It was another great weekend in NYC with Sashiko Workshop July 2018.
Smiles, excitement, and good feedbacks always encourage me to keep offering the Sashiko Workshop. As of the end of July 2018, we do not have a plan for the future workshop. However, we sincerely hope to offer the Sashiko Workshop in TriBeCa, NYC, toward the end of 2018. If you are interested in learning Sashiko from Atsushi, please check the detail of the workshop here, and contact me with your passion & possibly preferable date. I will do my best to accommodate your preferences and will let you know even before the newsletter I send.
I hope you had a chance to continue the Sashiko stitching you have learned over the last weekend.
You should have received several follow-up emails from me. It includes all the supporting materials as well as favors from me such as answering our questionnaires. When you come across a question or trouble in your Sashiko Stitching journey, please do not hesitate in contacting me. We are happy to help you out. If you haven’t received any follow-up email, please let me know, too.
Sashiko Continues | Join a Sashiko Gathering
We offer several opportunities to encourage you to keep enjoying Sashiko. One of the workshops you may consider in taking is Hitomezashi Workshop. It requires a bit of different technique, yet the fundamental (Core & Basic) are the same as our Sashiko Stitching Workshop. It would be nice to see you there whenever I can offer in the future.
Another possibility is to join our Sashiko gathering.
One of our goals in introducing Sashiko is to form a community where people can enjoy Sashiko Stitching together. I have been trying to create it online, and being successful. However, it is always better to have it where you can get together physically.
When I offer the Sashiko gathering, please check it out & hope to meet you there.
It is always nice to see the graduates with smiles and their tremendous achievements.
Happy Summer! Here is a quick update of our availability of Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer.
We have added several new colors from another long-established Japanese thread manufacture. Of course, our well-known and stunning “Natural Dye Sashiko Thread” by Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya are available, and new colors from her latest updates are also available. We don’t have many threads in stock because of our storage space. Check them out before they get sold out.
It happens from the failure as if it was like a miracle.
We didn’t know how we did get the color. Therefore, we categorized them as a failure since we believe the “continuously” and “reproductivity” are the necessity as a professional. Yet, our customer wanted to have the thread regardless of its character that we may not be able to reproduce.
After several months of tries and errors, we finally come up with reproducible uneven Natural Dye Sashiko Thread. This time, with Natural Indigo Dye. Since they are dyed unevenly, every skein is one-of-a-kind. However, we can create very similar colors and differentiate “uneven Dye” and “Variegated Dye”
Our goal is to introduce Sashiko to the world. Then, hopefully, we all can pass down this beautiful culture to the next generation. It includes the process of supporting the current thread manufactures. We have been happy with our current selections, but at the same time, we decided to offer other Sashiko thread from the different manufacture with their interesting unique color selection.
We are building a good relationship with the manufacturer of similar Sashiko thread with good quality and unique Pastel Color. Very excited to introduce the new selection for the Sashiko Thread.
Look at these unique Variegated Color
We have 3 choices available now with these beautiful colors.
Thanks to many supporters who understand the process & value of “hand-made”, we now invest a lot in creating new colors with new dyes. We would rather be an artist than manufactures of natural colors. In a process of try & error, we get many “un-reproducable” Sashiko thread. They are as beautiful as the other regular Natural dye Sashiko thread. The issue is that I cannot provide them online because we don’t know if we can reproduce them.
So, we decided to offer them as “No Numbered Sashiko Thread” instead of numbered regular thread such as #002 Japanese Nutgal and such.
Check the detail here for that. Very limited stock available (well, every package will be one of a kind anyway).
This is the first time we try this. We now have an offer to discount as a package.
The more you enjoy Sashiko, the more thread you would need. We would like to support that!
If you haven’t used the coupon as “new customer”, you can get the 10% discount even after the package deal. Check the detail here for the great value Sashiko Thread (Mono Color & Variegated Color in stock only).
Check all the Sashiko Thread we offer
On top of all the new collection I introduced, we have our regular Sashiko thread available. They are in “Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer” sale and we have several deals for those who would like to spend beautiful days in Sashiko. Check out our DEAL page for more information!
As of 2018, I mainly offer 2 kinds of workshops. One is Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Basic & Core) to share the core technique of Unshin (Needle Movement). It is designed for anyone who is interested in Sashiko and anyone who would like to review their needle movement. Another workshop with Hitomezashi Sashiko is the intermediate level (advanced) workshop for those who learned the basic Unshin and became comfortable with the Sashiko stitching. I name the second, advanced level workshop, “Hitomezashi Workshop”.
