Feeling a little Crabby…

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It’s been a long week! I was called in to work for two extra days, and as much as I love my job everyone has a limit before the start getting a bit crabby, right? Thankfully today I was able to stay home and work on some things that didn’t require leaving the house, so when time came to take a little break I decided to use that time productively and work with an obi I got recently and had no idea what to do with.

Naomi found this obi on Yahoo Japan literally years ago, and it had been sitting in a box ever since, following her around as she moved. She finally found the time to mail it to me and man, was it ever worth the wait. I love crustacean motifs, and this obi is no exception. It’s a gorgeous old chuuya obi with crabs and lobsters on the purple side. The other side is more “normal”, featuring a design of flowers and drums on solid black. It’s a nice bonus, to be certain, but this obi really is all about the pinchy sea creatures! It’s in rough shape, and the design placement is very odd, which makes it hard to tie. Eventually I’m going to turn it into a reversible tsuke-obi but until then I figured I could find a way to make it work on the mannequin.

The kimono is one of the first casual-style kimono I ever purchased and to this day it remains one of my favourites it work with. It’s a thick, woven silk which makes it slightly rough and a dream to tie because it grips and stays where you put it. The pattern has always reminded me of fishing nets, so it seemed like a match made in crustacean heaven! I decided to run with orange accessories to emphasize the pattern, and realised afterwards that the shibori obiage is also vaguely reminiscent of fish roe, which was an accident but works perfectly. Unfortunately, I now have the Big Bag of Crabs song from Weebl’s Stuff stuck in my head. Things could be worse, I suppose!

Items used in this coordination

Geisha Style Coordination

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It seems like I’ve developed a pattern when it comes to dressing Tsukiko; alternating experimental or non-standard kitsuke with very traditional coordinations. I’d been wanting to do something with the gorgeous geisha hikizuri that Naomi and Erica gave me years ago. The obi is a Taisho-era chuuya from the big obi bundle several of us split a while back. It’s absolutely stunning, but it’s in very fragile shape – the black silk used to line these obi tends to rot much more rapidly than the silk on the front. I repaired one with similar damage a while ago, but I haven’t had the chance to do it to this one yet. Because of this, I wasn’t comfortable wearing it myself, but mannequin kitsuke tends to be a lot more forgiving. I absolutely love how they look together, so soft and desaturated and elegant. I don’t own a momi, so I used a red shigoki obi and obiage to replicate the pop of red under the obi, and pulled out a vintage red juban with a heavily textured collar already attached. I’d initially wanted to tie the obi in yanagi musubi, which is common for performing geisha, but because the obi is so delicate I figured it would be safer to stick with something I know how to tie quickly and easily, so I defaulted to a standard otaiko musubi instead. I think it still looks quite good.

I do wish I could leave this outfit up as a display, but between the fragility of the obi and the cats being fascinated by the trailing hem (and discovering that it makes a spectacular tent), it’s going to to have to be put away quite soon.

Items used in this coordination

Obi Bundle part II – Chuuya and Tsuke Obi

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Continuing my deconstruction of that huge obi bundle. I was initially planning on doing a separate entry for each type of obi, but since there were only two chuuya obi and two tsuke-obi, I figured I would put them in one entry in the interest of efficiency and expedience.

Black bingata tsuke-obi with cranes

Or, as I like to call it, the roast-chicken obi. Something about the shape of the birds in flight reminds me of a trussed-up cooked chicken. I absolutely love the design of this one though, despite not usually being fond of cranes. The construction is a bit odd for a tsuke, it’s all one piece. I’ve yet to figure out how to put it on and have it look perfect, but I’m working on it!

Black tsuke with ume and momiji

I’m so glad the other ladies let me have this one – I’m really in need of more cute, versatile tsuke obi for days when my health is not great and I don’t have the energy to tie them myself. I think this one is incredibly charming.

Green multi-technique chuuya
Obi Bundle Part IIObi Bundle Part II

I’m not entirely sure how to describe this, aside from gorgeous. It’s rich, slightly dusty colours, lots of different techniques , and the silk is incredibly soft and buttery. It’s a typical chuuya with black on the opposite side, and the black silk is rotted beyond salvation, but I’ve replaced the silk on other ones before, and it’s not difficult.

Grape chuuya
Obi Bundle Part II
Obi Bundle Part IIObi Bundle Part II
So called because one side is purple and the other has grapes. How could I not? This is so gorgeous, the grape-and-trellis side is sort of a rough blend, and the wave side is a rough cotton or hemp. It’s quite casual, but so unique. I can’t wait to find the right kimono for it.

Obi bundle!

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Just a quick post today, because I’m too excited not to share this! A few months back, Naomi was kind enough to orchestrate and organize a huge obi bundle split amongst a few members of the IG forums. After much negotiation and wheedling, we each ended up with an amazing selection, and I got my box today! Here’s a little preview of all the glorious goodies I’ll be cataloguing over the next little while.

Obi bundle

Hakata and momiji chuuya obi

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I’ve professed my love for hakata obi many times before, and I’ve been lusting after unique, vintage chuuya (night-and-day reversible) obi for a bit now. When this one came up on eBay I was positive it would shoot out of my price range, especially since I was preparing for a trip to New York City and couldn’t afford any big-ticket items.

With a day left and barely any bidding, I figured I’d have to toss out a little bid, but I was really resigned to saying goodbye to this beauty. I guess the universe was feeling sorry for me because I picked it up for a song.

One side is a stunning, delicate yuzen-dyed momiji (turning maple) motif on indigo-purple diamonds. A few of the more visible leaves also have a bit of embroidery along the veining, which is a really pretty and delicate touch. The inverse is a lush burnt orange hakata weave, and both sides are incredibly lush.

It does have a slight bit of age-related patina, but it’s nearly invisible except under direct close-up flash photography. It’s wonderfully wearable, and I think it will go very well with the irotomesode I just received.

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

Momiji and Hakata chuuya