Sunday, February 13, 2011

Suzuko Koseki Project + Meeting Suzuko Koseki

Thank you so much everyone for letting me know that
you enjoyed the post on Tokyo Quilt Festival 2011. It means
a lot to me that I can share the joy of discovering inspirational
quilts with you, because I don't have very many friends in
real life who are as crazy about this kind of stuff as I am.
The love is a gazillion times better when it's shared!

Like I mentioned before, this is going to be a ridiculously
long post again, but this is the post I was the MOST excited
about sharing.. it's about the Suzuko Koseki project that
were completed by 19 Suzuko Koseki fans in 9 different
countries! (I realized it was not 8 but 9 different countries
- so sorry for everyone in the project that I kept saying
it was 8.) Basically, each of us made a 4.5" x 4.5" coaster
featuring one of letters in "We Love Suzuko Koseki!" All
the coasters were mailed to my home in Japan were put together
by me and were gifted to Suzuko Koseki in person at the
Tokyo Quilt Festival. I thought this was a great way for
us to show our appreciation on how inspirational her fabric
and books have been to us. I thought it would be really nice
for her to know how she has many fans all over the world too.


After coming up with the idea though, I realized I might
have been a bit too adventurous. What if I don't have
enough folks to create "We Love Suzuko Koseki!"? What if
any of the coasters sent to me in Japan were lost in transit?
What if I don't get to meet Suzuko Koseki for some reasons?
What if my cats mess up these coasters while I was gone?
... I had lots and lots of things to worry about..

But you know what, I definitely worried too much.
I had more than enough folks to make this project
possible. All the coasters were delivered to my place
safely and on time. I did get to meet Suzuko Koseki.
My cats didn't mess up the coasters. (I kept them in
my suitcase zipped up completely.) So it all went well.

I'd like to introduce everyone who participated in
this project along with the coaster she made for Suzuko,
and then I want to tell you all about meeting
Suzuko Koseki as well as show you lots of pictures
taken at her booth at the festival.


The first coaster to kick off this project was
made by Saskia in Switzerland!
A very interesting thing about
this SK project was that you'll see a wide variety
of techniques used to express a letter on a coaster.
Saskia was the only one who used the silk-screening
technique to get her "W." Really neat, isn't it?!


This is by Hoyoyi who lives in Malaysia!
Her coaster is very original in that it was the
only one made with felt and was the only
coaster that flew over from Asia! My sister
was totally in love with this perfectly pretty
coaster - I had to make sure she wouldn't steal it!


What can I say about this coaster made by
Kerry? Kerry was the first person I approached
when I came up with this project's idea, because I
know she is a huge fan of Suzuko Koseki and she knows
the best way to put SK fabrics together! This coaster
was fully made from SK fabrics and the little bell is
so special because it is Suzuko's trademark!
(Suzuko's Suzu means "bell".) Check out her
Quilt-a-long for Circle of wonky stars quilt!


This heart coaster was made by Megan in America!
Can you believe that this heart is made of
teeny tiny squares of SK fabric that are neatly
and perfectly sewn on the linen background?
Such a lovely and innovative creation!


This "V" coaster made by Almut in Germany
reminds me of Suzuko Koseki's style SO much,
which I truly love!! The backing of this
coaster was SK's kitchen utensils print fabric
who was a perfect match with this!


And this is the E coaster I made. I came up
with this design to use as many SK fabrics
as possible. I messed up by making it a lot
bigger than it was supposed to be, so I fixed
it while I was in Japan.


Amisha had to be a part of this project because
she seems to be a big collector of SK fabrics!
Lots of fabrics she used for her coaster are
SK's and look how fun it is when they are put
together like this! Great coaster
to start off Suzuko's "S"!


This sunshine-like coaster was made by
Marit in Norway who's super good at piecing
fabrics together! I really like her quilts
that has pieced Norwegian words featured.
So happy that she agreed to join this project.


