Friday, 30 October 2009

Chapter 2

Another post in quick succession - what is the world coming to? I blame Jane from Chilly Hollow Needlepoint, she did ask me to stitch faster. By the way Jane, very impressed with how your Rabbit Geisha came out, so glad you overcame the damage problems. No embroidery pics in this post, but I have made some more progress. I mentioned in the last post that I was going to embroider the inside of the inro in red as though it had been lacquered. Last week in discussions about colour schemes I couldn't decide which of the reds would be best to use for the lacquer. So this morning very early I took some pictures of this lovely box I own (from Ichiroya of course, are you surprised?) And of the inside ...
Then I got out some of the red silks to try them out to see which matched best. The photos don't get an exact colour reproduction, but they give you the idea.
#119 seemed to be a bit too orange.
#106 was a bit too red.
But, #228 was almost right.
#228 is a tad dark, but given that on the design the inside of the inro would be in a shadow created by the top of the box I think this colour will work. It will be worked in flat silk with short stitch holding over the top as I don't want it to be too shiny.
So all I have to do now is get on with the embroidery, watch this space ...

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Cracked it ...

... or should that be twisted it! Remember the story of Goldilocks and the three bowl of porridge. Well this is nothing like that, ha ha. Well a bit, it's the story of the brunette and the three foundations. After my last post I went back to the box chart for fan papers and checked out the instructions for the orange foundation. Turns out it is a 1F + #1G, so a ratio of one silk thread to one gold thread for any non JE readers out there, so I thought I would give that a try to see what it looked like (sorry, no pic). Decided it wasn't robust enough and was still too stripey. So foundation number three was created - 3-1T + #1G - three threads twisted into one, including a gold thread. I made this twist really, really soft, and the gold thread I used has a red fleck to it which adds a little touch of extra colour. This worked very well and I decided to use this version of the foundation.
So, this is it so far, a bit more foundation to do, then the lid and the inside of the inro which I'm going to do as a lacquered red colour.

Monday, 26 October 2009

The challenge continues

Spent four days last week in the company of some stitching friends old and new and had a great time. Didn't get much time to stitch myself but I did make some progress on the JE challenge.

I completed the stitch transfer outlining the inro, then put in some padding.
I couched some holding threads down over the padding. There are three layers of padding and I wanted to make sure that it doesn't buckle under the silk once it comes off the frame.
I had a long conversation with my friend Denise about the colour scheme for this piece. We looked at a number of pictures of inro and decided it needed a very simple colour scheme so I ended up scrapping the original version and decided to make it just back and gold. Good job I kept the gold really as I'd already made the cord for this!

My original plan had been to embroider the foundation in flat silk, and when I decided to change the foundation to black I thought I would include a gold thread to add a bit more texture. I've used this technique before in one of my early phases (see photo below) and it gives a lovely finish.

I tried this with the black thread but I think the lines of gold are two regular and it doesn't work the same. Might be something to do with the colour combination of course, the gold doesn't stand out quite as much on the orange. I'm still in two minds about this, I really want the sheen of the flat silk but I don't want the gold to stand out quite so much. I might increase the ratio of silk to gold to see if that makes a difference, otherwise I'll have to go with a twisted foundation.

I also couched down the braid I've made along the edges of the inro, this will be covered with the embroidered foundation and then I'll add some couched threads to add to the shape of the whole piece. Back soon(ish) with an update.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Kusudama and JE challenge

Well, the plan for the last post went out the window, so here is a catch up. JE CHALLENGE - I decided to use the plum fan for the challenge design. I feel a bit sorry for the Japanese plum, for years it was the practically the national flower of Japan then along came the cherry with its flashy ways and the plum was relegated to second place. :-( ;-) I drew up the inro, shrank the fan to size and put them together to come up with the first draft of the design. I was pretty happy with this but even with the cord I felt there was not enough movement. I did some reading on inro and discovered that they are made in sections so I thought if I showed the piece as open or partly open, that would add more movement.
I traced the outline and cut off the top section of the inro. I then played around with the two pieces of paper until I had decided on positions and pasted them into place, then traced over the top of both sections to get the next version of the design.
If you followed the link to the V & A website on my previous post you will have seen that inro come in all different types and styles. This is going to be worked on a deep green silk and embroidered in gold and white, I am intending to use a fair bit of padding to give the inro shape. This piece is not large and its scale means that the cord is very narrow so I decided to use a real braid and couch it to the fabric instead of embroidering one.
It's a while since I did any Japanese braiding (kumihimo), so I got out my books and bobbins and decided which braid I would do.
The first plan was to make a 16 bobbin braid, so I wound the silk onto the bobbins and made a start.
I really like this braid, particularly the contrasts in the twist, but after I'd worked a section I decided it was too big for the scale of the design. I went back to some pictures of inro and the cords on them were all quite simple and were sometimes knotted into decorative shapes. I went back to a 8 bobbin braid and worked it with a random colour scheme.
This is a hollow braid so will be very easy to couch and to twist or knot into decorative shapes. I have made enough of the braid that it can run down the edge of the inro, as it would on a real one, this means it'll double as the padding and I can embroider over the top.
So that is it so far, meanwhile on KUSUDAMA ...
The gold chrysanthemum is completed.
I've embroidered some camellia leaves.
The stripy camellia is half done.
The two tone camellia (also known as the 'aghhhhhh this technique is really difficult' camellia), is done, well I just have the centre to complete. I'm not entirely happy with this one, but it's better than it was, so it's staying in.
The solid camellia, came out and then went back in again. The picture above shows the shell powder lines which were used to guide the couching of the edging thread.
Short stitch holding is used all over this flower, so I left the temporary holding threads in to use as a guide for the stitches, and once the short stitch holding was done I them out and completed the centre of the flower. So that is it for Kusudama at the moment, I've done some work on the small chrysanthemums but no pictures to show yet.
When I was printing some of my pictures I took a close up of the centre of the camellia so I could have a reference for the knots which were worked with a thread of gold included. I thought this made an interesting picture as you can also see the gold running through the fabric, so thought I'd share.
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