Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sashiko Coasters

Sashiko (which means little stabs) is an old Japanese hand-sewing technique originating in rural areas of Japan. It involves a decorative running stitch creating interlocking designs, generally white thread on indigo-dyed homespun fabric. Sashiko is often used in the layering of cloth, like quilting, which adds durability as well as much-needed warmth.

To get a feel for the technique on a small scale before starting my larger project, I tried a sashiko coaster kit found at Bella Quiltworks here in Tucson.

Here are the five coasters I made—I love the white against the indigo fabric. It was problematic getting that rich indigo color to show up well and it looks black in the photos.

The instructions called for simply folding over the edges and stitching them to finish the coasters, but I added a layer of flannel as interfacing and backed the coasters with leftover Japanese-print fabric from my stash.

I bought
The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook to learn more about sashiko. It provides lots of great information, a pattern library, and a number of projects with instructions.

Kake-Jiku: Images of Japan in Applique, Fabric Origami, and Sashiko is already in my little craft library. It has an appliqué project incorporating sashiko I’d like to try, too.


Lots of information is available about sashiko, but here are a few links to get you started.


calamitykim said...

excellent! I went to the Purl so ho site and dug it! What size quilt are you going to make? did you get indigo fabric for it? are you going to become a geisha?
oh, so many questions...so many stitches...have a happy day calamity june!

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Another great project! You must really show us where all this magic happens. I would love to see your studio!
((hugs)) Rosie

Fiona @ Dragonfly-Crafts said...

Oh June they are just stunning.
I love the indigo fabric with the light cotton. Beautiful.

Jennifer said...

Those coasters are just lovely! Great job with this technique!

Thimbleanna said...

Very pretty June! Now I'm wondering what your bigger project will be!

Pat said...

Once upon a time I did crewel work when it was popular in the 70's, so Sashiko looks like a technique that even I could do! Simple straight running stitches in a design that makes a beautiful end product.
I looked at all the links and resources, and the Purl Bee tutorial made it looks so easy!
The fabric origami in the second book looks so unique and beautiful.
I can just imagine the masterpiece you will make incorporating all these skills, June.

Thanks for continued inspiration!

Hugs, Pat

Yummers! said...

Oh, that Junie Moon... Another idea to add to my ever-growing list. You're wearing me out. Your coasters are lovely and I read all the links you provided. Very interesting!! Thanks for taking the time to add them to your post.

Alice said...

You must seek out Nancy Shriber's work or take a class from her if you get the chance. She is a fabulous teacher and takes sashiko to a whole new level. Her website is http://www.contemporarysashiko.com

BTW - love your coasters!

hunnybunny said...

I'm so happy to see this here! I've been looking into this technique as something I might try with my oldest over the summer. It's just beautiful and I think might actually keep her attention for more than two minutes.

Cat said...

Oh that technique is gorgeous. I love how you lined the back of the coasters.


Jen said...

I've been wanting to try this but have been too intimidated. The coasters are a great idea for a first project.

albertapostcards said...

June, by visiting your blog and 2 or 3 others by those like you who are productive and creative in sewing, I have been re-inspired to take up sewing again. I had a conversation with hubby over the weekend and he's agreed we can dismantle our spare bedroom now that we won't be having stayovers anymore. We need to get rid of the bedroom furniture so I can make room for a sewing table and some shelving. I can hardly wait to get my old sewing machine out of the closet and set up ready to go whenever I get these needle and thread urges!