Sashiko Fukubukuro

Sashiko Fukubukuro (福袋)

Fukubukuro (福袋) is an interesting Japanese custom to celebrate the new year with hoping for the wealth of the year. It originated to the idea of “Ebisu Bag” from a big textile (Kimono) merchandise start selling their Kimono swatches to their customers. Later, the Japanese changed its style, and we know Fukubukuro as a lucky bag (or a blind bag with fortune). It was such a great offer in 2019 to introduce this idea of Sashiko Fukubukuro. Although there isn’t much relationship with Sashiko, I would like to continue this offer, Sashiko Fukubukuro, in 2020 as well.


Sashiko Fukubukuro (福袋)

Once a year, celebrating the coming year from both customer & supplier sides. A customer gets a happy bag(s) full of items, and a supplier wishes for the best luck in the welcoming year. To do so, the bag contains goods above the purchase price. It is not a sale promotion or discount, but by celebrating (combining as a lucky bag – Sashiko Fukubukuro), the customer will get a good deal. (You may know we rarely offer discount codes – no Black Friday or Memorial Day Sale in this website).

The Detail – Sashiko Fukubukuro


A. Keiko Thread Bag 2020

This “A Keiko Bag” will have at least 7 skeins of Sashiko thread that we use every day. It will include at least 3 Naturally Dyed Sashiko thread, hand-dyed by Keiko, and more beautiful color Sashiko thread.

We will pick up the colors. The possible colors you will get are the following:

*The total retail value will be no less than $145.00.

As you may know already, we rarely offer the sales deal. I hope you can enjoy this Fukubukuro to try out our beautiful & the highest quality Sashiko Thread.


B. Azu Sashiko Bag 2020

The “B. Azu Bag” will include Sashiko related items for anyone to start & maximize their Sashiko experience.

The items (contents) will be selected randomly. Please check the list of the possible items you may expect to receive below (Please understand that it will NOT contain everything I mention here. I will choose items from this list).

I will make sure to meet your expectations and exceed the item’s value. My goal is to encourage people to start & continue enjoying Sashiko. If you are a beginner, please mention it in the comment box at the checkout. Please contact me if you have any questions before the purchase.

A possible item list of B. Azu Fukubukuro

The contents will be randomly selected by these.

  • Sashiko Needles
  • Sashiko Thimble(s)
  • A few skeins of Sashiko thread | more than $35 in value
  • Fabric for Sashiko (Manufactured in Japan) | more than $20 in Value
  • Fabric made in Japan
  • Small Vintage Fabric swatch for trial
  • A chalk pencil/marking tool
  • A Pin Cushion
  • Sewing tools
  • A grip scissors

The price for the “B. Azu Bag” is $120.20 with USPS the US domestic shipping fee included.


Terms and Conditions for Sashiko Fukubukuro

Please read the terms of “Sashiko Fukubukuro” service before you complete the order. It is based on the concept of “blind bag” and “lucky bag”. Therefore, we will not accept any returns or claims of the contents you receive. We will do our best to exceed your expectations in terms of values of contents. 

  • The Bags will be sold between January 2nd around 8 pm in EST to January 26th. The sales continue while the supply last, and it may be ended before the final date.
  • The shipping will be made accordingly to the order. However, unlike the other regular orders which we usually ship in 1 business day, the Sashiko Fukubukuro order will take longer than that (Please expect a week to 2 weeks to be shipped). Regardless, all of the orders will be shipped before the end of January.
  • We will not accept any return or cancel after the shipment. If you would like to cancel the order, please let us know as soon as possible. 
  • The Sashiko Fukubukuro Bag may contain an item without original packaging. We will re-package and will send them in a nice condition.
  • The item may be an item that was “returned” as the sellable condition. No second-hand item will be included (besides the vintage fabric).
  • The Sashiko Fukubukuro (2020) include the US Domestic shipping fee. You may purchase one with the extra shipping fee. Depends on the shipping address, the package may be shipped from Japan. Keiko is preparing for the Sashiko Fukubukuro – international version. Please consider one there as well.

*All the photos are the sample contents. Colors and items insides are subject to change, but the photo explains what you can expect to get.

Happy New Year!!

*日本在住の方の福袋はこちらから。

QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop

QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop | Sashiko Mastery

This is a notice blog article for the participants of the QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop in Austin, Texas on 21st and 22nd of February 2020. Since I am not familiar with being part of the big fair like QuiltCon, I may be a bit clumsy in terms of administrative work. I will do my best to meet your expectations before the workshop. I am preparing everything I can to go beyond your expectations in the workshop. I am looking forward to meeting you with the Sashiko friends in the Southern part of the U.S.

*The QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop (Sashiko Mastery by Atsushi Futatsuya) are all sold out. Please contact QuiltCon if you would like to be on the waiting list. I have no control over the participation list.


A Material Kit for QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop

All of the participants are required to have the material kit, which Atsushi prepares for the workshop specifically. The kits are in the preparation process in Japan and waiting to be imported to the U.S. toward the end of this year. Please give us a bit more time to complete our preparation. Thank you for your concern & understanding of the situation.

We will make a purchase page for the Material Kit during the holiday. Please expect a notification from me (or QuiltCon Admin) to complete the purchase. I will make sure to complete the preparation before the end of January 2020 and will send you a link to purchase.

I am still developing the workshop-flow with thinking about what is the best way to deliver the basic and core of Sashiko. It would be very helpful if you could let me know what is your expectation in learning Sashiko by filling out the Google Form Below. It is not mandatory at all. It is purely for the purpose of me understanding the participants’ expectation.

Google Form – QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me through this website – Contact Atsushi. I will keep updating this blog post toward the event day of Feb. 21st and 22nd.


