Friday, 25 January 2013

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival - Day 1

The biggest quilt event in Japan, Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, has just opened.
Today I made my first visit and I am glad I have a chance to return another day. Why? Because the baseball dome where the event is held was PACKED with visitors.

The quilt festival usually lasts ten days. This year it will close after six days, because the baseball arena will be used for - a special out of season baseball event. So all who want to visit the quilt show need to do so within these six days, and that explains why the event is CROWDED.

Under these conditions it wasn't possible to enjoy the high quality quilts or take pictures in the morning.

So I went looking for my snowman on one of the Partnership quilts. You might remember that back in summer I made and sent my block to this charity, organised by NHK (Japanese state run broadcasting company). Usually NHK then send a postcard to each person with the number of the quilt where the block has been added. Not this year, unfortunately and lots of people were wandering around looking for their block. NHK got 11,500 blocks !!!, and volunteers made 89!!! bed size quilts á 120 blocks each. I found my Swedish snowman on quilt no 73. Can you see him? The 3rd column from the left, the 6th row from the top.

He's in good company with a number of other snowmen and other Christmassy blocks.

I will buy a handful of raffle tickets and hope to win the quilt. 

In the afternoon I went to listen to Diana Boston who talked and guided us round the exhibition of the stunning patchworks made by her mother-in-law, Lucy Boston. Lucy took up patchwork in her 60s and made the last one at the age of 92. There is hope for us all!

Lucy Boston had a good eye for design, and fussy cut her pieces, then stitched them with the tiniest of stitches over paper. Diana said jokingly: 'These coverlets could have been stitched by mice'. As Lucy also was a keen and hardworking gardener her hands were far from fine and slender, which means it is even more of an achievement that she managed to do such delicate patchwork.

Photography was not allowed in this special part of the quilt festival. To read and see more about Lucy Boston, her home, garden, children's books and patchworks,  please check out this excellent website.

The picture above was taken by a nice Japanese lady who stood next to me. She told me she had been to Lucy's home, and had met Diana before. The quilting world is a wide and small!!!

In the afternoon as the crowds began to thin out I walked round and took some pictures of the Master Quilters (famous teachers).
 The Japanese Queen of Crazy Quilting, Machiko Miyatani's 'The Pine Grove of Forever Green'

'Wasabi' by Pachiko Yoshida. Two rings of beautiful cherry blossom petals.

Chiyo Hosokawa made her 'Restart' by cutting out figures from one single sheet of red fabric which she then appliqued by needle turn onto the blue/green fabric. Can you see the red surfers riding the waves?

Noriko Masui is one of my absolute favourite Japanese quilters. She makes the most stunning medallion quilts. Here she has made a modern version called 'Circle'.

Keiko Miyauchi has once again proved that she is The Queen of Appliqué. Her impeccable quilt is called 'Flower Garden in Early Summer'.

I will post more photos on my next report.


  1. Lovely pictures they are all beautiful can we see more?

    1. Yes, you can - when I have had a good night's sleep, ha, ha!

  2. The Restart quilt is fascinating.Trying to see all the figures is interesting.

  3. Thanks for these images of the quilt show. Every year we all Oh and Ah at the fantastic work of the Japanese quilters. At one time we had a Japanese Quilter in our little cottage group and we all learnt so much. We all miss Tomiko and her beautiful stitching.

    1. The overall quality is SUPERB, not just the works of the 'masters' that I have shown you so far. Look out for more stunning quilts in my next post.

  4. Queenie how did I miss this post, thanks for sending me the email so I could enjoy your snowman. No word of your winning the raffle so presume some one else was the lucky person.No wonder you are producing such beautiful quilts over in Japan with so many wonderful tutors showing everyone the way to quilt.

    1. There is still a chance of winning! They might be drawing the winners as we speak. It is always done on the last day of the show and they will then phone up the lucky ones. Help me keep my fingers crossed, will you, please?!

  5. It must have been fun to attend the talks about the Lucy Boston quilts. As for me, I can't see over the crowds and have found that the end of the day, say, after 4:30 they begin to clear out. Also, toward the end of the week ... with the advantage that the folds in some of the quilts have begun to show less.

    1. Hi Julie,
      You are quite right, the best chance to enjoy the quilts, and take pictures, is towards the end of the day.
      I usually arrive early, when they crowds are not too bad to get a 'feel' for the show, plan what I want to see more of, then go out for lunch and return again in the afternoon. Because of the Baseball Classics this year the quilt show was cut by four days. That is one reason it was more crowded than usual.


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