Sashiko Denim Jeans Cover

100 of Sashiko Denim Jeans Journey

One Denim Jeans with Sashiko stitching completing within 4 days. A story from my dear friend, Dag Force, motivated me to unrealistic work. After the 4 days, I realized that I underestimated my ability in Sashiko. At the same time, I learn that I can improve my Sashiko. The 4-days of intensive Sashiko Denim Jeans Journey taught me my potential and possibility. I want to be better, so here is an announcement of the 100 of Sashiko Denim Jeans Journey.

What did I do in 4-days?

With spending about 20 hours in 4 days, I completed adding the whole Sashiko on one-leg (both front and back) and some small Sashiko mending. You may check the whole process on Youtube as a series of live-streaming or a video below as the preview of 20 hours stitching.

https://youtu.be/rWXmY6q0N5w | 1/100 of Sashiko Denim Journey

I would like to continue stitching on the denim. However, I do not have 100 of denim jeans because I decided to purchase no more clothes in 2017. I would like to work on your denim jeans, especially the one you have a story to tell. It could take 10 years of my time to complete 100 of Sashiko jeans, and I would like to work on the denim they value so much that they want to keep for a long period of time. I appreciate your understanding of this massive labor on one denim and its value.


Project Outline

X/100 Sashiko Denim Jeans Journey

Atsushi will perform Sashiko stitching on your used denim with minor mending if necessary.


The fee for the project

About $150.00~ | $7.83 ($7.25 * 1.08) multiplied by actual hours spent on. The total fee will depend on how much of stitching & mending the denim require. The fee for the denim on the photo is $156.00 + shipping of $7.80.

Production time / duration

2~20 weeks from the day of denim-jeans delivery to Central Pennsylvania.

Notes & condition

  • The pair of denim jeans need to be heavily used. I do not (cannot) stitch on the new denim because the fabric may be too thick. Also, the denim has to be cotton 100% and non-stretchy fabric. If you are concerned it is lightly used and not thin enough to perform the stitching, please let me know when you contact us.
  • Please allow us to broadcast some or whole of the stitching on your denim on Youtube and/or Instagram.
  • Please wash the denim jeans thoroughly so that all of the smell and dirt will be washed away before stitching. If the smell is too strong, we may wash it in our house ($20.00 extra fee applied).
  • Please share your story on the Denim to me in writing over the email. I would like to prioritize the denim with a more inspirational story as the priority.
  • The regular price is about $580~ for these types of commission. If you would like to support us with the full commission, please let me know. I will work on it as the priority commission. Also, any types of support (in a form of donation or tips) would be appreciated.
  • For the design, I will provide some geometric pattern preference. I can work on the pattern you would like to have, but it could end up with more time to work on and result in higher pricing.

How to be part of 100 Sashiko Denim Jeans Project

Simply contact me mentioning that you are interested in the 100 Sashiko Denim Jeans Project. I will reply to you from our Gmail account. 

I would like to consider it as my lifework instead of “work to make a profit.” Therefore, I would like to know who is asking me to do Sashiko stitching, why, and the stories behind the denim I will be working on. 

 


Stories of 100 Sashiko Denim Jeans Project

  1. Dag Force Sashiko Denim – Footage – Completed
  2. NK – pure power to encourage the others – Working

I appreciate to be part of this 100 of Sashiko Denim Jeans Journey.


Another Sashiko Denim project is coming up

This project, 100 of Sashiko Denim Jeans Journey, is a project that Atsushi will work on YOUR denim to reinforce the stories.

As a synchronizing project of Sashiko Denim Jeans Journey, we can work on the “used denim in the market” and practice “Full Sashiko Stitching with necessary mending” provided by Atsushi’s student in Japan. If you are interested, please contact me saying “More information for the Full Sashiko Stitching Denim.” More information will be coming up soon.

Mindful Reading – Follow up of Why Do you Call it Sashiko.

Thank you for all of the comments for the previous post, “Why Do you Call it Sashiko?“. I learned a lot from your insights. Many comments encouraged me to keep my journey. Don’t worry. I will not change anything to share the Sashiko we enjoy.

To be honest, the original discussion was a confusing & heartbreaking one that I didn’t expect. I moved on, thanks to many heartwarming and constructive advise. Yet, however, for the purpose of improving my understanding of both Japanese and non-Japanese culture, I cannot stop thinking of the possible missing link that I couldn’t realize. Some part of me says that I could have communicated better within these 3 Budda’s smile phases (not after the 3 strikes). I know it sounds crazy to you, but hey, I am a Japanese after all, who naturally feel shame on things to worry if they may have embarrassed themselves or not.