Important Note:

Items needed on site of Quiltcon 2020

The Kit is available now. Please complete the purchase before January 31st, to receive a small skein of Sashiko (extra small skein will be included in only the package to be shipped at your house via shipping).

  • 1 skein of Sashiko thread, 145 meters
  • 1 Sashiko thimble
  • 3 Sashiko needles
  • Fabrics with the pattern printed on for the workshop with other fabric to make a tote bag
  • 1 Thread bobbin Paper
  • 1 Surprise package
  • 1 Finger cot (additional with no extra charge)
  • 1 threader (additional with no extra charge)
  • 8 Sashiko patterns (PDF) (will be sent after the workshop)

[Previous update]

*The complete kit will be available on our website for the students on https://upcyclestitches.com/store at the end of December 2020. I will notify you in many ways such as notification from QuiltCon 2020 and our own mailing list.


Other Required tools and/or supplies:

Please bring yours to the workshop – we will use Fabric Scissors and Scotch Tape only once in the workshop, but necessary. You may need a threader and/or magnifying glass to thread the needle. I will share the wisdom to make it easy. A set of required tools can be purchased in addition to the complete kit above.

  • Fabric Scissors
  • Threader (and/or magnifying glass) 
  • Scotch Tape

If the participant has beautiful nails, they may want to bring fake fingernails or some types of tape to protect the nail from scratching by the needle. In a process of learning the Sashiko posture, you may scratch the nail a bit.


Preparation for the Sashiko Workshop

This workshop requires NO Previous Sashiko Experience and no preparation (in terms of techniques) for the actual workshop. However, as a preview of the Sashiko Workshop, it may be a good idea to watch some of Atsushi’s Youtube videos to get familiar with what you are getting into.

Please check the Youtube Channel – Sashi. Co-channel – for more information.

*In Sashiko Mastery Class, I will go through all of the information you need to enjoy Sashiko stitching. However, some of the side-topics are already covered on Youtube for free of charge. It may be helpful for you to watch them before the Sashiko Mastery Class. The free videos will be available after the Sashiko Mastery Class as well for reviewing purposes.


See you in QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop

Please do not forget to fill out the questionnair to shar your preferences. Google Form – QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop

Below – I copy and paste the message I had sent throughout the QuiltCon Admin. I will see you there!


 

Dear Sashiko Mastery Class participants,

 

Thank you very much for taking the Sashiko Mastery Class in QuiltCon 2020. 

It is my honor to share the Sashiko we practice. 

 

My goal is to share the joy of Sashiko & how enjoyable the Sashiko is, with providing some specific techniques and stories behind the Sashiko. It is not a type of workshop like “Let’s have fun with Sashiko together”. The Sashiko Mastery Class is more like a learning opportunity that I keep providing you a lot of amount of information. It would be great if you could join the class with a fresh & energetic mind status. 

 

Please don’t be scared. It is not a place to be judged, and there is no pass and fail. I just wanted to share that many previous students told me how “rich” the content was. I want you to be prepared to maximize this experience.  

 

In order to operate the 6-hours workshop smoothly, we have a set of supplies & tools that everyone needs to have it ready. Please make sure to purchase the special kit before the workshop. Without this kit, I will not be able to teach anything in the class.

 

The kit is ready for purchase on my website. Please read the description and complete the purchase. I would appreciate your prompt action since this is my first time to teach at QuiltCon. 

 

https://upcyclestitches.com/store/QuiltCon-2020-Sashiko-Mastery-Required-Workshop-Supply-p162891703



Also, as I introduced in the “necessary supply list”, please bring a list of tools below. I do not ask you to purchase these because we use the tools only once in the workshop. You probably have them in your drawer, too. However, it is critical to have them in order to operate a smooth workshop. If you worry about what kind of tools you should bring, I prepared another set available for purchase (Detail can be found on the link above). 

 

Thank you for your understanding.

 

  • Fabric Scissors (regular size – not a small size).
  • Scotch Tape
  • Threaders (only if you need).







I have updated the article about the Sashiko Mastery Class at QuiltCon2020. 

https://upcyclestitches.com/quiltcon-2020-sashiko-workshop/

 

As I mentioned in the article above, it would be very helpful if you could fill out the questionnaire on Google Form. Understanding who you are & your preferences would be helpful to customize the workshop to “Sashiko Mastery Class at QuiltCon 2020”.

https://forms.gle/9VkqE9V4xPbZf6BG9

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me via email (sashikoatsushi@gmail.com). I may send out another email right before the workshop, so please register my email address so the email will not go to a spam mail folder. 

 

In Sashiko Mastery Class, I will go through all of the information you need to enjoy Sashiko stitching. Some of the side-topics are already covered on Youtube for free of charge. It may be helpful for you to watch them before the Sashiko Mastery Class. The free videos will be available after the Sashiko Mastery Class as well for reviewing purposes. 

 

Please check our Youtube Channel for more information. 

https://www.youtube.com/sashico



Thank you for reading the long notification. I hope I covered everything.

I am looking forward to meeting you in Austin, Texas.

 

Sincerely,

Atsushi Futatsuya





Japanese Sashiko

Japanese Sashiko | Reason of Re-defining

Recently, I took an action of re-defining Japanese Sashiko by creating the new website (https://www.japanesesashiko.com/) as well as Facebook Group. My goal is to re-define what Sashiko is like for us – the Japanese – by sharing as many images of Japanese Sashiko as possible. The stories (words) are good media to describe the culture, but the images are more powerful to communicate what Sashiko is for the Japanese. It is quite sad that I have to use the word “Japanese Sashiko” since Sashiko (刺し子) is already a Japanese term. However, it is a necessary step to pass down the Sashiko we would like to share.

