Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Obi project finished!

So excited to have this finished!
As mentioned before I bought the fabric and paints for this project WAY back in 2009 but never got it started.
Finally started painting it last year a few months before bubs was born and just finished sewing it up a couple of days ago!

So here is my first (albeit handmade) ro darari obi!

So pleased with how it looks!
Once I sew up my ro han'eri and find/make a ro obiage I'll dress up the mannequin again so it'll look more proper.
The mon section is taken from my other black darari:
I didn't put the stamens in, I thought it looked ok without them and figured I could always put them in later.
The obi is actually a two piece obi.
The three obi bolts bought for this project would either make it only patterned on one side if made full length ( about 6m) or I could make it a double sided two-piece ( what I went for) as I figured it you wouldn't be able to tell when it was tied up.
I'm really happy with the colour selection too.
I had originally planned for a black/white/red colour scheme but when I painted a test section up I couldn't find the right shade of red so after a lot of searching through photos I decided on gold instead of red.
I think the end result is a very clean, sleek looking obi and the colours look nice with the summer maiko hikizuri above, as I made the obi to go with the kimono!
For ages I've been trying to buy a summer darari to go with the kimono but no luck.
Although just recently I have gone from 0 summer darari to 3! Didn't see that one coming, but one of those obi is another work in progress but it will go nicely with both my summer maiko hikizuri, although it'll probably take me another 7 years before its done as well.....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Shibori and katazome trials

Some months before bubs was born I became very interested in the processes of shibori dyeing and katazome stenciling.
I'd bought some katagami stencils and once repaired I tried my hand at making a rice flour resist paste (Meh) and tried stencilling and dyeing.
The results were very average, the resist paste wasn't the right consistency I think.
I found after a few attempts that the dye needed to be brushed over the resist- submerging the whole thing in dye just dissolves the rice flour resist!
Here I was playing around with layers of dye.

The leaf stencil from the previous post all completed and fixed.
Love the intricacy of the design. 

Unfortunately I couldn't get all the fine details when I was dyeing it.
I need to practice with the rice flour paste as it was still grainy and not smooth enough to get the crisp lines.
I then tried just applying fabric paint through the stencil ( the silver/grey bits) and that came out really nice, it just used a lot of paint.

I also tried some very basic shibori methods:

 It was fun giving it a try but I think the big, wide world of shibori is one hobby too many. I'll have to just admire other peoples work ;)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Recent project- Painting an obi, fixing katagami stencils

I am one of those really bad crafty people that have about 15 half finished projects on the go.
I lack the drive to finish things most of the time.
When something finally does get finished I consider it a major victory!

So.... Waaayyyy back in 2009 I bought three black ro obi bolts from Ryu Japan with the idea of painting them and sewing them up.
I had the obi bolts, I bought the fabric paint.
I then started working full time and my spare time went towards other projects.

And so they sat in my craft box. Year after year. Whenever I'd go into the craft box for something else I'd look at the obi bolts and go "Oh yeah! I should really do something about those".
Then when I started selling things from my collection I started to think should I sell them too? I'd had them for years and never touched them.
But I held onto them, for whatever reason.

 So finally this year when I stopped working due to the pregnancy I thought to myself  'Great, I'm going to have so much spare time to do all those little craft jobs I've been putting off for years".


Even before the baby is here I've learnt things take about 3 times longer than I originally expected.

Plus my list of half started crafts is stupidly long:
* Paint the obi bolts.
* Finish re-sizing and replacing the lining for a blue autumn kimono.
* Sew my 2 other maiko han'eri to the collar things.
* I've got a cross stitch that I've been working on since 2011.
* My mother gave me a kit for temari balls about 3 years ago that I haven't even opened and I can tell she's disappointed I haven't done them yet... :(
* I bought some beautiful katagami stencils that needed repairing. DONE!
( that was very time consuming for one of them! I think about a month of carefully glueing all the pieces to a new netting)
* Plus whatever baby projects I'd found from browsing Pintrest late at night  -_-

So there you have my "workload"!
But all is good.
* I've painted one obi bolt, just needs sewing up now.
I've started painting the second one now.
* Kimono hasn't been touched.
* han'eri: I've got all the bits of fabric cut and ready to go, just finding the motivation for some hand sewing needed.
* Cross stitch is nearly done! Which means it might be done by Christmas 2016...
* Nothing on the temari balls. Maybe when mum comes for a visit after the baby is born I'll suggest we do one each?
* Katagami stencils I'll post some pics of.
I don't have pictures of the finished result but you'll get an idea.

I'll start with the katagami:

The leaf stencil. So beautiful but as you can see badly damaged.
I still had most of the missing pieces so it was ok, but putting it back together like a puzzle was pretty hard.
Plus more bits kept falling off as I was repairing it!
I don't have a picture of the finished piece ( sorry!) but I have tested it out with a home-made rice paste resit and its works! 
I was making some bassinet sheets and I stencilled these leaves onto the fabric, let it dry then brushed a dye over the top ( I found that submerging the fabric in dye would wash off the resist as its only water based)
Then washed off the rice resit when the dye had been set.
Again, I don't have a photo sorry.
It turned out ok, I don't think I've got the technique or the consistency of the rice paste right as it wasn't as sharp as I was hoping for.

The second stencil is this simple but so very cute ume design.
I haven't tried stencilling with this one yet but it's ready to go when I've got time.
I'll have to do a separate post with the finished results.

Obi time!

