Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Japanese Embroidery Phase 1 - Which Green?

After completing my second valerian, I moved onto the Iris leaves.

I've been holding off on stitching these leaves for a while now as I was debating switching the light green on the iris leaves for a darker shade. I always though this piece should have a second green as there are four different types of leaves all stitched in the same color. Also, aren't iris leaves darker anyways?

I went back and fourth multiple times. Had a poll up on Instagram, a post on Facebook. Many preferred the dark green, but I received comments from Japanese embroiderers not to change colors while others (certified teachers!) thought a color change was acceptable. Lots of conflicting answers. Someone even mentioned that by changing colors, the JEC might not approve my phase 1 piece if I wish to pursue teacher certification. Hearing this, I contacted the JEC to see what they said. Their answer:

The color scheme can be arranged. Please talk to your teacher and decide the best color of your choice!

Unfortunately, I'm in between teachers right now which means I don't have a teacher I could ask. I mentioned this and they never replied back. It's moments like these when I'm happy that social media exists. Stitchers are so nice and are always happy to help. I had a long discussion over Facebook messenger over the pros and cons of switching greens on the blades and came to this conclusion:

  1. Iris leaves in Japan are not dark green, they're a greenish yellow. In fact, bush clover leaves are darker.
  2. The iris leaves are supposed to be at the back of the bouquet, by using a darker green it will bring them "forward" in the bouquet when the flowers are supposed to be the focal points.
  3. If I want to change the color of the iris leaves, I would have to change the color of the other leaves to coordinate and I wasn't prepared to redo all the leaves. No matter how much I enjoyed stitching them.

So in the end, I didn't make any changes in color. It wasn't a total loss thought, it was a good lesson in color choices and how one change can affect a whole piece. Also, if I plan on switching colors it's better to do it at the beginning and not when I'm nearing the end. Now that I had a firm plan I could go ahead and work on the leaves.

I'm not particularly happy with how the top leaf was stitched. I think I need to redo the portion where the leaf is under the clover leaf flowers. I'm going to leave it in for now to stew on it. I'm really happy with my second leaf though.


  1. It's always worth thinking about colour choices, even if you end up making no changes!

  2. Good information about using color as a way to bring something forward or leave in the background. Thanks. The project is looking wonderful.

  3. Wow, I didn't know changing a colour would be such a big deal. The rules seem to be pretty strict in Japanese Embroidery! I wonder what the people who are so very against changing a colour would have to say about that embroidery studio you told me about last time, the one using a different type of knot to get out of making differently twisted floss?

  4. That was a very interesting learning experience. You got some good advice and the piece still looks lovely!

  5. That is some very interesting comments you received about changing the colours. Definitely pointers in there we can all learn from. And also to do our research, as perhaps what we believe to be a colour may be different from the original design source and inspiration. Lots to remember and contemplate! It also serves as a good reminder on the importance of planning!