Koginzashi Girl's Day

I got to go back to Hirosaki for one last chance at gathering koginzashi materials. This trip involved trains and no kids or spouses! A rare occurrence these days.

But then I made us miss our train from Aomori to Hirosaki....and then we got on the train going in the wrong direction. So I'm not allowed to navigate anymore. We ended up having a really nice lunch at the A-Factory in Aomori but we missed out on seeing the Hirosaki Kogin Institute. We got to Hirosaki too late in the afternoon to make it before they closed. I wanted to cry. I've watched all their videos on Tohoku Standard and I really wanted to meet Sadaharu Narita. Fan girl to the end.

Koginzashi design on the floor of a tunnel that leads under an intersection in front of the train station.

Koginzashi design on the floor of a tunnel that leads under an intersection in front of the train station.

The spoils...Now all of us want to make koginzashi table runners. Which for me is a little bit more of a functional take on a wall hanging. I'm just usually doing wall hangings or bags. My friend is inspiring me to get into home decore. Pillows. Table runners. Place mats.

I really love the bright red but there just weren't any colors that really went with it except white. It just way way over powers navy. Which is hard to believe. I didn't buy much of it because I just wasn't sure how I would use it. The grey fabric is a beautiful linen. I really love blue greys. That's the background for the table runner with maybe the navy, pink, and dark grey.

Interesting side note: The owner of the shop gave me a paper explaining koginzashi in English! He has been so nice about giving any pamphlets he has on koginzashi in the area but they have all been in Japanese so far. From what I understand, kogin-zashi is worked using odd numbers of stitches. Groups of three, five, seven and one. Hishi-zashi, which originates in Shichinohe area, or also in Nanbu area is worked in groups of even number stitches. Nishi-kogin is stitched on cloth with thinner choma threads so it is much more delicate. Higashi-kogin is stitched on coarser fabric with thicker thread. It's almost rug like. There was an example at the shop. Mishima-kogin comes from the area around Kanagi in northern Tsugaru. It is characterized by three horizontal stripes across the shoulders of a kimono yoke.

On the way back to the train station, laden with our spoils, we happened upon a used book store. I've been meaning to get some Japanese books for my collage work. My friend just kept pulling one book off the shelf after another and they were all so beautiful. I had to tell her to stop because I would take the whole store with me. Which still lead to carrying twenty pounds of books back to the train.


Now to get them translated so that I do not collage embarrassing things accidentally.

On another note. I designed a new bag for a commission. She wanted a quilted project tote large enough for her quilting hoop made from kimono fabric. I think it turned out pretty well. I'm even considering making myself one.