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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sashiko Addiction: Orange Peel Pillow

Do you remember when you started quilting? The unbridled joy of finishing your first quilt? Stitching that last inch of binding and feeling like you'd conquered the world? Yup, that's how I feel all over again, because the sashiko embroidery bug has bitten me.

 
What is sashiko, you ask? It's a form of traditional Japanese hand-stitching that one traditionally practices on blue linen with white thread. This Purl Soho article gives a great overview and technique! I've never been much into handwork, but I've long craved a portable activity that doesn't include my machine. I cross-stitch once in a while, but it becomes a huge production (lots of floss colors, pattern, embroidery hoop, etc.), so I don't usually bring it anywhere.


 Various places I worked on this piece throughout the summer - Jersey Shore, Maine, and en route.

But sashiko is easy on my tiny hands (just a running stitch) and can have a gorgeous contrast. Also, you use a whole strand of thread (none of that pesky splitting apart), and the stitches are pre-marked, so there's no squinting for the next cross-stitch hole. I want my portable project to be as easy as possible, and there's something wonderful about a simple stitch.


The main lessons I learned from this first project are: 1. Keep stitches the same length as much as possible (if I so desire - and this was tough as a first timer) and 2. Never let them touch.

Originally, I chose the orange peel design because it's my favorite motif and my logo. It's quite easy to stitch the waves, and eventually the whole project comes to life. Susan Sato, who owns Easy Piecing (where I get all my supplies from - this not a sponsored post, just love her shop!), suggested that I stitch the outer border only when I'm done with the inside. It was like a long victory lap!

When I was done, the soft blue linen was just large enough for a small 12" pillow. I was super inspired by this photo from @cassandra.beaver of her recently finished pillow (I'm not even a huge fan of pink, but WOW, pink and navy!), so I decided to border the pillow with little precious scraps.


Then, in an effort to use up my precious Anna Maria Horner fabrics, I backed the pillow in echinacea (probably my second favorite print ever) and a small piece of Field Study that is now nonexistent in my stash.


This pillow is a happy, welcome sight in my sewing room whenever I walk in, and it's been used a couple of times, too. Plus, it reminds me to take a bit of time away from the computer and machine to work on my next bit of sashiko, which I picked up from Easy Piecing while at PNQE. More on that when I get a bit further! I think I've even decided to add a bit of a running stitch to my latest machine quilting project.

 So, have or will you try sashiko? I think I've convinced my friend Julie to give it a whirl!


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16 comments:

  1. I can definitely see myself trying sashiko before EPP. The pillow turned out beautifully, Jess, and as a person who also struggles with pink a bit, I agree that Navy and pink together is rather perfection. :)

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  2. Looks amazing, Jess! I've been wanting to try Sashiko for quite a while, and the orange peel motif if my favorite. Thanks for the inspiration to get going on it already!

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  3. Your stitches and the resulting pillow are beautiful! This post has me wanting to pull out a sashiko project and get started.

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  4. Great finish! I have never done Sashiko, but am signed up for a Sashiko workshop at QuiltCon. I am excited to learn. Are you going to be at QuiltCon?

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  5. I like Sashiko and have done it some over the years. I have a Japanese wallhanging I made many years ago that's been waiting for me to do some Sashiko so maybe I should just get to it. Lovely pillow. Thank you for showing us your vacation photos!!!

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  6. So lovely! I certainly want to try some sashiko! I love the contrast of navy and white and the meditative nature of hand-stitching. I was at a stitching show a few weekends ago and came across a wonderful online shop called A Threaded Needle - https://www.athreadedneedle.com/, which is great for us north of the boarder! A pillow is a fab project to start out with! Thanks for your wonderful post.

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  7. It's a very elegant piece. Simplicity has such impact. Beautifully done!

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  8. I'm working on my first visible mending/big stitch embroidery this week and loving how easy it is compared to cross stitch! You're spot on about how much easier it is to transport (tot he backyard to supervise the sandbox in my case... as close as I get to the beach here in KS ; ) Love your pillow, Jess! Great contrast, and yes, pink + navy!!! <3

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  9. loove the pillow! I want to try it one day for sure, lol!

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  10. Wow! That is beautiful! I love the idea of a simple hand sewing project! Love the little border around the blue sashiko part!

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  11. It looks great, I really like that pattern. I did some Sashiko a few years ago, I did some random stitching, then made some glasses cases and clasp purses with quilted sashiko. I picked up a little kit for a bunny design at the last show i went to.

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  12. The pillow is beautiful! I've never tried sashiko, but I can see that it would be very relaxing. I may have to give it a try. I think pink goes beautifully with a lot of colours and I'm coming to like it more and more as I get older.

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  13. So pretty! I haven't tried sashiko yet, but might start by patching some holey jeans. I don't see an embroidery hoop on your lap--not necessary?

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  14. This could be what I've been looking for. My cross-stitch projects have, like yours, been more of a production than I'd like to carry outside of my house. An easy, meditative sashiko project might be just what I need.

    What transforms the panel you worked on is the bold and bright trim fabrics. Without those, this could be a ho-hum pillow, but it's not -- it's more wow, wow, wow! (And that pillow by Cassandra Beaver? Swoon!)

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  15. Very interesting art, and beautiful. I had never heard of this before.

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  16. Love Sashiko, and that AMH fabric is one of my favourites too, so great combination!

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