Tutorial: How to Sashiko Stitch, Part 4, stitching the dragonfly

By Susan Fletcher
How to Sashiko Stitch Tutorial, part 4 of 4

Continuing Sashiko tutorial, this is part 4

(Note: There are 4 parts to this tutorial. In an effort to make it easier to find these parts I'm putting the links for all 4 here, plus a link for if you are starting stitching with a pre-printed (wash out) Sashiko design.  I hope this will make navigating to them easier.)
This is the last part of my 4 part tutorial on how to Sashiko stitch.
 If you are working your way through this tutorial using the Dragonfly Over Diamond Waves design we have been using as an example, this shows how to stitch the dragonfly.
sashiko dragonfly over diamond waves pattern
If your piece is getting quite rumpled, give it a quick pressing. Then, take a moment to enjoy how it looks so far!
I am really hoping you have found your stitching rhythm and are now hooked on Sashiko!  It can become quite addictive just because it is so peaceful and easy to do.  Not to mention that it looks beautiful when finished - so let's finish! 
Step 1 
Begin at one wing tip. Use the technique for starting a thread without a knot that we used a the beginning of the project. Remember you are stitching "backwards" toward the tip of the wing and your needle must come up at the exact end of that wing tip. If you ave forgot how to do this, look back to the first blog in this series of 4.
Remember to leave a slack loop as you cross the body of the dragonfly and when you turn back at the tip of the second wing.
Continue to stitch the dragonfly.  When you are working in small areas and tight curves take only one or two stitches at a time.

-avoid having your needle catch in an existing stitch
-take smaller stitches in small areas but remember to keep  your stitches on the back of the fabric are 1/3 the length of your stitches on the top of the fabric. This is what gives the Sashiko stitch its distinctive look so it's important to maintain it no matter what the length of your stitches.
-remember to leave a little loop every time you turn a corner or cross an open area.
When you have finished all the stitching, it is time to make your design into a project. The easiest thing to do with it is to use it for the front of a table mat, or add a border and make a cushion.  
Sashiko stitching is very functional. As long as you washed your fabric before you started, and you left some slack in your thread on the back of your project while stitching, you should be able to put it through your washer and dryer with your regular laundry.  The Sashiko thread (stitches) will become prettier with time, loosing their fuzzy fibres and plumping up like tiny grains of rice.
Happy Sashiko Stitching!
PS: If you want to add quilt batting and backing and are wondering how to quilt this piece, you can see in the photo where I have machine stitched this design through the three layers around the open area of the dragonfly. I made a table mat of this piece, and so I also top stitched through the layers near the outer edge of the mat. That seems to be enough to hold the batting in place when washed.