Monday, July 9, 2012

Quilt Shopping in Kyoto: Pins and Needles at Misuyabari

Misuyabari is the kind of tiny shop that you want to live in, if you're me.  It was a big highlight of my trip to Kyoto and I was thrilled to be there in person.  

The owner mentioned to me that he has a web site, but that they don't ship their products outside of Japan.  I told him I knew that already, and that is why I was standing in his store.  It was well worth the trip.

 It is not the easiest place to find, but I have some additional photos to guide you there if you like, let me know.  There is also a great post on the Just Hungry blog that will help you get there probably better than I could.  I cannot help but throw a few extra photos in for you of the shop, so enjoy.

The shop itself has existed since the time of the royal court, and has been making needles for over 350 years.  They don't sell any fabrics but specialize in needles, tools like thread clippers, and sewing boxes.   

Some of the tools they carry below:

The sewing boxes they sell are hand made and the lids only go on in one orientation.  There is a small mark on the side of both the top and bottom to help you get them back on.  They are made of kiri wood and although it feels a bit like balsa wood, it is a different wood.  The boxes close super tightly in order to keep air out and prevent rust on the needles.  

The pin cushions that come in the mini sewing boxes are stuffed with wool not cotton.  It feels really nice to put your needle in.  My days of making cotton-filled pin cushions are over!

Their selection of needles below:  each one is made by hand and has a circular shaped eye so you can thread it very easily.  If you explain what sort of sewing you want to do, they will guide you in finding the right needle.  I got the shortest quilting needles they had for hand quilting and hand piecing.  They also carry needles for sashiko and applique.

The small decorative pin toppers they have are basically worth the trip there just to see.  Each is hand made, unique, and they have a small magnifying glass you can use to take a better look.  Incredible.  Choosing which ones to purchase will be a good challenge for you.

They also offer fabric-covered thread holders and thread clipper keepers in all colors.  Again, how to choose?

You can tell I had fun at this shop and want to return someday.  I promise to photograph the sewing box I got in an upcoming post.  I am currently using it for my next applique house block!


marirob said...

I am so enjoying reading your Japan posts! And seeing where you went - lots of great ideas for my next trip to Japan... which probably won't be for a while but it's fun to fantasize!

Susan said...

W-O-W! All this on needles. Gotta love Japan!

Cynthia@aquilterbynight said...

Wow! You've given me a reason to plan another trip to Kyoto!

Lynne said...

So enjoying these posts, Marisa. I bet you worried you were going to over-shoot your luggage allowance!

Lynn said...

Your posts on Japan are really great! For my trip at the end of July, I'm not going to Kyoto, but I will be going to Tokyo again. We're visiting a lot of smaller towns this time. I'm very excited to see your sewing box!

Colleen said...

I have just enjoyed a trip to Japan with my sister and we were delighted to find this store using your great directions. The first time we found it there was a sign on the door saying he was closed that day so we had to go back but it was worth it.

Colleen said...

I have recently come home from a trip from Australia to Japan with my sister and we found the store using your great directions. We had to go there twice as the first day we located it there was a sign on the door saying he was closed that day. It was well worth the visit. it is a lovely little store. My sister speaks Japanese so communication was easy. Thanks!