My Japanese sample quilt is all about learning new techniques. Although I have done a fair bit of embroidery over the years I’ve never tried sashiko. Susan Briscoe‘s book has some lovely patterns for sashiko blocks. She also includes some helpful advice on techniques.
I didn’t use proper sashiko thread. I just used three strands of embroidery floss. It seemed to work fine. I haven’t seen any other sashiko work ‘in the flesh’ to compare it with so I might be way off, but I like my take on sashiko.
I’ve decided there will be quite a few sashiko blocks in my sampler quilt. I’m going to alternate them with pieced blocks. I’ll vary the colour of my thread between yellow, cream, orange and red to try the quilt a little coherence that might it lacking with so many fabrics being thrown in.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always struggled with how to transfer patterns from paper to my fabric. In the course of making this quilt I hit upon a technique that seems to work well for me. I made a full size paper pattern and pinned it in place on top of the fabric. Then I put a really fat denim needle in my machine and followed the template lines, sewing without any thread. This left a great trail of puncture marks I could then connect with tailor’s chalk and use as my sewing lines. I discovered that if I didn’t go over the puncture lines with chalk before I started stitching the fabric would slowly relax and my puncture marks would disappear. The chalk has enough staying power to wait until I’d finished stitching the sashiko blocks.