Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thinking Twice! ((No, Three Times!))

If you read the last post, you saw what I was planning on using for the Quilts for Japan effort.

I chose THIS backing fabric for the Scrappy Bargello…this has been in my stash for ages, I had some of this when it was originally out ((in the 80s?!?)) And then in the past year, a gift box included MORE of this in the same dye lot, so I had enough to piece for this backing….

I just loved this sweet print with the birds! Two color prints are still a favorite, and I love the subdued pumpkin color, with the flowers and birds left in natural. It’s just sweet, not overdone, not fake-dyed to look age spotted the way I see so many fabrics today trying to give a look of "reproduction aging" that is anything but real looking…This is what it is. I like it simple!

quiltsforjapan 008

I also found that I could empty a partial box of odd ends of batting scraps & strips by zigzagging them together into a size that was just right for this quilt!

quiltsforjapan 006

Just right! I just clean up the edges of the pieces, overlap them 1/8” and simply zigzag the edges together using the largest/widest zig zag my machine can offer.

And before I go any farther, YES, I know there is an adhesive tape that you can use to iron pieces of batting together. I don’t want glue in my quilt, and why would I want to spend $$ for that, when I can use it for REAL fabric?! This zig-zag way also stays very soft and supple, and you can’t feel any ridges in the quilt when it is done being quilted.

But to each their own, if you would rather spend money on adhesive tape to make good use of your batting scraps, go for it!

quiltsforjapan 007

Here is a close up of one seam…..the edges are overlapped and the zig zag holds them secure!

So where am I second guessing?!

I bet you couldn’t tell it from the pic in the last post, but there is a dandy of a fabric that is making me squirm about sending this quilt off to a country that has faced death and disaster:

quiltsforjapan 009

See the skulls? Normally, I think this would be a quilt that any teenager would love…but I’m just thinking…maybe…for a family that has lost people close to them, that this is not such a good idea.

What do you think? Of course, the easy thing to do would be just to quilt it…There are 12 2” squares of skull fabric in this quilt….will it really be noticed?

But on second thought…..It’s not exactly “Cheerful” is it?

I think I better spend some time with the seam ripper and replace those skulls with something a bit kinder on the heart ---Do you agree?

**Update** While this post was waiting in queue to post, I got an email telling me I might want to hold off on sending THIS quilt for Japan all together. Turns out those symbols in the border ((and the black print near the border in THIS PIC )) are CHINESE, and it would be offensive to the Japanese to send them Chinese symbols. Like "a kick in the teeth".

Well, lord knows I don't want to do that....but what to do now? My time is LIMITED. I worked on this all day. I did remove the skull fabric, I sewed the top back together, I've spent the last several hours quilting it.

I hit the road again next week. This is my one shot. If this is indeed the case, they may only be getting one quilt from me instead of two. Dang human relations anyway! I don't get it ---

I'll just save this for the "NEXT" global disaster ----


  1. You do have a dilemma on your hands... I hate to vote for something that will make more work for you but I too would be hesitant to send anything with skulls on it to Japan right now.

    Wish I could help rip out...

  2. Hi Bonnie, I'm with you - I would replace the skulls so as not to offend anyone.

  3. I too think that your second thoughts are correct - sorry for the work - but I would remove the skulls. I have been reading the blog of a quilter in Japan - Taniwa - http://tttl1998.blogspot.com

    The media there seems to be pushing a lot of being "nice" to cope with this disaster.

  4. Holey toledo! I guess the skull quilt will be a donation to another cause...

    Bless you...

  5. Bonnie, I say don't send that quilt. I heard today that the Chinese are refusing to let Japanese ships in their ports because of radiation fears. If you have time, you could simply replace the border since you've already replaced the skulls.

  6. Anonymous7:04 PM EDT

    I would donate the quilt locally, rather than donate it to Japan. It will still be loved and appreciated but without having to worry that it might offend.

  7. Gad, life gets complicated doesn't it.
    Let's just call this a wash.
    Finish it up and put it aside and know in your heart what you've done is from the heart.

    When using scrap batt I zigzag by abutting to two pieces and use the widest and longest stitch.

    Enjoy your posts.


  8. I agree...human relations....gosh, I never thought of all of these types of things in gifting a quilt. What happened to its the thought that counts? I sorta agree on the skulls, but who would have thought the other fabric would have been offensive. I guess I don't think like that. Kuddos to you for sending what you can.

