A new year. I hope it finds you well!
Recently, I’ve been busy doing organizational work for the upcoming Silk Study Tour to Japan. I don’t think I mentioned it here, but if you are on the Shiborigirl newsletter email list you read that after being almost full, the tour lost a few folks upon my return from the Houston show. Life throws you a curve and we adjust. Those who had to change their plans will be missed but vow to join us on a future adventure (2021). They will follow along online and be travelers in spirit. I put out a new newsletter and we regained most of what we lost in terms of participants. There are still a couple of spots open with a few folks still considering joining us.
If you are interested, here is the link with all the information. If you have questions, just email me. Tour departs May 14, 2019. It’s gonna be another good one!
I have been also been preparing for the new workshop at the Japanese American National Museum. This one is filled with a waiting list but if you want to read the description, you can go here. (I expect we will do it again.) I also proposed a version of this class (due to limitations of time and facility) at this years Quilt festival in Houston. We will see if the class is chosen for that venue. I am really passionate about educating folks on understanding the difference between a fabric company putting out a line of “boro printed” fabrics and really knowing the history of such textiles. I figured that by making things with all recycled fabrics is a start. Spreading the word. It’s one thing to talk about it here on the blog and quite another to put fabric, thread and needle in the hands of someone for the purpose of education and perhaps a little thought of mottainai. In any case, here are some pics of what I’ve been up to…(click thumbnails to enlarge)
It’s been an education to make these pieces and like anything else, a practice. I still need to put the cording on the bag but have it all dyed. After finishing the bag, I was inspired to do a larger piece since the scraps I prepared for the class were so enticing. I tore a piece of linen off one of the old linen pieces I bought in Houston and dyed it dark indigo blue. I marked the horizontal stitching lines onto it and arranged the scraps. Then I spent about 13 hours just stitching. It all felt good in my hands as I rocked the needle back and forth. I really learned and appreciated not just the cloth and the thread, but the use of the sashiko adjustable ring thimble with plate. It takes some practice and over the many hours of stitching, I grew to love the ingenuity of it. Have you tried one? I do love a good thimble and have several varieties but had not spent a significant enough amount of time with this type. I plan to get even better with more practice.
That’s the thing isn’t it? Practice. As I worked on this long piece, a communication between myself, the materials and tools set in. It’s a simple running stitch-nothing fancy. But as the needle pierced each scrap my hand felt the resistance, the thickness, the density of the weave. Do we even notice this these days? Many of the scraps were from cloth hand woven long ago, most softened by age and use. Most fabric today is made with machine sewing in mind. The hand of it made stiff with printing inks and chemical finishing. It’s not friendly for sewing by hand. The tight weave of many modern quilting fabrics facilitates the printing of crisp patterns but resists the piercing of the hand rocked needle. I can really lose myself in the old cloth, wondering about it’s cloth story as I sew.
There is a lot to wonder about.