Everything about this Z coaster is very creative
and is very 'Amy' in Australia! She goes to Japan
quite often to search for fun fabric finds! I love
how she finds lots of SK fabric in Japan! If you haven't
checked out a great sale at her online store,
you definitely should!


Another coaster flown over from Australia is
this really stylish one made by Belinda!
She has such a great collection of SK fabrics
that makes me drool. What a great way to
use SK's typography fabric like that?!


Although I knew how busy she is, I couldn't
help myself inviting Jan to be part of this
project because she too has such an amazing
SK fabric stash! This breathtaking design
made many of my friends wow!


I really can't think of a better fabric combination
for the SK's buttons print fabric! Look how the
"O" echoes with the round buttons too!! Chawne
is so good at coming up with perfect combination!


Irene made a really cool K coaster to start
with Suzuko's last name! I love how the fabrics
she used are very contrasting with each other.
Very, very Suzuko-ish!!!


Logcabin, pink, Sk fabrics - it's like everything
I like! (Why am I sounding like it was for me?
it is of course in Suzuko's hands now!)
Linda makes such beautiful things!


Nanette has been so inspirational for me
ever since I discovered her blog in blog land.
A house with a door and a window
with a strawberry - what a fun way to play
with SK fabrics while featuring the "S"?!


This impeccable 'e' coaster was made by Sardaana in
Austria and she owns her shop where she sells
her super cute creations and lots of unusual fabric
(such as Suzuko Koseki's fabrics!) I really
loved how this coaster felt in my hands.


I think the first time I found Penny was when
she posted the famous quilt-along project.
No question how I became a fan of her instantly.
She too loves Suzuko Koseki styles and I was
just thrilled that she decided to join us!


Manuela came up with this perfect cursive "i"
coaster! The vintage style fabric she used
for the letter is a great match with the SK
polka dots fabric used for the binding!!


Last but most definitely not least is this
"!" coaster by Lynne that concluded our "We Love
Suzuko Koseki" just perfectly! I can almost
here you wowing at this. Have you checked
out her hexagon park quilt tutorial on
Moda Bake Shop? Have you entered the Sherbet
pips layer cake giveaway
on her blog yet? :D

Aren't these all so super creative?! I can't thank
everyone enough for how hard they worked to make
interesting coasters with lots of love for Suzuko.

Now let me tell you about my adventure to meet
Suzuko Koseki in person for the very first time!

I sent her an email beforehand to let her know
that I have something I made with her fans
overseas and that I would like to give it to
her on the 27th of January. Soon, I got a reply
from her staff saying that she would let Suzuko
know about me and that I should be able to see
her around 3pm at her shop vendor.

I was rather nervous than excited about this
opportunity coming up. Like I said many times,
Suzuko Koseki's sewing and quilting style
has been the most influential for me. I strongly
believe that I would not have developed this
much love for fabric and sewing without her.
A big statement, I know, but it's very true.

So I was tremendously nervous about meeting
her in person. Can I do a good job telling her
how inspirational she has been without freaking out?
Would I look OK and appropriate? Can I really tell her
how popular her fabric and books have been all over
the world? Wouldn't I bother her by trying to
take the time to present our gift (coasters) for her?

Meeting Suzuko Koseki

But once again, I worried too much.
Suzuko was such a sweet, laid-back and
approachable person who welcomed me so warmly.

She said she couldn't believe it when her
staff told her about our gift made by
folks in 9 different countries. She didn't
even know that there is anybody who knows
about her in America. I, of course, told her
how popular her textile and books have inspired
many crafters in not only America but other
countries. I also told her that I am very often
asked about where I got my SK fabrics and how
and where they can be found at.

Having our gift in hands, Suzuko was so happy.
I don't know how many times she said
"oh my goodness, I am so happy about this.
I can't even describe how much I appreciate this.
Please let everyone know how much I love this."

She said it was her very first time to receive
a gift like this and that made me so happy.
She also said that she is probably going to
decorate her room with our coasters too!

