I used to stick to only one type of Sashiko Thread. After opening the online store in the USA, I spent some time and investment to provide the more variety of the great thread for Sashiko. Here is a quick update for the Sashiko Thread Spring 2019.
4 Choices | Sashiko Thread Spring 2019
We carry several types of Sashiko thread. Please check the numbers to understand our preference and standard.
Ideally speaking, the Sashiko thread we carry need to fulfill the standard we expect: to be the part of the fabric. I am sure that the Sashiko Thread (1) will do the job we set as the standard. After all, it is our regular Sashiko thread. The thread (2) is also sufficient for all of the characteristic of Sashiko. It has been about a year since I start using the Sashiko Thread (2), and it is always a pleasure to work with.
The Sashiko Thread (3), Yokota thread, and the thread (4) from Fujix are very good quality thread manufactured by a long-established & big thread company. I use both of them occasionally and enjoy the stitching. The overlay stitches perform its function. However, I cannot declare that it is 100% satisfactory to our standard as of now because it has been only a few months since I started using it. The Yokota thread in “thin” thickness may be our least preference for Kasane & denim stitching, but great for the smaller projects.
Regardless of my honest confess above, I believe all of 4 threads are fulfilling the expectation to be a good Sashiko thread.
How about the other Thread?
I am aware that there are many other Sashiko threads available in the market. As I always say, you can use any kind of thread you would like. There is no such thing as right or wrong Sashiko. You don’t need to purchase the new thread for the Sashiko purpose if you have other thread.
However, please understand that the technique and wisdom I introduce “may” not work with the thread I do not carry. Also, in order to our Sashiko – which focus on the appreciation to the fabric, and as the thread to support the fabric, I strongly recommend using in the thread above.
I tried some of the thread and didn’t like some of them. For the others, I simply do not feel the needs of trying it. There are reasons why we have limited kinds of Sashiko threads, and I want you to have the best out of the best since you would spend so much time in Sashiko.
Enjoy One of a Kind
I am so proud of the Natural Dye & Hand-dye Sashiko thread produced by Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya. It is all “one of a kind” because they are hand-dyed with natural dyes. However, those with “gradient color” are the significant one of a kind color. Enjoy the Murazome while supplies last. We try our best to keep offering the similar threads, but it requires “luck” to make it happen as well.
Thank you for reaching out to us for the information about Sashiko Workshop in 2019. To be honest, I wasn’t ready to receive so many inquiries about the Sashiko workshop. Although it is a pleasant reaction and really appreciate it, I would like to spend a bit more time in my creative activity (it is the whole reason that I am not offering the workshop more often). If you are interested in Sashiko Workshop, provided by Atsushi in NYC, NJ, PA area, please fulfill the google form below. We will inform you of the priority when we confirm the details. This is a notification about how to be in the priority mailing list for the Sashiko Workshop in NYC as well as the Sashiko Workshop Availability Update 2019.
*If you have received Atsushi’s reply saying you are going to be in the priority mailing list, there is no need to fulfill the google form. You will receive the email, once we confirm the date and time, by the order I have received the message.
As I mentioned above, the reason I am offering fewer workshops in 2019 is that we would like to focus on more creating activities to make more of our Sashiko items. As much as I would like to meet you in person sooner, we would like to respect ourselves as the “stitcher” instead of being “teacher.”
It requires a lot of preparation and administrative works to have a workshop in NYC. If you are willing to take the Sashiko workshop (privately or semi-privately) in the city where Atsushi lives, the workshops are available throughout the year, mainly on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. The price of workshops depends on the numbers of participants we would have, but we will do our best to advertise so we can offer the lower price. For the pricing benchmark, if you are a group of 3~4, then the pricing will be the same as the one in NYC. Please contact Atsushi with the specific preferences if you are interested in visiting Atsushi in person.
Alternatively, I now recommend the Online Sashiko Class, which I started offering in March 2019. I was nervous if I could deliver the same experience over the Internet. However, the feedback from some of the participants is encouraging me to say, “it is as good as the in-person” workshop.
Although it is online class, I have a limit number of participants for the specific time period so I can sufficiently support the learning process. Please read the article carefully and sign up through the google form and/or the registration page.
