Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Himotaba, finished

Himotaba has been my greatest challenge so far in Japanese Embroidery. I suppose each Phase should be more challenging that the last, and this certainly makes sense with Phases I-III, but it is not necessarily the case with Phases IV-VIII which concentrate on different techniques.

I know that others have found Phase V, cords challenging but had tried not to let their experience influence me. Even so, when I began this Phase I found myself intimidated by every thing about it; the fabric, the colour schemes and the techniques.

I had heard that the gold fabric was very unforgiving but from the beginning I enjoyed stitching on it. It is a very smooth fabric that framed up very taught and barely stretched throughout the project. It is true that the stitch holes do not heal but I found it easier to place my stitches precisely in the first place.

The colour palette was selected by my tutor and at first I was disappointed with it. These strong colours are definitely not what I would have chosen for myself; I only really liked the red and the gold at the outset. I have to admit that all the colours have really grown on me. Individually they each suit the gold fabric and they work really well together. I'm still don't think that I would select these strong shades for myself but I have enjoyed working with them and think that they are well suited to this design.

The real challenge has been learning some of the braiding techniques. At times I have been utterly frustrated and thought I would never get it. The wicker braid (cord #4) was by far the most challenging. The cord I enjoyed most was the one I thought would be the most difficult, the double central in real gold.

What I have enjoyed most was fading from one colour or type of thread into another (cords #3 and #8) and fading out the ends of the cords.

I am really please to be finished with Himotaba. I did enjoy stitching it but not to the same extent as the other pieces I have done. Having said that, I think I will be doing more cords in the future, especially the double central.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I'm having doubts about the tassel. I think this is only a crisis of confidence that will pass. Looking at the before and after pics, I think that adding the extra lines was the right thing to do. The tassel looks more in balance with the cord and overall weight of the whole design.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I've kept a careful account of time taken on this Phase.

Preparation (outlining cords with Japanese running stitch or gold and padding): 23 hrs
Cord #1 Double Central and tassel: 18 hrs
Cord #2 Imitation Wicker: 10 hrs 30 mins
Cord #3 Single Central: 14 hrs 45 mins
Cord #4 Wicker: 25 hrs 15 mins
Cord #5 Single Central: 15 hrs 15 mins
Cord #6 Imitation Wicker: 9 hrs
Cord #7 Rein Effect: 9 hrs
Cord #8 Double Central: 14 hrs 30 mins
Grand Total: 149 hrs 15 mins

I predicted that this would take between 120 and 150 hours stitching time.

And finally ...

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

... the back.

The main reason I am happy to have this finished is that I will begin Phase VI on Monday and I am really looking forward to this one.

Happy Stitching


Mary Corbet said...

It's GORGEOUS. Your decision about the tassel was spot on - it looks perfect!

Christa Evans said...

One MAJOR happy dance is being performed here for you! Congratulations. I agree with Mary - your tassel is just right. I think you made the right choice to add additional lines as it is just the right thickness and weight.

Now I'm going to sit on pins and needles to see what you have chosen for your next phase!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You are a very brave soul for sharing the back of your work!

Elizabeth Braun said...

Omedeto gozaimasu - congratulations! I've been following your fight with those cords and you may have lost battles along the way, but you won the war and it's come out great! I agree that the exta lines were needed on the tassel too.
fabric doesn't look very gold on the photos. I look forward to seeing something like that for real one day.=)

Jane said...

Your new tassel looks great. Am very sorry to be missing the real thing next week. Will be there in spirit (and maybe virtually through the wonders of my new laptop and its webcam?)
Have lots of fun

Sue said...

It's lovely, like everyone else I think you made the right choice and can't wait to see it for real. I am glad you are happy with it as well. You are doing so well on your journey and look forward to seeing your next phase, Loving Couple :-))

Christine said...

Beautiful!!!! Pat yourself on the back. I also struggled with Himotaba, I think I thought it would be 'easy'. Hah.

Textile Art Showcase said...

Really beautiful - a true work of art. I am so glad I have seen the finished work. Lovely!

Elmsley Rose said...

Congratulations on finishing such a beautiful project - so beautifully!

I think the heavier tassel works because you have full surface coverage with all the cords. Maybe if some of the were open-faced to the ground, the thinner tassel might have worked. My theory, anyway :-)

I enjoyed your journey - thankyou

Nancilyn (Fiberdabbler) said...

Congratulations on your project completion. It is stunning, so worth the time you put into it. I've really enjoyed watching Himotaba evolve. Thank you so much for sharing the adventure.

Front Range Stitcher said...

This is just lovely. Your work amazing, you should be very proud.

Rachel said...

I'm so glad to see the completed piece now. It looks fantastic, and - in case you need another voice added to the throng - the additional lines in the tassel were just right!

Possibilities, Etc. said...

Your work is absolutely amazing and quite beautiful- I look forward to watching more!

Tina said...

This piece is stunning! I would love to do these embroidery classes and just have not gotten myself to get on it-I can hardly wait to see the new one you are starting!

Your work is wonderful-the back of the piece is just beautiful too! Brave girl to show that off!


Deepa said...

Wonderful piece of embroidery. I've said it before,but I say it again - I salute your patience.

Angelcat said...

Wow this is just stunning! So many hours stitching, but the finished piece is certainly worth it. The extra lines on the tassel really do balance it so I think you definitely made the right decision