Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Japanese Online Craft Shops

I could never find a list of these when I looked, so I decided to amalgamate all the leaflets I picked up at last week's Quilt Show. I haven't ordered from these people personally and you'll need to check if they do international shipping if you're not in Japan.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Weekend in Hakone with A Finished Quilt

Pooch and I just had a lovely weekend in Hakone with our friends Noriko and Nari. They own a flat there and although Pooh and I were in the area last December we jumped at a chance to spend a weekend in such a lovely location with such lovely people. It was the perfect time of year to visit.
View of Hakone Fields
See the tiny island out at sea?
View in Hakone
View of Hakone River
The yellow is mainly Ginko trees while the red is Japanese Maple. Beautiful! We also got a peek at Fuji-san (Mount Juji).
View of Hakone Lake
See him? Hiding behind the clouds. Let me do a little artistic rendering...
Kind of Mount Fuji
You could see his edges occasionally as the misty clouds moved across him. On the way there we stopped off at Odawara Castle.
Odawara Castle
That's Pooch there in yellow, blending. It's only a little one but it's the only Japanese Castle I've seen so I was quite excited. There was a Chrysanthemum Festival going on, as you do. Pretty amazing creations.
chrysanthemum competition
chrysanthemum competition
chrysanthemum competition winners
Crazy looking things!

While there I gave Noriko the quilt I had been making her and Nari. Pooch kindly modelled it before we left.
Front - Noriko and Nari's Quilt
Back - Noriko and Nari's Quilt
It is a very simple one and I hand quilted it a little bit about a cm outside the edge of the central white square in each block.

As well as seeing them both AND being in such beautiful surroundings AND being fed to the gills with amazing food by Noriko (who was simultaneously giving Pooch cooking and sashimi cutting lessons) was the Lalique Museum. I frickin love Lalique. I did a project on his jewellery at Art College and it's been love ever since. Sadly it was no photos in the Museum itself but the outside was pretty nice.
Lalique Museum Path
Lalique Museum Door
Detail of Lalique Museum Door
The collection included a number of items I had drooled over in books for the last 15+ years so it was thrilling to be seeing them for real. The man was a genius. 

It was a perfect weekend!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Yokohama Quilt Festival - Part 3

The final part of this write up is all about the shopping. I had arrived shortly after the show opened but it was lunchtime by the time I got to the shopping area. It was filling up and there was a lot to see.
Shopping Area
The big names were there - the sewing machine companies and of course Clover.
Clover Stand
And Olympus, who aren't a name we know in the UK but I'm not sure about the US. In Japan they sell a lot of kits for things featured in magazines.
Olympus Kits Stand
Olympus Cat ad Dog Kits
A big thing on a number of stands was "make your own zip".
Make Your Own Zip Parts
You buy each side of the zip, the pull, the bit of metal that marks the end etc and put it together yourself. I dunno. I guess it was the new product for the year. For me, I was coo-ing over the purse frames.
Plastic Purse Frames
The Hawaiian quilt side of things was well catered for.
Hawaiian Quilt Stand
I realise I didn't post any photos of these, like this one for instance...
...but they are a big thing here. There is a large Japanese population in Hawaii (and not a lot of people know that) for historical reasons and so Hawaiian quilting is a big thing here. As well as Olympus there were a lot of people selling kits. Some of these stands were mobbed...
Packed Bag Stall
...while others were relatively empty. Just like the waffle and french toast cafes in Omotesanda. One minute you've got teenagers queuing around the block in the pouring rain for a bite of chocolate pizza, next day you've got spiderwebs across the doorway. On another stand I absolutely fell for these house pincushions.
House Pincushions
And almost for the cat ones too.
Cat, Rabbit and Frog Pincushions

So what did I bring home out of this medley? I was amazingly restrained. On the fabric side I did get a few bits and bobs.
Some traditional woven cottons and a free Vilene sample someone gave me.
Traditional Fabrics
On the left is a pack of woven, textured cotton from one of the Southern Islands of Japan (I think a lot of people think of Japan as just being one island but it's actually quite a few, some not even that close to the main bit that Tokyo is on). On the right is a pack of woven and indigo remnants. I was deliberately on the lookout for 'japanese blues'.
Indigo Fabric
Then I did buy one of those bright plastic purse frames. I also got a bag pattern from Olympus (just the pattern - not a kit) and a few attempts to save my sore fingertips when I am hand sewing.
Lastly, two small kits - one for house pincushion A in the photo earlier in this post, and another for an apple pouch I've had pinned on Pinterest since before coming to Japan was a twinkle in Pooch's eye.
House and Apple Kit
Finally it will be mine!

Overall this was an amazing quilt show. I went on the opening day and got there for just after opening time and was able to see all the quilts without having to use elbows or my usual peer-over-their-heads technique (handy to be 5'7" when your average japanese lady is 5'2") - most of my photos are person-free. This contrasts completely with my experience of the Tokyo quilt show (genuine photo from when I was there in January).
The People
That was swamped - this was much nicer and it felt like it was the same exhibition size, although with more shopping options. I am such a lucky bunny to have had the chance to experience both!

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