Thursday, 2 April 2009

Sashiko Style Workshop

I was hoping to have this piece finished before I blogged it but I seem to be posting very little at the moment so I thought I would show you what I have been doing on the last two Tuesdays. The workshop offered at Westgate Crafts was to make a Sashiko style wall hanging. I have to emphasise the word "style" as it will become evident that this is an interpretation and does not adhere to the formal rules of Sashiko. However, the workshops have been fun and have encouraged me to find out more about Sashiko. (Hopefully this link will take you to Google images).
To begin we used acetate templates to cut out the leaf shapes from suitable cotton fabric. I have used some of my previously handyed fabric. We then used embroidery threads to secure the leaves in place with a buttonhole stitch and used split stitch to describe the veins. The links will take you to Sharon Boggon's Stitch Dictionary which is a treasure trove of instruction for embroidery stitches and which has links to Sharon's blog which will keep you amused and fascinated for hours!
Sally, the tutor, showed us how to turn a corner correctly and securely with buttonhole stitch. I'm not sure if I can actually describe it in words here. Basically, after you have looped the thread under the needle you take the needle through to the back of the work to secure the loop. You then come back up through the loop and continue as before. (Clear as mud?)
My handsewing is a slow business so it took me all lasts week's workshop and a couple more hours at home to sew the leaves on.
Next step was to baste/tack a piece of calico to the base fabric ready for the Sashiko style stitching. Sashiko is usually stitched to a set pattern and is mostly decorative today. It usually conforms to strict balance in the numbers of stitches used in repeat areas of the design but for our purposes we did not employ repeats and just endeavoured to keep the length of the stitches and spaces between even. Having said that, the gap should be about 2/3rds of the length of the stitch. The thread used was Perle 8. I think my stitches may be a little large but I did eventually get into a rhythm of stitching. I have read that Sashiko is a stlye of running stitch but we were told to make one stitch at a time taking the needle vertically through the fabric. This method would be more effective in quilting the fabric to keep air between the layers which would have been important to the original sewers who were trying to extend the life of their garments and make them warm.
The lines of Sashiko were sketched onto the fabric with a chalk pencil. The design is not mine but the tutor's, although I needn't have followed her pattern.
The backing fabric has been pinned and I still have to finish the binding and am handsewing that. You'll have to come back to see if I manage the mitred corners! I am planning to make a smaller Journal Quilt for April using this method. I'm in a bit of a panic about it as April has already started and this is the first month we have to submit details of the quilts! And I've got my Mum coming to stay for a fortnight! Help!!!
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Heather said...

This piece is so lovely - the Sashiko stitching gives it such life.

imac said...

Your heart and soul shows in this piece of work

sandra wyman said...

It could be worse - March's JQ is still in my head and I've only got a rough idea of April's.

This piece looks very promising, Julie. Enjoy having your Mum to stay.

WendyK said...

It's lovely Julie, I love the way the stitching brings it all to life.

Julie said...

Thank you Wendy. It was fun to do although a little hard on the hands - all that sewing!

DeeMom said...


Gina said...

That looks lovely Julie. Enjoy the time with your Mum!

sharon young said...

What an interesting technique, Julie, I really like the effect of quilting, but this is more of an art form, I think.
Many thanks for your detailed explanation, I may have to have a go at it. Looking forward to seeing your piece finished.
A lovely comment from your DH.
Have a lovely time with you Mum :-)

maggi said...

The stitching really does add so much movement. This is a great idea for your April JQ.

Aussie Jo said...

The sashiko stitching is very effective on this. At least the indigo fabric base is traditional!


Julie, it's nice to see work in progress because we can then appreciae all the work that goes into each piece created