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Posts Tagged ‘sashiko’

I was asked to come up with three cards for assorted birthdays and anniversaries in short order this week and having no time to start anything completely from scratch, I went delving into a box of assorted bits and pieces and managed to come up with five finished cards in a day!

First was a piece I started at a 2015 workshop on sculpting silk paper with Linda Rudkin. Sashiko stitching on a scrap of indigo dyed sheeting. This one was completely finished and just needed mounting.

Next a couple of cards created from some samples I made playing with a soldering iron. This one has been enhanced with a scattering of silk French knots.

I finished it by stitching it onto the blue silk backing with herringbone stitch in the same thread.

I’d already started couching a frothy white thread round this sample when I found it.

The layered spirals and slashes combined with the frothy white thread made me think of the way artists like Hiroshige and Hokusai represent sea foam in ukiyo-e prints. I carried on doodling with the couched thread and added some split stitch spirals with the cream silk thread I was using to couch it down and two nuggets of sea glass.

Finished as a card.

Next up a piece of crazy patchwork that I stitched at least ten ago. I had half thought about appliqueing it onto a shoulder bag made from the cut off bottom of a pair of jeans. But the upcycled bags I’ve made in past from jeans bottoms and patchwork panels had very little interest when I tried to sell them, so I decided a card was the more sensible option.

And last, one of the back ground pieces from our teabags workshop with Fran Holmes in October 2019. This literally only needed about a dozen stitches into the lace border to finish it!

So not only did I manage to deliver the three requested cards, I actually have some in reserve for upcoming celebrations. Makes quite a change to be beforehand with the world instead of chasing my tail!

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With the reopening of non-essential shops this week, the Persian Chandelier and most other ongoing projects have been put aside and my stitching and making has been focussed on building up my jewellery stock.

First, a new sea glass necklace.

I started with a vintage rolled gold pendant which had lost its stone and found a sea glass piece that fitted it perfectly in my dwindling collection of Seaham multis – this one clear with a smudge of pink. Then I added a delicate rolled gold necklace and found some perfectly frosted pink and white glass beads to replace the existing beads which luckily match the sea glass piece perfectly.

It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

I’ve also been altering another fabric brooch from a job lot of junk jewellery. This one was simply a piece of woollen checked fabric needle felted onto a square of black wool with a random button and a brooch back sewn on. I removed the button and while going through my found object stash for the Mandala Brooches, I found what I think might have been part of a fishing fly and a hemispherical panel from a bracelet which both appealed.

I used my go-to variegated metallic Madeira thread to stitch both elements down and add stitches into the fabric around the main part of the fishing fly. It isn’t supposed to be anything in particular but I think it looks a little like a comet!

Sashiko stitching on tiny scraps of indigo dyed cotton with silk thread mounted in a vintage brooch setting have become another boro-style brooch.

I’m really pleased with the sashiko pattern on this one, especially as I did it by eye, and it really pulls the separate scraps of fabric into a whole.

It’s available in my Etsy shop here.

Lastly, some experimenting with knotted stitches in this sort of crewel work style sample. Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch and French Knots on the left, German Knotted Buttonhole in the middle and middle right and Palestrina Stitch and Pistil Stitch top right. Chain Stitch and Four-Legged Knot bottom right and the stem is Coral Stitch and Satin Stitch.

Hopefully I can get back on track this week and I have high hopes of being able to stitch outside if the weather stays good!

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This was great fun to make. The starting point was a flat golden ring which came in one of my usual job lots of broken jewellery. No idea what it once was, but I love something I can use as a frame.

I combined some scraps of indigo dyed cotton with sashiko stitching to make a centre for it. I can’t bear to throw away even tiny scraps when they are so pretty and this boro style of stitching is the perfect way of letting them shine.

I gathered up the boro stitched piece around a circle of buckram and then made another plain one with a lovely shibori pattern running across it for the back.

I ladder stitched them together and then stuck the whole thing into the frame.

I wanted to flank the pendant with some cylindrical boro beads, so I stared with a long rectangle of fabric and wound it round my buttonhole ring stick to get an idea of how much fabric would be visible around the outside of the bead when it was all wound up. I stitched a square of fabric – these pieces are getting progressively smaller and smaller! – onto the outside section…

…and then wound the fabric back onto the stick, pinned it and started to buttonhole stitch around the edges to hold it in place.

Once I’d buttonholed top and bottom I continued the stitching over the raw edge to neaten it and close it up. Then onto the second one.

Once that was finished I could get a better idea of how the necklace was going to look.

I felt the fabric beads needed something, perhaps with a different texture, to keep them away from the pendant, so I started hunting through my beads. These hand made glass beads were perfect – the same colours as the embroidery but the shine of the glass contrasts well with the softness of the fabric.

With the addition of a couple of jump rings stitched to the back of the pendant and a gold plated chain, we have a finish!