  9. Bonnie, I am glad you took out the skull, I hate those things. I would hold the quilt too. You made the effort to send more than one and it did not work out so just send the one that you can send. Paula

  10. OMG Bonnie....what is a girl to do....give to another good cause...yes your time is precious and you are wonderful for just wanting to do what you could...some things just aren't meant to be.
    Hugs Khris

  11. I think donating the one quilt would be better than sending a 2nd that might offend - just my opinion. I have to get busy and get my baby quilt in a box to send off, I don't have a big one ready. The small one will have to do.

  12. What about raffling off this one and donating the money to an organization doing recovery work in Japan? Maybe through your church? This quilt just doesn't seem to want to go there!

  13. Oh dear Bonnie what a lot to think of, not to offend...I made and is sending a Bento Box design quilt made from Japanese fabrics, now reading this, I must check and make sure they are really Japanese fabrics...it's on my blog..

  14. It is so hard to be "politically correct" and stick to "human relations protocol"....UGH!... But... I am glad you rethought the skull material! And... I am glad you rethought sending it to Japan. As quilters we LOVE fabric - LOVE the warmth and comfort and internal feelings that quilts give us and others... and we hope, pray, and intend for every quilt that leaves our heart & home to give it's warmth, be accepted as it was intended, and give a show of love and hope. Sometimes in order for quilts to fulfill our every wish and desire... we have to make sure we get that dang pr & hr factor just right :)

  15. I do charity quilts and we do need to be careful of the fabric, no christian themes or Christmas. The LWR foundation sort the quilts for US, and foreign countries. These country in need so appreciate a little beauty. Your gift would be so appreciative.

  16. I agree that the skulls need to go.
    My son took 4 years of Japanese in high school. He says the Chinese and Japanese use the same characters. The Japanese use the Chinese characters, which they call Kanji, in addition to their own phonetic alphabet.

  17. I would NOT rip it out - I would just start from scratch. . or use another WIP/UFO. YOu could just piece together a handful of those beautiful FQs you have laying around and call THAT a quilt! Doesn't have to be anything fancy.

  18. I showed my husband this post - and he an altogether different opinion than the masses. He said, "They'll LOVE IT!" and "They won't think anything of it" "and I'm sure they would rather have a large, well-made quilt than nothing at all"

  19. Bonnie, I was going to send a lap sized quilt I had but decided against it since it was supposed to be a railfence pattern but ended up looking more like a swastika, since instead of the rails being sewn together light, medium and dark, they were more like light, dark, medium, so the center dark pieces came together in that swastika looking pattern. It's really only evident on two or three blocks, but my husband noticed it immediately. I sent a different one and made a baby quilt out of scraps to send, too. Not sure what I'll do with the swastika quilt. :( bdalward@yahoo.com

  20. Anonymous8:48 PM EDT

    Why don't you auction it off on your blog and send the money to a charity that's working in Japan? You'd still be helping!

  21. Oh, Bonnie, your words about saving it for the next disaster gave me pause. Because there will be one; you're so right. And you could send this to one of the other places that WON'T mind, that have had a recent disaster (AU, Haiti, Katrina victims, etc).

  22. a few appliqued hearts or stars will cover a lot of 'what was i thinkings"

  23. Bonnie, unforunately there is a need, but, with relations between the two countries, maybe it would be best if you didn't send it, possibly another charity that is Stateside could use it. The problems in Japan will not be solved tomorrow and more than likely not for such a very long time and people will still be in need, once you have a little bit of time left over you might make another excluding the skulls and any type of other language. Your heart is good, but I think this is one you might pass up.

  24. I'm so glad someone of your notoriety admits that you piece your leftover batting pieces. I've done this zigzag piecing for years. Came up with it on my own since I couldn't stand to not use the leftover pieces. Works great! Thanks for giving me public permission to continue.

    We are in the same boat with donation quilts. Our local Binky Patrol chapter is working on collecting 1000 quilts to send to Japan. We have connections with our sister city over there. We have to watch what is being donated and figure we can pull for local donation anything that may seem inappropriate.

  25. How about putting together a top of 10" squares, quilting it and putting a totally by machine binding on it? That would be fast and cute and serve the need!

    No way would I have taken the time to remove the skull fabric! I would use the quilt for a different cause.

    I piece my left over quilt batting together the same way you do for my baby quilts and wall hangings that I quilt. Anything larger I send out!

