Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Snow in Tokyo

Day 2 in Toyko and the snow started while we were in Akihabara.  Here is Glyn in his natural environment, Hard Off second hand hi fi store in Akihabara -

Already snowing.  I found some 1:12 scale model furniture kits in Asakusa Radio Kaikan (behind him).

After a quick trip down to Yuzawaya in Kamata, by the time we came back to Nippori, it looked like this -

Apparently this is the heaviest snow since 2014!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The 'indestructible' Rice Sack Bag

I needed a new version of my favourite 'Rice Sack Bag' for our Tokyo trip.  It ended up being made in a bit of a hurry, and finished off just a few hours before we left for Edinburgh. A version of this bag first appeared in '21 Terrific Patchwork Bags' in 2003 and the original bag was made in 2002.  It is just my favourite everyday bag.


Once again, I wanted an outer zip pocket, as it is such a handy place to store our passports and boarding passes at the airport.

I also wanted to make it as a sampler, like my previous one, which has almost worn out.  Of course, the part of that one that has been the toughest part (Rice Sack Bag Mk. 6 I think) is the hiteomezashi section!  The rest of the bag has worn away, but the sashiko has survived very well.  Having a sampler is handy for classes, as I can use my bag as a sampler, as well as taking it as a bag.

This time, most of the patterns are variations on the same foundation rows - persimmon flower stitch, crosses stitch and yamagata (mountain shape) all merge into each other.

The side pocket, just the right size for Japanese travel cards and train tickets, is sorobanzashi (abacus stitch), from Yuza-machi.  I put it on the opposite end of the bag this time.

I left the back of the bag as mostly the foundation rows, so you can see how the patterns build up.

Why 'indestructible'?  I stitched it using a machine stretch stitch this time - three stitches forward and one back - as I think the movement and stretching bags this bag experiences when in use are the main thing that eventually made the stitches pop in my previous versions.  I give these bags a hard time!  There are also little reinforcement strips sewn inside the bag at important points, rather like the reinforcements used in kimono construction.  There is a lot going on inside that you can't see now the lining is in.

Some of my students have asked for this for a class, so when I've got dates fixed up (for Edinburgh and maybe for Stockton), I'll get them posted.

Here's the bag on its first outing -

Friday, 19 January 2018

Ainokeshiki - indigo fading project

I took part in this indigo cloth fading art project - Ainokeshiki.  I faded my piece of indigo on the back windowsill of the Rover 75, so it was driven thousands of miles around the UK over several months. I got this message today - 'After a week of preparation, everyone’s cloths are hung and ready for the opening of Ai no Keshiki-Indigo Views tomorrow!  The installation is up through 1/28, and we will be posting images each day on Instagram using the hashtags #ainokeshiki and #awaculture.'  UPDATE - there's a video of the installation on youtube now -

I couldn't add to the instagram photos earlier, because I didn't have a phone that could take photos until recently.  When the cloth comes back to me, I'll put it back in the box and take a photo of where it was.

Awa Indigo Art Project Ai no Keshiki - Indigo Views Call for Participants! All info below!
“Keshiki” in Japanese commonly refers to a scenic view or landscape, but it also refers to the moments of wabi-sabi found in a tea bowl, a whisk, a tea scoop or any of the other tools used in the tea ceremony. These “keshiki” are often points of unintentional patina accumulated through the process of making or use over time. As moments of sensation created between materials, people, and time, these “views” are both an internal indication and external manifestation of who we are and how we sense the ways in which we change over time.
The Awa Indigo Art Project Ai no Keshiki - Indigo Views is looking for 300 people to spend 5 months living with a small length of cloth dyed with the indigo from Tokushima. Over this time, sharing the same space, light, and air, the cloth will slowly fade to create a new keshiki or view of this historical dye based on each individual’s experience.
The resulting cloths, somewhere between a photogram and memory, will be collected in December for a large-scale installation at Tokushima’s Bunka-no-Mori, to create yet a new view of Tokushima’s historical indigo.
Our Plan:
- Have participants “live” with a length of cloth through early-mid December 2017
- Each participant will receive a length of dyed cloth and a specially made box for placing the cloth in for fading.
- Participants should place their cloth in the box and put the box somewhere where it will be exposed to light and air circulation.
- Participants may carry their box with them or move it from place if they like.
- Participants in Tokushima will be sent undyed cloth that they can take to a number of dye studios in the region to dye for themselves if they wish.
- Each box is 35cm wide x 35cm tall x 2cm deep (14” x 14” x ¾”)
- The boxes are made of cardboard so are not meant for outdoor use or exposure to rain.
- Our hope is that with exposure to light and air of each participant’s space, each cloth will show selective fading.
- Send the faded cloth back to Tokushima in early December 2017 for the installation in January 2018.
- After the installation, each cloth will be returned to participants.

