Top 5 Sashiko Tips Cover R

Top 5 Sashiko Tips | Common Misunderstanding

Sashiko is a form of simple hand stitching developed in Japan. It is relatively easy to start, and we can keep enjoying its meditative stitching in various way. Here is top 5 Sashiko Tips to make your Sashiko experience much more comfortable and your Sashiko stitching results more beautiful.

 

  1. Get Sashiko Thread | Not a thread even with the same thickness
  2. Get the needle to minimize the stress
  3. Don’t pull the needle. Pull the fabric
  4. Make sure to smooth the fabric after stitching
  5. Push the needle instead of making a stitch | Sashiko isn’t about making a stitch

 

Top 5 Sashiko Tips Details

 

These top 5 Sashiko tips are based on our 30+ years of experience in Sashiko stitching. Please understand it is not about being right or wrong, or good or bad. The purpose of this blog is to share the tips, not to judge others or yourself.

 

I cover every Top 5 Sashiko Tips in the Sashiko Stitching Workshop I offer. You may learn the brief summary of these tips here. Enjoy Sashiko!

 

1. A reason to call it Sashiko Thread

(Get Sashiko Thread | Not a thread even with the same thickness.)

 

Sashiko thread isn’t defined as Sashiko Thread only by the thickness. The trick is “how the thread is twisted” to form the yarn. Sashiko has a various and different purpose in comparison to the other hand-sewing project. For example, making Kimono requires a completely different thread so-called sewing thread instead of Sashiko Thread.

Any kinds of the thread may make good stitching. However, when you would like to enjoy the whole benefit (original purpose) of Sashiko stitching, we strongly recommend using the Sashiko Thread even if you have the same thickness thread.

 

*More information about the Purpose of threads is in this blog post.

Why Sashiko Thread | Compare to the other

 

2. Needle matters

(Get the needle to minimize the stress.)

 

The selection for the needle is very huge. The cheapest needle can be found by less than a dollar or even less, and the expensive one can be $3~4 dollar a piece (possibly more). For the purpose of regular hand-sewing, any kinds of the needle would work. However, for the better experience of Sashiko stitching, I strongly recommend getting the needle for Sashiko Stitching.

A few topics to consider are below.

  • The length. My favorite length is 51.5 mm.
  • An appropriate size of the needle eye. The big eye may destroy the fabric.
  • The good snap of the needle

Here is my recommendation for the Sashiko Needle

 

*I have heard that some people sharpen the needle with the small cushion attach to the pincushion in the market. If you purchase the Sashiko Needle from us, DO NOT sharpen your needle unless you feel the dullness of the needle in stitching. The needle is sharpened nicely by professional in the original condition. The process of sharping the needle by yourself will, in fact, make the needle dull. If you enjoy Sashiko stitching a few hours every day for a few months, you may feel the dullness of the needle, then you may use the needle sharpener. At the same time, it can be a good time to change the needle after using that heavily.

 

3. Pull the fabric, not the needle

When you make numbers of stitches, it can be challenging to pull the needle through the fabric.

The needle is pretty thin, and the thread is pretty thick. The size of the needle and the thread is to avoid destroying the fabric. However, it is a bit more challenging to pull the needle with the thread. There is an eye-opening hint for this. Don’t pull the needle.

 

To minimize the difficulty, keep this one thing in your mind.

Pull the fabric instead of pulling the needle.

 

*It is difficult to explain in writing. Please check the video I made.

 

4. Smoothe the fabric

After making numbers of stitches and pull the needle through, you must make sure to smoothe the fabric. This process is called “Itokoki (=糸こき)” in Japanese. By Itokoki, the thread and fabric match better and avoid the tension on the fabric. Without this process, the fabric may be tensioned or twisted in an unlikable way.

Even I, as the Sashiko professional, I occasionally experience the insufficient Itokoki. To avoid it, I often make loops when I change the stitching direction to avoid the unlikable mistake (like an insurance). → The article about Why Loops?

