Indigo Unraveling – Kyoto Blue 京都の藍

What is it about indigo textiles that bring up so many sensations? The depth of blue, new or faded; the stiffness of the fibers from repeated dips in the dye vat; the fuzzy nap of fabric from years of use; all of these add to indigo’s allure. It’s alchemical, magical, practical, and deeply, vividly, a part of…

Flower of the Forest – Takayama 高山市

Taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya is a thoroughly modern ride. The high-speed train glides along while the view of lush farmland interspersed with citiscapes rush past. And of course, there’s Mt. Fuji. Transferring at Nagoya to the Hida Express, the journey is somewhat different. The train chugs along, ever upward into the mountains,…

Kimonomomo is going to Japan!

Yes, I’ve been before, but this time it’s different. This time I will be conducting interviews, learning new skills, and sharing it all with you. However, before I set foot in the airport, there are a few things I need to take care of… Scheduling interviews. I’m working on this now with help from artists,…

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…

Chugata, Yukata, and Katazome videos part 1 & 2

I’ve been having fun researching and learning more about Chugata (a form of double-sided stencil dyeing) this week, and how it relates to other Japanese dyeing techniques such as katazome. While I’ve had some of these fabrics for years, I hadn’t really dug into their history too much until now. Here are the first two videos…

New and wonderful sashiko fabrics for 2016

Orders from Houston Quilt Market are starting to arrive! New fabrics, sashiko kits, and a few kits I’m designing right now will be gracing the Kimonomomo Etsy shop over the next few days and weeks. For fans of little pre-printed, wash-out hanafukin (hand towels) there are a few new designs to get your New Year…

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…

New video, upcoming shows, and classes for October

Finally got done editing part 2 of the Deconstructing Kimono videos. They were both long, I’m working on shorter videos but sometimes I have too much fun to keep things brief. Class space is available for the two Sashiko classes I’m offering this month: Voodoo Kitty Pincushions. These will be relaxed, all hand sewing using vintage…

AQS QuiltWeek Grand Rapids Michigan & Japanese Textile Lecture

Helloooo, Grand Rapids! I’ll be heading your way August 11-16 for AQS QuiltWeek and I am very excited. I’ll hit up my two favorite haunts, Reserve and San Chez for fantastic food and drink, do a little shopping downtown, and check out the beautiful architecture of this little gem of a Midwestern city. AQS QuiltWeek brings…