New in the shop: Sashiko Southwest

"Protecting Beauty" from Sashiko Southwest

“Protecting Beauty” from Sashiko Southwest

Joyce Perz of Sashiko Southwest is an artist with a vision. She enjoys the classic style of Japanese sashiko, but living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she is exposed to Southwest Native American tribal art in all its beautiful geometry. In combining the two she has created a collection of beautiful hybrid designs.

I had the pleasure of meeting Joyce while I was working at AQS Quilt Week Albuquerque in January of this year. Her personality and energy were inspiring, and I was excited to see her kits fly off the display in my booth during show.

Printed on Kona cotton with a wash-out ink, these kits are similar to the widely available Olympus kits many of us are already familiar with, but with a playful flair and unique take on both Native American art and traditional Japanese design.


“Fish in the River” from Sashiko Southwest

While these look great with white thread on dark blue cotton, you could spice one up with a change of thread color, or use it as a centerpiece in a larger project.


These little kits make inexpensive, easy weekend projects, or bring one along to do while you’re waiting for an appointment (that’s how I get a lot of my sashiko done!). No hoop needed, just fabric, needle, thread, and maybe a sashiko thimble.

I have several designs available in the Kimonomomo Etsy shop right now and available at quilt shows (check the schedule to the right), or you can order directly from Joyce at


New Kona Bay fabrics in the Kimonomomo Etsy shop

Nobu Fujiyama. NOBU FUJIYAMA. sigh. So pretty. The entire Serene collection is just gorgeous. And yes, I have all of these in stock right now, even though they don’t all show in the Etsy shop yet. Patience!

kb_serene_panel_blue kb_serene_colorstory_blue1 kb_serene_colorstory_blue2

kb_serene_colorstory_red1 kb_serene_colorstory_red2


Baseball and Sashiko

I’m teaching a few sashiko classes this fall, so I’ve been working on demonstration pieces to share with the students. I was working on one of them last night while Thomas and I listened to a baseball game on the radio. We cut off our cable TV a few months back to save money and our sanity, and the benefits have also included more time working together in the living room in the evenings. I’d say it’s been good for our relationship. :-)

This was made using pieces of vintage yukata cotton and Hida variegated sashiko thread #201 in the photo below.



Want to take the class? Live in the greater SF Bay Area? Check it out on Eventbrite. 

New in the Kimonomomo shop: a rainbow of vintage yukata bolts

Summertime is yukata season, and in the Kimonomomo studio that means getting the dozens of yukata bolts I’ve had hiding on the shelf (some for years) out into the sunshine where I can photograph them in the best light. Here are a few of my favorites, old and new.

Click on the images to view and purchase these fabrics in my Etsy shop. 

This one is a firecracker of a floral. Mixing shadows and light, it pops with bright colors and whispers with sketched lines. yu_indigo_274963.1

A bit of ice and fire, with a punch of flower power. These blue and red flowers almost look like sea anemones.


Bold bamboo with a background of… even more bamboo. This one is soft and drapes beautifully. I’ve been thinking of some projects I could do with it (which is why I held on to it for so long), but I think it was getting impatient just waiting for me to make up my mind.


Want a little variety? Try making a quilt with these 8 packs of yukata fabrics. Each piece measures on average 13″ long by 14″ wide and the pieces are grouped by theme and color to help you on your way to making a gorgeous quilt or other project.


indigo floral yukata prints – 8 pack

pastel floral yukata prints – 8 pack

This last one is possibly my all-time favorite, at least until the next amazing print comes along! There are so many gorgeous ones to choose from, but I could work with this one all day and not get tired of it.


I hope you find some new favorites of your own from among these and the others I have available right now. Visitors to the studio can dig through the dozens of others available, plus many kimono silk bolts and a wall of wide quilt cotton bolts.

We’ll be working on our next video this week while Thomas has a little time left before school starts, and I have a tiny bit of time before my next show. See you soon!



Mother’s Day Coupon Code!

There are so many new fabrics in the shop to play with, and I’m a mother, so… coupons codes for you! Use the code MOTHERSDAY14 at checkout for 15% off your purchase at my Kimonomomo Etsy shop from now until midnight on Mother’s Day, which is May 11, 2014 in the USA. Share the code, share the love!

