Welcome to the first installation of Quilting Around the World. I’m very excited to kick off this series with the lovely Ayumi. I know that you will recognize her work immediately and if you don’t, then you will have a new favorite person to follow! I hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit about her and her fabulous creations! Prepare yourselves for some serious eye candy. I think I could put all of her projects into my favorites on Flickr. She’s widely published especially by Stitch magazine…they’re smart to capture her. 😉
Hello everyone! I am Ayumi and I blog at Pink Penguin. Angela and I met each other on Flickr several months ago. I feel so fortunate to have known her.She is super creative, kind-hearted and funny! I find her way of adding very intricate details to her work extremely inspirational! Oh and I must say that she is so beautiful.
Where in the World are You?I moved to Tokyo, Japan last June! I was born and grew up in Japan, so I am back to my home country. I spent 8 years in the US (4 years in Seattle, 4 years in San Jose) where I met my husband who is very fortunate to work for a multinational company that let him relocate here. We feel so lucky.
How long have you been sewing/quilting? How did you become interested in quilting?I have been sewing/quilting for about 6 years. My first inspiration came from my mother-in-law who is a great quilter. Every time I went over to her place in Yakima, Washington, I gushed over everything handmade in her house – quilts, wall hangings, Christmas stockings, kitchen towels, clothes, and more! I just couldn’t believe how much smile and pleasure handmade things at home could bring. I became really interested in sewing, so I looked up some online resources where I found a sewing/quilting blog community. I knew I had to be a part of it!About 6 years ago, my MIL helped my husband pick my birthday gift – a sewing machine. Ever since, I have been completely addicted to sewing/quilting.
Is quilting common in your area or are you a lone crafter?I would say quilting is not as common as it is in the US, but it is still a popular craft. What seems to be much more common is sewing zakka items. In the library in the US, quilting books are more common than sewing books, right? It’s other way around in Japan. I see about five times more sewing books and magazines than quilting books in Japanese libraries.I have always been more of a lone crafter just because I am not a part of any local craft communities. Just a few months before I moved out of the US, I finally made a crafty friend locally. Tamiko and I totally hit it off – I realized while talking to her there were so many craft-related words that had never come out of my mouth before lol. It was so so so nice to have met her and craft-talk with her couldn’t have been more fun. Through getting to know her, I learned that it makes a big difference if I have a crafty friend in real life too.
Do you find it difficult to get quilting supplies and fabric in your area?Fortunatelly no. Sewing/quilting resource over here is extremely awesome. Not just Japanese manufacturered fabrics but also a lot of supplies from other countries are readily available here too. There are fabric stores focusing on American fabrics while others import a lot of Liberty of London prints. The only thing that might be difficult to find is a wide seletion of nice cotton solids like Kona.
What designer/designs are you exposed to the most as a result of living where you do?Suzuko Koseki, Kumiko Fujita, Echino, Heather Ross, Akiko Endo, are some of the designers I am frequently exposed to and they are amazing!! There are lots of prints tailored for projects for kids’ school goodies like a backpack, etc over here too! Lots of and lots of linen or linen blend prints are here too! Oh and varied vynil printed fabrics – they are sold in small cuts!
What is your favorite part about the international nature of the online quilting community?Oh gosh where can I start? There are so many parts I love about the online quilting community, but I must say it feels really amazing to be able to share the joy of sewing and quilting with people who come from very different backgrounds – different countries, different cultures, and different languages. I think the joy and love for sewing and quilting connect us very naturally even with the different backgrounds.In real life, you may not be able to meet people who find sewing/quilting as much as you do, but the online quilting community lets you meet people like that so easily. It happens very naturally like a magic. If I had not discovered this online quilting community, I probably would not have enjoyed sewing as much as I do now. Because I know that there are people in this community who I can mutually inspire each other, I have great encouragement and support to keep doing what I am doing.My real life friends don’t really “get” my blog side of life, so I haven’t even told them about my blog lol.
How good are you at filling out customs forms for the postal service?I think I am getting better at this! I usually send packages via Small Packet Airmail which requires a small customs form per package. The info to put on it is just the same as the customs form for a package to ship internationally from the US. The staff at the post office in Japan doesn’t seem to care what currency I use to write the value of the content, so I use US $ and Japanese Yen interchangably depending on my mood lol.
If you could own any fabric at all in the world, what would it be?Hmm.. I would love to own everything from Denyse Schmidt’s FMF line!
What sewing machine do you own? Do you love it or hate it?!I have Janome TB 30 (without the not-so-nice design on). I bought it a few months ago and am loving it so far 😉
What does a typical sewing session look like for you?I have a project in mind, pick up fabrics for it from my stash, think over and over whether I picked the best fabrics, feel worried that maybe I didn’t, sleep on it, feel better about the fabric choice and get going with it.
Anything else that you want the world to know about you?Thank you Angela again for letting me be a part of this fun Quilting Around the World series!
Thank you, Ayumi for all of your honest and interesting answers. I could look at your work all day long and I think you have a genius ability for combining fabrics. I always know that I will love anything you create. My blog has never looked so beautiful as it does here with all of your creations.