However, what really grabbed my attention was the image of a blouse embroidered with a sashiko design:
|Sashiko blouse by mina perhonen|
Now, I am not normally into embroidery, or embellishment or ANYTHING of that ilk, but you know when something is a sort of coup de foudre and you have to try it out? So, lacking the money to buy a pre-made kit, I went wandering around the internet to see if I could find enough resources to enable me to at least try it out. Between random stuff I googled and a couple of pages in a book I have about quilting, I managed to figure out most of the basics (I think) and draw a pattern on graph paper that is more or less a traditional design. I had a go first with a couple of simpler patterns and some thread, and then last night I sat down and tried a small square of the pattern. This is what it looks like:
Obviously, it has some flaws! You aren't supposed to allow the threads to cross each other or touch and I kind of screwed up some of the places where a lot of points meet -- the best one is the centre of the star on the bottom left, which is probably most like it's supposed to look. You're also supposed to be really consistent with the size of your stitches, which I was not, and the spaces between stitches are meant to be half the length of the stitch itself, which I also clearly got wrong. However, I think this is pretty good for a first real attempt! I'm not sure I'd want to do anything this complicated over a whole blouse though -- maybe something like this would be better.
It took a while to create the tissue paper pattern, which I placed on top of two layers of random scrap white cotton and then pinned into place. At first it's a bit awkward because even pinned it shifts a bit, but after you do the first long rows of stitching it stays mostly in place. My square is about 12cm by 12cm and it took me a total of about 2.5 hours to embroider -- an hour last night, about an hour this afternoon while I sat waiting for a hospital appointment, and a half hour once I got home just to finish off two lines of stitching. Actually, embroidering in public was an interesting experience. Normally nobody speaks to me at all in hospital waiting rooms but today two separate people asked me about what I was doing.