Quilting with Sashiko Thread and trying out other new things.

At QuiltCon, I picked up a few new things to try. Whether it was the options as they were presented or my mood, there was clearly a theme to what I bought. I grabbed up many different Sashiko threads to use in my hand quilting.

sashiko thread

To back up a smidge, Riane Elise planted the quilting-with-Sashiko-thread seed after recently reading her book. Her quilting is stunning, and I love how much the contrasting stitches add to a project. To start, I grabbed up some of her recommendations; this sashiko thread, Tulip needles and Bohin marking tools. (I am a sucker for trying new marking tools. It is always a challenge to find a good one!)

After doing some quilting, I’m happy to share a report on the experience.

Threads: Yes! Sashiko threads are glorious to quilt with. They come in an endless array of enticing shades that are a flat color instead of something more glossy like perle cotton. My spool of lemon yellow was first to go, and I immediately ordered more. (That is color #12 if you’re wondering.)

Needles: I have to admit, the Tulip Sashiko needles were a bust for me. I like the length and how they glide through the layers so easily, but the heads break off consistently for me. I’ve done a fair share of big stitch quilting with other needles, and I’ve never had this problem. I’ve since ordered more brands to try, and I’m eager to see how they do!

Thimbles: The Clover Protect And Grip thimble has been my hand-quilting favorite for years. The new thing I tried this time are their Flexible Thimbles that help grip the needle as you move it between the layers. Whereas the Protect And Grip is worn on your middle finger that is pushing the needle along, these grippers can be worn on your index finger and thumb to pull the needle through the fabric. I’ve actually had these sitting around for years, but I hadn’t tried them yet. They are GREAT, and I don’t know why it took me so long to give them a go.

Figuring out the most comfortable size on the Flexible Thimbles wasn’t super obvious to me. Luckily I have all of their sizes (S, M, L), and I swapped in and out of different sizes as I went. After a few hours of stitching, I seem to have it sorted out.

Marking Tool: Bohin Extra-Fine Pencil in chalk and grey leads are surprisingly discrete. I’ll continue experimenting with these. (Always test before using on your own project. No marking tool is perfect.)

Not new, but in use and much enjoyed: Sew Fine Thread Gloss, Kai scissors, Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (pre-washed, very dreamy), Quilters Dream Blend batting and Collection CF backing.

Here are some places to find Sashiko threads, needles and supplies.

Riane Elise (her book describes how to work from a skein of thread too!)


Snuggly Monkey

Bunny’s Designs

Red Thread Studio

Brooklyn Haberdashery

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6 Responses to Quilting with Sashiko Thread and trying out other new things.

  1. Dana April 1, 2020 at 11:27 pm #

    Possibly a dumb question, but what do you do with the knots?

    • carolyn friedlander April 2, 2020 at 5:44 pm #

      Hi Dana! The knots are buried on the backside of the quilt.

  2. Katherine April 3, 2020 at 1:22 pm #

    I wonder if your needles might be breaking because they’re not designed for hand quilting with Western thimbles. Traditional sashiko embroidery using Japanese thimbles is actually very different than traditional American hand quilting. I was lucky enough to take a great class with Atsushi Futatsuya at QuiltCon this year. Check out his website upcyclestitches.com for supplies and information about sashiko.

    • carolyn friedlander April 3, 2020 at 1:29 pm #

      That is really interesting, Katherine! I could definitely see that making sense, and I will check out his site for sure. Thank you!

  3. Sailor Holladay April 7, 2020 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi! Thanks for all of this. When you say “buried on the backside of the quilt”, are the visible on the back or no? Thanks! I just placed an order at Snuggle Monkey to try this!

    • carolyn friedlander April 8, 2020 at 11:08 am #

      Hi! I make a knot and then pop that knot through the backing so that it is between the backing and the batting, and therefore not visible. Happy stitching!

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