Monday, December 17, 2018

Japanese Embroidery Phase 2-3 - A new beginning

I can finally share with you my kit for the next phase in Japanese embroidery. I mentioned back in September that I had picked Hiogi as the next piece. We placed a group order at the beginning of October and got it at the end of the month.

I got a little extra something for me, a pair of professional Japanese scissors, called nigiri-basami in Japanese. This will be my gift for finishing phase 1, so it will stay packed until I do. It will be my carrot to finish the piece.

If you're curious to know what a 1000 CAD worth of Japanese embroidery material looks like, here it is. It's basically two kits. Japanese embroidery is not an inexpensive hobby. As you move up the phases, kits get more and more expensive. Most of the cost is from the fabric, since as you do more phases you'll need to buy less silk reels and metal threads. Many colors come back and by the time you get to phase 9 or 10 you will have accumulated stock.

Back to my next piece. I ended up having to buy a second frame. I figured I would need a second one regardless for the future as I want to pursue Japanese bead embroidery, the frame cost is not that expensive and they are can be used for any large project. So it's a good investment. We spent the whole day on Saturday putting it on the frame and double lacing it. It's not often that we need to frame pieces so we had to refresh our memories. It's all ready to go, I'm just waiting on confirmation of what we're expected to have ready for our class in the spring.

Now that I've covered the next phase, I can give an update about the present phase... it hasn't moved forward. In fact it moved backwards. My last progress didn't sit well with me, so after consulting my group I decided to remove the cords on the bouquet. I spent Sunday morning unpicking them. I made a little surgical error snipping the threads at the front, so I flipped the frame and finished unpicking from the back. It wasn't anything major and easily fixed.

I wasn't planning on trying the cords again on Sunday, but I still had the afternoon so I made a second attempt. The second attempt didn't go any better than the first.

I sent a picture of my progress to my friend and she suggested working on a different area of the piece for now. She also suggested doing some counted work as a change. Like me, she finds surface stitching stressful, so maybe a switch would work. It's funny she mentioned that because three weeks ago, when I started getting frustrated with the cords, I had already started a new WIP. I set up the Mirabilia kit I bought for my sister's birthday and have been stitching on it every night for about an hour or two. I forgot how addicting cross stitch could be.

Back to the phase 1 piece, I think the best course of action for now is work on the last pink flower, add in the gold thread for all the pinks and then go back to the cords. Maybe not the cords on the wrapping paper, but the cords on the other side that don't have a curve. It could possibly help me get into the groove.


  1. I suspect that a change of project is just what you need. And if you start with somewhere else on the cords, you can gain confidence before tackling them again.

  2. Perseverance sometimes pays off but remember don't let perfection get in the way of good My phase 1 piece was Hanazume. I couldn't get the yellow chrysanthemum (the round one at the rear) right and undid it so many times I made a whole in the fabric. It remains unfinished. My phase 2 piece Kirigami was started in 1997 and given to my girlfriend in 2012 along with all my JE supplies. I let my perfectionist gene take hold which fits right in with the JE ethos and it killed the love and became paralysing. My girlfriend on the other hand has just finished phase 4 and is loving it with her different mindset of learning exploring growing.

  3. Whilst it’s always frustrating undoing your stitching, ultimately you will be glad you did. Working on another piece is great advice! I’m surprised how quickly you have moved along with your cross stitch! I started once about fifteen years ago, and got so annoyed with it (and also think it needs to be started again) that I don’t find cross stitch relaxing at all! Thanks for sharing your next phase piece, it looks really lovely.

  4. Thanks for the picture, i can't wait to begin the Phase 2-3 classe !!

  5. ooh, kits look luxury. I'm in deep deep envy :-)

  6. The new piece is very pretty, lots of lovely colours.
    I think it was a good idea taking a break and doing something else for a while. Hopefully the cords will work better next time.

  7. The kit for your new project looks lovely with all the silk, but holy needle, that stuff is expensive!
    I highly suspect you're already back from taking a break on phase 1 by now, but I agree that sometimes it's a good idea to take a little time off if you're stressed out about a project!