Stitch Show at Spiral

Hi everyone! I went over to Spiral this weekend (dodging the typhoon!) and checked out the Stitch Show embroidery exhibition they were hosting. I posted some photos over at Tokyo Craft Guide, so if you are interested pop over and take a peek. The exhibition was based on this book, available online. Enjoy!

I’m now feeling really inspired to stitch something. 😉

Stitch Show embroidery exhibition and book, via Tokyo Craft Guide

Tokyo Craft Guide ebook!

I am so thrilled to announce that the new and improved Tokyo Craft Guide is here! Well, it’s over here, but you know what I mean.

Tokyo Craft Guide ebook!

Beautifully illustrated by Hana of ilikesleeping, and researched and written by myself and the lovely Frances of Miss Matatabi, the Tokyo Craft Guide is packed full of our favorite off-the-beaten-track craft shops in Tokyo. We’re giving you all of our secrets, my friends. Six neighborhood maps help you navigate our curated lists of craft shops and cafes. We also throw in a few parks, temples, a ramen shop, and a few bars. But mostly we talk about crafts: over 50 shop listings describing what is special or unique about each shop, where to go for paper or fabric or yarn, who speaks English, and a few words of Japanese to help you in case they don’t.

sneak peek! Tokyo Craft Guide cafes and shops

I’ll still be offering the same free content from the previous Saké Puppets guide, it has simply moved over to the Tokyo Craft Guide blog. Over there we will be profiling larger shops like Yuzawaya and Tokyu Hands, and also posting interviews and craft events happening around Tokyo. But we’ve reserved the special stuff for the book: small, independantly-owned places, young shop owners who stock their friend’s creations, old shop owners who have been around for 50 years and stock beautiful vintage glass buttons — those are the places that make craft shopping in Tokyo so wonderful.

The Tokyo Craft Guide has amazing maps!

I’m in love with the illustrations in this book. Each map guides you on a treasure hunt, sending you into the neighborhood to find secret craft-gold. Also, never have I looked so relaxed or my bun looked so perfectly huge!

relaxed! via Tokyo Craft Guide and ilikesleeping

A special thanks to everyone who helped us on this project, and to those that were so patient waiting for its release. I’m really excited! Maybe I’ll celebrate by … shopping for fabric.  (@⌒ー⌒@)

Spring on Instagram

It may seem like things here at Saké Puppets have been quiet, but on the other side of the Internet curtain I’ve been busy — drafting sashiko patterns, summer sewing, and … drumroll please … finishing up my Tokyo Craft Guide ebook! Woot!

Wrapping up our book has meant a lot of meetings over lattes and days with proof pages scattered across the tatami floor. If you follow me or Tokyo Craft Guide on Instagram you may have already seen some of our behind-the-scenes snap shots. Enjoy a glimps of spring in Tokyo, and see you all back here again very soon!

Tokyo Craft Guide!

Tokyo Craft Guide!

The *New* Tokyo Craft Guide

I’m really excited to share the news — I’m writing a book!

The New Tokyo Craft Guide

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.

*\(^O^)/*

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!!

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When button dreams come true…

Yesterday I bought a $20 button.

Actually, it cost ¥1,470 — with the current exchange rate, that’s $18.28 USD.

Worth every yen:

I’m not sure if this is a case of succumbing to Tokyo’s inflated prices or embracing the rare gem this city sometimes offers you.  It doesn’t actually matter, because at the moment I’m in button-love.

I’m working on a special project that needed one special detail — thankfully, a place like & STRIPE exists. A button and notions shop in hip Nakemeguro, & STRIPE has really neat stuff.  That’s right — neat.  Neat-o.  Rad.

They have a strict no-photos rule inside, so you’ll have to trust me.  & STRIPE is easy to find — from Nakemeguro station, head northwest until you hit the river.  Follow the river west and the shop is on the left side, about a 5 minute walk from the station.  (Need help getting to Nakemeguro station?  Try this site.)

1-25-3 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042   Tel. 03-3714-3733   Open 11:30 to 7:30, closed the first and third Tuesdays of each month

〒153-0042 東京都目黒区青葉台1-25-3

A second shop is now open in Kichijoji: 2-7-4 Kichijoji, Musashino, Tokyo 189-0004   Open 11-7, closed the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month

〒189-0004 東京都武蔵野市吉祥寺2−7−4川谷ビル1F

Looking for other craft shops in Tokyo?  Check out my Tokyo Craft Guide

Kiwa/Crafts

It took me a while to get around to visiting Kiwa, the bead and DIY jewelry chain. It seemed like an overwhelming place for someone (ahem, me) who doesn’t wear much jewelry, let alone make it.  My mother LOVES bling and makes her own bracelets, so I’m not sure how I missed out on that gene.  It must skip a generation.

