Thursday 5 May 2011

Kogin Work, Pattern Darning and that Thimble Case

After last night's post on the Kaga thimbles, I had a number of emails about the ingenious little case itself. The thimbles are supported on two padded rolls which are held together in case that almost resembles a needlecase with the two side flaps closing over the thimbles to protect them. Above you can see the front cover of the case. This thimble holder case was designed and stitched by Marutomo-san, who was a Mary Wigham SAL stitcher. It was her idea to show off the thimbles that Saho made. What a lovely, kind idea!
Saho writes again: The outside of the case is woven in Kogin, a form of sashiko. It was developed in the Aomori Prefecture which is in the Tohoku region (near the areas recently struck by the Earthquake and Tsunami). In the early 1700s, farmers were prohibited from using cotton for work clothes; only linen was allowed. In order to keep warm (this area is buried in deep snow in winter), the women darned threads between the gaps of rough linen cloth to make it stronger and warmer. Later, the darning took on decorative patterns and the women would present their best Kogin works as festive wear. The Kogin patterns symbolized nature such as the dragonfly, nuts, butterflies, etc. Marutomo-san stitched the Danburiko - dragonfly - pattern on the thimble case. She used even weave linen and Matalbon embroidery thread.
Saho has sent me a number of samplers of Kogin work which you can see here. Sometimes it is not easy to see which is the front and which is the reverse because they are so artfully stitched. (Below you can see the reverses of these pieces.) Saho used Congress cloth which is also used for Hardanger work and Kogin thread. She says: The threads come in 6 strands, which are separated and then put back together to give them a lofty texture. The design is worked horizontally. To do enough work to complete a whole kimono - I cannot even imagine!
Japanese Amazon have a number of books you can browse or buy - buying is as simple as buying from Amazon anywhere else - it helps if you already have an Amazon account in your country, then you can simply log in and click on the line for the English translation. I usually buy with the 1-click option which is very easy - too easy my husband would say! International postage is worked out for your country.
So click here to see Book 1. Here for Book 2. Here for Book 3.
And let us not forget the victims of the Earthquakes and Tsunami in Japan, the Tornados in the US and others around the world. Imagine the loss of skill, knowledge and love. The loss of a single person is the loss of a whole world. Whenever you can, please make a donation to relief funds

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the information on the case. It is even more lovely than I imagined!