In the last post about bamboo circle I explained that I'd decided to re-work some twisted foundation, having done that and completed the treasures which go over the top I've been reflecting again on just how much there is to learn for traditional Japanese embroidery. The simple act of slightly changing the foundation made stitching of the treasures much easier and I'm very pleased with the end result.
By the way if you'd like more information on treasures and their symbolism check out John Marshall's site it's full of interesting stuff.
First I worked all the flat silk on all the treasures, then if outlines of twisted thread were needed they were next, and I finished with any gold work. The scrolls you can see below were the exception, the gold around the middle was put in before the outlines. I used real gold throughout this piece, it's much easier to work and it seemed appropriate since the gold used in the fabric is real gold.
You can see that because the foundation is now firmer no gaps have appeared in the foundation while I've been stitching the treasures. Different thicknesses of gold were used for different sections, the tie of the kasa (hat of invisibility) used #3 gold, the fire on the houju (ball of fire, representing all your heart may desire) is #2, and the fine line on the cloves and in the middle of the shippo is #1.
There was lots of stopping and starting while stitching the treasures, swapping of colours, twisting up a new thread for an outline, twisting its companion couching thread. I thought I'd find it frustrating and it was at first, but as I got into it it stopped being frustrating and became exciting as the little treasures were completed one by one.
This picture is a bit dark but it does give an idea of the completed leaf. Once all the gold work had been finished some diagonal holding went in to hold the foundation, no pics of this since it's invisible, and voila another step on the journey is completed.