February 25, 2012

Japanese Textiles

My interest in textiles goes back to the time I lived at home with my mother. My mother was doing boro and mending long before it became fashionable. When I find patches on vintage Japanese fabric these days, it reminds me of my mother who used to mend and patch our clothes. Little holes or tears would be patched with a piece of fabric as close to the  colour as the main garment. Neat stitches would be applied to the patches. 

When I started quilting about 20 years ago I of course like every other quilters would buy new quilting fabric (100% cotton). A few years on I discovered the Victorian style crazy quilt. Those quilts were made from used fabric, old clothes and remnants. I was very satisfied using that fabric as well as quilting fabric. Today I only seek out used clothing, old fabric and vintage kimono fabric to use in my quilts or art pieces. Many of the quilts I made represent my travels. 

Click on the photo to enlarge for more details

With my trip to Japan for the Japanese Textile Study Tour in April I decided to make a Trip around the world quilt. I got inspired by A Peaceful Life blog. I found superb instructions by Bonnie Hunter. I'm using only vintage Japanese fabric that I have been collecting from many of my trips to Japan. I'm machine piecing the top and will hand quilt it. The block is 12" finished I might need 42 blocks in total. I've made 6 blocks so far. It's a long way to the finish line. Please come along with me on the trip around the world quilt.

Click on the photo to enlarge for more details

Another Japanese textile that inspires me is this Sakiori rug (rag rug). Weaving is another one of my interests. If I ever learnt weaving I would only learn to weave the Sakiori rug. Can you imagine using my own eco-dyed silk to weave it! I have also got a stack of saris I brought when I lived in Abu Dhabi and got more when I visited India. They would be perfect for rag weaving. The above rug was from Ziguzagu. It was one of the two rugs in their latest shipment. It's made entirely of vintage kimono silk. It has indigo boro backing. It was meant to be for me...! 

I can't have a post without showing you my eco-dyed fabric and threads. I love using my own dyed threads for stitching. Every time I do eco-dyeing I throw in a ball or two of pearl cotton in the dye bath. The colour I get from it is amazing. Not strong colour but a very subtle colour thread for natural dyed fabric. 

I dyed this scarf at the Naturally Dyed workshop last month. I used prunnus and eucalyptus leaves wrapped over a metal rod. I added my own indigo dyed silk to the ends and stitched and weaved all over it. 
I would like to share this comment from Bev with you: I love reading your posts, other blogs show off material made by so and so and you have the most divine fabric dyed by you and your garden. Tell me please how long do you leave the thread in the the carrot water, any details greatly appreciated. Happy days Bev xoxo. I told Bev how to dye thread and encouraged her to try eco-dyeing. I hope she is on her way to use what Australia gives us, eucalyptus trees...!

As a lover of Japanese textiles I couldn't pass this gorgeous, gorgeous piece of fabric! Haru hung it out over the counter at Ziguzagu knowing I would be there! It's vintage silk that was once a kimono! I know I won't be able to cut it, it's too beautiful! 

May I introduce you to Robbie, the exhibitionist of Ziguzagu. Robbie is a dear. He would never fail to come over from the furniture restoration section of the store to say hi and entertains us whenever we are there. That day Robbie tried on a cotton yukata for us. I don't think the work boots suit that yukata! Uhm, I just spotted another sakiori rug behind him and what is inside those baskets? No, I can't go back there again for a long time! 



Jeannie said...

Nat, this post has so much eye candy I don't know where to start! Your trip around the world blocks are beautiful. I love how the blues glow. The rug, oh my, I love the rug. I have a few woven rugs and they last forever. I'd love to learn how to weave them. Lord knows I have enough fabric to do it! LOL! Your scarf is gorgeous! I love the subtle colors. Wishing you a fun filled weekend.

homeschooled said...

Wow. I looked at that and thought it looked familiar. thanks for the link.
I have finished mine. Photos soon!

