Today I explored a special type of embroidery called “Sashiko.” It is usually associated with Japan, although many Asian cultures include this or something similar in their crafts.
It is simply a running stitch, but often follows complex designs. Historically, Sashiko was used to create tougher (layered) fabric or to patch old fabric so that clothing would last longer. Only when fabrics became cheaper, did the craft evolve into a decorative art.
I used a quilting stencil to mark my fabric – a navy blue aida from my stash. White thread on blue fabric is what I associate with Sashiko, although it is the stitching that defines it, not the colors.
Making even stitches takes a lot of practice and I have a ways to go. But it’s not too bad, huh? The thread is a perle cotton number 5, which is probably larger than traditional Sashiko thread.
I have some nice Caron Watercolors thread that is a finer size, so I tried it on a piece of linen. I love the way the thread glides through. I had high hopes for this piece, but then I ran afoul of marking! I was trying to copy a design from the Purl Bee’s tutorial on Sashiko. I think you can see that it did not go well!!! I’m not sure what to do with it now. I think I will finish the vertical lines and see if I can wash out all the others (I marked with chalk, so it shouldn’t be a problem), then we’ll see what comes to mind.
But it was an interesting afternoon and I have some ideas for using this stitch. Maybe I’ll use Sashiko the next time Sarge needs the knees of his jeans patched. . . . or not!