lundi 16 avril 2018

JE Blue Iris Flower is done !! :)

Grad students first problem : I should have been writing. Instead, i've been doing some useful/productive/fun procrastination!!

Blue Iris Flower is done !  

The left outter petal was quite a challenge

The tip of this petal was very hard to do. Because of the inclination of the petal, it was not exactly like the center one. It took me 3 or 4 time to do the left part. I am satisfied with this result, since it's the best i could do.  

And some other pictures. It was very sunny this week in Montreal.. but still freezing/snowing/icy wathever. It should be called «second winter», not spring.  

Et voila !!

The right inner petal was very hard too : because it's part under the right outter petal, you have to guess where to land your next stitches to create something balanced. I was not satisfied with my first result, and had to remove 3 times my stitches. I feel what is there is not the best it's possible to achieve, but it's the best i could do at my level of embroidery beginner.

I learned great thing with this iris, i feel my eye knows better where my stitches and my needle should go to create what i want. 

Also, while having a very hard time, this crossed my mind  : «If it's easy, then you are learning it wrong. »

I felt like a ghost was looking above me, and telling me to perseverate.  I can assure this thought didn't came from me. I am a little bit of a lazy person who loves when everything is easy. I would never ever think of something like this ! 

Next thing : 
I have a group meeting on the last week of April. Maybe i will work on my pinks or the orange chrysanthemum. I was supposed to be working on top layers of paperbag, but my friend Dima won't be here, and I don't want Nancy to give two times the same instructions. I hope to have some improvements to show after this meeting !

A little bit about my group :
In Montreal, there is a group of ladies from the Embroidery Guild who follow the JEC cursus. I think we are about 10 people working on different phases. Nancy is the lady who organize the group meeting at her house. She received the Phase X formation but she doesn't teach. She is giving us advice when needed about our stitching since she is the most advanced. She is precious help for me and Dima... and everybody I think. On our monthly group meeting, she sometimes don't even have time to stitch because there is always someone calling her for help and suggestions :)

If you are in Montreal and interested to see Japanese Embroidery or even take courses, the group sometimes receive teacher from other places! Next time will maybe be next spring (2019) depending on the group progress on their projects.

lundi 2 avril 2018

April 2018 JE Report

Hi ! I hope you had a great time in March. 
Between studies and other things, I had a group meeting for Japanese Embroidery at the beginning of the month, and unfortunately i had to remove a lot of work. 

When i came to the meeting, it looked like this :

Where to begin ... 

First : Byebye Pinks. All of it.  As I understand, Japanese Embroidery has very strict rules, but you can do some variation of your own when you are more skilled. My pinks were not done the traditional way, I was very unhappy with how it looked (not the same as it should be), and a fellow stitcher suggested to remove it if not satisfied.

So i did it. I cut everything :( It was so sad at first, but i am okay with my decision. It's for the best.

Second : Byebye paper bag. Well, not all the stitches, but 75% of what i did. Problem is, I left a big space in the middle for cords. After discussions with other stitchers, stitching the cords on top of the bag is part of the exercise, and meant to be hard, because there will be a lot of surimposition in other phases. This one is just a practice.
So I did it, i removed the thread. Almost. All. Of. It. 
Catastrophe !!!

It was like this.

Then like this ( I want to cry ) .

Then throw away this unusable ORT's (SO MUCH THREAD... i am actually crying )

Fortunately, i could re-use a part of those threads, this time stitching the good direction : from left to right. (I was stitching the wrong way). So here is what a complete day of stitching looked like : a day of unstitching. Not a single new thread was added to my work. I was SO sad. The only time I had to sitch in one month was to remove ALL of the past work. 

I felt very crappy for some days. I was in mid semester time, had a lot of papers to submit for my Master then, and I was impatiently waiting for my stitching day to relax. never happened. I did what i had to do, then put my work in my case until i could find courage to redo everything. After 3 weeks, when i found time between my studies, I felt urge to stitch, so i put my frame on the stand, and went back to work. 
I could add a little 5 hours of stitching, so here is what it looks like as today.