Available shortly in my Etsy shop!

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Stitching quicker and quicker as we realise we’re going to run out of thread (or wool – I’ve done it with knitting too…). Why do we do it?! It makes no sense at all – the thread will run out when it runs out!

My bout of Embroidery Chicken happened this week when I started stitching the ‘mortar’ round the medieval tiles, I was using a subtly variegated perle that was a one off skein from a long defunct independent seller.

I started filling in the spaces between the corners and then realised that there wasn’t a lot of thread left. So I started to stitch faster and faster, trying to estimate how much was left and how much I could reasonably get done; which would be the most important lines to do in the primary thread; whether I could find the matching stranded cotton; whether it would be better to match the colour or the thread type… My mind going round in circles until I got to this point…

…and realised that I was going to be able to outline all the blocks after all. Not with a lot to spare, but it was achievable. At which point my stitch rate virtually halved!

Luckily I still have plenty of the silk thread left for the boro pendant. The two sections are now ladder stitched together, stuck into the gold ring and I’ve made a start on the boro stitched cylinder beads for the bib section.

The smaller rectangle on the left of the strips is what will be seen when they are rolled up and that’s where I’m going to stitch. Tiny patches of indigo on indigo.

I’m also back onto birthday cards again and a Lake District themed one for a friend’s dad. Adding autumn colour to a vintage postcard of the Langdale Pikes with French knots in one strand of stranded cotton.

I’m glad I started in good time, because the knots are taking a long while as usual, but it is quite effective and I’m really pleased with the colour match of the variegated thread.

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After a bit of thinking I decided to stitch the medieval tiles piece not as a whole cloth as I had with the paisleys, but to separate each print into a tile shaped block. When I came to draw out the ‘mortar’ lines I was quite pleased that the ’tiles’ weren’t exactly in line with each other. It made it feel a bit more hand crafted in a way.

Then I started on the stitching which is going to be rows of split stitch to give a little bit of texture and hide definite stitch beginnings and endings.

I had a couple of good sized offcuts when I trimmed the printed piece down last week. Actually, rereading that has made me laugh. To me, a good sized offcut is anything larger than a credit card – I think most people would put my offcuts in the bin! Anyway, I didn’t. I decided to turn them into bookmarks for stocking fillers.

I edged the main motif in back stitch and then added seed stitches in a fine thread almost the same colour as the background.

Then I ironed on some interfacing which I dyed with silk paints and blanket stitched all round the edge.

Debbie pointed out that if you turn your head and look at the motifs from the side, they look like reindeer heads. Yup, they do and I can’t unsee it now!

A lovely accident for me is how on the back, the reverse of the back stitch pushes through the interfacing in ghostly lines like parch marks or earth works.

The other scraps I’ve been stitching are really tiny ones, about the size of postage stamps, to make a boro piece for an upcycled bib necklace. The inspiration was the gold coloured ring at the top – no idea what that might once have been.

I forgot to take a photo of it in my hand, but again, it’s small, just not quite as tiny as the recent lockets. Sashiko thread would have been too big, so it’s stitched in cream silk.

I chose a piece of shibori fabric for the back and gathered up and laced both pieces over circles of vilene to give them some body.

Next they need to be stitched together and stuck into the gold ring before I start on some boro fabric beads for the rest of the bib. Not done anything like that before so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out!

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I missed almost all of the June meeting with Gilli Theokritoff at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild as I was working that day, but I did make it through the door in time to lay my hands on the kit for the afternoon project which was stitching samples of hitomezashi sashiko, which are more like all over patterns than big designs. I didn’t manage to start the kit until I went down to London to visit my eldest a fortnight ago but it was perfect to stitch on the train.

The difference with Gilli’s method is that she has a piece of interfacing already marked out with a regular pattern of dots ironed onto the back of the fabric. You work from the wrong side and don’t have any marks on the front to get rid of.

The first sample starts as jujizashi (cross stitch). I used a variegated sashiko thread in lovely shades of blue.

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Then you add one set of diagonal lines.

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The second sample was kikkozashi, or tortoise stitch. This starts with a foundation of yokogushi, which are staggered vertical rows. The horizontal rows are formed by weaving the thread under the opposite stitches to give an effect like the plates of a tortoise’s shell.

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Finally I added some straight stitches in the middle of the ‘plates’.

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They are going to become book covers, so I’ve laced them over some squares of greyboard.

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And am probably going to line them with this gorgeous scrap of Japanese kimono fabric.

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Just need to decide on fabric or paper pages.

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The follow on course from the kantha and boro was boro and sashiko and as well as showing various pieces I’ve stitched over the years, I created a new sample piece for this, illustrating how a piece of boro could start to become sashiko.

First, arranging scraps of kimono fabric and indigo dyed cottons onto a cotton base layer. before tacking them down. The partly stitched piece in the middle is a scrap of unfinished sashiko from a very long time ago (2011 to be exact…).

