Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How heavy could fabric be, anyways?

Thank you SO much for all of your wonderful comments about our Japan trip! It was so exciting to see so many new names in the comments - it really was fun to share it with everyone. We're still recovering from the trip, even though it's been more than a week back. Especially Unki and Maggie, they certainly have become much more affectionate and naughty since our return.

I'm almost embarrassed to share all of the fabric I got from Japan. I tried to limit myself to things I couldn't get in the States, but I got a little carried away. As for yarn, I only bought one skein for myself, a cotton linen blend from a stand at the Toji Temple Market in Kyoto. And I think I'm going to use it more for decoration than knitting. The reality is that most of the better yarns we can get here in the States, and the big trend in Japan now seems to be organic cotton. I never made it to Avril (Habu Textiles) which was the only store I was really interested in for yarn.

Onto the fabric! I've washed and pressed some of it, some of it is still travel wrinkled, so please forgive the photos. Overall, I tended to buy more neutral, natural colors, and that's what seemed to be popular as well. I'll sort it by city:


In Kyoto, I bought some fabric at the Toji Temple Market from a man who was surrounded by little old ladies. I bought two 2-meter lengths of blue cloth that turned out to be really great quality.

At Nomura Tailor, which is along the main shopping drag in Tokyo, I bought a length of linen (no photo) and these fabrics.

The two on the left were precut at 1.15 meters, and I bought 1 meter of the cat print - couldn't resist!

The store was very nice, it was three floors (I think?). They had samples set up along the walls and you had to somewhat search for the right fabric. They also had plenty of precut lengths everywhere you went, in baskets, at the cash registers, on the stairs. A lovely place to browse and see fabric.

Linnet was definitely my favorite fabric store of the trip. Their store is quite small, but they had binders of their different fabrics and they could bring them from the back (which was their warehouse). Besides fabric, I bought some trim (I'll share those on another post) and some patterns (ditto!)

Cotton prints that the owner (Mayumi Maeda) created. They also had precut fabric to buy - made it very easy to shop!

A linen print that I love.

Two meters of a beautiful blue linen, I wish I could capture the color in photos, but I can't.

They have an online English store, some of the English might be confusing, but it's fun to browse and see what they carry. The dollar/yen rate is favorable towards the dollar, so it might be worth it to buy some fabric. I don't know what shipping would be, they say on their website they quote after you submit your order.


Takayama was the surprise of the trip. I bought some fabric from the supermarket, where they had the nicest fabric section. This is where there were the most precut fabric, all nicely tied with twine.

Nice solids.

Two canvas fabrics, the one of the left is a linen/cotton blend.

A funny little fabric called "coffee". Can you spot the coffee cup?

Even at Kouichisan's work, they had an outlet store where they had some upholstery remnants for sale - 200 yen per piece (less than $2.00). We've already used one piece to reupholster a footstool.

Save the best for last, right? Tokyo had the most variety of all the places we visited. I bought fabric on our first Tokyo leg from Yuzawaya, which has stores only in the suburbs, but it's worth a trip to go to one (especially to Kichijoji, as Avril is somewhere in the neighborhood). Yuzawaya also sells yarns.

My Liberty fabric! I tried to pick out some that I hadn't seen before or couldn't buy here, but they had at least 30 different prints. The white fabric on the left is just plain tana lawn fabric, same great quality, less than half the price. I've never seen the plain fabric so I thought it was an interesting buy.

Two 2-meter lengths of Lotta Jansdotter's fabric from last season. You can see these used in her Simple Sewing book, they are both 100% cotton and are home decorating length. Love them!

They also had a few kits that I couldn't resist.

My final fabric splurge was at Kinkado in Ikebukuro. The store is kind of confusing, the fabric is in the second half of the store in the back on the second and third floors. It's a little tight, but they had lots of fabric of all kinds.

One of my favorite buys of the trip. This is Nani Iro fabric called Fuwari Fuwari. It was really hard to take a photo of, but it's a cotton gauze fabric, so soft and lovely. I think I'll make a simple dress from it, but it would make a wonderful quilt as well.

And more Lotta Jansdotter fabric! Kinkado had some from her 2007 line, which are all a linen/cotton blend. Much more lighter than the 2006 fabric. If you go to her Japanese site, you can see what was available, it took me a while to decide what to get.

And that's the fabric I bought. Phew! I bought some notions as well, I'll post about those later. Oh, and books. And I can't forget the pottery!

Unki was so cute laying in the sunset last night I had to use this as my parting photo.


blossom said...

i wanted to say that your japan trip posts are the best reads i've had on the blog-world for a long long time! i enjoy all of your pictures, stories and details. it was so much fun! i want to go to japan now more than ever! your collection of fabric souvenirs are gorgeous! i can't wait to see what you're making out of them!

SJ said...

I LOVE the elephant print fabric!

yumi said...

What great fabric you bought!!! All the patterns are so nice. I like the elephant one. And those flower patterns. All of them.

Lynne said...

I just wanted to say thanks for posting about your trip. It was so interesting and the photos were beautiful. I can't wait to see what else you bought. :)

Emily said...

De-lurking to say that your posts about Japan were some of the most interesting and entertaining posts I've read in a while! Now I want to go. I just need to find some locals to show me around...

And I'm joining the love-fest for that elephant fabric. :D

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I'm impressed at how diligent you were about blogging while on vacation :)

laurie said...

Your days in Japan were wonderful to read.
I am in love with many of the fabrics you found...the cat fabric is so cute.
Can't wait to see what becomes of the treasures you brought back. I am looking forward to the pottery pictures.

yaiAnn said...

So pretty! I wish Liberty prints were cheap over here!

The_Add_Knitter said...

I am a huge fan of Japanese fabrics and your photos are so gorgeous!!

MinaG said...

You made a lot of nice fabric selections from Japan, things that you couldn't find here! I can't wait to see what projects you will make out of them!

Knittiana! said...

I really love the fabrics! I always wanted to learn how to sew, and between my desire to want to spin and dye and my obsessive knitting I just might one day.
I too enjoyed your Japan Trip entries. You took so much time to share the experience I learned a lot (and drooled over the food, I am pregnant and crave good sushi for months now....) The photos are very nice too, one really was able to 'feel' the atmosphere. Thank you very much!

Jennifer said...

Hi! I just found your blog, and it took me a minute to realize that you don't live in Japan, but came here recently on a trip. :-) I looked for an "about" page for your blog, but did not find one...

I see similar interests to mine--the craft books, notions, interest in bias tape trim inside bags (!!), etc. I have never been to Mashiko, but want to go some day.

(Oh, and my younger daughter's name is Mari).