Saturday, 27 January 2018

17th Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2018, Part 1

For Japanese quilters I would say that one of the most important times of the year is here. Friends of quilting are flocking to Tokyo Dome, a gigantic baseball arena, where the 17th Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival is now being held.

I met up with my friends Tanya (of By Taniwa) and Julie (of My Quilt Diary) to explore the wonderful world of quilting.

First we checked the blocks we had contributed to the Partnership Quilt project. The organizers had received some 9000+ blocks, which volunteers had joined and quilted into 60 quilts. These are raffled off and the proceeds go to charity.

Julie's red cardinal sat high up.

Tanya is pointing out her tree, black against a colourful background.

My own block, with a round Swedish flag, was amongst cherry trees.
 On the wall next to the quilts is a chart of the names of the makers and a box into which one can drop a raffle ticket. One lucky winner for each quilt.

 Many blocks featured animals, insects, or even a tangle of kites!


At last year's quilt show, Julie, Tanya and I set ourselves a task: make something Mola and have it ready for a Show and Tell at the festival in 2018. So here we were.
The first to finish the task was Tanya, who made this charming wallhanging of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Her stitching is so neat and the border fabric frames each block perfectly.

Julie made a show-stopper, a waistcoat superb:

Those who have followed my blog know I have been making a bag. At the Dome it made friends with a Mola tissue case - a gift from Tanya.

What inspired the three of us for this challenge were the quilts by Fumiko Nakayama.

I think I have seen at least one of her many quilts at every major show I have visited in Japan.
This year there is a special exhibition featuring MANY of her masterpieces.

Ms Nakayama has taken the technique of Mola and stretched it into many new motifs.
First, here are some examples of the traditional style:

Faces of the world.

Details of the invisible stitching and neat edges.

Then we saw how Ms Nakayama has used Mola technique to illustrate the famous literary work, The Tale of Genji:

As she is also an expert needlewoman she has incorporated many embroidery stitches in these framed pictures. For examples the snow on the pine trees is made of Colonial Knots,

and here she has added a panel of Japanese embroidery, Nihon Shishu

and in this case, needle woven stitches.

and surface stitches.
I felt as if I were in a sweetshop!

I don't know why the Japanese are so fond of quilted bags, but at every quilt show you are bound to find some bags, or maybe, you can't really call them bags....

山田貴子*Ms Atsuko(?)Yamada
made a piggy bag

原田恵津子*Ms Harada
can carry her shop with her when she goes shopping!

田島明美*Ms Akemi Tajima
let a tree grow on her city bag.

木澤直子*Ms Naoko Kizawa
decorated her white bag with colourful Paraguayan nanduti lace.

 Finally I will show you a bag made by Japan's cat quilter No 1,
鈴木なを子*Ms Naoko Suzuki

who also had in the show, this framed quilt

as well as this large quilt
These cats are made of appliqué fabric and black embroidery stitches.

I will take a break here and share more quilts with you tomorrow. Because of this, Sunday Stitch School will be cancelled.


  1. Oh Queenie! I’m so jealous! What an amazing quilt show. Thank you for showing us your pictures! I’m blown away by all of them!
    Wow, your friends and your Mola pieces are wonderful!
    I’m especially touched by the gorgeous cat quilting ..... and what lovely bags!!
    Looking forward to the next instalment already!
    Barbara xx

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      There is PLENTY more to come. It is impossible to see everything in one day, you need at least two days at the show. Then you need a lot of time at the computer, sorting pictures and translating names. I don't want to post a picture of a quilt without its maker's name.
      Ms Naoko Suzuki has been making cat quilt for I don't know how long, ten or twenty years. They are all similar but still different.

  2. I'm happy for you, and jealous, yes, but in a good way.
    Barbara says it all!
    The woven stitching is amazing too.
    Thank you for sharing your photos and story.

    1. This IS a show worth going to, but it IS crowded and poorly posted in English.
      There will be further blogposts with pictures soon.

  3. What a stunning variety of pattern and stitch. And so lovely to see your Mola piece making friends with your friends' work!

    1. There is a great variety of textile art to see. I have not posted the quilts in the contest yet. So more to come!

  4. fantastic quilts! Thanks for sharing your experience in photos.

    1. The small Partnership quilt blocks (15x15cm) are charming and some very inventive. The display of the Little Women quilt with its house was great, but the best I have not yet shown - the quilts in the contest and teachers' works.

  5. The quilt show is fantastic with such inspiring needlework and designs. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the cats/butterflies. The Mola self-challenge of Tanya, Julie and yourself produced excellent results.

    1. The three of us were very happy to have completed the Mola, and have already set a new challenge for next year.
      The show was great, but as usual very crowded and you do need two days to take it all in.

  6. Replies
    1. Yes, there were a lot of Wow! More Wow to come!

  7. Wow Carin, thank you so much for sharing all these beautiful photos .....Julie and Tanya look fantastic with their Mola projects nice !!!
    Thank you again :)))

    1. You're welcome!
      I am happy to share the highlights of the show. Many more posts to come.

  8. Great photos! I love your mola projects.

    1. Thank you. I think there was a lot of Mola and reverse appliqué in the quilts this year.

  9. I always enjoy seeing your photos of the quilt festival! The quilt blocks you all made are wonderful. And I LOVE your Mola bag! It turned out fabulous!!! Tanya's wall quilt and Julie's waist coat are lovely, too. The quilts and bags are all stunning. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your kind words.
      I think this quilt show was much better than last year's and was blown away by the Mola exhibition.


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