Monday, 4 January 2010

Sashiko from Russia

No, I didn't make these! Anna Kostyukhina, aka marmotte_stitch on LiveJournal, sent me an email and some photos of her beautiful sashiko pieces (this link should give you an autotranslation of her blog - if not, click the first link and use Google's language tool and cut & paste the address from the first link).

She writes -

I am a very big fan of yours and I have actually learned sashiko from your books. Since then, sashiko has become one of my most favourite embroidery styles. I remember you once asked your readers to send photos of completed projects from your books. I will try to do it this year, so let it be one of my NY resolutions :-)

I've been using jeans fabric in two cases, and I wonder what you think about it...

The mobile phone case (above) and the sewing case (below) are two pieces Anna made using denim. I think the use of shaded sashiko thread is particularly effective on denim - it isn't the easiest fabric for stitching sashiko, as the twill weave tends to make the stitch length look smaller in one direction than the other, as I found when I stitched sashiko on a denim hat. However, this isn't obvious on Anna's work - all her stitches look beautifully even!

A mobile phone case is something I've never included in my books, as phones change size and shape so quickly these days, so whatever pattern I used would be out of date by the time the book were published. But, as Anna shows, it is easy to adapt a little kinchaku bag style to fit the phone you use.

This neat little sewing roll is perfect for sewing snips (nigiribasami) -

Here in Russia we have two of your sashiko books, the 'Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook' and the 'Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match', and I also have your wonderful 'Japanese Sashiko Inspirations' in English. This is a very lovely book, I really admire your imagination and the way you offer a unique technique taster to every project. This book has become one of my favourite reference sources both for the embroidery and sewing tips.

You wrote about teaching in Prague, and I recollected a comment from one of my online friends who lives in Czech Republic and who saw your quilt from the Japanese Quilt Blocks at an exhibition in Prage last year (or maybe in 2008). When she saw my first attempts at sashiko kamons, she said that she'd just seen the same on a quilt! When she described the quilt I realised it was yours. I am not a quilter myself (apart from needlework and embroidery, my second hobby is soapmaking), but I really admire this art, I think it requires lots of precision and patience.

This is my quilt that travelled to Prague last year - as it appeared in "Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match" (i.e. before quilting) -

- and here are Anna's mini versions of some of the same kamon crests.

We are still more or less snowed in at Mt Zion - perhaps I should say iced in? Several nights of -5 degrees C. have frozen the snow into icy ridges, and the wind is making it feel even colder tonight. But it is warmer than Moscow!

This January is really cold in Moscow, it was -20 yesterday and -15 today. However, this is no longer usual for Moscow winters, as the climate is changing and we no longer have severe frosts for more than four or five days in a row. -5 seems very comfortable :-) Do you still suffer from snow? I've seen reports last week that the whole UK and Europe were paralized by snow, but we have the same problem here: each snowstorm turns the entire city into a traffic jam. Yet, I think this weather is very becoming to the New Year holidays, and I enjoy it very much. I hope you'll have a chance to visit Russia one day and see it for yourself.

Appropriately, sashiko is supposed to look like snow on the ground...

Thanks very much for sending the photos Anna! Happy stitching in 2010!


Anonymous said...

Dear Susan, thank you so much for posting photos of my sashiko on your blog! I am really honoured and full of inspiration for my next projects. I am sure that all of your readers worldwide are now eagerly waiting for your new sashiko book, and I wish you lots of success with this project.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it is amazing. Is Sashko very big in Russia,too?
I am a Japanese Mom who likes quilting and wants to start sashiko. I discovered this blog of yours recently and keep visiting here very often. Sashiko is somehow good hobby for old ladies here in Japan but I am trying to do it and wants to mix with my quilt.


Anonymous said...

These are just amazing! fantastic work. :)