An apology and an explaination

Here’s an apology to all of those who have emailed special orders, been waiting for a package to ship from me, or even just a reply to an email sent in the past week. There have been a few downturns in the ever spinning world of kimono life here at Chez Kimono, and I’ve been doing my best to keep everything on the up and up.

As far as the explanation goes I can’t go into much detail at this time, but it involves a family illness and a relationship breakup. The illness isn’t mine, but the breakup is, and dealing with both has me doing my best to maintain some semblance of “normal life”, however unsuccessfully. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t.

On the bright side, I’m getting ready for the upcoming fashion show here in Bend, Oregon on July 17 and the one in Forest Grove on July 26 (details a few posts down). I’ve got a plan for the sashiko project I promised to start a while back, and a photo to prove it.

This is just a rough idea of how I might piece the fabrics. I haven’t cut anything yet, and all of these were just folded into triangles in a desperate attempt to come up with something decent to work with. I might go for a modified yabane (arrow) pattern, perhaps. The vintage boro quilt we’ve been using on the sofa is getting really ragged, so I’d like to replace it with something new. I figure I’ll have this quilt (no longer a tablecloth, but an actual quilt) done by the time it starts snowing again.

Well, it could happen.

Some thoughts on being green

A loved one recently sent me a link to an essay written by a weatherman who essentially states that global warming is a scam perpetrated by Al Gore. While I prefer to err on the side of caution and support the idea of global warming (I tell the older generation “get back to me in 50 years” to which they respond “I won’t be here” and I say “yes, but I will be”), I am also open to information from all sides of the equation. At this point, I promote the idea of conservation, regardless of whether global warming is an actual problem or not.

My maternal grandparents met on a Sierra Club hike back in the 1920’s, I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and I spent several years living in Berkeley, CA, so the idea of conservationism, radicalism, and generally speaking out about personal beliefs is hardly new to me. On the contrary… I’ve had plenty people tell me to shut up since I was a little kid.

Last year I started attending locally hosted Green Drinks events. What I find difficult about networking with other green businesses, especially at these events, is that so many of them are construction-based industries. I know there are many, many vintage clothing sellers like myself out there, but how many of them consider themselves “green” businesses? I know I certainly do.

I believe clothing should have a generational lifespan, being worn for more than just a season, and perhaps by many people. The idea of buying something only to wear once–even a wedding dress!–is abhorrent to me. Until the advent of industrial weaving factories in the 19th century, clothing that was too worn out to wear was recycled over and over again in a multitude of different ways. Kimono were originally designed to last at least three generations, as silk textiles stored and treated well have a lifespan of around a hundred years.

Joseph Had a Little OvercoatAn excellent example of textile recycling is a traditional folk song, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, put into book form by Simms Taback. Read it with your kids/grandkids/neighbor’s kids! Better yet, volunteer at your local library and read it to kids there. I’m sure they’ll have a copy.

SalaulaAnother look at the concept of clothing recycling is Salaula, The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia by Karen Tranberg Hansen. Ever wonder where your donations to Goodwill go if Goodwill doesn’t sell them? There’s an entire industry devoted to moving used clothing from the US to other nations. This book takes a look at how this has historically been handled in Zambia and how it has affected the native culture in both positive and negative ways.

I could go off in several different tangents at this point, connecting to cotton production, pesticide use, industrial weaving mill conditions, mill closures in the US, the loss of skilled hand weavers in Japan, etc. but I’ll save those connections for another post.

For a good cause – AIDS Walk ’08

A friend of mine will be walking in the San Francisco AIDS Walk on July 20, 2008. Since I can’t be there myself, I will donate 50% of the sale of these scarves to sponsor him. I’ll be busy fringing more this weekend, but here are the first two to get you thinking about cool summer nights, and brisk fall days coming up in September (not so far away!). Click on the images to view them in my Etsy shop.

Upcoming events for July

For those of you in Oregon or planning a trip to Oregon in July, lucky, lucky you! I’ll be doing two events in July where you will have the opportunity to try on a kimono, have your own appraised, or buy yourself a beautiful vintage one and learn how to wear it.

The first event will be Thursday evening, July 17 from 6-8 pm in Bend at Between The Covers book store. If you haven’t checked this place out yet, you are in for a treat, both figuratively and literally. Haley, the owner, has stocked her shelves with a wonderful assortment of old favorite candies. Here’s a pic of her and some friends in front of the shop, a restored market from Bend’s early days:

Next up is the Second Annual Kimono Fashion Show at SakéOne on Saturday, July 26, 6-8 pm with live music by The Slants. General admission is $8 and 25% of gate fees from the SakéOne Summer Concert Series benefit Mercy Corps’ Voices for a Silent Disaster Fund.

I love doing this event, as I am a huge fan of the Coconut Lemongrass Saké made right there on the premises. Come early, take a tour of the facilities and get a taste of the local specialties. Yum! If you’ve never had saké, think you don’t like saké, or are just curious as to how it is made, this is a great place to visit. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and go out of their way to find the best saké to suit your taste or that of a friend, if you are choosing a bottle for a gift.

As for the KimonoMomo website, I’ve gone back to the old format for the time being. Vintage kimono will be up and available shortly, as I’m busy working on photographing, measuring and inspecting some new kimono this week.


Website woes

I’m driving myself ever so slightly round the bend trying to redo the KimonoMomo website on my own and have no idea when it will be finished. If I become totally baffled, I’ll be giving Cheri at Red Lime web design a call and get this site sorted. Her rates are very reasonable, but I’ve just spent my entire budget on more kimono this month and now I’m stuck with a pile of kimono that I need to sell and an incomplete website to sell them on.

Ugh. I need an assistant.

Free Fiber Giveaway for July

I’ll admit it, I’ve been at a total loss as to what to offer for July’s giveaway. I’ve avoided posting, felt guilty and foolish (not to mention unprepared), and finally came to the conclusion that I should simply offer a gift certificate for $10 good for anything in my Etsy shop. The winner will be chosen with help from the random number generator at on midnight, Tuesday, July 8. Post early, post often, and keep reading!

Oh no!

I got so caught up in my children’s last day of school and need to clean the studio that I completely forgot to photograph the giveaway for July. Mia culpa. The June giveaway winner has been randomly picked (courtesy of and I am waiting to hear back from her before I announce her name.

In the meantime, know that things are moving right along at Chez Kimono and there will be oodles of new goodies to look over shortly, updates on the sashiko project (which keeps getting bigger), plus a new fabric giveaway for you to wish for. Stay tuned!

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