Monday, January 23, 2023

Tenugui Quilt progress

Hello friends!  

So far this month, I really have been able to quilt more.  I am well on my way to finishing the Tenugui Quilt I'd started in 2021. 

All of the 12" star block patterns are from the Barbara Brackman block of the month "Hands All Around" -

I am using 9 star blocks in the quilt, along with various 12" cut pieces from Japanese tenugui (手拭い).  Tenugui is such a wonderful woven cotton.  It's great to add to quilts.  It's easy to work with, and washes up beautifully, getting softer over time.  

Many of the fun blue and white tenugui used in this quilt were collected on visits to the little iconic shop Blue and White, and to another shop Asa No Ha, in the same neighborhood of Azabu Juban where we lived ten years ago.   Finally I'm putting this tenugui into one dedicated quilt! 

This next piece was a gift from Julie (My Quilt Diary).  I love it! 

I'm using a new batting I've never used before.  I just had it around.  It is Quilters Dream Blend for machines, 70% cotton, 30% polyester.  All set for basting.  

I will quilt it simply and minimally I think.  I just want a very casual quilt that will get a lot of fun use over the years, and remind us of Japan.  

Speaking of tenugui, usually nowadays it is used decoratively. 

 I have collected enough to be able to switch them out every month or two in our entryway.  It's kind of fun to have something "seasonal" there.   Here's January: 

In other news, 

On Saturday David and I went into Durham to see the touring company of the musical Come From Away.  It was excellent.  Funny, moving, heart-warming.  An ensemble cast of 12 and a sweet raucous folky band.  A number of years ago they filmed the Broadway show and it's available on Apple TV+.  But you can also get the full gist of the story from the soundtrack and I highly recommend it!

I am still helping out at Kaela's, but not every day, and certainly not for 10 hours at a stretch;).   There was a major flurry of activity getting ready for their Au Pair to arrive!  Ina is Albanese-Italian, and arrived on Friday night!  Fingers crossed that everyone adjusts well.  

The babies, A & E,  at four months old are at the most kissable irresistible stage!  


So the first month of 2023 is nearly over! 

In addition to focusing on some health goals (related to just basic movement, mobility, pain mitigation) I am determined to read more this year, a lot more.  For someone who "loves to read", I just haven't read much in many years.  I'm not worried about retaining what I read - I just want to get lost in good stories again.   

I fully count audio books too.  I can listen while I quilt or do housework.   This means less TV, less compulsive "scrolling" on my phone.   

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell.   It is just beautiful historical fiction, so imaginative and immersive.

Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeyset  by Annie Lyons - good story, well-told.  Connections, 'found family', death.  Listened to this one. 

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler.  Short, sweet novel with a quirky main character.  I used to read all of Anne Tyler's books way back in the day.  Listened to this one. 

That's all for today.  Thank you for visiting! 




  1. Your Japanese quilt will be a wonderful reminder of your time spent there. That bit of red with the indigo is fabulous. Glad you've had a bit more me time. It's nice to settle in and enjoy some relaxing moments.

  2. Your quilt is wonderful. I love love love the colors and it's so special because of what it represents. So soothing in colors, placement, and design. Glad the little girls are doing well and you have time to sew.

  3. Beautiful quilt, what a wonderful way to use your Japanese textiles. Such beauty and memories.

    I hope the au pair is a success! I never had a live in nanny, sounds interesting. Perhaps the kids will learn a bit of a second or third language.

  4. Wonderful use for your treasured Tenugui fabrics..I love the combination of the indigo and white with the occasional touches of red. I'm glad you now have some sewing time as well as a bit of time to attend to your health. It's such an important aspect of our lives and one that it's so easy to neglect it seems.

  5. Wow! - Your tenugui quilt is fabulous! What a perfect use for those lovely pieces of fabric and very meaningful too. I look forward to seeing the other seasonal pieces in your hallway through the year. Sounds like you are successfully achieving some balance and equanimity in your life after all the recent upheaval 🙂. I loved Hamnet and have “Portrait of a Marriage” on my list of possible reads.

  6. Those babies! Amazingly adorable. And your Japan memories quilt is beautiful and very evocative.


  7. Love your quilt. I am making the Modern Mystery Quilt 2023 using Japanese Taupe. Thank you also for the book recommendations, I too loved Hamnet. Your twins are really changing and growing. My grand twins are already almost 6 and in kindergarten but I remember those early days so fondly. Enjoy!

  8. Love those amazing fabrics! The wallhanging will also remind you of that amazing adventure in Japan! The babies are so adorable!

  9. That is a wonderful way to have made and used Barbara Brackman's Hands All Around stars. Who knows, it may inspire me to actually finish mine. :) That will be a cozy reminder of your other home across the world, along with the pieces you have collected to hang and display.
    Hoping the Au Pair is a good fit for the family.
    I love to read, but often get lost in a book, at the expense of chores or quilting. Once I get immersed in a book I have such a hard time pulling away and facing reality. LOL

  10. All the Japanese fabrics are so lovely - it makes me so happy that you share them! Wonderful to see the twins are thriving! And thanks for the book recommendations. I may choose Hamnet as my contribution to our family book club.

  11. That tenugui quilt is going to be such a masterpiece. The blue and white and orange are so pretty! (It seems the Hamnet cover artist thought the same.) I have the same tenugui holder to display the few tenugui that I have too. I haven't thought yet about making them into a quilt...

  12. Oh what a wonderful quilt. So nice to have something that will bring back such wonderful memories each time you look at it. Those girls just get cuter every day! What fun! Glad you are getting back to reading. My goal is to read at least 5 blogs a day until I can catch up!

  13. Your blocks are beautiful. I love how you added pink in some of the blocks. I especially like the fabric with images. The one with the dark blue background with the little girl, the house, the animal, and the field is delightful.
    I hope it's an easy adjustment for everyone with the new au pair.
    A. and E. do look very kissable. And happy.
    I read Hamnet last year and loved, loved, loved it. And I'm in the process of reading The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett now, at your recommendation, and am enjoying it.
    Nancy, ndmessier @ gmail,


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