The Tokyo Quilt Festival

This week I visited the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival. If you tell me something will be great, I am instantly skeptical. But this was great, at least for the few short hours I was able to withstand old ladies and their elbows. Don’t let those canes fool you, they are swift and deadly.Entering the Dome

Thank goodness I was at least a head taller than everyone, so getting a peep at the quilts was no problem. My view for most of the morning was something like this:

View from the top

In all earnestness, I had a lovely time with the old gals. My Japanese sewing vocabulary is well rounded, as is my ability to exclaim simultaneous astonishment and compliment with only mouth sounds (eeehhhhhHHHHH?!), so we got along quite nicely.

crazy triangle quilt

Occasionally someone would look over their shoulder to check for the Quilt Police and then gently lift the quilt to sneek a peek at the backside, and I’d crane my neck to catch a glimpse, too. We’d nod in understanding. You can always spot a fellow quilter or embroiderer, someone who is just as interested in the back as they are in the front.

tiny hand pieced

While most people were fawning over the traditional quilts, I really enjoyed the “wa” quilts category (和のキルト部門), described as quilts with a unique Japanese quality to them. Many were constructed from Japanese kimono silk and were quite vibrant, but I prefered the naturally-dyed blues and grays of old ikat cottons.

not so sexy hexy

My favorite was this double wedding ring quilt. I was lucky to catch a moment with no one between it and me and I snapped a photo — I’m standing straight in front, but notice how the rings are different sizes. I wish I could have taken this one home with me.

wonky double wedding

Another favorite of the day was the pudding quilt. Obviously.


You can see more photos of my favorites here on Flickr. This was my first quilt festival — has anyone else attended one? How do you think it compares? I’d love to hear!


17 thoughts on “The Tokyo Quilt Festival

  1. oh – I am so,SO envious. I wanted to see this show but such a long trip from the UK. Please can you tell me where I can obtain a catalogue in English!!

    • Hi Carol Ann! I’m not sure they offered a catalogue in English, but I’ll look into it for you. Did you check the website? They provided some content online in English.

      • Thank you for your quick reply Yes I checked the website If the catalogue is not available in English I would buy in Japanese I really would have loved to see this magnificent show
        Kind Regards
        Carol Ann
        Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

  2. Do you know where I can buy the english version of the catalogue
    Thank you
    Carol Ann Eades
    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

  3. Some gorgeous quilts there! I can’t wait until I’m poficient enough to make something even half as beautiful! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  4. Thank you for the pictures, this is a fascinating event, one to which I would love to attend one day. It is on my wish list!

  5. Angie, these quilts were amazing. I’m still in awe and I only saw your pictures. I can’t imagine what it was like seeing them ‘up close’.

  6. This was my second year seeing the Tokyo Quilt Show – wonderful, and a little over the top! So happy to have found your blog (I searched sashiko on Pinterest). I too have enjoyed sashiko lessons with the ladies at Blue and White:).

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