Friday, May 7, 2021

Hands All Around progress, Koinobori, roses

Hello hello! 

I am making these big 12" blocks from patterns and wonderful history posted on Barbara Brackman's blog the second Wednesday of each month.   The stories follow the Alcotts of Concord, MA during the Civil War years.  Our old hometown in MA is just minutes from Concord, so I love this connection.  

Here are my blocks for March and April - 

Block 3 - Anna's Choice: 

I'm using a lot of tenugui fabric in these blocks.  

Each block is a variation of a Sawtooth Star.  

I love the following variation and could see a whole quilt from these.   Notice how fabric choice and placement really create two different-looking blocks! 

Block 4 - Eight Hands All Around 

The middle of the block above, is from a piece of shibori I dyed myself during a workshop at the Vermont Quilt Festival.... seems like ages ago. 

May 5 was Children's Day here in Japan.  I loved seeing so many  koinobori (carp streamers) flying around.  If you follow me on Instagram (CynthiaNanto) you might have seen my post and "story". 

In our local park there is an outdoor "gallery" on view, with so many creative examples of Koinobori.   They represent carp swimming and are a symbol of ... everything good that we wish for our children.  

It's always cute to spot 'Japan-glish' spellings;) 

This morning I joined two friends for a drive to Satomi Park, in Edogawa.  There was an infinite number of stairs to climb, to access the park, but then oh wow, what a rose garden!   

So here are some roses for us all, whether or not you are celebrating Mother's Day this weekend and no matter your feelings about Mother's Day (I know it's so fraught for some). 

This is Kaela's first Mother's Day with Charlotte. I'm so proud of her!    

My oldest daughter Noelle, who made me a mother almost 29 years ago!  Equally proud of this smart sensitive creative young woman! 

And the "baby" Tommy is almost finished with college!  The apple of my eye - and proud uncle - 

xo gratefully 



  1. Beautiful family photos. What a joy it must be to see them all blooming.
    That garden is absolutely incredible! The blooms are so colorful and lush.
    Your collection of BB blocks look great and will make a wonderful quit.
    Happy Mother's Day

  2. What beautiful pictures, and beautiful family. Happy Mother’s Day, Cynthia!

  3. I am enjoying the star variations in Hands All Around, too. I love that you are making yours with tenugui included. How fitting to have it represent your time there in Japan.
    I'll bet it is fun to see the colorful display of koinobori. I really enjoy the insights into the culture that you are able to share with us.
    Oh, my goodness, that rose garden looks like an amazing place to "refill your bucket"!
    You have a beautiful family. I hope your Mother's Day can be spent celebrating that!

  4. You may not have your children close but,your family will be celebrating you despite the distance. Happy Mother's day.

  5. LOVE your star variations in those fabrics! It's going to be fun to eventually see them all together. I really enjoyed seeing ALL of your photos - thanks!

  6. Loving these star variations. Happy Mother's Day to you, great family pics.

  7. Your tenegui star blocks are going to make a wonderful quilt! The rose gardens are gorgeous and a real treat this weekend as we are again expecting freezes overnight on both Saturday and Sunday. Too bad for the blooming fruit trees. You must be counting the days until you're back in the states spending time with all your kids and toddler Charlotte! That will be your real Mothers Day this year.

  8. Wonderful post. I am loving those blocks and the roses, and your lovely family too. I will gat my family fix on zoom today.

  9. Oh, the rose garden is gorgeous. Seeing it reminds me that a local park has a Park of Roses. In previous years they've had a Rose Festival but probably not this year, again. But I should try to get up there to walk around in June. Was the park fragrant?

    You have beautiful daughters and a handsome son! Happy Mother's Day.

  10. Great blocks where traditional patchwork patterns and Japanese fabric join hands.
    Everyone on this earth has a mother, without her we would not have been born. I think we should show our gratitude, so Happy Mother's Day to all mothers.
    You have beautiful children and they have a beautiful Mother.

  11. Happy Mother's Day! Love the fabrics in your latest BB blocks. And the roses - so beautiful - thanks for sharing!

  12. Your block fabrics are gorgeous. Wonderful choices for these blocks!

  13. Happy Mother's Day to you too! Your blocks are wonderful! I love all of Barbara Brackmans blogs and seeing everyones blocks. Your fabric choices are really great! Your pix of the rose garden are so beautiful! I can almost smell the roses! I have some commercially bought Koinobori. They hang off our porch. It never occurred to me to make some patchwork style but I'm going to try that! They make a wonderful outdoor display! take care!

  14. The colors of your Sawtooth Star blocks go together so well.

    Lovely to meet all your handsome children!

  15. gorgeous roses....i lived in lexington ma for a bit...


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