Hiroshima 広島 – Home of Tulip Needles

Riding the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Hiroshima I had plenty of time to relax notice the smaller details which usually go by the wayside. For example, the formality with which every member of the train crew interacts with passengers. As a crew member exits a car, he or she will pause and bow to the…

Sashi.co – Interview with Keiko Futatsuya

I first stumbled onto Keiko Futatsuya’s work two years ago while searching for botanically-dyed sashiko thread. She was working with Hida Sashiko at the time, but has since moved on to produce her own work as an independent artist and designer. The quality of her work is amazing, and has developed over time to reflect…

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,…

A break in the weather – Kyoto 京都市

Leaving Nagoya and hauling 80 lbs of luggage onto the train, I worried about the rain that had been forecast for Kyoto, but I got lucky. The weather stayed dry. Sort of. Kyoto is hot. And humid. Steamy, muggy, drippy, swelteringly, oppressively hot and humid. My first day here I wandered around the historic Higashiyama district,…

Have another cup of tea – Nagoya 名古屋市

At home I drink gallons of tea, or coffee if it’s a particularly rough day. In Japan it’s been no different. Hotel rooms and friends’ homes are stocked with green tea, consumed at any and all hours of the day. Comfort in a cup. This morning I’m looking out over Nagoya’s industrial skyline at the…

Getting Ready to Fly

So many things are going on at once it’s hard to keep up. My daughter is pregnant, which is exciting. She and her fiance are moving in with us because we happen to live in the part of the US with the highest cost of living, and they don’t have a lot of other options. It’s…

April News: New Sashiko Challenge, Japan Trip, and Shows

Yes, I missed another deadline. I had promised to show you the Spring Sashiko Challenge on April 1 and it’s now April 7 and I’ve finally put it together (see below). We had a quilt show on April 2-3 which slowed me down a bit, plus it’s been very busy in the shop lately (thank you!)…

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…