Friday, May 30, 2008

More about Japanese embroidery

More samples:

Karahana finished

Karahana detailed

This is the design for Phase 4.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Japanese Embroidery

I can't keep it as a secret anymore. Although my plan is to burst it out after it finish, but then the fun is also to chat with the sisters about it.

Here is what I've done last week end.. I call it stitching ceremony, since the whole process is more like ritual than stitching.

Begin with putting the fabric on the frame:

There were measurement involved, then secure it with nails, stretch it again with chopsticks:

And then lacing it:

And then pull it tight 2 times on each side. The whole process, took about 3 hours.

Then we were ready to stitch.

First we begin with designs on the foreground, so we start with the Cherry Blossoms:

Again, before we begin, I have to prepare the threads first, by twisting it. Then pin head to begin, use tekobari or laying tools, and I also have to stitch with 2 hands. For me it's really difficult, should've asked J to do it.

Then using 1 euro cent coin to image the circle in the middle, use half of the silk thread to stitch the circle, then use metallic thread to stitch the stamen. Then using red thread to couch the metallic thread and the couching has to be from top to bottom and using the stripes on the metallic thread as a guidance (every 2nd stripes), that's why the couching is so even. As if not enough.. another rule is that the stamen on the middle has to be straight, and the one on the right side has to make curve facing slightly to the left and the one on the left side curving slightly to the right. And there's also rules as from which side you have to stitch first.

As I stitch, I keep on thinking.. the Japanese must be insane...

Here are some other piccies:

(if you wonder why the lattice is so even... we use ruler to measure it.. every 4mm, don't ask me why 4 instead of 5, and the threads of the pine with the darker colour are hold down with same colour every 2,5 mm)

And this is how it supposed to look like when it's done:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Family, Not Friends

When girls have too much time on their hands, they contemplate fun and how to have it. When girls get together to do such contemplation, the fun increases exponentially, as the three of us have found.

Who are we? Three girls, who are about the same age ( would understand not to pursue this little question further, dear reader). So let's assume, we're happily on our paths in our lives, we're old enough to know better and young enough to make decisions against our better judgements at the same time.

We were born in almost the same area of the world, within five years of one another. Cue forward 30 years or so and by chance, we met on a bulletin board. Not a very good one. Actually, it was run sort of like a Nazi camp but that was really besides the point.

We met because we love cross stitch to the point of overwhelming obsession(we also love eating, family, friends, clothes, good wine, nice music, dirty jokes and discussions about bodily functions but that is a post for another day). Well, from needle and thread, the friendships grew and grew until we began to feel like family. When you are away from the home you were born in, you find inventive ways to establish friendships, to secure bonds. Maybe it helped that none of us have any biological sisters, so it was fairly easy to become surrogate siblings.

Today, we discuss everything from patterns to fabric to family to myriad issues and problems and at some level, we tackle them together. For my part, I really wouldn't know what to do without Joyce and Novia and in some ways, they have become my closest confidants, my crutch of support and partners in crime in a manner of speaking. Sure, they tease me for being the "middle child" among the three, and I'm torn between the requests of one and the orders of another (you decide which hahahaha). We laugh and joke and say I am the poor slave to Genghis Khan Joyce (Tall, influential and must be obeyed) and Napoleon Novia (short, influential and must be obeyed).

Hey, maybe some women laugh and say why would I do this to myself. But then I'd say, why wouldn't I do this to myself. I wouldn't trade these two sisters for anything. Even if they say "Start" and "stop" and various intervals and insist I do what they tell me (which could also mean why I am writing the first post). Because these girls, they give unstinting support and friendship with no questions asked, no expectations required. That's pretty hard to find in this day and age.

We started this blog because we wanted to share a little bit of ourselves with each other and with anyone who drops in. And for my part, I hope that you, gentle reader, might take with you a little part of the magic we share with you, and hope that makes your day just that little bit better.