Washing shibori yukata cotton

Textile junkies love color and texture, and shibori has both in spades. When it comes to using these fabrics and not just collecting them (as my mother so often did), we take a step back and ask, “What is going to happen if I wash this? What if I don’t wash it? Will washing make…

Kogin – yet another diversion to keep my hands happy

You know, because I obviously have WAY too much free time. Koginzashi こぎん刺し (or according to various online translations, “concentrated silver stab”) is a regional stitch technique that evolved out of its plain but fascinating older sister, sashiko刺し子. By carefully counting the warp and weft threads of a piece of cloth, a pattern could be devised…

Kimonomomo Shop Updates for March 2014

February blew through the studio, bringing with it two shows (AQS Phoenix AZ & San Mateo, CA), many orders, and several new projects. Between keeping up with the shop and the garden–a lack of rain here meant daily watering so our winter vegetables wouldn’t die–I fell behind on my writing. To catch up, here is…

Swimming in Sateen, and a bit of Tsujigahana

Kona Bay Fabrics have offered Japanese cotton sateens for many years now, but I’ve not ordered any until this month. Why oh why did I wait so long? These are gorgeous! Photos don’t do them justice. The metallic gold is beautifully incorporated into the print, which means it doesn’t stand out as much as it…

Vintage Katazome Comes Clean

Meiji era katazome cottons have a special place in my heart. I started collecting them years ago, back when I could barely afford to, and now it’s become something of a joy and an obsession. The fine dots and designs that remind me of having henna painted on my hands when I was 12 years…

Postcard from Ginza, Tokyo

It’s been a whirlwind of a tour here in Japan. From the picturesque mountain countryside of Gunma, to a lakeside hotel in view of Mt. Fuji, to the packed city streets of Tokyo, every day has been an adventure. I’ve been shopping at used kimono stores over the past few days, finding many treasures and…

Kona Bay’s Hana Bashi Collection by Nobu Fujiyama

Kona Bay Fabrics is known for their wide selection of Japanese-themed fabrics, and two prints from Hana Bashi, the lastest collection from designer Nobu Fujiyama, are now in stock, ready for your spring projects. The colors are a bit darker than they appear on the images, and the metallic gold details are far nicer than…

Shop news and updates for April, 2013

I have no idea what happened to March. It was here, then it was gone. April seems a little more grounded, rooted, and thriving. The shop is buzzing with sales (use the code SPRING at checkout for 15% off until May 1, 2013) and sashiko items have been flying out the door. Going through my…

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…

Olympus Wagara cotton sashiko sampler project part 3

After completing the Persimmon Flower background, I felt the coat needed something. Referencing vintage firemen’s coats I decided to go with a plain stitch, echoing the technique of stitching together multiple layers of cotton to make the coats very thick. Historically, the coat would be drenched in water before the firefighter went forth to battle…

Olympus Wagara cotton sashiko sampler project part 2

Here we go, on to the fun stuff. The magic of Persimmon Flower — Kaki no Hana (柿の花) — is how it evolves. Like an actual blossom, it starts off simple and innocuous, then blooms into something wonderful. And it’s all about the math; if you want the blossoms to be bigger or smaller, you adjust…

Olympus Wagara cotton sashiko sampler project part 1

Last year I stocked a single bolt of Wagara fabric. I wasn’t sure if it was worth the investment (they are pricey, even at wholesale!), but once I felt the fabric in my hands, I knew I’d made the right decision. Olympus, the Japanese company who makes all the sashiko supplies I carry in my…