19 September 2012

Juji-tsunagi sashiko sampler

Completed sampler.

I recently completed an Olympus-brand sashiko sampler in the traditional pattern called juji-tsunagi, which literally translated means "filled with groups of ten." The Japanese character for the number ten looks very much like the Western alphabet lowercase "t".  By stitching a field of linked "t" symbols this pattern invokes prosperity - may your fortune increase tenfold.

I chose to stitch the sampler, ordered online from my wonderful supplier, Miho, in two colors, Olympus # 10, a denim blue, and Olympus #5, a mustard yellow, which is one of my favorite colors in their range. This is going to be a teaching sampler, and the two colors will clarify the exact stitching sequence, which is very straightforward anyway in this pattern.  I also just like the combination of blue, yellow and white.

Blue stitching complete, braided skein.

When I've taught sashiko before, the biggest challenge seems to be with beginning and ending a line of stitching using the backstitch approach. So the stitching in this sampler, which is a teaching demo, starts and stops with just simple knots. To end the stitching I used a "needle knot;" my recent attempts at shibori dyeing have improved my skill in this detail, which is similar to making a French knot in embroidery.

To form end knot, loop thread around needle.

Tighten loop.

Using fingernail, hold loop at fabric surface, pulling thread through.

Knot complete.

Completed sampler, right side (left) and reverse.