Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sashiko books

During my monthly sashiko classes in Japan, I sense that I'm missing some of the finer points.  It's the classic scenario where I can see and hear my teacher giving lots and lots of detailed advice and instruction to the others... but language is truly a barrier to me!

Here is a little table topper (or the beginnings of a pillow perhaps).  It's identical to one I made for my Grandma Mary Lou... and it's from a pattern from my sashiko sensei, Kazuko Yoshiura.

So this summer I wanted to see what I could find in terms of printed material, to reinforce what I am learning in class.

A quick search on Amazon yielded only a few books, some out of print.  I ordered three.  Here they are in order from oldest to most current: 

The first is Sashiko and Beyond by Saikoh Takano.  A little dated but interesting to have in my collection, and includes a lot of applique projects too.  

The introduction gives a very brief history of sashiko.  Then the book gets right into techniques and designs.  Nothing I particularly want to make immediately...but interesting anyway!

1993, Chilton Book Company, Radnor PA  

Sashiko Style was originally published in Japan in 2006.  No specific author is listed.  It starts by offering  many linear, curvy, and single-stitch patterns, along with some enticing color photographs of sample projects.  

2007 by Japan Publications Trading Company, translated by Yoko Ishiguro
On page 56 (!) we have the "Getting Started" section, which uses a combination of illustration, photos, and text to clearly lay out supplies needed, how to prepare fabric, how to draft and transfer patterns, and finally how to make a good sashiko stitch.  

The final section of the book contains the project instructions and life size pull-out patterns.   I haven't made anything from this book yet, but to my eye, it's an excellent book.  Complicated (in terms of the actual project directions) and maybe a little intimidating, but inspiring, and, design-wise, spot on.  

The final book I ordered is Japanese Sashiko Inspirations, by Susan Briscoe, whose name came up often when I searched online for sashiko books. 

2008, David & Charles, the UK.
I appreciate how the book goes into some good detail about the history and significance of sashiko, and then gets right into the "getting started" guide , tools and materials, basic techniques, tips, etc.  There is a good variety of projects, and in general the book has a "zakka" feel.  This book seems to be the most accessible and straightforward, and contains a diverse array of project in terms of thread color and fabric types.  One thing I really like about this book is that Susan gives us a "technique taster" in the form of a very small project alongside each main project (ex. a sachet, then a pillow, or a business card case, then a wall hanging). 


p.s.  I just picked Susan Briscoe's Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match - and I'm so glad I did - it looks excellent.