I have been thinking and thinking, though days and nights, I may have found the missing link. 


Mindful Reading and Quick Reading.

The missing link is the word I came up with: “Mindful Reading

* (I apologize if I am using someone’s word. I do change the name if it is not appropriate.)


“Why do you call it Sashiko?”

From this sentence, when you read it at first glance, what do (did) you think (feel)? I sincerely hope that you understood my intention of “a pure question out of curiosity” with reading the before & after contexts instead of the “Atsushi – accusing – you” comment, like “how can you call it Sashiko”. There was no intention to accuse anyone and anything they do. I simply wanted to know what is the motivation and reasons (why) they call their stitching Sashiko, only because they did not try to understand the Japanese culture or characteristic.

Over reading their comments many times, I came to one hypothesis: what if they read the sentence, “why do you call it Sashiko?” (by without getting the context) as an accusation? then, the question itself triggered their defensiveness? Moreover, what if, in the Western (American) culture, it is not okay to ask about the personal motivation or reasons, although it is okay (or even recommended) to ask the technical or knowledge-based questions?

What I received as their offensive comments are not still okay because I provided enough polite explanation (contexts) of why I pointed out the concern. Many comments I had received from the previous post assured me that my English was not a significant problem. However, I thought, this hypothesis may a good start to find the missing link that has been bothering me. This realization leads me to the keyword: Mindful Reading.


Before explaining about the Mindful Reading and Quick reading in contrast, as a side note, I would like to share the comment I receive in the post I asked: “why do you call it Sashiko?” I received a comment saying: “I use the word for the Instagram hashtag.” I liked how pure it is. I am NOT offended by this comment at all. Since my goal is to share the Sashiko AND Japanese culture, I asked him if it is possible to try to understand Japanese culture. He generously says “Yes”.

This “Yes” is all I wanted from the original discussion. I asked the person in the original discussion to practice Sashiko (move hands for some amount of time) first instead of asking many questions, then ask thoughtful questions. Asking the questions is not the problem. Asking questions without thinking of someone’s time (the possibility of troubling someone) is one of the “non-appreciated” action in courtesy of Japan. If the person says “I am doing Sashiko”, I wanted them to try to understand this courtesy of Japan.

Unfortunately, the discussion didn’t go that way. So I started wondering why they call their stitching Sashiko. I honestly and sincerely didn’t understand why – which I still don’t. I can only guess the other reasons such as “because it looks pretty” or “I just saw it”. Anything is acceptable. Only thing I don’t understand is why they do not provide me their response… (Well, I got one answer that she thinks what she does is more like an embroidery – then I replied her that I had no problem then if she thinks what she does is an embroidery).

I kept thinking and thinking, then I realize that reading is a subjective action. It reflects how the person usually perceives reality and react to the events. The contexts and my polite explanation didn’t matter because they acted as their unconscious behavior.

Well. That’s why I would like to share the importance of the Sashiko as the process, not only the result or practical techniques.


Sashiko as a mindful stitching.

I see many people enjoy Sashiko as the mindful stitching. Although I am not sure if the Sashiko was developed as the way to be mindful, like meditation, I feel the same for the Sashiko as the mindful stitching. In fact, I enjoy the meditative characteristic of Sashiko stitching, and it influences my other daily activities. Sashiko helps us to be mindful in other activities.

So, I would like to share the concept of Mindful Reading.

I would like to use the word of Quick Reading in contrast to the Mindful Reading. Mindful Reading may be described in other terms such as careful reading, slow reading, or as my favorite, a dialogue to the author. Quick Reading may be described in other terms such as efficient reading, speed (fast) reading, or personal preference based reading.

In this my personal description, Quick Reading is the key to be successful in this world. I personally enjoy the Speed-Reading (Photographic Reading?) in Japanese, and I used to read at least a book per day. I enjoyed the amount of knowledge and information I could accumulate in my brain – I felt that I was reaching to the success (that I defined – pretty much money and wealth) every-time I read. I still enjoy it when I make a research on specific subject.

