Monday, 14 June 2010

Flowers, Yoyo san, and 100 posts.

My first post here was on 3rd November 2007, this is my 100th. I feel I should mark it in some way with some kind of witty remark, but I can't think of any so I'm just going to give you a progress report on Yoyo san.

The flowers that were bugging me in the last post continued to bug me so this Sunday out they came. I really liked the colour but the scale was just wrong.

For the original flowers I'd tried blister stitches, this time I had a play with knots and long legged knots, but I still wasn't happy with them. So then I tried just a very small flower made with 2-1 flat silk and with only 3 stitches to form each petal.

This turned out well, so this is how they are being done. It's difficult to get all the petals an exact match with no pattern or transfer underneath to match them to, but actually I don't mind this as petals on real flowers aren't always an exact match. The little buds were done with just two or three stitches of the same thread, I put a stitch underneath each of these going in the opposite direction so the top stitch didn't sink into the foundation. I also put in a higaki pattern on two sections of the kimono.
So here she is so far, a few more flowers need to go in, but I'm liking how they look and am happy with this now. Was talking to a couple of friends and fellow stitchers about this piece last night and they were asking about scale, so for anyone else who would like to know, she measures about 8" from the top of her head to edge of kimono.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Yoyo san changes

It occurred to me last week that perhaps yoyo meant something rude in Japanese, so before I went to our stitching day on Friday I emailed my friend and fellow Japanese embroiderer (who also happens to be Japanese), Michiko, to ask if yoyo meant anything in Japanese and what yoyos were called in Japanese.
Turns out that the Japanese for yoyo is yoyo!
Michiko looked up some history for me, yoyos started off being called teguruma, which translates literally as hand wheel. Over time the name changed to ote gruma which is a softer, more feminine wording.
There are wood block prints dated 1720 which are titled ote gruma uri (yoyo seller).
Through a trader named Chocho no teguruma whose trade with the Dutch included yoyos the name changed from ote gruma to yoyo.
On our stitching day I put back in all the temporary holding, it's a very tedious job but it has to be done. After putting the temporary holding in I stitched the yoyo.
The front of the yoyo has two layers of self padding. I used the same colour as I used for the obi but made the top layer horizontal instead of vertical. This will change the shade of the colour as the light will catch it differently than the obi.
Then I made a 1-1 tight twist and couched that in for the string.
So, Yoyo san has her yoyo.
Onto the pines - this is where I started to change things. I went back to the line drawing and traced the pines so I could superimpose them onto the flat silk. I still hadn't figured out how I was going to stitch the pines. Then while looking at the design it occurred to me that the little circles on the design are how plum buds are usually represented, so maybe the tree wasn't a pine but a plum, or maybe some other kind of tree with flowers?
So, perhaps I could do the buds as knots and the little flower shapes could be done as blister stitches. So I dug out some plum colour thread, made up a twist and started putting in the knots.
I'm not entirely happy with these flowers, I think they are too big. Not sure what to do with them, they'll probably end up coming out. Going to live with them for a few days to see how I feel.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Not much going on here

It's been a bit quiet here for the last couple of weeks. Having some building work done, so everything is staying covered up and away from the dust. I did manage to get some work done over the bank holiday weekend though. As I said in my last post, I love flat silk. But over the years I've only bought silk as and when I've needed it, so the stock I have is either what was left over or what I've bought and not used. Now I'm starting to work on my own designs I want to stock up on all the different colours so when it comes to choosing colours I have a reasonable number colours to choose from. So, I treated myself to some new storage draws from Staples. They work really well, just the right size to take about 8 or 10 reels of JEC silk. I'm gradually ordering a few reels at a time to get them filled up. Over the weekend I did some more work on Yoyo san. Going round some of the curves has been an interesting exercise. Making sure the curves are worked in a clockwise direction so I can get a nice sharp start and finish point. It made me stop and think and consider the best way to work each section. One of the advantages/disadvantages (depending on how you look at it) of working a design for the first time - there isn't anyone to tell you how to do it. It's a great learning exercise though. The top section on this bit was worked top to bottom, clockwise, the bottom section worked bottom to top, also clockwise, and they joined in the middle. I realised that I'd put in the wrong colour (from my original colour scheme) for one of the under kimono. I used white instead of #201. I did consider leaving the white, but once I'd realised I'd use the wrong colour it started to bug me. Nothing for it but to take it out and re-do it in the correct colour. I'm glad I did I prefer the contrast of the soft cream rather than the white. So here she is so far. I've taken out the temporary hold threads temporarily! It was difficult to get a sense of how she looked with all the lines in. I'd put them in at 5mm intervals rather than 1cm because of the length of the stitches. Next job, putting the temporary holding back in, superimposing the pine trees, then every ones favorite - short stitch holding ;-).
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