Yesterday I started my Sashiko embroidery, and have really enjoyed trying something new. I found it very therapuetic and relaxing to be sewing slowly by hand and concentrating on something rather than quickly on my machine. The design I chose is called 'square shippo' and is made up from diamond shapes. It is printed onto Indigo fabric and I chose to use traditional white thread, but there is a wide range of coloured thread.
It actually looks quite daunting when you first look at the pattern, but as you break it down into different lines, you will find that it is not.
When you embroider you work across the work usually horizontally and then the vertical lines, finally the outside edges, as my lines run diagonally I worked all the lines going one way and will then work the lines (or more of a zig zag) going across the other way when those are complete.
When you start off you need to measure a piece of thread the length of the row you are going to sew (allow a little surplus to tie a knot at the end). Thread through your needle ( there are sashiko needles available, but any embroidery needle would do) and put a knot in end of thread. Push needle up from the back of the panel into the right hand side of the first dash (stitch) marked in the row and pull the thread all the way through.
You then insert the needle up and down through the fabric so that you have multiple stiches on the needle (maybe start with three or four, you can do more as you become more comfortable), and then pull the thread through. You will need to pull the fabric taut when you have done each needle full of stitches so as not to pucker the fabric.
'Loading' the needle before pulling the thread through.......
You can get a special Sashiko thimble that helps to push the needle through the fabric, but I managed without, so its not really neccessary.
When you have worked you first line across the panel and knoted the thread off, measure another piece of thread and start at the side where your last row finished so you are working back across the panel in the oppersite direction, this also prevents the fabric puckering.
Warning - the front panel (marked with stitches and back plain panel are all in one piece, make sure you keep the plain back panel away from the piece you are stitching or you may do as I did and stitch it to the front panel and then have to unpick the whole row of stitches ! You could actually cut the back panel off depending on what you are going to make the panel into, I intend to make a cushion so I can fold it across ans stitch around...
I have now worked all the zig zag lines in this direction and just need to repeat in the same way in the other direction and lastly stitch around the outside....You will have to wait to see the finished article...
I hope that this mini tutorial is of use to someone, I tried to make it simple, because it really is..and a lovely new technique to try for less than a tenner, can't beat that !