Sashiko literally means "little stabs" and was used to extend the life of fabrics within peasant class during the Edo period in Japan. The fabric was traditionally dyed a dark indigo with patterns stitched in white thread. A collection of traditional patterns was also created. What started out as a utilitarian necessity became culturally significant and the tradition was passed from generation to generation. It eventually became used for decorative purposes. Modern sashiko now uses not only the dark blue and white, but a variety of different color combinations.