Friday, March 21, 2014


In "Greatful Threads"  the art quilt guild I belong in we are doing a special program this year to push our learning.  A list of many different quilting & art quilting techniqes was made and were written one at a time on small of paper and folded.  Each month we pull two out of the bowl and from them we have to pick one technique to work on,  we can do two if we wish.  This month my choice was Sashiko.  I have never done it before and was wary of trying a hand sewing technique.  Not because I dont like hand work but due to carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve trouble.  I have to say I've fallen in love with Sashiko.  The difference with this techinque is that instead of moving the needle you move the fabric onto the needle in a pleating fashion.  I found this to be easier on my hands and wrists and it is something I can do.  Even better it is beautiful and their are many ways to incorporate it into your quilting.  

Sashiko means little stab in Japanese.  It is a technique invented by the Japanese during a time in history when fabric and thread were difficult to obtain. In the 18th century clothes were made from fibers of mulberry, wisteria, & hemp.  Cotton was expenive as it was imported so only the nobility could wear it.  This meant that clothing had to be patched over and over.  The stitch was used not only to mend but to increase warmth.  The stitch is a running stitch but you have a small stitch on the back and a longer one on the front.  One of the rules of the stitch is to not cross your lines.  There are many different patterns with many being geometric in origin.  Typically the fabric was dyed indigo and the thread was white.  An interesting tidbit is that eventually large designs were against the law for the commonors and only nobles could wear them.  This had the lower classes dying their thread indigo to hide the stitches.

Here is a photo of my supplies and what i have finished on my project so far.  With Sashiko you work horozontal first, then vertical, then diagonal, as u can see by my finished stitches.  Then I will work the diagonal in the opposite direction.  Lastly I will do the zig zag portions.  This is a more complicated design so there are more rules as to the direction I stitch in.  

I was given the preprinted fabric by Denise who is in charge of the guild.  It actually was a fat quarter siae but I cut it down to a 6.5 inch block to fit into the middle of my wall hanging I'm planning on making.  I bought the Sashiko needles from "Spool" ,  a local quilt shop run by Maddie Kertay the creater of the Facebook Group " Bad Ass Quilter's Society" .  

While shopping I saw the needles on the counter.  They are Hiroshima Sashiko Needles by Tulip or  They are made in Japan and forged differently from US needles.  They are made to slide easier through fabric.  I can attest they work wonderfully.  I also wear a Japanese thimble.  Ive had it for awhile so i cant say where i got it other than i think its made by clover. It goes over your middle finger and rests on your knuckle.  This works wonderful as you have much more strenght to push the needle through.  Also on my tray is an adorable flower pin cushion ring that my friend Karen brought back from her visit to the quilt museum in Paducah, Kentucky.

I will post again when the piece is finished. I really just had to share what I'm working on.

Happy Quilting,