Welcome to month 14 of the Japanese Quilting Study Group! You can find all previous posts from this series here.
Several years ago at Quilt Festival, I stopped by the Quilt Mania booth and fell in love with the cover of a book- Indigo and Sarasa. This was my first experience ever with Japanese quilting, and it’s probably still my absolute favorite quilting book.
The quilts are spectacular. No matter how many times I look through the book, I’m amazed at how she arranges shapes and colors. (The link above will show you nearly a dozen pages of quilts within the book). For example, she not only sews with hexagons, she sews with irregular hexagons, so that over the course of a quilt, some hexagons will be perfectly symmetric, and others will have sides skewed, such that the whole quilt seems three-dimensional. Some of my favorite quilts of hers involve drunkard’s path blocks set to resemble curved pinwheels. The sashing between the blocks is also pieced, and creates a swirling flowered effect.
After the stunning photographs, my second-favorite aspect of this book is how simply, and eloquently Mrs. Kuroha shares the story of her journey as a quilter. The publishers did an amazing job of letting her gentle voice shine through the pages.
And finally, this book is a treasure trove of instructions. She goes in-depth with explanations of hand-piecing, and every single step is illustrated with a clear photograph. If you’ve ever wondered how to start and end seams, cross seam intersections, or anything else, this book has your answers.
Just last year, Fons and Porter published a book with Mrs. Kuroha called “Log Cabin Restructured”. It also has a wealth of piecing instructions, a beautiful gallery, and tons of information about sewing log cabins– even log cabin hexagons and curved log cabins. This book focuses far more on projects than Indigo and Sarasa, and is a bit simpler to follow because it is only written in English (Indigo and Sarasa has both French and English text).
Both books, however, are lavishly illustrated and chock-full of valuable quilting information. If you’d like more information about Shizuko Kuroha, check out this interview from Quilter’s Newsletter.
Next month for our study group, I’ll have some updated photos of my hexagon and rail fence quilt. I’m also hoping to attempt a project from Indigo and Sarasa, so I’ll have some progress and impressions to share from that learning experience as well.