Friday, 10 May 2019

Tansu for my kimono

I have been collecting kimono since 1991, first by default (I needed kimono for tea ceremony), then I acquired a few more because my neighbours, the Obiya family, taught me how to sew kimono in Yuza-machi, and then I just started buying more, because I loved them! Some are to wear, but the bulk of my collection is for design inspiration, and are too old/small/delicate to be worn.  The one thing I have never had is a proper kimono tansu to store them in. So recently, I started looking...

We found quite a few old tansu on recent trips to Japan, but the logistics of getting them shipped over here proved difficult.  It would cost a lot to ship one (over £1000), then there would be the cost of Customs Duty and VAT, plus the risk that it could get damaged on the way over. These are some of the tansu we looked at in second hand shops in Japan. 

I had looked in the UK too, but, unlike in the USA, we don't get many old issho dansu (clothing tansu) for sale here. Most of those that do occasionally come up for sale are not the 'kimono dresser' kind at all - with drawers inside of cupboards, a feature I really like - and tend to be rather expensive antiques.  I also realised I was going to need either more than one, or a very big tansu.

A few weeks ago, I got lucky - the right one appeared on eBay, in the UK! So we bought it and collected it a few weeks ago. We had to hire a van, because it is almost 6ft long, and separates into three sections.

Here is is reassembled temporarily.  It needs a few minor repairs but is in excellent condition for a piece of furniture from c1900.

These are the seller's photos.  It has an interesting history, because it was taken first to Korea during the Japanese occupation, and imported to the UK from there. The wood is Japanese keiyaki (elm), the carcass is mainly pine, and the drawers are kiri (paulownia).

Soon it will be home to my oldest kimono and obi. I love it. You can see some of my kimono collection here, when I had two exhibitions at Llangollen, ten years ago.

My latest quilt project

This is a quilt I'm making as a gift, but I don't think it will be spotted on here! The fabric is 'Frida la Catrina' by Alexander Henry, the block layout is my Irori quilt, and the cutting method is from Paula Doyle's 'Easy Stack Quilts'. The fabric takes a bit of prepping before you cut, as the stack of four layers is held together with tailors tacks, so it can't shift, but the result is well worth it! I used 3 metres of fabric, which was a bit of a squeeze for this quilt, which has no sashing to eke out the blocks.  After arranging the cuts to make the most of the figures in the fabric (I didn't want to loose their faces), I assembled a few of the leftovers to fill in the gaps.

Two blocks where the rectangles were pieced from thinner strips.

If you like the effect, there's also a Facebook group you can join to see other Easy Stack quilts made by group members.

It was longarm quilted by Fiona Garth at Quilt Sandwich in Bridlington - the pattern is 'Dahlia', the national flower of Mexico (that's where the quilt will be going to live).

The quilt came back yesterday! Sorry, no photo of the whole quilt top yet, as it rained yesterday evening so I couldn't get a good outdoor shot. here are a few details for now.

We decided to use an off white thread, so it wouldn't make a dark line where it crossed the faces on the quilt.  It gives a lovely delicate effect on the darker background areas.

All I have to do now is bind and label it.  Will post more photos soon.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Sashiko and the Knit and Stitch Show at the Rheged Centre

It has been a while since I managed to add any photos of student sashiko work, so here is Joyce Petrie's lovely sampler from the final sashiko course at Edinburgh.  It is going to be shown in her group's exhibition in May (more details coming soon) and also at the Sashiko in Stockton exhibition at All Saints' Church, Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees, on Saturday 20th July (more info on my website events page).  Here's the poster for the Busy Bees exhibition -

This version of my koi carp was stitched by Marian Nichols.  I'm revisiting this design at the moment, and working on a new version...

This little boro inspired landscape was my workshop at the Spring Quilt Festivals at Newark and Harrogate, and I am teaching it again this weekend at the Knit and Stitch Show at the Rheged Centre, Penrith.  Sorry, it is already sold out! I think I will have to do it as an online tutorial sometime. I'm also giving a free talk there on Saturday, 'Japanese Sashiko - working together'.

I was on Sewing Quarter TV again last Sunday, with two one hour sashiko lessons (2nd and 4th hour of the show), focusing on using the sashiko panels I created for Olympus.

We've been at several shows this year, including the Spring Quilt Festivals and World Textile Days, and the boro side of things is getting more and more popular! So we are taking recycled vintage Japanese fabrics for sale too. These bags were made in my boro bag workshops in 2018.

My 2018 - 2019 sashiko couse at Stockton is now finished, and my students have some amazing collections of blocks to put together in their samplers. The dates for my 2019 -2020 Stockton course are now on my website (events page) along with the two sashiko summer schools I'll be teaching too.  Please contact me via the website if you are interested in booking.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

World Textile Day South East - photos

Here's a few photos from World Textile Day South East last Saturday, at East Horsley. We had a great day and met many friends. 

We won't be at the next WTD, which is in May, but will be at all the others  Maybe see you there?