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Carol Lane-Saber Designs

Carol Lane-Saber Designs (also known as Saber's Japanese Textiles & Tours) is owned by Carol and Jerry Saber.  Specifics on our location are provided by selecting "Payment" from the choices shown at the top of the page.

Carol is an eight time designer for Fairfield Processing Corporation.  In addition to working with fabric and textiles since the age of 10, Carol is a registered nurse, attorney and former criminal court judge.  While in her teens, she was a 4-H Club National award winner in sewing.  Her interest in fiber arts has led to study all over the world, especially in Japan where she lived  for many years.

In the 1980's, Carol owned and operated a wholesale clothing company (Carol Lane & Company).   Strongly influenced by stories of Asian life and cultures told to her as a child by her missionary grandparents, she first went to Japan in 1985 to further her knowledge of textile dyeing and stenciling techniques.   In 1989 she started a small pattern company, creating contemporary clothing and quilt patterns utilizing Japanese traditions and textiles.  She has taught classes in fabric manipulation and embellishment as well as fabric dyeing techniques throughout the Southwest and Pacific Coast regions of the United States and in Japan.  She frequently lectures on Japanese textiles and culture, using examples from her extensive collection to highlight her talks.

It was on one of Carol's textile trips to Japan that she met her future husband Jerry Saber at an antique market held on the grounds of a Tokyo shrine.   Jerry is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy whose expertise as a logistician and in computers let to assignment in 1980 to the United States Embassy in Tokyo.  After Jerry's retirement from the Navy in 1985, he was hired by a U.S. industry to stay on in Japan.  During Jerry's fourteen years in Japan, he became interested in collecting Japanese antiques, dolls and military artifacts, developing considerable expertise in these areas and, with Carol's instruction.....a very good knowledge of Japanese textiles.

After Carol and Jerry married, their mutual interests merged into a thriving antique, doll and textile business both in Japan and the United States.   In addition, while living in Japan, both Carol and Jerry led many tours throughout the country, sharing their love of Japan not only with touring visitors from the U.S.A. but also with native Japanese as well.

At the beginning of 1995, the Sabers left Japan to settle in Port Ludlow, Washington.    In October 2005, they relocated to Spring, Texas to be with family.   They now devote their energies to their business, Japanese Textiles & Tours, exhibiting and selling Japanese textiles and antiques as well as Carol's sewing patterns at selected quilt and sewing shows.  In addition, Carol also gives lectures and workshops on her stitchery and three-dimensional fabric and dyeing techniques. 

At the request of her students,  the Sabers organized their first tour to Japan in November 1997.  That tour was so successful that Saber Tours to Japan became a semi-annual event with departures in November and March.     Please see our webpage on tours for more information.   


I have been meaning to write and thank you both for such a wonderful time in Japan.   It was all I hoped for and your knowledge, experience and freindship added so muchmore.   I know we saw people and places that few others see because of your connections.   And it was very exciting to learn the subways on our own.  I think I can return and do it by myself (someday I hope).   Spring 2009   mp

The pictures on the website are really nice!!!!  I have a very bad case of "wish I was still in Japan" and I think it is all your fault.  If the trip hadn't exceeded all my expectations I wouldn't feel this way.  Do you ever do the trip with a different itinerary?  I may have to go again!!!!  Spring 2009  rh

The trip was WONDERFUL!!!  And let's face it... A major reason for it  being wonderful was the exquisite way you planned it as well as the manner in which we traveled.  I've gone on some pretty good tours in the past few years, with most I've had only one complaint; that complaint was the lock-step nature of what we were doing. Not with you. With you I felt like a guest. I could follow along or do my own thing... and if I wanted to do my own thing  you provided the tools so I could do so comfortably and safely.  When you're dependent on a tour bus you have no choice but to travel with the group. When you're taught how to use the transportation system of a country you can go anywhere you want whenever you want.   As you know I followed along with your plans almost all the time, and I'm glad I did. You do know which places are worth visiting and which are not.  So thanks for the very professional and comfortable tour and for the icing on the cake....... your companionship.   Fall 2008  ww

No words can express my pleasure over this wonderfully perfect trip I have just experienced.   You have been the quintessential tour guide.  Our group of travelers was friendly, congenial and accommodating as were you!  Your attention to detail was awesome but even more importantly, you truly cared about each and every one of us and our interests.   Your choice of things to do and places to see was as you would say, "World Class."  There isn't one thing I would have changed on this trip (other than the one 5am flea market).   I did not feel that I was on a tour.   It was more the feeling of traveling with a small group of fiends.   I have wanting to visit Japan for 10 years and it was well worth the wait to have found this perfectly marvelous opportunity to travel with you.   Arigato gozaimasu!!!  Fall 2008  lg

