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4-Season-Flower Quilt – Part 1

hiromi hara quilt intro

Quilting and patchwork art

hiromi hara Quilting art

“A Week at Quilter’s Camp”

It’s exciting to start blogging again after five years since the pandemic began.

Last week, I went to a camp with a bunch of people who love quilting.

One thing (well it turned out to be the only project I spent time on) I worked on at the camp was a quilt design released in 2014 by Hiromi Hara. She is well known worldwide for using Japanese yarn-dyed fabrics in her patchworks.

The pattern was later published in her book. I pasted a pic of the book on the left

“The quilt looks like the one below. Of course, these pictures are hers. I will share mine in future blogs

patchwork art
hiromi hara quilt (1)

“Embarking on a Quilting and Patchwork Journey”

I like this quilt because its color brings a sense of warmth and calm, and the pattern is similar to the seven-treasures pattern that is favored by me. My partner also approved of it with a comment, ‘As long as there aren’t too many flowers on it’. 🙂

Some quilters call it the wedding ring pattern, but it’s different. If you know the name of this pattern, please let me know.

The quilt in the pic is only 1m x 1.37m. I’m going to make one that will be around 1.9m x 2.2m which will fit my bed. This requires 120 blocks to be made. 12 rows in total and each has 10 blocks.

With all calculations done and materials gathered over the years, I embarked on the journey last weekend. Surprisingly, tracing and cutting the pieces took a lot longer than I thought! To make it easier, I cheated a little and used a template like the one shown in the picture below.” 🙂


During the camp, I was only able to cut the pile as shown in the picture below, with around 100 ovals and 40 centers. It took way longer than I thought because the centers had to be cut along the grain direction, but the ovals had to be at a 45° angle. Also, it used up markers very quickly. 🙂

hiromi hara patchwork art
fabric markers

“Precision, Appliqué, and Relaxing Piecing Work”

This quilt has every second block appliquéd with flowers. Apart from that, it will be very relaxing piecing work. For a good quality pieced block, lining up curved lines with accuracy is important, so all positioning points are marked clearly, as you can see on the pieces. Well, it’s just like every other project where preparation always takes most of the time. 🙂

To achieve a good quality pieced block, it’s important to line up curved lines with accuracy, I also used a lot of scraps gathered over the years.

For your convenience, markers are available via the link provided below. Blue markers are suitable for most fabric types, while brown markers are recommended for blue or grey fabrics. To expedite the process, I’ve opted for thick-type markers, which facilitate quicker drawing compared to their thin counterparts.

“You can find Fabric markers here”

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Sashiko Stitchwork – where to start

Sashiko embroidery pin cushion

Often I heard people say they would like to pick up Sashiko stitching but how to get it started?

Sashiko Stitchwork a timeless craft:

I’m going to share with you my experiences and insight, which perhaps not everyone agrees to. It’s just my own opinion based on research, study, learning and practicing. If it’s helpful for you – great, or – it can be left aside:

I picked up sashiko stitching years ago for its simplicity and complexity, practicality and effectiveness in terms of big, thick thread and big stitches on dark indigo fabric. The seemly unchangeable geometric patterns are lively and even cheeky when they are used as a part to compose a design … The forever young indigo and brown… why do they never grow old and out of life? Just simply beautiful. My love for this skill took me to research its history, study from books, videos, other fellow stitchers near and far and most of all – pieces were made by those in the past.

There is so much in this ancient yet modern technique. But, to taste it, grasp it and appreciate its beauty ins and outs, I’d suggest diving in and doing it. When you start tracing pattern with your pen and your threaded needle passes through your fabric, sashiko teaches you what it is 🙂

It’s a type of Japanese folk art used by ordinary women in the past to mend worn clothing or home-wares, extending the life of these items and adding beauty through intricate stitching. During cold winters, sashiko stitching served a dual purpose of mending and insulation. By layering fabrics and stitching them together with the running stitch, women could create warm and cozy garments and blankets to keep themselves and their families comfortable during the harsh winter months.

book cover made with sashiko stitch

A book cover I made with Sashiko Stitch.

In an age of mass production and disposable consumerism, products like this stand out as a reminder of the value of slow, deliberate creation. They invite us to pause, to appreciate the beauty in simplicity, and to rekindle our connection with the tangible world around us.The next time you pick up a book, take a moment to appreciate its cover. And if it happens to be adorned with Sashiko stitching, allow yourself to be transported not only into the narrative within but also into a realm where artistry and storytelling intertwine in a tapestry of beauty and tradition.

