Yesterday, my dear girl friends surprised me with a birthday lunch and gave me an amazing wallet from the Japanese leather goods company Inden-ya. Coming on the heels of the quilt post, I think you would all agree it has my name on it!

The wallet is an absolute cornucopia of classic Japanese patterns – dragonflies (tonbo), plum (ume) and cherry(sakura) blossom, chrysanthemum (kiku), hemp (asanoha), key fret (sayagata), hexagon or tortoiseshell (kikko), stylized wave (seigaiha) and naturalistic wave, and even a little pine/plum/bamboo (sho chiku bai). I can’t stop staring at it, turning it over and searching out new details I hadn’t noticed the previous time.

Inden-ya has been making its traditional deerskin goods since 1582! How many other companies can you think of that have been in business that long? Everything is still completely handmade and they have an unusual technique of using lacquer to create the patterns. There is a great video on their website showing how it is done.

What makes my wallet so unusual is that it is a compendium of bits and pieces of all their different patterns. As their regular items tend to be made from just one pattern, it is only available when they have enough left over to make one. The perfect present for someone who quilts and loves to make things from patches of nothing…