This is the finished obi bolt that's awaiting being sewn up.
I had a hard time picking the secondary colour.
I had painted the silver first and was originally going to pair it with a reddish colour ( going for the traditional black, white and red scheme)
But when I'd painted up a small section to see how it looked the red was just all wrong.
I then browsed Flickr, Google and pintrest for obi inspiration and another colour scheme I saw a lot of was black, white/silver and gold!
Of course that then started the dilemma or what type of gold- bright gold or a champagne gold ( my options in the paint section.)
So again I did a little test area, I had a really hard time picking one as I think each gold looked good and gave it a different look.
I ended up going with the champagne gold.
I'm very pleased with how it's turned out, I did have to do a double coat of the gold as one coat wasn't strong enough compared to the silver.
Now to just paint the other two and sew them up!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mannequin kistuke part 2- Purple and white

I figured while the kimono is still on the mannequin I may as well try my last darari obi.
Won't die wondering how they look together now at least!

No obidome today, I was feeling lazy and couldn't be bothered trying to find something to match.

Still more photos of leaves.
The colours truly are beautiful, my photography skillz not so...

The obi is a two piece obi but I still think I did a reasonable job.

Ohhh, getting higher each time with the obi...

The room where I was taking photos was getting lots of afternoon sun so all the gold work is extra shiny!

It would look more complete with an obidome but overall I think the colours work well together.
My favourite obi with this kimono is the orange darari though.

And just because a blog post without lots of photos is boring I put all three ensembles together for easy comparison.

Read about the black obi kitsuke here
Read about the orange obi kitsuke here

Which obi do you think works the best?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mannequin kitsuke- Purple hikizuri with orange darari obi

So I'm trying again with this kimono.
A while ago I tried to pair this kimono and my black darari obi together and was disappointed with the results.

Read all about it here

I wanted to do some kimono-y before the baby arrives.
I knew I wouldn't be able to wear kimono myself and I'd been disappointed that I wasn't able to buy any of the maiko hikizuri and darari obi that have been on YJA auctions lately so I figured I needed to suck it up as I already own some lovely pieces that don't see daylight enough as it is.

This combo came to mind as it was the last hikizuri kitsuke I'd done and I thought to myself  "It would've been better with the orange obi"
So that's what I did.
And I think this ensemble looks pretty good, if I say so myself ;)

I've been working on getting the collar lower and obi higher.
Not quiet right but getting there.

I really like this photo, the colours of the obi are so vibrant.

Although badly stained this kimono really is beautiful.
The various shades of green and the ivy leaves changing colours is stunning.
The past times I tried to photograph this kimono I felt I couldn't capture the colours and feeling of the kimono just right so I'm glad these photos give you a better representation of its colour.

So this was the first darari obi I bought, purchased back in 2010.
I think it was from Ryu Japan, either just before or just after Shinei took over? I can't remember honestly.
I remember one thing that always bugged me was when it was sewn up, it didn't have the bottom bar underneath the mon.
So i unpicked it to see what was inside. Turns out it does have the bottom bar! And as you can also see from the above photo it has a nice dirty line where it was sewn up.
Mind you I unpicked it about 4 years ago but never sewed it back up... obviously I did for these photos though.
I've never cleaned an obi before but at some time I'd like to unpick it ( again) and try to clean that mark away and re-sew it so the bottom bar is visible.
Whether that actually ever happens I can't say.

I still think the obi is from a henshin studio, the unusal mon combined with the fact its only patterned on one side is... Odd.
It could be a legit maiko obi that was owned by a struggling okiya and this was a cost saving measure?
Who knows.
I have seen this pattern on two other maiko darari obi, one is white and gold and the other in black and gold.
Here is the white and gold version.
Here is the black version ( stunning!)
It gives me a tiny glimmer of hope that my obi is the real thing, but then its more likely that the pattern is just a popular one.

But I think the obi matches well with the kimono :)


Friday, September 18, 2015

Linking a maiko hikizuri to a maiko.

For some very lucky collectors it is possible to find a maiko or geiko wearing a kimono or obi they have bought.

As I also collect odori programs I am often asked by people who have purchased hikizuri/darari obi to keep an eye out for their new treasure.
I always say I will but just the sheer quantity of dance programs I own means that's a tough task in its own.

I was contacted by a fellow collector the other day asking me to check an early 2000's Miyako odori program. They had found an old IG forum thread that said that kimono featured in the program.
So that was easy enough to do.
I checked said program and the kimono didn't make an appearance.
Disappointing but "no worries" I thought, "just check a few years earlier and later, the dates might have been mixed up."
So I went back a couple of years and sure enough I found a small black and white photo of the kimono!
Yay! I had some good news to tell the owner.
As I was flicking through the second dance program I noted how odd it was that the kimono only featured in one of the photos.
Usually the black and white photos in the back feature a small group of maiko with various temples, events or other attractions.
So I thought to myself maybe the people who put together the dance program have re-used this photo from a previous year ( not an uncommon thing to do, but you see it less in recent years)
So I went back a couple more years and jackpot!
There was the kimono in question, in colour, on the first page.
9 years earlier than originally thought, 2 years earlier than the black and white photo.
The kimono has many photos in that dance program in the black and white section so the new owner should be delighted.
I've included just a couple here that show off the kimono design best.

The kimono I'm talking about is the purple one worn by maiko Mari.
Congratulations to the current owner, knowing who is wearing it and being such a modern piece means it is a lot easier to find out more about its history.
I really enjoyed helping this person out, I was as excited as they were to find a maiko wearing it