I have long admired Sashiko – I love the simplicity of the stitches to create what look like really complex designs and the indigo blue fabric is amazing against the white thread.
A recent Birthday saw this lovely book come my way so I had every excuse to give it a go!
This book is beautiful with a fascinating insight in to the history of this technique and the people who used it. The photos and projects are gorgoeus and make you want to delve right in.
I gathered some of the more basic tools and decided to give one of the patterns a go. I did treat myself to some Hiroshima Sashiko Needles to compare the difference against the clover ones and I’m glad I did. The Clover were too thick and clumsy so the Hiroshima were what I used to stitch my design.
Sashiko thread is a special thread from Japan – this one is from Olympus and had a similar weight to #8 perle cotton. The 100% cotton is lovely and soft in texture and nothing like any of the other threads I use often.
Sashiko needles are really long in order for a few stitches to be taken through the fabric at once. The eyes are larger to accommodate the type of Sashiko thread you choose.
Sahiko Patterns each have a name and are symbolic. Running Stitch forms the design which are geometric repeats.
The choices in the book were endless (!) and a little overwhelming. Given the fact I was going to have to draw the design I decided to start with a fairly simple one and chose a traditional hemp leaf pattern.
The book is dedicated to the proper techniques used from transferring the pattern to the actual stitching. Since I was interested in doing this purely for enjoyment and not to be a slave to the technique, it was at this point I went off track!
I decided that drawing a grid pattern directly on to the dark fabric was way beyond my patience level so decided to draw it on to some Sticky Fabri Solvy instead! The book does break down the pattern really well so you can see how to draw it simply so this was now a nice simple task that didn’t take too long!
The stitching was really relaxing and easy to do as you are effectively following the lines with running stitch. Again, I didn’t follow the ‘rules’ with this..
You are supposed to take several stitches through at once to give a nice straight stitch line (hence the long needle) however I just couldn’t get comfy with this and did a stitch at a time (!) – a bit wonky is ok with me!
Also, traditionally a hoop is not used and for some reason this just hindered me to distraction so I hooped up and happily carried on stitching.
As you can see from the close up above, my stitches were not perfect and my centre star points were not as neat as they could be but all in all I was really happy with the result…
Sashiko has so many gorgeous designs to ponder over and I am definately going to have a go at a few more designs in the book as it was really enjoyable. If you are a stickler for doing things the right way then Sashiko is quite complex in my opinion due to the grid patterns and drawing them directly on to the fabric.
If you are happy to go rogue and put your own spin on it to make things easier for yourself then its a lot easier. You can also buy transfers and stencils for marking the fabric if you want to by pass that step as well!
If there’s a will there’s a way!