How to Participate:
- Application timeline:
May 29, 2017 (Monday) – June 26, 2017 (Monday)

- Number of Participants:
300 people on a first-come, first-serve basis

- To participate please send the following information to: tokushimabunkashinkouka@pref.tokushima.jp
- Name
- Address (including country)
- Age
- Occupation
- Email address
- Be sure to include “Indigo Views” in the subject line.

- Participants will be contacted no later than the end of June with more specific information about the project, their cloth and box, the overall timing of the project, and return shipping information for their cloth.
Awa Indigo Art Project Ai no Keshiki (Indigo Views) is an art project developed and led by Rowland Ricketts. Participation is voluntary and the artist and Tokushima Prefecture are not responsible for any issues arising from your involvement in this project.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Forthcoming sashiko course dates - Perth & Stockton

Yesterday was the penultimate session of my first sashiko course at The Peacock and the Tortoise in Perth.  The next course starts on March 8th and all the dates and booking info is now on their  website.

I have also arranged the dates for the next course at Stockton-on-Tees, which will run on Saturdays for eight sessions.  These will be slightly longer days than the current course, which I split into 10 classes, partly to avoid the weekday rush hours but also because we needed to fit in around other users for the church.  Next seasons dates are - 22nd September 2018, 27th October, 17th November, 8th December, 12th January 2019, 9th February, 9th March, and 8th April.  Fees will be £40 per day - first payment secures your place.

The sampler in the photo above is by Fiona Fitheridge, from the second Edinburgh sashiko course.  It's a lot further on now, but this is the most recent photo I have of it.  Looking forward to seeing it finished now.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Reiko Domon's latest quilt

Reiko Domon, leader of Yuza Sashiko Guild, posted photos of this adorable quilt on her Facebook page and is happy for me to show it here. It shows a different aspect of her creative stitching from her more traditional sashiko (can you spot the coloured hitomezashi panels?), and is inspired by her trip to Wales and the borders (Herefordshire/Worcestershire) last May, when we took Yuza Sashiko Guild members on a quilting and heritage tour of the area.

Reiko wrote -


(auto translated) - I played by Harris tweed bought at a show in United Kingdom Wales in May of last year. An old house begins to tilt a little, and. A roof waves, and I'd like to express repaired taste, and the mind was made a tapestry. As a house, a work has also built into threadbare feeling for some reason.

Reiko's traditional border houses are gorgeous and so well observed, and I love her use of tweeds and plaids.  It really captures the feeling of those houses I think and is 100% hand stitched.  I'm hoping she will exhibit it in the UK sometime, maybe when they come over in September for the Great Northern Quilt Show.

Here are Reiko's sewing supervisors - Mayou (above) and Nyanko (grey tabby bobtail) and friend.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

A sashiko thistle panel - finished

Remember the thistle design on tartan I did as a sashiko class for the Celtic Quilt Tours group last September? Katherine Livingston has just posted this photo of her finished panel made into a cushion.  It looks fab and rather festive too!