Posts Tagged 'quilt'

sashiko lesson 3

Posted by on 18 Oct 2012 | Category:

Continued from Sashiko lesson 2

Patterns based on curves, single patterns and border patterns

This lesson will familiarize you with patterns that are based on curves. It will also give you an idea on how to deal with single and border patterns. Like usual, when stitching these patterns, you will follow the order of  horizontal and vertical lines first, then the diagonal lines, and then the curved ones. But, each pattern will require its own treatment as well, so study the pattern well, before picking up the needle.

Refer Sashiko lesson 1 for any technical ‘rules’ you need to follow.


Patterns based on curves
These patterns are based on circles and its curves. It can take a little practice before the curves can be learnt to be stitched neatly and with precision.
Amime (net pattern)  
curves-1       sashiko_curve_pattern_1
Stitch each horizontal curve, from one end to the other, row by row. The stitches should look like mirror images where the curves meet. This might take some practice.
Fundo- Tsunagi ( Japanese traditional weights)

curves-2   sashiko_curve_pattern_2
Work on the diagonal curves on one side first, then move to the diagonal curves on the other side. The points where these curvy lines intersect should be left open as shown in the stitched illustration.


Single pattern
This example will help you to understand the different ways in which a sashiko pattern can be dealt with. Single sashiko patterns can be made using a combination of lines and curves.
Kiku (chrysanthemum pattern)

sashiko-single-1        sashiko_single_pattern_2
This pattern is made from a quarter portion of a circle. Start working O-A-B, O-B-C, and so forth until you finish it at F. Then, start working G-H-O, H-I-O, and so forth until you finish it at K.
Now, in this pattern, whether you begin or end, the thread is left open and long at O. Later all the nine strands of long thread are tied together or made a pig tail from.    


Border pattern
Some patterns can look very complicated and confuse us. Breaking down the components of such complicated patterns can bring clarity to make it easier for us to decide on our stitching. The following pattern will illustrate that.
Start by doing the horizontal straight lines A and B. Then, stitch the hexagon based lines, C and D, from one end to the other. Later, finish up with the smaller lines marked by E and F.


sashiko lesson 2

Posted by on 21 Sep 2012 | Category:

Continued from Sashiko lesson 1

Patterns based on squares, diagonals, diamonds and hexagons

These patterns have straight lines, and sharp edges or corners.  This lesson will help you to get a feel of how to deal with different kinds of patterns, and how to decide what stitch sequence to follow. Remember that it is important to study a design and decide the pattern of stitching before actually working on it.

Refer Sashiko lesson 1 for any technical ‘rules’ you need to follow.

Square based patterns
These patterns are made using blocks of square. They are very easy to make and stitch. These patterns have right angled corners.
 Dan- Tsunagi (connected steps pattern)
 square-1 ….
Stitch each set of steps at a time. Don’t try to carry over the thread from one set to the other. Instead, finish your stitch each time, and start each set afresh.   
Kakuju- Tsunagi (connected angles pattern) 
Stitch each set of steps at a time. Then, stitch each square at a time. This time, the steps lie horizontally, up and down, to make a pattern.  
Diagonal based patterns
These patterns are made the diagonals of squares, inclined at 45 degrees angle. The lines cut through the middle of each square.
Higaki (Cypress fence pattern)
 diagonal-1   sashiko_diagonal_pattern_1
Stitch the diagonal lines in the zig-zag manner. To make sure that these lines are stitched continuously, you need to carry on the thread behind the fabric after finishing each line. The pink arrows indicate that. This pattern is a non reversible pattern.
Diamond based pattern
These patterns are based on lines that cut across two squares lying horizontally adjacent to each other.
Kagome (Woven bamboo pattern)
 diamonds-2   sashiko_diamond_pattern_1
Work on the vertical straight lines first. Then, work on the diagonal lines. Finish the diagonal lines on one side before working on the ones on the other.   
Matsukawa- Bishi (Pine shaped diamond pattern)  
 diamonds-1    sashiko_diamond_pattern_2
Start working on the diagonal lines continuously, following the zig-zag path. Work on the zig-zag lines on one side before moving to the ones on the other.   
Hexagon based patterns
This pattern is made using straight lines cutting across two squares, and two straight lines two squares down.
Mukai- Kikko (Faced tortoise shell pattern)
 hexagon-1   sashiko_hexagon_pattern_1
Stitch the vertical lines first, as illustrated. Then, do the zig-zags of the hexagon. Finally, work on the parts of the smaller hexagons denoted by C.   
Musubi- Kikko (Linked tortoise shell pattern)  
 hexagon-2   sashiko_hexagon_pattern_2
Wrok on the vertical lines first. Then work on the smaller diagonal lines as shown. 
Reference: SASHIKO Traditional Japanese Quilt Designs by Nihon Vogue

sashiko lesson 1

Posted by on 20 Sep 2012 | Category:

