How to stitch La bouquetiere Honeycomb Sashiko Sampler

By Susan Fletcher
Hitome-sashi Sashiko Kit, Honeycomb

How to stitch the Honeycomb Hitomezashi Sashiko Sampler

This La Bouquetiere sashiko "Honeysuckle" is a ready to stitch design printed with wash out ink on sarashi-momen (cotton) fabric and combines three different Hitomezashi designs.  

This blog has step by step instructions along with some general information for stitching how to stitch hitomezashi sashiko samplers..

This design looks complex, but broken down to a step at a time, it is easy enough to do.  You can buy the Asagao design pre-printed & ready to stitch on Japanese sarashi-momen fabric (100% cotton) on athreadedneedle.com. 

 sashiko hitome-sashi Honeycomb design

Hitomezashi (sometimes spelled hitome-sashi) is a variation of sashiko stitching.  Sashiko means "stab stitch" and North Americans call it "running stitch". Hitomezashi sashiko builds stitched designs through making a series of evenly spaced stitches in straight lines from one edge of the fabric to the other, stitching first the vertical, then the horizontal, then the diagonal lines. 

Honeycomb hitomesashi sashiko sampler by Olympus, Japan

Things you need to know before you start this sashiko sampler:  All the sashiko samplers from Olympus Japan are printed on the same sarashi-momen cotton fabric (Olympus Hana-fukin & Traditional Sashiko, La bouquetiere, Ayufish int. Samplers). This traditional 100% cotton Japanese fabric is woven on the traditional width narrow looms. This means it has selvedges on two edges. The 12" x 12" design is printed on a 26" length of the  fabric and you are meant to fold the unprinted half to the back of the printed half and stitch through both layers. 

The printed design will disappear completely in water so keep it dry until you are finished. Also do not iron before it has been washed.

If you would like your cloth to have finished edges, fold the cloth in half with the printed side inside and stitch the together about 5/8" from the raw edge. (I use a running stitch and sashiko thread)

Now, turn the cloth right side out (print on the top) and finger press the seam flat (no ironing!)

Smooth the fabric layers out, then stitch the two rows around the outer edges. 

 Stitching Instructions:

Step 1

Staring at one edge (Where the #1 is on the direction illustration, stitch the horizontal lines for the first two designs.  Don't stitch the middle area. I got 'efficient' and stitched all the way across...had to take the middle part back out... ouch!)

sashiko pattern

Quick refresher: Thread your needle with a comfortable length of thread. You can knot the end of your thread or you can begin by putting your needle between the fabric layers and bringing it up at the first stitch, leaving  a tail between the fabrics about 1 1/2 - 2" long. 

Carry your thread on the back of the fabric between the end of one line and the beginning of the next line (important tip: Leave a little loop or looseness in the threads you carry on the back of the fabric. This will keep the fabric from tightening and bunching up as more stitching is added) 

End your thread by again leaving a tail between the fabric layers. 

Step 2.  

Find #2 in the directions and starting there, stitch as shown in this illustration using your second colour. Note that you are stitching only the first design now.

Repeat in reverse to finish the design.  (You can do the matching design on the other side of the cloth now or later).

hitomezashi sashiko stitching

Step 3

My photographs are not very good this time, I am sorry for that. We will just have to push on and make do I'm afraid!

Using your third thread colour stitch the narrow section design next to the one you just finished.

(I think this design is a variation on Tortoise shell.  The tortoiseshell sashiko design symbolises long life, as you might have guessed :-)

Step 4 

 I found the center desing diagram a little confusing to to follow.  I stitched the centre hexis first 

sashiko stitching

and then the rest of the lines. I won't swear I did it in the order shown but they all got stitched and no one will ever know unless they take apart my project and look at the back some day.  I feel ok to risk it! LOL

hitome-sashi stitching Honeycomb

Step 5. Stitch around the outside edge. Use the colours you used for the centre design.  Once the stitches are finished weave under those stitches from left to right with matching thread colour. This will create a pretty finishing border. (It is easier to weave under the stitches if you push the eye end of the needle under each stitch rather than the sharp end).

Finishing:

 When your stitching is finished soak the fabric in a bowl of warm water for a short while, then rinse until the water is clear. Smooth the fabric out on a towel and let dry, then lay it right side down on your ironing board and iron it smooth.

You could stitch a binding edge on the finished cloth and use it for a table centre, or make a small and beautiful cushion, or use it as a block in a runner or quilt.

Whatever you do with it, I hope you enjoyed stitching it.

Kind Regards

Susan