It has been almost 2 years since I had started offering the Online Sashiko Class. It has been a great pleasure to share the Sashiko we have been practicing with Sashiko practitioners all over the world. Under Covid-19 pandemic, it helped me to go though the difficulties as well. I appreciate for those who support & show their willingness to learn. There are many wonderful Sashiko artisans coming from the Online Sashiko Class. It is my dream to share their artworks on our website as well. This is an announcement for the Online Sashiko Class 2021.
Online Sashiko Class 2021 Update
The Online Sashiko Class 2021 is the essential class to learn the Sashiko we have been practicing & would like to pass down. Our Sashiko requires the technique/stitching-form so called “Unshin“, and the Online Sashiko Class will help you to be able to stitch like we do.
After 2 years of experience in teaching Online, I am confident to say that anyone can stitch like we do when they follow step-by-step tutorials. One can, of course, learn Unshin by watching our Youtube videos. However, this Online Sashiko Class 2021 will give you the most efficient/quick route to master the Unshin. Some feel comfortable in stitching as fast as within a few hours. Please consider taking the Online Sashiko Class to avoid unnecessary detour (learn-by-watch can take you to a lot of detours – which isn’t bad, but not so efficient). Also, your willingness to take the Online Sashiko Class will help me to continue sharing the Sashiko We practice.
The Unshin you will learn (the right side of hand-stitching)
Price Adjustment in May 2021
I plan to increase the workshop price in May 2021 due to the increase of shipping fee as well as other price changes. It isn’t a great annoucement, and I feel bad about that. However. in order to keep our activities sustainable, your understanding is very much appreciated. I am thiking about 8% of increase in its price.
If you register the workshop in April 2021, the price will be the same. You will have (more than) a year to complete the Online Sashiko Class 2021. It usually take 3~4 hours to watch the videos & another 3~4 hours of practice stitching before 1-hour Live Session. After that, you should be able to find your own Sashiko. After you find your own rhythm, the more you practice Sashiko, the better your Sashiko will get.
I sincerely appreicate your support & willingness to learn. I had sent you an important announcement on April 1st 2021 regarding the password change.
If your registration date for the Online Sashiko Class is after January 1st 2020, there is no action needed. Do Not Worry About it. Please find time for you to learn Sashiko via Online Sashiko Class 2021.
If your registaraation date for the Online Sashiko Class is before December 31st 2019, please check the email for the detail. The Online Sashiko Class has “one-year subscription policy” (as stated in the Online Sashiko Class description). The purpose of this policy is following: (1) to keep the video platform safe & healthy (2) to encourage you to learn Sashiko since you paid for that amount.
At the same time, I understand anything can happen in this busy society. The one-year subscription is not a rigid regulation. I will consider your case & extend it until you learn Sashiko. After all, my goal is to share the Sashiko we would like to pass down. Once you learn the Unshin in Online Sashiko Class & get a follow-up Live Session, you may not need to continue watching the videos. However I understand the needs of keep watching it. For those, I will offer the extended subscription with small fee and/or some favor to ask (like writing reviews, collaborating on Social media, and such).
Again, as I always say in the Live Session, once you learn the Sashiko we practice (the Unshin we would like to pass down), you are our friends. I will keep supporting you. This announcement is for keeping our “vimeo” account safe & secure. I appreciate your understanding.
All of the notification regarding the Online Sashiko Class is done via Google Group. If you have registered the Online Sashiko Class, and have not received any updates, please contact me as soon as possible.
Advanced Online Sashiko Class
I have received several request to create some advanced Online Sashiko Class. Honestly speaking, after learning the Unshin, one doesn’t need the Advanced Online Sashiko Class. However, it is important to understand & accomodate the needs. I will work on it, and your requests on this article would be very much appreciated. Please leave the comment if you have any specific request!
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.”
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.
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.
In the Sashiko we practice, we sometimes use the both side of fabric as the finished side (both sides finished beautifully as a single layer). In order to make it happen, Sashiko Itokiri (糸切り) is an important process of cleaning the thread leftover by clipping them.
Please find the script for Sashiko Itokiri video below just in case you have hard time understanding my English. Enjoy Sashiko!
