Saturday, 15 February 2014

As Many Crafts As There Are Stars In The Sky

We have had more snow in Tokyo so it has been a good time for more crafting. Before it struck I made a second visit to Asakusabashi, where I went on a craft tour a few weeks ago. I had done some more research and found this website by a woman who writes crime mysteries based in Japan. She has some great tips on where to go in Tokyo. I had just been intending to get a ring and bracelet finding from one of the bead shops and then check out the washi paper shop to make sure it was worth bringing Mumsy here when they visit next month. It's so hard, though, to go to a bead shop with 4 large floors and only buy findings from the ground floor. Especially when they have examples on display. I basically had no chance.
Ring medley
Especially when the tutorial sheet was 50 yen (about 30p). Isn't it purty?
Finished Star Ring
I've never used glass gems in settings before. It was very fiddly but once you get the first spoke down it gets easier. I think the materials cost about £5 all in. I will definitely be making a few of these as presents!

Then the washi paper shop. Wow, that place is good. It is basically chock full of kits for all sorts of traditional crafts and you know how I am about trying a new craft. Plus Mumsy has already said she is after exactly this kind of thing so I kind of had to try one to see how she'd get on with all japanese instructions. I was just being a dutiful daughter...
Washi bowl medley
You get given the scored cardboard, black paper, templates for cutting out the papers, wooden knob, instructions (with lots of pictures) and can then choose your own washi paper from about 50 designs - traditional and modern in the most amazing colours. I was immediately drawn to this one. You know I am powerless against polka dots.
washi paper bowl
I have never been particularly interested in paper crafts but these are a whole different kettle of fish. The kit was about £7 including the paper and you use masking/sellotape and white glue to do the rest. It probably took about 3 hours all together but isn't it beautiful? I have told myself I cannot go back until Mum arrives as otherwise the flat will be full of boxes and baskets and purses and pictures and more, all made out of these beautiful papers.

And what of the findings I went for in the first place?
Ring medley
Not my neatest of projects considering I just hot glued the stuffed fabric into place but perfectly feasible. Plus a surefire way for me to stop stabbing myself with the pins and needles I end up sticking in my jeans when I am in full flow. So far I am using the ring one the most but once I am machine sewing again I expect the wrist one (which is actually intended for use as a hair band) should be very handy. I do have one of the commercial wrist ones with the plastic strap but they are always very scratchy and uncomfortable. This is much nicer and the insertion of a 1 yen coin at the base of the blob means I don't stab myself. Always a bonus!

Some people would think this is enough craft for one week but they would be wrong. I finally bought the fabric for my one-block-wonder which I signed up for back in September. I decided on EPP since I prefer hand sewing patchwork to machining it. I carefully folded and cut the fabric and am gradually transferring the left (the original fabric) into the right (four hexagons).
one block wonder medley
I am not fussy cutting (i.e. trying to get certain parts of the pattern into certain triangles) so this is entirely a random process but I've always been fascinated by it when I've seen quilts using this technique before. As always with this technique, I am inspired by my favourite from last year's NEC quilt show:
Out of Africa by Janet Boult
It always fascinates me how this technique exaggerates the elements of the original - focusing your eye in the quilt above on the different patterns within the fabric. With my fabric this is even more exaggerated given the difference between the pink flowers and the green background.

Pooch's response to my various finished objects is generally to nod, frown, and ask what I'm going to make next. Usually I don't have a plan but as it happens I have been thinking a lot about Pojagi (or Bojagi) which is a traditional Korean patchwork way of making wrapping cloths (something that is also very traditional in japan except their cloths tend to be whole cloth with a printed design rather than patchwork). It is also a technique for making transparent quilts and there was a great one at the recent Tokyo Quilt Show.
Korean Silk Quilt
Korean Silk Quilt Detail
I have been researching the seaming technique involved and almost bought some chiffony stuff on my last fabric expedition before reeling myself in and telling myself sternly I should practice with existing fabric before I commit. So at some point in the near future that is what I'll be doing.

6 comments:

Createology said...

Your ring is beautiful. How delightful to discover the beautiful papers and how to cover a box. It is very fabulous in the blue polka dots. Your Mumsy and you will be very happy shopping and creating in Tokyo. Creative Bliss...

Anonymous said...

Too bad that we do not have craft stores that large over here.... We always have to "settle"...

barbara woods said...

beautiful ring and all those quilts too

jan said...

Alex your one block wonder will be gorgeous. I have been wanting to make one and finally ordered the book and am awaiting its arrival.
Have fun.
xo jan

PURLPOWER said...

Oh my life, I have been away from your blog for TOO long! Been caught up in all the other stuff I have going on in my life. Peeked back here and find you in Tokyo making amazing things! Am mighty jealous dude. And sending you sincere love and apologies for disappearing off your radar. xx

PURLPOWER said...

PS. the ring is AMAZING!

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