Saturday, 14 June 2014

Patchwork Progress

Unusually for me I bought a pattern - for the Sew Together Bag (pattern here on Craftsy). I had been admiring several on Flickr, including this one:
Sew Together Bag
Sew Together Bag
But rather than just using two fabrics I thought I'd mix it up a little bit. Here are my outer fabrics for the two bags I am making.
Bag outer fabric
Outside of Noriko's bag
The unusually sophisticated orange and teal one is for me and the other for a friend about to go on a holiday. And of course I then needed zips.
Orange and blue zips
I think zips are second on my list of favourite fastenings, second only to buttons.

The pattern has been consistently criticised for a lack of pictures so it irks me that it is still $12. Despite years of criticism the author has decided to do nothing about the feedback, but then when people are prepared to pay $12 for a single pattern why do you need to listen to them? Fortunately there is a sew along with multiple photos from earlier in the year. I hope to make progress on these over the weekend.

The blue and white EPP quilt for Mater progresses. Last time I checked in I'd done 52 stars. I've now completed all 93 and started sewing together the hexagon section. The pattern is my own and looks like this:
Mum's Quilt Diagram
And I eventually decided to go dark to light ish rather than random on the layout. I see lots of bloggers who have a 'design wall' made of felt or something which they can stick blocks up on to see whether a layout works....I have a 'design floor'.
Blue hexagon pacthwork - start
I am thinking ahead to how to quilt this and have been much taken with a blog called Kathy's Quilts and especially her Slow Stitching Sunday series where she spends her sewing time that day hand stitching. She has hand quilted a country style quilt called 'Journey of a Quilter' which, while not my taste, is very beautifully done. But to hand quilt a double sized quilt? That is a lot of work plus you've got the thing on your lap the whole time and it's hotting up again here. I don't know. But then I guess there is plenty of time to think about it before I get to that stage.

Friday, 13 June 2014

View Halloo

Before the pictures, a few statistics (taken from Wikipedia)...
tokyo london stats
To summarise, the centre of Tokyo is 38% larger than London with its outskirts stretching 62% further than London's. The population of Tokyo is also nearly 140% higher than London's. can start to see that they need a lot more buildings. With that in mind, behold the staggering urban density of Tokyo...
North Tower View of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
This was the view from the free viewing platform on the 42nd floor of the North Tower of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on a rainy day when the edge of those suburbs was lost in cloud. As in London (and in New York and other cities) there are little oases of calm in the shape of parks and gardens.
South Tower View of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
This one is Yoyogi Park - one of the largest in Tokyo at 54 hectares.
South Tower View of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
North Tower View of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
And of course there is a South Tower you can go up as well. In fact you can see each viewing platform from the other.
South Tower View of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

The building itself is very impressive, although not the tallest in the area.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Building
The inside is equally...impressive.
Inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Building
Plus lots of signs of the national pride at winning the Olympic bid.
Inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Building
In the Tourist Centre inside I chanced upon this guy.
Musubimaru Character
His name is Musubimaru and he seemed to be the mascot for either a specific rice brand or for a prefecture (region) of Japan. The person inside him was having a whale of a time.
Musubimaru Character
"He" was really flirty with the japanese ladies around me and kept striking all these coy poses for our photos. It was really rather funny.

Outside there was a courtyard with a semi circle of statues placed periodically. One particularly caught my eye.
Adam and Eve Sculpture at the Tokyo Metropolitan Building
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Japan is not a Christian country so I wasn't sure if there was a similar myth in Buddhist or Shinto historical texts, but the sculpture was beautifully executed.
Adam and Eve Sculpture at the Tokyo Metropolitan Building
Adam in particular was a handsome chap, but I particularly liked his apparently knitted jumper!

Speaking of knitting, and by implication all crafty activities, I am sewing and knitting away in between outings. I have made a mini quilt for The Little Quilt group on Flickr. I can't share pictures until after voting finishes. It is a fun idea - you submit a photo to the moderator who posts it. Then once the deadline passes you all vote on the quilts and put them in order of liking. The person with the most 'likes' gets their first choice quilt posted to them and so on down the list with each participant ending up receiving one of the quilts. The deadline isn't until June 30th so there is time to join in if you would like to. I still need to add binding to mine.

Meanwhile I am plugging away on the EPP quilt and have finished sewing all the stars and started sewing the hexagon section together. I'll take some proper pictures of it all soon.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Hama-Rikyu Garden - History and Beauty Combined

This Garden was originally part of the estate of an Edo period Shogun who ruled in the 1650s. The main pool is tidal and is still fed by the seawater of the bay through two sluice gates. There used to be a villa here and it is where the Shogan would go if he wanted to show off his boats to visitors - in fact it is still used as a dock for one of the river boat services that run in Tokyo. The Emperor gifted the Garden to the city in the 1950s and the tea houses, destroyed during WW2, were very carefully rebuilt in the original style. The garden is now surrounded by high rise buildings (in particular the Conran Hotel) and has a stonking great dual carriageway along one side. Inside it is peaceful and idyllic though. It costs a whopping £2 to get in and I easily spent 2 hours there - I would have spent longer if I'd brought something to eat. Now, I'll just leave you with the photos.
Hama-Rikyu Garden Through the Road
Hama-Rikyu Garden Iris
Hama-Rikyu Garden Iris
Hama-Rikyu Garden Iris
Hama-Rikyu Garden Tree Roots and Stones
Hama-Rikyu Garden Panorama
Hama-Rikyu Garden Bridge
Hama-Rikyu Garden View
Hama-Rikyu Garden Wisteria Trellis
Hama-Rikyu Garden Steps
Hama-Rikyu Garden Bridge
Hama-Rikyu Garden Wedding Couple
Hama-Rikyu Garden Iris
Hama-Rikyu Garden Lantern with Iris
300 Year Old Pine Front View
300 Year Old Pine side view
Those last two are the front and side view of a 300 year old pine. It's height is only 11ft but that main branch coming out at 90 degrees is 18 feet long and the breadth of the branches coming off it was, I dunno, 30 feet maybe? I should also explain that the kimono couple weren't just mooning about in the garden like that. They had a photographer and two attendants with them and were taking wedding photos. I thought I'd just nip in and capture the moment and help spread the love.

Unfortunately I went to the garden without any sunscreen on because it was 100% cloud cover.

Not my finest assumption.


I am now hugely sunburnt in a stripey bagpuss-esque painful style. The thick straps of my vest top are stark white but annoyingly so too are where the lanyard around my neck lay. So I am literally striped. In fact, here's a photo Pooch took of me blogging on the sofa.
I tried an internet remedy of socaking a towel in black and tea and then draping it over you. I ended up smelling of very very strong tea and it didn't help. A friend has suggested Aloe Vera gel which thankfully they do have in Japan (at least, I think it is aloe vera gel. It's possible I'm about to smear myself in sea urchin juice or something similar)  so I have some in the fridge which I'll apply shortly.

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