Thank you for watching Sashi.Co Channel.This is Atsushi.
In this video, I am going to talk about a process of cleaning the thread leftover after completing the Sashiko stitching, so called “Itokiri” in Japanese.
As you may have learned already, the Sashiko we practice originally use the both side of fabric as the finished side. Therefore, we do not make knots to secure the stitching. Instead of the knots, we make overlay stitching. For more information of this topic, Please check another video titled “How to not to make a knot in Sashiko”.
After completing the Sashiko stitching, we end up with having a lot of thread tales on the back side of fabric. To complete the project, we clean the side by cutting the thread leftover, and it is called “Itokiri”. You may cut anywhere you made overlay stitches. Do not cut the tale or loop if no overlay stitches are made.
In order to do a good Itokiri process, a grip scissor is the must have item.
I made another video explaining how to use the grip scissors. Please find the video for more information.
Here, a quick review of what is a grip scissor and how to use them.
When we clip the thread, we use the tip of blades instead of the middle (or body) of the blades. By gripping the scissors, I feel as if the tip of blades become my finger tips. I sometime wish that I could just pinch and clip the thread leftover with my nails. The grip scissors are a good substitute to having the super sharp knife like nails.
Since the grip scissors do not require a process of opening the blades, we can keep cutting the thread in a reasonable speed. When a master working on a plain fabric, the speed of Itokiri can be something fun to watch by itself.
That’s pretty much about Itokiri.
Another enjoyable part of Itokiri is the sounds of clipping the thread & moving the blades. I needed to mute the sound because I kept talking in Japanese when I was filming this, but you can watch the unedited version, the archive of this live streaming (3/26 Insta Live.)
We have grip scissors selection from a long-established Japanese scissors maker, Misuzu. Everything is made in Japan by the professionals. Although we have the entry model (less than $15.00), I strongly recommend getting the better one, possible the one more than $25.00, if not around $20.00. The difference in using (experience) is not subtle.
“Sashiko & Boro is getting so popular, especially in Western Textile Culture.” The numbers of questions I receive tripled in 2018. Our goal as Upcycle Stitches is to introduce the beauty of Sashiko stitching and its mindset (culture & philosophy) behind it. I am happy to answer the questions regarding Sashiko. However, please understand that I (Atsushi) is the only one who can answer these questions in English among Sashi.Co & Upcycle Stitches. It would be great if viewers, readers, workshop participants, and ultimately anyone who is interested in Learning Sashiko read our website first before asking questions. Here is a list of things I want you to understand in Learning Sashiko.
First of all, most importantly, please understand that What I want to share is NOT ONLY the technique but also the Culture (mindset and philosophy) of Sashiko.
I do teach Sashiko technique, but it isn’t everything. There are many stories to explain Sashiko, Boro and the Japanese people who developed this beautiful culture. I hope you enjoy learning Sashiko, not only the technique but also the culture & mindset.
You can find a series of stories in writing as well as on Youtube.
It would be great to read this article before you jump into asking the questions. This is more like a manual to learn Sashiko from Upcycle Stitches & Sashi.Co (Keiko & Atsushi Futatsuya), with respecting each other, us and you.
1. Most of the questions are explained already
I understand that it is my responsibility to make all the information accessable to find the answers easily, yet, most of the questions are already explained on this website and our Youtube Channel. Please spare some of your time to search the keywords in the website or read through some of the latest blog posts. You probably will find the answer to a question you have right now.
Anyhow, it is my job to make it easy. I am working on another website with easy categories & FAQ page where you can find answers very easily.
The most Sashiko frequently asked questions (which you can find the answers here) are:
How to transfer the pattern onto the fabric
Why does Atsushi leave a loop in Sashiko Stitching
How to not to make knots in the beginning and ending of Sashiko Stitching
The workshop (Online and in NYC) will teach you everything in the well-organized package. At the same time, if you read all of the blog posts I write and watch all the tutorials video I upload, you can get a good grasp of what you need to know in enjoying Sashiko. It takes some time in learning Sashiko.
