Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Coming soon in sashiko - tennyo sashiko pattern and hand-dyed fabrics!

After working on "The Denman Kannon", I wanted to explore more pictorial designs in sashiko. The Buddhist angel (tennyo) design above is on an embroidered antique uchishiki (altar cloth) I bought online. It isn't very large and was probably used for a smaller Buddhist altar (butsudan) at home. Details are shown below.

I am going to scale up the design to fit an A3 sheet of paper, so I can print it easily, and bring it out as a new sashiko pattern as soon as possible - if all goes well, I may have it in time for the Autumn Quilt Festival at Malvern.

My quilting friend Reiko Domon made this beautiful quilt, "Tennyo Asobi" (playing angels) based on a panel at a temple in Nara which she visited. The angels are done with stained glass applique over a log cabin background. There is some sashiko in the centre but it is more obvious in the border, where Reiko has used parts of vintage kurotomesode formal kimono and added Shonai sashiko stitching. I like the feeling of movement in images like this and Reiko's quilt encouraged me to seek out some designs with a similar dynamic.


I plan to produce a traceable pattern for "The Denman Kannon" centre panel too, but it will have to be on two A1 sheets, including the outline and the instructions for the various hitomezashi patterns used in the centre.

My next large sashiko project is going be based on this design -

Another pattern possibility is this fukusa (a gift cloth for special occasions) which has a magnificent phoenix. Once again, the feathers give a great sense of movement and dynamism to the design. I think it may need to be about A2 size for sufficient detail.


Quilters and embroiderers often ask me about what kinds of fabric to use for sashiko. Of course there are fabrics made for sashiko (Euro Japan Links Limited have the best range in the UK). Tsumugi cotton, striped (which I sell) or plain, is also good. Over the last few months, I have had some recycled Japanese cottons onsale at quilt shows, and these have gone very well. So long as you like indigo blues, there is plenty of choice. However, the vintage recycled fabrics are becoming harder for me to find, along with the plain coloured cottons I use for my bag kits. Sashiko fabric is rarely seen in some colours - purples being a case in point. So I have decided to start dyeing some of my own colours for use in my kits and for sale at shows and workshops. The colours won't be precisely repeatable and I plan to dye the fabric in five metre lengths, to keep it manageable. If it is a success, I may also start producing shaded fabrics. Watch this space!

1 comment:

Sally Westcott said...

Waiting with baited breathe!! How exciting!