Hitomezashi Sashiko

Hitomezashi Sashiko | What is the difference?

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.

 

Hitomezashi Sashiko Sample
Sample Swatches of Hitomezashi Sashiko. (And a small piece of regular Sashiko on the right corner.)

 

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!

 

 

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