Why loops in Sashiko Running Stitching

 

*It is also difficult to explain Itokoki in writing. Please check the video I made.

 

5. Learn how to push the needle

Sashiko isn’t about making one stitch. It is a movement of the needle to achieve purpose such as repairing, mending, and strengthening the fabric. It is the core of Sashiko to learning how to push the needle with the thimble.

 

We found that teaching  (& sharing) how to use the thimble and move the needle is quite difficult even with videos. The goal is to share the appropriate method, posture, and movement of the needle with the thimble with us continuously checking your stitching. We would like to make sure the participants understand and master the movement instead of sharing information and spreading the movement we do not intend to. Please consider taking Atsushi’s workshop in NYC or Online Sashiko Workshop.

*The free tutorials are available on our Youtube Channel for those who prefer that way.

 

 

 


 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post of Top 5 Sashiko Tips.

As I keep mentioning on this website, I believe there isn’t such a thing as “Right Sashiko” and “Wrong Sashiko”. However, there are numbers of tips, techniques, and wisdom that we would like to share to pass down Sashiko. Please share your questions in Comments so I can follow up with more information.

 

While writing this article, I realize it is quite difficult to share the points just in writing with considering my English ability as the second language. Please enjoy the quick video I made to explain the Top 5 Sashiko Tips

 

 

 

+++++ The script of Youtube just in case my English is difficult to understand

Hello, this is Atsushi. Thank you for watching the Top 5 Sashiko Tips video.
I am happy that many people would like to learn how to do Sashiko beautifully and efficiently. Here are the Top 5 Sashiko Tips to make your Sashiko experience more enjoyable.

1. Get Sashiko Thread.
You may use any kinds of thread for the Sashiko project. However, if you would like to get the same result as we do, then, using the thread designed for the Sashiko purpose is necessary. I had written several articles about the difference of Sashiko thread and the other threads on our website, upcyclestitches.com. The main difference is the twist. The Sashiko Thread has the unique twist to be the part of the fabric. The main purpose of Sashiko thread isn’t connecting a few pieces of fabric together, it is to make the fabric stronger.

2. Sashiko Needle
A good quality Sashiko needle can improve the Sashiko stitching by A LOT. My recommendation is.

A. The length of 51.5 mm
B. The small eye to avoid destroying the fabric, yet big enough to accommodate the Sashiko Thread.

Trust me. It is significant.

3. Pull the fabric, not the needle

After making many stitches, you may experience the difficulty to pull the needle through the fabric with the thread. It is understandable because the Sashiko thread we use is pretty thick and the needle eye is quite small.

Here is a tip.
Do not pull the needle. Yes. It sounds strange. You will pull the needle eventually. However, first, try to pull the fabric to get the needle eye through as the video shows. This is one of the reasons I made this video on top of the actual blog post on my website. I hope you get what I am talking about by watching how I do it.

4, The movement of smoothing the fabric.

In my Sashiko workshop, I always tell them to smooth the fabric.
I came to realize that I am not 100% sure if I translated the meaning of words from Japanese to English. Since I cannot find the exact word for that, I will use the Japanese for this movement. It is called “Itokoki.”

Itokoki is the movement of smoothing the fabric to avoid the tensioned fabric like the video shows. It will make your fabric more smooth and beautiful.

5. Unshin

In my opinion, Sashiko is not about making one stitch. Sashiko is about moving the needle, and as the result, making the numbers of stitches. To follow what the Japanese used to practice, understanding and learning the needle movement is important. In Japanese, we call the needle movement, Unshin.

We do Unshin and make numbers of stitches, then make sure that fabric is smooth by doing Itokoki. We repeat the process and create a simple, yet beautiful pattern.

Alright.
Let’s review Top 5 Sashiko Tips

Getting good Sashiko thread and needle is pretty critical to have the good Sashiko stitching. As I have shared in another video on this channel, the fabric quality is not as significant as the thread and needle. Of course, I prefer the fabric made in Japan following the traditional way. However, a piece of the swatch from Walmart for a couple of bucks was okay for the Sashiko stitching. When the budget is limited, I would allocate more resources for the thread and needle.

