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…

Home again, with an extra suitcase or two

I left California two weeks ago with a half-filled medium-sized suitcase and a nearly empty duffel bag. I returned from Japan two days ago with those bags packed to bursting and added even more; a new, larger suitcase and a box, both filled with kimono, haori, obi, raw silk, furoshiki, books, obijime, yukata, and other…

Book Review: Sashiko by Agnès Delage-Calvet

Sashiko : japanisch sticken by Agnès Delage-Calvet with photographs by Frédéric Lucano 2007, Haupt Publishing. ISBN 978-3-258-07134-3 Language: German I stroll through Amazon from time to time seeking out new sashiko books to add to my library. It doesn’t matter what language they are in, all are welcome. This slim volume starts off with a…

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…

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,…

Book reviews: Sashiko books in English part I

I’m going to take this in stages as there are so many books to choose from! Some of the more recent books that I will review tomorrow include those by Sylvia and Kitty Pippen, authors and textile artists who are comfortable taking sashiko and developing it into more than just the typical white-thread-on-indigo look that…

Book reviews: Japanese sashiko craft books

Japanese craft books, you gotta love ’em. The bright, clear photos presented in an easy to understand step by step format and abundant diagrams. Never mind if you can’t read Japanese, the visuals alone will get you through the process. Also known as “mooks,” a hybrid of magazine and book, these tend to be smallish…