If you ever happen to be in Sapporo you must visit Kanariya, it is just GREAT (find a map, directions and more info here). Four floors full of fabrics, quilt supplies, knitting wool, sewing notions, felt, beads, books, buttons, zippers, etc, etc. And there were lots of kits, for example for making your own rabbit-basket (a basket in the form of a rabbit, that is, or any other animal), the cutest needle-felt animals, bags and purses like these:
I just love the Japanese style for quilting and sewing. There is so much eye for detail, and I like the muted colours. There was a large division with Japanese fabrics and I bought a whole bunch of fat quarters. They were quite cheap compared to the prices in Europe.
Before we went to Sapporo, we stayed in a super nice pension in Hakodate. The owners were so kind, and the house was really cosy with hand-made pillows and other things. When we left, the hostess gave me a wonderful bag and a handmade purse as a gift. I was so delighted, but I also thought I had to give something back. So I used the fabrics I bought in Sapporo to make them a set of 6 coasters for their breakfast table:
The back is a piece of black felt, attached with festoon stitch. I finished them in a few days and send them by post to Hakodate. One day later I received an email, with a picture showing the coasters on their table:
Sato (the hostess) put a cat on the table that a friend of hers made of kimono fabrics, so cute. The pension is called Jokura, by the way, and it is highly recommended for anyone appreciating a clean and cosy pension serving delicious Japanese breakfast.
I’m now making another set, because I like them myself as well :-)