This video is for the 3rd and 4th tips in the list of Top 5 Sashiko Tips. In order to explain what Itokoki and how to pull the fabric, I thought it is the best to film myself.

Interestingly, Sashiko is so natural to me and my mother.
So sometimes, we do not realize that something we do very naturally is the answer to someone who started Sashiko stitching.

In fact, the Japanese have an interesting craftmanship that master does not teach how to do the crafting. The students, pupils, or apprentices are supposed to learn by just looking and observing what the master does. So, I didn’t get a structured “lesson” or “workshop”. What I do is something I learned by doing and looking, and therefore, sometimes I do not realize what I do is special to someone.

So feel free to ask the questions. Your question may teach me what the audience is looking for as the answer.
However, please check this channel and our website first to look for the answers. I have been answering many questions, and the common questions are probably answered already.

Well, I will improve my website so viewers can find the answers more easily. But, let me have more time for that.

Alright.
Enjoy Sashiko.

Why Sashiko Thread Cover

Why Sashiko Thread | Compare to the other

In the Instagram Sashiko Live-Streaming (in Japanese), we had a great talk about the reasons to use Sashiko thread instead of other types of thread and yarns. There is a reason why Sashiko thread is different from the other thread.

Sashiko was developed in the necessity to survive through the severe winter in Japan. In order to satisfy the Sashiko’s original purpose, the Japanese have been spending a lot of time to create the appropriate Sashiko thread for the project. I hope you enjoy the beauty of its Sashiko Thread.

 

Shop Sashiko Thread in Upcycle Stitches

 

Why Sashiko Thread Comparison

 

The twist is why Sashiko Thread is unique

The Sashiko Thread we carry has the unique twist. Most of our Sashiko threads consists of 4 thin embroidery floss, and they are twisted in a very unique way. This twist makes it thread as the Sashiko Thread, and it is the reason why Sashiko thread can make beautiful Sashiko stitches.

 

In the market, you may find the similar thread/yarn with the similar thickness. I have read some articles talking about the alternative of Sashiko Thread. Please do not misunderstand that I am NOT saying the alternative is bad or wrong. Based on the type of project, I use the non-Sashiko Thread to maximize the purpose. What I would like to share is the background story of why Sashiko Threads have been used by so many Sashiko practitioners.

 

Thread as a method to strengthen the fabric

As you may have learned in this website, Sashiko original has (had) a goal to achieve: to strengthen or to mend the fabric.

 

Usually, the sewing thread is used to “patch” or “connect” 2 or more fabric together. In order to make a dress, the seamstress needs to sew the patterned fabrics together to form the dress. The threads have to be strong enough to hold them together. Therefore, the regular sewing threads have a very tight twist. Regardless of the thickness, most of the non-Sashiko thread has the tight twist to serve its purpose.

 

The main purpose of Sashiko Thread is NOT to patch or connect the fabric. It is to make the fabric stronger. In other words, the Japanese wanted Sashiko Thread to be the part of fabric eventually. Therefore, Sashiko thread has uniquely designed “soft” twist. By this unique twist, the thread becomes part of the fabric over time, and therefore the fabric gets stronger before the Sashiko Stitching.

Why Sashiko Thread Tickness

 

It is not about good or bad.

The point is what is the purpose (goal) of using the thread you have. If you would like to follow the original Sashiko & make fabric stronger with beautiful patterns, we strongly recommend using our Sashiko Thread. The tightly twisted thread tend to stay as the thread over time, and sometimes, the tightness may damage the fabric.

 

Making a Knot of not

The topic either making a know or not in Sashiko stitching can be a pretty big discussion sometimes. I have written the blog post about “How to NOT to make the knot” along to the Youtube Video.

Yes, I share the technique. However, without understanding the reason why Sashiko Thread is so different with its background story, the technique wouldn’t work at all. If you use the tightly twisted sewing thread, you would need the knot. I always make a knot when I use non-Sashiko Thread. It simply doesn’t work because of the character of the thread: which is the purpose of the thread.

