I was sent a link to a great site called wormspit.com, by one of my stitching friends Carol-Anne. Michael who runs wormspit raises his own silkworms and then uses the silk he/they create into various things. Carol-Anne and I were particularly interested in one of the projects on his website called sanganishiki weaving, this is weaving which uses very fine gold leafed paper as the warp. The site has some lovely photos, check it out. Carol-Anne and I were interested because we sometimes use fabric which is woven with these same gold leafed 'threads', in our case though they are used as every other weft thread. It's a different weaving technique as well (I'll try and get some pictures), but you'll see from Michael's site what kind of surface can be produced.
The bamboo circle design consists of a number of large bamboo leaves each with a different pattern, I'd started work on another one in my previous blog about this piece but I decided to start work on a second leaf as the treasures on the first are very small and I wanted something I could have a bit more of a run at, so I started on a leaf which has plum blossoms and oranges. I'm not sure why oranges crop up a lot in our embroidery, note to self to find out, but they do. If anyone out there knows ...
There are two oranges, this one worked in twisted thread and a second, yet to be started, worked in twisted gold thread. The leaves still need veins but this is looking ok even now. It went in very easily and I didn't have to take anything out.
But on this one!! Opps, stitching went a bit squiffy and out it had to come. You can see here that the holes made by the needles remain after removing the stitching. One of the negatives about working on metallic fabric. Still, it needed to be done and I knew that once restitched on the correct line the original holes would be covered.
This hexagonal pattern represents the shell of a tortoise, considered a symbol of longevity in Japan. The crane is said to live for 1000 years, the tortoise for 10,000. Actually you often see these animals depicted in water with long tails of algae or seaweed, to represent age, trailing from their shells. So really they are turtles rather than tortoises but we always seem to call them tortoises for some reason, although tortoises live a long time too, anyway I digress.
And here an overview of the work done, not very much for almost a full day stitching, but that's how it goes. It occurs to me that this picture and the earlier one of the orange might seem at an odd angle, this is because we work sideways on and the picture has been taken from where I've been sitting to stitch.
To try and explain, the design is placed on the fabric with the top and bottom of the design following the warp of the fabric, ie vertically if you held the fabric with a selvedge in each hand.
Our special Japanese embroidery frames are rectangular and we sit facing the long side of the rectangle with the selvedge closest to us, so on the first picture above the weft of the fabric is actually going up and down and the warp side to side. This is very confusing when you start Japanese embroidery (and beyond) because not only does the picture of whatever you are stitching look odd because it's sideways on, but some techniques refer to the warp and weft of the fabric and some to the motif being stitched.
This picture is of Carol-Anne's frame all set out ready to start work. Although you can't see it very well the top of the design is at the edge where her tools and needles are set out neatly, the selvedge is on the long side of the frame, near and far side.