Sashiko 101
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Sashiko
Sashiko is a traditional Japanese stitching technique that was born in Northern area of Japan hundreds years ago. The ladies of farmer families stitched with cotton thread in order to retain heat well and to strengthen cotton/linen fabric.
There are three major Sashiko techniques, "Shonai Sashiko", "Hishi-sashi" and "Kogin-sashi". The technique simply called "Sashiko" usually means "Shonai Sashiko". Many traditional patterns have been created and used for "Shonai Sashiko". "Seikai-ha" (Sea waves), "Asa-no-ha" (Flax leaves), "Nowaki" (Windblown grasses) and "Shippo-tsunagi" (linked flower crests) are well known patterns. Nowadays, in addition to traditional patterns, simplified patterns of animals, birds, plants and anything related to life are used for Sashiko.

Materials for Sashiko
(1) Cloth : Flat-woven,loose-wover of Cotton or Linen.
(2)Sashiko needle:
    
Olympus Sashiko needles should be used only for Sashiko stitching because they were developed for its purpose.
(3)Thread : Sashiko thread or Pearl Cotton #25
  Note : If you quilt, please use a sewing needle instead of Sashiko needle..
Olympus Sashiko threads
One skein of Olympus Sashiko threads is 40 meters long (44 yds). Remove the paper band and open out the skein. Look for the extra loop of thread tied around the skein and cut through all the threads at this point. Hold the other end of the skein and loosely plait the threads to keep them tidy. Drew out individual threads from the top of the plait. The thread you just pulled out is about 36" long. Cut it in half if you are going to stitch small designs.
How to thread the eye of a needle by hand
If you use a needle threader, please handle it very slowly and carefully not to damage the eye of a needle.
How to stitch
   Sew stitch by stitch in order to make a thread line soft and fluffy.                      
  Use an Olympus Sashiko long needle for straight & long line. (Running stitch)
Note
In order to pull out a needle
and thread easily, storoke and
stretch the fabric gently by fingers.
How to begin stitching
Start by taking 2 - 3 stitches towards the start of the stitch line, going in the opposite deirection to your planned route, then turn around and stitch back over your first stitches from the back of the fabric. To end the stitching, repeat this in reverse - about 1/2 - 1" of overlapped stitches will be enough to stop stitches coming undone.
How to join threads How to end stitching
To join threads, bring the new thread up from the back of fabric a few stitches before the end of the previous line of stitching. Stitch along the existing stitches to secure the thread. To end stitching ; bring the needle to the back side of the cloth, and stitch back the last 2 - 3 small stitches.
Enjoy stitching Sashiko ! Illustration by Yo
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