Friday, April 4, 2014

A special treat

Earlier in the week, I received a call from Yasuko Kuraishi, one of my long time quilting friends. She is a quilt "sensei" or teacher who is well connected in the quilting world, both in the U.S. and Japan. She told me of a quilt exhibit that was in my own neighborhood and, as we were having a meeting of our little group, suggested that before going home, we stop and take in the exhibit.

The exhibit was the work of Keiko Minato, another quilting "Sensei". (seen on the right)

The quilt behind us was exhibited at the Tokyo Dome show and it was a real treat to see these works up close and talk with Minato-sensei about the process.

We both share a fondness for kasuri and  the way she used it in her quilts is quite unique.

Several of these large quilts on display featured kanji but the lettering was not appliqued on or printed on. The entire quilts were made of small squares, a little over an inch in size. Minato-san had selected small bits of kasuri with varying tones and fussy-cut them to put darks and lights and shading in the proper place to create the design.

Notice the piecing in the border.

each of these designs is made up of squares.

All are made the same way, by cutting out square bits of kasuri.

What an amazing variety of blocks she was able to come up with!

I don't suppose the pieces were as easy as sewing regular squares together either, because in order to get the variety of patterns, the pieces were cut in a way that many were bias edges on all sides.

The gallery was set up in a most attractive way and there were not only quilts but lovely fashion pieces and bags for sale.

The exhibit itself was a treat but it was even more special to talk with such a creative artist ... even in my rather miserable excuse for Japanese... and share her enthusiasm for the process.

The walk from the gallery back to my home was only about 15 minutes.

Along the way there were daffodils in bloom.

Thunder was rumbling in the distance, but I had to try and get a picture.

How about these ...

Hiding among the dead grass.

And here is what waited outside my gate.

These are volunteers among my geraniums.

They seem to be taking over several pots but I can hardly pull them out, now, can I?

By this time it had begun to spit hail from the rumbling clouds. It is only four days into April and those showers are running true to the saying.

On the other hand, The March lion is still roaring and the May flowers are beginning to show something new every day. And, lucky me, Kuraishi-sensei brought me tickets to another quilt show ... next month at Mitsukoshi Department store. I hope you all had a great day too.


  1. Almost too jealous to comment. Such a glorious time of year there and a local quilt exhibit to boot. I miss my Wednesdays with Kuraishi sensei and her lovely ageless (not to mention photogenic) face. Glad to find she has another outlet for those free tickets! Aren't those blue flowers among the geraniums coming from a bulb? Another Japanese friend always planted bulbs in the pots of summer blooming flowers to give us a surprise in the spring. Love you, miss you, miss Japan. Sniff.

  2. Daffodils, blue grape hyacinths, sure signs of spring, and what a wonderful time meeting quilting friends. Enjoy the next exhibition. Cheers, Jean.

  3. What an interesting quilt and very lovely. Sounds like you had a wonderful day. We are starting to see signs of spring and I'm happy to say the weather is trying to warm up. Yeah!

  4. I love that quilt, love the simplicity of the little squares and the use of fabrics and colors.


  5. Oh what a wonderful day - love the quilts - and the friendships. Spring flowers - I love them all. My pansies are doing well, and we have some sunshine today - hurray.

  6. how wonderful for you to be able to meet up x flowers are beautiful x

  7. What a lovely opportunity to see the exhibit and meet the quilter.
    Good to see a few signs of Spring sneaking in.

  8. You get to see so many wonderful quilt shows but this one looks like it was really special! And how wonderful to get to look at the quilts along with the maker. I love your flowers!! None here yet and probably won't be for at least another month, but I hope to plant seeds for cucumbers, zuchini, tomatoes, basil and oregano this weekend.

  9. Love those jonquils... lucky you being so connected and having such great inspiration around!

  10. You really had a great day out, meeting friends, looking at quilts, spotting flowers and being welcomed back home by beauty in the flower pots and those ice pellets from the sky!
    MInato-san's quilts are beautifully made!

  11. The quilt is beautiful. I am pretty sure I would not have the patience for 1" pieces! And I loved seeing your spring flowers. I still am seeing snow outside my windows!

  12. What a fun day! I've been staying in a lot nursing my back so it will be in good shape for an upcoming mission trip but I've been able to do a little sewing. I need to work several days this week at school but I'm hoping to be off next Friday when there's a quilt show a couple of hours away. :) blessings, marlene

  13. I don't think I've ever seen (or heard of) Volunteer flowers. Lovely color! Hopefully they will still be in bloom when the geraniums bloom.

  14. sounds like you delighted in many of lifes treasures....and your spring flowers are soooo lovely..
    many happy stitchings as always..

  15. Thank you for the photos. The fussy-cut blocks are interesting! Especially, we liked the photo of you and friends - you are glowing. Happy spring!

  16. That is a remarkable quilt! What creativity using the same block to make all those patterns. I'd love to see it in person... Thank you for showing!

  17. Wow! This is beautiful. Thanks for the show.