Friday, December 26, 2014

Totally hooked on sashiko


Front of Sashiko I stitched over the last 24 hours.20141226_190510
Back. There are two ways to start and end sashiko according to the sashiko book I have. I went with the simpler method first, which is knotting.

So earlier this summer I documented my first attempt at sashiko (Japanese embroidery).

At the time I was having trouble pulling the needle through the fabric (I got out my pliers to help!) and I couldn't read the Japanese instructions that came with the kit.  I had read the general sashiko instructions in English in a book, but it just seemed like it was really difficult on my hands.

I took your suggestions:  I got sashiko thimbles (the metal one *and* the leather one, because when I try something new I go all out), I watched a sashiko youtube video, and I had the Japanese instructions translated (thank you Running with Rocket for the referral and Crafty Tokyo Mama for the translation!)

I also figured out that three or four stitches on the needle at a time is the right amount for me to pull the needle through the fabric without needing pliers!
But I need to use two thimbles, one on my middle finger which is the traditional place for the sashiko thimble and one on my thumb--I now have a tiny blister on my thumb!
I used the Olympus coaster kits, where the pattern is printed on, but used hot pink sashiko thread instead of the thread that came with the kit.
I still need to wash the printing off and iron them.
I'm thinking of framing them instead of making them into coasters.

Above is what I really want to make, the dragonfly pillow kit.   The coasters were mainly to practice the technique.  I might frame the dragonflies instead of making it into a pillow; and I'm probably going to stitch it in hot pink as well.  Running with Rocket already stitched this one up, twice (picture at the bottom of this post).  Can't wait to stitch mine up.  I will probably start mine tmw.  I also want to make a Renfrew out of a chunky sweater knit.

If you have stitched the dragonfly pattern above, did you stitch all the vertical lines first, then the horizontal lines and then the dragonflies??

Be well!


  1. Wow…your handwork is awesome! So perfect…bravo! And I absolute love dragonflies. I look forward to seeing the dragonflies done. Beautiful!

    1. Awww, thanks Tomasa! It's really not perfect but I love love love the way the curved stitching looks...

      Dragonflies are now done and posted if you want to check it out!

  2. Thanks for the shoutout!
    Background lines first, horizontal and then the verticals.
    Then the dragonflies. That's what the instructions said via diagrams.
    I'm lucky I have a japanese translator friend but didn't need her for this project.
    re: coasters I LOVE the hot pink thread. These would look spectacular framed. Small little 5" x 5" frames, hung vertically.

    1. I wound up stitching the verticals and then the horizontals and then the dragonflies. My kit didn't come with instructions nor diagrams, but it's the same pre-printed cloth as yours.

      The hot pink thread is great--it's Olympus sashiko thread #21.

  3. I may not wash mine before finishing up my project with the dragonflies. I will iron it though. None of the printed lines are visible except for the outer non-stitching lines which will be covered up by fabric in a Yoko Saito style patchwork. I'm making a wall hanging.

    1. I wound up not washing it but I did Elna Press it. Mine looks much better Elna pressed. The printed lines sort of flaked off mine except for the border as you said.

      That's going to be a pretty cool wall hanging!

  4. Have you tried rubbing a drop of glycerin on your fingers to improve grip? Machine quilters do this instead of wearing grip gloves.

    1. I have not tried that. Didn't know that tip; I'm not a quilter.

  5. I'm so happy to see you found a method that worked for you. The coasters are lovely with that pink thread. How about using two colors for the dragonflies? One for the background and one for the bugs.

    1. Ooph, I had already started stitching the dragonflies and then I saw your comment....sometime I will try your suggestion!!

  6. So lovely! I love sashiko but haven't tried the technique yet. I can't wait to see your dragonflies -- love the idea one commenter had about using different colors!

    1. Thanks! There is a sashiko daisy design that has been done by others with many colors in one pillow--I just ordered that kit today and can't wait to stitch it up.


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