To be honest, it was more like an impulsive step for me after seeing many forms of interpretation of Sashiko. As much as I am open to the free interpretation of Sashiko (please check the article about “Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko”), it is very important for me to preserve the Japaneseness of Sashiko. Here, let me try my best to explain “why” it is so important for us to share the Japaneseness of Sashiko by re-define Japanese Sashiko. Please understand that it is NOT because of us trying to be the authority on Sashiko.


Japanese Sashiko may be new to you, but…

Sashiko may be new to you, but Sashiko has been a part of us for a long time – a big part of our life.

Sashiko, Upcycle, Slow-Fashion, Repurpose, (Invisible) Mending and Boro may be a series of trendy terms for someone. However, many Japanese practiced Sashiko a long time ago in Japanese history.

It (Sashiko and other hand-stitching for the purpose) isn’t the case that only happened in Japan. The culture of repurposing the fabric happened in many places in the world – especially where the people have didn’t have enough money to purchase the new fabric. We can find Sashiko as a culture because of the many good people who tried to pass it down to the next generation.


I want you to think a bit here.

Sashiko seems to be a new trend in Fashion and crafting. However, do you think the Japanese were proud of what they did as Sashiko? Some practiced Sashiko with good pride, I assume. However, at the same time, some practice Sashiko to mend the Jacket (to be called Boro later) with a sense of shame. Yes, “shame”. Therefore, it is unnatural for me to call Sashiko as the “Art”. As much as I appreciate the admiration from others of what we do as Art, and as much as I would like to lift Sashiko up to the category of Art, I cannot forget the origin of Sashiko – how the Japanese felt about it.

We sometimes only look at one perspective of matter – and then believe that it is everything. It is a form of (unintentional) ignorance that I am scared of the most. Therefore I am here to share. 

Many Japanese have (had) spent their life to pass down this beautiful and unique culture. It looks like a form of Art, and many Japanese (have) practice(d) Sashiko as the form of Art. However, as long as I can tell, we all had a sense of “Japaneseness”. It is very difficult to get rid of the Japaneseness if one is born in Japan and then lived in Japan for a long time. 

Now, the idea of Sashiko and Boro is spreading in the non-Japanese field with their own interpretation. Again, I welcome the free-interpretation. The culture is supposed to alter its form over time with mixing each other. However, as a Japanese who commit my life into Sashiko, I am determined to advocate the Japanese mindset behind the Sashiko. 

There is a lot to learn from the Japanese who lived many hundreds of years ago. 


Sashiko as more than a Trend

It is fascinating for me to see Sashiko in the world trend. I was born in a Sashiko family, and have been observing the Sashiko entire my life. This is probably the third time I see Sashiko in the trend. However, back then, we didn’t have Instagram or Facebook – not even the Internet. Therefore, the speed of spreading the trend is fascinating and somewhat scary. It wasn’t this fast (and not this shallow for that matter).

Don’t get me wrong. I am happy to see Sashiko in the trend. At the same time, however, I do not want to simplify Sashiko by the temporary and instantaneous trend. The trend is quite fragile – if the mainstream of trend ends, then the people will forget about Sashiko, which could end up with more waste and disrespect.

I believe Sashiko as a lot to offer to this world. What I thought as “normal” maybe something that the world is in need of. Therefore, I would like to tell Sashiko as a Japanese mindset, not just a trend.


Caring is what we are missing in this society

I feel, in this speed-oriented society, we forget how important “caring for the others” is. I believe, we as human beings can care the others by default. In fact, “caring” is what defines the human being. The Caring – empathy & sharing made us different from the other animals. 

However, in this busy society, we prioritize the benefit and individualism. When one’s benefit (money or status) is the first priority, then we try to exclude the others. When we apply this logic to Sashiko, someone who thinks of benefit and status may start excluding others in Sashiko as well. Therefore, I keep saying, “caring” is the key to Sashiko and please respect the Japanese mindset to pass down Sashiko – otherwise, I am okay to see any form of interpretation of Sashiko.

We can care for each other when we are mindful. I believe the human being naturally can do that. However, it is quite difficult to be mindful of our busy day. When we enjoy Sashiko, both hands are occupied with the needle and fabric. We can perceive the visual and audio information such as TV and Radio passively, but we cannot aggressively look for the information when we enjoy Sashiko. We cannot use the smartphone to get more productive or competitive when we practice Sashiko – the only aggressive thing we can do is to ask “Alexa”.

While stitching, we can be more mindful than the other time of the day. I would like to respect the mindfulness we can appreciate by doing Sashiko. Even when we become mindful of stitching, our brain does not get empty. It is important to empty your brain (no-thought) in zen practice, but it is not that natural to be completely “empty” in Sashiko stitching. I think it is perfectly fine to think while stitching – when we think without looking for the information aggressively, we think of someone – family, friends and including oneself. The care doesn’t have to be a form of Love or Joy. It could be a hatred of jealous. What I would like to get rid of is “ignorance”.

Therefore, I keep saying the importance of caring for others.



What I would like to ask you to care Sashiko

Thank you very much for reading the long article this far. I am grateful that you care about the Sashiko we would like to pass down. I have been mentioning on this website, but there are things I would like to ask you to do – if you could care about the Sashiko.

(1) Understand who you are supporting

Because Sashiko became the trend, many “business” joined the market. I can see some companies putting the name of “Sashiko” for marketing purposes. Even with the supplies, there are many dealers now who sell Sashiko supplies. Please be attentive that who you are purchasing from. The purchase directly supports what the seller does. If the money grabber seller is in the market only for the profit, then when the trend is over, they will withdraw everything they offer. It could destroy the circulation of supplies – the money grabber sellers are usually a big company that could offer a better deal in terms of pricing and customer service because of the “scale merit”. In the worse case, they may be selling something “Sashiko” without any relationship (respect) to Sashiko. Please be mindful when you purchase – you are directly choosing who you would like to support.


