Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New year, new broom

Well it's been a while, but all things technological are now working again and I'm able to edit photos so I'm back. Over the holidays I got less stitching done that I thought I would, isn't that always the way, but I did get some design work done (more of that later) which has been very interesting. I did get some work done on both Treasure Ship and Braided Chrysanthemum and will post about the chrysanthemum later. Over on the Japanese Embroidery blog I've written recently about the Legend of Takasago. In this legend Uba uses her broom to sweep away all sorrows and ill fortune. A broom appears on Treasure Ship representing the same kind of meanings. The broom is one of those old fashioned ones made from twigs (well probably not twigs, but one of those ones used in pictures of witches and broomsticks, I'm sure you know what I mean). The foundation of the broom is stitched with a flat gold thread, this gives it bulk. Over the top of this the twiggy bits are stitched using couched gold thread. It's a bit difficult to explain how this works but here goes. Work in a pair down to where the line forks, take one of the pair and work the off shoot backwards and forwards until it gets back to the main stem, work in a pair down to the next fork ... and so on. Fiddly, but actually quite enjoyable working all the little sections. I started at the top of the broom, by the handle, working from the outside to the centre. Then I filled in all the little twiggy bits on the bottom section. This helps in two ways, it means the lines down the top section of the broom are spaced fairly evenly not bunched to one side. And some of the middle sections (once we get down to the twiggy bits) are actually stitched over the top of the ones to the outside so it helps create a 3D effect.
After all the couching was completed it was time to stitch the binding of the broom. The foundation for this is made from two lines of tightly twisted padding cotton couched over the top of the foundation and gold work. The couching here is quite close together as I needed to make the foundation very firm. It was difficult to make it even as I had to avoid putting a stitch between the pairs of gold thread. As this is being covered up it isn't so much of a problem.
Foundation for three pairs of binding along the top of the broom.
Diagonal stitches in twisted silk thread then cover the foundation. Each line of padding is covered separately but there is no space between them.
I've said before that gold work is my least favorite bit of Japanese embroidery, but I actually quite enjoyed working this section. Probably because it wasn't just a case of couching round and round, but had lots of changes in direction. Plus it looks soooo pretty!

So here it is my new broom for the new year, I am really pleased with how it has turned out. Lets hope Uba is looking in this direction!

4 comments:

coral-seas said...

It is really pretty, Jane.

Happy New Year to you. Now that you have swept away all sorrows and ill fortune, rake in your blessings. I hope this year brings you all you deserve.

CA

Elmsley Rose said...

Just gorgeous - going cross-eyed trying to see how you've put the broom part together, even tho you explained. It's all so smooth!

Plays with Needles said...

Your broom is stunning, Jane! Happy New Year -- here's hoping we both stitch up a Japanese storm!

Heather said...

That's incredible! So beautiful!

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