So in recent weeks hand stitching has been the order of the day. Several hand stitching techniques have to be explored as part of the course, and sashiko is one of them. Traditionally, sashiko was used in Asia (China and Japan) to reinforce and repair clothing and to stitch several layers of cloth together for warmth. It is worked by hand in running stitch, traditionally in white thread on indigo fabric.
I used a double layer of a lovely linen/cotton fabric in navy/indigo. (I'm showing the same fabric in all the photographs though I don't seem able to get the colour quite right in the pictures... You'll have to take my word for it...) A very sharp sturdy needle and white sashiko thread and off I went:
|only few supplies are needed|
I am suspecting the Japanese are generally much better stitchers than I am (many non-Japanese, too), and they would probably stitch away without much marking on their fabrics, but I did mark the patterns first.
The stitches are worked evenly in running stitch, each about the size of a grain of rice (no long grain rice though!) and the spaces between the stitches are about as long as the stitches themselves. The running stitch is worked in long continuous lines, forming decorative and geometric patterns:
Then I got really going:
This pattern looked so pretty when it was marked, but I found the stitching quite frustrating: The stitches are not supposed to overlap where the lines cross (at the top where the "flower" is attached to the arch), so you have to space the stitches along each section to end with a small gap. There have been too many times that I unpicked again and again to get it right...
Then I tried this one:
|sampler with the four patterns|
I am thinking of stitching a table runner with sashiko for understated elegance on my table. I only have to decide on the pattern to use. And then there is the minor matter of finding the time...
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year,