Friday, September 14, 2012

Cherry leaves and branch done

This is a good time to stop working and get ready for class next week. Will not blog until at least the week after.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cherry branch next

The green underskirt is done. SSH on one side, and don't think I need to SSH the opposite narrower side. At this point I'm kind of stuck. I don't know if the next underskirt layer foundation for the lattice holding has to be weft stitch, or if using diagonal stitch will cause the lattice to sink into the foundation.  I can do the cherry branch, leaves and flowers next. As these are in the foreground, I cannot do the kimono top layers without these being finished first.  I may pause after the cherry branch until after Mary Alice's class next week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kimono undergarments

More undergarments done. The green undergarment looks good going from weft stitch to diagonal stitch. Ready to do it on the other side. I want to get the lattice holding stitches on the next underskirt at least started before Mary Alice's class next week. It's a butterscotch color against the dark red of the next undergarment. I can't wait to see how it looks.

At this point I am very glad I chose Gracie as my Phase 6. (Actually Mary Alice kind of twisted my arm when I couldn't make up my mind.) I had a lot of reservations initially, but she grew on me and now I think she is gorgeous. So for those people with Gracie in their stash, I say Go for it! You'd love her!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kimono Fading

The SSH for the kimono bottom was done using a mix of blue and lavendar threads. It looked smoother this way and evened out the blue and lavendar stripes of the color merge. The angles of the SSH however turned out to be bad. At least they are somewhat neat and hopefully will not be obvious to non-JE practitioners. This will have to do. Maybe I can put the superimposed gold squares in strategic places to make it less obvious.

From a recommendation by Mary Alice, the dark undergarment is a shade less black than the hair, so as not to compete with the hair.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Finished the kimono section. The fading was done with 2 strands of flat, using 0.25 step adjustments: 1.75Blue + 0.25Lavendar, 1.50Blue + 0.5Lavendar, 1.25Blue + 0.75Lavendar, etc.

Lesson: Should have periodically reviewed the satin stitches from multiple directions and angles while stitching. When the section was finished, I viewed it standing up and from the opposite direction, and I saw all the gaps that I didn't see while working from one direction!
Repair: I was able to fix it by using one strand to fill in the gaps. Fortunately it turned out ok, and was not noticeable. It will be fine once the short stitches (SSH) are in.
Next onto the temporary holding stitches and the SSH that spans the 8 mm of the temporary holdings.  The project picture from JEC, showing the SSH stitches to be perpendicular.
My temporary holding stitches at 8 mm following the curve of the kimono.
Started on the short stitch holdings, using a handy 3 mm ruler, with spacing at 1.5 mm, instead of counting threads.
Lesson: Put the SSH just short of the temporary holding thread, so that the temporary holding thread can be removed easily. Duh! Totally obvious and I didn't think of it the last time.

I'm using lavendar for the SSH at the bottom, and blue for the top part of the kimono. I'll see if it may be necessary to use a combination of lavendar and blue in certain parts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Did some "simple" satin stitching today. But should have done the right (narrow) side of the kimono before the left, following the top-to-bottom and left-to-right stitching order rules.  Oh well, just have to be careful to keep the finished parts covered so as not to rub against it.
I am ready to do the fading of the kimono bottom from blue to lavendar. My initial thought was since it is 2 flat strands for the satin stitch, I would use one strand of blue and one strand of lavendar for the merged section, and then onto 2 strands of lavendar. But I think this will make it look "stripe-y". I really need the sugas (individual silk threads) to mix themselves up. I may need to progress as 1.75 blue + 0.25 lavendar, then 1.5 blue = 0.5 lavendar, then 1.25 blue + .75 lavendar, etc. This may be a bit overkill, I may not need that fine a gradation. I'll have to test it out. Stay tuned. (And any advice would be appreciated).
I have also been mulling over a comment from Kay Stanis. She mentioned that it will be more pleasing to have the Short Stitch holding follow the sweep of the kimono, instead of going perpendicular to the weft lines, as shown in the color picture from the Japanese Embroidery Center. I was at a lower phase then and didn't really understand her. I may have it figured out now. The temporary holding threads (at 0.8 cm intervals) need to follow the curve (instead of vertical), the tacking stitches need to stay horizontal, and the SSH stitches can then follow the temporary holding threads. I will try this out on the side before attempting it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hair pins

The hair pins really complete the look. According to the instructions, the pins are supposed to be #2 gold couched. From the instruction picture it appears that the pins consist of 2 strands of gold, brick-couched, side by side. The #2 gold will not be able to fill that. So I used 2 strands of #4 gold instead, couched singly.
I will be protecting her face with tissue now. Last chance to look...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gracie's Hair done

I am beside myself with relief!  Here she is before the hair around her face is put in.

Here she is after the face and ear are outlined and the hair framing her face is in.

I have gotten used to the way she looks and I am now quite fond of it - long nose and all. I'm debating about whether I should do the hairpins next or wait till later. Normally I will wait till the end to put the metal threads in, but I think the hairpins will help to hold the hair in place, as the hair is not short-stitch-held.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gracie's face done

Put on Madama Butterfly while I worked on the facial features. I practised a whole lot of staggered diagonals on the side before I attempted the eyes and brows. I think it turned out reasonably well; I might re-do the nose - it's a bit long. But again maybe I should leave well enough alone.  All in all I'm relieved. I haven't done the outlines of the face and ear. I'll wait till the hair is done first. Good thing there is no short stitch holding in the hair.