Sashiko




Sashiko means "little stabs"  or "little stitches" and is characterized by even, straight stitches, often white on indigo.  I fell in love with this traditional Japanese craft during my time living in Japan! 


Top Sashiko Tips:
  • Use fairly loosely woven material.
  • Leave some slack in the thread on the back of your work as you turn corners and travel from one area to the next. 
  • Make your stitches about twice as long on the top of your work as on the back - 2/3 on top, 1/3 on the back. 
  • When you are approaching a corner or T intersection of a design line, load several stitches onto your needle to make certain that your last stitch lands right on the end of the line.  If it doesn't, start over.  You may have to adjust the length of your last few stitches.
  • Then after you turn a corner, start very close to where you left off before, so that your corners are sharp and defined. 
  • Wherever design lines intersect, do not let the stitches cross each other.  Let intersections be defined by small spaces between your stitching.  





chiku chiku potholders 
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I have endeavored to gather some good existing on-line tutorials here.  Some of the information is repetitive, but you are sure to learn something from each one.  You will see that Sashiko is easy to learn, and so gratifying!
From Studio Aika in MA: 
Free 2-page PDF - really good basic instructions:
do's and don'ts:

From Purl Soho in NYC: 

From Sake Puppets in Tokyo: 


Sashiko articles worth checking out!

A very interesting post by Susan Fletcher about why traditional sashiko designs are so pleasing to the eye:
http://sashikostitchers.com/why-sashiko-designs-dont-bore-your-brain/

Working Class Sashiko - article by Pamela Ravasio.  Be sure to click on the slide show for some great images:
http://handeyemagazine.com/content/working-class-sashiko-0

A lengthy and very interesting research-based paper about the history of Sashiko, by Michele Walker:
http://www.sashiko.org.uk/tpl/pdf/Sashiko%20Textiles.pdf


Recommended Sashiko books in English:


Sashiko Style was originally published in Japan in 2006.  No specific author is listed.  It starts by offering  many linear, curvy, and single-stitch patterns, along with some enticing color photographs of sample projects.  

2007 by Japan Publications Trading Company, translated by Yoko Ishiguro
On page 56 (!) we have the "Getting Started" section, which uses a combination of illustration, photos, and text to clearly lay out supplies needed, how to prepare fabric, how to draft and transfer patterns, and finally how to make a good sashiko stitch.  

The final section of the book contains the project instructions and life size pull-out patterns.   I haven't made anything from this book yet, but to my eye, it's an excellent book.  Complicated (in terms of the actual project directions) and maybe a little intimidating, but inspiring, and, design-wise, spot on.  
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 Japanese Sashiko Inspirations by Susan Briscoe, whose name came up often when I searched online for sashiko books. 

2008, David & Charles, the UK.
I appreciate how the book goes into some good detail about the history and significance of sashiko, and then gets right into the "getting started" guide , tools and materials, basic techniques, tips, etc.  There is a good variety of projects, and in general the book has a "zakka" feel.  This book seems to be the most accessible and straightforward, and contains a diverse array of project in terms of thread color and fabric types.  One thing I really like about this book is that Susan gives us a "technique taster" in the form of a very small project alongside each main project (ex. a sachet, then a pillow, or a business card case, then a wall hanging). 

Ordering Supplies: 
http://www.sewfancy.com/sashiko.htm
http://www.etsy.com/shop/kimonomomo

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