Journey to Japan

I appreciate all your comments and I like what you taught me.  I learned that if I wanted something rich and visually multi-layered, the black background was the one to lean towards.  And while I don’t like the acid yellow/green, it struck many of you as the way to go.  I started thinking about why green worked and realized that I don’t sew with a lot of greens, that is, I don’t lean to the greens as a dominant color.  So it makes the stars stand out.

Just after 9/11, my husband and I traveled to Japan and to Shanghai, China as he had been asked to speak at a conference.  Since it was right after the horrors of the twin towers falling, nearly half of the American contingent of scientists cancelled their trip.  We went, flying out of a nearly empty Los Angeles airport.  Yes, it was very eery.  But I loved the trip.

Ireland is known for being green, and it may be, but Japan is saturated with greens.  Maybe they’re noticed because they are smacked up against the painted vermillion temples.

And one rainy day in Tokyo we ducked into this shopping arcade.  Two soggy Americans who spoke NO Japanese.  But I could recognize fabric when I saw it, and one little shop had rolls of  yukata fabric, 13″ wide and in rich colors. Of course I bought some, ironed it after the trip home and hung it in the closet, too precious to use.

Until now, some eleven years later.

I had gone to the fabric shop on the way home from school on Friday, and yes–the hot pink with the purple dots didn’t work as well as the Kaffe Fassett Stencil fabric, in two-tones of green.  I liked it . . . but I didn’t love it.  And remembering what Elinor and Bert and others had said, I knew it had to sing to me.  I didn’t touch the quilt all weekend.  I would walk in and out of the studio, did a day’s work on grading and lesson prep, ignored it, studied it.  I unfolded the half-stars, arranged them all neatly and went to bed Saturday night.

I awoke Sunday morning, and I remembered that deep in one of my closets were these pieces of yukata, so I pulled them out.  They were “flat” visually, and I had four small pieces in various shades of green.  I slapped them up on the wall, just before we went to church, snapping a picture to show Tracy at church (another quilter).

Yukata slapped up on wall, underneath scrappy stars

When I got home, I looked at it again.  I’ll have to fussy cut, so as to avoid the big blotch of white, and to strategically position the other parts, but it just might be the fabric that works.  I can fill in with the other domestic pieces of fabric, for this is, at heart, a quilt based on scraps.  And the lesson from this is–trust your stash, and your heart.  Buy when you can, and don’t hesitate to save fabric bought on a rainy day for eleven years.