Thursday, 6 November 2008

Braided Chrysanthemum - the stitiching begins

I've spent some time outlining the petals on the Braided Chrysanthemum, they aren't all done but I decided that the time had come to start putting in some colour. Besides I really wanted to see how the colour scheme looked on the red fabric. Because this is such a different colour scheme and for those Japanese embroiderers out there who might be interested I'm including the numbers of the JEC silks I'm using. (Incidentally, I had occasion to use some non-JEC flat silk recently and it is amazing just how much difference it made to the stitching. Nothing wrong with it I could put my finger on, but definitely not the same quality. I'll never complain about the price of JEC silk thread again, well I will but just in a general way!)
As usual the working is from front to back so the first thing to go in was the turnover of a petal. On the original some of these turnovers are worked in metallic threads and as this petal was going to be my most favorite green (474) I decided to work the end in a metallic green, using four strands of #1 thread.
All the twists on this piece will be worked with a basic 4-1, but on this one I took out .5 of a strand of silk and replaced it with one strand of the green metallic. It doesn't show up very well in the photo but it does catch the light in daylight.
Next went in an orange (228) and blue (518) petal both in a 4-1 twist. These don't have the turn overs on the end so they look slightly flatter than the green one. Next to go in were another shade of orange (226), red (106), white (801), and gold. Sorry these photos were taken after it had gone dark so the colour hasn't come out very well under the electric light. The white petal on the left is stitched using flat silk rather than twisted, it was a bit of an experiment, not sure I like it so it might come out and be replaced with a twist. The petals on this piece are a mix of diagonal stitch and cords. Now I enjoyed working the cords on my phase 5 piece, and it seemed to be one of those techniques which I 'got' straight away, which doesn't happen all the time (don't even talk to me about realistic technique!). But in all the pieces since phase 5 I haven't had to stitch any double or single central cords which this piece calls for. So the question was would I be able to get them right? And the answer, no ... This is a single central braid worked in light blue (514). The turnover was worked first with the 4-1 twist, then I started on the braid. This first attempt just didn't work, I couldn't get the angle of the stitching right. You can see here that the little squares in the middle of the braid aren't. Out it came and in went the second attempt which worked ok. These are a much better shape, it is awkward working braids round a curve, but starting on a curve is even trickier, so although these aren't perfect I'm quite happy with them.
All the braids are worked with flat silk in a 2-1, this white braid is a double central type.
This next petal was worked with an outline of dark blue (518), and the turnover was worked with shell gold. Shell gold (and silver) is a metallic thread which contains other colours (reds, greens, blues) as well as the basic gold or silver. I thought it would add an extra dimension to the piece. I like how it's turned out so I think I'll be using it again on other petals.
After I'd done the blue and white braids I could stitch some of the other petals so I made up some more twists and this is what it looks like at the moment. The yellow petal towards the bottom right is actually a bright acid yellow (308) which is really a bit over the top, but I think it looks great.
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