There are 9 phases in Japanese embroidery (JE) which teach the 46 different techniques. Phase 10 is the 'graduation' piece and contains all 46 techiniques in one piece (actually there are more than 20 phases, but 1-10 are the basics!). I've competed phases 1-8 but since the blog is only just getting started I'll start with the two pieces I've just completed. This phase teaches the technique known as realistic effect, it is often used on flowers or birds to create a nicely curved petals or feathers. The trick is to keep the stitches straight but still to create a curve, sound confusing? Yes I was too. I started this piece in March this year and struggled a lot with it. Often when learning a new technique in JE you re-work a section a number of times in order to get the technique right, or at least right enough to live with because the fabric won't take it forever and if you take the stitching out too many times you risk spoiling the whole thing. However I really wasn't happy with the effect I was getting, there was no movement in the petals and it just looked horrid, so I decided to have a break from it and stitch something else. So, fast forward to October and our next class, I'd already started my phase 8 piece so took both that and my Camellias along hoping that my tutors would be able to help me correct whatever it was I'd been doing wrong. Well suddenly, 'as if by magic', it all came together. Don't know if it was my break from them, something in the air during the class, the patience of my tutors, of maybe I'd just got into 'stitching mode' , but whatever it was the technique suddenly came together and hey presto in a week they were finished.
Think they came out all right in the end?