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Tutorial for Sashiko and Weaving: Hemp Leaf & Coin Design

Sashiko and weaving?

A brain like mine must have thought this up! I love the texture it creates, and I love how many variations are possible just by varying thread colors, or, if you are me, by making a mistake and liking the result!!

This blog will show you how to stitch  Hemp Leaf and Coin, a preprinted ready to stitch fabric kit by Olympus.

Sashiko and weaving pre printed fabric "Hemp Leaf and Coins"

Here is what you need if you want to make this. Buy sashiko threads and needles here, and the preprinted fabric and others like it here.

Preparing sashiko thread so it won't tangle

Before we start: Open your sashiko thread, find the place where it is tied and hold it firmly at that point while opening the skein to its longest length. Cut through the bottom of that long loop to make 36" lengths of the threads. I like to braid my skein loosely and tie at the top and bottom so that I can pull the threads out one at a time without having the rest tangle together. (For regular sashiko stitching, I cut through both ends of the loop to have 18" threads, but for the weaving designs 36" is better)

I like to use a long sashiko needle with the weaving designs, but choose what is comfortable for you.

Notes about the printed fabric: Please keep it dry and do not iron it until after you have stitched it all. The print is meant to wash out after you are finished, and it will completely...unless you iron it. Then it probably won't!

To start this project: The unprinted half of the fabric should be folded to the back of the printed half. You will stitch through both fabrics. If you feel it will be difficult to keep the two layers smooth, baste them together down the raw edge with large stitches.

Start your stitching without a knot:

Take a few stitches, ending with your needle on the back. Weave under the stitches but not through the fabric.

how to start your sashiko stitching

Continue stitching, loading as many stitches as you find comfortable on your sashiko needle. In the case of this design, stitch the outer design circles first.

loading sashiko stitches on your needle

Important to do: This is the back of the first stitching. What I want you to notice and do in your own stitching, is leave these little loops of thread every so far. This is because the thread and fabric will tighten as you stitch and the thread pushes the fabric weave tighter together. Most of these loops will disappear as you continue stitching - the extra length gets pulled in as you smooth the fabric out every so often.

showing sashiko stitching back of cloth

Complete all the circles (and those small ovals) in the design. I'm not finishing the the outer circle at this point, so don't be confused by not seeing them in later photos. I'll finish the stitching later when I can curl up with a movie :-)

Stitching the Coin section:

First stitch all the vertical lines.

Notice that I am leaving the loose thread loops at the end of each line on the surface of the fabric. I'll pull then to the back later- its just easier to remember if I can see them.

sashiko stitching

Next stitch the horizontal lines. Study the printed design on the fabric a bit better than I did! I stitched all the lines into squares but I wasn't supposed to! Every second one should have been skipped.

sashiko stitching

I am leaving this mistake so you can see what happens - and because I had finished it before I noticed!  Part of what I enjoy about these designs is how a little change like this can just make something else nice happen :-)

Here is a mistake I don't like to leave but I am so you can see it. In the bottom right corner square you can see I ruined the shape of the square by putting my needle through an existing stitch.  Count to the left 5 stitches and you can see another thing to avoid. My stitch has gone beyond the corner of the square.

 sashiko stitching and weaving

I've changed to a yellow thread so this will show better but the directions that come with the design will show it using blue. You should choose any colors you want, of course :-)

Start at the bottom right stitch corner.  Take your needle to the back of the fabric and bring it through again at the bottom of the lowest right side stitch.  From there pass your needle under the two stitches, then take another stitch under the second from the bottom side stitch...

Note: I've been using a tiny knot to start these threads. You can weave your thread under a few stitches on the back if you prefer.

using the wrong end of the needle

Use the 'wrong' end, the eye end of the needle for weaving under the threads.

weaving sashiko

When you get to the top turn and weave your way back down. Continue until the design is finished.

sashiko and weaving coin design

This blog entry is pretty long so I think I will make a second blog entry for stitching the Hemp Leaf design. Here is the link to for it.

Oh, the website link for this ready to stitch sashiko and weaving design!

Happy Stitching,


Susan Fletcher
Susan Fletcher


Owner A threaded Needle