Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Sashiko

20 projects using traditional Japanese stitching

Jill Clay

Published by GMC publications

Here at Creative Colour we are very taken with the whole concept of slow, and hand sewing  in particular, as a way of winding down after a hard days graft, so this book is perfect for us.

What is Sashiko? It is a traditional Japanese sewing method that uses evenly spaced running stitches to create eye catching geometric patterns. It has a humble background, originating as a form of darning – a way to strengthen weak areas of cothing. However its utilitarian beginnings have since been shed, and it is now a popular form of decorative embroidery.

This book explores this strikingly effective technique and demonstrates how to apply it to a range of useful and ornamental items for the home, and to accessories and gifts. Minimalist in style, Sashiko sits perfectly in modern interiors as well as traditional environments giving it broad appeal.

         Sashiko is pronounce Sash(i)ko, the I is almost silent. It means little stabs because it involves stabbing the needle in and out of the fabric, to make a number of small gathers on the needle.

When the needle is pulled through it creates a series of small stitches. It has also sometimes been called rice stitch as traditionally the yarn colour is off white and resembles a grain of sand.

         There are twenty projects in this book and several of them use traditional designs. Shippo Tsunaagi  known as Seven Treasures is a design used in Buddist Art. Bamboo is often used as a design and it signifies prosperity as well as purity and strength.

You need very little in the way of tools and the techniques are simple. The projects range from practical to beautiful. There are small projects that will take much less time than large ones with a density of stitches. So it is up to you to decide how long you have to create a project.

As the author, Jill Clay, says in this excellent book

“ Although there are some ‘rules’ to sashiko, I prefer to think of them as guidelines which is what my sashiko teacher taught me. Following the guidelines is important, but so is enjoying what you are doing. The simple message is don’t take it too seriously, relax and enjoy.”

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