May 18, 2013 (part 2) Japan

Itchiku Kubota Museum Wayside flowers = tsujigahana “I want my textiles to tell a story. I will discover new techniques.” – Ichiku Kubota Gold work on kimono “Ou” c. 2002 #17 in exhibit – At least four types of thread. Bricked and sometimes top outlined. Thin and thick bands, gold and silver. Kimono colors gold…

May 18, 2013 Japan

Isobe, Gunma, Japan If there is space to stand, there is space to put a garden. If there is space for a stone monument, there will be a cemetery. Side by side out here in the country, stones and flowers comfort the living and the dead. Things you find at a shrine: salt and water;…

May 14 & 15, 2013 Japan

Traveling with The Silk Experience tour Day 1 On the bus. Cemeteries so compact, rice fields everywhere, so green with trees. Our group is like a flock of birds, chirping, settling down, taking off again. 10 am the sun is breaking through. Walls along the highway cut off most neighborhood views. Tile roofs, electrical wires…

Nov. 11, 2012 Cardiff, Wales

Sunday in the pub, Cardiff There’s a pervasive loneliness to solo travel. I’m the sort of person who makes off-handed comments to strangers all the time, but here I feel out of my depth. Everyone seems so settled, not interested in chatting with a somewhat scruffy stranger. I suppose I’m much the same as them…

Indigo Sashiko Boro Leggings

These pants go by various names depending on where you look: Mataware また割り(splits), Momohiki 股引, Matahiki また引き. Essentially they  are a type of trousers worn tight at the calf and baggy at the hip. Common in rural Japan until the early 20th century, these were worn by shop workers and farmers alike. These are different from Mompe…

Little House Japanese Sewing Thimbles

We stock several types of sewing thimbles from the Japanese brand Little House, and I use many of them myself. Which one(s) do you need? That depends on the type of sewing you do, how large or small your hands are, the length of your fingers, your mobility issues (if any), preference for vegan or…

Big Blue Boro

Closeup view of one of Carol’s favorite antique Japanese indigo boro!

Sashiko and Double Gauze – the Ripple Effect

Sashiko doesn’t have to involve a lot of fancy stitches. Sometimes you can achieve delightful visual and tactile effects with a simple straight stitch. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using double gauze cotton fabrics. What is double gauze? It’s exactly what the name implies: two layers of cotton gauze fabric,…

Quilting with Sashiko

My mom was a hand quilter, which makes it logical that after watching her enjoy it for so many years,  I’d come to appreciate handwork, too. The slow pace, the gentle and rhythmic stitching, and the fabulous texture of it all. There are some aspects of hand quilting I do not enjoy so much, especially…