2. Understanding Sashiko Prerequisite.
Upcycle Stitches offers several kinds of Sashiko Workshops. We ask all the participants to take the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) regardless of the level of participants’ sewing skill. It seems that “Unshin (運針) = the needle movement to make running Sashiko stitch” is quite unique for many people. After sharing the Sashiko workshop with more than 150 participants, I have never met anyone who knew or mastered the needle movement prior to the Sashiko Workshop.
You may have learned Sashiko from other instructors. You may have been enjoying Sashiko based on books of how to do Sashiko for more than decades. I respect those instructions and your skill. However, in order to be fair to everyone who takes the Sashiko Workshops that Upcycle Stitches offers, “Everyone” needs to be on the same page. So please consider taking the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic). If you aren’t 100% sure how to use the thimble, the workshop will be an eye-opening experience.
If you are 100% confident that you know how to use the round-shape thimble and the needle with appropriate posture, please contact Atsushi with a video filming your hand-stitching. I am happy to review the video and decide if you can be qualified for the other Sashiko Workshop. Please make sure you watch some of Atsushi’s stitching on Youtube before sending the video.
Some people seem to understand that I set this prerequisite because I just want to do more basic and core workshop. No, it is NOT about my preference. I hope I can share the various Sashiko Workshops to anyone who is interested. However, I can anticipate (and had experienced) that the participant without the basic understanding Sashiko will take other participantsants‘ time in the advanced workshop. I proceed the advanced workshop as everyone knows how to use the thimble and needle. And the one without the proper information & practice will have a pile of questions. The Prerequisite is NOT my personal preference. It is the requirement to keep my workshop fair to everyone who respects what I would like to share.
Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) doesn’t have any prerequisite or previous experience. It would be nice if you have the basic sewing skills such as threading the needle and such, but not necessary.
3. Sashiko Philosophy comes before Business
Some people may find me difficult to work with. In 2017 and earlier 2018, I thought it is because of my unique personality or character that is making some communications difficult.
However, at the same time, it is interesting to find out that I have had no problems with some people (customers & workshop organizers). In contrast, I could feel that some of them were frustrated to work with me, like emailing or phone conversation. I barely experienced it when I was working in Japan, so I kept thinking how I could improve it. It is always good to have the smooth and comfortable conversation, right?
After several unfortunate and uncomfortable experience, I learn what is the cause of this difficulty.
I put Sashiko Philosophy first before making it Business (=convenience to the customer).
Upcycle Stitches LLC is a for-profit legal entity. Please do not misunderstand that I work as a Non-Profit or other mutual organization. I work as a business, make a profit out of my activity, and pay Tax and support sashiko culture in Japan & in the world. However, Upcycle Stitches & myself (Atsushi) have a very vivid and strong philosophy in our business activities = introduce Sashiko and its mindset (Culture). In order to achieve this mission, our philosophy comes first before making our activity profitable (business-like), like making it convenience or attractive to the customer (& participation).
I share a few examples.
Easy to get a replacement but it is NOT Sashiko.
When a person takes the workshop after the first “Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic)”. I always ask him/her to bring the needle & thimble I provided in the first workshop. I do not include the needle and the thimble in the second or 3rd workshop.
Some participants may think: “why is Atsushi making it so difficult? It is only a thimble and a needle. Why isn’t it available in the workshop and why do we have to bring these?” Some organizer may feel: “It is wrong to put customer convenience so low. It is the organizer’s responsibility to make it easy and, if the cost of preparation is not significant, it should be available regardless. It will lead to the better customer satisfaction.”
Yes. I understand that the business is about how to make the customer happy. If there is a way to make a customer happier, we should follow that. I agree with it and I am trying to do as much as I can for that. However, when customer convenience across the sashiko philosophy I would like to share, I respect the philosophy first.
Sashiko was a form of stitching developed in “Poverty.” They probably didn’t have the second needle because of their situation. Therefore, they appreciated what they had: fabric, a thimble (probably not metal), thread, and everything they used. The Japanese believed the Animism, in which every material have a spirit (God) in it. Providing the materials for the workshop participants are very important. However, I cannot agree with the idea of “getting everything ready for you without respecting the culture they are about to learn.” Sashiko & Boro, the basic concept is “Repair (Mend) instead of Replace.” Why do I encourage the participants to replace what they already have?
I am not saying it is the absolutely bad thing to NOT to bring the tools she/he received.