I am late in sending my thank you for such an amazing trip you took us on.  I had an extremely busy timetable when I got back and really only had time to download my 1650 pictures, but no time to sort.  Now I have time to breathe a bit and just wanted to tell you how enjoyable my time in Japan was with you.  You trained us so well in the Japanese way of life and travel, that I feel that I would have no trouble in going back and finding my own way around (remember, I never did see Mr. Fuji!)  Such nice people were in the group and made our adventures even more enjoyable (and everyone had a good sense of humour too!) I loved the incredible beauty of the country (and the good manners!) and the simplicity of life.  I really have to downsize now!! (but don't touch those fabrics!)  So I was wondering, have you ever considered doing a Part 2 of the trip for those that were on the first half? (that would be a pre-requisite!).  I am sure there are many more places to see in the north and south that we could use your expertise in. I am now looking and enjoying the treasures I purchased.  I haven't had any time to re-finish the box yet, but it will get done before the summer is over.  I'll make sure I let you know how it turned out.  My sister-in-law gave me a wonderful book called "Kimonos Unlimited, an Endless creative Journey" by Kenson Ho, INASO Holdings Ltd. publishers, 2000 (a Canadian publication) that is giving me ideas of what I can do with the kimonos I purchased.  All the fashions look sensible and not so modern that no one would wear them.  Of course I didn't take the lining out of all of the kimono, so I may end up wearing some of them (and I won't have to hitch them up - a perfect length for me!)  I have also just purchased a bird book for Japan so I can identify all those birds I saw (at least I have the pictures!) - when you have an avid birdwatcher in the family, it's hard not to notice the birds but frustrating when you don't know their names (except for the house sparrows!)  Hope you were able to recover from our group and the trip.  Thank you again for giving us such a wonderful, enjoyable time.  I know I saw everything I could possibly see, and you both made the trip perfect and unique for me.  SG

Thank you thank you for a wonderful wonderful trip – exhausting but exhilarating!!!   The pictures you sent were a delight and brought back some great memories.  It was a delight to see Japan through your eyes.   Thank you again for your expertise and guidance.   LR

We want to thank you again for creating such a wonderful tour in Japan. Your special insights into the culture as well as into fabrics made our trip everything we had hoped for.   My friends here were so interested in the Japanese fabrics that I had purchased on the trip.  They loved the beautiful designs, colors, and special techniques for creating them.   We especially appreciated our kindness and thoughtfulness in enriching our experience.   DD

Our tour to Japan was in fact the trip of a lifetime.   - JH & BH, LM, JB & RB plus and many others.

Thank you, the obi is beautiful and thank you for the yukata material.  JM

Many thanks for the time it took to carefully wrap my treasures.  They arrived in perfect condition. - too many customers to count

Need reference material on our Tour to Japan - please try to locate a copy of the December 2000 edition of ITN (International Travel News) which features  a 10 page article with many photos by Bill Schoenemann

When we returned yesterday from our 2 week road trip to the Pacific Northwest, your package was awaiting me.  I was delighted with the kimono pieces you sent, particularly with the yellows and golden ones.  I really appreciate your tailoring your selection to my request, and can't wait to begin sewing.  AK

Thank you so very much for all the wonderful places to which you took us!  Especially to Mr Kubota's museum.  I had an absolutely fabulous time and will cherish the memories for hte rest of my life.  Thanks to you both for making it such a wonderful experience.  AT

.......I have wanted to see Japan for a long, long time and finally my dream is coming true.  ND

It is a pleasure to send this check, because it means that we are that much closer to our departure date for Japan.  VS

I've never done business with a company as concerned about pleasing the customer as yours. I received the package today and am very pleased.  KC

Hello Jerry!  The package arrived this afternoon-everything made the trip just fine-thanks for packing so well!  All the items were what I was hoping for-thanks again for the haori.  The note with the refund check also came a while ago.   I've enjoyed the experience.  Many THANKS    David

I received the package in good condition.  The noren are spectacular.  Everything is just as promised.  One more happy camper to add to your list.  I will be in touch soon.  Thanks again.  DP

QUESTION:  What is the definition of ADVENTURE?   ANSWER: Participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises.  Well, I've just had the adventure of a lifetime....eighteen days exploring Japan with Carol and Jerry Saber as tour guides.  The Sabers have lived in Japan so were able to take us places the average tourist doesn't go.  The highlight for me was a day trip to Kawaguchiko where we visited with Itichiku Kubota.  This 'living national treasure' was enchanting and entertained us (through an interpreter) for at least an hour telling us some of his life story and what inspired him.  His priceless kimono were breath taking.  It is an experience I will remember the rest of my life.  MS

We were just looking through the photos thinking of the wonderful, wonderful trip that we had.  It was great to meet you (the other guests as we have known the author for years) that we had.  It was reat to meet you and spend some time together building memories.  It was a trip that we will remember as long as our minds are with us.  Hope you all had as easy a time getting home as we did.  The trip back was on schedule and without incident.  It took a little time to get through customs, but the staff was very helpful.  They consider used clothing as "textiles" so we had to pay customs on the kimono and yukata from the flea market.  We were happy to pay the duty since we were so pleased with the treasures we brought home.  You (Jerry and Carol) certainly were right about the opportunities for buying.  In fact, you were really right about everything.   All were such good travel companions.  Thanks for making the trip so enjoyable.  JB and RB.

