Jul 17, 2018

how to baste a quilt in 22 seconds...



My house does not have any carpet, so I use the dining room table to baste my large quilts. I actually like it better than crawling around on the floor. Want to know how I do it? Watch this 22 second video. Its not very educational, haha, but its kind of fun to see it all come together so fast.


This quilt is made entirely with AMB - American Made Brand cotton.

I've already started quilting it. I expect it will take quite a while.... the plan is to cover the entire surface with quilting!




Jul 11, 2018

conquering fear to create something special

Teresa Duryea Wong. Quilt top made with antique Japanese fabric. 2018. 70 x 70 inches. All cotton.
Just finished this quilt top. I conquered my fears about cutting into this very special, and very old fabric. All of the fabric in this quilt top came from Japan. The majority of it is antique, 100+ years old. Some of it is vintage, couple decades old. And a few pieces are new fabric. I've been collecting all this fabric for years during my many visits. I purchased some of it at quilt festivals, some directly from dealers, a few pieces were gifts, and I bought a lot of it at temple markets.

For me, every piece of fabric is a very special part of my quilt journey.


I haven't made a traditional style quilt in a long time, but I am very happy with the way this turned out. Before I started cutting, I drew out my pattern. I wanted to make sure I was showcasing these beautiful fabrics, and didn't want to cut them too small. 

Most importantly, I'm thrilled these gorgeous fabrics are no longer sitting in a box... it took a lot of courage to cut them. But I think it was worth it... now they will live on in this new shape.

Next I will start on the quilting. Thinking of hand-quilting it with hand-dyed indigo sashiko thread.



Jun 30, 2018

would you cut up 100-year old Japanese fabric? I did...


When I give lectures to quilt guilds, I always share that quilters should not fear cutting up their favorite fabrics.

The Japanese believe that inanimate objects, such as fabric, have a spirit... and by cutting up these old pieces of cloth, you are giving new life to that spirit.

I've been collecting antique Japanese cotton for years, and they have been sitting in a box... waiting for me. I have to admit, I have been afraid to cut them up!

Teresa Duryea Wong. Work in Progress --- Center Block. Made using very old Japanese cotton. 2018
But I finally decided to practice what I preach! haha... I fearlessly started cutting into these very, very old gorgeous cotton fabrics.


But first I needed a plan. I know many quilters have a plan before they start making a quilt... and I used to fall into that category. But over the last several years, as I have experimented with improv techniques, I've been making quilt tops as I go, improvising, with no plan for how they would finish.

With these fabrics, I needed to plan carefully. Most importantly, I wanted an original design that would showcase the imagery of the fabrics in my collection... meaning I did not want to cut them so small that you could not see the beautiful artistry of the designs.

So I sketched out a pattern and measured each element.


This lovely Katazome indigo print will be the centerpiece. I had one long piece with these intricate turtles and flower motifs, so I designed the center to fit the 6 turtles.

The next 2 images are Kasuri textiles, thread-dyed woven cottons. Old, but not 100 years...



I figure it'll take quite a while to piece this one together. Its an exciting venture... I feel I am creating something very spiritual with fabric that has been passed down and touched by many hands.

Jun 16, 2018

one very special Japanese master quilter: Yoshiko Katagiri

May 2018: I made my annual pilgrimage to Japan and while in Tokyo, I visted a strange and lovely quilt exhibition. 

Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is a "museum hotel"... a very upscale and historic place.



The venue included seven large galleries, some with traditional tatami mats, and each gallery was a work of art on its own with inlaid tiles and very traditional Japanese art on the walls. The rooms were beautiful, but also had very strange lighting on the quilts. So my photos look a little odd....


Many of Japan's master quilters were represented. The exhibtion was juried / invitation only. It was fun to see many lesser known quilt artists too. One quilt in particular caught my eye: this one of the four seasons by Yoshiko Katagiri.