(2) Keep learning the Sashiko

I have a LOT of stories to share. I share them on Facebook as well as on Instagram. If you would like to support what I do, please consider joining the Patreon as well. It is a platform where I share honest insight about the Sashiko. It is also a good idea to learn the technique. Sashiko is more than stitching – and the posture and movement we share will enable you to enjoy the Sashiko as a process rather than the result.

The deeper we learn the culture and philosophy of Sashiko, the more chance we have to pass down this culture to the next generation instead of a temporary trend. Your continuous learning is the key to Sashiko’s culture


(3) Spread the words – Keep enjoying

Lastly, and most importantly, please share what I am writing here. I get many questions and comments via emails and Social Media. Some of them, unfortunately, is pretty rude. Therefore, I do not follow-up as I used to do. However, there are enough materials to read already on this website and on social media. If you are reading this article this far, you probably know where the specific articles are: if not, I share it on Patreon first.

For those who care for what I do enough in the form of respect, I will share everything I have. I hope you can keep enjoying Sashiko and keep spreading the words.

I am here for you to support your Sashiko journey.

Sashiko Store Nightmare Cover

Sashiko Store Nightmare | a missing package Log

It has been almost 3 years since we have started the Online Store. Thanks to many understanding customers, we have completed hundreds of orders in the last 3 years. However, in this fall (October), a nightmare of all online business managers (I called it Sashiko Store Nightmare) finally happened to me as well…, it is a case of “tracking says ‘delivered’ yet the package is not actually delivered to the customer”, over international shipping. This is a log of how we handle this unfortunate accident.

*We had once (only once!) had a case of a missing package with a tracking record of “delivery” over domestic USPS shipping. It was also a sad and unfortunate experience, but the domestic is simpler because there is only one carrier to file a claim to. The customer was very understanding, and therefore I forgot about how scary the “missing package” can be.


You will get what you order

First of all, we will do everything we can think of to get you what you ordered. Please take a moment to read through our shipping policy, if you haven’t yet.

Although it is true in the article, “please understand that the missing & miss-delivered & stolen package after the package get into the Post Office System is out of our control”, we will not give up even if no carriers can resolve the issue. In the worst-case scenario, if the product is from the supply category (which something we can re-prepare), we will make another package for the 2nd attempt.


It is an unfortunate accident

The missing package with a tracking record of “delivered (completion of the carrier’s service)” is the worst-case scenario for the online shopper. It is the accident, or possibly a crime if the package was stolen.

Therefore, please understand that it is very important to take the proper step to file a claim, keep the records of what is going on, and how we can resolve it “together”. We are very sorry for any inconvenience due to the accident and sorry for the frustration of taking a long time to get a package. However, we as a seller are also a victim in this unfortunate accident.

If we are a big company like Amazon, then resending another package right away may be economically viable. For a big company, issuing a refund may be a much easier option to keep a customer happy. However, we cannot operate our business with the same logic as the other big company. Again, we will do our very best to resolve the issue.


How we concluded | Sashiko Store Nightmare Log

Here is a log of how we handled the unfortunate accident. We cannot expedite the process of Post Office Investigation or actual shipping. Therefore, we did our best to make a reply as soon as possible, even over the weekends. It was an international package from Japan via Japan Post with a help from Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya.


Sep.27th – Order Confirmed

Sep.28th – Package Posted via Japan Post

Oct.6th – Arrival at inward office of exchange (International)

Oct.14 – Final Delivery

Oct. 14 – Message from a customer that package “Not Delivered”.

Oct.14 – Reply from me with directions. Questions to understand the situation better.

Oct.16- File Claimed Local Post Office in Japan. (Although the person told me there is nothing they can do because their service is completed by the Final Delivery. I had asked to bring it to the upper position for the better

Oct.18 – Another update from the customer with confirming no mis-deilvery to the neighbors, no delivery person’s error (he didn’t see the package). Replied with another request to file a claim to the Local Post office for whereabout.

Oct. 22 – Second reply that there is nothing Japan Post can do.

Oct. 22 – The replacement package

Oct. 23 – The package is accepted to the Japan Post

Nov. 8 – Package arrival notification from the Japan Post System

Nov. 11 – Received confirmation from the customer.


It is not easy to deliver a package Internationally

This long process wouldn’t be necessary if this was domestic shipping, which means if the shipping address was within the USA or Japan.

Over the Internet, it became so much easier to purchase an item without visiting a store. On top of that, because of Amazon, we expect the package to be delivered within 2 days or so “no matter what”. However, with a small-sized business like us, it is a big deal to make international shipping. Please understand that international shipping can take a long time – and sometimes, it is risky to order one. We promise to deliver what you order, but we cannot promise “when” to be delivered. There is so many risk factor to guarantee the delivery date – missing package, rerouting the package, customs, and many more.

We are willing to continue the International shipping. However, please be advised that it “can” take a long time to complete the delivery. Please take your time to read our shipping policy.


We do ship Internationally.

Again, regardless of the risks (Sashiko Store Nightmare), we are willing to make a shipment to oversea address. It is our goal to share the Sashiko we practice. In order to achieve the goal, providing the materials and tools we use every day is very necessary. Since our business model doesn’t allow to have the “distributor”, the website is only one way to introduce what we use.

If you are ordering from the non-USA or Non-Japanese shipping address, please understand that there are risks of receiving packages a month or 2 months from the order day.

Alternatively, we offer an option to expedite all of the steps by upgrading the shipping method to “Express”. If your order is a time-sensitive package, please consider investing in the shipping (it will be like $40 more for only shipping). As I promised above, I will make sure & do our best that you will get the package regardless of shipping grade. However, please, please understand that it is outside of our effort, and it will take a long time to resolve it.

