entered our 3rd lockdown for the next 4 or 5 weeks. Hoping i get a vaccine soon. As you say what would we do without our quilting, I just spend all my time in my Happy Room.

  13. Excellent post! We must pay attention to and try to alleviate as much of the suffering going on around us as we can and yet we must also sustain ourselves with what gives us comfort and joy. Quilt making does that! It’s important to have fun and your log cabin blocks are really attractive! There are many wonderful SAL’s out there, but I have too many other projects going on to join at this point and adding one would be more stressful than fun - it’s important to not cross that line.

  14. Your new year log cabin project looks like a terrific pick-me-up!
    Has the vaccine reached Japan yet? Are they developing their own? My brother lives in China and they have one but he hopes to get both shots while here later this month. He is finally able to get back to the states.

  15. That is such a bright and cheerful quilt to be working on in the bleak midwinter, and what fun to be shopping together for the fabric! I'd thought seriously about joining Barbara Brackman's BOM but then Ann (Fret not Yourself) posted her string block tulips QAL yesterday and that won out. Too many irons in the fire to start more than one. Stay safe, and hopefully we will all see this through until everyone is protected and the virus is a thing of the past.

  16. I have over 10 UFO's I need to get finished, so I don't usually start quilt alongs. There is one I've begun starting cutting fabric for, She is done with her quilt along a couple months ago, but IF I feel good enough (waiting for surgery this year) I cut some more. Just need a piece of each so I am making my own precuts so I have ready access to cut fabric and can get to work sooner...

  17. I have always treasured my online quilty pals, but the pandemic has really made me appreciate my daily dose of quilting friendship. Thank goodness so many quilters are willing to share their experiences via blogging!
    Sorry to hear Tokyo is about to tighten up again. New Orleans is close behind, with restrictions tightening up beginning tomorrow. Hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed again; fortunately, the vaccine has been available for health care workers since mid-December and is now being expanded to the vulnerable elderly and others with certain co-morbid conditions.
    Your wonky log cabin looks like fun - working with bright colors is always cheering. Several of my sons' friends have become like family and one of my goals is to gift each of them with a quilt.
    Poppy's Polka Dot Garden is definitely in my plans for 2021, but right now I'm officially behind. I'll work on catching up after I get some current projects wrapped up.
    Happy New Year!

  18. Awe what a nice post. I love your new project of the log cabins. Red and purple are a fabulous combination and irresistible.
    I'm doing Cecile's quilt along this year and a guild mystery project and my 6 UFO intentions.
    I am so grateful for our quilty friendship and I look forward to the day when you are back in the US and we can meet up.
    stay well

  19. It looks like you will have quilty fun with those beautiful fabrics. Being able to make quilts is such a blessing, especially during these hard times. But how sad Tommy can't visit. I suspect Covid will get worse until the vaccine is more widespread. I hope you and your family stay safe.

  20. Loving your red & purple log cabins, very cheerful. I grateful for my sewing addiction too! Stay safe.

  21. I'm loving your improv log cabins, I haven't made many but I find they are incredibly satisfying to make. I'm trying really hard to finish UFO's this year, although I've already been a little bit tempted by one QAL. It is so hard not being able to see (and hug)loved ones, we are incredibly lucky that technology makes it easy to keep in contact so quickly.

  22. Gosh--Japan and California felt the same as this time: crazy pressures on hospital rooms, more masking up (I know Japan has this down pat, but California? no), and just a feeling of being squeezed and frightened all the time. Today (three weeks later) we are more hopeful. I have had one vaccine dose, looking forward to my second, and maybe in a month (when he gets Older), my husband can get his.
    I, too, don't know what I'd do without quilting! I hope things improve, and love seeing all your projects. Thanks for your blog--it really helps to read and see we are all connected.


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