For a number of years, I have been a great admirer—and proud stockist—of Keiko Futatsuya’s sashiko threads, which she produces in limited batches of colour using natural dyes.
She was inspired to create these uniquely-coloured threads while working with vintage Japanese denim. She needed a thread colour that would lend an organic look to the sashiko stitching.
Since then she has produced gorgeous, unique colours using such vegetable-based materials as logwood, western madder, mountain peach, tangala, lac and Japanese nutgall—there really is nothing else like it on the sashiko thread market.
Each batch of colour is completely unique, no two colours are ever repeated, with characteristics that can’t be captured using synthetic machine-based dyeing methods.
Sashiko threads dyed in persimmon
For her latest batch of natural-dyed sashiko threads, Keiko has incorporated persimmon. She collaborated with persimmon dyeing artisans Kaki Zanmai, based in Gifu Prefecture, to produce a gorgeous spectrum of persimmon-based colours.
One of the many reasons I love using natural-dyed threads for my sashiko projects is that they evoke the cultural heritage of sashiko stitching, that I am working with materials untouched by these modern industrial times.