We made our way to Hirosaki this weekend, despite the weather, to see the Yosakoi dance festival. But mostly because I wanted to go to the birth place of koginzashi, a Japanese counted embroidery.
I've been doing a lot of studying of koginzashi lately and was hoping to get some really nice supplies. I can get limited colors of fabric and thread at Shimoda mall near our house. A couple of months ago a group of crafting friends and I went on a crafting field trip to Aomori in search of more koginzashi fabric colors and threads. The selection was amazing! I got a couple of books of contemporary patterns. I mentioned this to my Japanese friend and she gave me directions to another shop with even more selection in Hirosaki. We found it! It was awesome. All the different colors of linen and cotton. I didn't have nearly enough money for what I wanted but I've got enough for a few large projects.
I'm stocking up on the supplies because I just haven't seen anything like it in the states, especially the fabric. It has a very open symmetrical weave with thick fibers. Similar to aida cloth for cross stitch but much different. I think I can substitute crochet cotton for the thread. Even the thread is different because it has a tight twist. My friends have substituted embroidery floss for koginzashi thread but I don't like how quickly it loses it's twist and then makes for messy stitches. Koginzashi is all about precision and neatness.
It rained on and off the whole time we were in Hirosaki. The dancers still kept dancing with smiles on their faces. At least it wasn't too cold. It was a pretty good day of festival food, chasing a toddler and admiring all the brightly colored costumes.