Rhonda, our Workshop Instructor

At last year's seminar, I was impressed with how happy the students from one class were - those taking Barbara Gilbert's Sashiko class.  While the rest of us were looking a bit frazzled at times, these ladies appeared so happy, stress-free and pleased with themselves.  This was enough to make me want to learn more about this elegant Japanese stitching technique.

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be among those who took a workshop on Japanese stitching techniques, through the Calgary Guild of Needle & Fibre Arts, from Rhonda who was one of Barbara's Seminar students, and we learned about both Sashiko and Kogin

Sample of traditional Sashiko pattern

Sashiko, which translates literally into "little stabs", is a form of funcional embroidery from Japan.  Sashiko was traditionally used to reinforce garments and provide extra warmth.  Now this running stitch technique is used for purely decorative purpose and the white cotton thread worked on indigo-dyed fabric creates pieces with an elegance unlike any other.  The stitches are an even size which resemble grains of rice.

Traditional Kogin Design
The other half of the workshop was dedicated to learning about Kogin.  Kogin is a another traditional Japanese stitching  that was born in the Northern area of Japan and is also considered one of the Sashiko stitching techniques.  The purpose of this technique is also believed to have been used to add warmth and strength to clothing.  The designs are unique in their symmetry and resemble pattern darning in the way they are worked up.  The work is simple  but the finished designs are very elegant in appearance.  Traditionally, blue threads are used on white background when working Kogin.

We are fortunate as EAC members to have chances to take workshops and classes such as this one which introduce us to new stitching techniques.  Sometimes it is a technique you end up embracing and sometimes it turns out to be something you will not do again.  The important thing though is that we continue to learn and grow in our art and get inspiration from new techniques and viewpoints.  Stretch and grow!
You can find many sites online for information on these stitching.  Here are a few to get you started:
Links for more information on sashiko:
Links for more information on kogin:
Kerry Leslie


  1. One of these days I will give sashiko and kogin a try. I really like the patterns. Great post and pictures and thanks for all the links!

  2. I was in that class at Seminar and you are right it is soothing and contemplative and lots of fun. I have done several pieces since then and find it very relaxing. Sue

  3. I would like to take a class on Sashiko also. It looks like great fun.

  4. I did the one day (free day) class and enjoyed it.. it is something that is easy to pick up and stitch on for a short (or long) while.. and then put down again... another work in progress... so much to stitch and so little time...


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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.

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