  26. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Trust me, im the queen! Lol
    Every time , somethng like this happens. Lol
    I save all my batting scraps and sew them together! Hey, thats why they cqll it "quilting", or DID, in the old days... Lol
    I love catchi gup on your blog when i get a chance.

  27. If the skulls are out, I think you should use this lovely quilt. The Japanese use Chinese letters to write one of their commonly used forms. Since Chinese letters are pictograms, the same letter can be used in Chinese or Japanese words.

  28. Bonnie...if you are like the rest of us quilters, you must have "one" more WIP in hiding? I mean just waiting for you :)

    If it was me, and I was determined to send two quilts with the time restraint that you have and cannot use the one you have, AND I had the organized strips you have... I would be looking at making something like a "coin" strip quilt with a 6" or bigger separator to widen the quilt quickly. But that is me ;-) I know how it feels when you want to do something and something else gets in the way it. Good luck

  29. That's too bad... well, your heart is in the right spot anyway! Like you say though... there is bound to be someone else somewhere who will need it and not be offended! And to tell you the truth... after living in Japan (many years ago) the Japanese are such wonderful people... I would very much doubt that the skulls would be offensive to them... (don't know about the Chinese words). They are mostly sooo very gracious that they would be happy just to get anything at all! And to know that it was made for them... this would make them very happy!
    Good luck getting everything done you need to b/4 you have to leave again.

  30. I think you're so kind to donate quilts to the Japan disaster. It's so cold there in the north that I'm sure any quilt would be used and appreciated, regardless of the fabrics in it.

  31. Anonymous9:16 AM EDT

    Bonnie, we have hosted several groups from Japan, our pastor's daughter spent 3 years in Japan and still works with international (mostly Japanese) students in a college setting. The symbols in the border fabric is Kanji, a type of Asian writing. Japanese students learn English, Kanji and Japanese writing in their schools. I don't see how this would be offensive. The Japanese students and adults who have visited here taught us different words in Kanji symbols. However, if you trust your other source who says it would be offensive, then I'd stick with that. Most will recognize the love and heart behind the gift.

  32. One quilt to donate is really something to be proud of, taking the time to see if you are doing a cultural misstep is also a different kind of thoughtfulness. Go with your gut reaction........it never lets me down and I'm guessing it has gotten you this far.

    congratulations on sending a beautiful quilt to those in need.

    Happy Sewing

  33. I would use the quilt for another disaster relief, rather than risk offending anyone. I commend you for wanting to send 2 quilts but consider this; by posting about the project, and encouraging us all to send a quilt, your efforts multiplied the number of quilts that will be sent, so in a way, you are responsible for many more than 2 quilts. It's because of your blog I'm responding to the call for quilts and sending the last quilt I finished. It isn't large, but it's cheerful (a string quilt all in yellows like the rising sun.) Thanks for your charitable nature and inspiring all of us to comfort those in need with our quilts

  34. I have several quilt tops so if you want to "team" donate I can send one to you and you can use the back and batting you have ready!

  35. As a long arm quilter, I help my clients by piecing batting that they bring me. They really appreciate the extra effort. Over the last year, I have saved my quilters around $1000. I even piece battings and have them available for people. The piecing way is the way to go.

  36. Anonymous12:56 PM EDT

    Bonnie, I would send the one quilt now and save the questionable quilt for another time. I'm sure from all your followers they will receive a mountain of quilts - using your patterns. I have sent two and the one is from your free patterns. Thanks for all your wonderful patterns and help.

  37. While it's probably too late now, you COULD use a black marker over the skulls, but that might be 'tacky'. I WAS wondering what those border letters meant though and thought some caution should be given to find out FIRST. 8-))) Good thing YOU gave it some thought. 8-))

  38. Send another quilt & save this one for something else. My BIL is an executive coach & teaches classes in cultural sensitivity to executives doing business in other countries. The most well-meaning gesture can have unforeseen consequences if you are not famililiar with the culture. It's a darned good thing that you posted a picture of the border and someone recognized the writing as Chinese. Those skulls might have been OK if you had been sending the quilt to Mexico, but you were right to take them out. The best laid plans.......

  39. Glad someone tip you off about the Chinese, I was thinking that, too. Also, I'd be very hesitant to send something that I could not read. I took my Japanese homestay student to a crafts fair. Someone's cheerful collage included a Japanese article about breast cancer!


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