Jan 21, 2016

Little House on the Prairie influenced Japanese quilters

Just published today: a guest post for the "Little House on the Prairie" website! The timing coincides with the opening of the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2016... the world's largest quilting event and a place filled with a generation of women who were inspired and influenced by this iconic American TV show.

Read the whole post here.

 Anyone out there have fond memories of the Laura Ingall's books and tv show? I certainly do. There's a whole new set of remastered DVDs of the show... might have to do some binge watching one day.

Jan 16, 2016

Japan and indigo... a natural combination

One of the beautiful things about living the life of an author and researcher (and photographer) is days like this.

After many months of research and study... and digging through tons of material... and then email after email ... and translations .... and schedules ... I ended up here. At the home and studio of an artist who has revived the tradition of indigo dyeing using only natural materials. No chemicals.

It was such an amazing experience to finally be here... up in the mountains outside Kyoto... in this quiet country town... at the home of a family that have dedicated their lives to textiles.

Indigo is native to Japan and people here have been using this rich plant to dye textiles for centuries. Today most people enhance their indigo dyes with chemicals.

But this visit was to see the real deal...

A special moment indeed.

I took tons of great photos and it was such fun... and such a learning experience. The vats of indigo are essentially alive and must be carefully cared for... stirred multiple times a day. The commitment by the artist to continue this tradition is a rare and precious gift for us all.

Jan 14, 2016

coffee & quilts in Osaka

Yesterday, I had a super quick visit to the newly opened Moda Fabrics / Moda Coffee shop in Osaka. Such a cool concept. 

We all know brick and mortar quilt shops around the world struggle... so this fresh idea (which just opened this week!!) might be just the thing to spark more activity and sales at local shops.

I'm back in Japan researching my second book and I've learned so much my head is spinning. Spent several days in Tokyo, working in and around Osaka now... and I will eventually make my way back to Tokyo for the massive Tokyo Dome Show.

It was cool to see this new store... take a deep breath... and come in from the cold!

I really hope this store is successful... would love to see the idea spread to the West! Thanks Moda Japan for hosting me!

Jan 5, 2016

January in Japan means quilts!

Packing my bags for my third trip to Japan in two years!

So excited to be returning to this beautiful country. I am researching a second book and I will be traveling all over studying textiles, cotton, quilts, textile designers, and so much more.

I plan to post blog updates when I have time.

Of course... me and a quarter-million other quilters will be attending the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2016.

Looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

If you're interested, you can follow along here and on Instagram and my public Facebook page.

Jan 3, 2016

and now for something totally different: sewing a leather purse

Hello World. I made a leather purse! I believe I might just be a genius.
Yes, I made this! Here's how.

First I went to the purse graveyard.

Chose my TWO favorite purses...

Hmmm... which one do I want to make?

The red one. But not in red.

Wait... can my Bernina sew leather? Sort of... I think I asked it to do more than it is really built for. More on this later...

First, practice! Made this a couple weeks ago. Leather trim.

That was a bit tricky. Need more practice!

50% off all Craftsy classes. Perfect! Learned a few more things.

Now I'm ready. Made a pattern. Made a muslin mock up.

Made the lining. Added some awesome pockets. Attached proper hardware.

And you may not agree... but damn, I do feel like a genius.

One last thing. The final touch.

I'm planning to carry my new leather bag on my trip to Japan. Leaving soon. Packing the rest of my bags now. Can't wait!