3 beans


3 lentils

CC License View

In a day and age where we take things for granted it was not so long ago that fabric was considered “precious”.  People in Japan would patch together bits of fabric until they had created a long roll of cloth. There was a saying to never throw away a piece of fabric if it could wrap 3 beans. Once enough cloth was created an offertory bag was made and filled with azuki beans or rice. The bag would then be placed on the altars of Buddhist Temples. I was so touched by this because I consider each little piece of fabric I get to be “precious.”  I decided to create my own cloth called:

“the 3 bean offering cloth”

copyright 2009 the pilgrimmage

CC License View


CC License View

I took what fabric scraps I have  and divided them  into two bags. One bag was for pieces that were just too small. The other bag I labeled 3 bean to indicate those that would be the perfect size. Next, I sorted the fabrics by color and from there I pieced them together in a way that was pleasing to me. The whole idea was to use just what I had including my scrap pile of embroidery thread.


CC License View

my first 3 bean offering cloth.


CC License View

this is the 2nd 3 bean offering cloth


CC License View


CC License View

this is the 3rd 3 bean offering cloth


CC License View

I have decided I will make these cloths to use for “offerings” , to put gifts in, and additional quilt pieces.

My inspiration for all of this came from a blog I found this morning….


Steve  Beimel founded Esprit Travel & Tours in the early 1990’s, as a U.S.-based tour company specializing in culturally focused tours to Japan and catering to enthusiasts of the arts. He now lives with his wife Ritsuko in the northern foothills of Kyoto.

I loved the book Memoirs of a Geisha, which takes place in Kyoto so it was really fun to look at Steve’s site.

Check it out : )


4 thoughts on “3 beans

  1. this is a wonderful idea and I am very touched by the energy of what you created. Did you see the movie version of Geisha? Asking because there were so many awesome kimono fabrics in the costumes and an interesting documentary on the making of the film which included shots of the airbrushing process they used to create some of the more elabortate “vintage” kimono patterns. While watching the film I got super excited to see a Yukata fabric I actually own. I had a small four or five inch square sample I used so carefully so I would not waste or discard a single shred of it.

  2. I saw a bit of the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. How exciting to see the fabric you own. I do not own any kimono fabrics but I have had that in my wish list for several years. sigh! It seems there is always so many other priorities. When the idea for the 3 bean offering cloth came I was so excited that I worked nonstop! I love it when that kind of inspiration comes. Anyway, thank you for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s