Learning how to Sashiko Stitch involves several key steps:

Gather Materials:

When diving into the world of sashiko, acquiring the right supplies is crucial to ensure a successful and enjoyable stitching experience. While many basic sewing supplies can be used for sashiko, there are some specific tools and materials that are tailored to this traditional Japanese embroidery technique.

First and foremost, invest in high-quality sashiko thread. Sashiko thread is typically thicker than regular embroidery thread, which gives your stitches a bold and distinctive look. Although traditional sashiko often involves white or indigo thread, it’s available in a wide range of colors.. Experimenting with different colors can add a modern twist to your sashiko projects while staying true to the essence of this ancient art form.

Next, consider using indigo fabric for your sashiko projects. Indigo-dyed fabric has a rich history in Japanese textile traditions and is often associated with sashiko. Its deep blue hue provides a striking contrast to the white or colored sashiko thread, resulting in visually captivating designs. Look for indigo-dyed fabric specifically marketed for sashiko or opt for other tightly woven cotton fabrics that can withstand the rigors of stitching.

When it comes to needles, sashiko needles are long, sturdy, and have a larger eye compared to regular sewing needles. Their length allows for multiple stitches to be loaded onto the needle at once, making stitching more efficient. Additionally, the sturdy construction of sashiko needles ensures they can withstand the repeated pushing and pulling required for sashiko stitching without bending or breaking.

To transfer your sashiko designs onto fabric, use a water-soluble fabric marker. These markers allow you to draw your design directly onto the fabric with ease, and the markings disappear with a simple spritz of water once you’ve finished stitching. This ensures that your design remains visible while you work without leaving any permanent traces behind.

By acquiring sashiko-specific supplies such as indigo fabric, sashiko thread, needles, and fabric markers, you’ll have everything you need to embark on your sashiko stitching journey with confidence. With the right tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to create stunning sashiko pieces that showcase the beauty and intricacy of this timeless embroidery technique.

Sashiko Threads
Sashiko Threads
Sashiko Needles
Sashiko Needles
Fabric, Template & Marker
Fabric, Template & Marker

Understanding Basic Techniques:

Sashiko primarily employs a running stitch, a simple yet versatile stitch that forms the foundation of this embroidery technique. Traditionally, sashiko stitching is done in a grid pattern, with rows of evenly spaced running stitches creating geometric designs and patterns.

To familiarize yourself with the running stitch, start by threading your sashiko needle with your chosen sashiko thread. Begin by bringing the needle up through the fabric from the backside, leaving a small tail of thread to secure. Then, insert the needle back into the fabric a short distance away, creating a straight stitch. Continue this process, spacing your stitches evenly and keeping them parallel to one another.

As you stitch, pay attention to the length and tension of your stitches, aiming for consistency to ensure a neat and uniform appearance. Practice creating even, straight lines by maintaining a steady hand and gently guiding the needle through the fabric.

Keep in mind that sashiko stitches are typically longer than those used in traditional embroidery, with each stitch spanning multiple threads of fabric. This helps to create a distinctive textured effect and adds to the visual appeal of the finished piece.

Experiment with different stitch lengths and spacing to achieve different effects and textures in your sashiko work. For example, stitching closer together will create denser patterns, while spacing stitches farther apart will result in more open and airy designs.

As you become more comfortable with the running stitch, you can explore variations such as double running stitch or seed stitch to add depth and complexity to your sashiko projects. These variations allow for greater creativity and expression while still maintaining the simplicity and elegance that are characteristic of sashiko embroidery.

By familiarizing yourself with the running stitch and practicing creating even, straight lines, you’ll build a strong foundation for your sashiko stitching journey. With patience, practice, and a little creativity, you’ll soon be stitching stunning sashiko designs with confidence and skill.

Hemp leaf Design
Hemp leaf Design
Pin Cushion
Pin Cushion

Preparing the Fabric:

Before starting your sashiko stitching, it’s essential to prepare your fabric by cutting it to the desired size and marking your stitching lines using a fabric marker. This step ensures that your stitches are evenly spaced and your design remains cohesive.

Start by selecting a piece of fabric that is suitable for sashiko stitching. Traditionally, tightly woven cotton fabrics such or linen are preferred for their durability and ability to hold stitches well. You can choose to work with pre-cut fabric squares or purchase fabric by the yard and cut it to your desired size using fabric scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting mat.

