One day during my visit to Tokyo in January, Molly and I were shopping in Harajuku when two women rushed by us in conversation. As they passed, I caught sight of a bag one was carrying and stopped dead in my tracks. "Did you see that?!!" I asked Molly, whose eyes and mouth were as wide as mine. "Go ask her about it!" she replied and in that moment, as we turned, the women disappeared in a crowd down the steps of a subway entrance. Augh!!
Later that same afternoon, browsing new books at the Aoyama Bookstore, I came across a photo of bags similar to that of the elusive woman. The book was an overview of handcrafts profiles and because this photo was the only one of interest, I didn't buy it. (In fact, it was this book I was re-shelving when I ran into Jennifer!) But I did memorize a website address from it.
As I'm writing this post now, I went to snatch a link from the website to show you these fabulous bags and it seems it no longer exists. However, I did some poking around, somehow found the page and, because I don't know how much longer this link will work, urge you to go look at these now! I'll wait...cue the Jeopardy music. AREN'T THEY WONDERFUL???! They suggest so many quilt ideas...so graphic!
For the rest of the visit, I had my eyes open for more of this stitchwork, a sort of colorful, folky interpretation of sashiko, which I tend to think of as traditionally white on blue. I may be wrong on this though; it never really caught my interest before. The day before I left Japan, I came across this book, written by Junko Maeda in 2006. I'm not sure of the exact translation of the name of the book, but it's something like Working/stitching on Cloth Everyday. (Help here, Japanese readers?)
These few will, however, give you an idea of the contents.
At the end of the text, there are several pages of diagrams of a variety of stitch patterns used throughout the book's examples.
Aside from some goofy clothing shots (I'll spare you), I love this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in handstitching, especially big stitch quilting, which we're seeing so much more of lately. If you're adventurous, here's the link to it on Amazon JP.
Once you have your eyes opened to something new like this, it all of a sudden seems to be everywhere. I found this photo on Flickr, in Luana Rubin's set from her recent trip to Japan. She's the owner of eQuilter and it looks like she took a group to the Tokyo show.
You might think I'm doing a book report because I have nothing else to share but you would be wrong!! I've been sewing up a storm the last week...old projects and new ones. More on all that soon. By the way, I've been using the Color Catchers and I am sold on them!! If you didn't read the comments on the Reds and Purples post, you might find them of interest. Several bits of good info regarding color transfer of wet fabric. Ok, that's it for today...have to go prep my Olympics' handwork for the evening.
Oh, one more tidbit. The Tokyo bags? They retail for around $300.