While visiting the Kawaii Nunohaku craft fair last month I bought two small pieces of fabric from a Kamakura-based shop owner. The fabric was a beautiful pairing and I knew right away that I wanted to use them in a scarf.
I know nothing about these fabrics except that the colorful one is incredibly soft and light, is screen or maybe woodblock printed, and the other is linen. It might be hand-printed, too. I decided to make a circle scarf like the one I saw on Miss Matatabi’s site. I cut each piece into two 12″ by 30″ rectangles and sewed the short ends together. Following the directions here, I sewed the two fabrics together along their long edges then turned the scarf right-side-out, hiding the seams and pressing it crisp. I joined the remaining short ends and finished it with hand-stitching.
I’m really pleased.
I’m really excited to share the news — I’m writing a book!
My friend Frances of Miss Matatabi and I have joined forces to put together the Tokyo Craft Guide, an ebook showcasing our favorite Tokyo craft shops, cafes, and project tutorials.
We have accumulated a list of over 50 craft stores (!!) and organized them in a series of craft-shopping-excursions complete with illustrated neighborhood walking maps, shop highlights, and favorite cafe spots. It is like a treasure map with the best kind of treasure – fabric! ribbon! buttons!
The idea for the Tokyo Craft Guide was born when we realized our favorite independently-owned craft stores are sometimes hard to find. They require extra effort to get to, but when you do you’re rewarded with lovely nooks of fabric, supplies and project inspiration, each with its own character or style. This is the type of experience we want to share.
The Tokyo Craft Guide ebook will be available next month, and in the meantime you can visit our blog for additional shop profiles, events and interviews. Much of the content I have offered previously on Saké Puppets will move over there and get a much-needed update, so fear not! You can also find photos and Japanese craft chatter on our Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
We’re really excited to finally share this project with you! Please take a look, and thanks!!
Vegetarianism is a tricky concept in Japan. The words vegetable and vegetarian get mixed up, and you’ll order a vegetarian something and it will arrive with shrimp on it. The recommended meal for many veg visitors to Tokyo is … Indian food. It is not impossible to be a vegetarian here, it is just more work. Vegetarians who are able or willing to eat dashi, a broth made from dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna (also known as bonito and katsuobushi) have a much easier time. As a visiting-vegetarian friend said, she didn’t realize that dishes made with dashi would be so heavy. You mean flavorful? That, my friend, would be the animal.
I eat meat but trend vegetarian, so when I find a great vegetarian anything I get excited (like this shojin ryori). This week I found vegetarian ramen.
Real deal vegetarian ramen. That’s lotus root, okra, mushrooms, radish, grated daikon, tomato, onions and greens in a flavorful vegetable broth. Even the noodles are green.
They are made from spirulina. I don’t actually know what that is, but I trust my man James. Every year the ramen chain Kagetsu Arashi offers a vegetarian ramen as a healthy alternative to the fat-packed kind. A vegetarian friend here admitted to eating it every day for a week straight, and I assume he is still going strong. Keep it up man! They’re offering it until May!
Since it’s healthy, why not get the veggie gyoza? Vegetarians need junk food, too.
Spring has taken hold of me. I ate two sakura-flavored mochi today. No lie.
Every year I put out a sakura-themed sashiko kit because I think sakura and sashiko are such as lovely little pair. And they are fun to say. Go ahead and try it: sakura sashiko sakura sashiko sakura sashiko. Catchy, right?This year I designed a pouch kit. These metal squeeze clasps are a new discovery for me and they are great. Easy to use, the metal clasp stays closed tightly and makes such an interesting and unexpected detail.This sashiko kit is easy to assemble in an afternoon and can be sewn entirely by hand. It is a great kit for beginner embroiderers, too. The finished pouch is 5″ by 6 1/2″ (125 mm by 165 mm), perfect for cosmetics, jewelry, small toys or treasures. Both small and large sakura patterns are included so you can design the layout yourself, and the pouch can be made with flat or boxed corners, your choice!
You can find the kits here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
I am in love with Kokka’s new fabric Candy Party Tsuzuki. When Miss Matatabi gave me a few chunks I jumped right in and made this tiny punky needle book. Then … I stalled out. I put it on my desk and stared at it. I was dizzy with infatuation. What to do next? Do I cut it up and re-piece it, or do I use the pattern as-is? I thought about making a skirt but decided that is too bold, even for me, even for Tokyo. I considered a clutch, a backpack, more zipper pouches. I wanted something big to show off every combination of patterns I could muster.
My laptop needed dressing up, it was an ideal match. Now, when I dig into my shoulder bag I see my Candy Party laptop gettin’ down in there.
This envelope-style laptop case is a combination of the pink-gold and blue-lilac colorways pieced together. I think it rocks, so much so that I ordered more of the purple-mint. What next?!
Today I have been quiet under the kotatsu. I stitched up a hankerchief and played with the idea of a new spring sashiko kit. The sun shone brightly and Tanaka-san went out for a ride. She, too, has been quiet so I was happy to see her in the sunshine, wheeled away in a bright purple hat but with her face to the sky.
As the late afternoon sun dwindles from my apartment I think about where I was two years ago when the Tohoku earthquake hit Japan. That leads me to think about where I was five years ago, and then 10. Life changes suddenly sometimes.
My heart aches, so as the afternoon sun dwindles I sit quietly on the tatami and I stitch.