Heian-kyo was the name of Kyoto at the time it was the capital city of Japan. It means something like "peace capital".
I knew at once that I wanted to make a map quilt related to Japan, especially since a fourth trip to Kyoto was planned at the beginning of April.
In March, I quickly made a little sketch and wrote down some ideas based on my former trips to Japan, but I decided not to start the quilt before this new trip.
When I came back, I drew a very rough map of Kyoto featuring most of the experiences of this trip.The two vertical light blue lines represent the Katsura and the Kamo rivers. The green areas are the parks, the gardens and the forests. I've added pink little spots to represent the amazing cherry blossoms. The three brightly coloured striped areas are there to remind me of these elegant women celebrating the beauty of spring by wearing their most gorgeous kimonos. Most red spots are shrines. The yellow rectangle is Kinkakuji. The shibori dark blues are there to feature the textile workshops and galleries we visited.
Actually, every piece of fabric in this quilt has a special meaning to me. At some point while working on this quilt, I began to think that it was much too busy. I like simple, almost minimalist, work. But on the other hand, each time I go to Japan, I'm overwhelmed by its beauty and the richness of my personal experience. Thus, I decided it was ok this time to squeeze many things into my quilt. Finally, I didn't resist the urge to add a little piece of the weaving I had done in Osaka.
I don't know if I really like this quilt from an esthetic point of view, but I certainly had fun making it and, in some way, it helped me to "digest" this trip and to come back to real plain old life in Belgium. ;-)
Here are a few detail shots of the quilt. (The colours of the quilt are a bit brighter and lighter in person.)

The quilts of the other Twelves will appear today on our blog.

More sakura

Here are a few pictures taken on the fourth day of our trip.
Beautiful sakura in Kyoto Imperial Palace Park...

We were very lucky to be able to visit the Palace itself...
The Kamo river, in the afternoon, looking north...
And more sakura...
I worked hard all this week to finish my Twelve by Twelve Map quilt. We had a little sun today, so I quickly took some pictures. The sky is grey again now, but here's a little peek at the back of my quilt...

Kyoto, Osaka and Saori weaving

Back to our Japan trip! On day 3, right after breakfast, we headed to Kiyomizu dera. It was still cold, almost freezing at night, and the sakura were just beginning their beautiful show...
The rest of the day was to be spent in Osaka. So, we hopped onto a JR train at Kyoto Station, we were joined by our Japanese friend at another station and we arrived together in busy Umeda.
Here's a picture of Osaka Station...
Now, one of the goals of the trip to Osaka was to visit the Saori weaving studio where our friend works.
Saori is a way of free-style hand weaving invented by Misao Jo, a Japanese lady born in 1913. In Saori weaving, there are almost no rules to follow. I think the main idea of Saori is that everyone has potential and creativity, and, if encouraged, has the ability to express oneself.
Saori weaving is done on Saori looms which have two treadles and are very easy to use. We had the privilege to have a look at the studio, talk to the weavers, and also meet Tetsuya Jo, Misao Jo's grandson.
Then, my friend asked me if I wanted to try weaving on one of the Saori looms of the studio...
Oh, this was so much fun. And I came back with my little piece of weaving. Too bad my suitcase was too small to bring back the loom too!
I urge you to visit the SaoriGlobal website to learn more about the Saori weaving program. (Be sure to click on all the little tabs at the top of the page.)

After the weaving studio, we still had time to visit Maruzen & Junkudo bookstore (gigantic!), and a craft shop, before ending the day in a nice little restaurant serving kushikatsu.
And finally, back to our ryokan in Kyoto, by train, and a short night sleep.

And on the quilting front, I am pleased to say that the top of my Map quilt is done. I "just" have to quilt it now. :-)

Playing with Kaleidoscope Kreator

I bought two add-ons for Kaleidoscope Kreator 3 the other day.  Just downloaded them from the KK site, simple.  Feathers and Filigree.  They are so addicitve.  Here are some designs from them:

Bamboo forest

Especially for you Ali, here are some pictures of bamboo forest.
The first three photos were taken in Arashiyama during our 2010 trip.

The next one was taken a few days ago in East Kyoto, in the hills near Kodai-ji temple. (Arashiyama lies West of Kyoto.)
In other news, I finally made a start on my Twelve by Twelve "Map" quilt. This was the state of my design wall around noon today...
The studio floor...
And a little peek at what I did today...
More about the trip to Japan very soon...

And the Winner is ......

The winner of Jennifer Chiaverini's book is JU-NORTH.

The winner was drawn from a hat by my hubby.  

Send me your mailing details and I will get the book to you in the next day or two.

Thank you to those who took part.  Sorry I couldn't give you all a book.

Kyoto, day 2

On day 2, we visited Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto. To reach the villa, we decided to take a bus. From Kyoto Station, it's really easy. See...
Little digression: I haven't started to work on my Twelve by Twelve "Map" quilt yet, and the reveal date is almost looming... I chose my fabrics before leaving for Japan. But of course, I got several new ideas while in Kyoto. Now, I think I need to change some of my fabrics.
Anyway, here are two pictures of the Katsura Villa garden.

Some people say it's the most beautiful Japanese garden in the world. It is certainly one of the nicest I have ever seen, and the buildings are also very impressive.
After the visit, we took a Hankyu train to Arashiyama where we had lunch.

We spent the afternoon visiting Tenryu Temple and also walking in the bamboo forest. Then back to Kyoto by JR train.
It was a lovely day, cold but sunny.

Back from beautiful Kyoto

I am back from my favourite city in the world, and this time, I was lucky enough to enjoy hanami.
I think I left a little piece of my heart in Japan, again!