Saturday, February 21, 2009


Yesterday morning we woke up to snow and Tetsu actually had to shovel the driveway! But it is almost gone now. Now everything is a muddy sludge.

I have lived mostly in Northern Japan. I had a short stay in Nagoya City when I came to Japan as a foreign student in college, and I spent a month in Kanazawa City at the same time. Kanazawa was my first experience of living in snow. (I visited in January). I remember getting excited about building a snowman.

The first three years that I lived in Japan I was in Morioka City which was considered the TIBET of Japan. Good glory! People in Morioka didn't even speak normal Japanese! (Very heavy countryside slang and accent). And cold!!! I lived on the back of a heater the first six months. And I wore spiked boots when walking around the town because I couldn't walk on the icy streets.

But Morioka wasn't the snowiest place I've ever lived. After Tetsu and I were married we moved to Akita Prefecture and that had much more snow (it's on the Western side of Japan which gets more snow). We lived in an apartment though so not that much snow shoveling to do.

After a year Tetsu was transferred to Yamagata Prefecture, again on the western side of Japan and that was the snow capital as far as I'm concerned! The entryways had double front doors so that you could get out of the cold and wind and shake off all the snow that had piled on you while you were outside. There were days when the snow covered the windows so that we couldn't see out. I remember having to climb out the second story window and shovel snow off the roof because the weight of the snow kept the inside doors from opening. (The news always carried stories of older houses that had collapsed because of snow weight.) In the town the streets were equipped with a sprinkler system and throughout the winter water was sprinkled on the main streets so that they would be clear for traffic. And to get to the main street Tetsu would shovel out from our front door to the street, leave the shovel there and in the evening shovel his way back home.

After a year in Yamagata Prefecture we moved to a major city, Sendai and were apartment dwellers again so no more snow shoveling and since then we've moved south somewhat. Utsunomiya City had very little snow and though Nikko City is colder and gets more snow, it doesn't compare with some of the other places we've lived. And global warming means less and less snow for Japan. Last year I shoveled snow just once and yesterday was an easy first for this year too. I guess I'd prefer being snowless. I'm a Southern California girl at heart.

On to other things. Thank you for the advice on the walking foot.

Sigh. The 365 looks pretty good. On the top... I have quilted half of it already; from the center out. I just turned the quilt over before continuing with the other half. I seem to have two large wrinkles right about the middle! Let's say I feel deflated. I thought I was doing so well and that the walking foot was going to solve my quilting problems but somehow I got those big 'ol wrinkles in there and so I have another "imperfect" quilt. RATS and DOUBLE RATS! I don't know what the problem is. Maybe I should have gone from edge to edge. Maybe I just should have pinned better or stretched the backing a little before pinning or who knows what. When I mess up a quilt I always just want to put it all away and forget I ever started. Ah well. Life is a learning process. I have learned that walking feet are not curealls. I don't know if I've learned WHY they are not curealls but I will labor on!


Christine Thresh said...

The picture of snow-capped posts is so beautiful. Excellent.

Shasta said...

Beautiful pictures. When we had snow a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't wait for it to go away, and now that it has, the place isn't as pretty anymore!
Don't give up on your 365, you've been working on it much too long to give up on it. Just make sure you have a flat surface - I pile my table around with phone books, but I think your quilt arm was for that. Just making sure, do you go from the center out from each column? If you do that, you are going the same direction for each column, which can cause shirring. I start from the exact center out for the first column, but after that, turn the quilt over and go in the opposite direction for the whole second column, then turn it around to go opposite that direction for the whole third column. That way whatever way you pulled the fabric, gets pulled back the other way.

Suzanne Kistler said...

The key to eliminating wrinkles on the back is in the pinning. I don't know what method you used, but I tape the back firmly to a table top and smooth out all the wrinkles. Then I lay the batting on top, then I pin, pin, pin. It's the pins that keep the three layers from shifting, and if nay portion can shift before you even begin quilting, it's going to dog you throughout the quilting process.

Oh, and I ALWAYS use cotton batting. Cotton grabs both top and backing and helps hold them in place. Polyester is as slippery as an eel, and trying to quilt poly without puckers takes even more pins than you'd believe.

Keep at it Tanya! It's a learning experience, and I don't know too many quilters who were able to to produce perfection the first time they tackled a technique...

Kathy Wagner said...

Love the snow photos...we are having a snow storm here right now and it is very pretty (but cold).
The wrinkle might just be because the backing was not taut enough. I usually pull it fairly taut and tape it to the floor or table before pin basting. When I get a wrinkle on the back, I just hand applique the edge of it down . No one but you will notice!
Repeat after me..."finished is better than perfect"!