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Embroidery Kits

Get Authentic Japanese Embroidery Kits For Sashiko and Kogin Embroidery

The art of Japanese embroidery originated over 1600 years ago and originally served a decorative purpose often only enjoyed by the elite. Over time, embroidery took on a new meaning in Japan and became more accessible to the general population and the Western world. Today, the fine silk fabrics and intricate designs of the craft are celebrated in fashion and culture worldwide. At Hands On Workshop, we supply premium embroidery kits made in Japan - sharing our passion for Japanese culture and creativity with you.

Japanese Embroidery Essentials: What You Need to Get Started

You can use embroidery to make wall art for your home, upcycle old linen, or decorate plain upholstery. You can use a darning mushroom to repair socks and gloves with stylish embroidery to create unique clothing. Japanese embroidery is a craft and tradition that produces detailed designs filled with history and symbolism. Before you start your Japanese embroidery journey, you will need a few essential tools. You can also find these essentials in our embroidery starter kit.

  • Embroidery thread. The embroidery floss you need is a loosely wound thread that you can easily separate into thinner strands for more delicate work on tightly woven cloth. The traditional Japanese colour choices are white thread embroidered on indigo or navy cloth. The shop stocks a wide range of colours including variegated sashiko thread. An embroidery thread organiser can help you keep your colours separate and prevent the strands from getting tangled while you work.
  • Embroidery Hoop. A hoop is a popular staple used in embroidery to frame the design. It holds the fabric in place while you work, stretching it tightly and making it easier to stitch. The hoops come in various sizes suited to small and medium-sized projects. Many forms of Japanese embroidery don’t require a hoop at all, and you can create bold geometric patterns across large areas of fabric without one.
  • Embroidery Needles. The needles you will need are thicker than regular sewing needles and often much longer. Choose your needle thickness based on the thickness of your cloth. Use a thimble to protect your fingers and make it easier to push the needle through the fabric. Sashiko needles work well with traditional sashiko embroidery floss that is thicker than most other thread varieties.
  • Fabric. You can embroider on almost any type of fabric. Japanese embroidery originated using natural textiles, such as silk, cotton, linen, and hemp. Silk was used for more luxurious garments, while the typical home embroiderer preferred thick, durable materials. We stock a selection of plain Sashiko cloth, Kogin cloth, and Yumefukin patterns to help bring your Japanese designs to life.

What is the Difference Between Sashiko and Kogin Embroidery?

Both Sashiko and Kogin are traditional Japanese embroidery styles that have a similar appearance with some minor differences. You do not always need an embroidery ring for these techniques, making them highly portable. There are many other types of Japanese embroidery styles from earlier periods that are not covered below. Here are the fundamental differences and origins of the two popular styles.

  • Sashiko embroidery is a traditional craft originating from the Edo period in Japan. Working-class families practised Sashiko to strengthen cloth and make more durable garments that lasted many generations. The designs usually include geometric patterns stitched in repetition across the fabric. The thread you use for the sashiko technique is more twisted than regular embroidery floss. and included in HOW stocks a colourful range of sashiko kogin thread in fine and standard thickness for any sashiko embroidery kits or project.
  • Kogin embroidery is a type of sashiko also originally used for bulking up clothing to make it warmer and more durable. You will need loosely woven fabric with holes in it for kogin embroidery. Our kits include thick, blunt-ended kogin needles to pass through the large holes in the cloth, creating short, dense stitches. Kogin is similar to cross-stitching as you often count the stitches and use the natural grid of the fabric to build the design.
  • Both sashiko and kogin originate as working-class crafts and have evolved into decorative art forms. You can identify whether a design is sashiko or kogin by the overall appearance of the finished product. Sashiko often incorporates large designs with stitches that form dotted lines, while kogin looks more like tiny straight lines stitched close together to create a pattern all over the cloth.

The Symbolism in Traditional Japanese Embroidery

Embroidery arrived in Japan over a thousand years ago as a Chinese import and was soon adopted and amended to represent Japanese tastes and culture. While the popular sashiko embroidery often incorporates geometric patterns and simple colour palettes, there are dozens of other styles rich in symbolism. Below are some typical Japanese symbols found in various art forms to inspire your next project.

  • Floral meaning. Hanakotoba is the language of flowers in Japanese culture. Each floral design has so much symbolism, and it can convey complex stories and emotions through embroidered art and objects. Popular flowers include the cherry blossom - the revered Japanese flower that symbolises beauty and new beginnings, along with peonies, chrysanthemums, and carnations.
  • Symbolic animals. Cranes, symbolic birds that are often immortal beings in Japanese folklore, symbolise longevity and good fortune. Embroidered garments for royalty classically included dragons - symbols of prosperity and protection against evil. Other symbolic animals are carp (koi) fish, butterflies, dragonflies, tortoises, and swallows.
  • Pattern and geometry. Seigaiha is a pattern of layered concentric circles that represents water or waves that often symbolise power or resilience. Shippo is a traditionally Buddhist geometric pattern present in Japanese embroidery composed of infinitely repeating circles. Kikko is a hexagonal pattern that looks like a tortoise’s shell - the tortoise symbolises longevity and good fortune.
  • The natural world. Many natural elements hold spiritual significance in Japan, and many artists allude to them through shape in their embroidery. A mountain is considered a sacred connection between earth and the heavens, flowing water, such as rivers or streams, represents the flow of life and the passing of time into the future. Other classic symbols include drums and scrolls.

Why Choose Hands On Workshop For Your Embroidery Essentials

Hands On Workshop supplies premium embroidery and craft essentials to the world directly from Japan. Our founder is deeply connected to the people and the lifestyle of the country, and we are passionate about sharing our love for Japanese culture through art and craft. Every product in our store is carefully selected for its quality to reflect the craft as practised in Japan. We would love to connect with you, and you can contact us with any questions you have about our store, our products, and our story.

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