Thursday, 10 October 2019

Fun with hitomezashi - the 'one stitch sashiko' that looks like blackwork

Hitomezashi (one stitch sashiko) is what really drew me in to wanting to learn how to stitch sashiko. I found the small geometric patterns totally fascinating, even more so when I found out that they are created with straight lines going back and forth - not with 'stepped' lines or cross stitches as you might assume.

I love the way that numerous patterns can be created from one simple grid - a quarter inch (6mm) or a 5mm (a scant quarter inch) works just fine. The smaller grid is better for either a medium thread used singly or a fine thread doubled, as a medium thread doubled looks a bit too chunky on the smaller grid but fine on the quarter inch one. Some patterns, like komezashi (rice stitch, below) look good with a combination of doubled thread (the crosses) and single thread (diagonals).

Most patterns are simple but some, like igeta (well curb, below), take a bit more concentration!

You can have a lot of fun making little samplers - the one above was from a class with Heswall Quilters a few years ago.

All the patterns on my little sampler are done on the same quarter inch grid.

As are all these samples from one of my workshops.

Even the basic running stitch, yokogushi (horizontal rows), is a pattern in its own right and forms the foundation for many others. The detail below is from an antique kotatsu table cover from my collection.

The antique piece above shows several variations on jyuuji tsunagi (linked cross).

You can combine patterns to make little samplers...

And there are many variations on the same pattern.

The not so exciting part is having to draw the grid.  But now you can skip that step. Olympus Thread Mfg. Co. have fabric printed with dots at 5mm intervals, so you can just start stitching straight away! The dots have the same function as the crossed lines in the grid. After stitching, they just wash away.  I have just added some to my shop, in blue (above) and black.

If you prefer softer fabric, I also have hanafukin cloths with square and isometric dots, in dark blue.

Or you can go one step further, and get a hanafukin with the whole hitomezashi pattern already marked out for you. It couldn't be easier! Click here to go to my internet shop.

Whatever you choose, hitomezashi is absorbing and relaxing.  I've been told it is great for mindfulness too. Just stitch and relax!

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