Kogin embroidery is a Japanese form of pattern darning. It’s related to Sashiko, a form of quilting. In traditional Kogin embroidey the stitches are done in a thick white cotton on indigo fabric.
Because the patterns are formed from running stitch, Kogin can be adapted to needlepoint easily. You still count threads, but when doing Kogin on needlepoint canvas, the threads need to be thick enough to fill the holes in the canvas,otherwise it looks too skimpy. #5 pearl cotton, Watercolours, Silk & Ivory, or Vineyard Silk are great choices. Flat threads such as narrow ribbons or four strands of floss also work well.
Historic Kogin designs, such as the robe pictured here, can be quite complex and often richly decorate the fabric. But it doesn’t have to be complex. Carolyn Foley of Caro-Rose-Creations has been exploring the technique on her blog with several patterns charted. You can find them so far here.
Carolyn notes that finding Kogin patterns and books in English is difficult. That’s true, I’ve found a vintage one and seen a couple of others. There are Japanese books on the craft, but they are also hard to find.
In order to provide this information she is charting as many of these patterns as she can find. This is a long-term project that will take several years. Right now she is charting Hishizashi (diamond) patterns. One of the is pictured here. You can download each pattern from her site.
In addition to this, Emma Creations has additional free patterns on their site. Not only can you get some simple patterns there, you can also buy Kogin kits and materials, including some lovely Japanese variegated thread.
Thanks to Denise at Craft Gossip for pointing this out.
Watch the blog tomorrow for a free Kogin sampler I created.