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Simple running stitch becomes a rectangular spiral.

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The partial sashiko becomes rice stitch and I try my hand at keeping free hand cross stitch regular.

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Putting fabric marks in helped with the cross stitch, but I ended up aligning each row of stitches to the previous row and that worked better.

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The even rows became boxes.

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And a tiny scrap needed some bamboo leaves.

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It’s still not quite finished, but it was a pleasure to sew in that rhythmic, mindful way and I do prefer this type of boro/sashiko to stitching the beautiful but almost ‘paint-by’numbers’ of the intricate sashiko designs you get in kits.

And incidentally, our Fabric Fair was a huge success. Considering this was a relatively niche market in small town North Lincolnshire on a Sunday morning, we had a great turn out with locals and people coming from much further afield. There were some great traders with a wide selection of items and it was really positive to see so many people with a love of textiles gathered together.

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After Saturday’s talk, a whole Sunday workshop with Alice Fox. We had just been asked to bring our normal sewing kits plus threads, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, making it even more exciting. There was a tempting array of papers, threads and ephemera laid out…

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…along with some examples of Alice’s own work for inspiration. To start, we were each given a selection of different papers…

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…and a prompt sheet asking us to explore how it felt to stitch into them. I used a template from my silversmithing course five years ago to do some feather stitch in various weights of thread..

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I really liked the rough texture I got from putting stitching holes into the heavy tracing paper, so once I’d stitched through it, I used a metalworking scribe to mark wavy lines into the paper without piercing it before punching varying sized holes from either the front (smooth) or the back (rough).

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I really like the differences of line and texture on this. And it reminds me of the sea.

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The next prompt was cutting and patching.

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So a piece of old map cut along the grid lines became the fragment on the right.

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As you can see, by this time I had succumbed and made a little book for my fragments. It started off as an origami book, folded from a single piece of paper with one cut, but I wanted a bit more stability and to have access to all the sides of the pages, so I pamphlet stitched it in two places and tore the double pages into singles. Winging it, but it works.

Next was couching.  I followed the road and river lines on this scrap of map.

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By this time we were all engrossed in our own thing, and although there were two more prompts about deconstructing marked papers and accentuating printed marks, everyone was well away with their cutting, stitching, tearing, patching and experimenting.

At the end of the day we ended up with with a fascinating range of responses.

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Alice uses rusting quite a lot in her work and so when I got home to my rusty washers, I couldn’t resist some mark making on tea soaked paper.

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My little book was over half full by the time the workshop ended.

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With my rust and tea stained papers and these that I didn’t get round to exploring…

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…I have every intention of playing with some more of Alice’s prompts and completing my little book!

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I worked a bit more on Shy Bird at Stitch Club last Saturday at the beginning of a fantastic two days of embroidery which I’ll blog about a bit later, and his wing is now completed.

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Now that he’s firmly fixed as part of the family, he came out with us to lunch yesterday at Mount Pleasant Windmill, Kirton Lindsey. The girls and I had worked extremely hard all morning and I decided we deserved a treat. As all the sandwiches are handmade to order, it’s not the place to go if you’re in a hurry, but we love it and were happy to just sit and enjoy a rest and chat while I worked on Shy Bird.

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In order to fit around the curves of his eyes, I started following the outline of his head in split stitch, using the same crewel wool that I used for his tail and wing.

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When we got home, another hour stitching in the garden until I got rained off got me this far:

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You may remember that he was originally going to be a travelling book piece and that I had to come up with something new at short notice. I decided to go for a piece of work based on a Sashiko exhibition I saw in York back in 2009. I transcribed my sketchbook notes and sketches…

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…gathered some pieces of fabric in shades of green and machined them onto a piece of water soluble fabric. The first layer:

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And then I completely forgot to photograph the second layer, which incorporates the interlocking v-shapes or the finished piece when I’d washed the stabiliser away, or the final spread. I shall just have to wait until the books return in September and try and get a photo then!

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I’ve finished a couple of samples for my sketch book. First, the slightly sashiko inspired stitching on the screen printing I did here. It was a piece cut from my last print of the day and unwashed, like the other bits.

Slightly sashiko 1

Inspired by a ukiyo-e print of people with umbrellas scuttling through the rain, I stitched the dark areas with long running stitches in natural undyed silk and then following the waves imagery I added french knots to the edges of the curling shapes.

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Then I had a page of notes about ruching fabric but no samples as I’d used the one I made as part of my rusting quilt, so a piece of hand dyed purple muslin and a square of gold silk dupion later…

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I do like this effect. Scrunching up a much bigger piece of fabric into gentle folds in a smaller space and then nestling french knots clusters into the valleys and crevices.

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The soft texture of the muslin works perfectly for this type of work.

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Just a sketchbook sample with scraps, but I had fun with it.

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