Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hana Fukin Sashiko

Wanting to do something productive while wasting watching the TV at night, I decided that sashiko, a Japanese embroidery might be the ticket.  In the days before TV watching, well, folks used to be productive.  Men might carve wooden toys, spoons or bowls.  Women would sew or knit.  So, they would have to pay attention to what they were doing.  For me apparently, knitting and crocheting aren't mindless.  I have to concentrate.  That means I have to choose what to concentrate on.  But sashiko doesn't take much thought to do, once you put the pattern on your fabric.  Now, I am one of those people who is reluctant to throw something away, if it has faithfully performed its duty with style and maybe, is just a little worn out through use.  Hence, these lovely cotton dish cloths.  They were too thin to keep on using and people kept buying me new kitchen towels since I wouldn't quit using them.  And, it seems, well, silly so to buy throw away dusting cloths from the store.  So, I learned about hana fukin, Japanese kitchen cloths.  In the Japanese way of extreme thriftiness called shimatsu, items are reused, when no longer serving their original purpose.  In this instance, I folded the cloths in half, doubling their thickness and sewed them together.  Then, using a tin top, I traced intersecting semi circles to make these flowers.  Sewing the sashiko design went pretty fast.  Once again, my dishcloths have been recycled into pretty dust cloths.

My Mom used to be constantly in search of the most worn out t-shirts and pajamas because they made the softest dust cloths and wouldn't scratch the furniture.  I never understood why she prized her soft dust rags.  (Okay, she is the only person I ever knew who was obsessed with dusting).  She didn't sew her rags into hana fukin and I have never seen them in the houses of my Japanese aunts and uncles.  But, my grandmother died when my Mom and aunts were very young, so maybe this cultural practice wasn't passed down to them.  Sometimes, it is unspoken why people do the things they do.  (Another story is when my Mom would plant potatoes in the garden each year taking up the place where I wanted to grow tomatoes).  They just do things and we don't know why.  So, I think I will make more hana fukin.

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