So, Sashiko Workshop Availability Update 2019
I look forward to meeting you & sharing the Sashiko we love, in any way of meeting either Online or in person, in 2019 or even after that. Enjoy Sashiko!
We appreciate the interest in our Sashiko Workshop opportunity in Japan. As of Spring 2019, we do not offer the Sashiko Workshop in Japan regularly for non-Japanese speakers. If you are able to speak/understand the Japanese, please check Keiko’s Japanese website for more details.
If you would like to have the privately arranged workshop in Japan while your trip to Japan, please check the below and follow the procedure. Keiko lives in Takayama city, Gifu Prefecture. Her schedule is pretty packed for the year 2019, but we will do our best to arrange the workshop when the condition meets.
We will prioritize the scheduling to the graduates of Atsushi’s Sashiko workshop (in-person / Online Class), to maximize the learning experience for the visitors. If you haven’t taken Atsushi’s Sashiko workshop, please consider taking it first.
Boro making Workshops in Japan
We had offered several “Boro Making” Workshops in Japan. Before we developed the Online Sashiko Class, we did our best to communicate the basic & core of Sashiko by using the translating App. Since we are now ready with the Online Sashiko Class, we would like you to take this workshop first, then plan the workshop in Japan.
We are a group of mother (Keiko in Japan) and son (Atsushi in the USA). Keiko is a genius artist but not a good teacher. In order to share the Sashiko we are enjoying, it is necessary for you to go through the basic & core of Sashiko.
In other words, if you have taken the workshop with Atsushi, please feel free to contact me for arranging the possible (Boro-making) workshop in Japan.
Archive of Boro-Making Sashiko Workshop in Japan
Sashiko Workshop in Japan for recommendation
As one of the frequent asked questions regarding the Sashiko Workshop in Japan, I am often asked if I have any recommendation to Sashiko.
As you may have learned throughout this website & Youtube, Sashiko was a form of hand-stitching developed in each household, each region, and in each community. Therefore, regardless of the numbers of great looking Sashiko groups in many places in Japan, I cannot make the recommendation to represent the Sashiko we practice. There is many ramifications in Sashiko, and we are merely one of the branches.
Please be advised that I will not provide the recommendation for the Sashiko Workshop in Japan.
Atsushi’s Friends (students) may be available
Alternatively, I have (and can ask to) my friends who took my Sashiko Class & experienced in Sashiko to offer you the workshop. As of Spring 2019, the workshop “may” be available in cities below.
Sapporo – Hokkaido
This is a list of my friends offering the workshop with my “kind of” supervision. They do not speak English, so you may need to prepare the translator on your side.
Not a “Flash Experience” of Sashiko
We understand that the “need” is the Sashiko experience available in Japan. However, I would like to make sure that we can deliver the “rich experience of Sashiko” instead of “A flash & temporary experience” with Sashiko.
Once you take our workshops, we promise you will be part of our activities and will open our door to your requests. We sincerely hope to meet you there.
Every time I meet new people, I am surprised how much others appreciate what I do – Sashiko. Some respect us for the Sashiko technique we have. The other thank us for sharing the Sashiko we practice. I am sincerely flattered with these comments. Thank you very much. However, at the same time, I feel I am just a man who happens to be good at Sashiko.
Once a curse, now a privilege
I am privileged to be able to Sashiko stitching because of the family I was born in. To be honest, though, I had thought of this privilege as the curse for a long time. It wasn’t the best family (in fact, it was kind of tragic family like in a novel), and I would dare not to do the same to my child. It was difficult. I still am in suffering for that matter (in recovery, I hope).
However, as a result, I am good at it. At least, I am good enough to teach and impress others. I (somewhat – because my wife is the main one to support our family) support myself by doing Sashiko. So, I am thankful for those days.
You may realize. There are many other great Sashiko artisans besides me. Keiko is a great artist, but there are many others who are very skilled in Sashiko stitching. What we are special in Sashiko is that “we were surrounded by Sashiko and kept looking at them every single day”. Sashiko stitching is as natural as natural languages. Sashiko stitches can tell us the story, and we try to tell our stories to the others by our stitching.
