Monday, 18 September 2017

Sashiko in Stockton and Sashiko on tartan

Last week saw the start of the new sashiko course in Stockton-on-Tees.  I managed to have a rather nasty cold by Tuesday and I didn't feel on top form, but everyone seemed to enjoy their first session. We were so busy stitching, I forgot to take any photos!  So the picture above is from one of the Edinburgh sashiko courses - I think it might be from the first one.  The Stockton course is over 10 slightly shorter sessions rather than the usual 8, so I've allowed a little extra time to explore the first hitomezashi (one stitch) sashiko patterns.  Our first class focused on yokogushi (horizontal rows) and woven patterns like kikkozashi (tortoiseshell hexagon stitch - centre top in the photo).  Next time, we will be exploring variations on komezashi (rice stitch) and linked juujizashi ('10' or cross stitch), so everyone is stitching samples with crosses as their homework, like the ones in the centre of the second and third rows.

If you are interested in my sashiko courses in Scotland, there are still a few places for the Edinburgh course (held at Edinburgh Patchwork) which starts on Saturday 7th October and the Perth course (at The Peacock and the Tortoise), starting on Thursday 28th September.  Bookings for Edinburgh are via me and for Perth you need to contact the shop.  Both these courses run over 8 sessions.

On Thursday, I met the enthusiastic quilters on the Celtic Quilt Tours trip to Scotland at the Black Watch Museum in Perth.  Although the tour company is from the USA, there were quilters from Canada, Australia and The Netherlands in the group.  I know many of them from Facebook, so it was so nice to meet up!

The theme for our class was 'Sashiko on Tartan'.  Reiko Domon of Yuza Sashiko Guild made a fantastic sashiko on tartan quilt after their 2014 trip, which is densely stitched with Yuza Sashiko hitomezashi (one stitch sashiko) stitches.  This photo shows is under construction -

She showed it at the Scottish Quilt Championships last year and also at Quilts UK in Malvern.

Reiko's quilt is all stitched without marking, using the lines in the tartan to line up the stitches.  Not really something for beginners!

I took more tartan with me when we visited Yuza in January.  Keiko Ishikawa is stitching a lovely furoshiki, once again making use of the plaid.

I must ask Keiko what she used as a marking pen or pencil, because when I began marking the wool tartan the previous day, I discovered my favourite marker, the Clover White Marking Pen, wouldn't do anything on the wool! I think tartan is a little too rough.  After switching to using my Sewline propelling pencil and running out of the chalk leads, I eventually marked all the panels using old fashioned tailors chalk.  This is what we used to mark up our fabrics when we did the kilt making course at the Black Watch Museum three years ago and it works very well on tartan.  It seems a bit less inclined to smudge than it does on cotton. Sometimes the traditional things are the best! I made a paper template and everyone had a worksheet with the design to take home and use again.


I had four different plaids for the quilters - Silver Thistle (dark grey/black/purple) and Fort William (greens) were furnishing tartans, so we a little thicker but I loved the colours.  I hadn't realised that the 'set' (the plaid repeat) would be a little bigger than on a dress tartan though, so I couldn't cut as many pieces from these and still have the plaid symmetrical. The other (dress) tartans included one with a modern asymmetric set and two special tartans woven for the USA.  They were all tartans our visitors wouldn't be able to buy at home and I got them from MacNaughton's in Perth.  I hope the tour might be able to visit MacNaughton's mill shop another time - they will open for coach tours as well as the regular monthly sale days.

For our class on Thursday, I wanted a very Scottish motif, so I took the thistle and drew it in the style of a Japanese kamon crest motif, with a slight reference to the Hawick thistle quilts from the Scottish borders.

Thirty five quilters managed to squeeze into the Education Room at the Black Watch.  I expect I'll see some of these finished pieces at the Scottish Quilt Championships at Edinburgh next weekend, when I'll meet up with the group again.   I'll get some photos of the finished pieces then.  We had a lot of fun in the workshop and the rest of the day in Perth.

A few years ago, I played around designing a tartan online in the Molyneux crest colours, but I've never had it woven - you can have a go at designing your own here -


After a delicious lunch at the Black Watch Museum cafe, we headed into Perth city centre to visit The Peacock and the Tortoise, our lovely local quilt shop.  Trudy and Mhairi are always have some excellent Celtic and Scottish themed fabrics and trims in the shop (although I ended up with some Moda wool scrap bags and a length of Petra Prins Dutch chintz!)  Luckily we went in two groups, while the other half of the tour group went on a guided tour around the museum, or I don't think we would all have fitted into the shop.

Waiting for the tour bus, clutching their (and my) purchases, and not minding the typical local weather too much...

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