I had to remove a little part on the middle, but it will be very fast to stitch. 

The big problem is, with this mistake of not doing the paperbag the good way at first, i had to throw away so much thread... now i don't have much left :

Eeeek ! I love to live dangerously.

Our next group meeting is at the end of April. I was given a goal, if possible : finish the paperbag (while finishing my Master courses :/ ). Since i still have brown to put on it, and so little left, I want to wait for the group discussion to not mess up more things and risking to not have enough if i still do mistakes. I will wait, and work on something else Knowing my friend Dima won't be here in April, I will probably be working on something else, and wait for her to comeback in May, so we could do this together. She also had to redo her paperbag and is also short on thread.
I suppose the best for me would be to finish the iris and chrysanthemum... ans those removed pinks.

Oh, and a i did had a little bit of green on a long leaf, but my little finger is telling me will have to remove it when the littles seeds on top will be stitched

Should i remove or not ? To be continued....

Then, this is what it looked like at the end. 

Well... almost. I didn't took a picture of the paperbag finished. Without the pinks, my embroidery looks so empty :(

Next month is another month. Things should go better by then. Never give up.

Happy stitching :)

Japanese Embroidery Class Phase 1 - Day 4

Day 4, the last day of my formations of Phase I of Japanese embroidery. I was very reluctant to go to my last day. With the failures I lived the day before, i was not sure anymore on my capacities to do Japanese Embroidery. I told myself I had been waiting for this class for so long + it cost me a lot of money for the course and furnitures + all my things were there... so i got out of bed and went to class.

Good thing is, the last day went better than i thought it would. We worked on 'easier' things 

The first thing was finishing the outline of the paperbag, and put guidelines to follow the weft of fabric.

That part was way easier than what i did before. You twist the thread, and stitch inside de outline, while making sure to go parallel every time, following the guidelines.

Another part of the day was stitching the long iris leaves. This one is a little bit tricky, since you have to follow the movement of the leave. I have problem with where to land my next stitch when the forms is moving. 

It's not perfect, but im okay with my work

Finally, the last part was about the pink flower. They have to be worked in short and long stitch. In this orang, i will put white and gold thread. It will look great. :)

(I say this, but i had to remove everything... )

So this was the end of the four day adventure. That last day went better than the others. When i got used to silk thread, i was able to not snag it everywhere, twisting the thread became easier. 

This is what it looked like at the end of the formation

Even if it was hard, I got a lot of fun. I am able to blog about it because after 6 month my interest on Japanese embroidery is still very high. Even with the difficulties i face, i manage to continue.

One of the fellow stitcher is having a monthly meeting at her home, so everybody could have a full day of working on their different pieces ( A gift from the sky, knowing i dont really have time with school, i could never be able to find time to stitch ! ). Plus, having a group helps when you have questions or incertitudes.

From now, I will post a monthly report of my work, what I did, what went good and bad. When Carol-Ann Conway from Threads Across The Web ans Susan from Plays With Needle were still doing Japanese embroidery, I got a lot of pleasure reading their blog about their struggles. Knowing they had great times and also difficult helps me when I struggle on something, since i am very fan of their stitchings ( They do it so good ! ). 

If you have the opportunity to try Japanese embroidery, i encourage you to go for it :) And I hope you will get as much pleasure as i have to stitch with silk and learn this beautiful art.

vendredi 30 mars 2018

WIPocalypse - March 2018

Hi everyone,

here is my monthly progress as March 25 31 WIPocalypse (almost on time !) . I've been talking a lot about Japanese Embroidery, but i still work sometime on my cross stitch. I've done a lot since my last monthly report, had some new starts on the way ( but no finishes ^_^ )

WIPocalypse rules are here on Measi Blog

So here is the question of the month : 

March 25 – What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?
This year, I discover more of Japanese embroidery. I love de Japanese Embroidery Center designs, and also Midori Matsushima's ones. I love the silk thread, you can do so much with it, it's a pleasure to stitch because of its delicacy and beauty. 

Here are my progress !!  