The accident can happen. They can lose them unintentionally. It could bend, damaged, destroyed, anything. I will prepare the numbers of tools ready before the workshop for “Purchase” just in case someone had an unfortunate event to lose them. Telling the participants that they do not have to bring anything, in fact, encourage people to “forget about what they already got”, and that is what I would like to avoid.
For the “professionalism” about me as the lecture, you can trust what I provide as a professional Sashiko lecture. I will do everything to deliver what we agree on regarding Sashiko. For the topic above, “wasting what they have” is one example of communication error which could potentially develop a bigger conflict.
Reusing the Packaging supply
For some of the Online Orders, I reuse the packing supply we got from our private (or business related) purchase from other online businesses. Of course, the accurate delivery with clean and neat packaging is the must for business. We set the standard, and yet, we try to reuse the packaging supply.
It is easy to dispose of things now.
However, we would like to try to balance it out, as much as we can, to be customer friendly and ecologically.
(Please don’t worry to much. I am not trying to go extreme on this. We package every box/envelops very carefully. The water damage is the worst so we seal them very tightly. Although It may not be “fresh shipping supply,” we try 100% our best to “Care” how you would receive the package. We put care rather than using the brand new clean packaging.
I would like you to understand that even one packaging is an opportunity of Learning Sashiko.
4. Try to be “reasonably” responsive
You will be surprised how quick I make a reply to the emails or inquiries. Some of you may have experienced it, and you will receive the email as fast as in a few minutes. The reason is that I cannot “hold” tasks and work something else. I receive so many emails every day and if I do not reply it when I see it, I will probably forget to reply it after all. So when I get a message, I just reply without even prioritize it.
Please respect this “a bit crazy” e-mail exchange, and try to be on-Time (reasonably responsive).
I am not saying you should be replying to me in hours. However, please make a reply within a few days if you are interested in receiving more information. After a few days, like 5 days, I will lose the concentration to the topic and you may not get the full response.
And, PLEASE READ WHAT I WRITE.
English isn’t my first language. As much as I would like to make it simple and short, the writing tends to be long, especially when I need to explain the situation more. Please read them even if the email is long. If I wrote it that long, it means there is something YOU NEED TO KNOW in that email.
If you do not receive the reply within a few days from me, the reply would be sent to your junk email box or some other accidents happened in email delivery. Please contact me for the follow up. When I do not receive the “reply” to the reply I make, I understand that the conversation is completed.
5. Learn by just Watching
Can you guess why I offer the “Live-Streaming” without any editing or modification? One live-streaming is at least 60 minutes long, and it may not be enjoyable video because I mainly talk in Japanese. However, I write the title in English, and I want everyone, including those who do not understand Japanese, to watch it and learn it. There is a mindset even in Learning Sashiko or other Japanese culture.
The Japanese craftsmanship (artisanship) has a tradition of “Learn by watching what the teacher (master) does.” I didn’t have any “class” or “workshop” in my life. I just watched the other artisans do Sashiko, and had to learn by just watching.
This applies to many Japanese professions. For example, in a traditional Sushi, a disciple for the first year will not be able to touch the rice or fish. For more than a year, he/she will be only allowed to wash the dishes and clean the restaurant. While he/she does his job, he is “allowed” to watch what master do. he/she may learn something by eating what the master didn’t finish.
Someone may think it is not efficient at all. They may say it is a waste of time and the masters should make a school where the disciples can learn how to make Sushi within a year or so with a well-organized curriculum.
To be honest, I agree with both.
I believe there is something one can learn by just watching what the teacher does for a long time, like thousands of hours. It is probably not only about the “technique” they can “learn” in the curriculum. I appreciate the wisdom we can get by spending so much time in one thing.
At the same time, to pass down the culture, it is also important to organize the information, technique, and skills into one package. A school, a workshop, a class… when they are well-organize, it is the most efficient way to learn something new.
Since I agree with both approach, I offer the both. The opportunities for anyone to watch what I do without editing and modifying. By watching what I do in Sashiko for more than so many hours (like more than 1,000 hours), you will probably get the core of Sashiko.
