Whenever I feel embarrassed about the size of my fabric stash, I justify it to myself by 'reframing' the situation. That is, I call it a 'collection of collections'. There, you see! From indiscriminate picker-upper-of-cloth I instantly become transformed into a Textile Collector. Sounds a bit grander, doesn't it?
But truthfully, amongst the piles of fabric there ARE some distinct groupings, and the one which is interesting me particularly at the moment is my Japanese collection. This is broken down into sub-groups. (OCD? Moi?)
First there are the small pieces of vintage kimono, which I pick up, a few at a time, whenever I go to Quilt Fairs. I started to cover hexagons with these some time ago, with no real idea what to do with them. They are so small and delicate I almost don't like to cut into them. They would make lovely Suffolk Puffs (Yo-yos) .
Next are the gorgeously textured woven fabrics. These are a much heavier weight, and include some lovely indigo dyed cloth. I buy these because they remind me of the wonderful "Boro" about which I could write a whole post. Much better that you go and read about them yourselves, and see these incredible examples of patched and re-patched working clothes. I'm eternally saddened that I didn't make it up to York a couple of years ago to see the travelling exhibition. Friends tell me it was amazing.
There is a definitive book. Boro: Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan ed Yukio Koide & Kyoichi Tsuzuki, researched by Chuzaburo Tanaka. This is even more expensive than the Edrica Huws book was ; I don't think I will ever own a copy. And talk about coincidence; having written the bare bones of this post two days ago, I bought a copy of Quiltmania magazine today - and there they have an article on....Boro! Headed, no less, by a poster depicting the very book I've mentioned above.
Then there are my Taupe fabrics. And the reason I began collecting them was reading the blogs of Jan at Be*mused and Marisa at Quiltotaku. You can find their blogs from my blog list. They have some stunning photographs.These girls have a fascination with Japanese quilting and I have learned a lot from them. I first read about the quilter Yoko Saito in their blogs and from there it was a small step to buying a few(!) books and starting to collect taupe fabric. I mostly buy them from EuroJapan LinksLtd, an English firm who attend all the big quilt shows and fairs, and who also sell on-line.I buy my indigo fabric from them as well.
Now Taupe, as we all know, is another word for...let's face it....beige. And I do have a friend who can't get her head round the fact that not all taupe fabrics are....er....taupe. Originally they were, or close variations of the hue, but then Yoko began her own line of fabrics which all had the same greyed effect overlaying other colours, which somehow pulled them all together. Other designers followed suit and a whole new contemporary genre was born. Usually woven, these fabrics are often textured and embellished in something similar to intarsia - you can see the floating yarns on the reverse side.
For a few years many of the quilts hung at the Tokyo International Quilt Exhibition were in the Taupe category, which, along with the meticulous stitching and attention to detail, marks them out instantly as Japanese quilts.
About eighteen months ago, I spied an old English medallion quilt on-line. I fell in love with it and wondered how quickly it would take some enterprising designer to come up with a new pattern for it. Sure enough someone did. Corliss Searcey brought out her lovely 'The English Basket Quilt' and I bought the pattern, thinking I would love to use my taupe fabrics to make a pared down version of my own , I decided I didn't want to make it as large, nor use all the templates. I mainly want to make the baskets of flowers! Because of various domestic events, plus sewing for the craft fair, I've had to delay making a start, but it's now back on the to-do-soon list! Foolishly, in my hurry to photograph the fabrics and pictures for this post, I clean forgot to take one of the Basket Quilt. And I've not got time to do it now so will rectify that next post.
In the meantime I have finished four chunkier baskets, designed by Jan Patek, using many of the non-taupe Japanese fabrics, which are another little collection all on their own. I'm going to surround each block with myriad small squares. Just to make life a little more difficult. And no, I haven't forgotten K's quilt!
Unfortunately, now that you've made me get all these lovely fabrics out to show you, I'm having a quiet drool here, and can feel that impatience to begin that basket quilt nibbling away there....no, too much other stuff to be going on with. Resist! I hope you've enjoyed the show!