Sashiko is a traditional Japanese style of embroidery. The word means little stabs, referring to the nature of the running stitch used. Designs are often inspired by nature – waves, ripples on the surface of water, and clouds, for example, and from repeating geometric patterns, particularly circles, stars and fan shapes. Traditional sashiko needles are similar to those used for crewel work. Running stitch has got to be the easiest of all embroidery stitches, so this is the perfect project for a beginner – you can find step-by-step instructions for this technique here. Create a whole new set of placemats and coasters to wow at your next dinner party.