 

I hope this blog post explains the reason why Sashiko Thread is different from the stories behind it.

 

Japan Society NYC x Sashiko Workshop

Japan Society NYC x Sashiko Workshop | follow Up

Thank you very much for being a part of a great evening, Japan Society NYC x Sashiko Workshop by Atsushi Futatsuya. It is our very first challenge to share Sashiko stitching to so many people. We usually have a workshop for the size of 6 to 12 participants… so yes, it was something great for me. I hope you had received a message for my passion of Sashiko, and introductory technique of beautiful Sashiko stitching.

For those who signed up with your email for the follow-up email, please expect to receive the email from Atsushi by 10/5. If you do not receive anything from Atsushi, the email may be in your spam box, or I misread the email itself. In that case, please contact me from here.

 

Missed Japan Society NYC x Sashiko Workshop ?

 

I have received several emails that they, unfortunately, couldn’t participate in this Japan Society NYC x Sashiko Workshop.

Do not worry. With increasing of the demand, I am planning to have another Online Sashiko Workshop (Core & Basic) as well as creating a downloadable video of “how to make Sashiko Coaster” which I covered in this Sashiko Workshop at Japan Society NYC.

In order to accomplish my goal, I still feel that “On Live Workshop” is a necessary step to teach how to do Sashiko with the specific thimble and the Sashiko needle. I understand that the needs for “Video – which you can watch and learn anytime” is huge. However, the key to learning the appropriate posture is me continuously checking (not judging) your posture and position of needle and thimble.

If you are interested in this Live – Small grouped Online Workshop, please fill out the form below. Once I find the similar preference and request, I will contact you to set up the workshop.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf_FhpQGLrkh1wZInl4e-uz_uu0GDJrQKPG952TR2UYL_XB7g/viewform?usp=sf_link

 

 

Sashiko is not about being Right or Wrong

 

I hope I delivered this message in the workshop: There is no such a thing as Right Sashiko and Wrong Sashiko. Meanwhile, I make another video of how to make the coaster, and/or how to do Sashiko, please watch other “Live Streaming” and previous Tutorials on our Youtube Channel. Try to learn what you would like to learn. It is not a rule or regulations you need to follow. I simply share the technique and concept which may enrich your Sashiko experience.

I will also keep sharing “Stories” about Sashiko. The subscribers of the channel made me realize that “I have a lot of stories to tell.”

 

 

 

Following Sashiko Workshop

Upcycle Stitches LLC offers “Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic)” with collaborating to respected organizations which share the similar concepts and values. Since “introducing Sashiko” is my current goal, most of the workshop I offer in 2018 are the basic and core workshop.

 

In Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic), I cover the similar materials to the introductory workshop at Japan Society.

I will teach:

  • How to use the thimble and the needle
  • How to move the needle and making Sashiko running stitches
  • Using the similar Asano-ha pattern to make a tote bag (I do not teach how to make a tote bag.)
  • Introductory of Sashiko & its concept

Sashiko Workshop Tote

The biggest difference is that I will make sure that the participant “get comfortable to” the running stitch including how to hold the needle, fabric, and using the thimble. I will stand next to the participant, touch her/his hands if necessary, reposition the hands and posture. I will not give up even the participant gives up. From my experience, it takes about 2~3 hours to get used to the Sashiko running stitch.

