Friday, September 28, 2018

Every Stitch Counts

I haven't had the chance to really put in a lot of time on Hanabatake for two weeks now. I'm thinking back and it seems like I'm putting in less stitching time than I did last year. I seem to remember making more progress. I'll have to figure out why. However, I did try to put in a few stitches every other day. By doing that I was able to finish the upper right corner.

This means I'm one step closer to finishing all the flowers. Now I just need one good stitching session (or many smaller stitching sessions).

Tonight I'm off to Kingston to attend the Cataraqui Guild of Needle Arts fair being held tomorrow. It'll be great to see stitching friends who live in the Ontario area. If your attending, look for me at L'atelier de Penelope's booth. I'm looking forward to this year's fair, as they will be having demonstrations and an auction.

We're driving back on Saturday, so might or might not have stitching time on Sunday depending on how tired I am. So no stitching time, but I'm looking forward to the stitching marathon on the coming long weekend for Thanksgiving in Canada.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Japanese Embroidery Phase 1 - Flax Leaf Effect

I set myself a goal this weekend to stitch the flax leaf effect on the wrapping paper. As I mentioned in my previous post, my first attempt wasn't that great. I had a terrible time seeing where my needle should be coming up. Between the dark color of the silk and the shining metallic thread I was going blind.

For my second attempt, I changed things around.

  • I decided to stitch from the top to the bottom. One, to see if my second attempt is better than the first. Second, by going from top to bottom the shiny stitched areas will not be in my direct line of sight.
  • Stitch next to a window with natural light. This will reduce the goldwork glare
  • We were discussing the flax leaf effect and someone from our group mentioned coming up slightly below the center of the triangle. I'd been aiming for the center which explains why my proportions were all wrong.

With those three changes, I got much better results. By the afternoon I had the main body of the wrapping paper stitched.

By the end of my stitching session I was relying on my desk lamp so there was lots of glitter and shadows. Despite that, I decided to keep pushing and finish the edges. It's important to understand the motif in order to do the partial stitches on the edge since you have to recreate the same angles.

I can't stop looking at the wrapping paper, it's so pretty. I find I like the process of the layered techniques. I'm looking forward to starting the phase 2-3 piece which has a few areas that are stitched in a similar manner.

The next session on the piece will be all about Japanese knots. I want to get the bush clover flowers done so I can stitch the iris blade leaves. While I'm doing those I will also get the chrysanthemum centers and valerians done.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Weekend Progress

We had our monthly Japanese embroidery meeting. We spent it going over the flax leaf effect on the wrapping paper. I didn't get far and it all has to come out as the shape isn't exactly right, but still I got the idea. I'm going to give it another go this weekend.

Bouquet from the Heart of Japan - JEC
We also talked about the next phase. Our aim is to finish phase 1 before March-April when we plan on bringing in a teacher to start the next phase. I decided to do a combined phase 2-3 piece that way I'll only have to pay for one kit. I've already picked my piece out. This time we'll have homework to do before the teacher comes so I'll have to work hard on finishing my bouquet before March. It's either that or buying a second frame.

Hiogi - JEC
Sunday I spent it working on my other Japanese embroidery project. I'm at the halfway point. I think I need one or two more sessions to get all the flowers done. After this, I'll have to put in some scattered seed beads in the background which would take another session or two. 

Hanabatake - Margaret Lee
I started this piece at the end of December 2017. I'm aiming to complete the embroidery and finishing before the end of December of this year. I have a few things starting in October so I hope I don't get too distracted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Japanese Embroidery Phase 1 - Lattice Work

This coming Saturday is my monthly Japanese embroidery meeting. I like to show up at meetings with at least an idea of what I want to work on. At this month's meeting I want to finish the wrapping paper. The last layer of which is the flax leaf top stitching. Before I can do that I need to tie down the lattice I had put in.

In order to tie down the lattice, I needed to create my own couching silk. Basically, I'm taking a single strand of silk, splitting it into four and then combining two of them into a single twisted thread. I was mainly doing this by eye. Sometimes it was easy, and at other times it was very hard pulling the silk apart as it tangles.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

To give you an idea, from right to left: one strand of flat silk, half a strand of flat silk and the last two are a quarter strand of flat silk.

Since I was making couching silk and working on lattices, I figured this was a great time to work on the other lattice on this piece: the valerians.

I love how they look quilted. I wonder if I did them properly though as there are horizontal lines showing. I guess I will find out at the meeting on Saturday. I think once I get the wrapping paper done, I need to look at doing some Japanese knots. There are many elements that need it, like the chrysanthemums, valerians and bush clover flowers.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hanabatake - Part 9

Why part 9? Because the leaves are all done! I spent the day at home Saturday and powered through the rest of them.

There are still a few leaves here and there but I can now work on something that isn't green and gold. It will be a relief to add more colors to this piece.

Not to say things are moving any faster now. It takes some organization keeping track of the different bead combinations for the smaller flowers.

Good thing I have a plan already. Before starting, I marked out my color chart so I know exactly which color combination I'm using it.

It helps me stay in the flow and not have to stop and consult the pictures in the magazine.

The piece is moving along nicely.

September TUSAL

Lots of white threads in my jar this month as I'm putting in a lot of time on beading Hanabatake. Again most of my more colorful strands went into my Sajou tin as I spent a lot of time my Japanese embroidery piece.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Leaves, leaves and more leaves

Even switching projects I can't get away from them. We had a long weekend in Canada and I took advantage to work a bit on Hanabatake. The plan was to work on it one day and go back to working on my Japanese embroidery piece (where there are still leaves to stitch). Things were going so well that I never switched. Here is what it looked like from the last update.

I started on Friday afternoon, putting in seven leaves.

Sunday, I put in 15 leaves.

Monday, I put in 18 leaves.

It was very slow going. There's lots of starts and stops, which I dislike immensely. Each leaf takes about half an hour or more to do. Surprising since they're so tiny. I have about 15 more leaves that I can stitch before I move onto the smaller flowers. There are a few leaves that I've skipped as they are behind flowers, so they'll have to wait.

With this weeks progress, I'm confident that Hanabatake will be finished before the end of the year. I'll be happy to finish it. I'm all leafed out.