Monday, 10 March 2008

Treasure Ship, a new journey begins!

Well I'm back from our stitching week and I don't know about my stitching colleagues but I'm exhausted, but for a change didn't spend too much money!! It's really amazing the number of wonderful things our tutors bring along to feed our habit of Japanese embroidery!!
This time I resisted buying more designs because I want to get Bamboo Circle or Iris Stream finished so I can concentrate on Treasure Ship.

I always forget how tiring a week of stitching is. We may not be jumping around the place, but such concentrated focus for six hours a day (and that's only the official stitching time) takes a bit of recovering from so I won't be doing any stitching for a few days, so thought I'd do a quick blog about one of the sections I started work on last week.

The sail on the ship is decorated with stitched shippo, a series of interlocking circles, each circle is about an inch or so across and has a tiny little golden flower in the middle.
First using a twisted thread I stitched the centre blue shippo shapes.
Next I did a little bit of experimentation, the red and white lines each have to cover half of the next section but it was a bit difficult to judge exactly how thick the lines needed to be, it's such a small space, these are stitched with flat silk.

In the picture above, you can see the difference in thicknesses of the red and white threads.

Once I decided I had got the spacing set in my mind I took out the red and white thread, completed the blue shippo and then re-stitched the red and white. This may sound simple but there is a twist, the stitching needs to be worked in a clockwise direction in order to get the correct curve and each piece of shippo is treated as a separate item so the direction can change. So to explain, starting with the bottom right shippo the red and white threads were worked from bottom to top and the same for the next one. On the top shippo the red and white threads were stitched working from right to left. Then on the top left shippo the direction of working goes from top to bottom but it's still going clockwise round that particular bit of blue shippo, next one the same and the very bottom shippo was worked left to right as we look as it.

Confusing??, again not really, well ok, it is and you really have to concentrate to remember which direction to stitch. It's sometimes difficult to separate each individual item out from the whole, in this case it felt a bit odd because although the red and white sections were each worked clockwise round their own bit of shippo if I looked at the whole I was actually working anti-clockwise! And having re-read this post in the cold light of day I realised that I'd actually explained it wrong so have done some editing and I think it's right now :-). It's just occurred to me what I could compare it to - one of those line drawings of a cube - if you alter your focus the cube faces a different direction. For the especially curious out there who might want to know more and who also follow Threads Across the Web (by Carol-Anne one of my Japanese embroidery stitching colleagues) ask her about clockwise working!

Anyway, now I've confused you all. Next step, the little golden flower. First I padded the petals and centre with two layers of one strand of yellow silk, you can see the two layers in the photo below, then each petal is finished with #1 real gold thread. Real gold is much easier to work with than imitation gold, so I always try to use it.

The centre of the flower only needs one stitch in gold to complete and each petal has only five stitches, so they don't take very long, it's just a bit fiddly because it's so small.

So here we are one completed shippo which took the best part of five hours to stitch - only 24 more shippo to go!!

Now I'm going to take a step back on the journey and complete Bamboo Circle before I do anymore on Treasure Ship. Having three pieces on the go is too much so I have to get one completed before I do any more on this one.

1 comment:

coral-seas said...

Yes, Jane, I was exhausted too but I had a great week. I estimate I managed nearly fifty hours of stitching, learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed being with other Japanese Embroiderers.

You've made those little shippos look easy but I am certain that they are far from that.

Hope you are back to stitching again soon.


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