Kiwa, as it turns out, is great.  (And so is this buck, the shop mascot.)

One of my favorite things about craft shops in Japan is that they not only stock supplies, but also kits and displays with lots of ideas for things to make yourself.  Kiwa is no exception.  Some locations even have workshops and cafes in case your crafting fingers can’t wait until they get home.

There was really something for everyone, even a jewelry dunce like me.  Loose beads, kits, hardware, hair accessories, fancy gems and plastic headbands galore.  Photos aren’t generally encouraged in craft shops, but…

… sneaky sneaky cell phone camera …

Personally, I was a fan of the blingy DIY iphone cases:

Maybe I am my mother’s daughter.

Kiwa Omotesando
La Forêt Bldg 3F, 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel. 03-3475-0411
東京都渋谷区神宮前1-11-6
You can find many other locations around Tokyo by checking their webpage.
Check out my Tokyo Craft Guide for even *more* reviews, maps, and craft magic around Tokyo.  Enjoy!

A Weekend of Craft Shops, Day 1

Yesterday I regaled you with my confession of otakuness, and here is the proof.

This past weekend we set out to Futako-tamagawa in search of a craft shop.  That’s right, I lured Dan along with the promise of ramen, but we somehow ran out of time.  I’m a cruel woman.

Hobbyra Hobbyre and Lido Merceria are not just craft stores, but Tokyo shopping at its best — small, well-curated specialty shops for the enthusiast.

Let’s begin with Hobbyra Hobbyre, a French-embroidery-inspired, Liberty-of-London-lover’s paradise.  This shop carries a little bit of a lot of things, but all were of the best quality — beautiful cotton and linen print fabrics, fine yarns and wood knitting needles, sewing patterns and books, needlework supplies, selected tools and notions, and amazing printed embroidery kits.  I mean amazing.  I wanted to leave with a few of each.

The downside to this shop is that it’s a bit expensive.  Fabric was in the 1000-2500 yen per meter range (US$12-$30 per yard), yet I picked up some reasonably-priced sashiko supplies for 200 yen each (US$2.50).  Dan told me later that, while waiting outside, he got a bit nervous when a woman left the shop exclaiming how expensive it all was, because I was still inside, taking my sweet time, certainly doing damage to our bank account.  My words, not his of course.

The crown jewel of the day, maybe my entire week, was the Hello Kitty + Liberty of London limited edition cotton prints.  Both have a dedicated cult following (many of you know about my little Liberty crush), and they’ve combined forces to produce some of the most whimsical and lovely fabric I’ve seen.  I stood there for a while trying to come up with a project idea worth the 3200 yen per meter price tag (almost US$40 per yard), but in the end I decided I couldn’t love Ms. Kitty quite enough.

This sneak-attack photo doesn’t reveal much (photos aren’t typically allowed in craft stores), but the print is of Hello Kitty flitting amongst London Town icons.  (Apparently this collection is only being sold in Japan, so if anyone is interested I’d be willing to go find some and put up a reserved listing in my shop – send me an email to discuss).

I went to Futako-tamagawa in search of Hobbyra Hobbyre, but was delighted to find Lido Merceria just next door.  Where Hobbyra Hobbyre is all things embroidery and French floral, Lido Merceria is German retro-era needlepoint.


Lido Merceria feels more like a curiosity shop than a craft store.  I loved the display case of vintage scissors and tools (yes, those are $85 embroidery snips, for anyone who is counting). With notions, buttons and trim, patches, and upholstery-weight fabric, all in varying degrees of vintage and new, this shop was a treat.

And what did I end the day with? I showed incredible restraint — sashiko thread in pretty pastels, a printed sashiko pattern, and a few swatches of Liberty fabric.  Not a bad day.

Getting there: Take the Tokyu-Den-Entoshi Line from Shibuya station or the Tokyu-Oimachi Line to Futako-tamagawa station.  Cross through Dogwood Plaza to locate the Takashimaya Shopping Center. Lido Merceria and Hobbyra Hobbyre and on the 5th floor of the South building, across from the Camper shoe store.

Lido Merceria  Tel. 03-6805-6822, open 10-9
Hobbyra Hobbyre  ホビーラホビーレ  Tel. 03-3707-1430, open 10-9

Tamagawa Takashimaya S-C South Building 5F, 3-17-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

〒158-0094 東京都世田谷区玉川3-17-1 玉川高島屋S・C 南館5F

According to their website, Hobbyra Hobbyre can be found in other locations around Japan.  Check store locations on their website for more information.