Susan Briscoe is a familiar name to many sashiko stitchers here in the West, and rightfully so. The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook: Patterns, Projects and Inspirations (2005) is a book I would suggest anyone getting started with sashiko would benefit from having in their library.
The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook starts the reader off with a colorful history of sashiko, including examples of country textiles and black and white photos from the early 20th century, when sashiko was still used for practical purposes, not just decorative ones. Susan goes on to discuss equipment, fabrics, and basic techniques, followed by several projects and a comprehensive section of stitches with instructions. At 128 full-color pages, I highly recommend this book to both new and experienced sashiko stitchers.
Originally published in the UK, I found a copy in my local library here in the US. If you’re stitching on a budget, ask your librarian if this is available. If you’re building up a craft library, this is a good book to have on hand as a reliable resource.
Having a fondness for Japanese craft books, I’ve unfairly avoided the majority of English-language craft books out there, but over the past few years many new titles have arrived on the market that offer Western crafters a comprehensive education on Eastern techniques. Susan Briscoe writes with an obvious fondness for Japanese culture, and I look forward to checking out more of her books in the future.