Recently in an eco- group that I'm in on Facebook there was a thread about dish scrubbies, the ones that are made from yarn and are either knitted or crocheted, can be washed in the washing machine and contain no plastic. In Japan they're called 'tawashi' and have been a thing since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, it seems that with the march of progress, these traditional daily objects have been temporarily forgotten....and you know how I feel about forgotten things.
Not long ago, I saw them for sale for a reasonable price at a local yarn shop, run by an aging 'obachan', but it's mainly the older generation who still make and use them in their daily lives. Recently though it does seem that they are having a minor comeback as I found a great book in my local craft shop all about handmade tawashi.
The Biku brand is all about sustainability and slow-living, and I guess that's something you guys are into too. So I put together a quick tutorial of how to make a very basic tawashi so you can have a go at home. I'll also be doing a little Tawashi Giveaway soon, so make sure to sign up to my newsletter to hear all about it.
Maru Tawashi Tutorial
Level: Intermediate beginner
What you need:
A crochet hook- not too large, not too small! We are aiming to reduce our consumption so use what you have, or borrow one!
Some yarn- anything will do (recycled from an old sweater is even better for the environment)
A darning needle
I'm not a professional crocheter, I just crochet for fun and for life! I'll leave the more challenging projects to people like the super-talented (and infinitely patient) Vicky from Ice Flower Crochet.
Uppercase Magazine, is a magazine for the curiously creative, filled with typeface, textiles, paper, art, surface pattern, vintage ephemera and general loveliness. Available by subscription or in art and design book stores internationally.
I was already a big fan of Uppercase before being published in the magazine, so I guess that was the first step to getting on the pages.
Many of you know that I took part in Marie Forleo's B School this Spring, something that took me two years to pluck up the courage to apply for (hello self-doubt). B School is a two month business course for entrepreneurs who want to grow their business from the heart. In one of the units we were invited to ask ourselves, 'How would you behave if you were the best in the world at what you do?' The activities that followed involved choosing three people we admire and who we want to align ourselves with, shoulder to shoulder.
I knew immediately that one of my people would be Janine Vangool, editor extraordinaire, who self-publishes Uppercase Magazine every quarter as well as other books and publications. She is a powerhouse in the design magazine world and I wanted a bit of it!
The activity went on to ask students to research everything about the people they chose. Read their latest blog post, find out which books they'd written, what they like/ dislike, follow their social media channels and reach out in some way. Initially I wasn't feeling so bold, so my first reach-out was to subscribe to the newsletter. (Lame, I know!)
Then, during the research period, I discovered that Janine was also a B Schooler...I saw it as a sign. And then when I saw a 'Submissions' tab, I clicked to see that she wanted people to write about 'Perfectly Imperfect', and the submission was in a week's time. At this point, I asked myself if I wanted this enough to write the article and reshoot the photos using my DSLR camera for the quality and size they needed for print with only a week to go. The answer was of course, yes. The stars were too aligned to ignore it.
After clicking the submit button, I have to admit that I felt slightly nauseous. But what I knew in my heart is if you don't try you are 100% sure to fail, not a single chance of success.
A few weeks later with continued Uppercase radio silence, I assumed my submission had been unsuccessful. Surprisingly, I wasn't that disappointed, I just chalked it up to experience and was proud to have put myself out there. In my eyes I'd already been successful. Taking the steps and not fearing failure was the drive and the win. Who knew?
The icing on the cake was when the congratulations email arrived in my inbox, then when the magazine itself arrived in my post box. Reading the submissions and articles from the amazing Uppercase community that Janine has built was inspirational, and with Biku nestled among those beautiful pages, I quietly thanked Marie.
They're back in stock after almost selling out completely at The Big Summer Upload.
In fact, the brand new collection is now selling quite quickly over in the VIP Club, so I guess I'll be making another batch for the late summer collection. This launch we're doing things a bit differently as you get to choose your bezel finish and the necklace style as well as the fabric. This makes your piece perfectly bespoke and designed for you without the bespoke price tag. Everyone's a winner!
I need your colour ideas for the new Autumn/ Winter collection, so please do leave a comment or message me with your ideas. I'm also going to be adding some sashiko pieces as well as Boro and vintage Tenugui for A/W. Which ones would you like to see?
Sashiko: decorative reinforcement stitches used for mending and patching. Traditional decorative sashiko uses mainly indigo fabric with white stitches.
Boro: Literally 'rags'. Fabric that has been reinforced with patches and stitches over many decades. Boro is a highly collectible and expensive textile and is usually blue.
Tenugui: traditional Japanese hand towel made from cotton.
Victoria Close from Bikudesigns talks kimono, business, Japanese design, life in Tokyo and all the things she loves.