If you aren’t 100% sure how to use the thimble and needle, these basic & core workshops should be a great workshop to make sure what you have learned. The class size is about 6 to 9. A lot of individual attention for every participant in the workshop.
Also, I will cover the following:
  • How to prepare the fabric (transferring patterns / how to draw patterns)
  • Sashiko running stitch with rhythm.
  • What kind of materials are the best
  • Upcycling the fabric with Sashiko | Especially with Eileen Fisher garment if you have one
  • Difference between Sashik0 and Boro | which I covered a bit in Japan Society Workshop.
  • How to stitch different patterns | brief explanation.
  • Unlimited questions within 4 hours and you will get enough answers because of the class size of 9 maximum.
If the participant is comfortable with using thimble and needle as I instructed at the introductory workshop, I can accept him/her for the advanced workshop AFTER checking his/her stitching over the video. Please send me a video of stitching so I can decide if you follow the instruction. However, unfortunately, without my permission after watching the video, the “introductory workshop” will not satisfy the prerequisite to the other (advanced) workshop I offer.  It is simply because I need to make sure that everyone is comfortable and understood how to use them when I do advanced workshops. I cannot confirm it in the introductory workshop because of the class size, so the person would need to show me if they got the information appropriately and practice it, or need to take the basic & core workshop to “master” the Sashiko Stitching.
I hope the explanation above is clear for the future Sashiko Workshops.
Sashiko Follow Up Cover JS

Sashiko Follow Up | For Sashiko Workshop Graduates

In 2018, I offer Sashiko Workshops in different locations by collaborating with honorable organizations and groups of beautiful people. If you have taken one of Atsushi’s Sashiko Workshops (Full Length of more than 3 hours – maybe named Core, Basic, and/or traditional), and have not received an email for the Sashiko Follow Up within 5 business days, please contact me from here. I will send you the Sashiko Follow Up email with many follow up materials accordingly.

If you haven’t received any emails within a few business days after the workshop, something went wrong on my side like a typo in the email address in such. For those who take the workshop in TriBeCa, organized and programmed by Upcycle Stitches, you should get the “Sashiko Follow Up email” the next day (or even the same day).

 

Thank you for coming to the Sashiko Workshop!

 

Sashiko Follow Up

The follow-up email consists of very useful information including one-time free shipping coupon. I want you to be informed. So please do not miss the opportunity if you have taken our full-length Sashiko Workshop.

If you are a graduate of “introductory Sashiko Workshop” like the one I offered at the Japan Society in September 2018, you will also receive the same follow-up emails with follow-up materials. However, please be advised that the these introductory Sashiko workshop will not fulfill the prerequisite for our advanced Workshops. We offer & run our advanced workshops based on the fact that every participant is capable of using the round-shape thimble and the Sashiko long needle.

To learn (master) more of Sashiko stitching, please consider taking in our full-length Sashiko Workshop.

Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic)

Alternatively, you can send me a video of your Sashiko stitching so I may give you the qualification (fulfillment of prerequisite) prior to the other workshops. Please refer to this blog post to understand the difference between the Full-Time Sashiko Workshop & Introductory Sashiko WOrkshop.

 

We want you to continue Sashiko

 

As I mentioned in the workshop, my goal is to keep encouraging you to continue this enjoyable journey. A Sashiko follow up email is a great introduction & summary of what we had shared. I would love to be connected with you who learned not only the technique of Sashiko but also the appreciative culture behind it.

Keep in touch, and let me know if there is anything we can do for your Sashiko life.

 

 

Share your photos

Please share photos of your Sashiko accomplishment over the email. I would love to share the alumni’s work online so the new learner will learn what they can expect. Also, if you have photos from the workshop, please share them with me, too. As you may have noticed, I barely stop moving during the workshop. I always try to take photos and end up with forgetting about it. It would be very appreciated if you could share your good memory with me as well as the others who are interested in Sashiko.

For the Instagram, please use the hashtag of #azussashikoworkshop

 

 

See you soon online & somewhere in the world

 

It would be lovely to see you again, somewhere in the world, or simply online. I have an Instagram account and Youtube Channel, which both share some live-streaming. It is our sincere hope that you will continue the Sashiko stitching, or apply Sashiko stitching to your hand-stitching (hand-sewing) life.

 

Enjoy Sashiko!