I got to chat with her about 20 mins there.
In the meantime, she took me to her booth at
the show that was, of course, the most
gorgeous booth there!


She was so nice to suggest that we take pictures
together in her booth. With her special permission,
I got some pictures with her with her newest quilt
in background. She also let me spend some time
taking close-up pictures of everything in the booth!


I know I said I really liked many quilts at the
show, but really, everything I saw at her booth
took me to a different level of "I LOVE THIS!"


We talked about a lot of things, but I remember
very clearly is that she said she has an extended
family who resides in Davis in California.
It was really exciting to know that she came to
see the family last year and traveled around
San Francisco. That is quite a bit close to
where I live - San Jose!


We also talked about my hubby.
I told her that I recently got married to
an American guy who even knows about her
because I talk about her too much. She was giddy.


I also brought up about her upcoming
that will be published in America.
I told her how excited we are about it.


We also talked about Seattle, the city
she loves and I used to live. She said
she really enjoys the nature in Seattle.


And of course I had many questions about
these amazing things at her booth. I thought
she made every single thing, but she said
her students (she teaches many quilting classes
throughout the year) help her with these a lot.
Fir example, all these flowers as well as
bread and macarons were made by her students.


It was really exciting to see some of her creations
that were featured in her books. I was really excited
to tell her that I tried to make one of the
pillows she had there but failed.


You might have seen this cushion in
one of her books :)


Oh another thing I learned there was that
many things she uses for her crafty work
come from American souvenirs from her friends.


She also travels to France very often. (no wonder!)
Every once a while I see some articles in Japanese magazines
calling for folks to join a trip to France with Suzuko.
One day, I want to sign up! day!!


It was a lot of fun chatting with her and taking
pictures at her booth, but what I remember the most
from these pictures is my nerve tension and my
sweaty hands. lol.


Oh before I say a goodbye today, I want to tell you
how generous Suzuko was for me! She said she would
feel really bad about not being able to thank
each member individually, so she kindly asked me to
share these fabrics from her newest textile collection!
She didn't let me pay for them.


I was sooooo happy at the thought that all 19 of us
had something that went to Tokyo Quilt festival
and have something that we brought back from it.


I chopped off all the fabric last night to
share them with everyone who participated in
this project. I'm really excited about
everyone having SK fabric literally given from SK!!

Thank you so much for reading this LONGEST
post ever! I am so happy I finally got to share!
And a BIG thank you again for everyone who
made this project possible! I truly
appreciate your support and love!


  1. Wow she seems like the sweetest person. You had the most wonderful idea with this gift and its obvious that you and everyone else who participated really made her day!!

  2. I was so amazed by the flowers made by her students. Are there patterns or directions for making those anywhere...Where can we purchase her fabrics? Great post.. I am inspired by Suzuko and by you.... Thanks bunches.

  3. How sweet!! It's so nice to know that when some people become famous (no matter what for) that they don't all get large egos and look down their noses. I would have probably passed out from nerves if I was you :)

  4. Your posts are never long enough for me. I enjoyed every word of this.
    A beautiful job by all 19 of you - and I am looking forward to seeing what you creative genius' create with that gorgeous new fabric. A gift well earnt!!

  5. OMG...another post to save and savor. These posts are like dessert, to be experienced over and over again. What a group of talented "fans" guys deserve to have fans of their own! Simply gorgeous gorgeous craftsmanship and imagination. Lucky Suzuko.

  6. What an amazing experience! I love every single coaster you gifted to Suzuko - they are all so lovely I can't pick a favorite. Thank you for sharing this post with us :)

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  8. Wow - so pretty!!! Thank you for sharing Ayumi.

  9. Hi Ayumi! Thank you for another wonderful post!! I just started my own blog~ so I'm very new to all this! I am a big fan of your work and blog. I made a few of your amazing creations and can't wait to make more! Thank you for your tutorials!!