Ever since I started practicing Sashiko as my life mission, I naturally withdraw myself from doing the Quick Reading. It is interesting to realize this difference after 5 years of my reading habit transformation. Again, I still do the Quick Reading when I choose. However, in daily life, I try to be mindful when I read someone’s writing. (This may be significantly affected by the Inter-cultural marriage life. It isn’t easy sometimes. hahaha.)

I would like to recommend the beauty of Mindful Reading for those who would like to practice the Sashiko. I am not saying you should learn how to meditate and sit down on the floor when you read. It is just about being mindful (that you are there with the book) while you read. You may question yourself if you are reading what the author intended to write. You may ask a question to the author in mind, and the author may describe it later on in their writing. Mindful Reading makes a beautiful dialogue between you and the book (or blog, writing, or even a memo on the post-it).

Does it sound difficult for you to practice? Don’t worry. there is an easy way to practice Mindful Reading. “Breath slowly intentionally & fully” when you read. The slow breathing will remind you that you are there to read.


We (the human being) used to search for the information by reading books or records. Now, we choose the information because of the Internet – too much information available. The more information is required to be successful, then it leads to the necessity of increasing the speed in reading. For efficiency and productivity, in such a busy day, Quick Reading is a must-have skill to be “better”.

However, with Sashiko as mindful stitching, I here sincerely hope to share the beauty of Mindful Reading. I occasionally feel that I am talking to the author when I read – even when I read the novel. It gives me so much appreciation and insight.

With the Internet and speed-oriented society. some of the writing does not deserve the Mindful Reading. You may end up with wasting your time with Mind Reading by reading some trashy writing. It is okay as the learning opportunity. However, for those who practice Mindful Reading, I am pretty sure you can distinguish the writing worthwhile for the Mindful Reading. One exception would be the writing in another language and from other culture. The author may be writing in the non-mother language. In that case, the Mindful Reading will provide more insight from. As my personal impression, the writer has to be pretty mindful when they write sentences in the non-mother language 🙂

SNS is a bit difficult place to do Mindful Reading, again, because not many writers are in the status of mindfulness. However, defining that “All of the writing in SNS are not worthwhile for Mindful Reading” is also not in a category of being mindful… I assume.

We all make mistakes

As my conclusion, the original discussion missed the concept of Mindful Reading. I asked them to read my comments several times, and they said they did. They indeed did read my writing, but not Mindful Reading. Therefore I felt confused by 2 different types of feedbacks – many feedbacks of saying I have nothing wrong, and a few saying that I am rude. This confusion may be explained by the categorization of Mindful Reading and Quick Reading.

*When I write this kind of article, some of you may feel that you did Quick Reading and feel sorry for not doing the Mindful Reading for my writing. Well, do not be sorry because the feeling you had for me is already a dialogue between me and you. It is Mindful Reading. Also, the person with only Quick Reading ability wouldn’t be reading the whole article – because it is too long and the sub-heading tells “another story”. (It is interesting if you get my trick here.)


I welcome any feedbacks

It would be so helpful to share your insight here. Some say that I do not welcome any questions and feedback, but I do. Criticism and questions are both welcome as well. If you ask a question, please think through first so if you are not troubling my time more than necessary (Courtesy of Japan). If you make a criticism, please provide the concrete reasoning and examples backing up your criticism. I got some comment (on FB) that I am rude at some posts, but they never provided me the actual posts I shared… so I cannot even self-reflect and prepare for an apology because I don’t know what they are referring to.)


I also learned that some may think that I am trying to be an authority in Sashiko. I have a favor to ask for this – please try to understand that I am just a man who happens to be good at Sashiko. It is perfectly fine when someone gives me the title of Artist, but I really don’t consider myself as the artist or Sashiko master.

I write a lot of my philosophy on Instagram. It would be nice to follow, and when you have time, please check the post I made already there.


[Side note] I want you to listen…?

I have been happily married for about 9 years with a western woman. It is a marriage, so we have numbers of arguments and discussion, and I always learn something from them (by admitting that I was wrong. lol. just kidding.)

One of the significant learning was that: when she says, “Hey, I want you to listen”, then start talking about her day, it does not mean that she is asking for my reply nor advise. She just wants me to listen.

In Japanese culture, this doesn’t happen often because not many married couples talk like we do in the western culture (in my understanding – of course, depends on the couple). The wife doesn’t ask him to listen much. She doesn’t even expect him to listen even though she may keep talking to him.

