Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Festival of the Broken Needles (Happy Huri-Kuyo)






More than 400 years ago, the Festival of Broken Needles (Hari-Kuyo or 'memorial to the needle') came into being in Japan. The event has both Buddhist and Shinto origins since modern-day Buddhism has integrated the animistic aspects of Shinto belief.  Buddhism honors all creation, living or inanimate. Animism is the belief that all things have a soul or spirit. 






For anyone who talks to their dog or cat or feels the impulse to hug a tree, Animism is not a stretch. But the Japanese combination of Buddhism and Shinto belief goes a step further and considers that even inanimate objects might have a soul or spirit and should be honored. That said, we sewers are very fond of our favorite tools and once a year--this year on February 8--Japanese sewers in Tokyo will gather to honor their broken needles and bent pins.









The first part of the ceremony is solemn as the tiny broken needles and pins are reverently stuck into cakes of bean curd in the courtyards of Buddhist temples. The cakes are later taken away and the pins and needles recycled.  



In Kyoto (the ancient capitol of Japan) Huri-Kuyo is celebrated December 8 at various temples such as the Hourin-ji temple pictured here. 






Two months later (February 8) Huri-Kuyo is celebrated further east in the district around Tokyo, the modern capitol.





The whole population of the country doesn't celebrate Huri-Kuyo. The event is for those people who use needles and are fond of them and appreciate their own work using these tools. 

Professional seamstresses, tailors, designers, kimono sewers, plus hobbyist sewers and crafters gather to dispose of their pointy-headed friends in a short ceremony complete with prayers for their own needlework skills in the year to come. 








I think the Festival of Broken Needles is a fine idea. And I'm wondering when we'll add 'dull and nicked rotary cutter blades' to the mix. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Here Come de Judge

Keeping this blog post light today. Now to explain its title: Here Come de Judge was a reoccurring skit on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, a TV comedy that only lasted for six years (1968-73) but shaped a whole generation's sense of humor. There wouldn't be a Saturday Night Live without Laugh-In. I leave your research on Laugh-In to you and YouTube. Start here Laugh-In on Youtube . 

Here Come de Judge, a tossed-off line at first, caught on with the American public and turned up on T-shirts, license plates, and sweats. And as more college students got arrested in anti-war demonstrations, de Judge was omnipresent in young consciousness. 






I truly believe the reason my family finally got a color TV was because Laugh-In celebrated color. And in particular actress Goldie Hawn, that gorgeous blond in the bikini decorated with sayings in body paint, who
looked so much more alluring in technicolor--thanks Dad!





Last week I got to be de Judge, along with John Flynn and Pat Harrison, of 273 quilts entered for the quilt competition in Road to California, a huge quilt show/competition/retail circus and learning experience for my beloved craft of quilting. And lest any non-quilter reader thinks, "Oh that's nice, Granny got a ribbon for her blanket!" you need to understand, this judging thing is serious stuff. It took our team of three two days, every quilt got written comments, and prizes varied from $500 for a third place winner up to the Best of Show that lands a $10,000 checkTo really get your head around what these winning quilts are, go here  Road to CA Winners 2020 .

The first quilt that shows up is the Best in Show. We all agreed that Marilyn Badgers' Christmas in Saint Andrews was magnificent and lingered over its many glittering details and stood in awe of the breath-taking guts it takes to work with plaids. 


I thought this wonderful quilt (titled Carolinas) by Terry Sargent Peart truly deserved the Best of Color award. And Laugh-In would have loved it!

It's no stroll in the garden to get your quilt into the Road competition. You need to follow the rules and enter your quilt into the correct category. No kits allowed, no pre-printed panels, etc. etc. Originality is appreciated and workmanship must be excellent. 


I was knackered after two days of judging but had an aha! moment when this quilt was shown. Here's my judge's choice. I could look at this quilt for days.
        
     Away  by Karen K. Stone.

What's funny is that I know Karen and would never imagine she'd make an Asian-influenced masterpiece. When we judge, it's all blind. Only the name of the quilt is called out-no other info.
I am in love with this quilt--wish I'd made it!






Sunday, January 5, 2020

My Choice for Color of the Year 2020

It's great that Pantone names its Color of the Year. You can read December's blog post here for info on that. But I've been thinking a little closer to home. Why can't I personally choose a favorite color for 2020?





For about eight years (can it be that long?) I've been designing Peppered Cottons (shot cottons) for StudioE Fabrics. We've been through about 80 shades so far. Use this link to see the present palette of Peppered Cottons.
https://studioefabrics.net/fabric-lines/basics/peppered-cottons-1/

Several colors of Peppered Cottons, introduced back when, are still selling well and thus have proved themselves favorites with the fabric-buying public. Among that top rank is Green Tea, #44. 



Green Tea is a combination of bright yellow green (weft) and a deep olive green (warp). 
As soon as I saw the swatch from the mill, I knew its name had to be Green Tea. Note: depending on your computer monitor, the shade may look more yellow or more green than what the fabric truly looks like in person.


I regard Green Tea as a staple and found that I'm always sticking it into compositions somewhere. Here it turned up as thin strips in a string-pieced Bars quilt I sent to a friend recovering from an accident.



Green Tea looks great beside hot pink, black and white. 



                                      It inspired me to make an apron I still wear.          



I'm working on projects right now that use Green Tea and I was so glad StudioE Fabrics also decided to issue it as a wide fabric (108")! Now I can back quilts using this favorite color without having to seam lengths of fabric!







One of my favorite uses of Green Tea was in the quilt called Flower Market that I made for Fresh Quilts magazine. 






Yep, Green Tea #44 is a keeper and is my pick for 2020 Color of the Year!