Atsushi Futatsuya

 

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin Cover

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin | How to Sashiko in Order

Sashiko Fukin (刺し子ふきん)is one of the most popular Sashiko items in Japan. Fukin means a sampler or a dish-cloth. The Japanese use this square piece of white cloth to cover the food, wipe the dishes, and other many kitchen activities. Here is a sample of How to Sashiko Asanoha Fukin with video of me stitching and the photos of each step. There is no “right” way to proceed the stitching. It is merely a sample but would be useful when you work on the Sashiko Stitching with Asano-ha pattern.

 

 

Preparation |  Sashiko Asanoha Fukin

Sarashi (晒)is a Japanese thin cotton fabric. (I plan to have them in stock soon).

We prefer to make Sashiko with the double layers. After drawing (transferring) the pattern, secure the two layers with safety pins or such.

 

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin 1

 

Steps of How to Sashiko Asanoha Fukin

The core concept of making a good Sashiko Fukin is to have the “one-stroke” stitching. The optimal (the most efficient) way to stitch vary from a pattern to pattern.

 

Step.1 | Around of Sashiko Asanoha Fukin

Stitch around the corner. Then, the safety pins can be removed.

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin 0

 

Step.2 | Diagonal Lines

Find the longest line, which happens to be the diagonal lines. Enjoy running stitch without cutting the thread until the thread runs out.

 

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin 2

 

Use “Kasane” to continue.

 

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin 4

 

Step.3 | Small Zigzag Lines

After enjoying the long diagonal lines, then move to the small zigzag lines.

 

Step.4 | In-between Lines

Fill the leftovers with using Kasane.

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin 6

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin 5

 

Step Extra | Enjoy addition

The Fukin Project complete with the step.4

However, I decided to continue the process by adding another color to make the double stitches to enjoy the difference between dark Indigo & Light Indigo.

 

Sashiko Asanoha Fukin 7    

 

 

Join our community by taking our Workshops

Sashiko is a process of simple stitching. However, without proper basics, it could be confusing and difficult to enjoy. Upcycle Stitches LLC & Atsushi offer the Sashiko Workshop in NYC and Online. Please consider joining our community where you can learn not only how to stitch these beautiful Japanese geometric pattern but also connect to a community where people share the same great passion to Sashiko.

 

  1. Sashiko Stitching Workshops in NYC
  2. Sashiko Online Workshops 

 

Sashiko Workshops September 2018

 

Some of the tutorials are available online, Youtube.

Sashiko Alumni Interviews

Sashiko Alumni Interviews | Great Sashiko from our Alumni

It has been almost 2 years since I had offered the first Sashiko Workshop in NYC. It is my pleasure to meet all of the participants with a great passion for Sashiko. I always wanted to make a community where we can get together and share the on-going Sashiko Project. The community I dreamed of is getting formed a little by little. In 2018, I had chances to see some Sashiko Alumni and get so impressed by their achievement. Sashiko Alumni Interviews. This is one of my biggest project & achievements in 2018.

 

Outside of my “Traditional” Box

I keep mentioning there is no such a thing as “Right” or “Wrong” Sashiko. Sashiko was too ordinary needlework for the ordinary Japanese before the industrial revolution. I try to be as creative as I can when I enjoy the Sashiko Stitching. Sashiko & Denim is one of my conclusion for the non-traditional Sashiko Stitching.

 

Regardless of my willingness to be open-minded, the tradition I was “forced” to follow restrict my imagination and creativity. Our Sashiko Alumni do not have the limitation of what I have subconsciously. They learn the basic & core & traditional Sashiko from me and collaborate to what they are passionate about. Their achievements always inspire me. Ever since I enjoyed the Sashiko Alumni Sashiko work, I sincerely wanted to share their work on this website.

 

There we go as Sashiko Alumni Interviews. I plan to introduce their views with many photos.

 

Sashiko Alumni Interview Sharon

Contents of Sashiko Alumni Interviews

 

We send a list of brief questions regarding Sashiko and Sashiko Workshop experience with us. It is our biggest happiness to see the Alumni’s Sashiko achievement. In the advanced workshop (Hitomezashi Workshop) or Sashiko Gathering after the initial Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic), some alumni bring their own Sashiko achievements. They are all unique and beautifully done.

