Thursday, 27 December 2007

the bag that spoke

Now that Christmas is over (phew!) I can share the story of a bag that became a gift. It all started when we clamp-dyed some wool at TAFE using eucalyptus leaves.

"How beautiful," I thought. "I'm sure I could do something with this technique." So I went looking for some wool fabric to use but none was to be found. Not to be deterred, I decided to try it on a cotton bag instead.

But of course the cotton didn't take the dye quite so well and the bark I had used as a clamp spread some of its colour, so I ended up with a bag that just looked dirty.

Again I refused to be discouraged, and instead saw it as an opportunity to try out some new stitches from the Mountmellick embroidery book that has been sitting unused on my shelf for close to a year.

Finally the design was starting to take form, but it wasn't until I came across this Japanese fabric - perfect for the lining - that I knew that the bag would be completed and used.

And here it is!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

fabric shopping in Japan

Apologies (mainly to myself) for the lapse in blogs as I have been in JAPAN!!! for the last two weeks.
Before I left I checked the web for details of where to find the best fabric stores so now I shall do my part and add what I have learnt:
Yuzawaya seems to be the largest crafts chain store. You can find their locations on the website and their buildings have a red knitting sheep on the outside. I went to the MinamiSenzu store but actually wasn't that impressed by their fabric selection. But I do suspect that it may have been one of their smaller branches.
In Tokyo, Nippori (on the JR Yamanote line) is the place to go. From the station, signs will point you to the "Textile Town", a street where almost every store sells fabrics, each with a "Textile Town" flag flying out the front. The best of them is Tomato, with so many sections and floors that I didn't get time to explore them all. The minimum cut for most of their fabrics is 1 metre and they only take cash.
In Kyoto, Nomura Tailor has two small stores jam-packed with ultra-cute quilting squares for just Y105 each. I went to the store closest to Kawaramachi subway station. From the intersection of route 24 and Shijo-dori, walk westwards on the north side of the street until you reach the second covered walkway. Turn in. Soon after you walk past the first intersection with another covered walkway you will find Nomura Tailor on the left.

Quilted fabrics from Tomato and Nomura Tailor.

Plastic-coated fabrics from Tomato and Nomura Tailor.

Cotton fabrics from Nomura Tailor and Yuzawaya.

Cotton fabrics from Nomura Tailor.

Small cotton squares from Nomura Tailor.