In this piece the cord is an imitation wicker style, which means it has a twisted foundation with a gold thread stitched over the top. I'll leave the gold thread till last as it'll be a nice way to finish everything off. When working cords it is important to change the angle of the foundation stitches to reflect the bends in the cord. This can be tricky, especially on tight angles, but it's important to get it right otherwise the cord looks a bit odd. I've still got the tight turns in this cord to work, so that'll be a whole post on its own.
The cord has a number of colour changes in it, these are made by using two needles at the same time and gradually fading one colour in which the other one is faded out. These changes can be as suble or a sudden as you like depending on the effect you want. I didn't want too suble a change in this one so I didn't stitch a very long change over. It looks a bit odd in the photo because it's so close up - but against the gold background of the fabric and from a little bit further away it seems to work.
I have worked outlines on two of the leaves using two different types of twisted threads, a katayori and a karayori. The first is a bobbly thread and the second is smooth, but neither of them are stitchable so once they were twisted I wound them onto a pair of koma and each were couched as a pair.
I've just invested in some new koma from Brian Goodwin. Brian makes lace bobbins and equipment, but he very kindly agreed to make some koma for me. After our phone call he sent over a sample and by the end of the next week a box of shiny new koma had arrived. The pair below are made from ash and they have a lovely feel to them. Thank you Brian for such quick service and lovely work.
The thread shown here is the katayori, I made it from two different colours of thread to get a mottled effect.
Below are the koma in use with the karayori (smooth) thread.
Well here you go, progress so far. This design looked a bit empty for ages, but it's definitely starting to fill up now. The top leaf with the treasures is finished, the one second from top is complete except for a little bit of the edging, the third one down still needs some work, and the bottom one is complete except for the edging. Just above the leaves on the right will be some more cords, so not much to do now.
I've got my next class in just under three weeks so I'm going to have to put this and Iris Stream on hold for the moment and do some preparation work on phase 9. It's a design called Treasure Ship and is taken from one of the famous Konbuin fukusa, you can see an image of it on the JEC website here (it's the second of the phase 9 pieces). I'm stitching my version on black shusu. I'm still very nervous about starting phase 9, it really doesn't seem two minutes since I was at my first class and I can't quite believe that I've hit this level. I can still remember sitting in class that first time (four years ago this week in fact) looking at the work being produced by the more advanced stichers and thinking I'll never get to that point, and yet, here I am.
Well, deep breaths and calm thoughts as one more step on the journey is taken.