Here’s a peek at what’s new in the shop right now, with plenty more to come:

Daiwabo Japanese cotton taupes



New Sashiko kits from Olympus



The Great Wave Off Kanagawa and other Hokusai prints



Fujix Persimmon dyed threads Kakishibu – 柿渋

thread_persimmon_allI’m a huge fan of natural indigo, but sometimes a different color can be refreshing. Kakishibu (柿渋) is a tannin made from shredded and fermented green persimmons. If you’ve ever tasted an unripe persimmon then you are familiar with the astringency it can have! Aside from giving you a puckery mouth, this astringency has some handy uses.

This water-based dye lends water resistance to wood and fiber, and is reported to be antibacterial and an insect repellant as well.

thread_persimmon1.1From soft blonde to deep red and aged wood brown, Kakishibu-dyed fibers will change over time with exposure to the elements. It’s impossible to dye consistent color every time, so even within this collection of threads there will be variation from batch to batch. While this may be undesirable for some projects, when working with vintage fabrics or vintage-look fabrics, it is ideal for expressing a sense of wabi sabi (侘寂).

#1 Rikyunezumi(Green Tea Gray)
#2 Chojicha (Clove Brown)
#3 Kakishibu(Astringent Persimmon Brown)
#4 Suzumecha(Sparrow Head Brown)
#5 Kurezome(Dusky Brown)

Important information from the Fujix website:

Note on the use of persimmon ingredient-dyed thread

Even in the same color number, its shade slightly differs from others depend on the lot, as the dyeing process is being made all by hand. It has the peculiar smell to persimmon tannin.To avoid the extreme shade change, refrain from keeping it in the place that gets sunlight directly. If you wash it with a mild alkaline detergent and/or in water which contains a lot of iron, it may turn black. In case it was blackened, putting it in water which is diluted by vinegar or reconstituted lemon juice will bring the color back to some extent. Do not use the detergent which contains bleach, because it will lose the colors. Please pay special attention to handle as the persimmon ingredient dyeing is weak against rubbing and its color may stain to others.

Sashiko boro quilt

quilt_blueboro1If you’ve seen me at a show or come to the Kimonomomo studio in the last few months, you’ve probably seen the quilt I’ve been working on. Pieced from Alexander Henry, Moda, Olympus, and Kona Bay prints, plus a few 19th century katazome cottons, it’s coming together nicely.

Piecing took two days using a 1959 Singer sewing machine. The batting is bamboo, which is thin, light, and amazing. Sashiko through two layers of fabric and batting? Not with anything other than bamboo. It’s held together well with just a bit of basting, hasn’t shifted at all, and is smooth to sew through with my thick sashiko needles and thread.

Several of the fabrics in the quilt have since sold out, but I do have a few of them left in stock, and a few that are similar but not the exact same colors used. This simple blue and off-white Moda print is the backing, which is great for hiding any odd stitches because the design is so visually distracting, yet at the same time very subtle. moda kasuri blue

I’ve incorporated a few antique katazome pieces as well. They are mostly homespun and naturally dyed with indigo in the 19th century. You might think such antiques would be delicate things, but no. They hold up like iron.

The thin turquoise threads are the basting threads. I was in a hurry when I put them in and they are pretty sloppy. At the time I didn’t know how well the bamboo batting was going to work out, and that it wouldn’t slip around at all, so that was a fortunate discovery!

Much of the time I’m following along a design, not giving it too much fuss. I do a lot of the sashiko while I’m in my booth at a quilt show, in my hotel room in the evenings after a show day, or sitting on my living room sofa with the dogs. I didn’t want to plot out complicated designs that would involve counting, but I did want to go for an interesting texture. Working through one square at a time, I’ve found a look for each fabric that I’m happy with. Some are rows of straight lines and nothing else, but some have some real character. quilt_blueboro3 quilt_blueboro2

quilt_blueboro5This set of straight lines evolved on the last day of a 4-day show in Phoenix, Arizona this February. I was tired and looking forward to my flight home, but facing a full afternoon of packing up the booth. The straight lines were a sign of frustration, but I love them. They feel wonderful, and they inspired me to include more simple lines into the quilt. I have switched it up a bit by using different shades of blue, from darkest indigo to lighter sky blues, and some Hida variegated blue here and there. I’ve got a mix of Olympus and Hida threads in this quilt, and I find both easy and pleasant to use.

Daisy approves.
quilt_blueboro7 quilt_blueboro6

Want to make a quilt like this one? Here are links to the items I have in stock:

Batting – Winline organic bamboo
Fabrics – search for Moda “Kasuri”, Alexander Henry “Hamada Stripe” and “Genmai Teacup”, Olympus “Family Crests” is here. I will have more antique katazome in stock soon.

Sashiko needles and thimbles

Sashiko thread

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