Postcard from Houston International Quilt Market 2016

Wow! What a busy show this year. I’ll keep this short because I’m off to build my booth for Quilt Festival and the preview night is tonight… and I need more coffee. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little window into the show. Some of the quilts in the video are from Japanese…

Antique doll kimono – My New Year Challenge – part 2

In the West we tend to think of kimono as a static garment, always one style, one type of construction. Over the past decade I have handled a wide variety of vintage kimono, mostly from the 20th century, and the style, color, quality of weave, etc. do change the same as our own garments, although perhaps…

I’m in Stitch Magazine again – The Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews

This is a very yummy issue if you’re into historical and costume dramas in general and Downton Abbey in particular, which the editors at Stitch Magazine certainly are! This very special issue includes instructions to make my tsumugi silk sashiko pillow. I do carry all the supplies needed, including the fabric, but not all supplies…

Octopus or Jewel?

Flipping through reference books while looking for examples of goldwork embroidery, I stumbled onto a page in Flowers, Dragons, & Pine Trees that made me pause, somewhat concerned, and turn the book upside-down. The image, plate 77 on page 234, is credited as an indigo dyed Kasuri Futonji from the 19th or 20th century. From the text,…

Book Review: The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook

Susan Briscoe is a familiar name to many sashiko stitchers here in the West, and rightfully so. The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook: Patterns, Projects and Inspirations (2005) is a book I would suggest anyone getting started with sashiko would benefit from having in their library. The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook starts the reader off with a colorful…

Defining styles: Arabesque

I had one of those slap-upside-the-head moments a few days ago while reading through a magazine on mid-century architecture. Looking at a page of beautiful gardens, there was an ornament described as being “Arabesque” and resembling something distinctly Arabic in design. Entirely logical, you might say, but to me, “Arabesque” has always meant either a…

Book Review: Flowers, Dragons, & Pine Trees

Flowers, Dragons, & Pine Trees: Asian Textiles in the Spencer Museum of Art by Mary M. Dusenbury, Hudson Hills Press, 2004 This is a hefty, coffee table-sized book filled with color photos, maps, and a wide selection of textile items from the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri. The…

Hidden gems in your local library

Two of my absolute favorite books for kimono and kimono-related research are The Traditional Crafts of Japan, volumes 1 and 2 of an eight volume series on traditional Japanese crafts published by Diamond, Inc. in 1992. The volumes are rich with historical background and gorgeous color photos, and are eye-catching in their brick red slip…

Tsuzure Ori

I was warned years ago that if I started studying Japanese and didn’t have many opportunities to speak the language, I’d lose it. This has sadly come to pass. Taking a few steps away from my kimono-focused business over the past few months, the words have been gradually slipping away from me. Conversational Japanese went…

Meiji Ningyo Restoration, part III

After removing the layers of kimono and juban, I spread them out to air for the night. I wrapped the doll in a tea towel, laid him flat on a table and went to bed. In the morning, I found the smell from the dirty, dusty clothing to be cloying and not particularly pleasant. Even…

Book reviews: Sashiko books in English part II

Continued from yesterday’s post, here are four more excellent sashiko books in English. Once again, these are listed by publication date. Quick summary statements are underlined. Click on the title links to purchase. Japanese Country Quilting: Sashiko patterns and projects for beginners by Karen Kim Matsunaga. Kodansha, 1990. 96 pages. An excellent all-in-one sashiko reference,…