Here is the balance for the trip.  I'm counting the days until take off.  MAS and all other guests!

This is to say "thanks" for sharing your Japan wiht us.  We enjoyed every minute....RW & ND

We could never express how much we enjoyed our trip.   As we unpack our treasures, look at our pictures and remember all the wonderful places you shared with us, you both will remain a lasting part of our memories.   R&CH

Thank you for sharing all your travel know how and knowledge of what to expect and do on the trip.  You two are very sharing people and are great hosts.  D&EW


       A journey of a thousand stairs begins with a single step.  Then eight or ten more.  Then stopping to catch your breath.  Then more.  The Japanese like to build their shrines and temples on the top of hills to be closer to their gods.  Visiting one could bring you closer than you intended!  But then so could climbing out of the Tokyo subway at Otemachi station exit C13b.

       It's a little strange to leave one morning, fly all day in the light and land the following night, but then it's even weirder to leave one evening, fly all night, change planes and fly three more hours only to arrive home the same hour of the same day you left. ----  It was also strange to spend Thanksgiving away from home.  No turkey dinner.  No day-after shopping.  Starting December 1, Japan decorates and displays the commercial carols.  We bought a stamp with the kanji for "Happy New Year" but there was no kanji for "Merry Christmas."

      As anyone who has watched "Iron Chef" knows, if it's from the ocean the Japanese eat it.   This was a challenge for CP (the author's delightful 11 year old daughter) and I who don't much like fish....Rice and noodles are abundant, but they're never alone.   There's always something peculiar swimming with them.  Not reading Japanese is no problem as there is nearly always plastic food in the windows to point at.  But things are often not what they seem.  A perfectly normal looking spaghetti could turn out to have plum sauce.  An innocent rice cracker could be horseradish flavor. -----

       If these sound like complaints, they're not.  They're just a necessary part of any adventure of a lifetime.  Japan is as close to Disneyland as any country we've visited.  It is incredibly clean especially since trash cans are so rare as to deserve a souvenir photograph.  The people are unbelievably polite, friendly and helpful.  My favorite moments were when I struggled with what I'd learned from Pimsleur's Speak and Understand Essential Japanese I&II talking with people in restaurants, shops and trains.  The beautiful gardens, architecture, craftsmanship and artisty are't just in museums, they're everywhere. 

      The tour group, consisting of our group of 4 and 10 other delightful people we would not have otherwise met, plus our 2 guides, was geared for people who love textiles.  Thanks to our guides, Jerry and Carol Saber, went to the best places to find them and even the people who produce them.   One highlight was to visit Aizenkobo, the Kyoto workshop and  home of a famous indigo dyer.  They guided our hands through the process and we took home the beautiful finished product.  Because of the Japanese disdain for second hand items, flea markets are more like open-air museum gift shops at bargain basement prices where we usually started before dawn and bought many treasures.

    The rest of the trip consisted of seeing every must-see place on anybody's list.  Many elaborate and ornately crafted shrines and temples (with the stamps and caligraphy of each in our temple book to prove it).  Many beautiful gardens from large parks to tiny atria.  Often the smaller the more beautiful.  Several excellent museums.  Many beautiful landscapes including great views of Mt. Fuji.  Many fabulous shops and galleries.

    But the best part of the trip was watching CP blossom.  If I wasn't looking, CP could demonstrate that she'd picked up much of the Japanese lessons she'd overheard as we drove to school together.  She quickly adopted "Poppa Duck" Jerry and was usually found with him at the head of the pack even when Mom and Dad got lost at the first flea market.  Jerry had asked her before the trip is it was ok if he brought his raccoon, Rocky, who'd been on many an adventure with him over the years.  Fortunately, she said ok.  Rocky is a furry, spring-loaded, toy raccoon.  When manipulated correctly, he can act like the real thing.  CP soon learned how to handle him and together they would entertain strangers they would meet in various places, calling him a "tanuki", a Japanese raccoon-like animal.  CP held up as well as many of us and learned her way around.  In addition all of us on the tour got to see Japan through an 11 year-old's eyes as well as our own.   At our farewell dinner on the night before we left, Jerry gave CP a very special present in a cloth bag.  It was Rocky!  Back at school she convinced at least one of her classmates that Rocky was real. In full kimono she related her adventures.  Her indigo dyeing experience will also become part of her science project.  JP

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