Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Little Sashiko

This past Christmas my husband bought me a Baby Lock Sashiko machine.

 I've been sort of fascinated my this machine since I first became aware of it.  It's function is basically embellishment.  It's stitch is modeled after Japanese Sashiko embroidery.

Part of my fascination is due to the unusual way that it makes stitches.  It uses only a thread in the bobbin.  There is no top thread.  The thread somehow gets looped around itself to make the stitch.  On the front side there is actually two strands of thread in each stitch.  The back side of the stitch looks more like a standard machine spaces between the stitches.  You can vary the size of the stitch and the size of the space between the stitches.  Both of these simple variations changes the visual impact of the finished stitching quite a lot. You can also vary the amount of pressure that the foot exerts on the fabric.  The looser hold is used to make the curved patterns.  You move the fabric during the time when the needle is up.  Traditionally a solid fabric is used with a thread that provides a big color contrast. 

Threading is...well, different than any machine I've ever used.  But it's not difficult, just different.  Finally after two projects, my Sashiko cover and my most recent quilt, I think I've got straight sewing under my belt.  That doesn't mean that I'm perfect.  I still break the thread more often than I'd like.  But I feel like I can make a nice finish with straight stitches.  Next I need to work on the curved patterns.  When I first tried this, right after getting the machine, I had a lot of trouble with thread jams and broken thread.  But now that I understand the machine better I think I should be able to make curved patterns work for me.  The curved patterns seem to deliver the most punch.

The machine is not computerized.  It comes with a bobbin winder and a compartment to hold some tools and extra needles and bobbins.  It uses a special needle to make the stitch work.  Baby Lock says that they make the only Sashiko machine in the industry.  The website has some great pictures of the features I've mentioned.

And, just to be clear.....I'm only sharing my experiences.  I'm not on the Baby Lock payroll in any way.  I am glad, though to answer any questions about my experience with the machine.

So, maybe I'll be able to create some items once my quilting backlog gets reduced.


  1. awesome designs though, first time I've heard of sashiko

  2. It sounds such a fascinating machine, I hope you have success with curved lines since, as you say, they're such a strong feature of Sashiko. Have you been researching Sashiko as well?

  3. I have seen this machine at a local shop, and I find sashiko quilting intriguing. It's fun having a new tool at your disposal, isn't it? I can't wait to see what else you do with it! Congrats!

  4. Such pretty stitching, Nina. You've learnt it really quickly :)