*Even the most expensive Express mail can be delayed due to the custom. We cannot control the custom at all, and we all should follow the law of each country.


Footnote of Sashiko Store Nightmare:

After we hear from the customer with receiving the package, we have asked them to revise the “review” on our services (it was on the product review category). Although we have not received the revisal yet, unfortunately, we wanted to inform everyone that Customer Support is very important to us and we will do everything we can think of.

I hope you can enjoy shopping with us without worrying about the shipment. Although we are not Amazon, which guarantees everything regardless of the condition, we will do everything we can think of. If you are in a hurry of receiving the order, please consider upgrading the shipping method as well.

Sashiko Creation Year Cover

Sashiko Creation Year | Toward 2020

It has been almost 3 years since the day I had offered the first Sashiko workshop in the United States. I cannot believe how fast time fly. Here, I would like to share what I am feeling as of now toward the year 2020. It is not a plan, just my feeling. So, your feedback would be appreciated to reform what I plan to do in 2020. My hope is to make 2020 for the year of “Sashiko Creation Year”.


1. Workshop Continue, but less in NYC

I continue offering Sashiko Workshops. The Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) is the best way to share the Sashiko we practice. I had met many Sashiko friends there, and it is the biggest activity I do throughout the year. In 2020, however, I plan to offer fewer workshops in NYC. Instead, I will be more open to an individuals/organization who can arrange the workshop on behalf of me anywhere in the U.S. 

As the year of 2019, the same workshop in Lewisburg (PA) and Online Sashiko Class will be available throughout the year of 2020. The contents are the same, just different locations and different media.

The Online Sashiko Class is one of the biggest achievements I have accomplished in 2019. I will keep improving the content in 2020. The special coupon for the Online Sashiko Class will be expired at the end of 2019, so please register your course before the end of 2019.


2. Focusing on Creation & Story-telling

Another big shift I made in 2019 (besides offering the workshop online) is the online platform where I can feel safe in sharing my honest insights. I publish fewer articles here on upcyclestitches.com as well as on SNS account. Instead, I make myself to publish at least 10 articles every month on Patreon Platform.

Sashiko is not only about the stitching techniques. There are hundreds (thousands) of stories I would like to share. I would continue this “story-telling” activities in 2020, and hopefully, I can summarize them into one book or something at the end of 2020, with more than 100 articles on Patreon. Your support there would be very much appreciated.

And, I wouldn’t want to forget about “Creation”.

I decided to take time off from “teaching & offering workshop” over the summer of 2019. (Although I end up spending time on replying over Social Media posts), it was fun to focus on creation again. As much as I love sharing Sashiko, I would like to have a certain amount of time for my personal creation. I will try to balance my work as well as actual creativity.

3. Following up the current followers rather than expanding

Many people advise me that it is time (the year) to take a risk. Sashiko is getting very popular, and many people would like to learn what I share. I could probably arrange a tour to visit cities all over the world with teaching Sashiko.

Some advise me that I should hire someone to accerate what I do. A famous proverb says: “strike while the iron is hot (Make use of an opportunity immediately)”

I agree with their advice. Their advice is very articulate and precise.

If my goal is to make a good wealth (being rich) by sharing Sashiko and expanding a community of Sashiko, then it is my time to accept any offers I would receive from anyone. Sashiko is now in the trend. While many other hand-crafting suffers from its lack of trend, I may be too fool to not to ride on this trend.

However, I would choose to focus on the “follow-up” to the current followers (friends who took my workshops) rather than expanding to the new audience. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here though. I would LOVE to meet the new people who can share the passion for Sashiko. What I am saying here is that I would like to focus on what I can do instead of jumping high to “try” to catch something.

I will be available for the workshop in Lewisburg (PA) or Online Sashiko Class. The gate for the newcomers, who wish to come across to meet me now, is always open. It would be great if you could understand like this: that I feel a priority of supporting the people in current community. You are welcome to join there anytime you are willing to.

*My point is “willingness”. I do not want to “sell” what I am proud of for those who would like to ride “a quick trend” with less interest in the cultural perspective. By taking the risk, the priority needs to change. I probably won’t do that in 2020.


Toward the Sashiko Creation Year

Believe or not, I (Atsushi) am in charge of pretty much everything that we offer. Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya (Weblink in Japanese) is my mother’s project, and Keiko and I are the 2 main individuals to keep things moving forward with a lot of help from our friends in Japan.

Keiko and her friends in Japan are in charge of main production. What we share online with photos is mainly what they make. My job is to introduce them to rich stories as possible.

The solution would be asking someone to do part of what I do. However, Sharing Sashiko-stories is something only I can do. For the orders, I would like to make a package by myself with sincere appreciation for choosing us. I would need to train someone to the level of “caring”.

So, as a result, in order to keep the standard of what we do, we will not change the situation. Instead, I will slow-down myself to have some time for the creation time. It may be a crazy idea to slow down a project when the need is high… yet I would like to make sure the quality of what I deliver.

Money is merely a tool for us. It is very important to gain the profit to achieve what we want to do. However, if we have to change our values (mindset) to gain only money (be greedy to money more than we need), then I am putting the cart before the horse
(misplacing one’s priorities).

I will do everything I can to share the Sashiko better, wider and more mindfully. The year 2020 will be a beautiful year for me and you with many Sashiko creations. The year of Sashiko Creation Year.

Sashiko Creation Year Dag

Sashiko Class in Japan

Sashiko Class in Japan | Visiting us to Japan

In 2019, we start getting many inquiries about the Sashiko Class in Japan. We only offer a Sashiko Class in Japan for those who took Atsushi’ Sashiko Workshop either In-person or Online. If you do not speak Japanese fluently and want to take a Sashiko Workshop offered by Keiko Futatsuya, please take Atsushi’s workshop first. The Online workshop is available for anyone, anywhere in the world (wherever the Japan post deliver the package to).

