Sashiko and a little trip to Quilts UK.

The art of Sashiko been a big trend over the years and Clover has the perfect needles for your projects. I’ve always wanted to have a go so, when Clover sent me some to try out, I was eager to start. For those that aren’t familiar with Sashiko, it is a stitching technique developed in Japan and was used to repair and strengthen clothing – thus creating Boro stitching where fabric is applied to mend clothing. The designs are ordered, repeated geometric shapes with a precision to the position of the stitches.  

As luck would have it, some close friends took a trip to Japan earlier this year. The photos and the experiences they returned with were enviable but the one thing that I was really jealous of was the Sashiko shop they came across. 

What a treasure trove of beautifully crafted work: From cushions to umbrellas, wallhangings to kitchen items and fans. The different patterns which make this needlework so distinctive can be seen. As a gift they very kindly brought me back a skein of Sashiko thread in white, although you can get it in a rainbow of colours and even some with a little sparkle. Sashiko thread is not like the embroidery threads we commonly use. It is a single wound strand which would move with the base fabric and leave the repaired item stronger than it was originally. The stitching also added warmth to the garment. 

But what design should I choose? This is where a good book is always a worthwhile investment (and a good option for your birthday/Christmas gift list, which is what I’d done last year.) Susan Briscoe is renowned for her work in this field and so I turned to her book, ‘Sashiko 365’. A different design for every day which can be used to make a sampler quilt or as design inspiration.  

So, what makes these needles special? Coated with a Gold-Eye plating, these Sashiko needles have a unique elliptical design for easy threading. The sharp point allows the needles to smoothly glide through the fabric while the extreme toughness of the steel makes the needles virtually impossible to bend or break.

The needles were certainly easy to thread and the steel slips through the fabric so easily, like the proverbial knife through butter. They are truly beautiful to use; strong, smooth and sharp. As it happened I visited the Quilts UK show at Malvern shortly after receiving the needles so I invested in some beautiful fabric to try out Sashiko. Susan herself was at the show with her book so I was able to have a little chat with her about it. And when I say I had to ‘invest’ in some fabrics and threads – what did I buy? I started with choosing some different threads. A multicoloured skein and some pastel coloured threads with a hint of silver. I couldn’t resist one of her printed Sashiko panels which has been brilliant as an introduction. A selection of fabrics which Susan called her Northern Lights collection and a printed fabric pack to extend my Sashiko experience into Boro…That’s for another blog but for now, I’m hooked! 

If anyone is interested in an introductory session on Sashiko, let me know and we will arrange a workshop.

Clover Sashiko Needles are available in two types, both packs containing assorted sizes.

Sashiko Needles (CL2007) 8 per pack RRP £5.06 approx. 

Sashiko Long Needles (CL2009) 3 per pack. RRP £3.96 approx.

For stockist information, contact Clover email: 

Published by strictlyquilting

Tutor, designer but above all a quilter.

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