Once you have your fabric cut to size, it’s time to mark your stitching lines using a fabric marker. For traditional sashiko designs, geometric patterns or motifs are often featured, such as squares, diamonds, or interlocking circles. You can find pre-printed sashiko fabric with these designs already marked, or you can create your own design by drawing it directly onto the fabric.

Using a fabric marker, lightly sketch stitching lines onto the fabric, ensuring you evenly space and align them according to your chosen design. Keep in mind that sashiko stitches are typically worked in a grid pattern, so you may want to use a ruler or grid template to help guide your markings and maintain consistency.

As you mark your stitching lines, take care to use a light touch to avoid pressing too hard on the fabric, which can cause the markings to become difficult to remove later. It’s also a good idea to test the fabric marker on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure it will wash out cleanly once you’ve finished stitching.

Once your fabric is marked and ready to go, you’re all set to begin your sashiko stitching journey. With your design in place and your fabric prepared, you can now focus on the meditative and rewarding process of stitching, bringing your sashiko masterpiece to life one stitch at a time.

Natural Indigo Hand dyed pure cotton fabric
Indigo Hand-Dyed
Sashiko Sampler
Sashiko Sampler
mending worn Jeans
mending worn Jeans

Thread Your Needle:

Before you begin stitching, it’s time to thread your sashiko needle with a length of sashiko thread. Sashiko needles are longer and sturdier than traditional sewing needles, with a larger eye to accommodate the thicker sashiko thread.

Start by cutting a length of sashiko thread, typically around 18 to 24 inches long, depending on the size of your project and your personal preference. Sashiko thread is thicker than regular embroidery thread, giving your stitches a bold and distinctive look.

Next, gently thread one end of the sashiko thread through the eye of the sashiko needle, taking care to leave a small tail of thread protruding from the eye. This tail will be used to secure the thread in place with a knot once the needle is fully threaded.

To create a knot at the end of your thread, you can use a simple overhand knot or a double knot for added security. Hold the tail of the thread between your thumb and forefinger, then wrap the thread around your finger once or twice to form a loop. Pull the end of the thread through the loop to create a knot, tightening it securely against the fabric.

Alternatively, you can use a quilter’s knot to start your stitching without leaving a visible knot on the fabric. To create a quilter’s knot, pinch the end of the thread between your thumb and forefinger, then wrap the thread around the tip of your needle two or three times. Hold the wraps in place with your thumb and forefinger, then slide the wraps off the needle and pull tight to form a knot at the end of the thread.

Start Stitching:

With your fabric prepared, needle threaded, and design marked, it’s time to begin stitching your sashiko masterpiece.

Start by positioning your needle at the beginning of one of your marked stitching lines, ensuring you secure the knot or tail of your thread on the backside of the fabric.

To execute the running stitch, push the needle up through the fabric from the backside, pulling it through until the knot or tail of the thread catches on the fabric and prevents it from pulling through completely. Then, insert the needle back into the fabric a short distance away, typically about 4mm to 6mm, creating a straight stitch on the surface of the fabric.

As you stitch, focus on maintaining even spacing and consistent stitch length to achieve a uniform appearance. The running stitch should be neat and tidy, with each stitch parallel to the next and evenly spaced along the stitching line. Take your time and work methodically, paying close attention to detail as you progress along your marked lines.

To maintain consistent spacing between stitches, you can use your thumb or index finger to guide the needle as you work, keeping each stitch the same distance apart. Alternatively, you can use a ruler or grid template to help guide your stitches and ensure they remain straight and evenly spaced.

As you stitch, periodically check the tension of your thread to ensure it’s neither too loose nor too tight. The thread should glide smoothly through the fabric without causing puckering or distortion. Adjust your tension as needed by gently pulling on the thread to tighten or loosen it as required.

Continue stitching along your marked lines, following your design and filling in each section with the running stitch. Take breaks as needed to rest your hands and eyes, and enjoy the meditative and rhythmic process of sashiko stitching.

With each careful stitch, you’re not only creating a beautiful piece of textile art but also connecting with centuries of tradition and craftsmanship. So, embrace the journey and immerse yourself in the timeless art of sashiko stitching, one stitch at a time.

Maintain Tension:

Keeping your fabric taut as you stitch is essential for maintaining even tension and preventing puckering in your sashiko work. Puckering occurs when the fabric becomes wrinkled or gathered due to uneven tension in the stitches, detracting from the overall appearance of your piece.