If you are fluent in Japanese, or a native Japanese, please find the detail on our Japanese website. Keiko occasionally offers a Sashiko class in Japan, mainly in Gifu Prefecture.


VIsiting us to Japan

As much as we enjoy offering the workshop, we understand that there is a need for just a simple visit to Keiko for the purpose of enjoying her beautiful Sashiko pieces, and probably for the purpose of purchasing her Sashiko supplies directly from her.

However, we have a storefront (physical store or studio) neither in Japan nor the US. Keiko will open up her private house to show her collection and supplies when we can make an appointment together. It requires scheduling and a lot of preparation. We used to accommodate all of the requests to make an appointment with Keiko without any fee or agreement. However, after some sad experiences, we are setting up a condition to set up a date for the appointment.

So, please check the agreement for making the appointment to visit Keiko. If you plan to have a workshop with Keiko, there is no need to worry about it.


Agreement for making an appointment

You may contact Atsushi via email for making an appointment with Keiko for sharing her Sashiko piece and/or Sashiko supplies with agreeing on the terms and condition below.

  • As a setting up fee, the applicant agrees to pay 3,900 JPY (About $35.00 USD) at the point when the appointment is confirmed by Keiko. The part of this fund of 3,900 JPY, which will be over Paypal transaction, will be applied as the store credit when the applicant purchase an item(s) or supplies from Keiko in their visit to Keiko’s place. She will deduct the 3,500 JPY from the total (please understand that the 400 JPY is for the setup fee for Atsushi and its transaction fee).
  • Cancellation Policy is as below
    • 30 days prior to the visit: 80% of the fee will be refunded.
    • 7 days prior to the visit: 50% of the fee will be refunded.
    • 1 day or no show: No refund available.
  • No funds will be refunded even if the visitor (an applicant who visited Keiko’s house) purchased less than 3,900 JPY amount of items or decided to not to purchase anything.
  • If you are a graduate of Atsushi’ Workshop, the 3,900 JPY of the advance payment will be waived.
  • In Keiko’s house, she strongly prefers cash as a payment option. When you would like to use the credit card, please expect 5% fee for the transaction fee for Atsushi to help Keiko to make it happen.

The location where to meet Keiko

Keiko’s Sashiko Class (or private pop-up store) in Japan will be mainly taken place in a city called Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. Although it is well-known for a great tourist destination, it is pretty far from Kyoto or Tokyo. Please make sure that your itinerary can cover the visit before contacting Atsushi. Keiko occasionally offers the workshops outside of her town. However, those workshops usually require the Japanese language skill (no translator will be available).

Please contact Atsushi when you know the specific date of your visit because Keiko’s schedule is quite packed as well. We cannot guarantee the appointment until Keiko confirms the date and time.


Learn what we offer

Before the visit (or even before contacting Atsushi), it is strongly recommended to read through some of the articles on this website. Some of the critical information you need to read in advance are:


Other workshop teachers in Japan

Since we do not issue any certification to be the “Sashiko teacher” on behalf of us, there is no other teacher who can offer the same workshop. However, from the graduates of Atsusih’s Sashiko Workshop in Japanese, there are several students who are very good & willing to share the culture, technique, and wisdom of Sashiko we have been sharing.

They may not be English friendly teachers (they may speak only in Japanese). However, if you happen to visit somewhere nearby, it may be a good idea to contact them. As of 2019, please contact me first so I can pass the contact information individually.

List of Sashiko artisans who may be able to arrange the workshop.


Our main goal is to share the Sashiko we are proud of

We take customer satisfaction seriously. The happiness of customers (visitors, participants, and any people we encounter) are very important to us. However, the first priority is to continue in sharing the Sashiko we are proud of. This is one of the biggest difference between us and the other big company. The customer service does not come first.

We will do our best to make it happen. Your interest is what makes Sashiko alive in the future, and we respect your interest and passion. We just want you to respect what we do as well. I hope this change of terms and conditions are somewhat agreeable.

Keiko and I are looking forward to meeting (seeing) you.

handle Natural Dye Thread Cover

How to handle Natural Dye Thread & fabric

The soft color from the natural dyes is significantly different from the vivid color with chemical dyes. We enjoy the color of Natural Dye Sashiko thread, especially in a process of making “Boro” so that both fabric and thread can age – change color – together with overtime. We repeatedly tested the color stability, either if the color fades out by washing, before introducing them online. However, the Natural Dyed & Hand Dyed Sashiko thread & fabric require some attention and understanding of how to handle. The color will not be washed away by regular care for the natural dye. However, we do not recommend to throw them to the washing machine with detergent (which may have kind of “bleach” in it). Here, we introduce how to handle Natural Dye Thread and Fabric.


“Don’t” do list | Handle Natural Dye Thread with care.

First of all, please never use “Bleach” in washing and to handle Natural Dye thread. One wash with bleach may (and most likely “will”) completely wash away the natural color and make it bright white. The bleach is strong enough to do its job – to make it bright white.

The point we have to pay attention here is that some of “regular detergent” may contain the same chemical as the bleach in it. For example, if a detergent say “stain removal”, then the detergent may be too strong for the Natural Dye color.

Also, putting the Natural Dye thread and fabric in the water with detergent for a long time is not a good idea. The more time the color touches the detergent, the more color may be washed away.


Do list | How to well Handle Natural Dye Thread

Generally speaking, the natural dye doesn’t go well with the chemical detergent. In need of using the detergent, please choose the “Neutral Detergent”. Although it is quite easy to find them in Japan, I do not find the neutral detergent easily in the US (we can find them but quite expensive). In that case, please try to find the “gentle” or “soft” detergent and make sure to test the thread and fabric if the color will be washed out or not. In my experience, most of the color will stay on unless the detergent is “gentle” and washed gently. However, as a baseline, please handle Natural Dye thread with maximum Care.


