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3 Color Sashiko Stitching - Take Your Stitching to New Heights!

We have a ton of new threads in our web store! They are curated into color collections ranging from calm and cool to neutrals to bright and beautiful. Traditional sashiko uses one color thread on a solid color ground, and typically white on indigo. But with all the gorgeous colors available these days, why limit yourself? You can use several colors in one design, and once you see how to begin, you'll realize the sky is the limit! We cannot wait to see all the beautiful combos you will come up with. Continue reading to see how Kristen put her pretty pastels together.

There are endless ways to use multiple thread colors with your sashiko. The color changes are bold with the stitch patterns that are more dense, or fine and subtle with more open patterns. In our shop, the Kasuri panels or the Cross panels will work especially well with the technique below.

SAMPLE 1 - Two color stitching pattern

Select 2 colors from the thread collection that look nice together. The colors will overlap, so take care to be sure they interact in a desirable way before you get started.

Take your panel and count your rows. In this case, there are 19 rows. Divide those rows into two sections. You can split it evenly or make it offset. For example, let's refer to the photo at left. We have section 1 in grey, 9 rows, and section 2 in yellow for the remaining 10 rows. But you could adjust it to 6 rows of one color and 13 rows of the second color, or whatever you decide looks good to you!

Start with your vertical rows of stitching, working left to right, one row at a time, complete the rows 1-9 (or however many rows you chose) in the first color. Change to the second color and finish remaining rows continuing across the panel.

Now, you are ready to start your horizontal stitches. Do the exact same order as you did with the vertical stitches, but work your way from top to bottom. You can see in the photo above, there are a few more rows to go. It is super fun to watch the pattern unfold as you progress!

SAMPLE 2 - Three color stitching pattern

In this second example, you can see the color changes with 3 colors:

2 rows of yellow (Row 1 & 2)

4 rows of grey (Rows 3, 4, 5, 6)

7 rows of pink (Rows 7 thru 13)

4 rows of grey (Rows 14, 15, 16, 17)

2 rows of yellow (Row 18 & 19)

You can divide up your rows any way you want - what makes this design magical is using a mirrored color change (see above). And when you repeat the mirrored colors, first stitching vertical rows and then horizontal just like the example above, you get this gradiated burst of color from the center out.

SAMPLE 3 Three color sample on self drafted grid

If you are feeling confident, try marking out your own 1/4 inch grid. The bonus of drawing your own grid, is you can make it any size, to fit any piece of fabric you have on hand. Our 6" acrylic quilters ruler is perfect for making a square and marking the 1/4 inch increments. We like to use the Frixion pen which disappears with heat, and has a nice fine point. (Don't forget: always test your marking tools before starting on a big project).

This is an example of Hitomezashi, a dense, gridded pattern based on a 1/4 inch (or smaller) grid. In this case all stitches in the vertical position are stitched in white & all stitches in the horizontal position are also stitched in white. All stitches stitched from upper left to lower right are stitched in pink. The opposite diagonal (upper right to lower left) are stitched in a third color, yellow. To add interest, the diagonal stitched rows are made to create triangle sections as they overlap. Alternatively, you could fill the entire piece in all directions to create a full, heavily textured masterpiece.

Below, you'll find an up close view of the grid, stitches and colors. We hope you found this simple tutorial inspiring! Here's to simple, slow stitching into the warm summer nights ahead.


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