Being good at Sashiko
Sashiko is a simple form of hand stitching to appreciate the fabric. We have many techniques to make Sashiko stitching beautiful. However, what I would like to share is more than the technique. By sharing the technique throughout the workshops (In-person & Online), I would like to pass down the mindset the Japanese Sashiko stitchers would have had many years ago.
In short, I don’t want to be full of myself only because I am good at Sashiko (I don’t want to see myself being “cocky”). Because of the worldwide popularity in Sashiko, many people find us someone special. I am perfectly fine with someone defining us in their own way. We are happy when someone gave us the title. You, the reader of this article, also have your own image to us, I believe. How do you define us?
(Slow) Fashion Designer?
Masters in Sashiko?
Teachers of Sashiko?
Ecologist / Activist?
One day, I may be several of these above. However, we neither have the skill to be a fashion designer nor the knowledge to be the activist. So, again, I feel we are a group of “mother and son” who happen to be able to make great Sashiko stitching. Therefore, we offer only a few kinds of the workshop to share the “core” of Sashiko. We don’t have enough skill to expand the workshops.
Before being any kinds of a master like above, the first path I (Atsushi) would like to walk forward is the “storyteller” with Sashiko and other Japanese interesting mindsets. I believe we as the Japanese have many concepts in which we do not well verbalize in other languages (for that matter, even in Japanese). I would like to pursue the journey to share how beautiful (Love & Hate) culture from the Japanese people.
So, please share your questions about Sashiko & related stories. I am happy to make a research on.
*For the technical questions about Sashiko, please consider taking the workshop (in person / online). I am happy to answer & follow-up any kinds of questions there. I wish I could do it to everyone. However, I found myself so exhausted in answering the random questions. I would like to support the one who also supports me. I really appreciate your understanding. After all, we are a group of 2, mother and son, so we have very limited capacity. On Youtube, I provide a lot of technical tutorials too. You may search for the videos you would like there before joining the full-supported workshops.
Instagram Post that generates this post
Here is my writing when I had “Aha-moment” after suffering from trying to be “someone” who the other expect me to be. Again, I am merely a man who is good at
Sashiko. I may be someone in the future, but for now, I am pretty happy with what I am capable of.
Sometimes people tell me “I do not understand you…I feel you are different” after many conversations & good communication. I believe I am pretty consistent with what I do. So, when these unfortunate events happen, I tell myself that the people’s perception can change and we just have a different path now. However, of course, I reflect myself if I did something wrong.
I blamed myself when they happened. This morning, I just had a moment of Ah-Hah. To explain, here are questions for you. “What is your standing point when you look at Sashiko?” and “What do you expect me to share?”
Are you an Artist? Hand-Craft Artisan? Designer? Fashion Leader? Slow-Life activist? Ecologist? Minimalist? Do you want me to tell stories about Zen? Mindfulness? Stitching Technique? Boro? Japanese Culture?
I am merely a man who happened to be good at the Sashiko because of the environment (once a curse, now privilege). Please do not expect me to be someone you want me to be. I am learning how to look at the Sashiko from all of the standing points you may have. In short, I am not an artist or designer (yet). If you see me the “artist”, of course, you would feel different the more we spend the time together.
I would like to be the one who can advocate the beauty of “caring” days with energy from hands. I have a lot more to share, but that is the unfortunate misunderstanding of who I am and what people expect me to be. I enjoy the design of Sashiko, but I do not intend to do something with the design. I would like to pass down the beautiful mindset of Japanese throughout Sashiko, kind of a Sashiko evangelist (with no Christianity concept). I strongly believe we can make our life a bit better by “focusing on what hands can do”.
It is my goal to share the information from all the standing points you may have. Yes, I would love to be the fashion activist with Sashiko mindset, yet I have no skill or knowledge about it. I understand what I am saying is very “idealistic” in this society. Therefore, I think the careful explanation would be good to keep sharing.
I summarized the wisdom of “Sashiko Overlay stitching (not making knots in Sashiko)” in the previous blog post. I tried my best, but I felt that the writing wasn’t good enough to share the whole picture I wanted to express. So I made a follow-up video about Sashiko Boro Knots and much more & its transcript.
