Posts Tagged ‘Japanese kimono fabric’

I was asked to come up with three cards for assorted birthdays and anniversaries in short order this week and having no time to start anything completely from scratch, I went delving into a box of assorted bits and pieces and managed to come up with five finished cards in a day!

First was a piece I started at a 2015 workshop on sculpting silk paper with Linda Rudkin. Sashiko stitching on a scrap of indigo dyed sheeting. This one was completely finished and just needed mounting.

Next a couple of cards created from some samples I made playing with a soldering iron. This one has been enhanced with a scattering of silk French knots.

I finished it by stitching it onto the blue silk backing with herringbone stitch in the same thread.

I’d already started couching a frothy white thread round this sample when I found it.

The layered spirals and slashes combined with the frothy white thread made me think of the way artists like Hiroshige and Hokusai represent sea foam in ukiyo-e prints. I carried on doodling with the couched thread and added some split stitch spirals with the cream silk thread I was using to couch it down and two nuggets of sea glass.

Finished as a card.

Next up a piece of crazy patchwork that I stitched at least ten ago. I had half thought about appliqueing it onto a shoulder bag made from the cut off bottom of a pair of jeans. But the upcycled bags I’ve made in past from jeans bottoms and patchwork panels had very little interest when I tried to sell them, so I decided a card was the more sensible option.

And last, one of the back ground pieces from our teabags workshop with Fran Holmes in October 2019. This literally only needed about a dozen stitches into the lace border to finish it!

So not only did I manage to deliver the three requested cards, I actually have some in reserve for upcoming celebrations. Makes quite a change to be beforehand with the world instead of chasing my tail!

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The follow on course from the kantha and boro was boro and sashiko and as well as showing various pieces I’ve stitched over the years, I created a new sample piece for this, illustrating how a piece of boro could start to become sashiko.

First, arranging scraps of kimono fabric and indigo dyed cottons onto a cotton base layer. before tacking them down. The partly stitched piece in the middle is a scrap of unfinished sashiko from a very long time ago (2011 to be exact…).


Simple running stitch becomes a rectangular spiral.


The partial sashiko becomes rice stitch and I try my hand at keeping free hand cross stitch regular.


Putting fabric marks in helped with the cross stitch, but I ended up aligning each row of stitches to the previous row and that worked better.


The even rows became boxes.


And a tiny scrap needed some bamboo leaves.


It’s still not quite finished, but it was a pleasure to sew in that rhythmic, mindful way and I do prefer this type of boro/sashiko to stitching the beautiful but almost ‘paint-by’numbers’ of the intricate sashiko designs you get in kits.

And incidentally, our Fabric Fair was a huge success. Considering this was a relatively niche market in small town North Lincolnshire on a Sunday morning, we had a great turn out with locals and people coming from much further afield. There were some great traders with a wide selection of items and it was really positive to see so many people with a love of textiles gathered together.

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Several things came together for this book.

Firstly, I finally finished the little wintry silk fragment and thought what a good book cover it would make.

Wintry fabric book 1

Secondly, I’d just bought some scraps of Japanese kimono silk from ebay and thought what a wonderful way the fabric book would be to showcase their delicate beauty.

Wintry fabric book 2

Thirdly, I had a couple of long meetings coming up and combining the donkey work of lacing fabric over the cover boards and stitching ‘endpaper’ pieces on the back to finish it off with the whole meeting thing is a great way to take the boring edge off both.

I love the figured blue-grey silk of the ‘endpapers’.

Wintry fabric book 3

 And lastly, I’m still loving making these little books.

Wintry fabric book 4

The pages are all silk, and as I had trouble with the red cabbage dyed silk pages, I decided to iron them first. It helped, but the silk moves around a lot more than cotton and it made stitching the spine quite difficult. I restitched it three times and it still isn’t quite as even as I’d have liked.

I chose the smaller stitch pattern for the french link stitch and decided to use a cool blue cotton thread to contrast with the wintry greys and blacks of the cover and pages.

Wintry fabric book 5

Inside, a range of printed and woven luscious silk ikat, crepe etc.

Wintry fabric book 6

This looks out of focus, but it isn’t – it’s the ikat pattern.

Wintry fabric book 7

Wintry fabric book 8

Wintry fabric book 9

It’s a pretty miserable time of year here in the UK so I thought it would be nice to have a giveaway for my little wintry book.

Wintry fabric book 10

I’f you’d like the chance to win it, then in time-honoured fashion, please leave me a comment by next Saturday (9th February) and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday the 10th. I’m happy to post to anywhere in the world. 😮

Good luck!

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One of the very good things about having to make stock for this craft fair I’m doing in July is that it’s encouraged me to finish off and make something out of all sorts of things I’ve half started and then put away.

A case in point was the pentagons and octagons I cut out of Japanese silk kimono fabric ages ago, inspired by Kumiko Sudo’s book ‘Folded Flowers’. I’d got as far as stitching them together, turning them inside out but then something else more urgent or interesting had come up and they were abandoned.

That is until now. I can’t remember what flowers they are supposed to represent, but there was so little to do in finishing them that I was rather ashamed I hadn’t got it done earlier!

I misread the instructions for finishing this one and the antique mother-of-pearl button hides a very odd looking blank middle.

This is how the design is supposed to look.

These are folded from octagons.

It was impossible to make the holding stitches in the middle invisible so I used a dupion silk covered button to neaten the centres up.

These are destined for hair clips.

Judging from my 7 year old’s reaction to them I think they will sell!


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A prototype…

… made in crisp cotton Japanese kimono fabric…

… for our Embroiderers’ Guild Summer Challenge postcard.

I hope it looks like what it’s supposed to be, even if the colour is unusual…

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