Yoshiko Katagiri has been making quilts for decades, and each year, her quilts get more and more original, more abstract, contemporary and interesting. I was fortunate to see two of her newest quilts during my trip.


Each of these sections represent a season - from the left: spring, then midnight in summer, then fall and winter.

The beautiful circle are hand applique and made from antique silk kimono fabric. And the quilt is hand quilted.


The second Yoshiko Katagiri quilt I saw was at the new festival in Yokohama - Quilt Time Festival.


This quilt is a beatuiful tour-de-force in hand applique. The background is her signature dusty black, all hand-dyed to her specification. The rest is all applique, mostly antique silk.

Yoshiko, and her daughter Masako, have become friends of mine over the years. I have visisted their home in Nara. And Masako is a quilt researcher, so we enjoy helping each other and exchanging notes. I feel so lucky to have met them and count them among my growing group of Japanese friends.


We met for lunch while I was in Yokohoma and snapped this photo after. Its an apt depiction of Yoshiko - she is ALWAYS smiling and laughing. And even though we do not speak the same language, we communicate easily through the language of quilting!









May 24, 2018

conquering the Kyoto flea market

See that red bag? Its filled with antique and vitntage Japanese cotton fabric... purchased today in Kyoto!


On the 25th day of every month, the Kitano Tengmangu temple in Kyoto hosts an open air market. Veterans arrive early for the best stuff!


I conquered my jet lag and bravely arrived at around 630 am. Long before the crowds showed up!

Look closely at everyone's hand in this photo....

They are waiting for the stall owner to lift the tarp and open for business!!! Their hands are holding the fabric they will grab when the tarp is lifted. I had my hand on quite a few amazing goodies as well. 

Here are a few highlights. Vintage Yukata...



And some very old antique Katazome and Kasuri. So lovely.


Beautiful start to the day.

May 18, 2018

tomorrow, tomorrow... off to Japan


Tomorrow, tomorrow... (in the words of "Annie")... I'll be heading back to Japan. This visit will be mostly vacation, versus most of my Japan travels which are filled with research and interviews. I am very excited

This quilt above is one of my favorites and I love to look at it as I head back to the place where all this vintage cotton fabric came from. I'm also about to take my 2nd tour of Mt. Fuji. I feel so blessed to be living this life!

Stay tuned for lots of travel blog posts on all the latest adventures in textiles and quilts from Japan.

1. I'll be attending the BRAND NEW Quilt Time Festival in Yokohama.

2. I am going to see an invitational quilt exhibit sponsored by Japan Handicraft Instructors Association (JHIA) - this will be a best-of-the-best display and I'm really looking forward to it.

3. Heading back to my favorite temple market in Kyoto and plan to purchase all the vintage textiles that I can afford (and carry)!

Timing for this trip is also perfect for me since I just finished a massive new book project (as you saw in my last post). Over the past year, I've been getting around 10 or so important emails every day in response to my research questions and I'd spend days and days incorporating this new information into the manuscript. Towards the end of this project, the emails were coming fast and furious and all day long I was culling the info and making the final edits.  A writer's work is very solitary and tedious, usually slow going, but it can also be stressful ... especially right before a deadline. So now that the deadline has been met, the emails have trickled to zero. Its so strange. The only people who are communicating with me are the click bait ones. So this is the perfect time to go on vacation!

Zero emails and time on my hands.

Teresa Duryea Wong. White Rain. Antique Japanese cotton. White cotton sashiko thread. Hand stitched. 2016.

May 14, 2018

finished a new quilt top - made with American cotton


Just finished this quilt top. Its an original design made with American Made Brand cotton solids.

I started experimenting and made one block. Then I made a very large Nine Patch.


And I liked that so much, I just kept going. Can't wait to start quilting this one... although I have 5 weeks of travel coming up, so it'll have to wait till later in the summer. Something to look forward to! I do love these fabrics - not just the colors - but the whole line of these solids are wonderful. Plus, they are 100% made in America.