By keeping your fabric taut and maintaining even tension throughout the stitching process, you’ll achieve professional-looking results that showcase the beauty and precision of sashiko embroidery. So, take your time, pay attention to detail, and enjoy the satisfaction of creating flawless sashiko workmanship.

Explore Patterns:

As you continue to hone your sashiko skills, don’t be afraid to experiment with different patterns and designs. While traditional geometric motifs are a classic choice, there’s also plenty of room for creativity and innovation in sashiko stitching.

Explore traditional patterns inspired by nature, such as waves, pine needles, or cherry blossoms. These motifs have deep cultural significance in Japan and can add a touch of elegance and symbolism to your sashiko projects.

Alternatively, try your hand at contemporary variations of sashiko, incorporating modern elements and personal touches into your designs. Experiment with asymmetrical patterns, abstract shapes, or even combine sashiko with other embroidery techniques for a unique look.

Consider playing with color as well, using contrasting threads to create bold, eye-catching designs or subtle variations for a more understated effect. Remember that you don’t have to limit sashiko to traditional indigo and white; feel free to experiment with a rainbow of hues to suit your personal style.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try mixing different stitches and techniques to create intricate textures and patterns. Combine running stitch with decorative stitches like kawari-nui (ornamental stitching) or hitomezashi (one-stitch sashiko) to add depth and dimension to your designs.

Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild and push the boundaries of traditional sashiko. After all, sashiko is a versatile art form that has evolved over centuries, and there’s no limit to what you can create with a needle, thread, and a bit of creativity.

Practice and Patience:

Stitching, like any skill, takes time and practice to master, so be patient with yourself as you develop your sashiko skills. If you’re new to sashiko, it’s best to start with simpler designs and gradually progress to more complex patterns as you become more confident in your abilities.

Begin by practicing basic stitches such as running stitch, the foundation of sashiko, and then experiment with variations like seed stitch or chain stitch. These simple stitches will help you become familiar with the rhythm and tension required for sashiko stitching.

As you gain proficiency with basic stitches, you can start incorporating them into simple geometric patterns or traditional motifs like waves, mountains, or flowers. There are countless sashiko patterns and designs to explore, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what resonates with you.

Remember to take your time and focus on the process rather than rushing to finish. Sashiko is as much about mindfulness and meditation as it is about creating beautiful textiles. Enjoy the rhythmic repetition of stitching and the satisfaction of seeing your design come to life with each stitch.

If you make mistakes along the way, don’t get discouraged. Sashiko is forgiving, and imperfections are part of its charm. Embrace the uniqueness of your work and learn from any errors to improve your skills for future projects.

Above all, have fun with your sashiko journey. Whether you’re stitching for relaxation, creativity, or cultural appreciation, sashiko offers a rewarding and fulfilling experience that you can continue to enjoy for years to come. So, gather your materials, find inspiration in traditional patterns or create your own designs, and let the stitching begin!

Finishing of your Sashiko Stitchwork:

Once you’ve completed your stitching, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your sashiko piece. Start by gently washing away any fabric markings or residue left from your stitching process. Use lukewarm water and a mild detergent, being careful not to agitate the fabric too much to avoid distorting the stitches.

After washing, carefully rinse the piece to ensure you remove all soap, then gently squeeze out excess water. Next, lay the piece flat on a clean towel and roll it up, pressing gently to remove even more moisture. You can repeat this process with a dry towel to further absorb excess water.

Once your sashiko piece is damp rather than wet, it’s time to press it to set the stitches. Lay the piece flat on an ironing board or a clean, flat surface, making sure the stitches are lying flat and evenly distributed. Use a warm iron, without steam, to press the piece from the back side. Avoid pressing directly on top of the stitches to prevent flattening them.

Continue pressing until the fabric is dry and the stitches are set. Take care not to over-press, as this can cause the fabric to become stiff and lose its natural drape.

Once your sashiko piece is dry and pressed, take a moment to admire your handiwork. You’ve transformed a simple piece of fabric into a beautiful work of art, rich with history and tradition. Whether you choose to frame it, incorporate it into a larger project, or simply display it as is, your sashiko piece is sure to be a cherished addition to your home.

Now that you’ve finished your piece, you can proudly showcase your skills and share the beauty of sashiko stitching with others. Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, and consider exploring new patterns and techniques for your next sashiko project.

