I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read, and especially to comment on my blog. Every time I see a comment, I am thrilled.
Today, I particularly need to thank Michael of wormspit.com for his comment. Michael, you made me re-evaluate not only the stitching samples for this butterfly, but also the whole project.
You said "You can see Helen Stevens stitching a butterfly here ... I know it's a totally different form of embroidery". I already know and admire Helen's work. I have her book "Embroidered butterflies". So I asked myself "Is my aim to stitch an authentic Japanese Embroidery, or is my aim to stitch the most beautiful embroidery I am capable of". The answer is the latter.
Regarding this butterfly, I had shied away from radial stitching because I thought that would be far too difficult for me. I went back to SharonB's blog and read what she had to say about long and short stitch worked on a curve. Hmmm, if I am struggling with regular long and short stitch how could I hope to manage it on a curve!
I then looked at a recently acquired book Japanese embroidery through the millennium, which includes instructions for Realistic random long and short stitches "bring the needle between the stitches of the preceding rows (not through). The stitches are not uniform and the rows are not clear." Although this said basically the same thing, it somehow made the stitch seem a little less intimidating. I needed to do another sample.
Here are all three samples together
I am really pleased with this last sample. I still need to adjust the direction of the stitches, but I think that I am really to stitch the real thing.