Thank you for your advice and encouragement, I greatly appreciate it.
It seems that I was not over the worst of my cold and have been a bit up and down all week. I went back to work on Monday but on Wednesday I came home and took to my bed again. Since then I have been gradually improving. We had planned to spend the long Easter weekend decorating the hall, stairs and landing (a project we have been threatening to do for 2 or 3 years). We have a least made a start although what we have done so far could more accurately be described as undecorating. With so little energy, I have only managed 2 or 3 hours work per day and then had to spend an hour or two stitching to recover. Shame!
I knew what I needed to do to get this project finished, finish the dark pink blossoms. If I could get those done, the rest would be plain sailing. I did one or two a day and, little by little, I got through them. There are less than half as many pale pink blossoms and only a few of those are complete blooms, most have only 1, 2 or 3 petals and took hardly any time to stitch. Besides, I was highly motivated to finish them. During the class, Midori-san had demonstrated to me how the branches, stems and leaves should be stitched and I was keen to put what I had learnt into practice.
I thought the technique for the main branches was particularly interesting. They are stitched in lines of staggered diagonal (very similar to stem stitch) but each line overlaps the previous line, effectively splitting the stitches. When Midori-san demonstrated this, I understood the method. I also understood the written instructions, but when I came to do it myself I could not transfer the information to to my hand. This happens to me when I try to draw or paint; my head knows what I want to produce but my hand refuses to follow instructions!
Midori-san stitched the central section of branch. The two sections to the right are the first that I stitched. I think that it is difficult to see how our technique differs but believe me it does. I'm not sure at what point my hand finally came on board but the certainly all the vertical sections on the left are stitched as per instructions.
The smaller branches where also stitched in staggered diagonals but here the stitches are longer. The leafs are just straight stitches.
These stitched very quickly and tie the whole design together.
It is a beautiful design. I don't think that I have done it justice. Certainly I enjoyed the kinsai class and, with hindsight, most of the stitching. I think my earlier despondency was largely due to my cold. I just have to do the finishing now and send it to Midori-san for the real finishing.