Welcome to month two of my blog series, Japanese Quilting Study Group. This post is part of a series chronicling my journey through Yoko Saito’s book, “Japanese Taupe Color Theory.” For this post, I’ll be sharing my adventures in finding taupe fabrics from my stash.
One of the nuances of this book that amazes me the most is how many different colors Yoko Saito uses to achieve her iconic taupe palettes. Seriously, I’ve found nearly every color except true yellow in the book. But her ability to blend and arrange fabrics means even colors like purple and orange find a balanced place within her soft color schemes.
Coming up with a taupe color palette from my very loud, bright stash was a real challenge. I cheated a bit, and used some taupe “seed” fabrics purchased a couple of months ago at the Jefferson Quilt show. I bought these fabrics from the great folks at Piece Keepers. I was immediately drawn to their display of Moda fabrics, and started pulling some soft greens. Then I looked at the bolt, and discovered they were Quilt Gate fabrics, which is a Japanese company!
The linen fabrics on the right are French, and the line is Coleur Nature from Mas d’Ouvan. I thought they looked like some of the soft homespuns in the taupe color theory book.
So, with these fabrics in hand, I started looking for fabrics from my stash to embellish the set. The book has good tips for picking fabrics and balancing the range of shades, and I came up with some random unmarked fabric, a bit of Downton Abbey from Andover, and some classic scraps of the original Paris Flea Market from Three Sisters for Moda.
I think these colors work, although the brown in the middle really started looking orange in the photographs. Here’s my light to dark, grey to tea colored arrangement (with the green color wheel in the corner for reference):
So far, so good. The book is divided into three sections. In the first section, all the emphasis is on fabric selection and usage within simple blocks. Later in the book, we’ll get to projects like tote bags, but section one is just blocks. So I chose the Greek Cross block, mostly because it looked like fun to piece.
The directions for piecing the block is simply a scale diagram of one of the crosses. I couldn’t wait to try it out. I’ll explain more of how I did it in a future post, and will include some fabric yardages for reference, but here’s how the first little cross turned out:
The pieces are tiny. The whole block finishes at under 9 inches, which means each little cross block is less than 3 inches tall. Cool! Piecing it by hand took me less than fifteen minutes, but I couldn’t put it down and was almost late picking up my kids from school. Oops.
Last night when trolling pinterest, I found this fantastic blog post by a lady who actually got to take a class from Yoko Saito. How fun would that be?!? Anyone know where I could get a thread cutter like hers?
Next month, I’ll be sharing some good online resources for authentic Japanese Taupe fabrics.
Linking up to:
(and Fort Worth Fabric Studio also carries Quilt Gate Fabrics. And a lot of gorgeous American fabrics that would also be a great start to a taupe stash. I’m just sayin’!)