Going Japanese....

I belong to a book club here in Stockholm and last month, the book we read was 'The Makioka Sisters' by Tanizaki.  I can tell you that it was not universally popular, but I loved it.  Perhaps it is because we were lucky enough to go to Japan last year and it was just the most fantastic holiday.  Anyway, on the wings of this little wandering into Japanese culture, we went to visit the Asian Museum here in the city.  I cannot believe that I had not been there before - it was absolutely lovely - with a stunning collection of japanese, chinese and korean antiquities.  Here are a couple of my favourites.

P1020312
I love this piece of fabric - definitely in my 'inspiration' file.

P1020308
We found time to take tea and cake at the museum - I had chrysanthemen tea and green tea cheesecake - I am now on a mission to find a recipe for this light and refreshing version of something which is often far too sweet.

P1020305
So, totally inspired,  when I got home, I dived into my fabric stash to retrieve some of the fabrics that I had brought back with me from Tokyo. 

P1020346

I don't really know if these fabrics were intended for sewing with as they are of a fairly open weave and I think that they are part of the japanese culture for wrapping things up in small parcels.  Anyhow, I loved the colours and patterns and now I had an idea of what to do with them.  I used a decorative blade on my rotary cutter to help prevent fraying.  This is a really useful addition to your tool kit and ten times easier to use than grandmother's pinking shears!

P1020339
I cut the fabric into strips of 1 inch.

P1020340
and joined them together and pressed the seam open, so that it is completely flat.  Then I folded the fabric, wrong sides together and stitched all the way along the edge of the whole thing.

P1020343
Once this was done and pressed, I took a polystyrene ball and fixed the end with a fine pin.  Then I just kept wrapping until the strip was used up and the ball was completely covered.  From time to time I popped a pin in just to keep it all in place.

P1020344
P1020345
I made up several of these in different fabrics and then popped them into a large glass jar, added a tassel for alittle 'pizzazz' and, well, I thought it looked really cool and japanese.

P1020399
In fact I like it so much, I might even make some 'christmassy' balls to put in the jar in December.... Ruby x