Although the workshop is designed as the advanced workshop, Hitomezashi itself is not the advanced version of Sashiko Stitching. It is simply in a different category in a big picture of Sashiko. Since I would like to have everyone in the Hitomezashi Workshop to have the same knowledge and technical skill, I set the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) as a prerequisite for the Hitomezashi Workshop.
What is Hitomezashi?
Hitomezashi (一目刺し) is a kind of Sashiko performed mainly in Yamagata Prefecture. A famous Hitomezashi is called “Shonai Sashiko (庄内刺し子)” and it is known as one of 3 main Sashiko kinds in Japanese history (Hishizashi, Koginzashi, and Shonai Sashiko)
We can also find the history & practice of Hitomezashi in many rural places in Japan. We also practice Hitomezashi and the stitches create the beautiful and strong pattern on the fabric.
The difference of Hitomezashi and Gushinui Sashiko Stitching
Hitomezashi Sashiko mainly uses a grid-sheet (a sheet of graph paper) to create the design. The stitch is usually the size of the grid you choose the beginning, and you will follow the grid sheet to make the strong and vivid patterns. “Hitome = 一目” means “one stitch” and creating the pattern by combining the relatively big stitch (the size of the grid) is the significant difference from the regular running stitch. The Hitomezashi has to follow the grid to have the certain length of one-stitch. Therefore, people call it, Hitome (=one stitch) Sashiko.
The technique of holding the needle and the thimble is the same. However, the different “rhythm” will be required for the Hitomezashi in comparison to the Gushinui (Simple / Regular) Sashiko Stitching. Also, there are some hints we can provide to make more beautiful Hitomezashi Stitching based on our experience. Although both of Hitomezashi and Running stitch is categorized in Sashko, they are developed under different culture. There are some differences.
Please understand that it is not about which is better or not. Both Sashiko fall into the category of Sashiko, and both follow the purpose of stitching: Repairing, Mending, Strengthening, and decorating.
I personally prefer to do the Gushinui Sashiko stitching because of its rhythm. Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya and Upcycle Stitches are both happy to provide the services and information in both Hitomezashi & Gushinui Sashiko Stitching.
*The Sashiko we perform doesn’t have the specific name yet, therefore I used “Gushinui (ぐし縫い)” to express the Running Stitch character.
Here is a comparison of our Jackets both in Hitomezashi Sashiko & Gushinui Sashiko.
Hitomezashi Sashiko Jacket
As you may see it, each stitch create the unique patterns. The stitches made vertically, horizontally and diagonally make the beautiful patterns. Because of the size of stitches, it shows the vivid patterns. By using the grid sheet, the Sashiko practitioners can create hundreds of pattern by themselves (although most of them are already found so you may not call it your own original….)
Sashiko Jacket with the Japanese traditional patterns
You may find the size of stitches much smaller than the Hitomezashi. This Sashiko Jacket & its patterns are created by the combination of simple lines done by Sashiko Running Stitches. The pattern can be anything. We prefer to use the Japanese geometric patterns.
Hitomezashi Sashiko Workshop
As I introduced above, I offer the Hitomezashi Sashiko Workshop to share the knowledge and some technique to enjoy the Hitomezashi Sashiko. The technique you would need for the Hitomezashi is mostly covered in the initial (& fundamental) workshop of Sashiko. I will go over all the necessary knowledge and technique to maximize the Hitomezashi Sashiko experience. Simply speaking, when you have a graph paper, you can create your own Hitomezashi patterns on any fabric, and you can enjoy your own Sashiko. (By now, most of the possible pattern can be introduced by someone else… but hey, you don’t have to copy and paste it from the web.)
Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) is the prerequisite to the Hitomezashi Sashiko Workshop because I will not spend much time to teach students how to use the needle and thimble. We have reviewing time, but not 150 minutes of intensive teaching in the initial workshop.
Since our workshop often happens over the weekend, you may take the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) on one Saturday and then Hitomezashi workshop on the following Sunday. The seats are always limited, so please keep checking the schedule and availability.
Other Categories in Sashiko
As I introduced above, besides Hitomezashi Sashiko and Simple Running Sashiko, “Hishizashi = 南部菱刺し’ and “Koginzashi = こぎん刺し” are the famous Sashiko category. Although we do not perform either of Hishizashi and Koginzashi, we plan to introduce some of the great Sashiko practitioners in both categories.
It is our goal to introduce Sashiko to the world, even if it is the Sashiko we do not practice.
Some of the articles regarding the Sashiko categories can be found here. Enjoy Sashiko!