Super beautiful color from nature. Although the core enjoyment of natural dye is to enjoy the color change, it is so sad to lose the color.

Summary of Do and Don’t

Do:

  • Hand-wash with no detergent. Or gentle wash with Neutral Detergent.

Don’t:

  • Using Bleach, or strong detergent which may contain Bleach.
  • Machine wash with long-cycle (or extra wash cycle).
  • Leave the thread or fabric in water (with detergent) for a long time.


Understand the reaction process

It is probably difficult to find a “Natural Dye” items in the mass-produced market. It is because the process of natural-dye requires a lot of attention and care. The color from nature will not stay on the thread or fabric by dipping them into a vat. It isn’t like a watercolor, putting paint on the paper.

The natural color stays on the thread and fabric by chemical reaction with a catalyst. We usually use the metal, such as iron or copper, to make the reaction happen. In another example, the Authentic Japanese Indigo Dye (Hon-Aizome), they use the oxidation process to create such a beautiful blue. The fabric and thread right after dipped in the vat looks somewhat “gray” or “brown”. In a process of oxidation (touching the air that contains oxygen), the beautiful Japanese blue comes out.

The chemical reaction doesn’t mean using chemical materials. Here, chemical reaction equals to Oxidation and Reduction. Vinegar will make the liquid more acidic and ash (such as wood ash) make the water more alkalinity. Either of acidic and alkalinity affects the balance of Natural Dye and could end up with washing out the color or changing the color.

Therefore, we strongly recommend using natural detergent, or just water.


The natural dye before the Industrial Revolution

One of the big reasons we use the Natural Dye thread is to recreate the beauty of Japan in hundreds of years ago – before the industrial revolution. Back then, in Japan, they did not have the chemical (artificial) detergent or bleach to wash the fabric. They did not have a washing machine either.

Instead, they washed the fabric and thread by hands with care (attention). I hope you would do the same when you handle Natural Dye thread and fabric.

By the way, this is my personal endnote (which may contradict what I had written so far). Anyhow, I DO wash my Sashiko Stitched Denim with the gentle detergent in a washing machine… I had washed probably more than 100 times over 1~2 years, but I can still see the thread color. The yellow from mountain peach looks more like white, but it still has yellowish color (I believe). I always wash it separately, with a gentle cycle of the washing machine, with a small amount of detergent as I feel. I sometimes do not add the detergent, but at some point, the jeans get smelly that we need some detergent… I hope you can find your own way to handle Natural Dye thread and fabric.


Shop our Natural Dye Sashiko Thread

Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ

Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ | October 19th, 2019

Another great opportunity to learn Sashiko Stitching from Atsushi Futatsuya. We are offering the Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ. In a very calm area with beautiful scenery, we will be offering the exact same workshop contents as we do in the center of New York City. Drive up to the beautiful town, Gladstone NJ, and if weather permits, we may be able to have a stitching time outside under beautiful sunlight.

After covering the core and basic of Sashiko (for about 4 hours), I will talk about how we apply the Sashiko technique to a mending project. You may bring your own garment with damage and/or a hole so you can actually apply it while learning the Sashiko stitching from Atsushi.


Join Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ

Date and Time: Saturday, October 19th 10 am to 4 pm

Location: A Maker’s Circle

1150 Pottersville Rd, Gladstone, NJ 07934

Please register your seat from the link below.

https://amakerscircle.com/shop/sashiko-stitching-workshop/


Hand-on Learning Opportunity

Atsushi will stand right next to you to teach you the core of Sashiko.

As I have been mentioning on this website and SNS, the Sashiko stitching workshop is a learning opportunity. The workshop will be intensive stitching time with Atsushi’s guidance to understand the core and basic of Sashiko stitching. Atsushi will be there prepared for your needs.

How to apply to Mending a garment

Per request from A Maker’s Circle, I will spend about an hour to talk about how I apply the Sashiko technique to the Mending, including the visible mending project. Sashiko gets its popularity over the visible mending and slow stitching, and you will have time to use the technique you learn in the workshop to your own garment in the workshop.

Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ

It is a Maker’s “Circle”

When I learned about what a Maker’s Circle does to create a community for creators, I immediately open my heart to them. I made a visit to learn what they do. Creating and maintaining a place where creators, artisans, and artists can get together is our dream. It is our honor to be part of their programs as Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ.

Types of Sashiko Workshops

Quick Update | Types of Sashiko Workshops by Atsushi

I received a question about types of Sashiko Workshops. With receiving so many requests, we limited the types of Sashiko Workshops by Atsushi. However, you may get confused because of the different locations and offers. Please read this article carefully, and hopefully, I can meet you in one of the Sashiko workshops in NYC.


Only One Workshop to start. Only One.

There is only one workshop for you to start enjoying the Sashiko as we practice. It is “Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic)”. We offer it in NY/NJ area and Online.

Then, you may think, why are there so many workshop choices (advertisement) sent from Atsushi? I will explain the difference here. However, the baseline is that all of the workshops I teach in NYC provide the same contents. When I do something completely different, I will clearly mention (and most likely, it will have a prerequisite of the Sashiko Stitching Workshop – Core and Basic).

Difference: One type, yet types of Sashiko workshops

One of the biggest reasons I offer the same workshops in different locations is that I do not have a physical storefront in NYC (in fact, nowhere in the world yet). Therefore, I humbly accept the offer from those “thoughtful” organizations who would like to share the Sashiko with understanding my mission and philosophy. Starting in 2018, thanks to the biggest supporter Sharon, I can offer the workshop organized by my company, Upcycle Stitches LLC.

