Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A little more progress

It's been one thing after another this week, and it's all too frustrating to go into, I'm just hoping that the week will start to improve. I'm sure it will as myself and some friends will be at Manchester Central exhibiting at the Stitching and Creative Crafts show. So a quick post with the latest updates. I have made quite a bit of progress with the background ball and also made a start on the cords. No pics of the cords yet, will save them for their own post. I've worked quite a few of the outlined motifs, but the main work recently has been the superimposed plum and maple shapes below. These are worked with a twisted foundation and then have little motifs embroidered on top. The black lines are temporary, they just hold the foundation in place while embroidering on the top.
The patterns of cherries and bamboo leaves are stitched using a tissue paper transfer. The foreground motif on each is stitched in silver or gold. I thought I would add a little bit of sparkle and use shell silver and shell gold. This is a fine gold or silver thread which contains random shades of other colours. The shading on the silver is very subtle, but I was a bit concerned that the colours on the gold would stand out too much, but decided to give it a go.
When embroidering traditional Japanese embroidery we work very close to the embroidery so it is sometimes difficult to get a good perspective on our work. We get so used to looking and judging the work from 6 inches or so away that we forget this isn't how it is ultimately going to be viewed, so it's important to remember to stand back occasionally and look at what we have done.
So I stood back and had a look and decided I quite liked the shell gold, so it will be staying in.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Well one advantage of the snow is that my second job has been closed in the evenings all this week so I have had an extended break and lots of extra stitching time. Good for me, not so good for all the other people who had to struggle into work I guess.
So, here we are, snowing again, and time for an update. I've made lots of progress on the foreground flower ball which is almost complete, just some stamens and one or two finishing off bits to do. A photo later (no sneaking down to the bottom of the post to check it out ;-)) but first ...
... woven effect. Woven effect can be worked with either a twisted or flat foundation, this flat variation in a cherry blossom shape is on the background ball, the twisted version is on the foreground ball. The last time I did this technique in flat silk was on phase 3 and I remembered it being very difficult. Of course I've learned a lot since then and from doing this piece I think that one of the tricks to getting this right the control you have over the silk. Not so good on phase 3, better now! The first three layers of silk and gold are laid down.
The final task is to hold down the 3rd layer giving the woven effect.
This silver bamboo leaf worked with a to and fro technique is giving me some trouble. I've managed one half of the main leaf but can not get the other half right. It has been in and out about 3 times, so am leaving it along for a while.
The gold plum blossom from my last post has come along and now it is complete I am very happy with it.
I've made a start on a number of the bell flowers from the background ball. First ... this one is outlined in silver.
The inside of the petals is filled in with a maize pattern. The small rear petals will also be filled with a maize pattern.
Second ... worked in long legged knots. This has been taken out since I took the photo. The second layer of knots makes it too bulky so I am going to make the twists from a finer thread and that should solve the problem.
Third ... this one is simply outlined in knots.
And now ... ta da daaaaa ...
I know I have said this before, but I love this colour scheme. I can not take the credit for putting this together, it was designed by Masa Tamura. I have never met Masa san, I hope to do so in the future, but I feel privileged to be able to share her skill and knowledge in some small way by working on this colour scheme she put together for me.
Domo arigato gozaimasu Masa san

Monday, 4 January 2010

Kusudama, progress continues

Happy new year. I hope everyone out there in blog land enjoyed the holidays and had lots of fun. I spent a very nice christmas with family and also did lots of work on Kusudama. The snow has been quite helpful in this, can't go out, so just have to sit and stitch - shame! The foreground flower ball is almost complete and I have done more work on the background ball as well, no photos of that one yet. One of the plum blossoms is worked in a pair of gold threads couched round and round. Although this is only a small motif I am working one petal at a time and in between will do another motif. This is to break up the couching which is my least favorite technique.
This is the first petal of the plum, I've done another one since this photo was taken. It looks huge here, the scale shows better on the last photo in the post.
The small chrysanthemums which I wasn't happy with have been taken out and re-stitched. I am much happier with them, the angle is much better and the twists are much more even.
So here we are progress so far. This is really taking shape now and I love the colour scheme. I've made more progress since I took the photographs so will post that next weekend.
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