Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little " Three Friends of Winter" sashiko sampler


One thing I love about sashiko is the inherent symbolism within its designs.  I made this little Sho Chiku Bai (pine, bamboo, and plum - the "three friends of winter") sampler for a friend who has been facing some daunting health challenges with grit and with grace.

 Matsu (pine) remains green all winter and beautifies the landscape.  It denotes endurance and longevity, inner strength and resistance to hardship:

Take (bamboo) grows quickly and bends, but never breaks, during harsh conditions.  It too represents endurance and strength, as well as flexibility:

And ume (plum) blossoms appear during the winter, signaling the approaching Spring.  They  represent hope, vitality, beauty, and optimism during difficult times.   

In thinking about what to add in the fourth square, I decided on arrow feathers (yabane) which naturally symbolize the strength and courage of a warrior:

I worked the sampler on indigo, with off-white sashiko thread (which reads pure white, against the indigo).  And for a bit of whimsy I backed this little sampler with some blue and white tenugui printed with cute plovers:

I confess that it's not really a very practical little item, but it could be used as a bread basket liner or napkin... or perhaps as a drawer liner scented with perfume or essential oil.

And now... with the house in a quiet, relatively clean calm state with dishwasher running, laundry (almost) caught up, fire in the wood stove, fridge filled to the brim...  we are happily awaiting our girls and a passel of their friends for the long weekend to help us celebrate Thanksgiving.  A few from Boston and a few from New York City - sweet compensation for last year's Thanksgiving spent far from them, in Japan!

Linking up with Slow Bloggers... hosted this month by Willis of "Hey, Sis, Look What I Made" - she has a thoughtful post about how "life happens" - we can all relate!!


Ella and Nesta said...

It's incredible how something so small can have so much meaning. It's something to hold in your hands when you need extra strength and courage. Beautiful.

♥´¯`•.¸¸.Linda Dawn´¯`•.¸¸.♥ said...

Hello Cynthia, you have explained your sampler beautifully and it's a very thoughtful gift for your dear friend.
Thank you for flying by my blog and commenting on my Snowman Christmas stocking I made at the weekend for my baby grandson. I am sure it will be used every year as he grows up and maybe even kept as a keepsake into adulthood. He's only 9 weeks old and he's a little darling.

kim said...

What a wonderful gift to give to your friend, so much love and thought in every stitch.........enjoy your weekend with your girls.

Jenny M said...

Beautiful stitches & a lovely gift for your friend. Best wishes to your friend.
And wishing you a wonderful time with your family & friends.

Julie Fukuda said...

News here is reporting bad weather heading your way. Have a great holiday ... you and your friend.

Queeniepatch said...

It might not be a 'practical little item' but it offers a lot of visual delight, and now that we all know the meaning of these symbols, they offer a lot of encouragement.
Happy Thanksgiving!

dreaminginstitches said...

There aren't that many art forms that allow us to stitch our thoughts and wishes into the fabric of the piece - but this is a perfect example.

Lovely to meet you via Slow Bloggers.

Nifty Quilts said...

An exquisite piece! I love the meanings in the symbolism. Your stitiches are even and perfect. I'm sure it will bring comfort and strength to your friend.

Willit Neverend said...

Beautiful. So well done, and so full of meaning. I'm sure your friend will appreciate it so much - I know I would.

Before my husband was my husband, he bought me three carved stones, each with a special meaning. They symbolised the story of our relationship and how we met. Every time I see them, I remember their meaning and the thoughtfulness behind the gift.

Your friend will be especially grateful to know that you are thinking of her in her time of need. It's a really lovely gift. Thanks for linking up.

Lin said...

Lovely thoughtful gift Cynthia. Have a great weekend.