Sashiko Boro Knots are on the same page
We tend to fantasize the words, especially when it is not in our language, but Sashiko Boro Knots are on the same page & category. They are all on the one line of “how to appreciate the fabric and care for the others”.
I hope I explained well in this follow-up video.
Script for the Follow-Up Video
Thank you for watching our Sashi.Co videos. This is Atsushi.
Today, I would like to talk about a topic of, “Do we make a knot in Sashiko stitching?” from a cultural perspective. I was raised in an environment that every artisan usually did not use knots in the beginning and ending of Sashiko stitching. Therefore, it wasn’t even a question for me to explain if we use knots or not. I hope I can share the reasons why we do overlay stitching instead of making knots. It is wisdom in Sashiko.
Do you see that the little thread tale there? That is the point we stop the thread by doing overlay stitching. We could have cut the thread tale completely off to make the backside of this piece as the finished side. And, yes, it is the backside, wrong side, or hiding side of the Sashiko stitching.
The side you are looking at now is the front side or finished side of this Sashiko project. And then, we flip the fabric, and it is the backside of the Sashiko project. The goal of the wisdom in not making knots is to finish both sides of the fabric as beautiful as the finished side.
At some point in the history, in some rural village in Japan, they didn’t have enough fabric to use for lining. Therefore, they needed to use the single layer fabric as the “finished” piece. It is wisdom & technique to maximize the fabric by Sashiko.
For the technique of “Sashiko with not making knots”, please check another video in this Sashi.Co Channel. I have explained how to do overlay stitching there.
How about Boro and knots in stitching.
It is case by case and hugely depends on your preference. Therefore, I would need to explain it by using several examples such as Boro-inspired, and Boro to piece, and Boro we revived over time.
The fabric on the screen is the finished side of Boro-Inspired piece we made. We find the vintage Japanese fabric with severe damage, and patch them to make the fabric look like Boro. This piece requires many spot mending with “flayed fabric”, so we needed to use the knots to keep the fabric secure. Please confirm that the knots are relatively big in comparison to the other sewing projects. It is because the vintage fabric is so fragile that the small & tight knots could damage the fabric instead of holding it together even if we use the Sashiko thread we recommend. It is kind of the part where “art” kicks in to make Boro-inspired fabric with using the appropriate fabric with the appropriate knots, as knots as the part of Boro.
Boro to be fabric.
The fabric on the screen now is so-called “Boro to be fabric” that we have been working on. When we get a good vintage fabric with good condition, we enjoy patchworking them with thinking to make it Boro in the future by using it in our ordinary life. I started working on this fabric in 2018, so it is a pretty new piece. I try to avoid knots as much as possible. It is my preference that I would like to have the softness of overlay stitches. The fabric isn’t frayed or severely damaged so I can secure the stitches with just overlay stitching and our Sashiko thread. Please understand that I am not saying, “I never use knots”. There are some parts that I use knots in this project as well. This is an example of Boro to be fabric with as fewer knots as I can.
Boro we revived.
The last piece I introduce is the Boro we revived. I think there are many ways to define the Boro. One definition we have is that the Boro is the piece of fabric after so many usages and continuous repair. The fabric on the screen is one example we followed this “using” and “repairing” process. It looked like the Boro to be fabric at the beginning of the project, and over time, we kept practicing Sashiko on it. This fabric needed to use the knots to repair, and also we kept stitching with overlay stitching. You can see both of them in the piece.
I hope this video explains that there is no such thing as the “definitive answer” to the question for Sashiko stitching knots or not. After all, it is all about the preference, and you can do what you would like to do. As a Sashiko artisan who was raised in the Sashiko environment, I just wanted to share that there is more than “technique” in these topics.
It is one of the frequently asked questions regarding the Sashiko we practice; Sashiko without making knots. We usually (traditionally) do not make knots in stitching. then how do we secure the stitching in the beginning and ending?
I have explained about the technique of “Sashiko without making knots” here. So I will not mention the topic of “Sashiko without making knots” from the technical perspective. Instead, I would like to share “the resons of why” we practice the Sashiko without Making knots.
