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Monday, 16 May 2016

Sun, Sea & Sashiko


Well not quite sea, but it was a salt water pool at The Four Seasons in Austin, Texas during my travels at the end of April.  Best of all posting the above pic to Instagram gained me several hearts and this fab cupcake and note complimenting my stitching when I returned to my room.


I love Sashiko - I'm totally obsessed with it these days when I'm travelling.

I've only been doing it since last July when my great friend Emily gave me some Sashiko supplies that had belonged to her recently passed twin sister Barbara, it means a lot to me to have them and gives me a really special feeling for Sashiko.  After about three stitches I was totally hooked and haven't stopped since. 

If you haven't come across Sashiko before it's the Japanese term for a simple running stitch meaning 'little stabs'.  Sashiko stitches are even in length with about 5-8 stitches/inch and the top stitch:gap ratio being about 2:1.  


Disclaimer: 
This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs to links shared.

If you're looking for a really easy introduction into this technique do what I do and use a wash away pre-printed fabric - this particular design is called Kakinohana by Olympus and I pick up all my Sashiko supplies from Easy Piecing, owned by my friend Susan Sato.



Here's another white piece I'm half way through stitching alongside the next piece I'll be working on - the indigo one; just look how detailed that design is but it's just running stitch worked horizontally, vertically and on the two diagonals.


Working all the running stitches in one direction this is how my current project looks when the first direction's stitches are complete.


Normally you stitch through one layer of the sampler fabric or through the two layers provided - personally, I like to slip a piece of cotton batting between the two layers and create a quilt sandwich, I'm such a sucker for that quilty look!  TIP: Sewing Sashiko through batting means you have to replace your needle more often - usually I use a new needle for each project.


An unexpected side effect for me of doing Sashiko using these pre-printed fabrics with a batting layer has been that my hand quilting has improved greatly - when I'm doing hand quilting now my quilt stitching is more even than before and my confidence has grown and I know it's because I've developed a running stitch rhythm using these Sashiko samplers.


And now I'm working my way back across the fabric with running stitches in the opposite direction and just look how the pattern is developing - how clever is that?!!!  It's so simple yet looks super intricate and impressive.


I don't worry about my stitches being perfect -  the batting distorts the fabric quite a bit and I sew a lot on planes where it's impossible to be 100% accurate during taking off and landing and gives you something to focus on if turbulence isn't your thing! - and I'm sewing for pleasure, not for the Quilt Police.


Another trip away should easily see this sampler complete, I might have to take another project with me just in case. 


I'm also in love with another version of running stitch called Kantha from India/Bangladesh so I'm thinking of making a quilt combining this piece with other Sashiko samplers I've sewn and various Japanese and Indian fabrics I've been collecting.  


This quilt is def a developing work in progress.

Recently I tore the handle section of a bag that my daughter, Flicky, bought for me and I was really disappointed as it's a favourite and I'm not ready to let it go yet.  Look how I've repaired it!!!  I'm really thrilled with how it looks and it makes it more personal now too.


Have I made you want to grab a needle and thread and reacquaint yourself with running stitch?

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29 comments:

  1. Too tempting Chris! But I mustn't. How lovely of the hotel to pick up on your Instagram post - that cake looks delicious. xx

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  2. I've just been googling sashiko supplies :) I'm pretty tempted, I like the idea of perfecting my hand quilting

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  3. I never understood how this was done - thank you for your clear post about this technique! I

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  4. Chris - I'm sooo glad you are into sashiko! It is addictive and the perfect take-along project. I love that aqua against the indigo. Enjoyed every word and photo of this post!

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  5. I enjoy hand quilting and have long admired sashiko, but have never tried it. When I look at what you've done, I feel excited...like I've just had a giant cup of coffee and am raring to go. Lol! I think I'll check out the link and see if I can order a kit. I'd love to make a little table runner for my living room coffee table. It would be a great project to take working in the truck as we go driving on our summer camping adventures...

