Sashiko is a Japanese needle work. Recently, it started gaining popularity in the United States as well. Sashiko is made of patterns of continuous geometric shapes, one stitch at a time. It takes awfully long time to complete one piece for novices, but professionals stitch in amazing speed. The embellishment is not only pretty, but also gives reinforcement to the fabric to help prolonging the usable life.

The hand towel of the photo has a print of traditional hemp leaves pattern, which is also used as a sashiko motif frequently. In the past, hemp leaves were often used for religious rituals in Japan, and believed to protect the wearer from evil spirits.

I could have put the hand towel in the trash or cut them up to use for wiping clothes for wood stain, when it started to tear. But the pattern reminded me of sashiko, which I wanted to try for a long time, but didn’t have a chance. It’s also a good practice to repair fabric and use it longer.

Just until 1950 or so, even people in developed countries altered or repaired clothes and used longer period of time. Young people may not believe, but clothes were more formal and expensive. It is only recent to find a t-shirts sold in $5 or cheaper. Often it gets more costly to repair than buying a new thing.

Let’s stop and think now. If we keep consuming new goods, and discard old ones, where the new resources would come from, and where the discarded things go? 

It’s not easy to know what kind of impact is caused by one action. But it’s important to think about.

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