Completing your Sashiko Stitchwork

After completing your Sashiko Stitchwork, take a moment to truly admire your creation. Appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into each stitch, forming intricate patterns and designs. Hold the fabric up to the light and observe how the threads intertwine, creating a beautiful texture.

Now, let your imagination soar as you consider the many ways you can incorporate your sashiko piece into various projects. If you’re passionate about quilting, why not integrate it into a quilt top as a striking focal point? The contrasting colors and geometric shapes of sashiko can add depth and visual interest to your quilt design.

Alternatively, you could use your sashiko piece to embellish clothing, such as adding it to the pockets of a denim jacket or the cuffs of a shirt. This personalized touch will elevate your wardrobe with a unique and handmade flair.

For those interested in home decor, consider framing your sashiko piece and displaying it as wall art. It will serve as a testament to your creativity and craftsmanship, adding character and charm to any room.

No matter how you choose to incorporate your sashiko piece into your projects, remember to enjoy the process and take pride in your handiwork. Each stitch tells a story and reflects your dedication to the art of sashiko.

3-Monkey Tea Mat
3-Monkey Tea Mat
lotus table runner
Lotus Table Runner
Good Fortune Handbag
Good Fortune Handbag

Sashiko Stitching Journey of Exploration and Discovery

So grab your stitching supplies and embrace the possibilities to let your creativity shine.
Whether you prefer traditional motifs or want to explore your own style, sashiko provides limitless opportunities for creativity. Enjoy stitching and let your imagination guide you as you bring your vision to life with each stitch.

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Sashiko pattern – Kikko (Turtle’s shell)

Kikko (Japanese armour)

Sashiko pattern turtle’s shell: A representative pattern that means good luck

Kikko (Japanese armour)
Kikko (Japanese armour)
Antique Edo period samurai kikko katabira
Antique Edo period samurai kikko katabira

The “Kikko” pattern, also known as the “turtle’s shell,”

The common hexagonal pattern known as “Kikko” (sashiko pattern turtle’s shell) is a well-known symbol of good fortune in Japan. There are many such propitious symbols: in animals, they include the dragon, Chinese phoenix, crane and turtle. And among plants, the pine tree, bamboo, Japanese plu, Chrysanthemum and peony. Chinese characters which can be seen on T-shirts purchased by visitors to Japan, such as 寿(kotobuki) and 福 (fuku), are also signs of good luck. These symbols reflect common wishes for eternal youth, longevity, prosperity and wealth, among others.

The hexagonal Kikko pettern, call “beehive” in English and “turtle’s shell” in Japanese, has an extremely long history. It first appeared in ancient civilizations of West Asia, as well as on colored earthenware in prehistoric Iran. The pattern was said to have been found on scraps of men’s clothing in ninth century B.C. Assyria and in 12th century B.C. Babylon.

“The Geometric Origins and Cultural Significance of the Kikko Pattern”

In parts of West Asia, particularly Islamic countries, repetitive geometric shapes termed “arabesques” were popular. This suggests that the hexagonal shape of the Kikko may have originated in a purely geometric design, rather than the figurative forms of turtle’ shells or beehives. However, its frequent usage indicates that the design carrie deep meaning in many cultures.

“Influence of the Kikko Pattern Along the Silk Road”

The Kikko pattern was introduced to China through the Silk Road, which lead from Persia and India to the desert towns of Western. China, and although it was used as a decoration for woven materials and on the walls of temples, it was always seen as a symbol of power and spiritual strength. In China, a turtle has traditionally represented longevity, together with such imaginary animals as the dragon, Chinese phoenix and fire-breathing horse.  It has believed that the patterns on a turtle’s shell became associated with the hexagonal design during the height of the Silk Road, some 3000 years ago.

“Evolution and Influence of the Kikko Pattern in Japan”

The Kikko pattern came to Japan along with the introduction of Buddhism.
It was first used to decorate materials and buildings. In the Muromachi period (1336-1598), when Noh plays were popular, it was used as a popular design for stage décor and for the costumes worn by aristocratic characters and long-lived men. Today, the Kikko pattern can be found at Japanese wedding ceremonies. It appears on the bride’s kimono and accessories. It also found on the kimono of the wedding guests and even on the wall paper of the wedding hall.