I did the same once – pretending that I was listening to my wife. It was a bad idea. So I changed my understanding that I need to listen carefully when she ask me to listen. So I nod and say some exclamation words as naturally as possible (it wasn’t my strength). I shared my caring and I did care what she said. However, in my cultural understanding, caring required some participation – so when we got into the fight by me commenting on what she wanted me to listen, it was total confusion.


This is an example of how “cultural difference” can affect communication. Being mindful is a great way to mend the troubles. I accept to change myself in any situations because I choose to marry a western woman and live in America. Since we are talking about Sashiko, the Japanese stitching form developed in the Japanese culture, I would like to ask anyone who enjoys Sashiko to “try” to understand the Japanese mindset bt being mindful what they are reading, listening, and enjoying.

Again, when I said, “why do you call it Sashiko?”, I asked from the out of pure curiosity. It is still the same. I am very curious why the person call their stitching Sashiko (if they do not try to understand the Japanese culture). If your answer is “because I like Sashiko and would like to (try to) understand Japanese culture”, I am here with you. If not, I would like to know why you call it Sashiko so I can learn from you and move closer to you.

I hope this article cleared some of the confusion. It certainly did to me like “Aha!” moment.

Sashiko Practice Kit 2019 Cover

Sashiko Practice Kit 2019

It is our pleasure to announce the new release of “Sashiko Practice Kit 2019” as a set of “everything you need to start Sashiko”. Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya did a great job to make it happen.

If you haven’t tried the (traditional) Sashiko stitching the way we enjoy, it is a great set to start with. The needle, the round-shape dish thimble, Sashiko thread & great fabric for Sashiko stitching: everything is included in a package. You do not even need to spend some time to transfer the pattern before actual stitching.

If you have been enjoying the Sashiko as we do, let’s say after Atsushi’s workshop or watching our Youtube Channel repeatedly, this is a great project to experience how to combine several Japanese geometric patterns into one pieces. Also, it can be a great gift for your friends who are interested in the Sashiko you enjoy.


Some information available Online

This kit doesn’t have a written Sashiko instruction included (we explained the reason below). Instead of the instruction, we share the whole process of Atsushi’s stitching on Youtube. Also, the other techniques that you would need in Sashiko stitching are already shared on Sashi.Co Youtube Channel. Please consider taking the workshop (in-person/online) if you would like to learn it faster & more efficient.

Atsushi’s Sashiko stitching for this practice kit


Easy and Quick Fun!

It is a great way to jump into Sashiko stitching. Again, everything is included.

We had a bit of discussion if we should release this types of “kit”. We learn that there is a huge market for the kit & panel (fabric with pattern pre-printed). This is our answers to those needs.

However, we also believe it is very important to learn how to transfer the pattern on the fabric & prepare the fabric by yourself. Therefore, we wanted to make sure we communicate both of the beauty of “Easy and Quick Fun” and “Ability to be creative.”

https://upcyclestitches.com/sashiko-pattern-preprinted/

Yet, we don’t want to limit you

We would like to share the fun of infinite possibility – that you can do whatever you want in Sashiko stitching. Pre-printed & prepared fabric is fun to stitch, but it is also limiting your creativity.

Yet, we wanted to enjoy the Sashiko we practice… as a result, we decided to offer the Sashiko Practice Kit 2019 with no written instruction. Please find the article explaining the reasons why we do not include the written Sashiko Instructions.

https://upcyclestitches.com/sashiko-instruction-learn-the-best-strategy/

Following Sashiko Practice Kit 2019

After all, our goal is to share the Sashiko we enjoy. We believe it is okay to provide many kinds of choices as long as we explain the reasons behind it. Since we are sort of “artisans”, we tend to be (very) stubborn. However, we also understand that flexibility is the key to share the culture and its craft. So, please let us know if you have a specific design or idea of what kind of Kit you would like to try next – as the following items of Sashiko Practice Kit 2019.

Sashiko Instruction Cover

Sashiko Instruction | Learn the best strategy

Unlike the other major Sashiko companies, we do not offer many “Sashiko Kits” for customers. We know that there is a demand for the kit, but we have been hesitant to do so for some reasons. Well, we finally come up with one in 2019. However, even we offer the Sashiko Practice Kit, we do not include a piece of paper with Sashiko Instruction written on. Here is an explanation of why we prefer not to provide the Sashiko instruction of how to proceed with a Sashiko Kit.


