Victoria Stone quilting with the Sashiko 2

12wt + 12wt = 6wt

By Patricia Belyea

There’s a magical sewing machine called Sashiko 2 by Baby Lock that makes dashed stitches amazingly like hand stitching. Here at Okan Arts in Seattle, co-owner Victoria Stone is Queen Of The Machine!

Victoria’s favorite thread to use in the machine is Aurifil 12wt. That may seem odd as technically the Sashiko 2 is set up to stitch 30wt to 50wt thread—much finer thread. To get the Sashiko 2 to work with the heavier 12 wt thread, Victoria makes tension adjustments on the bobbin case until she gets the machine to produce perfect stitches.

The Sashiko 2 does only one thing. It makes dashed stitches on top and a continuous line of stitches on the bottom. This is achieved by the stitch mechanism of a hooked needle and a latch wire.

Another unique feature of the machine is that all the thread is pulled from the bobbin. There is no upper thread. The stitch mechanism pulls up a loop of thread, stitches forward, and then locks down the thread—essentially making a double stitch.

This double stitch doubles the weight of the thread on top. So every stitch made with 12wt thread looks like it was made with 6wt thread! More wizardry!

To begin quilting a recent project, Victoria photographed the quilt top and printed the photo a few times. Using a Sharpie, she sketched some stitch designs on the images.

Here are some of her preliminary ideas for Akoya, a quilt top made with Sanae Naito’s pearl-necklace-patterned cotton.

Ultimately Victoria was inspired by Waclaw Szpakowski, a Polish architect who drew mesmerizing maze-like drawings in his later life. Her final straight-line design is a cross between a spiral and a labyrinth.

Victoria tailor basted the quilt top, batting, and quilt back together. As she explained: Tailor basting allows me to mark my stitch design on the quilt top without having to navigate basting pins. Also, the lack of pins reduces bulk as I move the rolled-up project through the neck of the machine.

Victoria marked her stitch design on the quilt top with a compressed chalk pencil. The Sashiko 2 machine can be adjusted to four stitch lengths and four stitch gaps. Below you can see a fixed stitch length with variable stitch spacing. The color and weight of thread, the length of stitches, and the density of the quilting all impact the overall look of the finished quilt.

To get started, Victoria choose her stitch length and spacing. Then she adjusted the tension of the machine while using Aurifil 12wt thread on a petite sample quilt sandwich.

Once she was satisfied with the stitching on the front and back, and the color of the thread on the quilt fabrics, Victoria loaded up six bobbins for her project. The 12wt thread takes up a lot of room on standard-sized bobbins. So they empty fast. It’s much easier for me to switch out bobbins while I work instead of refilling just one, she stated.

Victoria continued: Once everything is set up, using the Sashiko 2 is remarkably easy. There’s one button, one dial, and two levers. The button drops the presser foot, the dial changes the foot height so I can do curves, and the two levers adjust the stitch length and spacing.

As a Sashiko 2 expert, Victoria advises: It's important to stay steady and controlled. To create a consistent stitch, I have to maintain a consistent speed. And I can’t push the material through the machine. I just guide the quilt sandwich and let the feed dogs do all the work.

Another tip from Victoria: I always start stitching from the middle of my projects and work out. That way I avoid fabric bunching in the center of quilt, especially on the back.

Victoria has been working with the Sashiko 2 for well over a year now. She’s finished sample quilts for Okan Arts workshops and larger 60" x 60" quilts. Aurifil 12wt thread ranks as her favorite for the Big Stitch look and for its durability when it’s pulled by the Sashiko 2’s latched needle.

Okan Arts is an authorized seller of the Baby Lock Sashiko 2. To contact Okan Arts for the current deal on the Sashiko 2 that includes free shipping to your home +click here

Patricia Belyea is an Aurifil Designer and an Aurifilosopher.


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38 comments


  • marcy Scott

    I have used aurifil’s 28 on my sashiko machine, but never thought to adjust the tension for the 12 weight. this would really give you a stitch that resembles sashiko thread. With 50 weight. I have quilted nearly a dozen baby quilts……and they really look hand quilted. I’ve had my machine for 4 years now.


  • Glenda Fowler
    This looks like an amazing machine. It is different from all other machines I have used. I would really enjoy using this machine and making all kinds of quilts and jackets that have the quilted look.

  • Patricia Belyea
    Patsy—If you are interested in participating in the giveaway for the Sashiko 2, please go to https://okanarts.com/grand and answer the question in the Comment Box. If that doesn’t come your way, please consider purchasing a machine from Okan Arts. We ship for free all around the country. If you are interested in our Bundle Deal, please write me at patricia@okanarts.com. The machines can be serviced at any Baby Lock dealer in the US. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Lynn—You are welcome to buy a machine from Okan Arts. We ship for free all around the country. If you are interested in our Bundle Deal, please write me at patricia@okanarts.com. The machines can be serviced at any Baby Lock dealer in the US. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    MA—Sounds great. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Sharon—Great to hear from you. If you want to enter the giveaway for the Sashiko 2 machine, please leave your comment in the Comment Box at the bottom of https://okanarts.com/grand. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Jeanne—If you want to enter the giveaway for the Sashiko 2 machine, please go to: https://okanarts.com/grand. The question is past the info on the thread collection. The Comment Box is at the bottom of the page. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Marilyn—Exactly! PB

  • Sandy Jellison
    “12wt 12wt. = 6wt”

  • Marilyn Reames
    Love the beautiful hand look stitch without actually doing it. I am a proud machine girl!!

