2007-05-16

The quilts of Mrs. Ito

Ok, so I took a little internet break and bummed around for a few days, quilting, watching UFC, cramming for the MTEL, baking, and spending quality time with Costas. But now I'm ready to tell the next part of the story..

Mrs. Ito is a friend of Mrs. K. They met in a "patchwork classroom" which is a group of people that meet once a week in a community center to work on a hobby, led by an "instructor." These "classrooms" are quite popular among Tomakomai housewives it seems. In addition to the patchwork classroom, Mrs. K also went to 2 different English conversation classes and an aerobics class, though not all at the same time. I think she stopped going to the patchwork classroom after she got her instructor's certificate, but I remember going with her once when I was there before. There were about 15 women quilting around a long table and the instructor would come by and tell you how you were doing. I remember that Mrs. K didn't like the instructor because she was quite critical of everyone's work. This type of "classroom" is so different than the quilting classes and guild meetings I've been to since I started quilting in America. I recall that it didn't have the cheerful sharing atmosphere that nearly all quilting get-togethers have in the States (in my experience), but instead all of the "students" kind of feared the "instructor" and everyone was waaaay too modest and played down their ability and their quilts. Part of that is Japanese culture of course, but because I have a huge interest in women's social circles across cultures, I find it fascenating and it's one of the main reasons I'd love for Mrs. K to come hang out with some quilters in the States. American quilters are so appreciative of each other.* I'd like to share that with her (and Mrs. Ito of course, should she also decide to come). So as it turned out, Mr. K got called in to work that weekend and we found ourselves without a car once again. We called up Mrs. Ito and asked if we could come over and quilt for a while. We took the bus to her place and once we settled in, Mrs. K asked if Mrs. Ito would mind showing me all of her completed works. She said I'd be surprized. I was already surprized. You couldn't look in a single direction and not spot a quilt in Mrs. Ito's house. The floor mat in her front hall, the wall hanging in her genkan, a placemat on the side table.. and that was all before we got our shoes off. In the kitchen she had a huge floor mat made of 5" hexagons. She asked me to help with the quilts, what she pulled out were these two plastic tubs:
Mrs. K and Mrs. Ito then proceeded to engage in housewifely chatting as I struggled to catch my breath and come up with a way to ask politely if I could photograph her entire collection to post on my blog. She was happy I liked her quilts and maybe a little shocked that I wanted to pour over every detail at such length. Thankfully the sun was shining and I was able to get some great photos. Enjoy. More can be found on my flickr page, tagged with "itoquilts" .
(*as I've written previously, I haven't been in quilting communities except in America and Japan, but all of the international quilters I've met online have been just fabulous. Always considerate, appreciative, encouraging. How I'd love to spend time quilting with all of you in real life, or hanging out somewhere like here. But that's a daydream for another day.)

6 comments:

The Calico Cat said...

Thanks so much for sharing!

hunnybunny said...

You're tagged! Check out my blog for details.

Sarah Jayne said...

Glad you're back and have managed to get on with some quilting. I'm so pleased we can share your expereinces in Japan. Like you I've found the vast majority of the quilting community to be generous with both their time to share and their comments about each others work.
The photos of the quilts look great - she's very accomplished.

PJ said...

I came back and re-read your posting...just taking it all in. What a treat! Thank you. Very interesting about the different culture quilt group.

catsmum said...

my favourite is the sashiko bag I think ... sounds like you had a marvelous time.

Kyra said...

Thank you for sharing these treasures - that purse is an interesting design - love the fabric choices!

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