Friday, March 30, 2007

kits debut

in my etsy to make felt kits. yay!
also, if you haven't noticed, look a little to the right and behold the brilliance that is etsy mini: a little bit of java script that automatically updates to show the most recent listings in your etsy shop. man, those etsy folks are the coolest!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


my spinning and dyeing class last week was great! i love my wool store, and it was very cool to take a class there, in the same space they use for dyeing. here's the teacher, pouring out our wool dyed with marigolds. in the dyeing kitchen.
here's another student, in front of our washed, drying fleece.
i am not sure if i will be able to continue with these natural classes, as school starts again next week, but i am stoked to spin more!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


i'm been catching up since i returned from indonesia. here is a woman demonstrating traditional handmade javanese batik.
tomorrow is my spinning and dyeing class!! finally. i feel like a little kid waiting for christmas. i am very excited, if you can't tell!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

hina matsuri

just to let everyone know, i will be away on a research trip until march 19th. see you then!

last week was hina matsuri, girls day, in japan. these are shrines set for the holiday at the itami craft center.

as i have mentioned before, the itami craft center includes a museum, classroom, and shop. some of the buildings are traditional shophouses, so there is also a separate display about these traditional buildings themselves, which is where the shrines were set up.

the center of the center (hee hee) is a courtyard garden.

the whole craft center and art museum take up a whole city block, including all the white buildings in this picture.

Monday, March 05, 2007

spinning wheel obsession

the woolery now has the above image on their site, a comparison of 4 folding wheels on the market. the little one on the right is the louet victoria, also known as the object of my desire! isn't it adorable? i think i want this wheel. i know, i know, i should learn to spin first, and i should try out different first spinning class isn't for another 3 weeks, good thing i am taking a trip in the meantime to keep myself distracted. but in japan, the only wheel i know for sure i can get here is the ashford joy (far left). oh, what to do. i'm going to try to be patient. i've read some great reviews of the victoria. the only thing i wonder about is the ability to spin bulky yarns (what's the difference between bulky and novelty? before i pretty much gave up knitting for felting i loved to knit with bulky yarn, so i would imagine i might want to spin them too). is any input is welcome!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

monkeys, both felt and sock, and a heap of cats

there's an exhibit of felt (including a monkey) in kyoto, at the gallery inspiblo, a nifty-looking gallery/shop/salon/bar/cafe.

on the monkey theme, i just found an excellent sock monkey book. called 'glove dogs and sock monkeys,' it's pretty incredible in variety and detail of glove and sock animals.
ISBN: 4-579-11061-7

along similar lines of cute animals with human expressions, the following book is exclusively amigurumi cats, but with an exhaustive range of emotions and activities. a lot of them are different places and ways to nap, which i guess is a fairly accurate representation of a cat's life!

'the life of amigurumi cats: a heap of cats'
IBSN: 4-391-13012-2

Thursday, March 01, 2007

a good day for crafts

the people who organize the handmade market at chion-ji temple that i've blogged about before, also are involved with another handmade market in kyoto, this one on the 1st thursday of every month, here. it's in a big park, which was nice and sunny today. by the time i found my way there, it was around 3:30 and everyone was packing up. but it looked great, very similar to the chion-ji market, with lots of traditional and contemporary crafts, from handmade lacquered bowls to linen slippers and everything in between. i will definitely check it out again, and if you do, i suggest you go in the morning!

it's walkable from the kyoto train station, 15 minutes due west.
when you get to this pedestrian overpass, you are half way there. take the stairs that veer to the right, and when you go down on the other side of the street, walk to right of the school and continue west.
here's a view from the inside of the kyoto train station, looking down on the mister donuts and cafe du monde open air food court. i was on my way up to the excellent tourist info center on the 9th floor. i was doing research about what kinds of traditional craft classes i can try out with my mom when she comes to visit in june. and there are tons! i'm very excited (and i hope mom is too) to try indigo dying, traditional weaving, and wax resist printing, just to name a few.
but...the best part of my day craftwise happened at the yarn shop, kin no hitsuji, which i've blogged about before too. since it takes over an hour for me to get to kyoto, it's kind of a far local yarn store, but they have great wool for felting and great books. after going there so many times i've lost count, they all know who i am, and i think i know all the people who work there too! i thought they might be a family (mom, dad, two grown daughters, and grandma) but i don't think that's actually the case. so today i finally bought a book for myself that i've been eyeing for months. it has some felt projects and some spinning and weaving. i can't read it (in japanese of course) but the most exciting part are the photos showing the natural dye process and the natural materials that the author goes out and gathers to dye wool. so when i was buying the book, i asked if they knew of any classes about natural dyes...and it turns out that they teach classes at the shop! so i signed up for a one day class in march that includes spinning, carding and dyeing (perhaps not in that order). oh boy. i was literally skipping down the street.
and then i discovered the muji in kyoto that has a muji restaurant, so i got to eat this lovely healthily meal.
then, i walked past this shop, sisam, which has fair trade products, including these cool felt cushions.