Hemp Leaf

The Hemp Leaf Handbag has also hexagons in the pattern 🙂


Coin tortoise shell hitomezashi sampler – lots of good fortune 🙂

“Contemporary Wishes and Aspirations”

Man has forever wished for eternal youth, wealth and longevity. With the recent improvements in medicine and technology, the average life span in Japan has reached 80 years. Since World War II, the Japanese have achieved great prosperity. So, what can Japanese people now wish for?

This article is extracted from Sashiko Blue and White Quilt Art of Japan by Kazuko Mende and Reiko Morishige.

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What Fabric Marker to use?

Fabric Markers

What Fabric Marker to use?

There are so many markers out there and they all say they are good in one way or another. So, which one to use? And which one won’t cost me a fortune?

My first marker was a Sewline – a mechanical marker purchased years ago. It has many colors available on lead and marks fine lines plus it looks pretty itself. It went through a lot of projects with me until I took on a big applique quilt. When I used it to draw a long straight line for joining large applique pieces together, it started to scratch my fabric. So I bought my 2nd marker of Cha. Cha water erasable marker has a fine ceramic tip from which ink flows easily without effort and doesn’t bleed. That resolved the issue I had with drawing long lines.

As one of “a compulsive perfectionists” 🙂 , I took on different markers as I came across over the years in the hope of finding the perfect one with which I can settle with. Thus I have some different types of markers. I’m going to share with you my findings on them and hopefully it’s helpful to you.

The number one finding from searching the perfect marker is – no marker is perfect, no marker can do all jobs and fulfills all the purposes and with all good points. In fact I find what makes the marker work is often what could be the reason for the trouble they carry. For example the beautiful Sewline mechanical marker I have, it leaves the marking by being pressed down on the fabric. But pressing down hard may cause the marking not to be removed completely. This is the very reason I couldn’t use it for drawing a long line in a quick stroke which required a harder press and therefore scratched the fabric.

Another example is heat erasable markers – markings disappear with a certain level of heat, but can come back if it’s not been washed and the ait temperature is cold enough. Also if the storage condition is too hot, ink on the tip of the marker may dry which then blocks the ink flow. One of our clients shared that with me. She said even storing it close to a car heater outlet inside her car dried her marker up. So I’d suggest always testing on your fabric before using the marker as all manufactures say, and get the type of marker that suits the project you are working on.

The table I compiled below is based on my own experience and research. I hope it’s helpful for you. However, please feel free to drop a line for discussion 🙂 and I’d love to hear your experiences on markers.

Marking on dark fabric

from top to down – Kearing water erasable marker, Sewline mechanical marker and heat erasable refil –

a close-up shows how fine and clear each marking is off 3 different markers

Marking on light fabric

from top to down – Kearing water erasable marker in 1mm tip and 0.5mm tip, Sewline mechanical marker, Cha super fine water erasable marker and heat erasable refill

Type of markermechnical pencillead pencilair erasable markerwater erasable markerheat erasable markerhera marker
mechanism0.9mm ceramic leads coloured with water-soluble dyes. Marking is  removed from most fabrics using the in-built eraser, or by dabbing with a damp cloth or washing.lead leaves markings after drawing on fabricspecially formulated ink leaves marking on fabric through felted tip. Marking disappears without anything done with it. Time of disappearance of marking depends on type of fabric, weave of fabric, room condition etc.specially formulated ink leaves marking on fabric through tip. Marking disappears with damp cloth or after wash.specially formulated ink that is light activated leaves marking on fabric through tip. Marking disappears when ironing over 60 °C or after wash. However if not washed, marking can reappear when temperature is below -8 °C or lower depending on colour of ink.a relatively “sharp” edge slides along fabric leave a pressed mark / crease in fabric.
ProsLead can be refilled. Can be used on light or dark fabric. 0.9mm tip gives relatively fine marking and widely availableboth thick head (1mm) and thin (0.5mm) are available. No need to do anyting to remove marking ; marking is clear and bold.Cost is very reasonable if you shop around. marking stays until you remove it. Once washed, no markings left at all, very clean. Various colours available makes it can be used on both dark and light fabric. Both thick (1mm) and thin (0.5mm) are available making it easier for fine stitching project. Ink comes out easily without needing of pressing hard at all. marking is clear and bold. Ink runs smoothly and easily. Both thick (1mm) and thin are available. Very affordable if you are happy with using just big refill (which is like a thin pen). Refills stains left on fabric
ConsMost expensive relatively. Have to press down lightly when marking and have to remove marking before ironing or potentially marking cannot be removed completely. Because pressing down lightly, marking is light and vague, which can be rubbed off when working on fabric for a while. Also though it leaves marking easier than ordinarily pencils, it can still scratch fabric when trying to leave a mark.can scratch fabric; marking usually isn’t fine if using thick lead; markings possibly cannot be erased completely if presed hard or too dark.marking can go before you finish job; time to take for marking disappear varies – depends not only on fabric but also room conditions as well which makes it hard to estimate how long marking would stay without testing; haven’t seen marker on dark fabric.if room moisture is high, marking can fade. On moisture absorbent fabric like linen, marking line is thicker.Because they are light activated there is a slight time delay in their appearance so wait for it.  The brighter the available light in your studio, the shorter the delay. Marking can be rubbed off before you finish work if being rubbed too much; ink is very heat sensitive and tends to get dried out if room condition is too hot or left aside for too long after use.marking is essentially a fold on fabrics so it’s hard to see and if left too long, have to re-mark the fabric you work on
suitable forall-rounder marker but not suitable for projects needs long marking lines or very textured fabric.projects that can have marking covered when finished and don’t need long marking lines.projects need marking stays for only a short time.embroidery projects. My favorite type 🙂Projects need very clear markings and don’t want to be washed afterwards and won’t go to places below freezing point.quilting purpose, applique
Brand testedsewlineany student pencilAdgerKearing, Cha Cloverclover
priceapprox. $20/pencilmostly less than $1/pencilapprox. $6/markerfrom $4.5 /marker onward depends on which marker you choose and which shop you go toapprox $10.5/markerapprox $10/marker

