Transitions

Life if full of changes – some better than others.  I recently learned that my friend Cheri Bridges, owner of Ah! Kimono, is going to be retiring soon.  While that’s wonderful for her, as she can now travel and enjoy her lovely garden, it’s sad for those of us who are addicted to her packets of gorgeous kimono silks and cottons.  I, myself have a large stash that I’ve purchased over the years, but I hate to think that in about 7 weeks, I can’t get any more.  She’s been a regular presence vending at all of the big quilt shows in our area for many years.  

Miniature Grandmother's Flower Garden made from Kimono Silks

Miniature Grandmother's Flower Garden made from Kimono Silks

When I used to order her packets wholesale for In The Beginning to sell, she’d hand deliver them in a big paper shopping bag, and as I was pricing them, I’d put them into 2 piles; 2 for the store and 1 for me to purchase, 2 for the store, one for me, etc.  Now those fabrics are treasures that I hate to use.  I did cut little bits to make this miniature Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt to hang on a teeny quilt rack I have (it’s about 5″ across).

I’ve been thinking of some new projects I’d like to design using silk, but didn’t have the right fabrics for in my stash.  So yesterday, I called Cheri and asked if I could come over, hoping she’d have what I was looking for (it pays to have nice friends in high places).  Her lovely house in Woodinville, WA, is nestled at the edge of the woods, and I was greeted by a pair of hummingbirds flitting about.  This lush area of the state is the wine country of Western Washington (Chateau Ste Michelle and Columbia Wineries among many others are there).  Well, it was like being in a candy store – bin after bin of gorgeous kimono silks, buckets of Burmese silks and boxes of kimonos just waiting to be taken apart for their fabrics. 

She told me that the reason she can get so many old kimonos is that in Japanese culture, if someone has an old kimono (often stained, discolored or worn in areas) that another family member doesn’t care to have, they get discarded.  So when she takes them apart to be used for their fabric, it’s giving them a new life.

Burmese Silks with Kimono Silk

Grouping of Burmese Silks with Kimono Silk

I was able to find fabrics for 3 projects (it wasn’t hard) and I fell in love with all of her gorgeous colors of Burmese silk.  They have a glow about them the colors are so lush – and they’re even washable!  I matched a bunch of them to this copper-colored silk print – yummmmy!  I’m using the wrong side of the print which is a little warmer than the right side but may change my mind. 

Woven Fabric with Kimono Silks

Woven Fabric with Kimono Silks

For another project, I had picked up this woven neutral colored piece of fabric somewhere in Massachusetts, and Cheri helped me select silks to complement it – I chose 2 groups – one that is pretty much confined to 2 colors (above),

Woven Fabric with Broader Range of Silks

Woven Fabric with Broader Range of Silks

and the other with a wider range of colors and textures.  They both look sophisticated together – I wonder which I’ll use! 

And for the third grouping, I found this lovely light slate blue silk that will make a wonderful background for all of the blues I’ve been collecting (hoarding) over the years.

Selection of Blue Silks

Selection of Blue Silks

Cheri told me that she will still be filling orders through the last week of August so don’t miss out – get your orders in soon!  You can check out her products on her website:  http://www.ahkimono.com/products.html.  In addition to the fabrics, (which include aboriginal fabrics from Australia), another great thing that Cheri carries is this group of wooden quilt hangers that are ornately carved in Indonesia made from Jackfruit wood.  If you’ve ever wanted an unusual way to hang one of your smaller quilts, this is it.

Well, I suppose all good things must come to an end, but for Cheri, this will mean a time for travel and adventures and the freedom to explore her true passion which is dyeing and weaving.  I wish her all the best and thank you Cheri for bringing the gorgeous kimono silks to all of us for so long.  Please say “ciao” to Italy for me!!!

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About laurieshifrin

I am a quilt designer, author, quilting teacher and lecturer.
This entry was posted in Laurie's Quilt Designs. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Transitions

  1. Quilt Rack says:

    For that last couple of weeks, I managed to go although only some of content material articles you share here, but I uncover them as comparatively fascinating and informative assets. Just want say thank you for the material you have got shared. Regards!

    • It’s nice to hear that you’re enjoying my posts, as I am very new to blogging. I’d love to know if there are any special topics you’d like me to write about. I do plan to start talking about some of my favorite sewing notions and my special sewing tips, so keep reading!

  2. Such beautiful color groupings of the silks! I love your eye for color, and can’t wait to see what they become!

    • That’s very nice to hear, Anne – thanks! For now, I am just leaving the groupings on my cutting table, rearranging the colors as I walk by. I want to make sure I have exactly the right project for these treasures. But I’m sure I’ll post the quilts as I work on them, so keep checking back.

  3. It is sad to lose the AhKimono fabrics! They had such lovely things. Any leads on where now to source kimono silks?

    • It is a huge loss. She was the only source I know of for used kimono silks. I remembered that at our huge Sewing Expo in Puyallup, WA, there is a silk vendor of gorgeous new silks (in the same narrow width for kimonos) which are sold by the yard. Here’s their info:
      Kasuri Dyeworks
      PO Box 1428
      901 W Rochester
      Saratoga WY 82331
      307-326-3717
      Shibori Dragon – a wonderful shop south of Seattle, has Asian quilting fabric and all things Asian related to quilting and sewing. They may still have some of the silk packages from Ah! Kimono. Here’s their website and email:
      http://www.shiboridragon.com
      Shibori.dragon@juno.com
      That’s all I can think of – please let me know if you find any sources so I can share them with everyone.

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