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.

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.

How to make Sashiko thread Bobbin (Itomaki)

Sashiko thread is different from regular embroidery thread. Therefore, Sashiko Thread requires a special attention to store it in a good condition. Otherwise, it ends up with entangled thread. (Don’t let your cat to play. It will make a perfect ball.) This is a tutorial how to make Sashiko Thread Bobbin (Itomaki) for enjoying Sashiko thread until the end.

 

Difference in Sashiko Threads

Sashiko Thread Bobbin 1

 

There are many kinds of embroidery thread. Even speaking about Sashiko thread only, there are many options available in the market. We strongly recommend to get a nice heavy cotton thread, designed for Sashiko purpose. We use Sashiko thread manufactured by Coron, and we have been very happy with the result. Sashiko requires you a lot of time and effort. We want you to have the good result.

 

Some Sashiko threads are available on our webstore, our Etsy store, and even in Amazon Marketplace.

 

Our Sashiko thread is consisted by 6 thin embroidery threads, twisted in a unique way to create beautiful stitches.

The price looks a bit expensive, but considering the amount of thread (145 meters / 475 feets length) per skein, I believe the price is reasonable in the market in comparison to the other thread by Olympus or the other vendors. Some customer mention that it is too long to consume a skein. When you learn how to do Sashiko stitch in our Sashi.Co way, you would need more skeins of thread. When you follow my workshop, your stitching speed would increase by a lot, and it means you need more thread.

 

The easiest way to avoid the entangled thread

The easiest way to avoid the entangled thread is to cut the thread as a picture show below. Then, taping the edge of thread bundle will not let thread entangled easily. Since this process takes only a minute or so, I introduce this method in my workshops. The cut thread also have a good length to practice regular Asano-ha patterns. When you need a single line of thread, you pull one thread out from the bundle by holding the taping edge.

 

Sashiko Thread bobbin 2

 

However, if you can invest your time to make Sashiko thread bobbin, I would recommend you to do so. I wish I could share this in the workshops, but it will take much longer and my workshops focus on Sashiko stitching / Sashiko mending, not making the Sashiko thread bobbin.

 

Therefore, I present a short tutorial video how to make a Sashiko thread Bobbin.

 

 

Invest some time to make Sashiko Thread Bobbin

Sashiko Thread Bobbin

 

I hope the tutorial video is clear enough to share how to make Sashiko Thread bobbin. Please leave the comments on Youtube if you have questions regarding this topic.

I don’t know how to call the blue thread holder introduced in the video. Is it called “a thread skeiner…?” It doesn’t have to rotate. As picture show below, ask someone to hold the skein of thread is another option. Or you could use two polls, too. You can purchase the blue plastic wheel from us if you are interested. We have 2 of these in stock. (Be advised that the wheel I use is pretty fragile… if you know any better product, please let me know!)

 

 

The biggest advantage of making Sashiko Thread Bobbin is that you can decide the length of thread you use for the project, without wasting the remaining thread. Another reason I make bobbins is that they look very beautiful and give me an inspiration. The various color of Sashiko thread makes me excited and calm simultaneously. It is probably the scenery I was grown up with.

 

 

I would like to invest some money on the Bobbin holder (The brown thick paper I introduce on the video / The cool designed board shown in the photo above). Wait for another update and join me if I start the “Bobbin Holder Making Project.”
Thank you for watching the video / reading our tutorial.

 

Enjoy Sashiko!

How to transfer Sashiko Patterns on to the fabric

People often have a question how to transfer Sashiko patterns onto the fabric. Yes. Sashiko isn’t always about stitching. Preparing the fabric properly is a very important aspect of Sashiko.

 

Here is a tutorial how to transfer Sashiko Patterns by using a carbon paper

An easy and accurate way to transfer Sashiko patterns is to use a carbon (transfer) paper. Using proper tools will result in beautiful patterns on fabric. Here is a list of tools and supplies you need to follow this tutorial.

  • Fabric *1
  • Chakopee Carbon Paper (Transfer Paper) *2
  • Mylar Paper *3
  • Pattern *4

 

  1. We, as Sashi.Co, mostly transfer pattern on the back side of fabric
  2. We use Japanese Mylar paper. However, any Cello/Poly paper should work. It should be strong enough to hold the pressure (prevent being torn.)
  3. A regular copy paper is fine. Since tracing require a strong pressure, the pattern paper will be discarded after a single usage. 

 

The necessary materials above are available on this website. Check the purchase list.

 

Layer fabric and papers in proper order

 

How to transfer Sashiko Patterns on to Fabric _1

How to transfer Sashiko Patterns on to Fabric _3

 

A video will explain about the layers well, but here is the order of the layer. The number is the order to place the fabric and/or papers on the table. (Bottom to Up after completing it)

  1. Fabric
  2. Chakopee Paper (Shinning side facing down to fabric)
  3. Mylar paper
  4. pattern

 

Securing the all 4 layers. A tracing process with strong pressure can shift any layers.

 

How to transfer Sashiko Patterns on to Fabric _4

 

Make sure to pin the 4 layers you made now. I usually use safety pins, but any kind of pin should work. Even clips would be fine as long as the layers are secured from shifting. Another tip is to NOT to pin it at one corner so that you can check the pattern in the middle of tracing without shifting the pattern.

Transfer Sashiko pattern by Tracing

How to transfer Sashiko Patterns on to Fabric _5

 

I usually use a red-colored ballpoint pen to distinguish the line I traced. You may use any kind of pen (a pencil may be weak for the required pressure), and tracing tools such as a tracing wheel. Make sure to trace strongly enough to push the tracing paper onto the fabric. You may check the results in the process untiil you understand that required pressure. The pressure is depended on the Cello paper you choose.

 

Check the result. Support the weak transfer.

How to transfer Sashiko Patterns on to Fabric _6

 

You should see the white line on the fabric. (You may see different color if you purchase the different tracing paper.)

If you find some lines with weaker chalk transfer, then use a white pencil (or chalk pencil) to support the line. In the process of Sashiko, the pattern may vanish because of sweat from hands or friction of fabric. Use the pencil as you need.

 

And Sashiko Stitch!!

Sashiko Stitching

 

After that, Enjoy the Sashiko Stitching!

Keep it in your mind that I usually transfer the pattern on the back of the fabric. Since the patterns will be washed away, you can, of course, transfer the pattern on the front side. It is up to you, but for some reasons, I keep transferring the patterns on the back.

 

Leave the comments on Youtube Video if you have questions about transferring the pattern. I will try my best to answer it.