Warning : VERY LONG POST. TOO MUCH PICTURES. (Joke, never enough pictures)

Japanese Embroidery

#1 Bouquet from the Heart of Japan

I won't lie, March was kinda hard for me. I've made a lot of work in February, but had to remove A LOT (like 6 or 7 hours of work, maybe more) because some things were not quite right.

So it all began here. 

Now it looks like this.  
Well... almost. I was too lazy to take another picture with paperbag done ;)

(It looks so empty without pinks !!! )

#2 Colours of Spring

This piece is a small kit from Midori Matsuchima. I did a little but of work on it, but it was before i has my Japanese Embroidery Class... si it's VERY FAR from perfect. Since i'am working mostly on my bouquet, i don't know when I will comme back on it. Maybe i will remove everything now that i had a complete formation. So here is what i looked like on the last time.

It's a little bit sad. I should really remove everything.

Cross stitch

Most of my time is on Japanese embroidery.... but i still do cross stitch ! Usually when i am too tired to do anything but repetitive movement and counting while watching movie. There is something very relaxing about cross stitching, almost contemplating.

In those 3 years (Ishhh.. ) of not blogging, i did a lot of work. I will try to recall every WIP and new beginnings i made ( And no finishes at all lol). I will try to have NO OTHER BEGINNINGS this year ... easier said than done. 

It all came to this : 

ok so let's go back to my UFO's... WIP's to see what was improved.

#1 Elegance of the Orient

Yesss ! A lot of work done ! 


Tadaa ! Lighting is not that good, maybe i will take another one someday.

#2 Jazz café

... and yess ! Improved ! 

Still a lot to do, but coming good !

#3 Mad Hatter

Well.. no. nothing.


#4 Pagoda View
  Yes ! A little bit. Not easy to spot on this pictures. I will have another one someday.


 Bad lighting and bad phone kills art.

#5 Mini Hogg

Yay ! Moredone. But still unfinished. 

New Starts

This is where it hurts. When you should work on your things and you literally procrastinate cross stitch by cross stitching something else !!!

#1 Charlotte

From Mirabilia, my favorite. But I lost the pattern on my last moving :(

#2 Villa Mirabilia

This lady is so gigantic !!! I did almost nothing 

#3 Mini Birthday mouse.

Okay, I lied earlier when saying i finished nothing. I began AND finished this little cutie.

Ready to put in a card !!

#4 Kimono Sunset 

Annnnd thats it. For my defense, two of them were on a Eventually-To-Do-List. And i finished another one. 

So i think that's it... 
I feel so guilty for having all those WIP. Not blogging made me lose track of what i was working on, and how much of them i had !!!

As we say in french : Admitted offence is half forgiven.

Ok, this was long post. It's the punishment for not blogging for so long. Thanks for having made through it !!

Japanese Embroidery Class Phase 1 - Day 3

Day 3 of the class was one of the worst. After praises from the teacher about my beginner-skills-okay-for-the-nuido (I never made embroidery before !! ), I hit a wall that day. A massive one, and my inexperience gave me a lot of troubles.

First of all : Japanese knots.
I had troubles earlier in my life with french knots on cross stitch. Well, Japanese knots are also not the friendly type.

So while other stitcher were doing somme beautiful flowers with the french knots, all I did was...

Those. Horribles. Tentatives. Of. Straight. From. Hell. Things. 

On the top left, there three almost correct knots. The rest were... yuck. «Practice», yeah. Not a single knot was stitched on the piece that day ( nor 6 months later). My problem is about not pulling the good loop so it creates this kind of tail on the top f the knot. 
For info: I got a crash course of Japanese knot last month, they look better know but still haven't put any on the fabric.

Second struggle of the day : Bush clover. There are 34 of those little devilish things in the piece. We suppose the mad/genius creator of this piece made sure we would know how to stitch them properly at the end of the phase 1. Slow clap for him, they are very hard to do. In fact, they look like being easy. You start on one side, move and turn and shorten the stitches next to the top then turn and do longer and.... 