Kathie said...

beautiful fabrics and oh I love the idea of a trip around the world quilt using your precious fabrics you have collected over the years. of course one block would make a beautiful little quilt!
one of the things about your dyed fabrics like for this scarf is I can see how your stitching would look amazing on it. the color of it is perfect to show off the stitching with your wonderful threads....I am in awe!

Terry said...

The indigo trip around the world quilt is rich. I'm sure it will be wonderful to snuggle under when completed.

The rug must be soft underfoot. Just right for getting out of bed on a chilly morn.

Suedio said...

Hi Nat, I love your scarf - very nice indeed. Bet you're getting excited about your Japan trip...
Regards, Sue

Sujata Shah said...


I think I know what you mean by the commercial fabrics versus using the fabric the 'real' way in the quilts. I too shy away from designer fabrics. There is nothing like reusing clothing. Those quilts have such history to them!
Bev could not have said it better. I love coming here and reading your posts.
The new quilt you started is beautiful.

deanna7trees said...

oh there is so much in this post that i love...well, everything. that rug is magnificent. and that scarf you made is gorgeous. the combination of your dyed silk with the blue edges is so striking. you are a wonder and i always get ideas from your posts. thanks for sharing.

Nedra said...

I am working on the same Trip Around The World pattern with my scraps, and yours is by far much more spectacular! love how the blues all blend in together and make such an amazing quilt! So pretty.

Kim said...

Oh my goodness....this is going to be spectacular.
and all those memories and visits wrapped into one quilt!
Have you thought about your hand quilting pattern yet?

Beautiful Nat, simply beautiful.
Happy Sewing

Els said...

Beautiful blues Nat!
(Ohhh, how I would love to see / feel your stash of sari silks !!!)

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Absolutely beautiful colours Nat...and that scarf is just gorgeous!!! I'm with Bev...we have all the colours here...Have fun...love Dzintra xoxo

MulticoloredPieces said...

Great post, Nat! That scarf is to die for! The combination of the dyed silk with the blue border is a stroke of genius. Also liked your dyeing and stitching in the previous post. Wish I could go to Japan with you!
best, nadia

aracne said...

OMG how much beauty and inspiration in this post.
I would like to make a 'Trip around the world quilt' when I am back from Japan so I will have to buy LOTS of fabrics (good excuse).

Lis said...

I knew you wouldn't resist! The rug is beautiful, such a range of colours, you could not have left it in the shop. I'm enjoying seeing the progress on your Trip... quilt, lovely fabrics.

woman with wings said...

Nat, your scarf is gorgeous! I've got one in the works out of silk organza that's too short and I want to lengthen it somehow by piecing some gifted cloth onto it -- your piece inspires me so thanks! I lovelovelove your quilt around the world and will be coming along to see it grow, only 36 more to go. Such a lovely (and practical!) idea to dye thread each time a dye-pot is made up -- you have so many good ideas! Happy day to you, Nat. xo

onesmallstitch said...

can't wait to go shopping with you and Blandina - wonder if there will be anything left for me?? if you tie your eco bundles with usable yarn you get matching/space dyed colours.

Sand and Sunshine said...

Oh your trip around the world is growing up beautifully. Such an eye catcher.

Dot said...

Your scarf is beautiful Nat. And I love how you use older fabrics in your quilts. Your blue quilt is beautiful...am drooling over the keyboard here :).

Judy Martin said...

I love everything about this post.
The recycled fabrics, the blue trip, the carrot water...everything.
Your work and life are inspiring.

Simone de Klerk said...

Oh wow, Nat, dying your own thread to stitch. That must be amazing to work with.
Your scarf is so very pretty. Love the mixture of colors and techniques. You are so creative, Nat!!

Saga World said...

Dubai has been long known for its rich culture and tradition and, the tourists’ unending praises for the town stands testimony to this fact. Rich and unparalleled collection of clothes finds no bounds here. The textile shops in Dubai open up a wide array of funky options for its customers.

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