Friday, November 3, 2017

Japanese Embroidery Phase 1 - part 2

The first day of class started bright and early at 9 am. We had a lot to cover and very little time to waste. The first thing Sue did was give us each an extra reel of silk and had us start with learning how to do a 4 into 1 twist. I'd been dreading this for a while. I watched a video a while back and the whole licking your hand thing was kind of a turn off.

What I ended up learning is one, sweaty hands are a plus and two, twisting threads warms your hands. Being someone who always has cold hands, that second one is a great byproduct of twisting silk. Cuticles are a definite disadvantage, silk catches on EVERYTHING. I'm going to have to be very careful this winter. My hands get very dry and my skin cracks because of the constant heating at the office and at home.

Another thing I realized, twisting thread is actually really fun and relaxing. Japanese embroidery needs a certain mind set. They say if you can't stitch, twist silk instead. Students should never be sitting at their frame doing nothing.

Once we were competent enough with the twist, we took out the blue silk and twisted the first strand for our piece.

We started off with the iris. The three large petals are padded with twisted thread and stitched on a diagonal.

The padding is then covered with the same twisted thread. The angle is very important. I started out great, but then I had some trouble once I go to the tip at the center. Lots of compensation stitches there, which is something that should be avoided as much as possible.

By the end of the day, I only had that bit done. We were very sad to have to leave for the day. Below you can see my set up. The rules are, there should be nothing on the fabric. All tools are placed on the mounting fabric that's on either side. So on the right is my awl for twisting thread, needle felt, threader, tekobari, blue silk reel and my Sajou tin box. I anchored the tin on the bottom with a magnet so it wouldn't move and placed all my ORTs in it.


  1. That's a beautifully organised work station, and I'm sure that as you become more experienced you will become quicker (if that is really the goal, of course...!)

  2. The twisted threads looks so nice and even. I want to learn to do this when a project calls for a size 12 perle.

  3. The difficulties with living in a cold, dry climate. The thread looks beautiful.

  4. This sounds so complicated! Usually twisted threads are something to be avoided.
    Your workstation looks very organised though which is good!

  5. Your setup looks so nice and clean - I think that's very Japanese! Great start, it sounds complicated but I'm sure you'll soon be getting the hang of it.