Sunday, 15 December 2013

A change of decorations - Christmas quilts from my stash - 1

There are four seasons in Japan and each is full of its own character.
Winters are cold, and in many parts snowy,
you eat hot pot dishes and keep warm with hot water bottles or kotatsu (table with heater underneath and a thick floor length cover to keep your legs warm).

Spring is famous for its cherry blossoms,
flower viewing picnics, the end and beginning of the academic year, and hay fever.
In summer, the humidity is over powering, first with the rainy season, then with the heat. Hydrangeas,
fans, water melon, ice tea, fire works, mosquito coils belong to this time of the year.
Autumn harvests fill the tables with fruit, vegetables and delicious oily fish. The changing of the leaves can be spectacular...

There are other things that mark the seasons and time of year. There are about 16 public holidays. The Japanese love to celebrate, they have festivals at local shrines, note the dates in the Japanese and Chinese calendar, or take up foreign traditions like St Valentine and Halloween.

Everywhere you go you will see signs of what time of year it is - there are decorations in shop displays, in schools and workplaces, on posters and advertisements, and of course in homes.

After arriving in Japan I soon took up this tradition and change the decorations at home for the various events.

Now it was time to put up the Christmas decorations. In the coming weeks I will blog about them, and first out is this wall quilt.

The mother of a student made this for me many years ago. I feel so humble and grateful that she would spend so much time and effort on this. It is mostly made of 1 cm squares, and she must have had a fantastic collection of Christmas prints to make the tree. There are lots of tiny bells embellishing the quilt.



20 comments:

  1. How amazing! I expected to read that you made the quilt. I too would feel humble and grateful to receive such a wonderful gift.

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    1. The mother and I share the interest in patchwork and quilting, and we have exchanged gifts but never worked together. I must have had this quilt for over twenty years and my heart beats a bit faster every year I display it.

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  2. Thank you, Queenie, for the great photos! The wallhanging is amazing, you are very appreciated by your student's mother.
    I have also stitched a New York block and yes, the quilt will be very heavy but it does not matter I will make a wallhanging.

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    1. Yes, I am lucky to have been given handmade gifts from many of my students or their mothers.
      I guess your city quilt will be as fantastic as your other fantastic creations. Don't for get to get a strong nail for the wall!

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  3. so interesting to read about life in Japan Queenie and the quilt is a real beauty, such tiny squares, had to check 1 cm on the ruler to work that tiny is amazing

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    1. You are not the only one who recently have had to convert some of the metric measurements I have used. It is really hard for me to get to grips with the imperial system, so we are all the same!

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  4. I can only wonder about the tinyness - are you sure you did not confuse the measures cm/inches. The bear for instance. How can they make such tiny design so clear. or
    the snowflakes - hardly to be seen on one centimeter. But in Japan such things are possibly possible!

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    1. The squares are tiny, so tiny that I guessed they were 1 cm square. However, I find I stand corrected; they are 1.8 cm square. That is a bit bigger than super tiny, but look at those half square triangles at the top of the three. It is still quite an achievement to stitch such short seams by hand.

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    2. Ok, 1,8 cm is stil very very tiny and you say it: the triangles.... oh my. and all by hand. I guess she cut out 1" squares and with all the seam allowances the 1,8 cm were left over. A most wonderful gift and it earns a good place on the wall every Christmas time to be admired. Thank you for showing explaining.

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    3. I am almost sure she did not cut anything in 1 inch size; a measurement 'unheard' of in Japan. I have never seen a ruler with inch scale here.

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    4. Ah I forgot - it is the metric system, of course. I should have known, I have quite some Japanese instructions and books.

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    5. Don't tell me you use imperial measurements like inches and yards!!??

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    6. I mix it !! But mostly in centimeters. Ever so often a pattern comes into my hands with inches which forces me to take out my inch measureband to check the size. One of my cutting mats is in inches - which is practical as well.

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    7. I do, too. Then unlike most Japanese ladies I have a chance to go abroad and buy these 'foreign' things!

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  5. Such a lovely quiltie. Just counted the squares and figured it must be just a little bit bigger than A4. You're a lucky lady!

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    1. I have been found out! See my reply to Anneliese's comment above. The squares are 0.8mm larger than I said so it makes the quilt more A3 than A4. In any case it is 100% handmade and hangs perfectly flat. I am indeed lucky, to be given quilts and to have friends who read my blog properly. Thank you!

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  6. Thank you for the images of the seasons and I love the quilt. My friend's son is married to a Japanese girl and when he parents visited recently her mother brought a similar quilt for my friend. The stitching was so perfect.

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    1. Was your friend's quilt stitched by hand? This one is, and every piece in the tree is fuzzy cut to show the print to its advantage. So much care!

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  7. I wish I had some wall space to hang seasonal pieces. Instead I use table runners but right away they get piled with books and papers and mail and quilt scraps...
    Yours is quite nice. Can you post the total measurements?

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    1. I haven't got much wall space either - that is why I change round my quilts all the time! The total measurement is 45 x 58cm.

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