It’s fabric, it’s thread, and it’s using a soft open running stitch with which you create an embroidery design onto the fabric. Traditionally, the fabric is navy with white or off white thread. I love the simplicity of the design and the repeating geometric of many of them. When I look at this I see order, and beauty, and a new fabric at the end! People actually stitch chunks of fabric to be used later in other projects.Wiki says Sashiko was traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches. I have seen modern Japanese quilts that have Sashiko worked onto denim and blue fabrics in a simplistic style. I remembered reading those were a modern take on the ancient need to … well… basically mend clothing!
So I took a cruise around the internet and learned that Sashiko originated in rural Japan in the 18th century. It seems the stitching was designed for strengthening a single layer of fabric or for patching worn clothing. Sometimes it was also used for quilting together several layers of fabric for warmth and durability.
For more inspiration you can explore “Bandana Almanac” which is a great photography and fabric blog from Osaka, Japan.There are many modern takes on Sashiko. I love how this runner incorporated traditional patchwork blocks with the circles of Sashiko. Lucky for me as I looked around the internet I found not only loads of quilts (do a Google image search), but there are a lot of videos on YouTube, and even places to buy pre-printed backgrounds… I love that!
What are you going to learn this year?