The art of Sashiko

Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches.

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This jacket is one good example of Sashiko technique that I found online. It’s apparently a fisherman’s winter jacket from late 1800 to early 1900. You can see that this indigo-dyed jacket was mended again and again. I love it because more you see it, more you can find different details and effects that were applied to it.

Have a look at the scrapbook on Onagono’s pinterest page to see more examples of Sashiko.

Since there were 2 pairs of Jimmy’s well worn jeans that have holes on the knees, it was a perfect opportunity for me to experiment the Sashiko technique on them.

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I learned how to do it by watching this youtube video. It’s in Japanese but you will get the idea just by watching the demonstration without having to understand the language. (In fact, the narrator is talking about the history rather than giving the instruction.)

* Click the title on top to jump to the youtube page as it won’t play on this blog page.

First, I sew on a patch that is made of similar colour and material to cover the hole from inside.

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Marked the guide-lines for hand-stitching using fabric pencil…

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Then started stitching using cotton thread…

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And put them in the washing machine to wash off the pencil mark.

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And here it is!

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Same goes to the blue jeans…

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Slightly fancier Sashiko stitching pattern on them (like the one on the youtube video).

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After thought: Probably I should have used less visible coloured thread but at least you can see the pattern clearly…

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Our Sashiko challenge continues!

 

 

 

 

 

A visit to Knitster LDN

Knitster LDN is a knitwear studio based in Hackney, East London, run by Aysen Bayram.

Although I’ve know Aysen for over 10 years, I met her for the first time in years when I went to a friend’s party the other week. I asked her if I could pay a visit to her studio and she happily welcomed me in.

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I was curious about this industrial knitting machine since I saw the post on the Knitster LDN’s FB page. Apparently it came from a knitwear workshop in Scotland, that used to be run by a gentleman who is now 80 years old and had retired to become a bus driver.

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Aysen is working to give it a new lease of life.

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The cleaning is in progress. You can see the difference in the state of it before (left half) and after (right half) polishing.

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Still sussing out how this thing works…

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I am looking forward to seeing the old Italian machine come into action! I will revisit the Knitster LND studio again and hopefully will post the update here…

On the wall, I spotted a charcoal drawing of Aysen’s cat / muse by her friend Mieke Dingemanse in Amsterdam where she spent several years as a knitwear designer for an international fashion brand.

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Here is some of her work of knitted animals using Scottish lamswool. She also has an ongoing project Portrait Your Pet where by she commissions to knit clients’ pets into an object like cushion and frame.

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Aysen demonstrating us how the Brother knitting machine motor unit works.

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Thank you for sparing your time and showing us around your studio on one of the hottest days of the year!

Onagono x