  10. What a great post Ayumi, I love the way you write - it's so sweet and so funny too - I love the bit where you told her you tried to make the cushion and failed and I love that the main thing you remember is your sweaty palms - the funny thing is, on a day like that, those are the things that actually happen and you remember! The main thing I remember about my wedding day was wondering whether the huge spot that appeared on my chin would be visible to everyone else. When I got to the top of the aisle and smiled at Nigel, he said - "nice spot love". And thank you for blogging about my quilt too, that was very kind of you. XXX Oh and I forgot to say, I loved reading the description of each coaster and the person who made it - you're so generous to take the time to showcase each one like that - I was so happy to be a part of the project - and cutting those fabrics must have taken FOREVER!!!

  11. I have been so looking forward to this and it was just the best to see all those pics and the way you described each coaster. The pics around her booth are amazing- i just love the french bread baguettes!And the quilts and the little tiny things! Thank you Ayumi, you are the best! For those searching for Suzuko Koseki's beautiful fabrics there is info in this Flickr group

  12. It's time to leave a comment here ...
    I enjoy reading your wonderful posts.
    Thanks for sharing all that wonderful pictures!

    Love, Anneliese

  13. Ayumi, you are a star! Loved reading about your meeting with Suzuko Koseki. Thank you for including all the picture of her beautiful creations and the generous presentation of all the coaster makers. I am happy you were able to share how widely her inspiration and beautiful fabric are spread around the world. And I hope it will get easier to find her fabric in online stores...
    ; )

  14. Wow! Another great post! Thank you, thank you!! I really enjoyed your last post about all the amazing quilts at the fair, but this really tops everything!! I love all the coasters and their introduction! So much detail and inspiration! And Suzuko Koseki's booth is just breathtaking! I'm so happy for you and all who participated that she was so thrilled about your gift!!! :-)

  15. Such a wonderful post Ayumi, love how you described everything in so much detail. It made me feel like I was there with you!

  16. Your enthusiasm and excitement are palpable and contagious. Hurray for you for being the ambassador of this project.

  17. Wow! This is totally fantastic and soooo inspiring!
    Thank you for sharing this! So mush beauty and style!
    I will come back to this post several times for sure.

  18. wow!very inspiring!! i've been wanting to make coasters too so these were really nice to look through....
    ~happy valentine's day~

  19. Oh you're so smart to think of a meeting with her. I love love all the coasters. I'm so incredibly proud to be part of it. The joy of just knowing something I made is in her hands is not describable. Reaallly! Thank you so much for making me a part of this project. I'm so intrigued by the fabric flowers. Absolutely stunned by them. I want to know more. Is she coming out with a book on how to make them? Is she planning on distributing her fabrics in the USA? So much I'd love to know. Thanks for the great photos. I would love a packet of fabric. I felt shy about the whole thing because I felt you should have it all! Let me know how much paypal shipping is so I can send it to you. Again thanks so much.

  20. What a fantastic post thanx so so much for sharing all the lovely links to :) x

  21. I've been anxiously awaiting this post and it sure didn't disappoint!!! How very sweet of you to introduce all of the very talented quilters who participated, and as well tell us more about Suzuko herself. I would say this was a raging success and an amazing idea for you to implement, Ayumi! Congratulations. I am sure she will cherish her lovely coaster set from all of you.

  22. Ayumi!!!! Thank-you so much for taking the time to share so much about your meeting with Suzuko. It really made me feel so much more a part of the venture by you doing that and I really appreciate it!!!

  23. I am trying to learn how to quilt - and was trying out your teapot pattern (I downloaded it months ago) but came back to your site for help and saw this post. It is so funny because I have Suzuko's book right beside my bed - to look at each night - and so found this so interesting. Sometimes things just happen for a a reason. Thanks for the great description, your tutorials and all your lovely photos!