  • Jeanne Brink
    interesting read. Didn’t find a question to answer.

  • Constance Pentzer
    I am a firm believer is less is more and this machine proves it. I don’t need bunches of stitches that I never use. That is why I selected the BabyLock Jazz when I purchased my first machine in 45 years. Now I may have to consider another purchase. How wonderful that there is machine that gives that hand quilted look.

  • Sharon Curry
    I am not good at hand stitching, but I LOVE the hand stitch look using this machine. Amazing ! Thank you for a chance to win this bundle.

  • Carrissa Renninger
    Beautiful stitches! I wish I was better at handwork. Brilliant machine!

  • Susan Bisulca
    Love the way the stitches look like hand stitches.

  • Margaret-Ann Ashton
    I learned about Okan Arts from a classmate during a Jane Sassaman class in October 2019, and can’t wait until I visit the store I Ballard, Wa. A grand-daughter attends Seattle Pacific Univ. so it is a hop-skip-and jump from there sew I hope she will find the store too. MAA

  • Margaret-Ann Ashton
    Can’t wait to visit the store when we come to Seattle to visit our grand-daughter at Seattle Pacific University. MA

  • Julia Bernstein
    Sashiko,the final touch

  • Virginia M Kennedy
    I have been just learning Sashiko by hand, but you can’t beat the stich on this machine. You could certainly do more faster and get the same look.

  • Patsy
    I have been fascinated with the Japanese culture since I was 8 and my Big sister’s fiance sent me a beautiful Japanese Doll. And, when the Quilt Show started here in Houston I was awed by the exquisite “handwork” of the Lovely Ladies from Japan.

    Each year they WOW me with their Quilts. Sashiko is the one technique I have wanted to try for years. I have seen the Baby Lock Machine and each time I go to my local dealer I give it and the quilters machine a longing look! Although both My Mom and I have hand quilted our quilts, the machine would be a fun thing to have.


  • Kathleen Chisholm
    I am a member of the Connecticut Piecemakers Quilt Guild and have taken several workshops on the Art of Sashiko. I love, love the techniques of hand stitching but carpal tunnel syndrome has limited my ability to complete my sashiko quilts.( I did finish several beautiful designs on a Jeans jacket several years ago.) This machine will give my charity donations a classy and professional look.

  • Marie Stanley
    My great love is hand sewing, but getting the look from a sewing machine would be amazing.

  • Loà Welles
    What an interesting machine. I used to hand quilt and I love the look. However, I did not enjoy hand quilting. Now I mostly quilt on my machine. However this could be the best of two worlds.

  • Joan Horton
    I do not quilt by hand. I have two frozen fingers which makes it difficult. I love the look of how this machines work.

  • Jackie Barker
    This looks like the machine I want. Really interesting finished work. Hope I win.

  • Shirley Covert
    What a great embellishment to add to any quilt.

  • Lynn E.
    I have never heard of a Sashiko machine, but what a wonderful asset to a sewing room! I love the look of the stitches in the above post. So many possibilities! Are these machines sold on the East Coast? And where would they be serviced?

  • Mary F Gallagher
    This is a beautiful machine and I would love to own it to make my quilting unique

  • Patricia Belyea
    Pip—The photo of the continuous stitch on the blue fabric is the back of the quilt. PB

  • moon
    Since “Pip” asked about how the backside looks, i didn’t have to ask but the back looks like the regular stitch and the front side stitch is sashiko…. i like that! I’d like to see more short videos of the sewing maching doing its thing and photos of various projects done (looking forward to that).

  • Pip
    I love the look of the stitching, I would be interested in seeing the back of theprojects to see what the stitches look like.

  • Melinda Brottem
    I have 4 sewing machines. After reading what other people have I feel I’m in good company and maybe I don’t have too many!

  • Patricia Belyea
    Aime—I’m with you on that. Big stitches are exciting. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Marlene—Good for you for getting a Sashiko 2! Have fun, PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Hi Pm—Will do. We’ll be posting more photos of our Sashiko 2 projects coming up. PB

  • Aime Augsburg
    Wow! Who knew! Love Sashiko!

  • Pm Weizenbaum
    This is a lovely post! I look forward to reading more about Victoria’s adventures at Okan Arts, and seeing more sashiko images.

  • marlene barkley
    I just purchased the machine…I have been using Superior Bottom Line, 60wt. I thought that was a good choice. Wrong. Also, sewed with black on black fabric.

    Thank you so much for the information.


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