The teacher said it was not that bad.... but she made me redo the right part two times.
I was almost crying. 
( There is a small difference between the two pictures, I don't know if you will notice it)

On the afternoon, it was a litte bit more relax. We made a special thread, supertwisted thread that we had to put in water and made to dry before stitching. It is used for the stem of flowers. It looks super shiny and i love it texture. We couch it with little regular twisted thread of the same colour (green).

The little seeds ont the side if the green stems is where i should have put my (not on point) knots. 

Finally, we had to couche the outline of the paperbag, because on day 4 we would be working on it. 

So this is what the progress of that horrible day looked like : One leaf, 3 cm of stems and half outlining. And 30 ugly knots on the side.

Doing this blog post 6 months later, i remember the mixed feelings of that day. I was very naive about the Japanese embroidery.. like i knew it would be difficult be living those difficulties for real is not the same. After almost 3 years of waiting for this class, i never thought i would be that hard. Seeing the other stitchers doing there knots almost perfectly (because embroidering for years), I felt a little bit left behind. Moreover not able to distinguish angles and where the needle should land to have te perfect stitch, have to redo 2 times a single side of a leaf... Aouch. 

But the most important is... i'm not a quitter. It was not the first fail i had in my life, and certainly not the last. When life knocks you down, the only thing you can do is stand up. So I stood up, had a great night of sleep, ready for my fourth and last day.

mardi 20 mars 2018

Japanese Embroidery Class Phase 1 - Day 2

The second day of my class was about flat silk. We practiced twisted silk the day before.

This one is a little bit harder. if at first you don't need to do anything to your thread, just take it and put a knot at the end, you have to be a little bit more precocious with it.

Flat silk thread is so hard to work with, one false movement and it snags. Also, you have to use the tekobari (big long stroking needle) to stroke the silk to make sure it lays perfectly flat. Tekobari also enhance the silk to make it shiny. Then, you can't remove your thread too many time. Silk does not support to be removed and becomes ugly after some times. 

It's kinda scary how you have to be careful !!! 

We worked on 3 things for the second day

  • Blue pistil in the middle of iris is made of flat silk. You have to put one layer of perpendicular padding of silk thread under, and follow the movement. So... I tried to. 

  • Second was Yellow Valerian. This one is worked on weft flat silk. It means we have to follow the line if the fabric and put all the stitches parallel. White silk is used as guidelines.

  • Last thing of the day was the orange chrysanthemum. This one has special movement. Each petal has to be inclined in some sort of position from the very center of the flower. At 30˚ exactly, but didn't know this at the moment... This is why they look like very different, one is note at good angle. 
  • They are made from twisted silk, and self padded, like the iris petals.

A question may be asked : why do i began with some petals particularly? Because there is a rule in Japanese Embroidery that the front item have to be stitched before the background. In those 3 pictures, i stitched those items because they were ont the foreground. 

In the chrysanthemum, you have to begin with the bigger petal in front of the other, and then do the others. The one on the left is my first one. The last will be the two little in the back. 

So this what it looked like at the end of day 2

At the moment I was so glad with my work. Looking at it now, 6 months later i see all my mistakes because i've learned so much with practice. I am still very satisfied with how much i improved to this day.

Japanese Embroidery Class Phase 1 - Day 1

Day 1. 9am

I'am so excited. I have been waiting for this day for so long.  I will finally learn all the secrets of Japanese embroidery. The teachers gave us an inspirational speech for our first, about seeking perfection but not be overwhelm by it. She said the journey was more important than the goal, and we should not seek perfection at any price at the beginning, it will come with time and practice.

This my work place, ready to begin

Our first lesson is learning to twist the silk. With 4 brands of flat silk, we have to make twisted threads. Easier said than done. The teacher told me i could twist the silk a little bit more tight. 

For all the morning, we practiced twisting thread. 

In the afternoon, we began to work on the blue iris. It is worked on twisted thread, and we follow the movement of the flower.
First, we have to make padding with the blue thread on perpendicular, then stitch on top of it. 

Teacher was really impressed since i've never did any embroidery other than cross stitch when you only have to put X's in pre-made holes. Following the movement of the flower was quite hard but i was satisfied with my progress for this day