Thursday, 19 May 2011

How do I Hate Thee ....

Thank you for your kind comments and emails; I really appreciate the support and encouragement. Perhaps before I continue with this series of posts I should explain that this is a bit retrospective. I normally post things in chronological order but for this Phase I have grouped things by technique. If in the following posts it appears that I have ignored your advice, it is because I am writing about things that happened a few weeks ago. Although things have moved on, I didn’t want to leave parts of the journey unrecorded.

Jane asked what I hate about my first attempt. To a small degree it is the way it looks. I love the look of a flat silk foundation, smooth and shiny. I understand that random LSS will never look as smooth and shiny as a flat silk foundation but I think the stitching on my third flower looks rough and dull. But the reason I dislike it so intensely is the way that I felt while I was stitching it. Embroidery is one of the great pleasures of my life. Stitching these petals made me stressed, confused and unhappy. When I look at these petals, all I can see is that unhappiness and I resent them for that.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

When I returned from Bournemouth I decided to finish the second flower before continuing with the third flower. I hoped that more experience of alternating LSS would give me more confidence in tackling the random variation. I left the stitches in while I did that hoping I would begin to see them differently. I didn’t. I know now that I will always see them as unhappy stitches and I don’t want to live with them.

When I look at my previous phase pieces I can see the imperfections and the things I hope one day I will be able to stitch better. I also see the joy, the pride and the pleasure I had in stitching them. I see the same things in the first two flowers on this phase. That is what I want to see when I look at the third flower.

Happy Stitching

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Rewind to March and my Japanese embroidery class. Much to my surprise I was getting on quite well with nagamijika-sashinui (alternating LSS), even beginning to enjoy it. But there was an elephant in the room.

When I finished stitching the first flower, Denise had suggested that I move onto midare-sashinui but I was not ready for the twin evil that is Random Long and Short Stitch.

It is very difficult to explain why I find random so unfathomable. I have a logical mind; I like order, pattern and reason. One of the things that first attracted me to JE was that it is very precise. I like that precision; I don’t like random.

But I could not put it off forever and it would have been folly not to attempt midare-sashinui in class while my tutors were on hand to coach me. I designated Thursday midare-sashinui day. At the start of the day I read every book I have to gain some insight to the technique. Then I read my box chart. Then I consulted my tutor. Then I worked the padding on each of the petals. Then I selected my silks. Then, well then I could find nothing else to prevent me getting on with it!

And I hated it! I like to know exactly where a stitch should start and finish. I like to know the precise length and angle of each and every stitch. I don’t like random.

Unusually, I didn’t take any step by step pictures of the first petal. I can only think this is because my brain went into melt down as it struggled to comprehend the incomprehensible!

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

This is what I managed to stitch on Thursday and Friday and I hate it. The next thing I do to this flower will be to unpick it!

Not so Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Camellias, Some Progress

I am much more confident with alternating long and short stitch now.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

That really showed when I stitched the remaining two petals of this flower.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Apart from reverse stitching an odd stitch here or there, these went in without a hitch.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The tapering section on the petal above was the only part that I had to redo because I did not like my first attempt.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I am very pleased with these petals and the progress I have made with LSS but before I get to complacent, I’ll just remind myself that I still have to face midare-sashinui.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching

Progress Report - May

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November ...

I was working for sixteen days, in Venice for 4 days, decorating for 6 days and at a Japanese Embroidery open day for one day. That left just four days for embroidery!

On one of those days I stitched from early morning to late evening but I was watching the Royal Wedding at the same time. Another day, I went for a walk with my Mum with the hope of hearing the cuckoo for the first time this year (which we did) and one the remaining two days, stitching was squeezed inbetween, shopping, cleaning, washing etc, etc.

If it sounds like I am making excuses for the lack of progress this month, I am.

Camellias does not look very different from a month ago but I have made a lot of progress with learning Long and Short Stitch. Having said that, something is seriously hindering my progress with this piece. When I find time, I will blog about both my progress and the obstacles.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

When I realised that I was making no progress with Camellias, I decided to turn my attention to something else but not completely different. I began Floral Glove several months ago but it had gone into hibernation. Now was a good time to revive this project and I have made reasonable progress given that I have has so little stitching time. I have a lot to blog about this project!

© Thistle Threads/Carol-Anne Conway

In addition, I have done another Round Robin Doodle Travelling page. These are a lot of fun, but I cannot blog about them until the Round Robin is complete.

Happy Stitching