textile adventures

Textile Adventures: Japan Part 1

So while it’s been quiet here on the website it’s not because I’ve been busy behind the scenes getting my new projects underway… instead I’ve been on holidays. Or a textile adventure, as I like to call it.

I’ve just got home from Japan, which was amazingly full of lovely crafts and craftspeople. Some of which I’ll try and cover over the next few blogs.

One of my favourite stops was the village of Hida-Takayama, which is the birthplace of the Japanese embroidery technique of sashiko. 

Sashiko is one of those needlework styles that look really easy. And it kind of is, ultimately its just running stitch. There are things to consider though, like perfectly straight lines, sharp corners and the basic requirement of consistent stitch length. All of which can mess with you, if you let it.

I was able to get a quick lesson from a sashiko master who did in fact make it look ridiculously easy. She was also the fastest hand embroiderer I’ve ever seen! 

Here are the top three tips I learnt about sashiko on my visit:

1.     Never use knots to start or finish the thread lengths. Instead they are left with approx. a 3-4cm end and depending on the finishing of the product the ends are hidden in seams or by backing, allowing the inside of the embroidery to be just as interesting and lovely as the outside.

2.     Instead of doing one stitch and pulling it through the fabric, anchor lots of stitches on a long needle. So much so that the fabric gathers together before you pull the thread through. This will help keep all your stitches nice and straight.

3.     It’s pronounced sa-shi-ko, not sash-i-ko.