Sashiko Sampler Quilt

Hi everyone

This post is specially for those of you who love Sashiko.

I’m sharing a Sashiko Sampler Quilt designed and stitched by Jennifer Zanetti. It’s a large quilt that would easily fit a Queen size bed and is an absolute tour de force. Here it is hanging to give you an idea of the size:

Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

It’s full of detail and in real life the visual effect is that the Sashiko Samplers seem to ‘float’ on the surface of the quilt.


The word Sashiko means little stabs or little stitches.It is a traditional form of Japanese needlework that evolved in the Edo period (1603-1867).  In this period there were sumptuary laws that delineated class lines by defining what people could wear. Only the nobility could wear silk, bright colours and large patterns. Commoners (merchant and peasant classes) could only wear homespun fabrics dyed with indigo.

Cotton was imported and beyond the means of ordinary people. So they spun cloth from hemp, wisteria and paper mulberry. It’s thought that the original fabrics had a loose weave and the warp and the weft provided linear patterns for the running stitch. At this time cloth was a precious commodity because it was time-consuming to produce so it was imperative to find ways to conserve scraps of old clothes and re-purpose them.

So the origins of Sashiko are utilitarian and developed out of necessity. It was used to strengthen cloth, quilt layers together to create warmth and to mend and recycle worn out clothes. The indigo dye was durable and thought to repel insects and snakes.

The Sashiko patterns also had a spiritual significance e.g. where the threads of stitches cross over is called the me which in Japanese means ‘the eye’. These ‘eyes’ protected the wearer and in the museum examples of the garments worn by fishermen and farmers you can see that they are densely stitched with Sashiko patterns and hundreds of ‘eyes’.

If you want to read more about the history of Sashiko there’s an interesting essay here by Michele Walker who has worked with the last generation of women to practise Sashiko in Japan.

You’ll find a really useful set of tips on Sashiko plus a great listing of other resources here.

Sashiko Samplers

Now for a closer look at those  Sashiko Samplers and some awesome eye candy. Here’s a striking combination that deploys the Asa no ha pattern between two fans:

Detail 1 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and closer

Detail 2 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

This next one is a variant of the Schippo tsunagi pattern

Detail 3 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

While the next block is a more complex variation of the same pattern:

Detail 4 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this is for all of you who love to look at the stitching in detail:

Detail 5 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The last in the indigo series of Sashiko blocks is this Maru-Bisha-Mon:

Detail 11 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The variation in the blue is due to the light sources in the room. On the quilt block it’s a uniform colour.

The indigo blocks are balanced in the quilt by a series of Sashiko Samplers in white with an added decorative theme. Jennifer has added a stitched bird to all of these white blocks.

We’re starting with  the  Hana-bishi pattern:

Detail 6 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then on to the Nowaki pattern:

Detail 7 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then the Hana zashi pattern

Detail 9 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this pattern which I haven’t been able to identify:

Detail 10 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The final white block has the Seikai-ha pattern with a quilted panel as contrast:

Detail 12 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer ZanettiThere are also Sashiko quilting elements in the design which create a visual and textural effect:

Detail 14 from Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 15 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

I really haven’t done this quilt justice as the overall design is incredibly intricate and complex. Jennifer’s choice of fabrics complements and in some cases echoes the Sashiko samplers. The geometry and spatial configuration of the blocks alone deserve a blog post.

But I have picked out one of the many decorative blocks in the quilt to share with you as the end note for this post:

Detail 13 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti



Looking Over Shoulders 5


Hello again everyone

I’ve been busy with my iPad over the last couple of weeks taking pics as I look over people’s shoulders at the Monday morning and evening meetings.

To the members of the Guild thanks so much for sharing your work and being so patient with me as I whisk away your work to take a pic.

This post comes with its own warning – it’s a mega post just in case you need to get a cup of coffee or tea…….

Here goes……

Irene Burton is incredibly fast at finishing work – look what she’s done in the last couple of weeks:

Granny Square

Granny Square crocheted by Irene Burton

Blue Crochet Bag by Irene Burton

Ballroom Dancers x-stitched by Irene Burton

I love the sparkly bits on the dancer’s dress – they add something special. What do you think?

We had two special visitors on Monday

Margaret Kilby from Ottawa is working on this lovely field of red poppies:

Red Poppy in Progress x-stitched by Margaret Kilby

and Dee Glenn from the USA on this elegant quilt:

Quilt in Progress by Dee Glenn

While we’re talking about quilts here’s where Dorothy Rudland is up to with her butterfly quilt:

Butterfly Quilt in Progress by Dorothy Rudland

Detail of Butterfly Quilt in Progress by Dorothy Rudling

and Lee Scott  is finishing the crazy quilt block she started on her recent stitching cruise around New Zealand:

Crazy Quilt Block by Lee Scott

You’ve seen this crazy quilt block that Fran Novitski has been working on in previous posts so here it is finished and very cleverly turned into a folder cover:

Crazy Quilt Folder by Fran Novitski

Julie Knight who is just the most creative person across a range of media was showing us the pieces she’d entered into the Canberra Show last month. Just look at this awesome baby doll – don’t you just want to pick her up and give her a big cuddle?

