Usually I travel to Japan four times a year, often for just 3 or 4 days at a time, meeting contacts and suppliers, attending exhibitions and events, and scouring for new products and ideas to bring back to customers in the UK. Obviously this has all been put on hold during the last 18 months, so I'm delighted to have set up several new suppliers recently, especially since most Japanese businesses prefer face-to-face contact.
I can now proudly announce that I am the new UK distributor of Fujix threads - a company founded in Kyoto 100 years ago which manufacturs beautiful sewing and embroidery threads for domestic and industrial use. Although I am not planning on stocking many of these threads at this stage, the ones I am very excited about are their special threads which are hand-dyed with persimmon juice and suitable for sashiko!
Dyeing fabric and thread with the astringent juice of unripe green persimmon fruits is a tradition dating back over 1,000 years in Japan. As well as providing a waterproof layer, persimmon juice is also said to be a natural antiseptic and an insect repellent. It is also used to make sturdy katazome stencils from washi paper for kimono dyeing.
These beautiful threads come in a range of 5 colours, all with evocative names for each shade:
1. Green Tea 'Mouse' Grey
2. Clove Brown
3. Astringent Persimmon Brown
4. Sparrow Head Brown
5. Dusky Brown
I have listed them to buy individually, or as a special-price pack of all five colours here.
Since each dye is made by hand, there may be slight variation between batches, which only adds to the charm. Colours can change with age, exposure to sunlight, humidity etc, and also leach a little into surrounding fabrics if rubbed. This will add authenticity to any boro-inspired projects and lend a sense of wabi-sabi chic similar to antique Japanese textiles.
I hope you love these threads as much as I do, and please share any photos of work you make with them. I've got lots of plans for the set that I've snaffled for myself - hopefully I will get time to complete my project and show you soon!x
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I started Japan Crafts in 2006 and have been bringing wonderful fabrics and techniques to people in the UK ever since.