1) – Who organizes the workshop

If the workshop is offered in TriBeCa and/or registration is on our website (https://upcyclestitches.com/), then the Sashiko stitching workshop is offered by Atsushi & Upcycle Stitches LLC. This happens a few times a year, usually in Spring and late Fall.

If the registration page for the workshop is on other organization’s website, then it is organized by the third party, which I respect enough to offer the workshop under. For 2019, I plan to work with organizations below.

Regardless of who organizes the workshop, the contents are the same. Atsushi teaches with using the exact same materials.


2) – Class Size of the workshop

Another difference is the Class Size. Generally speaking, the workshop offered by Upcycle Stitches will have a smaller class size.

  • Workshop by Upcycle Stitches – 6 Participants (Max of 8).
  • Workshop by the 3rd party – 10~14 Participants.

Since one of the important parts of the workshop is the individual attention with my hands on your hands, the bigger class size requires the longer workshop, which leads to the difference in duration below (3)


3) – Duration of the workshop

Generally speaking, the workshop offered by the 3rd party have longer workshop time.

  • Workshop by Upcycle Stitches – 3.5 hours of duration (no break)
  • Workshop by the 3rd party – 6~7 hours of duration (include a break)

The core of Sashiko will be delivered in the first hour of the workshop. Then, with stitching intensively with Atsushi’s individual attention, the participant will get a rhythm in Sashiko stitching. Since I would like to have a room in mind to spend at least 5~15 minutes on everyone, this is the least length for the workshop.

For the longer workshop, I may add some of “more stories” related to Sashiko stitching. Some organizers ask me to plan the “extra stories” in advance, like “please talk about the visible mending”. Otherwise, I will ask the participants for their interests and accommodate the “extra stories”. This will not likely to happen in the workshop organized by Upcycle Stitches because I will be talking non-stop for the 3.5 hours of the workshop.


Other Note to unconfuse you.

  • It takes a bit of time to schedule the workshop in TriBeCa offered by Upcycle Stitches LLC. The seats usually get sold out after several announcements. I recommend you fill out the form here to be on the priority email list to get the very first notification from us. We also offer the “pre-paid ticket” which can be redeemed for Sashiko Stitching Workshop offered by Upcycle Stitches LLC (not by the others). This pre-paid ticket also have the limit because of the size of Sashiko workshop (about 6 per session).
  • Occasionally, to accommodate the organizer’s request, we offer the bigger size workshop which may limit the individual attention to participants from me. Regardless of the size of the workshop, as long as the duration is more than 3 hours, I will do my best to deliver the same message and technique to the audience.

For Graduates of the Sashiko Stitching Workshop by Atsushi

We occasionally offer another workshop so-called “HitomeZashi Workshop“. This workshop is only available for those who took the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic) with more than 3 hours length session.

The workshop description will say the prerequisite of Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic), so you will know which one is different from the others.

*I occasionally offer the preview version of Sashiko Workshop for the length of fewer than 2 hours. I sincerely believe the participant needs at least 2.5 hours of stitching with the instructor in presence to feel the core of Sashiko stitching. Please understand that those who took the preview workshop will not satisfy the prerequisite for the other advanced workshops.

Also, I started a project of Sashiko subscription throughout the platform Patreon. As the same as the Sashiko workshop, I won’t disappoint you for this journey as well. Please check the Patreon Page and look for “Sashiko Continous Learning” option.


Other Types of Sashiko Workshops by Atsushi (in Past)

  • Sashiko Mending Workshop
  • Sashiko Denim Workshop

We have done quite a variety of types of Sashiko workshops (in related) in the past. It was fun and a pleasure to share my knowledge and expertise. As of 2019, I only offer the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic) and occasional Hitomezashi Sashiko Workshop to share the core of the Sashiko we practice.

Sashiko Workshop Purl Soho Cover

Purl Soho Sashiko Workshop Fall 2019

It is my pleasure to announce that I will be coming back to Purl Soho. A happy announcement of Purl Soho Sashiko Workshop Fall 2019. This is our 3rd opportunity to offer the Sashiko Workshop in Purl Soho studio. All of them have been our most pleasure with very good feedbacks from the participants. I will bring “everything about the Sashiko we practice” to you, with passion and details.


Date and Time:

Saturday, September 21st 10 am to 4 pm

Location:

403 Broome Street, New York City

Please register your seat from the link below.

https://www.purlsoho.com/sashiko-workshop-september-21-10-4pm.html


In the center of Soho – where people enjoy making

I share many photos of Sashiko on the Internet, especially on Instagram. As much as I enjoy sharing the beautiful photos, the true beauty (fun) of Sashiko can be communicated over touching and feeling. The workshop is a rare opportunity for me to share the Sashiko collections of I have been adding and enjoying. I also share many “stories” about Sashiko. I believe you will find “what Sashiko is like” from the Japanese perspective.

https://www.purlsoho.com/sashiko-workshop-september-21-10-4pm.html

It is a Learning Opportunity

We call it “Sashiko Stitching Workshop.” However, it is not a type of workshop like “Let’s do Sashiko together.” It is a learning opportunity for you with intensive stitching with Atsushi – the Sashiko artisan who was born in Sashiko family.

If you have not to figure out how to use the unique round-shape thimble in Sashiko stitching, I can promise this workshop will be the eye-opening experience for you.

Join us, Sashiko Workshop Purl Soho

Sashiko is not all about making one perfect stitch. It is about enjoying the process of stitching – we call it “Rhythmical (mindful) stitching”. By joining the workshop, I will teach you everything you need to know (do) to master the Unshin (needlework) movement.

I look forward to meeting you there and sharing the Sashiko we have been practicing.


Other Sashiko Workshop Schedule in 2019