Olympus Wagara cotton sashiko sampler project part 2

Here we go, on to the fun stuff.

sashiko_coat1The magic of Persimmon Flower — Kaki no Hana (柿の花) — is how it evolves. Like an actual blossom, it starts off simple and innocuous, then blooms into something wonderful. And it’s all about the math; if you want the blossoms to be bigger or smaller, you adjust your lines accordingly. This is where graph paper comes in handy because you can plot out your design in advance. Obviously I didn’t, because I’m spontaneous like that. Some might say “headstrong”, “impatient”, or “sloppy”, but I like “spontaneous”.

Sewing a straight line on this fabric is easy. Unlike standard Western quilting cottons, the weave is open enough that you can follow the weft. If you’ve never sewn sashiko before and were considering using embroidery floss and Western fabrics, stop now. Nothing beats Japanese thread on Japanese fabrics. They’re made for each other. Literally.

sashiko_coat2 Every sashiko book with tell you to allow enough slack in the thread so that the fabric won’t pucker, especially when turning corners. Do I listen? No. You should see how I knit, too. I’ve been told more than once that I could benefit from drinking a glass or two of wine before picking up my knitting needles because I knit like my project has to hold water. Tight tight tight. Be loose. Enjoy the flow. Be Zen.

Why did I start putting in my vertical lines before I’d finished the horizontal ones? Because I didn’t bother to measure in advance, of course. I could see my lines spreading out wider after I’d passed the sleeves, and I worried that by the time I came to the hem things wouldn’t balance out. And besides, I’m spontaneous. Yes I am. And honestly, I wanted to see how the blossom was going to look. Because I am impatient.


When I reached the hem area and could count the stitches to see they would not meet up as planned, I changed plans. This type of adaptation is evident on many vintage pieces, which gave me confidence to do what I knew had to be done. Persimmon Flower adapts to change so beautifully that it was almost a joy to revise my count and find that with just one altered vertical row I could make it work.sashiko_coat4
How did it turn out? Tune in tomorrow to find out… and see what I did next!

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