Sashiko – I did it my way!

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!

Sashiko Sourcebook Review

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.

IMG_7802

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.

sash3

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.

p-3308-SashikoSamplerHempLeaf-416x414

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!

sash7

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…

sash4

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!

8 Ways with a simple Running Stitch!

Running Stitch is probably one of the most basic of stitches and it is amazing the variety of effects you can create with just this one stitch…

All with a SimpleRunning Stitch!

Forget those boring lines you learnt to stitch at school when you first tried out running stitch and go back and try out the possibilities this stitch has to offer.

These samples I stitched were great fun and just the tip of the iceburg as far as the effects you could create. I stitched them on to an evenweave fabric so you could see the way the stitch is used to create the effect. Here’s some closer pictures…

You run the needle in and out of the fabric creating a series of stitches.

run3

All the stitches on the right side of your work should be the same size but you can be creative with small or large gaps in between, small or large stitches, different types and thickness of thread.

This can be used for straight and curved lines as well as a great filler for large areas.

run6

Work several rows of even length and space and then alternate them to make a brick pattern like this… this would make a really fun border pattern.

Interlaced running stitch is so easy yet the result is stunning…

run1

Work 3 rows of running stitch with the lines exactly above each other and then use a blunt needle to weave a thread vertically through the stitches to create a laced effect.

run7

How about doing a double running stitch to create these fun lines… Stitch the first row with a normal running stitch and then come back on yourself filling in the gaps.

Heres some more ideas for zig zags, columns, arrows, wiggly lines, chains, and waves to name but a few!!!

So the one thing you should remember not to do is under estimate the abilities of the running stitch, it is fabulous!!!