When I started my first sashiko Project it was the simplicity of the basic parallel lines of stitches that felt so calming to work. The meditative action of the lines of running stitch gave a true feeling for the humble origins of this Japanese peasant craft and the necessity of the original functioning stitches for strengthening and longevity of a precious garment.
As the first pass of the sampler cloth was completed I re-threaded the needle ready to begin the lines running at right angles to the first diagonal lines, wondering what new pattern would next be revealed. After a few rows in this new direction the dashed lines made way for small open-sided boxes which as I sat and stitches spread steadily across the square of fabric until the view of diagonal lines had gone and only neatly aligned squares remained.
When all squares were in place I was able to begin the horizontal lines of stitches, which transformed the pattern once again in a wave of decoration.
When stitching this sashiko design fabric becomes richer with both colour and texture with each new direction of stitches that are added, and as the stitches were added the fabric took on a very textural, almost quilted quality.
I worked gently at the piece of embroidery during a short group holiday away, using it as a calm and meditative escape in both quiet moments that presented themselves and also busier, louder times when I wanted to remain only on the periphery of the noise and excitement. My stitches became such a calming and peaceful time of my day that I decided to treat myself to another couple of Sashiko kits for when I had finished stitching my current piece.
As you might be able to see from the pictures above, the two kits that I have bought for future embroidery are a lot less stitch intensive than the one that I am currently working on, but I am looking forward to trying the different look and resulting patterns that the designs present.
I had originally thought and planned to make a simple cushion cover out of my embroidered square, with a simple bordering fabric for the front and plan back piece, but as I have worked on this square I cannot help but dream of making something bigger. In my heart I have a large quilt-like blanket or throw, perhaps made up of a mixture of Sashiko squares with some in un-embroidered squares between, but I do not know if this is my heart leading my head to a project too large in scope to be realistic.
For now, though, I am working on the last rows of stitches as the beautiful geometric design reveals its final pattern.
I always try to put any skills that I have or am trying to learn or develop into practical use, to make unique things for myself to wear, or to use and enjoy around the house, but my confidence in knowing what I might and will enjoy wearing once made does not extend beyond myself, so Mr Awesome rarely gets anything handmade. Outside of work, he usually wears T-shirts with a graphic print, and though it is possible to sew a T-Shirt, they are so readily available that the time and materials taken to make them by hand does not seem worth the outlay of either.
However, I thought I might design a graphic for a T-Shirt and get it professionally printed, so I could make him something unique and (hopefully) that he would enjoy wearing and be able to make use of.
Obviously the most awesome thing you could possible have a T-Shirt of is Giantmonk, so I designed the Totally Awesome Giantmonk T-Shirt graphic and had it printed by the lovely folks at Spreadshirt (I say lovely not because I have any affiliation with them, but because their communications, website and everything down to their packaging just make me smile.)
Now I just need to design Giantmonk a matching Mr Awesome T-shirt…
Every so often I like to design a new set of gift tags for giving with handmade gifts that might require some special care, especially by way of washing/drying and ironing instructions. When someone cares enough to spend the hours of creating that goes into a handmade gift they will always be hopeful that the recipient likes that gift and wishes to use it often, but if they do it will inevitably require some care skills that the recipient may not be aware of. I like to send my gifts along with a little gift tag with care instructions on the back. I usually print mine on to a sheet of card, fill out the relevant fields on the reverse, and put a personal greeting inside along with any spare yarn or threads for mending, or sew a spare button in the inside in case needed in the future.
The sheet of six gift tags I have designed this year are all foldable tags that can be printed onto a medium weight card stock, or on to paper that is then layered onto card stock, and then cut and folded as needed. Each of the tags feature pictures of clouds in gentle colours with fun polka dots adding to the graphics.
The gift tags are free to download, use and link to but please do not distribute the file nor the printed tags, for free or for profit. Click to download the Gift Tags With Care Instructions For Handmade Gifts for personal use.
A good number of other designs of gift tags with care instructions in various designs from argyle flowers to nordic colourwork, to a cheeky nod to the hard work of a crafter are available in the Free Downloads & Projects section of the site.