Baby Doll by Julie Knight

Her other pieces were this baby’s outfit

Baby Dress by Julie Knight

and this silk ribbon embroidery

Ribbon Embroidery in frame by Julie Knight

Shona Phillips has also been adding some ribbon embroidery to this retro design:

Lady with Roses Silk Flowers in Progress by Shona Phillips

while Pat Bootland is stitching away on a new piece inspired by a Sydney Long painting in the National Gallery of Australia.

Woman Piper by Pat Bootland

Floriana Basilisco finished this embroidery for a cushion

Surface Embroidery in progress by Floriana Basilisco

This piece is a bit deceptive because the painted green background suggests you’re looking at appliqué when in fact it’s surface stitching.

Floriana’s now started on this filet inspired by similar pieces she saw on her last trip back to Italy

Filet in Progress by Floriana Basilisco

Near her Catharina Koopman was working on this cross stitch

Sogno in Progress x-stitched by Catharina Koopman

Gail Haidon was working away at this stunning piece of wool embroidery that you’ve seen in an earlier post

Wool Embroidery by Gail Haidon

and Lesley Fusinato has started another block of her super cute French mouse Monet quilt

Monet Mouse Quilt Block by Lesley Fusinato

Jan Senti has finished her too cute bear stitched with mingled threads to give a ‘tweed’ effect

Teddy Bear x-stitched by Jan Senti

and now she’s onto Sashiko

Sashiko in Progress by Jan Senti

On Monday night Sarah Kimmorley was painstakingly counting threads for the tassels on a baby blanket

Preparing Tassels by Sarah Kimmorley

While Jenny Balderson was adding the finishing touches to her Stitch of the Month book cover

Stitch of the Month Sampler in Progress by Jenny Balderson

Now if you love Hardanger and drawn thread work here’s some eye candy for you that various members are working on

Lesley Jemeson

Hardanger in Progress by Lesley Jemesen

Germaine Esther

Hardanger in Progress by Germaine Esther

Nan Horne’s Ukrainian work

Ukrainian Embroidery in Progress by Nan Horne

Here’s a corner of a large Hardanger tablecloth that Brenda Phillips is making as a raffle prize for a special birthday of the Yass Country Women’s Association – we all want to win it!

Hardanger Tablecloth Corner by Brenda Phillips

Mmm I have to apologise to the owner of this Hardanger piece in progress as I can’t read my scrawled notes – so if you recognise it please let me know and I’ll add your name

Blue and Cream Hardanger by

For something completely different check out the progress that Sharon Boggon has made on her contemporary piece

Contemporary Embroidery in Progress by Sharon Boggon

and Agnes Sciberras on her very evocative seascape

Contemporary Seascape by Agnes Scibberas

Margaret Roberts is almost finished her Australian landscape and is looking for feedback and ideas on whether she should put something at the foot of the tree – so your comments would be very welcome…

Landscape in Progress by Jenny

For the history buffs among you here’s the Millennium Sampler being worked on by Jan Prowse

The Milennium Sampler in Progress by Jan Prowse

Detail of Milennium Sampler by

while Patricia has started this panel of the Bayeux Tapestry and was showing me her Bayeux Stitch

Edward the Confessor Panel from Bayeux Tapestry by

Detail 2 of Bayeux Tapestry Panel in Progress by

If you’re a fan of Diana Lampe’s designs then you’re in luck because two members are working away on very similar pieces. In the morning group Janice Brennan was finishing this design

Diana Lampe Embroidery in Progress by Janice Brennan

and in the evening group Rosie Collis is just about finished this

Diana Lampe Embroidery in Progress by Rosie Collis

There’s also lots of cross stitch going on

Ruth Jackson

Geometric Square x-stitched by Ruth Jackson

Delma Burgdorf

Coffee Cups x-stitched by Delma Burgdorf

Barbara Bailey 

Cottage in progress x-stitched by Barbara Bailey

Anne Small 

X-stitch in progress by Anne Small

and Samantha Benda

Bouquet of Flowers x-stitched by Samantha Benda

Threadpainting always generates a lot of interest at our annual exhibition and on the Members Gallery so here’s a lovely violet by Ros Stanford

Violet Threadpainting by Rosa Stanford

There’s the same kind of delicacy but a very different technique in these Stumpwork elements that Margaret Cooper is working on

Stumpwork in Progress by Margaret Cooper

Evelyn Foster is working on this winsome Trish Burr miniature

Trish Burr Miniature in rogress by Evelyn Foster

While Mary Doherty is almost finished a block for our Sunbonnet Sue quilt

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Block by Mary Donohue

For a pop of colour have a look at these pieces by Jan Hure

by Jan Hure

Polly Templeton 

Canvaswork in Progress by Polly Templeton

and Diana Churchill

Surface Embroidery in Progress by Diana Churchill

Surface Embroidery in Progress 2 by Diana Churchill

We’re going to end on a Christmassy note with this stocking being stitched by Carol Van Gelder

Xmas Stocking in Progress by

and Glenda Hudson’s fun button Christmas Tree from the Creative Group workshop

Button Xmas Tree by Glenda Hudson