 

I encourage the students to be open-minded. In the workshop, I teach the traditional technique with many stories based on the tradition. It is welcomed to practice the traditional stitching as you progress your project. At the same time, I am very interested in a “Sashiko’s possibility” by the Sashiko Alumni integrating their own culture and what they learned from me.

 

In Sashiko Alumni Interviews, I ask 5 questions below:

  1. When did you start being interested in Sashiko?
  2. What is your passion for Sashiko?
  3. What did you think of Atsushi’s Workshop?
  4. What inspires you when you work on your Sashiko project?
  5. What is Sashiko for you?

 

With our Sashiko Alumni interviews on these questions, I believe we can introduce what Sashiko really is. I am very excited about sharing these.

 

The Sashiko Alumni who interviewed

 

Please find a link to the individual interview. You may find your own favorite style. They are all different, and they are all fantastic.

  • Caroline Green  (Coming Soon)

 

Sashiko Almuni Interview

 

 

 

I am asking the Sashiko Alumni to spare their precious time to answer the interviews. Please wait for the updates. The articles will be a good benchmark for you to understand what you potentially can do after taking our Sashiko Workshops. I will teach you the basic & tradition. After the workshop, it is up to you to create completely “one-of-a-kind” Sashiko work.

 

Amazing! Enjoy Sashiko!!

Sashiko Workshop July 2018

After-Workshop Celebration | Sashiko Workshop July 2018

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.

Contact Atsushi

Sashiko Workshop July 2018

 

For Graduates of Sashiko Workshop July 2018

 

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 Workshop July 2018 Sample

 

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.

 

 

 

Enjoy Sashiko!

Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer Maru

Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer | Quick Update of Sashiko Thread

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.

 

New Indigo Dye Sashiko Thread | Uneven Beauty

 

Indigo Dye Sashiko Thread variegated

 

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”

 

Pastel Color & Unique Variegated Color

 

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.

  • Aqua Blue Variegation
  • Spring Green Variegation
  • Moca Bworn Variegation

Check the detail of Unique Variegated in the item page here.

 

Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer Cover

 

Looks like Natural, yet reasonable Pastel Colors

Natural-like, soft Pastel Colored Sashiko Threads are available in reasonable prices. They are dyed with synthetic dyes, yet create soft and kind colors.

 

Pastel Color Sashiko Thread

 

Check the detail of Pastel Color in the item page here.

 

 

More and more in Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer

 

We have launched several “special offers” as a promotion of Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer.

 

No numbered Sashiko Thread…?

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).

 

A great package deal

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!

 

All the Sashiko Thread
Check all the Sashiko Thread 2018 Summer in our Sashiko Store.
Sashiko Running Stitch

Why our Workshop to learn Sashiko Running Stitch?

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.

 

 

Sashiko Running Stitch Atsushi's work
The Jacket with Asano-ha Pattern & Sashiko Running Stitch. You can see the actual stitching process on Sashi.Co Youtube Channel. Atsushi perform there.

 

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

 

Videos are from our Sashi.Co Youtube Channel | Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya in Japanese

Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko

Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko in History

I received a question regarding “Aikido Gi (合気道着 = Uniform for Martial Art called Aikido)” with Sashiko. The famous fashion website, Heddles.com, released the article below, and I understand why I received a question about what we do in Sashiko. Although I don’t find it much value in categorizing many forms of Sashiko, I have been trying to “define” what Sashiko is. I thought it may be a good opportunity to introduce my understanding of the difference between “Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko.” There is one basic distinction there.

 

The History of Sashiko – Repair, Decoration, and Martial Arts

 

Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko 3

 

 

 

As the article says, “Sashiko Style” it is.

First of all, please understand that I am NOT making any criticism of the article. The article is very well-written and accurate in my understandings. A few “wording” could confuse the readers, and I believe the question I received is because of “good editing (The article didn’t fully explain to make the article compact and improve the readability)”

 

As the article says,

The martial arts Gi worn in Aikido has been, for quite some time, woven in the sashiko style.

