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…

Shakespearean showstoppers

On my trip to London in November 2012, I took the tour at the new Rose Theatre in Southwark, right on the Thames. It is a beautiful tour showcasing the amazing craftsmanship and dedication that went into building this replica of the original Rose. After making a total ass of myself by throwing in several…

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,…

Winding down

We’re almost to the end of the KimonoMomo shop. When I started buying Japanese silk bolts and kimono in 2005, I had no idea how many times I would be moving house, or how many trunk shows, fashion shows, conventions, street fairs, antique shows, museum events, and classes I would be hosting, teaching, or attending…

Overdyed patchwork Oriental rugs

When I first heard of overdyed patchwork rugs, my reaction was… less than enthusiastic. The concept is to take pieces of rugs too old and worn out to be used as-is, overdye the pieces, and stitch them together to make a new rug. Simple enough, and certainly not new, but recently this type of rug…

Sashiko & Shibori Sari

Here is another textile from Tansu Design; a fabulous 19th or early 20th century stitched and dyed sari from India. I wish I’d had more time to ask questions and a better camera on me when I was in the gallery, but this was the best I could do with my iPhone before running out the…

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…

Sashiko Furoshiki

Wandering around the San Francisco Design District last week, I found this gorgeous HUGE furoshiki at Tansu Design. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my tape measure on me so I couldn’t tell you the exact measurements, but yes, that is a sofa it is draped across. I’d estimate the size to be roughly 4 feet in…

A little sashiko video selection

Poking around YouTube today, I found these videos featuring sashiko. Each one is only a few minutes long, and helpful if you are just starting out, or want to see how others hold needle, thread and cloth. Despite finding very particular directions in every Japanese and English how-to book on sashiko, I’ve found that each…