First I got together all my fabrics: the printed ones I'd done recently and the shibori dyed ones from chapter 6. I laid them all out on the carpet and sorted them out by tone into light, medium light, medium dark and dark, half-closing my eyes and squinting to try to judge the tone.
|2.12.F1 Light fabrics|
|2.12.F2 medium light fabrics|
|2.12.F3 medium dark fabrics|
|2.12.F4 dark fabrics|
|2.12.P1 seminole block|
I am not so keen on the regularity of pieced patchwork blocks, so I tried laying out some of the fabric pieces in a more random way. This reminded me of a book I had bought on impulse a couple of years ago on the Japanese technique of Sashiko stitching. (Sashiko by Mary Parker, Search Press 2002) In it, I read that Sashiko had originated as a technique used by Japanese peasants to strengthen fabrics worn thin with use and to anchor patches on places which had worn through. This was done with parallel rows of running stitch. Later, the technique evolved into a purely decorative one, still based on running stitch, but arranged so as to make repeated patterns, all of which had a meaning and symbolism. Mary Parker had a dictionary of traditional Sashiko patterns at the back of her book.
Although Mary Parker had adapted the technique for machine stitching, something about the original hand running stitch appealed to me, and so I tried two of the patterns.
|2.12.S1 chidori or plover|
|2.12.S2 Asanoha or hemp leaf|
The symbolism of the patterns appealed to me very much and thought I would try to devise a few Sashiko type patterns of my own which would hold my own personal symbolism.
|2.12.S3 feathers like scales|
|2.12.S4 downy feathers|
I also intend to stitch some Sashiko patterns which have secret symbolism and meaning for me, and to put them in hidden places on my kimono, inside a sleeve or a hidden part of the lining, so that only I know that they are there.
As well as being interested in the decorative and symbolic use of Sashiko, I was also attracted to the original, utilitarian use and thought it would be ideal to join together my randomly pieced fabrics. I laid out a selection on the floor, so as to make a piece large enough to make one front of the kimono and started stitching it by hand with running stitch. So far I have spent 12 hours on it with quite a few still to go, so this will be a nice, relaxing, on-going part of the project, ideal for stitching in front of the telly! I thought the repetitious stitching would be very tedious, but I am enjoying the rhythm of it and I love the effect. The patterns on the fabrics still show through it, but it blends the different pieces in a delightful way and I like the pin-striped effect. Because of the size I have found it hard to photograph this piece, but I have tried to show one overall picture and a few close-ups as shown below.
|2.12.K1 left front of kimono|
|2.12.K2 first detail of left front|
|2.12.K3 second detail of left front|
|2.12.K4 third detail of left front|
|2.12.K5 fourth detail of left front|
I am still puzzling as to how to use my fabrics for the other partse of the kimono. It would take too long to do the whole garment by the technique used for the left front, and besides, I want to showcase different techniques in the garment. I have had a try on Photoshop with some thoughts, shown below, but I feel that my ideas will evolve as I piece more blocks.
|2.12.W1 woven fabric strips|
|2.12.K6 idea for kimono front|
|2.12.K7 idea for kimono back|