I understand that not everyone have more than 1,000 hours to watch my stitching. Therefore I have the workshop to systematically teach the participants Sashiko: what I learn by spending more than 30 years of my life.
The goal of Upcycle Stitches is to share Sashiko as well as the Japanese culture behind Sashiko. As much as I am an amateur in marketing and advertising, I try my best to put thoughts into what I do. From time to time, I get emails or contacts giving me some advise, like “You should make a short version of your stitching so the video catches the viewers attention.” Or “I don’t have time to watch your long videos. Make it shorter and direct to the point.”
Well… I guess I do not have to actually write what my replies to those “advice” will be like.
I hope I shared the mindset I developed over time in Learning Sashiko. The online workshop will be ready soon, Spring 2019.
Sashiko is a form of simple hand stitching developed in Japan. It is relatively easy to start, and we can keep enjoying its meditative stitching in various way. Here is top 5 Sashiko Tips to make your Sashiko experience much more comfortable and your Sashiko stitching results more beautiful.
Get Sashiko Thread | Not a thread even with the same thickness
Get the needle to minimize the stress
Don’t pull the needle. Pull the fabric
Make sure to smooth the fabric after stitching
Push the needle instead of making a stitch | Sashiko isn’t about making a stitch
Top 5 Sashiko Tips Details
These top 5 Sashiko tips are based on our 30+ years of experience in Sashiko stitching. Please understand it is not about being right or wrong, or good or bad. The purpose of this blog is to share the tips, not to judge others or yourself.
I cover every Top 5 Sashiko Tips in the Sashiko Stitching Workshop I offer. You may learn the brief summary of these tips here. Enjoy Sashiko!
1. A reason to call it Sashiko Thread
(Get Sashiko Thread | Not a thread even with the same thickness.)
Sashiko thread isn’t defined as Sashiko Thread only by the thickness. The trick is “how the thread is twisted” to form the yarn. Sashiko has a various and different purpose in comparison to the other hand-sewing project. For example, making Kimono requires a completely different thread so-called sewing thread instead of Sashiko Thread.
Any kinds of the thread may make good stitching. However, when you would like to enjoy the whole benefit (original purpose) of Sashiko stitching, we strongly recommend using the Sashiko Thread even if you have the same thickness thread.
The selection for the needle is very huge. The cheapest needle can be found by less than a dollar or even less, and the expensive one can be $3~4 dollar a piece (possibly more). For the purpose of regular hand-sewing, any kinds of the needle would work. However, for the better experience of Sashiko stitching, I strongly recommend getting the needle for Sashiko Stitching.
A few topics to consider are below.
The length. My favorite length is 51.5 mm.
An appropriate size of the needle eye. The big eye may destroy the fabric.
*I have heard that some people sharpen the needle with the small cushion attach to the pincushion in the market. If you purchase the Sashiko Needle from us, DO NOT sharpen your needle unless you feel the dullness of the needle in stitching. The needle is sharpened nicely by professional in the original condition. The process of sharping the needle by yourself will, in fact, make the needle dull. If you enjoy Sashiko stitching a few hours every day for a few months, you may feel the dullness of the needle, then you may use the needle sharpener. At the same time, it can be a good time to change the needle after using that heavily.
3. Pull the fabric, not the needle
When you make numbers of stitches, it can be challenging to pull the needle through the fabric.
The needle is pretty thin, and the thread is pretty thick. The size of the needle and the thread is to avoid destroying the fabric. However, it is a bit more challenging to pull the needle with the thread. There is an eye-opening hint for this. Don’t pull the needle.
To minimize the difficulty, keep this one thing in your mind.
Pull the fabric instead of pulling the needle.
*It is difficult to explain in writing. Please check the video I made.
4. Smoothe the fabric
After making numbers of stitches and pull the needle through, you must make sure to smoothe the fabric. This process is called “Itokoki (=糸こき)” in Japanese. By Itokoki, the thread and fabric match better and avoid the tension on the fabric. Without this process, the fabric may be tensioned or twisted in an unlikable way.
Even I, as the Sashiko professional, I occasionally experience the insufficient Itokoki. To avoid it, I often make loops when I change the stitching direction to avoid the unlikable mistake (like an insurance). → The article about Why Loops?