Being proud of our artisanship & aesthetics
As you may have learned already (as I kept mentioning all the time), Sashiko was developed as the process of appreciating the fabric. The “appreciation” include the mending and strengthening the fabric. In the rural village where people needed to do Sashiko, adding the back fabric (lining) on top of the “wrong side = hiding side = back side” of the fabric was kind of too luxury to do. In short, the Japanese did Sashiko stitching because they couldn’t get the extra fabric. For this reasons, we respect the original form of Sashiko stitching by using the single layer fabric without hiding the backside of fabric we stitch on (We practice Sashiko stitching by looking at the backside of fabric).
When we work on a project with the purpose of making both sides as the finished side, the knot can be a bit of obstacles. Personally, I feel the knots bother the rhythm and evenness of Sashiko stitching. In other words, I feel like the knots interrupt a good dialogue between thread and fabric.
So, the first reason we try to avoid knots is merely to satisfy our standard. We simply prefer the way it looks without the knots.
Photos of Sashiko without making knots
I hope you “do not” see the difference between the backside of the Sashiko item below. It is our goal to finish the both side, front (finished) side and back (hiding) side as beautifully & equal as possible.
How about knots in Boro?
We also try to avoid making knots in a process of Boro making as much as we can. However, depends on the project, making knots will be the only method to keep the fabric on.
When we have a chance to do Sashiko stitching with an intention to make it Boro like with fairly good strong fabric, we try to do backstitching more often, then hide the thread tales under the fabric. In order to make a Boro-looking piece, we need layers of fabric, so it isn’t that difficult to hide the thread tale. A bit of thread tale helps to avoid the unfortunate event of thread coming off.
I hope you aren’t confused about the technique. It is all about preference & availability. We are making Boro after all. Making Boro (& enjoying Boro) means that the fabric may require the continuous mending & stitching. So a bit of thread coming off isn’t a problem at all.
ersonally speaking, I prefer the smoothness of Boro rather than having the knots. So we try to avoid them when we have a choice.
Again, In order to “patch” or “stick” the completely shattered fabric on the other Boro piece, we do use knots. Please understand that it is not a rule, it is merely a choice based on the preference.
The possible problem with Knots
Let me share some of the possible problem with knots in enjoying Sashiko. Although I strongly believe “You can do what you want (preference)” for this issue, I would like to share some of the possible concerns from our experience.
A: Fabric can shrink and stretch
The purpose of Sashiko thread is different from the other sewing thread: to be the part of fabric over time. Over time, many washing and wearing, the fabric can shrink and stretch. When we make knots at both edges of the thread, it doesn’t allow to wiggle in a process of stretching and shrinking (I believe). It is very insignificant, but I feel the “harmony” of the fabric & threads can be better when the thread can move in the fabric a bit.
Back stitching (overlay stitching) secure the stitching by the unique twists. It is more like letting the threads entangled naturally rather than making a knot artificially. So I prefer not to make knots when I work on Sashiko.
B: Thread is stronger than fabric. The knot is much more strong than thread.
Another problem is that the thread is made from cotton, and the new cotton can be pretty strong in comparison to the vintage fabric (even it is 100% cotton). The knot can end up with making a hole or damaging the fabric, so be attentive when you work on Boro & knots.
B: Too much time to make knots.
This may sounds kind of crazy, but this is a significant issue for me. It is much time-efficient to NOT to make knots.
Sashiko for the ordinary days
Sashiko was developed as the stitching method to fulfill the ordinary needs of the fabric in the Japanese ordinary life. Therefore, we believe there is no rule and restriction. It is sincerely up to you to decide either you want to make the knots or not. However, if you do not know how to do it, I recommend trying it. I prefer not making knots over the experience I have in making the knots.
When do we make knots, then?
Regardless of this blog contents, there are occasions for me to apply the knots in our Sashiko projects. Here are a few occasions I can think of.
When the pattern requires knots for decorative purposes. For example, in the center of flower design, we may want to have bigger dots than the stitches. In that case, we make knots.
When the patches require a strong connection to the patch. For example, when I need to patch the denim, I occasionally use knots to make sure it is secured. The denim is stronger than the cotton thread.
