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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Sashiko for Beginners: An Inspirational Guide to Japanese Quilting by Freya Gates is about Sashiko, a form of decorative running stitch technique that is now being used in making quilts, purses, handbags, or small pillows. This decorative reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery from Japan started in the Edo era (1615-1868) and by the time of the Meiji era (1868-1912), Sashiko was established and had evolved into winter work in northern farming communities. Mostly geometric patterns were used and the most common motifs were waves, bamboo, mountains, key fret, double cypress fence, arrow feathers, seven treasures, pampas grass, etc. The author throws light on this striking hand-sewing technique that originated in Japan and which helped to reuse material efficiently.
Apart from the history of Sashiko, the book also discusses how to get started with it, the materials and equipment required, the methods of working, and the Sashiko designs. The book has a section on quilting, application, and patchwork which gives details on the fabric required for the design shown and the method. There is a lot of information which is helpful to beginners who want to get started with their sewing projects. The basic techniques of Sashiko and the fabric required are discussed methodically and make it easier for readers of all types; newbies, seamers, and dreamers who want to try their hand at this ancient art form as a hobby, for relaxation, and for gifting purposes. The approach to the topic is neat, simple, and easy to understand. I only wish Freya Gates had added more pictures for readers to get a better visual understanding of this technique.