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    1. I'm sitting here leaving way overdue replies to comments Nita and yours has brightened my night no end. I hope you managed to get hold of some supplies by now, if not from Susan then from somewhere and are giving Sashiko a try :D - Chris

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  6. We had a Sashiko workshop last year at an Embroiderers Guild meeting and it was a brilliant afternoon out. I have a lot of travelling coming up soon I might have to revisit my Sashiko supplies :)

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  7. Thank you Chris. I love,love,love the look of this and can perfect my quilting skills as well. It looks just lovely. You have inspired me and I have just ordered a panel and will give it a go.
    Sue

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    1. I'm so thrilled my little stitches have introduced quite a number of newbies to Sashiko, there's nothing better than sharing our crafts. Hope you're enjoying Sashiko as much as I do Sue :D - Chris

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  8. I have heard of Sashiko but never had it explained so nicely. I would definitely like to try this. In fact, I think I accidentally did something like this on a quilt I just finished. Your second to last picture with the stitching in circles . . . I did a design like that on a quilt block but i thought I was doing big stitch!! :)

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    1. You're not going made Kathy, they're all the same - running stitch. If you're nit picking then they'll have different stitch and gap lengths, traditionally be on different fabrics, such as indigo and saris and using different types and widths of thread and have some typical designs but they're all still running stitch. I'm loving the resurgence of my childhood skills :D - Chris

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  9. That sashiko is amazing and i love love the cupcake

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  10. Great job ! I love the look of sashiko and I'd like to try Kantha stitching too.

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  11. Love your sashiko! I bought some supplies quite recently and am looking forward to doing some stitching in the sun myself. :)

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  12. I love it! now I'm thinking I really need to try sashiko one of these days, it sounds so relaxing! Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party! Pinned!

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  13. Lovely Sashiko. Must get out one I started and finish the stitching. Great inspiration.

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  14. I like sashiko, I even have a book on sashiko, but I've never tried it. Lovely examples, I didn't know it was possible to get pre printed fabric. Thank you Chrissie.
    Smiles
    Kate

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  15. WOW, this is totally fantastic!! Amazing. I bought sashiko supplies and have read books, but I have yet to actually try any!! This is definitely inspiring.

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  16. Oh wow, your sashiko is fantastic - I love the idea of starting on a pre-printed sample to get the rhythm of it, but also how cool is that cupcake - what a lovely treat and way to say thank you :)

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  17. Very cool! I can see how relaxing and zen-like it would be to do it. Beautiful, Chrissie!

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  18. Love it! Could you use one of the samplers as a clothing yolk? (For example.) Or would it all come undone?

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    1. This could look absolutely stunning Melody. There is a chance it could come undone but I think if you secured the raw edge with a couple of rows of machine stitching this could hold things in place. I think I'd mark the line to cut and machine stitch alongside it before actually cutting the sashiko. Oh another idea might be to draw your pattern piece onto the sashiko before handstitching it and then finish each stitch securely at the point where you'll be cutting the fabric. It would be quite experimental though, don't take my word for it, I'm just thinking on the fly! :D - Chris

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  19. So effective and relaxing, not done for years but think may pick up again

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  20. I love the finished look. You make it look easy, but I bet it is hard to get your stitches so neat.

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  21. It looks beautiful Chrissie, I'm very tempted to give it a go

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  22. Hi, I confess that I am hooked after reading your post on Sashiko! I hadn't heard of it before but I really want to find out more now and see if I can get supplies here in the UK. I found you via the Handmade Monday Lucy Blossom linky. http://asaucystitch.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Finally having an evening replying to comments and I wonder if you found an English source for Sashiko. If not, I know of 3 UK suppliers - one I can recommend personally The Village Haberdashery but the other two I've never bought from so don't know what the services is like Euro Japan Links and The Cotton Patch. Let me know what they're like if you use any of them so I can recommend them to others :D - Chris

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  23. Thanks for sharing this! I had never heard of sashiko before. It looks intriguing.... #HomeMattersParty

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Chris Dodsley