Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Major Milestone

A short post, but I just want to celebrate the fact that I'm almost half-way through Bramble and the Rose. *Cue fireworks*

I'm not quite at the half-way mark, but what's a few or 50 stitches when you're looking at the bigger picture. 

I was looking at my records and I started this piece the day before I flew out to South Korea on April 19, 2013. Since then it's been all over the place with me, if I traveled anywhere I packed it to go with me. The only time I worked on it when I wasn't travelling was New Year's eve. It took me 7 years to get to this point but that's okay. It's a marathon, not a sprint!

Speaking of sprints, I think Midnight Meander will get finished very quickly. I worked on it for a few hours on Sunday and progress on the stems were going pretty fast. I just need a good few days to just sit and stitch, and it will be done in no time. 

Isn't it great timing that I will be on vacation starting tomorrow? I will be off for a week and a half, chances are I will not post an update next week as I will be avoiding my computer. I will be posting on my Instagram account, so you can follow me there.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Midnight Meander - Flower 2 & Fruit

The last time I shared an update on Midnight Meander, I had completed the second flower.

The third element in the piece is a fruit. Not sure what type, it looks like a mixture of grape and pomegranate. I played around with the stitching order on this element, as I like to finish the foundation before putting in beaded outlines. I really love using my beading koma for this.

After stitching the two flowers, there wasn't any new technique in the fruit. It re-uses stitching techniques from the other two so this one went pretty fast. The outer "petals" took a little more thinking to make sure the satin stitches followed the curve nicely.

I did make one more change. The little crescent shape at the bottom of the fruit is stitched with bullions. Since I don't particularly like bullions and there were none any where else in this piece, I decided to replace it with buttonhole stitch and filled the gap with satin stitch. This is the same technique that was used in the first flower, so I didn't feel like I was changing the design too much.

At this point the piece is well on it's way to completion. All that's left are the leaves and stems, which means lots of beading in my future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Good Weekend, Good Progress

I met with my Japanese embroidery group over the weekend. We're still doing it over zoom due to social isolation but it was nice to see everyone and stitch together. In our last meeting I didn't do any embroidery as I wasn't feeling up to it, so I was very happy to finally get back into my piece. Especially after seeing the progress my friend has been making on hers. Really gave me the kick I needed.

We spent a lot of time talking about other JEC pieces we would like to stitch. I've already selected two I would like to work on. I've started compiling a wishlist so I don't lose track. I think I might reward myself with a piece when I finish Hiogi.

For this session, I decided to concentrate on completing the shippo cloud. I was surprised by how fast the stitching went. One more session and it should be finished. All that's left is the final color, which is white. I'm toying with the idea of adding a strand of silver with the white silk to give it a bit of sparkle. My teacher also recommended I put in short holding stitches for the larger areas where the foundation is not covered.

Once I'm done with the shippo cloud, I'm going to move back to the pink cloud. I need to tie down all that foundation before I can do another attempt at cherry blossoms.

I made progress on Midnight Meander as well, but I think I will hold off on sharing my update until I finish the section I'm working on.

Thursday, June 4, 2020


Last month's TUSAL was very pitiful as to be expected. I will do better next month. I've continues to work on Bramble and the Rose, but I'm also back to working on Midnight Meander and finished the second flower. I used the right beads this time.

This Saturday is my monthly Japanese embroidery meeting, so I'm hoping to progress on Hiogi. I'm determined to get those shippos well on their way to completion.

Monday, May 25, 2020

I'm Back

I'm back, sort of. I took a bit of a break from stitching for the past month. Between being stuck at home and fasting, I didn't have the energy or focus to do any stitching. That is all over now, as our last day of fasting was this weekend. I'm hoping to get back to my regular routine. I picked up my needle for the first time on Saturday and the weather was so nice I spent Saturday and Sunday stitching in our backyard.

I think Bramble and the Rose will be this year's outdoors stitching piece. It would be nice if I can get to the half-way point on this piece.

I want to get back to stitching on Midnight Meander and Hiogi, but I also want to get the finishing completed on Elizabeth. There is a trunk and doll to do. I needed some skirtex and my friend was nice enough to drop off some for me. So I will be working on that on the evenings when I can't stitch. I did a look around online and didn't find any writings on the finishing process for this design. I will work hard on documenting the process so I can share it here. Should be an interesting.

Friday, May 1, 2020


I'm on time for my TUSAL report. There's lots of black and white last month as I mainly worked on Midnight Meander and Dolcetti. Although it is excessively more than there should be. Sad to say I've had to put my embroidery aside for the last week. We started fasting last Friday and after making a huge mistake in Midnight Meander on Saturday and then another one on Sunday on Dolcetti, I decided it was safer not to touch any of my projects for a little while.

Used wrong beads
Found a counting mistake
I've been keeping busy doing other things like reading and watching shows, but I always have this nagging feeling I should be stitching on something. I'm going to try and give it another go this weekend and see what happens.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Midnight Meander - Lattices

Over the weekend, we had good lighting so I was able to complete the needle painting on the three petals in Midnight Meander. I like to mark my stitching area in sections as it gives me a guide on when to switch colors.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

The next step is to cover the area with lattices. You can eyeball it. However, if you're anal like me, you might want perfect equally distant lines perpendicularly cross by more equally distant lines. Below is how I do it in this piece. These are all techniques I learned in Japanese embroidery.

I use the 45 degree angle set square and center it in my shape (see dotted green lines). Using the 45 degree angle side I will bring my needle up at the edge of the shape (see red arrow) and put it back in making sure to maintain my angle.

Once the first line is in, the rest of my stitches are put in 3 mm apart. Why 3 mm? I tried 4 mm and it was too far apart, 3 mm was just perfect. I have a set of lined rulers I use for this but you can also use a regular ruler. It just takes more time. In Japanese embroidery, we are taught to do this with the square set and most lattices are conveniently set 5 mm apart, allowing us to take advantage of the grids on the ruler.

To determine the angle of the second layer, I align one of the vertical lines with the grid and the edge of the ruler where I would like to start (see dotted green lines). Again, I come up at the edge and back in on the other side making sure my angle is maintained.

I can't remember if I did this on the center petal, but I definitely did on the two surrounding it. It gives it a nice symmetrical look.

I have one more leaf to do on this flower and then I can move to the last one. I'm surprised by how fast this piece is going considering I started it one month ago today.