*It is also difficult to explain Itokoki in writing. Please check the video I made.
5. Learn how to push the needle
Sashiko isn’t about making one stitch. It is a movement of the needle to achieve purpose such as repairing, mending, and strengthening the fabric. It is the core of Sashiko to learning how to push the needle with the thimble.
We found that teaching (& sharing) how to use the thimble and move the needle is quite difficult even with videos. The goal is to share the appropriate method, posture, and movement of the needle with the thimble with us continuously checking your stitching. We would like to make sure the participants understand and master the movement instead of sharing information and spreading the movement we do not intend to. Please consider taking Atsushi’s workshop in NYC or Online Sashiko Workshop.
*The free tutorials are available on our Youtube Channel for those who prefer that way.
Online Sashiko Workshop | Still preparing and working on. Please fill out this form to share your interest, availability, and preference to us so we can start the workshop as soon as possible.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post of Top 5 Sashiko Tips.
As I keep mentioning on this website, I believe there isn’t such a thing as “Right Sashiko” and “Wrong Sashiko”. However, there are numbers of tips, techniques, and wisdom that we would like to share to pass down Sashiko. Please share your questions in Comments so I can follow up with more information.
While writing this article, I realize it is quite difficult to share the points just in writing with considering my English ability as the second language. Please enjoy the quick video I made to explain the Top 5 Sashiko Tips
+++++ The script of Youtube just in case my English is difficult to understand
Hello, this is Atsushi. Thank you for watching the Top 5 Sashiko Tips video. I am happy that many people would like to learn how to do Sashiko beautifully and efficiently. Here are the Top 5 Sashiko Tips to make your Sashiko experience more enjoyable.
1. Get Sashiko Thread. You may use any kinds of thread for the Sashiko project. However, if you would like to get the same result as we do, then, using the thread designed for the Sashiko purpose is necessary. I had written several articles about the difference of Sashiko thread and the other threads on our website, upcyclestitches.com. The main difference is the twist. The Sashiko Thread has the unique twist to be the part of the fabric. The main purpose of Sashiko thread isn’t connecting a few pieces of fabric together, it is to make the fabric stronger.
2. Sashiko Needle A good quality Sashiko needle can improve the Sashiko stitching by A LOT. My recommendation is.
A. The length of 51.5 mm B. The small eye to avoid destroying the fabric, yet big enough to accommodate the Sashiko Thread.
Trust me. It is significant.
3. Pull the fabric, not the needle
After making many stitches, you may experience the difficulty to pull the needle through the fabric with the thread. It is understandable because the Sashiko thread we use is pretty thick and the needle eye is quite small.
Here is a tip. Do not pull the needle. Yes. It sounds strange. You will pull the needle eventually. However, first, try to pull the fabric to get the needle eye through as the video shows. This is one of the reasons I made this video on top of the actual blog post on my website. I hope you get what I am talking about by watching how I do it.
4, The movement of smoothing the fabric.
In my Sashiko workshop, I always tell them to smooth the fabric. I came to realize that I am not 100% sure if I translated the meaning of words from Japanese to English. Since I cannot find the exact word for that, I will use the Japanese for this movement. It is called “Itokoki.”
Itokoki is the movement of smoothing the fabric to avoid the tensioned fabric like the video shows. It will make your fabric more smooth and beautiful.
In my opinion, Sashiko is not about making one stitch. Sashiko is about moving the needle, and as the result, making the numbers of stitches. To follow what the Japanese used to practice, understanding and learning the needle movement is important. In Japanese, we call the needle movement, Unshin.
We do Unshin and make numbers of stitches, then make sure that fabric is smooth by doing Itokoki. We repeat the process and create a simple, yet beautiful pattern.
Alright. Let’s review Top 5 Sashiko Tips
Getting good Sashiko thread and needle is pretty critical to have the good Sashiko stitching. As I have shared in another video on this channel, the fabric quality is not as significant as the thread and needle. Of course, I prefer the fabric made in Japan following the traditional way. However, a piece of the swatch from Walmart for a couple of bucks was okay for the Sashiko stitching. When the budget is limited, I would allocate more resources for the thread and needle.
