When people think of Japanese craft, they often think of zakka-cute, whimsical sewing projects. But Japan has a long history of traditional quilting as well. Yoko Saito, a quilt artist for more than thirty years, explores traditional folk themes in her work and interprets them with a vintage, yet modern feel. The projects in this book use traditional patchwork techniques such as log cabin, hexagons, baskets, and stars, sewn in soft sepia and taupe fabrics. Featuring piecework, applique, machine stitching, handstitching, and embroidery, these projects are a delight for anyone who loves doing needlework. Nostalgic yet modern, in soft monochromatic fabrics, the projects can be described as Japanese-style Americana, modern country style that's also at home in chic urban settings. A subtle, detailed, exquisitely crafted beauty characterizes these lovely projects.
While the book features a few large wall quilts, most of the projects are small (albeit detailed), with appeal for quilters who want a taste of traditional quilting without the investment of time and labor that bed-size projects require. Many of the projects are variations on Yoko's popular signature fabric baskets/containers/handbags, and there are also cushions, an apron, sewing kit, and notions box. Paper patterns for all projects are in an enclosed envelope in the book.
While Yoko Saito''s stitching is beautiful and meticulous, she embraces the wabisabi concept of imperfection, using odd-shaped pieces and quilting with a free mind, as she says, that is not bound by conventional designs. Her respect for the legacy of traditional quilting is apparent in her aesthetic, yet unique and contemporary designs emerge from her blend of stitching experience and open-minded artistry.