Another great opportunity to learn Sashiko in Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) is coming up within 3 weeks. I have received many positive reviews, and I come to realize that this is the best way to start & review your Sashiko knowledge and Sashiko Running Stitch. The size of the workshop is very small. You will get enough attention throughout the workshop to learn the “Core and Basic” of Sashiko. The small workshop size means that the seats are very limited. Don’t miss this great opportunity.
The reason to learn Sashiko from me
Sometimes, I receive inquiries regarding the level of Sashiko Workshop. For example, a question like “Can I take the intermediate workshop since I have ☆☆ years of experience in Sashiko.” I always suggest taking the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) to learn the basic posture of Sashiko. The only exception would be sending me the Sashiko Running Stitch to let me confirm that the participant masters what I teach in the workshop.
I have taught how to do Sashiko Running Stitch to more than 100 students. None of them handled the Sashiko needle as we do. The years of experience in Sashiko is wonderful, and I respect that. However, for the Sashiko Running Stitch, I want to share what we are proud of in the needle movement.
Yes. I will also share a list of great information and technique with you.
I was born in the surviving Sashiko family, so I can share the authentic Sashiko items with you and our history.
As long as I know, I am a very few Japanese Natives who practice Sashiko & speak English. What I tell you isn’t someone’s translation or interpretation. It is the real voice of the Sashiko family.
Our Sashiko items (Created by me, my mother Keiko, and our friends) are shared on Instagram and other SNS. Although we sell supreme quality Sashiko supplies, we are not the Sashiko supply dealer. We are a group of Sashiko artisans after all.
Although there are more reasons that you would like to learn Sashiko from me, the core is my passion that I want you to learn how to use the thimble and needle so-called Unshin (運針 = Needle movement).
Why Sashiko Running Stitch?
So then, why is Sashiko Running Stitch so important?
It is because the regular hand-sewing is too slow for some Sashiko project. Please take at the speed of our Sashiko Running Stitch. Absolutely no edit for the video.
I often say that Sashiko is not all about stitching. The practitioner would need to how to pick the fabric and materials, how to prepare them, how to make beautiful stitches, and how to finish them as the item such as Jackets, bags, and coasters. However, without proper stitching, it isn’t Sashiko any longer (At least, I do not call the item without stitching “Sashiko“). Sashiko merely a form of stitching, but the stitching itself can be masterful. I want you to be one of the masters.
Okay. Mastering the Hand-stitching is Important. Then, why Sashiko Running Stitch?
The answer is very simple. The other hand-stitching techniques are sometimes too slow. Sashiko became famous in a culture of sustainability and “slow-fashion”. The process of slow-stitch has the same result of meditation. I feel the same calming function and I love the slow & caring process of Sashiko.
However, wouldn’t you think it is better if you can finish the stitching like this in a day (It took about 7 hours or so to get to here in several days) instead of a month? The speed and accuracy of mere simple Sashiko stitching is the core of our Sashiko. The Japanese developed Sashiko for the purpose of “Survival”. At the very origin of Sashiko, it was the method to fill the space of rough poor hemp fabric.
The more the person can make stitches, the more cloth we can repair. I believe that the speed after proper technique and repetitive practice is extremely valuable in hand-crafting culture. Not only Sashiko, but also many kinds of professions such as fruit cutting, dim-sum making, you name it.
*Please understand that I respect other embroidery techniques and hand-sewing culture. I see many people apply their own technique to Sashiko, too. They are very inspiring and I learn a lot from them. Unlike the other embroidery culture, Sashiko started as the “practical hand-stitching” rather than decorating purpose. I respect that, too.
Many Various Unshin Masters in Japan
As I keep mentioning here and there, there isn’t such a thing as “right” or “wrong” in Sashiko culture. If you can stitch as fast & accurate as (or faster & more accurate than) we can, the workshop may not be beneficial for you.
I know many Unshin Masters in Japan, and they stitch faster than I do. Some of them have the same or very similar posture of our Sashiko. Some of them have a somewhat different way to hold the needle and push the thimble, yet very speedy. The appropriate posture can be modified by 10 years, 20 years and more years of experience. My mother & Sashiko Artists, Keiko, has a bit different posture than what I teach.
The posture I teach is the one I started with in my childhood.
Throughout teaching many students with the different background and the different size of hand & finger, I brush up this “entry” technique so everyone who joined the workshop can start the Sashiko stitching as we do with less struggle and issues. Some of the graduates stitch as fast as I do, and that is my goal for the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic).
I am looking forward to seeing you there!
Video of Sashiko Running Stitch in a big Sashiko Project