Friday, 11 May 2012

JE Challenge 2012

In our Japanese embroidery group over on stitching fingers we run an occasional stitching challenge.  There are no strict rules or timescales, just a design with some general guides to be worked in our own way and own time.  Last year a design from a book of Chinese ornament was selected.

It's a small design of a couple of lotus flowers.  There are no details in the book on how the original embroidery had been worked so I decided to work this as simply as I could using the minimum of colours and techniques. After some research on images of lotus flowers I found that there are often just one or two blossoms in a sea of leaves.  I had this lovely variegated fabric which I though would represent a pond of lotus leaves very well.  It's from a bolt of fabric samples so it the only piece of this colour available. This means it'll be a truly unique piece, even if I wanted to I can't make another.

The stems were worked in diagonal layer with self padding.  The leaves were worked in horizontal layer in two different greens. The veins are soft gold metallic.

The bud and one of the flowers were worked in random realistic in white and pink.  I wanted the pink to be finer that the white so rather than working from the tip to the centre of the flower which is how we normally work this technique I worked from the centre out and padded some of the petals with cotton padding. EDIT-to answer Elmsley-Roses question - if you follow this link it will take you a post from my friend Carol-Anne which shows how we usually use this technique in JE.  Rather than fading out towards the centre of the flower I used thinner thread towards the point.

 The turn overs on the petals were self padded and embroidered using diagonal layer.

For the second flower I used all the same techniques and padding but swapped the pink for a soft gold metallic. 

The top section of the seed pods were embroidered in flat silk, I then put in short stitch holding, and then 6-1 soft twist knots on the top of that.

The fabric I used is lovely but it's not as tight a weave as some I've worked on, so it's quite difficult to get a good tension on the stitches so the foundations are not as firm as they might be on a different type of fabric.  I've had to use short stitch holding on all the long foundations.  Although the seed pods aren't very large I wanted to make sure the knots didn't sink into the foundation too much.  So I put the holding in before the knots.  It turned out very well.

This is the finished piece, worked in two shades of green, pink, white, and gold, and using only four main techniques.  In the end I it didn't take that long to embroider, about 30 hours. The techniques were worked out before hand, and only at a couple of points did I have to re-think things.  Either I'm getting better at figuring things out, or maybe keeping it simple did the job.   In any case I really enjoyed embroidering this piece.

The darkest green in the fabric is darker than it shows in this photo, but it's been too rainy here to get a good photo outside.  You do get a reasonable idea of the colour variation in the fabric though. 


My plan for this piece is to mount the embroidery onto the top of a wooden box.  The remaining fabric will be used to cover the rest of the box.  It'll be offered for sale in the Gallery at the Wharf when it's complete.


The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Lovely! Pinks and greens are my favorite colors and the lotus theme is also a great favorite, so you know I love this. Thank you for sharing with us.

NCPat said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

coral-seas said...

Beautiful, Jane. You have done a lovely job with this piece. If I recall, you told me that this piece is quiet small, less than A4 in hieght. The pictures give the impression that it is much larger.

Big or small, it is delightful.

Rachel said...

It looks fabulous - well done. It could well be the restricted palette of techniques that helped, but simply thinking it all out beforehand makes it so much easier to sit and stitch!

elmsley rose said...

Man, you can lay thread!
"I wanted the pink to be finer that the white so rather than working from the tip to the centre of the flower which is how we normally work this technique I worked from the centre out and padded some of the petals with cotton padding. " - how does this work? How does working from the centre make the motif appear finer? *most curious*

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Jane, I so far have managed just one petal, but looking at yours has spurred me to keep going.


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