Which sashiko thread should I use?

August 19, 2019

sashiko threads
Which sashiko thread should I use? 
In this blog we are looking at the 5 white sashiko threads I have available at A Threaded Needle. Here is what they have in common, how they differ, and some recommendation about pairing them with sashiko needles and with stitching fabrics.
     Their main difference is the thickness of the yarn. There is also some variation in their color and texture. 
     Below is my less than perfect sampler :-) The threads are Coron (the thickest), Hidamari Cosmo (the thinest), Olympus Kogin Sashiko (very similar to the Coron thickness), Olympus sashiko 20 meter skein (the standard for sashiko threads, very close to the thickness of #5 perle cotton), and Olympus sashiko 100 meter skein (similar in thickness to the Hidamari sashiko thread).
sashiko threads sampler
What sashiko threads have in common:
     Sashiko thread is not made in strands like embroidery thread, it is made of fine threads twisted together to make a single thread (yarn). You use the entire strand when stitching with it.  This difference does matter.  Embroidery thread will show the separating strands in the longer sashiko stitches, while sashiko thread will settle into the fabric as a solid little "rice grain like" stitch. 
sashiko threads
(Hidamari, Olympus 100 meter, Olympus 20 meter, Olympus Kogin, Coron)
     Sashiko thread is made with a rougher/grippy texture, and has a flat rather than shiny finish. These characteristics allows the stitching to plump up and "cosy in" to the fabric in a manner that is distinctive to sashiko stitching. This effect increases with repeated washing of the stitched fabric, increasing its beauty over time. Sometimes this is a bit of an adjustment if you are used to your stitching being most beautiful when it is newest and least used! :-D  
    Here are the five sashiko threads in their packaging. (We have these in a lot of colors on the website, but this is just about the thread itself)
Sashiko Threads, 5 Types
(Top: Coron, left to right: Hidamari, Kogin, Olympus 20 meter, Olympus 100 meter)
    Beginning with the Olympus sashiko 20 meter thread: I like this thread, but it took me time to get used to the slight fuzzy texture.  Experience has taught me that the slight fuzz of the soft thread is part of what makes it become more beautiful with time and trips through the washer and dryer! It has the space in its composition to swell and tighten over time, loosing its fuzz while becoming plumper and more locked to the fabric.  I don't know if thread is said to have 'tooth' but that is how I want to describe the bit of grippy-ness this thread has that keeps it in place in the fabric. It comes in about a lot of solid colors and variegated colors. The white is not stark white.
sashiko threads
     Everyone has their own preferences, plus there are many variables in sashiko projects.  I favor thick fabrics and threads. If you do as well, you may want to try the Coron or the Olympus Kogin Sashiko thread.  (Kogin is a style of sashiko stitching in which the design is built up in short fat stitches).  For these threads you need looser woven fabrics as the warp and weft threads of the fabric have to be able to accommodate the thickness of the thread without bunching the fabric together.  (Leaving slack thread on the back of the project will also help with this problem). Both the Kogin white and the Coran white are white whites, but the Coron is slightly whiter.
    But you may prefer the thinner sashiko threads for a lighter stitching line. The  Hidamari Sashiko thread and the Olympus sashiko 100 meter skeins are thinner and coupled with the thinner sashiko needles will have a nice effect, especially on crisp linen, cotton and silks. 
     If I haven't mentioned it, these five white threads are not the same color whites, so it is best not to try to mix them in the same project.
     Here are some combinations of thread, needle and sashiko fabrics.  This is only meant to be suggestions, you can and should choose your projects and tools to suit your own hands and preferences. Your project is your project. If you like a thin line on a heavy fabric then that is the right combination for you. If you prefer to use a large needle with thin sashiko thread, that is right for you...actually that is my preference :-) but you get the idea. What follows is just a place to start if you aren't yet sure what is your favorite combination.
You can sashiko stitch on any fabric you want (unless the weave is so tight the needle and thread won't pull through).
 For plain weave cotton fabrics, I would choose my thread, and then a needle to suit the thread. Thicker threads need larger needles.  
For a crisp Tussah silk or light weight linens, try Hidamari Thread and Hiroshima Tulip Thin Straight Needles or Hidamari Needles.
For denim? Try Olympus Sashiko Needles and any of the threads.
For wool? Try any of the threads depending on how much you want the stitching to stand out, and Olympus Sashiko Needles.  If you are stitching through several layers of wool, try the Clover Long Sashiko Needles.  

Also in Sashiko Blog

Boro Slippers
Boro: A Journey in Sisterly Slipper Making!

September 25, 2020

 Boro: A Journey in Sisterly Slipper Making!

Just for fun I thought I'd share this photo story of making boro slippers with my sister...

2 pair of boro stitched slippers

View full article →

sewing with boro fabric
My Boro Stitching & Thoughts for Other Stitchers

August 03, 2020

My Boro Stitching & Thought for Other Stitchers

.... but thats just how I like to do it. Other people stitch wonderful pieces with parallel lines evenly spaced. It's a matter of what you enjoy plus what is functional for your project. The right thing to do is to suit yourself!

boro stitched sewing

View full article →

Sashiko Thread and How Not to End with a Tangled Mess!
Sashiko Thread and How Not to End with a Tangled Mess!

June 06, 2020

sashiko thread
Skeins. Really?

Here I am all ready to settle in and stitch miles of sashiko and I realize that every thread I need is going to be a project itself to get off the skein! Argh!

Here is the solve for this frustrating problem:

View full article →