Friday, September 22, 2017

Sashiko, A New Technique for a Quilter-And Welcome Fall

Sashiko stitching on a reversible fireman's coat (hikeshibanten) with ginkgo leaves (top), interlocking circles (bottom), and kanji characters, paste-resist dying and hand-painted pigment on plain-weave cotton, from the late Edo-early Meiji period (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Sashiko (εˆΊγ—ε­, literally "little stabs") is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.[1]
Sashiko embroidery was used to strengthen the homespun clothes of olden times. Worn out clothes were pieced together to make new garments by using simple running stitches. These clothes increased their strength with this durable embroidery.
Mostly geometric patterns are used to make this work. The common motifs used are waves, mountains, bamboo, bishamon, key fret, double cypress fence, arrow feathers, seven treasures, pampas grass, overlapping diamonds, linked diamonds, lightning, linked hexagons and persimmon flower. The embroidery uses special sashiko thread and needle. Modern day sashiko stitching is not restricted to the traditional indigo coloured fabric but uses a variety of colour combinations, and it is considered a beautiful surface embellishment for fabrics.
Many sashiko patterns were derived from Chinese designs, but just as many were developed by the Japanese themselves. The artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) published the book New Forms for Design in 1824, and these


Beatrice Wins said...

guess I'm not the only one into sashiko..a little more history per Susan Briscoe "During the Edo era, farmers could only wear blue or grey colors with patterns no larger than a grain of rice or with stripes no thicker than a straw. This could be the origin of the idea that sashiko stitches must resemble grains of rice."

celkalee said...

I believe you are correct about the "grain of rice, no thicker than a straw" analogy. Since rice was the life-blood of the culture it was a good comparison. Was the shirt delivered yet? Can't wait to see it.

In Progress,

Quilty Friend Linda, from the Ladies of the Cloth Group shared her progress on this lovely (and complicated to me) pattern. Of course, th...