Sashiko embroidery class

Are you having a good 2015 so far? I've had a busy first week of the year, packing away Christmas and sorting out all those things that tend to stack up after a two week vacation. I'm also still trying to sort out my goals for the new year, and planning for the next couple of months. All this while having a massive headache - Keith and I are doing a "Sugar Free January" challenge and for the first few days I was in complete sugar withdrawal! That means not to much crafting got done, but I did have something I wanted to share: Before Christmas, I took a class on Japanese sashiko embroidery.

Sashiko is a traditional Japanese form of embroidery which uses simple running stitches in intricate, geometric patterns on indigo cloth. I've long loved the look of sashiko, and I have made several unsuccessful attempts at this technique previously. This winter I thought it was time to do something about it and actually take a class! I was thrilled when I managed to snag one of the spots on the Stockholm County Museum's one-day class with Rieko Takahashi, textile artist and author of the first Swedish book on sashiko.

Photo by Rieko Takahashi,

The course was lots of fun. Rieko was a great instructor, and once you got the hang of the basics sashiko stitching turned out to be pretty simple and very meditative - up and down, up and down... The class was almost seven hours long, but I could easily have kept going! We we're a pretty small group of stitchers and we ended up having a lot of fun, chatting and eating the tasty Japanese snacks which Rieko brought with her.

The most traditional form of sashiko uses white thread on indigo fabric, but Rieko showed us some modern pieces using blue, or even red, thread on white or cream backgrounds (you can see some of these in the first photo above). 

I started on a cushion cover, and even though it's not finished yet, I still went straight home to order some more sashiko supplies off Ebay. You can't really buy proper sashiko thread in Sweden, so I got a couple of different colors to experiment with.

I also bought a copy of Rieko's book. At around 40 pages it's pretty brief, but it's a good introduction if you're looking to try sashiko embroidery (only available in Swedish, unfortunately).

Have a great second week of 2015!


  1. Karin, I'm so glad you visited my blog! It is nice to meet you! Your pillow cover is going to be beautiful. I am not familiar with sashiko embroidery, but it looks like a lot of fun. :) Isn't crafting just the best?!

  2. Such beautiful embroidery - and such good choice going more vegan!