Thursday, 21 August 2008

Front and back, back and front

As regular readers will know I finally finished stitching the Hoitsu Scroll Iris Stream, so on Wednesday evening I spent a couple of hours going through the finishing process. This is quite different to what is done with other forms of embroidery, but is a very important part of the process. Finishing the piece correctly helps to keep the stitches tight which in turn helps the silk keep its shine. This is not a difficult process but it is a bit fiddly and it is important to get it right and to be able to go through the whole process without any interruptions. Even after completing 10 or more pieces the finishing process still makes me nervous as I am aware that at this point it is possible to ruin many hours of work. I was going to go into more details of the finishing process, but it is difficult to explain and probably boring to read so am just posting a photo of the back of Iris Stream once the finishing process has been done.
The Back
And, of course, a picture of the front

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Rain washes up more treasure

As with most of the UK we in the NW have been suffering from yet more wet weather this weekend. Had a few nice hours but then the heavens opened again and down it came, I really don't know where it is all coming from. In any case it didn't stop me stitching so it really didn't matter. I decided I would do some more goldwork so have done some work on the pines and fan. The black and gold clouds on the fan are worked in a twisted black and #1 gold thread and they require short stitch holding to keep them in place. First I completed that and then I edged the fan with #4 gold.

The blue edge on the fan represents the outer fan stick, the lines on the handle of the fan represent the edges of the other fan sticks. I wanted to make these a little different to the clouds and the other edges so I worked them in two lines of #1 twisted gold. After finishing the fan I went back to some of the pines. First I completed the veins on the leaves then couched #3 gold round the bottom of the leaves.

Starting on the outside edge the gold is couched round and round until the top and bottom of the shape touch. As this point the middle of the round shape is filled in, the gold is finished off and the couching starts again on the next shape.

By the time I'd done the top two pines I'd had enough of couching so I packed it in at that point, but I am very pleased with how they are looking.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Shippo, shippo, and more shippo.

Treasure ship is growing slowly but surely and I have had a nice weekend working on the shippo pattern on the sail. Actually I should say I have had a weekend re-working shippo!! I have done some work on this section before, but on going back to it I decided that the red and white lines were a bit skimpy so took them all out to redo them. There are five distinct phases to this section, all the blue shapes are stitched in a twisted thread, then the white outline in flat silk, then the red outline in flat silk, yellow silk padding for the centre flowers, and last the centre flowers in #1 real gold. The white and red stitches are both worked in the same way, a right to left diagonal and in a clockwise direction.

I got all the white outlines done and most of the red before I decided I needed a change, so I went back to the centre flowers and put in padding I had not done the first time round.

I have worked a few of the centre flowers with #1 gold, but it has been difficult to get a good picture so here is a close up of one of the flowers. This picture makes it look quite big but the shippo are only about an inch across, so the gold flowers are really quite tiny.

I have enjoyed stitching the shippo, but I thought I needed a break as there is another 1/3rd or so to be completed, so I decided to break it up a bit and have a go at another section of goldwork.

The broom is first worked with a flat gold silk and then it is overstitched with #4 gold which form the twiggy branches of the broom. The yellow lines you can see on the flat silk are guide lines for the gold thread, only the main branches are marked, all the little twiggy offshoots are stitched randomly.

I have tried to get an overview of the broom but the flash bounced of the silk a bit, will have to have another go in natural light. I think this gives a pretty good idea of how the broom will look once all the twiggy sections are completed.

If anyone out there is counting, we are up to 158 hours!!

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