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…

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…

Kogin Institute, Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan

I visited the Kogin Institute in Hirosaki on January 31, 2017 after visiting the Tokyo Quilt Festival, Takayama, and Osaka. It was a pleasant flight from Osaka to Hirosaki, with the view of snowy mountains most of the way, and many, many empty seats. My companion Toyo looked around the plane, counted the passengers, and…

Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival 2017 part 3

Some photos were taken in a hurry as I rushed from the booth to lunch, or back again. Closeups are all I have of these beautiful quilts. The geometry is complex and amazing. When people who don’t quilt think that quilters are old grannies who sit around making simple blankets, I want to show them…

Travel Notebook Excerpts – Tokyo, Japan – June 2016

I sat in various coffee and tea shops and trains along the way, testing out a portable keyboard I bought in Shinjuku and observing the pace of life as it swirled around me. Here are a few excerpts from my last week in Japan. I hope you enjoy them.  June 11 – Shinjuku – Nihonbashi – Meguro Vintage…

Shinjuku 新宿

I did not intend to end up here. Shinjuku is like Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip rolled into one, but crammed into one of the world’s largest cities and built without realistic building codes or much space. It is a little crazy. More than a little. It feels like craziness compressed. The decision to…

Why is kimono fabric so narrow?

There is a lot of confusion among Westerners about this issue. We are accustomed to cutting patterns for clothing, quilts, and crafts from 42″-44″ wide bolts, so the idea that a bolt could be so much narrower–12″-15″–seems, well, foreign. Considering the width of a basic backstrap loom, the narrow fabric makes sense. Backstrap looms are easy…

市松人形 Antique doll kimono – My New Year Challenge – part 3

A little background on what makes a doll an Ichimatsu ningyo… 人形 Ningyo = doll. That’s the easy part. 佐野川 市松 Sanogawa Ichimatsu (1722-1762) What have come to be called Ichimatsu dolls were first produced in the Kampô and Hôreki eras (1741 – 1764), the faces designed to resemble Sanogawa Ichimatsu, a Kabuki actor who was famous for…

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…

Antique doll kimono – My New Year Challenge – part 1

You may remember the antique doll I found in a consignment shop a few years back — links at the bottom of this post if you’d like to see the story — and how his restoration went. The very talented Anne Weaver did an excellent job repairing the doll, but the person who worked on cleaning…

Time for a sale!

I brought Thomas along with me to Quilt Market this year in the hope that he would keep my spending under control, but that wasn’t the case. We did stay on budget… until he left and I had one more day at Market on my own to do a little shopping. So! This means I…