A mother and a daughter sitting by the fireside are doing needlework silently. The iron kettle that is hanging on the fire is steaming with small noise. It is snowing outside.. Everything is covered with snow. Quietly the time goes by, at hands of mother, a small white flower is about to bloom in the navy background.
Sashiko reminds us Japanese people of that kind of situation. This time, we will introduce you traditional technique sashiko that is simple but gives clean-cut brightness andthat was born in the snowy northern part of Japan, sashiko. To be brief, sashiko is a kind of quilting technique in order to make the textile stronger and warmer. This needlework technique can be seen in throughout Japan and its birthplace is actually unknown.
The oldest and the best-known sashiko is the “Tsugaru Kogin”, which embroidered beautiful patterns on the Aizome hemp textile.
Making textile stronger and warmer
Cotton used to be very rare and expensive. Especially in northeast region in Japan, where cotton cannot be cultivated, farmers were prohibited to wear outfits made of cotton and they wore hemp instead. Apart from summer, it was impossible to pass the severe winter. In order to make the hemp clothing stronger and warmer, the farmers closed the small grains of the fabric by white thread. It was the beginning of sashiko.
Likewise the birthplace of sashiko is unknown: it is also not sure when it was begun. But in the “Omin Zushu” written by Sadahiko Hirano in 1788, there is an article about sashiko. It says, “It embroiders various patterns on the textile by thread. It is very amazing. It was worn by both men and women. Mostly, use the white thread on the navy background”. And according to that description, the sashiko method was already accomplished by then.
Daughters of farmers started to help needlework of their mother at the age of five. Then the daughters marry, and they pass the technique down to their daughters. That's how sashiko has been inherited.
The impressive sashiko patterns were inspired from farmers' everyday life
Women who kept doing needlework silently by the fireplace found the pleasure not only for practical use but also creating patterns on the textile. That's how the various and beautiful sashiko patterns were created. The ideas of the patterns that still remain are inspired from farmers' usual everyday life such as eyes of cat, beans, flowers, bamboos and stone pavements. You will be impressed by its originality and simplicity. The vivid contrast of white thread and navy background appeals the people in modern days that are getting tired of the boring style.
From practical usage to decoration Sashiko changes its purpose
In Meiji period, the banning of wearing cotton clothing repealed. Cotton thread began to use for sashiko and gained the brightness and contrast of the patterns. Since then, sashiko was focused on its beauty more than its practical use. However, the simplicity and beauty of sashiko has never been ruined and has taken over until now. It is never ruined because it is not just a pattern but the pleasure of life and bright heart of women who improved sashiko technique touch people's hearts.
Enjoy sashiko fashion with “Sashiko-weaving” textile
In modern days there are hundreds of materials for our clothing. Ironically, the sashiko patterns, which were born with a little sad and agonizing, are attracting a great deal of attention. It is focused on its stylishness and used in various ways. From the point of rationality, the technique of sashiko-weaving has developed. By the technique, we became able to enjoy sashiko patterns more casually.