Continued from  Sashiko

Fabric, needle, and thread:

sashiko_05     Traditionally, sashiko uses light colored thread over darker shades of fabric. Again, the most popular shade was dark blue or indigo, and white cotton thread was used to work over it. These days, you can always experiment with the color shade of the fabric or thread to apply the sashiko technique. 
The fabric used popularly was and still is cotton. Tightly woven even weave fabric can be good for sahiko. These days, silk and wool is also catching up on popularity.
The sahiko thread is made of pure cotton and has no sheen. It has a heavier look and is more twisted than the perle cotton thread. If working on a cotton fabric, the sashiko thread can be replaced with perle cotton (#5, preferably) or four strands of cotton floss. Of course, different fabrics would have different thread requirement. For instance, while working on silk, you might use lighter or thinner threads.
Traditionally, the sashiko needle is almost 2 inches long with a small eye. This needle helps in taking many stitches at a time. It is best to avoid short needles as the stitching can become tiresome and time consuming. Try to use a long needle with a comfotably open eye.



sashiko_01     1. Keep the running stitches as even as possible. Any uneveness will easily be shown on the pattern.

2. The stitch on the front side of the fabric is more than the one under. The general ratio is 3:2.

3. Keeping the working thread at a length of 20 inches at a time. That will help in a comfortable stitching.



How to begin, continue, and end:
Traditionally, sashiko does not allow to start or end a stitch with a knot.  But, for the ease of it, we can use knots where the reverse of the fabric will not be used or shown. For fabrics where reverse will be shown, use the traditional method as following:

sashiko_09 Consider that the stitch is worked from left to right.

Note that the overlapping of the few stitches is what secures the thread.

Try keeping the ends of the thread at teh reverse side of the fabric.

Cut the ends of the thread as close as possible to the fabric to give a neat appearance.

sashiko_06 sashiko_07 sashiko_08
Beginning Continuing with a stitch Ending


Making turns:
1. When the designs are reversible, you need to keep the back as neat as possible. For this reason, you need to cut out the thread at every turn and hide it under the other threads. To acheive this, follow teh same method as you would to begin or end a stitch traditionally. (Refer the above illustrations).

2. When the reverse side of the fabric is hidden, you can turn using the same thread. You can carry the working thread at the back of the cloth if the distance is not more than an inch. Try to leave the carrying thread loose to avoid puckering of the fabric.

Corners and Centres:
sashiko_0         The corners should be kept sharp.  for this, one of the stitch should fall on the corner. That is, the needle should either come up or go in through the corner point. Any other effect other than what is shown in the illustration is wrong. (See the different corners)

The centres should be left open. It should look like as in this illustration. Any thing apart from this is wrong.
Sewing orders:
Basically, sashiko follows the following order of stitching. But, note that the stitching order depends on the design too. A stitch is to be kept continuous as far as possible.
sashiko_02 sashiko_03 sashiko_04
1. Horizontal & vertical lines 2. Diagonal lines 3. Curved lines
Transfering of designs:
There might are a few ways in which the designs could be transfered to a cloth.

1. Using a tailors’ chalk to draw directly over the cloth.

2. Using a tracing paper to copy the design from the design sheet to the fabric.


Posted by on 20 Sep 2012 | Category:

embroidery sample: sashiko

About and history:
The word litterally means ‘little stabs’ in Japanese.

Sashiko is a form of stitching used to anchor down layers of cloth used in making quilts. This form of stitching is geometrical in nature, and is done using only the running stitch. Stitching layers of fabric together not only made the fabric warmer for use, but also more durable and strong. This is how sashiko came to be used extensively in quilt making. The farming and fishing communities made use of sashiko art on their wearbles.

Traditionally dark blue or indigo cotton fabric was used, which was the only color available to most poor people.White cotton thread was used to do running stitch over the fabric. Regionally, the fabric color differed though.

It is stated that Sahiko was developed during the Edo period in Japan and this art declined in the later part of 1800s when the period came to an end.

Sashiko has three variations: Sashiko, Hitomezashi, and Kogin.

Sashiko follows the simple running stitch to bring out beautifully depicted geometric patterns. Hitomezashi follows the holbein stitch and is often said to be similar to the black stitch as its western counterpart. Kogin is a type of pattern darning.

Sashiko today:
Sashiko was passed down from generation to generation as a handiwork that formed a part of life, but today, Sashiko has become a technique to create beauty and works of aesthetical value. Art, Hand embroidery, and quilting enthusiasts have caught up on the art of Sashiko for the sheer beauty and simplicity.

These days, this art is not confined to just quilts or garments, but has inspired wall hangings, accessories of various sorts, table cloths and other furnishings.

Many sashiko patterns are inspired from chinese designs, but for most part, they remain originally japanese. The patterns are derived from nature, and is wonderfully interpreted into geometrical patterns. You will learn many patterns as you go through each lesson.

Stitches used:
Running stitch

Lesson 1: the basic
Lesson 2: square, diagonals, diamonds and hexagon based patterns
Lesson 3: circles, single patterns and borders
Lesson 4: designs for practice

Reference : SASHIKO Traditional Japanese Quilt Designs by Nihon Vogue