Title – Japanese Kimekomi
Author – Barbara B. Suess and Kathleen M. Hewitt
Publisher – Breckling Press
ISBN – 978-1 -933308-21-0
I had been admiring Japanese Kimekomi balls in a carft magazine, so I pounced on this book when I saw it, and have been so glad that I did so.
Kimekomi is a Japanese crafting technique, originally used on wooden dolls, whereby small pieces of fabric are poked into grooves in a form. There is no sewing involved.
Nowadays the craft usually involves easily available polystyrene balls (or other shapes) and is much easier to do that then results imply.
Basically you mark out the design on the ball, using templates or simple geometry (really simple, honest!). Then you groove all the lines with either a hot knife or a craft knife. I use a normal craft knife and found that fine to work with. Then you cut pieces of wadding (optional) and scraps of fabrics. You just poke the fabric into the grooves to give the neat, “surely it must be stitched” look. Finally you can neatly finish the seams with rat-tail or similar cord.
Small but full of info…
The book is 8 x 8 inches in size and has 94 pages.
It starts with a brief history of kimekomi and then describes the (very little) materials and equipment you will require.
Next there is a detailed explanation of how to do the kimekomi technique, and information on how to resize designs, or create your own. This is all very clearly explained with lots of diagrams.
Many designs included…
There are specific instructions for 16 different kimekomi designs, each of which includes templates for a 3″ polystyrene ball. For each design there are also variations and information on how to use the design on any shaped ball (ie. without the included templates). So really there are dozens of great designs for you to create. Against this is all very well explained.
Once I had done a few of the included designs I was confident to create my own variations and new designs. There is also a section all about converting patchwork and quilting patterns to kimekomi designs and from this you will be able to design your own patterns too.
The only negative, and this is a bit of a silly “just me” one, is that quite a few of the designs in the book are based on American quilts or locations. As the book is called “Japanese Kimemoki” I really expected it to include only Japanese designs. The “American” ones are beautiful though so I am probably just being silly.
This is a wonderful craft to try, requiring minimal, cheap materials and only basic crafting skills (able to use a knife, scissors, glue). The end results look stunning. Friends who have seen the kimekomi I have made have found it hard to believe they are not stitched.
The book also includes ideas for using your finished balls in attractive ways as home decor etc.
Here is my first attemp at making a Kimekomi ball from this book.
An excellent instruction book in this beautiful, easy and very satisfying Japanese craft.
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