What is hitome-sashi sashiko stitching, and how to do it.

By Susan Fletcher
Kogin Sashiko Stitching
Hitome-sashi stitching is a type of sashiko stitching.  Both are made up of small straight stitches and both are used for mending and patching fabrics. Well, were used...now we also stitch them for their beauty, and for relaxation. Its a very peaceful stitching technique.
What makes it Hitome-sashi sashiko rather than simply sashiko?  The designs are made up of dense stitches arranged to build a pattern, while a the same time adding extra strength to the fabric(s) they are stitched on.   Sashiko designs make large overall designs which hold two or more layers of fabric together (like quilting with big stitches), Hitomezashi designs build small denser designs that look rather like weaving patterns.
Although these stitching patterns can look challenging, they share the same simplicity as all Sashiko designs. They are made by stitching straight lines across the fabric.  The stitching is done by stitching first all the horizontal lines, then all the vertical lines, then all the diagonal lines.  The pattern emerges from them as you go along
The easiest way to learn Hitomezashi stitching is to start with a pre-printed ready to stitch sampler. 
There are many designs available pre-printed on cotton fabric. Most make a 12" square block and come with additional fabric which you fold under the printed half so that you are stitching through two layers. 
Here is what to do:
Begin at one side and stitch all the printed markings in the row. I like to leave a 'tail' of thread at each end of the fabric and to use one thread for each row so I don't have any joins. This works for me because I will make the finished sampler into another project. You can use knots or weave your thread under a few stitches on the back of your fabric.
Stitch all the rows in one direction. Then stitch all the rows in another direction. (Rule of thumb - begin with the horizontal rows, then the vertical rows, then the diagonal rows) 
That is all there is to it!
Remember not to pull your stitches tight, they need enough looseness to allow for how much thread you are adding to the fabric.
Below is a sample of a different design:
On some designs the back will be identical, on others you get a different design on the back. If you are careful with your stitching the back will be just as pretty as the front.

If you are not so careful you will get this sort of thing happening on the back! Which only matters if you think it does, or if you needed your piece to be double sided!
 
And a note:
Because I will be cutting these into pattern pieces to make small zip pouches, I am not concerned with the threads at the edges. In fact, part of my reason for leaving them with tails this long is so I can be sure there will be enough slack in the thread for the fabric to stay flat even with so much thread added to it.  I'll wash and dry my fabric in the machines  before I cut them, to plump up the fabric and threads, and to tighten the stitching so it stays put while being cut and sewn.
Happy Stitching.
Talk to you again soon,
Susan
For more about the differences in these 3 styles of sashiko (moyo-sashi or moyozashi,  hitome-sashi or hitomezashi, kuguri-sashi or kugurizashi) see this blog