Japanese Diversions

Last month at the Embroiderers’ Guild our speaker was Katie Chaplin from Japan Crafts.  This month we followed this up, and she came again to give workshops on Kumihimo Braiding, which I had done before,  and Temari Balls, which I hadn’t.   So Temari balls it was.   I really enjoyed it.

While we sat winding our thread round the balls it occurred to me that this was an excellent way to use up the many reels of thread which I acquired when my Mother died.  So many of them are bright colours which I would otherwise probably never get round to using.   I have since finished my ball, but I am less than happy with it, because of the  colours I  selected.   My fault entirely!

However, I am hooked.   Once I had finished it I was on to Google to see what could find.   The one which interested me was temarimath.info which goes into the mathematics of the designs.  It was all so fascinating.

I have since been working on another one, using scraps of fabric etc. to make the ball in the centre.    I also made two tiny ones fron wool which I felted. However,  I was not too well the weekend I was doing it, and most of the design had to be taken out.  I will get back to it soon.

This brings me nicely to the other diversion.  A few weeks ago I bought ‘Beginner’s Guide to  Traditional Japanese Embroidery’ by Julia D Gray. Like all the other Search Press books I have come across, it was set out very clearly with excellent photgraphs and detailed instructions.  On a sunny afternoon, I sat in the sun and read it all in one go.  Although I don’t think I will tackle this, there was so much to learn about embroidery generally.

Things like,  having the light source coming from the opposite side to your  hand which is  above the fabric, and stitching to to bottom and left to right (if you are right-handed), so that you don’t rub the area already stitched.  I will quote the bit which ties in with having to take work out.

“I discovered that it is impossible to stitch successfully in fine silk if you are unhappy or angry.  To stitch,  peace must first be attained, then the gentle rhythm of the needle and thread flowing throught the silk lowers your rate of breathing as you relax into your work.”

So I think we can include in that, feeling unwell,  and not feeling inclined.   It often takes longer to unpick something than it did to stitch it in the first place!

I have two more new books which I will tell you about soon, but I haven’t looked at them enough yet to do them justice

March 29, 2012. Tags: , . Craft, Embroidery, silk shading. Leave a comment.

Back to normal


Well, at last my arm is pain-free, and I am able to do all the things I want to.   I have got going again in the garden, as the weather has been so good.   I have also had to catch up with the housework.

This embroidery is quite different to anything I have done before.  I have had to wait until I had completed all of the main outline so you could get the general idea of the design.

The fabric is silk dupion, which I have backed with a piece of cotton.  First, each of the component parts is outlined by couching a thick shiny thread.   I suspect it is rayon, but can’t be sure.   It is couched down with one strand of the same thread,  which splits into four threads quite easily.   Then the detached chain stitch needs to be completed before proceeding to the next part.

When I took this out of the hoop to photograph it, I was dismayed.   It is not centred on the fabric!  And I have no idea if this was deliberate.  I am hoping it will look ok when it is finished, but have already re-tried it on the cushion pad three times!

Now that March is here, and it feels much more spring-like, I am feeling so much brighter.   And I am so looking forward to March 24th.   It is the day we put our clocks forward one hour before we go to bed.  Losing an hour’s sleep doesn’t bother me – an hour extra light in the evening is what I love.  Being able to go for a walk in the evening again is something I am really looking forward to

March 2, 2012. Tags: , , , . Embroidery. Leave a comment.