Japanese Memory Quilt

Barbara Smith © 2004

   
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April 8, 2000 our son and his fiancé were married in Tokyo, Japan. She had been working in Tokyo for years and they thought that, as Americans, an authentic Japanese wedding would be a unique opportunity. The wedding was held in a 16th century Shinto Shrine and showed off their traditional wedding kimonos. It was absolutely beautiful.

We stayed at a Japanese Inn located in a very old section of Tokyo and spent a lot of time browsing nearby shops and buying spectacular fabrics. These fabrics had been woven by the same family for generations. A visit to a Japanese Flea Market uncovered old kimonos for $20.00, which I, of course, bought immediately! What fun I had! What could I create with these fabrics as a reminder of our Japanese experience?

I thought about that for quite some time. Finally, I decided to crazy quilt wall hangings for myself and our daughter who traveled with us. They are yet to be finished and there are still lots of ideas in my head. The first row of each hanging is done. I will update you when the final 2 rows are finished. This is a labor of love.

The wall hangings will have 3 rows of 2 blocks each. Each block will be a memory shown with material and embellishments.

The first block features the bride's kimono. She wore a traditional Japanese black wig with her wedding kimono. It took 3 ladies over 3 hours to dress the bride. Her kimono was red with swans on it. The groom's kimono looked more like a sumo wrestler. Both of the kimonos had to be custom made because they are so much taller than the average Japanese bride and groom.

The second block displays a fan. The bride carried an attractive fan during the ceremony. I have embellished many memories in the midst of the block. Fish from the fish market where we ate sushi and drank beer for breakfast. Cherry blossoms because they were breathtaking floating down from the trees. Flowers because they were beautiful that time of spring.

The other blocks are started, there are lots of plans for them. I want to include a ginger jar and chop sticks, koi fish swimming, and a Japanese paper parasol. Or, perhaps our names written in Japanese will appear somewhere on a block.

It has been fun reliving our memories and knowing I will have a storybook quilt to hand down to their children.

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Red Kimono
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Close up
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 Fish and Turtle
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Cherry Blossom
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Close up
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Fan Block
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Spider and Web
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Blue Kimono
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Close up
 
Sources:
First my own stash built over the years

Ah! Kimono - vintage fabrics Undercover Quilts - vintage fabrics Seattle, WA

Pink Peppercorns - hand dyed silk ribbon

Shipwreck Beads - vintage and new beads Olympia, WA

BlueBear beads - beads Myrtle Beach, SC

Nancy's Ribbons - vintage silk ribbons Queen Anne's Hill Seattle, WA

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