 

This pretty much answers to the question. The martial arts Gi were “woven” in the Sashiko “Style”, not Sashiko stitched. In order to clarify what Sashiko is, I define Sashiko is the “Stitched” items. Therefore, I do not categorize Woven Sashiko as the authentic Sashiko.

Woven Sashiko is often called “Sashiko-Ori” or “SashiOri”. It creates the Sashiko-like looking with the unique technique to make the textile. It is not the matter of which is better or not. It is the matter of preference and the difference of origin & its purpose.

 

Regardless, please understand that I have sincere respect for those who continue producing the woven Sashiko. It requires a lot of skill & techniques, and only honorable artisans can do that.

 

History of Martial Arts and Sashiko

I just wanted to make sure if I appropriately understand the timeline (history) of Sashiko and martial arts. This is a result of quick research.

*Please kindly let me know if I made a mistake in the description below. I do not mean to disgrace the history or someone’s culture.

 

Many Japanese Martial Arts formed “Do (道 = Way)” after Edo period after Japanese opened the country over the national isolation. Sashiko was largely performed in many areas in Japan over the national isolation, which is before the martial arts start forming their own way. The most popular martial arts in Edo period was with a sword, which leads to Kendo later on (剣道 = sword fighting). We can find the hand-stitched Kendo Gi (Uniform) in the history. Also, the firefighter in Edo period wore the jackets with hand-stitched Sashiko.

After the Meiji period, the weaving and textile manufacture started producing the textile inspired by Sashiko stitching. They used the unique technique to weave the stitched patterned textile. Because of its thickness and durability, people started using the textile to make their Dogi (道着 = martial arts uniform). We can see it in Aikido, Judo, and Kendo.

 

I believe the hand-stitched martial art uniform still exist. However, it is not the mainstream because of its price. Instead, the Dogi, which requires a type of mass-production use the weave Sashiko textile. That’s the hisotry behind the sentence of Haddels, “Sashiko Style.”

 

 

The difference between Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko

My intention to write this article is to share my understanding of what is the difference between Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko. Please understand that I am not comparing and ranking these two cultures. Both of them have a great history, and both of them are great Japanese culture. After all, it is about your preferences and availability in the society.

Here, I would like to mention a few points that differentiate Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko significantly.

 

Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko 5

 

Sashiko stitching for the ordinary people. Anyone can do that

I believe Sashiko was (is) an ordinary needlework that the ordinary Japanese practiced in the necessity. The people performed Sashiko for the purpose of mending, repairing, strengthening, and decorating the fabric. Anyone could do that in their household, and anyone can enjoy Sashiko without much preparation now. This simplicity is one of the key point of Sashiko; that one person can make stitches for their need.

 

I call the process, “Caring”, that the person is thinking of someone by making Sashiko stitch. It was a culture within a household for a long time. In contrast, Woven Sashiko requires machines and investment. It is a culture of industrialization, I would say.

 

Stitching for Caring. Woven for Spreading

 

Again, there is nothing wrong with industrialization. The woven Sashiko requires a lot of skill and experience to produce. Woven Sashiko spread the Sashiko Style Textile in martial arts uniform and it created its name, “Sashiko Ori”. They are beautiful, and I have some items with Woven Sashiko.

Hand-stitched Sashiko wouldn’t be able to spread that much since it takes so much time to make one Jacket. If a Dojo (道場 = a training hall) has 30 students, let’s say, hand-stitched Sashiko wouldn’t satisfy their need so efficiently.

 

One of the beautiful Japanese mindset that I like is Chudo (中道 = Middle way).

In other words, we (the Japanese) sometimes do not make the final decision of black or white and keep it in gray color. In modern society where the solid answer and solutions are required, it won’t lead the person to the success if he/she doesn’t have the logical and clear conclusion.  However, when we care someone, it is good to have this non-dualism mindset. So, please understand that I am not saying which is better or not, either Stitched Sashiko and Woven Sashiko.