Hand stitching is one of my favorite ways to enjoy some unplugged studio time, and Japanese sashiko is one of my favorite hand sewing techniques. Sashiko is a Japanese quilting technique using a heavy thread and evenly spaced, slightly modified running stitches to form geometric patterns.
I've made several quilts which featured sashiko stitching in my quilting life. The first was in celebration of my sister's 40th birthday, and it still hangs in a place of honor in her living room.
|Sashiko-style coasters by Rachel Hauser.
What I love about Japanese stitching is the same thing I cherish about all Japanese design: it is simple and clean. The sparse white stitch against an indigo cloth is a soothing and mesmerizing combination.
So when I see sashiko designs in the Spring 2012 issue of Stitch magazine that update the subject matter by merely reversing the color combinations (white background and blue thread) it really gets my imagination going. I'd love to try all of those patterns.
Maybe my sister will receive a stack of sashiko coasters on her next birthday to go with her quilt.
Spring Stitch has an entire section of projects for "unplugged" hand sewing (including some adorable bird patterns). My favorite pattern in the issue, however, has to be the awesome little coin purses with hand stitching and metal closures. Oh, how I want to make a dozen of these gorgeous gems and have a different one for every occasion! They remind me of a collection of Whiting and Davis mesh bags from the late 1800s - mid-1900s I inherited several years ago. Along with some fancy dress versions, I have two gorgeous petit point bags and another tiny piece that could have been a model for this collection in Stitch by Rachel Hauser (who also designed the coasters).
If you're not familiar the embroidery stitches you might need for some of these unplugged projects, the magazine includes a little tutorial for the backstitch, French knot, split stitch, and more. Plus, Rachel has these tips on sashiko stitching.
|Hand stitching personalizes these coin purses by Rachel Hauser.
Sashiko Stitching Tips by Rachel Hauser
From Stitch magazine, Spring 2012
Have you tried sashiko hand stitching? If so, tell me about your experience in the comments section below. And be sure to get your issue of Stitch, Spring 2012 for tips, projects, and other hand sewing ideas.
Spend some time unplugged!