The “best” instruction is up to you

Many people think that there is “absolute answer” or “right way” in Sashiko stitching. We believe there is not. Each pattern, each project, and each material requires the different instruction of how to proceed with the stitching. The most appropriate Sashiko instruction is determined what is your preference, personality, the mood in the day of stitching, and more importantly, how you would like to communicate to the fabric.

Therefore, I would like you to come up with your own Sashiko instruction (of how to proceed the stitching) based on your preference & condition. By us providing the written instruction, it limits your possibility and creativity.

There is some instruction for basic Sashiko techniques & wisdom. Please check our Youtube Channel to find the video for your need, or simply take the Sashiko workshop to get a full package of Sashiko technique.


No rules and regulation in Sashiko

We often say that there is no rules and regulations in Sashiko. The Sashiko instruction contradicts the saying above a bit. Yes, we can recommend one of the appropriate Sashiko instruction as the sample. However, it also encourages Sashiko stitchers to give up researching or learning by watching videos or other information sources.

The Sashiko instruction could imply the rule. We don’t want that. Instead, we offer the sample video of us actually stitching. We believe it is better than the written Sashiko instruction.

Youtube video coming-up soon.


We teach how to come up with own Sashiko Instruction

Each pattern has its own appropriate Sashiko instruction. We teach how to come up with it by yourself in our Sashiko workshop (Online Class or In-person).

The reason I do not share it here is it may require the personal attention to explain throughly – otherwise, without the follow-up, it could cause the misunderstanding. The misunderstanding based on what we write & share is something we would like to avoid the most. Therefore, please consider taking the workshops for more information & follow-ups. It is quite easy, yet core in Sashiko stitching.


Why kit? Your possibility is infinite

Keiko & I occasionally discuss why the market demands the Sashiko kits so much. We believe that it is much more enjoyable when the person can stitch what they would like to have on their every project instead of the kit pattern someone decides for you.

It isn’t difficult to transfer the pattern at all. We have a Youtube Video of how to transfer the pattern on the fabric (It is Youtube. It is free of charge). We even offer some videos of how to drew the Japanese geometric patterns directly with using chalk pen and rulers. We still do not understand why kits have so much popularity.

By learning the basic of a simple technique, the possibility in Sashiko projects can be infinite. I hope you will get the “technique and wisdom” instead of “a written direction made by someone”

[After note]

It is kind of strange to encourage the market to “not to purchase the practice kit” even though we also have an article of advertising the new releasing Sashiko Practice Kit. Well, the Sashiko practice kit is a good value set for anyone who would like to enjoy Sashiko stitching, especially those who already took the Sashiko workshop. I just wanted to explain the background of the reasons why we do not offer written instruction. It isn’t about us being mean or secretive. It is about the message we would like to pass down in Sashiko stitching.

Sashiko Thread Spring 2019 Cover

Sashiko Thread Spring 2019 | Quick Update

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.

  1. Keiko’s Hand-Dye & Coron Synthetic Dye Sashiko Thread
  2. White Collection & Unique Color Maru Sashiko Thread
  3. Variety of Yokota Sashiko Thread
  4. Kakishibu Fujix Thread

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.


Sashiko Workshop Availability Update 2019 Cover

Sashiko Workshop Availability Update 2019

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.


Sashiko Workshop Priority List Form


Workshops are available throughout the year

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.

Or, you may simply consider inviting Atsushi to your group. For 2019 and 2020, the weekend schedule is pretty packed and I cannot promise anything, but I am happy to see what we can do if you are willing to have me as the guest lecturer. Please check the conditions and terms for the private workshop managed by you.


Online Sashiko Class

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.

A review from one participant. I also enjoy it too.

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!

Sashiko Workshop in Japan

Sashiko Workshop in Japan | Quick Update 2019

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.

good at Sashiko Cover

I am just a man who is good at Sashiko

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?

  • (Fine/Folk) Artist?
  • (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.


https://www.instagram.com/p/BvoxHepgMx5/

I just had “Aha-Moment” so I wanted to share.

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.

Sashiko Boro Knots Cover

Sashiko Boro Knots and more | Follow-up Video

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.

https://www.youtube.com/c/sashico

Script for the Follow-Up Video

Hello.

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.

Boro-Inspired Piece.

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.

Previous Article

Sashiko without making knots Cover

Sashiko without making knots |Reasons of why

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.

The technical explanation how to NOT to make knots in Sashiko.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Follow-up Video of Sashiko without making knots