  24. Each one is a memento of love for Suzuko Koseki and is so special and infinitely creative... I adore her fabric and have been getting a piece now and then. I need to remedy that in the future and get more of her precious prints. Thank you Ayumi for this lovely post and sharing these beauitul pictures from her booth. Everything in there is beyond beautiful! You look so cute and sweet in the picture with her :)

  25. I too adore her prints and have done for a long time, but they are incredibly difficult to get from England where I live. But your post is wonderful - thank you so much for that. It's been such fun following the coaster idea... I haven't commented before, but I felt I must after your lovely pictures and account of your meeting. Thank you.

  26. Hmm, did I miss something or when talking about the coasters individually, did you leave out the e in Koseki?

  27. Thank you for the great story and pictures. Inspiring.

  28. Those are amazing projects! I love Ayumi's coaster.

  29. Wow, what an amazing experience! I loved seeing all of the finished coasters and it is so cool that she liked them and that she gave you some fabric to give to all of the people that participated. That is really wonderful! Thanks for sharing all the pictures of her marvelous booth!

  30. Thank you so much for reading such a long post and then leaving me sweet comments! I truly appreciate it!

    Thank you for the heads-up! I couldn't believe I left out one of the coasters by accident. I edited to add the missing one (such a beautiful coaster!).

  31. you are the best, ayumi. this post just filled my heart with joy. what an inspiration! it was such a treat to be a part of this wonderful project. and i felt like i was right there with you from your description of meeting suzuko and her booth... so wonderful! i also have been really loving your other posts from the quilt festival... i saved them all for a quiet moment to be inspired! :) thank you for sharing all your experiences!

  32. I saw a post on Nanette's blog about your coasters so I came over here to read about them - I've been a long time stalker of your blog and Nanette is right, you are amazing and talented! I had not heard of Suzuko fabrics before but now I think I MUST get me some! Like TODAY! Thanks so much, your photo's were beautiful and your coaster idea was inspired! xo, Nan

  33. WOW!! Ayumi, I am totally WOWed and excited about your meeting with the Japanese quilt superstar, Suzuko Koseki!!! And you are now the rising star!! All of the coasters are so original and amazingly beautiful, too. I have always loved your blog and I esp love how you make exciting things like this happen! Congrats!

    Ayumiちゃんのハンドメイドも大~好きですが、その類まれなる行動力にも心から感動しています~☆ 今回は特に勇気と元気をたくさんいただきましたよ、どうもありがとう!!

  34. wonderful post! great project. nothing to worry about - you are a natural dreamer and doer!! Thanks you for sharing the amazing booth photos and the lovely stories with each of the coasters. I came over from Nanette's blog:)
    The best long post I've ever read! Congrats to everyone who participated and now will be enjoying that great fabric!!

  35. This was the most wonderful post! I came back to read it (and look at the gorgeous pictures) three times! I'm so excited that Suzuko will have a book published here soon, too...thank you so much for the information on that!

  36. I've just discovered Suzuko Koseki's books and fabric when I borrowed Patchwork Style from our local library- and I'm hooked! I bought my first piece of SK fabric today :) I'm making a "Paris Match" quilt, flying geese in black and white with touches of red, white and blue, and I love the pictures you took of the cushions and bag on the chair!

  37. What a long, wonderful story you shared. Glad Suzuko turned out to be human and approachable.
    Mailing the fabrics all over the world will probably cost you more than having bought the fabric. You are a sweetheart to share the fabric equally and mail it to all of the participants. Generosity and thoughtfulness certainly paid off!! Your good karma and generosity is certainly paying off. Love your blog.
    Brenda C.

  38. Thank you so much everyone! This project was just too perfect in every way!

    What a sweet comment you left here! Most folks insisted they pay for the shipping, so it really didn't cost a lot overall :) I am just so glad that everyone has the fabric package now! Thank you Brenda!

  39. More Wow. That was such a wonderful project and beautifully done by all those taking part. So gratifying to see Suzuko Koseki was genuinely happy with it all. And the photos of her booth are just great.

    I have the first 2 Machine Made books in Japanese and I now have the Playful Patchwork book on hand piecing. Some day I will do this justice!!


  40. This is beautiful, love the themes and the colors of them, awesome work.


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