For your convenience, markers are available via the link provided below. Blue markers are suitable for most fabric types, while brown markers are recommended for blue or grey fabrics.

“You can find Fabric markers here”

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Sashiko pattern – Hemp Leaf (Asa-no-ha)

Sashiko pattern – Hemp Leaf (Asa-no-ha)

A popular pattern in common use

Among the traditional patterns which have been most popular among Japanese over the years, one stands out: Asa-no-ha, or the hemp leaf pattern.

Even the common man with no interest in fabric design or patterns is sure to recognize this shape, although he may not know its name or history. If asked where he had seen it, he would probably find it difficult to respond clearly, conjecturing that “perhaps it was the pattern on the wooden box I has when I was small.” This pattern has become so much a part of everyday life as usually to go unnoticed by Japanese.

There are two popular theories about the origin of this pattern. One school of thought insists that the Asa-no-ha is purely Japanese; the other claims that it was introduced to Japan from India via China. While neither theory can be confirmed, it’s clear that the Asa-no-ha pattern began to figure in Japanese art during the Heian period (794-1192 AD). It was then found on fabric used to clothe images of Buddha and in Buddhist paintings; later it was incorporated into building décor.

To some Japanese craftsmen, the Asa-no-ha’s repeating pattern of spokes radiating from a central white hub presents an impression of light and the radiating power of Buddha. Whether used alone or repeated, however, this is a very useful pattern for those involved in design, as it can be used in varying sizes and with spaces of nearly any size.

Although the Asa-no-ha pattern was originally associated with religious applications, it gained wide acceptance among common people in the Edo  period, when the influence of popular – rather than aristocratic – culture reached its zenith.

Hemp has been cultivated since ancient times. Before the Muromachi period when cotton was first imported as its later popularization in the Edo period, hemp was the most common raw materials for making clothes. The Asa-no-ha gained its name for its resemblance to the leaf of the hemp plant.

As hemp is a strong, fast-growing plant, the Asa-no-ha pattern was traditionally favored for babies’ diapers and bedclothes to reflect the hope that one’s baby would grow as strong as hemp. The Asa-no-ha pattern was also a favorite for “Sashiko” work, since the pattern looked most attractive when displayed on cotton dyed in indigo and sewn in layers.

Hemp Leaf pattern in costume

This Sashiko hand bag has hemp leaf pattern centered to both front and back of bag. Simple yet effective.

This Good Luck Sashiko handbag has floral pattern formed by those “negative space” that is not stitched by a variation on hemp leaf pattern. A picture can only be recognized after many hemp leaf patterns are done.

Have you had any projects made with hemp leaf pattern or any works you’ve seen in this pattern? Would love to see if you have any 🙂

This article is extracted from Sashiko Blue and White Quilt Art of Japan by Kazuko Mende and Reiko Morishige.