Time is funny that way. It passes slowly or quickly, it unfolds, or it rushes by. It can also stand still.
The past week and a half, it has stood still with a little help from a virus I thought might have passed us by. But no. First Phil, who isolated upstairs with me delivering food and meds to the room- masked of course, and then myself 5 days later. Fortunately, my symptoms were mild compared to many (thankful to up to date covid vaccines) and Phil only a little worse. We are both on the upswing now, yet still testing positive. So far my worst outcome seems to be the ridiculous back pain from laying in bed for three days straight. I am not good with being waylaid like that. Feels better to be moving again.
So orders took a hit and are leaving more slowly than anticipated. I did get out to the studio today to make a start at it all. I hope you can be patient.
This is Thanksgiving week and we were supposed to be away but won’t be (a driving trip to Nor Cal- still not ready to be on a plane especially at holiday time).
Thanksgiving dinner will be delivered by family and we are grateful.
When I was finally feeling like getting up, I took to the needle…and thread! I’ve been practicing and testing out some sashiko thoughts and patterns. Testing various fabrics, threads, patterns, and marking tools. I’ve come to a few conclusions for myself if you are interested.
I was mainly in search of a preferred type of cloth and pattern marking system that was convenient, consistent, and just felt right. I’m still looking at various cloth but the first three I tried were cotton lawn (lightweight cotton), old linen tablecloths (maybe rayon), and some cotton dishcloth (most like Japanese sarashi). Of these three, I preferred the cotton dishcloth fabric. It had a better feel and was a bit more open weave than the other two. Won’t use the linen tablecloth fabric again. It has a weird drape and although it stitched ok, I wasn’t sold on it. Too bad, because I have a lot of this! It’s good for other things though. The cotton lawn was ok- easy to stitch but not too interesting of a texture. The cotton lawn one I liked the most was that was randomly indigo dyed.
As far as marking systems, I have taught basic sashiko in some project based workshops and always relied on using the carbon type transfer paper (chacopy) from Clover or even just a grid marked with a chalk or wax type pencil. I have found that the chalk pencil marked pieces don’t hold the pattern well enough and fade/rub away while I am working the cloth.
I got swayed by a post I saw somewhere singing the praises of a Sulky dissolvable adhesive product that you can run through the printer and apply to the cloth, thereby transferring the pattern easily so I ordered some. Yes, the transfer of pattern was great! The transfer material dissolved easily, but it was not fun to stitch through! It took away ALL the enjoyment of stitching for me. And that is the heart of sashiko- the stitching. I want to enjoy the feel of the cloth in my hand, the way the needle and thread slip through the cloth… the dissolvable adhesive took that away.
Thanks to one of the shibori students who turned me on to some heat sensitive marking pens, I think I prefer those for grid marking. The marks don’t wear off in handling, are easily seen on the cloth, and disappear easily under the heat of an iron. The pens come in various colors and have refills available- as from what I understand they don’t last a long time. Since I am mostly using cloth I have indigo dyed, I’m using the white pen mostly.
It’s worth it to put the time into marking the cloth well if you are practicing traditional or even your own planned patterns. I tried a short cut with the Sulky product but it wasn’t for me. Maybe it will be useful in some other way. Any ideas?
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with friends, family, or like us- a quiet day at home.