Boro Stitch

If I've calculated correctly I've had this textile for 13+ years. It's a block printed textile from India. I've been hard on it. It's been used as my bedspread. The sun has faded it in areas. My cat put lot's of holes in it as a kitten learning how to jump and retract his claws. It's almost used up but I wanted to get a little more life out of it.

I decided to make it my first Boro stitch project. I shared about Boro a little in my Sashiko stitch post. Boro is a Japanese mending stitch and oh did this need some mending. At first I thought I was fixing a couple large holes...

My first mendings on the piece are in the center and upper left of this image.

My first mendings on the piece are in the center and upper left of this image.

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But nope, tons of little holes from the years of use. In some areas this fabric is basically thread bare. It turned into the perfect project to explore this visible mending technique. My plan was to hang this as a shower curtain when I'd finished so I knew it would be forgiving to my novice skill level.

To mend something it's necessary to back the hole with a piece of fabric larger than the hole.

To tie off my thread I connected my back stitches securing my ends.

To tie off my thread I connected my back stitches securing my ends.

The back of my textile is very messy with these little scraps of cloth but in use they won't be seen.

The back of my textile is very messy with these little scraps of cloth but in use they won't be seen.

Perhaps my favorite little mend.

Perhaps my favorite little mend.

Mending, mending, mending...

Mending, mending, mending...

It ended up being a much larger project than I expected so I working on it every day for about 10 days. Sometimes for a couple hours, sometimes for 5 minutes. If you're trying this out for the first time I do recommend starting out with your smallest hole first before tackling the larger ones. I wish I had done that myself.

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Now it hangs in my bathroom totally transforming the tiny space! Because it's not backlit the mending scraps don't stand out just the boro stitches themselves.

Trying out Sashiko stitch

Sashiko practice fabric. The white unstitched lines will wash out.

Sashiko practice fabric. The white unstitched lines will wash out.

Have you noticed? It's November! This is the perfect time to start thinking about making some handmade gifts for the holidays. I myself am in full make mode gearing up for some craft fairs at the end of the month so I thought hey, why not try a new skill. Something about fall brings out the maker in me and I can't stop exploring even when my time is limited.

I happened upon some images of the Sashiko stitch on Instagram and found them very captivating. So when I noticed Katrina Rodabaugh offering a workshop at Handcraft Studio School I jumped to try it out. I'll admit I may have seen this youtube video and thought I might walk out of the class as a human sewing machine. That's definitely going to take more time. 

I have done a little embroidery in the past but would consider myself very novice. While this workshop wasn't billed as being for beginners I would say this stitch to be very beginner friendly. What I liked most about the stitch is how patterns are created by intersecting continuous lines. In some ways it reminded me of Zentangle which is about drawing one line at a time and Sashiko is very much about one line of stitching at a time.

The back of the Sashiko pattern fabric with my stitching. I opted to just stitch some of the lines.

The back of the Sashiko pattern fabric with my stitching. I opted to just stitch some of the lines.

My first completed project!   I was able to understand my beginners limitations with this simple potholder/trivet project. While the stitching pattern is just made of straight lines it's stitch density was more time consuming than I'd expected. The back side used a lovely Japanese patterned fabric picked out by Katrina.

My first completed project! I was able to understand my beginners limitations with this simple potholder/trivet project. While the stitching pattern is just made of straight lines it's stitch density was more time consuming than I'd expected. The back side used a lovely Japanese patterned fabric picked out by Katrina.

My extra project in the class was that I managed to get my thread in an incredible knot that I am still slowly unraveling.

My extra project in the class was that I managed to get my thread in an incredible knot that I am still slowly unraveling.

Samples of  Katrina's visible mending  using the Sashiko stitch.

Samples of Katrina's visible mending using the Sashiko stitch.

This wall is at the Handcraft Studio School which recently celebrated a year of being in business.

This wall is at the Handcraft Studio School which recently celebrated a year of being in business.

I took this workshop at Handcraft Studio School in Oakland. I've been seeing images from all the fun classes they've been offering but this was the first chance I'd had to visit. They're conveniently located near the freeway in Emeryville with plenty of parking. I think it's really important to nurture the creative spaces in our community so do take a class there if you have the opportunity. Or take any class in your own community if you're not local to the Bay Area. A workshop is a great way to experience a new skill. I love seeing the work of others as I explore something new and I generally learn something from a student as well as from the instructor. Go forth and make! Tis the season!