Sew Japan

My big goal for today is to go to Japantown to an epic three story Japanese book store and buy some Japanese craft books.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how sewing differs in other cultures, and had hoped to find some fun examples of that on this trip to San Francisco. However, all the sewing stores I went to had basically the same stuff as the ones in Ohio and West Virginia, except for way more colored leathers, shiny PVC fabric for shiny PVC pants and miles of fake fur options. So, that is great! but not EXACTLY the multi-cultural sewing experience I was looking for. I love the way sewing connects you to other generations of women, but I just kept running into catty young men.

So, this fabled bookstore is my next stop in that journey. And I was so pleased to hear on the Embroidery Group on Flickr about the most lovely Japanese sewing ritual that occurred yesterday.  Kimono makers and other needle workers take a day to place their worn out needles in soft things like jelly and tofu to give them a break.  Also, “[Women put their] secrets into the pins and ask the gods to get rid of them.”

I have definitely torn my way through some needles, and I will say that I have the hardest time throwing them out, even though they are only worth about 10 cents each. So my sewing box is full of blunt needles and pins. Which sounds messy, but there is such a sense of accomplishment in a dull needle. I never thought to provide a ritual to send them on their way. What a lovely way to celebrate craft and community.

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