This video is for the 3rd and 4th tips in the list of Top 5 Sashiko Tips. In order to explain what Itokoki and how to pull the fabric, I thought it is the best to film myself.
Interestingly, Sashiko is so natural to me and my mother. So sometimes, we do not realize that something we do very naturally is the answer to someone who started Sashiko stitching.
In fact, the Japanese have an interesting craftmanship that master does not teach how to do the crafting. The students, pupils, or apprentices are supposed to learn by just looking and observing what the master does. So, I didn’t get a structured “lesson” or “workshop”. What I do is something I learned by doing and looking, and therefore, sometimes I do not realize what I do is special to someone.
So feel free to ask the questions. Your question may teach me what the audience is looking for as the answer. However, please check this channel and our website first to look for the answers. I have been answering many questions, and the common questions are probably answered already.
Well, I will improve my website so viewers can find the answers more easily. But, let me have more time for that.
Sashiko Fukin (刺し子ふきん）is one of the most popular Sashiko items in Japan. Fukin means a sampler or a dish-cloth. The Japanese use this square piece of white cloth to cover the food, wipe the dishes, and other many kitchen activities. Here is a sample of How to Sashiko Asanoha Fukin with video of me stitching and the photos of each step. There is no “right” way to proceed the stitching. It is merely a sample but would be useful when you work on the Sashiko Stitching with Asano-ha pattern.
Preparation | Sashiko Asanoha Fukin
Sarashi (晒）is a Japanese thin cotton fabric. (I plan to have them in stock soon).
We prefer to make Sashiko with the double layers. After drawing (transferring) the pattern, secure the two layers with safety pins or such.
Steps of How to Sashiko Asanoha Fukin
The core concept of making a good Sashiko Fukin is to have the “one-stroke” stitching. The optimal (the most efficient) way to stitch vary from a pattern to pattern.
Step.1 | Around of Sashiko Asanoha Fukin
Stitch around the corner. Then, the safety pins can be removed.
Step.2 | Diagonal Lines
Find the longest line, which happens to be the diagonal lines. Enjoy running stitch without cutting the thread until the thread runs out.
Use “Kasane” to continue.
Step.3 | Small Zigzag Lines
After enjoying the long diagonal lines, then move to the small zigzag lines.
Step.4 | In-between Lines
Fill the leftovers with using Kasane.
Step Extra | Enjoy addition
The Fukin Project complete with the step.4
However, I decided to continue the process by adding another color to make the double stitches to enjoy the difference between dark Indigo & Light Indigo.
Join our community by taking our Workshops
Sashiko is a process of simple stitching. However, without proper basics, it could be confusing and difficult to enjoy. Upcycle Stitches LLC & Atsushi offer the Sashiko Workshop in NYC and Online. Please consider joining our community where you can learn not only how to stitch these beautiful Japanese geometric pattern but also connect to a community where people share the same great passion to Sashiko.
Sashiko thread is different from regular embroidery thread. Therefore, Sashiko Thread requires a special attention to store it in a good condition. Otherwise, it ends up with entangled thread. (Don’t let your cat to play. It will make a perfect ball.) This is a tutorial how to make Sashiko Thread Bobbin (Itomaki) for enjoying Sashiko thread until the end.
Difference in Sashiko Threads
There are many kinds of embroidery thread. Even speaking about Sashiko thread only, there are many options available in the market. We strongly recommend to get a nice heavy cotton thread, designed for Sashiko purpose. We use Sashiko thread manufactured by Coron, and we have been very happy with the result. Sashiko requires you a lot of time and effort. We want you to have the good result.
Our Sashiko thread is consisted by 6 thin embroidery threads, twisted in a unique way to create beautiful stitches.
The price looks a bit expensive, but considering the amount of thread (145 meters / 475 feets length) per skein, I believe the price is reasonable in the market in comparison to the other thread by Olympus or the other vendors. Some customer mention that it is too long to consume a skein. When you learn how to do Sashiko stitch in our Sashi.Co way, you would need more skeins of thread. When you follow my workshop, your stitching speed would increase by a lot, and it means you need more thread.
