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

Washing shibori yukata cotton

Textile junkies love color and texture, and shibori has both in spades. When it comes to using these fabrics and not just collecting them (as my mother so often did), we take a step back and ask, “What is going to happen if I wash this? What if I don’t wash it? Will washing make it bleed, stretch, fade, or lose the loveliness I’ve fallen in love with?”


I was having just such a conversation with my dogs this afternoon while unrolling a vintage shibori bolt. Daisy inspected the fabric, sniffing it, stepping on it, sitting on it, and generally finding it quite nice. Cindy ignored it, as she does everything else that doesn’t smell like food.


The end of the bolt was stained and stretched already, making it a good candidate for experimentation. It was odd-shaped and unable to lie flat, but I liked the design! Butterflies are a harbinger for spring, and I saw a Monarch butterfly in our garden this morning–quite rare in our urban area–so I’m in a butterfly mood these days.


Before washing

Unstretched the fabric measures 11″ x 30″ (28cm x 76.5cm). Stretched it measures 14″ x 35″ (36cm x 89cm).

During washing


I used cold water and mild laundry soap in a small plastic tub. While I did not see any dye bleed, I did see a lot of dirt. Assuming this bolt had been in storage for a while before it came to me, there was probably a significant amount of dust in there. No funky smells (mold, dye, etc.) or other weirdness noted.


Typically I hang vintage Japanese textiles to dry and then press them with an iron while the fabric is still damp. However, in the interest of research and finding out exactly how cotton shibori will fare under different circumstances, I tossed the fabric in the dryer with a clean, dry towel and walked away. Much more liberating than my usual multi-step technique!

Daisy modeling the warm fabric fresh from the dryer.

Daisy modeling the warm fabric fresh from the dryer.

After 20 minutes in the dryer on a regular setting the fabric emerged looking just like it did before washing. No shrinkage to note, and plenty of pointy shibori texture still evident.



I set my iron on high heat/high steam, turned the fabric face down on the ironing board, gave it a spritz of water, and went to it. The result? Much of the texture flattened out, but the fabric retained much of the shibori character I had hoped to keep. The points are no longer as pronounced as they had been, but the design is easier to see and the geometry is beautifully apparent.

Measurements: 14″ x 34″ (36cm x 86cm) unstretched, up to 35″ (89cm) length when stretched.


It could certainly be pressed even more to eliminate the texture, but I’d rather not. At this point I feel confident in using this piece as part of a quilt, knowing that it will change a bit with each future washing, but that’s part of shibori’s beauty; its ability to evolve.


Kumo, bai, and ori nui shibori

If you would like a piece of this shibori for your own projects, you can find it here along with others in the Kimonomomo Etsy shop.

Before and After

Before and After

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