When we work on the “Boro-looking” fabric for the purpose of making like a Boro. We attentively use the severly damaged fabric to be patched on. It requires knots to patch.
I have asked around my friends and teachers if they make knots or not. All of them answered, “Usually no”. So for us, not making a knot is pretty normal idea of enjoying Sashiko. In short, it was my understanding that the Sashiko requires overlay stitches until I move to the U.S. so I didn’t think of explaining it with so much details.
It is very important to verbalize the culture to share. At the same time, we all know that the words cannot express everything in it. I hope, one day, I can meet you in person and share the items I took photos with. When you touch and feel the actual item, you will understand much deeper what I am talking about.
I appreciate questions & opportunities to share the culture & its development.
The Sashiko threads dyed by Keiko with Natural Dyes are one of our popular supply. We proudly offer the Indigo Dye Sashiko Thread 2019, with a bit of change in numbering, due to the more variation in our dye batches. I hope you can find the one you like the most.
We decided to offer 4 types of choice in offering our Indigo Dye Sashiko Thread 2019, with Murazome (Variegated and Uneven).
“Variegated” means the strong color changes in one skein. “Uneven” means that the thread skein will the continuous color yet not-even colors like the other “Solid” Color.
Every batch has a bit of different shade, dark and light, for the uneven and variegated colors. It was a lot of challenge (and a lot of errors) to making 3 shades, Dark, Medium, and Light, so we decided to continue making the “medium” only. However, depends on the batch, we get the darker version and light version. We tend to have the darker shade more for now.
Please find the choices below, and let me know your preference, either Darker or Light color, in the comment section in the check out process.
Choice of Indigo Dye Sashiko Thread 2019
M0-(19) – Variegated (Strong change in color) Blue
M1-(19) – Variegated (strong change in color) Green
As I mentioned above, if you have a preference in the darkness/lightness of shade, please let me know your preference in the comment section in check-out process. We do not have the light shade of Green (Previous M3L). Most of the uneven green look like between M3 and M3D. I will choose the best matching color from the limited inventory we have.
Please understand that the color is made by hand-dye with natural ingredient. The color is a product of various factors, and we cannot promise the color on the product page. I will, of course, try my best to get you the best one.
*The demand for the Indigo Dye Sashiko thread is increasing in Japan, and therefore Upcycle Stitches do not carry much inventory as 2018. I will keep updating when we restock the thread. Thank you for your understanding.
Interestingly, the most popular thread was the shade we got by accident: the uneven green color. We spend more than a year to analyze why it happened, and how we can recreate the similar color. Finally, we now can offer the Murazome (uneven dyed) Sashiko Thread with Natural Indigo Dye.
For the administration purpose, we put the numbers on each shade.
However, because of its character “uneven” and “variegated”, every skein is different. All of them are one-of-a-kind thread. Please understand that I will not be able to send the exact same one on the photo.
In August 2018, we decided to spread the range of color, from Light to Dark.
Regardless, please understand that the color will not be identical to the one on the photo. We will do our best to match the color you order.
Selection of Murazome Sashiko Thread
M1: Variegated Green | very low in stock. May be shipped from Japan.
M2: Uneven Blue
M3: Uneven Green
M1D: Variegated Green Dark _ Temporary out of stock in the USA (May be shipped from Japan).
M2L: Uneven Blue Light
M3L: Uneven Green Light _ Temporary out of stock in the USA (May be shipped from Japan).
M3D: Uneven Green Dark
*We have very limited amount of inventory. In case of short in inventory, the product may be shipped from Japan without extra shipping charge. Therefore It will take extra days to deliver. We may ask you to wait for a month to restock the item. Your understanding is very appreciated that the item is all hand-dyed with Natural ingredient.
*Please understand that the skein have slightly different color. The photo is our best effort to put the numbers on. If you have any preferences, please let us know by commenting in a process of checking out. We will do our best to meet your preferences.
Made in Japan
Material : Egyptian Cotton 100%, Natural Indigo (Product of India), Solution for Dye
Length : About 145 meter per skein
Weight : About 28 g
*This page is for Indigo Dye Sashiko Thread with Uneven Color*Specifically Designed for Sashiko purpose.