The easiest way to avoid the entangled thread
The easiest way to avoid the entangled thread is to cut the thread as a picture show below. Then, taping the edge of thread bundle will not let thread entangled easily. Since this process takes only a minute or so, I introduce this method in my workshops. The cut thread also have a good length to practice regular Asano-ha patterns. When you need a single line of thread, you pull one thread out from the bundle by holding the taping edge.
However, if you can invest your time to make Sashiko thread bobbin, I would recommend you to do so. I wish I could share this in the workshops, but it will take much longer and my workshops focus on Sashiko stitching / Sashiko mending, not making the Sashiko thread bobbin.
Therefore, I present a short tutorial video how to make a Sashiko thread Bobbin.
Invest some time to make Sashiko Thread Bobbin
I hope the tutorial video is clear enough to share how to make Sashiko Thread bobbin. Please leave the comments on Youtube if you have questions regarding this topic.
I don’t know how to call the blue thread holder introduced in the video. Is it called “a thread skeiner…?” It doesn’t have to rotate. As picture show below, ask someone to hold the skein of thread is another option. Or you could use two polls, too. You can purchase the blue plastic wheel from us if you are interested. We have 2 of these in stock. (Be advised that the wheel I use is pretty fragile… if you know any better product, please let me know!)
The biggest advantage of making Sashiko Thread Bobbin is that you can decide the length of thread you use for the project, without wasting the remaining thread. Another reason I make bobbins is that they look very beautiful and give me an inspiration. The various color of Sashiko thread makes me excited and calm simultaneously. It is probably the scenery I was grown up with.
I would like to invest some money on the Bobbin holder (The brown thick paper I introduce on the video / The cool designed board shown in the photo above). Wait for another update and join me if I start the “Bobbin Holder Making Project.”
Thank you for watching the video / reading our tutorial.
People often have a question how to transfer Sashiko patterns onto the fabric. Yes. Sashiko isn’t always about stitching. Preparing the fabric properly is a very important aspect of Sashiko.
Here is a tutorial how to transfer Sashiko Patterns by using a carbon paper
An easy and accurate way to transfer Sashiko patterns is to use a carbon (transfer) paper. Using proper tools will result in beautiful patterns on fabric. Here is a list of tools and supplies you need to follow this tutorial.
Chakopee Carbon Paper (Transfer Paper) *2
Mylar Paper *3
We, as Sashi.Co, mostly transfer pattern on the back side of fabric
We use Japanese Mylar paper. However, any Cello/Poly paper should work. It should be strong enough to hold the pressure (prevent being torn.)
A regular copy paper is fine. Since tracing require a strong pressure, the pattern paper will be discarded after a single usage.
The necessary materials above are available on this website. Check the purchase list.
A video will explain about the layers well, but here is the order of the layer. The number is the order to place the fabric and/or papers on the table. (Bottom to Up after completing it)
Chakopee Paper (Shinning side facing down to fabric)
Securing the all 4 layers. A tracing process with strong pressure can shift any layers.
Make sure to pin the 4 layers you made now. I usually use safety pins, but any kind of pin should work. Even clips would be fine as long as the layers are secured from shifting. Another tip is to NOT to pin it at one corner so that you can check the pattern in the middle of tracing without shifting the pattern.
Transfer Sashiko pattern by Tracing
I usually use a red-colored ballpoint pen to distinguish the line I traced. You may use any kind of pen (a pencil may be weak for the required pressure), and tracing tools such as a tracing wheel. Make sure to trace strongly enough to push the tracing paper onto the fabric. You may check the results in the process untiil you understand that required pressure. The pressure is depended on the Cello paper you choose.
Check the result. Support the weak transfer.
You should see the white line on the fabric. (You may see different color if you purchase the different tracing paper.)
If you find some lines with weaker chalk transfer, then use a white pencil (or chalk pencil) to support the line. In the process of Sashiko, the pattern may vanish because of sweat from hands or friction of fabric. Use the pencil as you need.
And Sashiko Stitch!!
After that, Enjoy the Sashiko Stitching!
Keep it in your mind that I usually transfer the pattern on the back of the fabric. Since the patterns will be washed away, you can, of course, transfer the pattern on the front side. It is up to you, but for some reasons, I keep transferring the patterns on the back.
Leave the comments on Youtube Video if you have questions about transferring the pattern. I will try my best to answer it.