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…

Thimbles thimbles thimbles! And more thimbles.

As an avowed thimble-hater in my youth, I never expected to carry so many in my shop that I would actually use. You may have heard me evangelize the merits of a sashiko palm thimble, either leather or metal, and seen me wearing both at a quilt show or teaching event. I do use these regularly…

New in the Kimonomomo shop: Vintage Japanese Ceramics

For the past two years or so I’ve been squirreling away stashes of vintage ceramics I’ve been picking up from estate sales, antique shops, and other sources. In Japan last year I had to resist the urge to buy even more as I didn’t have room in my three suitcases that were already stuffed with kimono, obi,…

Tulip Sewing Needles a’plenty

Tulip, a sewing needle manufacturer in Hiroshima, Japan, recently celebrated its 65th anniversary. Founded in 1948 to make fishing needles, the company switched to more crafty consumers in the 1950s when they began exporting crochet hooks and knitting needles. Now well-known for their quilting needles and beading tools, Tulip has refined their product for a…

Video of mechanized silk looms in a Japanese obi factory

It’s not the best footage, but this view of a working Japanese textile mill is entertaining if you enjoy seeing how machinery works, which I do. The sound inside this mill is a lot of clacking and thrumming, not very musical and quite monotonous. However, I enjoy watching the various bits of this and that moving about…

Fujix Persimmon dyed threads Kakishibu – 柿渋

I’m a huge fan of natural indigo, but sometimes a different color can be refreshing. Kakishibu (柿渋) is a tannin made from shredded and fermented green persimmons. If you’ve ever tasted an unripe persimmon then you are familiar with the astringency it can have! Aside from giving you a puckery mouth, this astringency has some…

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…

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…

Ringing in the New Year with a pile of old indigo

I spent New Years Eve picking apart two vintage cotton kasuri kimono, stitch by stitch. The one on the right with the cypress fence design (numazugaki 沼津垣) was so carefully sewn that it was a terror to disassemble. However, I wasn’t the first one to have taken this kimono apart, as evidenced by how it had…

Product Review: KARISMA Washable Fabric Pencil

Among the goodies I picked up at the Houston International Quilt Market this year was a selection of KARISMA pencils. I’ve been a fan of mechanical pencils since the mid-1980s when my friend and artist Kristine Schramer introduced me to them. The ease with which I could draw a fine line and erase any mistakes…

Hida Sashiko Thread

I’ve been selling sashiko thread in my shop since 2008, and it’s always been Olympus thread, nothing else. I knew of other brands, but Olympus has been a dependable brand for me, and I’ve been very happy to have it in stock and use it in my classes and projects. Earlier this year discovered Hida…