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!


Christine said...

I like your bottom petal. It appears 'random', and the weight of the red at its tip is good. Maybe adding in a few, oh, 0.25 strands to soften it will make it more to your liking? IMHO you are doing well with this technique. I think that with this phase we're supposed to simply get our feet wet, and then later on, we get better. I had my 2nd exposure to this in Phase X, and my teacher definitely pushed me to do a better job. Kazumi is doing an entire class on Realistic Effects in Oklahoma this summer - proof that it is hard!

Jane said...

I agree with Christine, I think you are doing well with this. Courage mon bauve.

Jane said...

I should have said, before you take it out, why do you hate it? Is it just because it's random or is there something specific?

Christine said...

And, as my teacher would say, do the other petals before taking out what you don't like right now. As tempting as it is to just rip..... You may find it all gels together better when they're all in. Looking at it again, I still think it looks good.

Rachel said...

I would second what Christine and Jane have said. Before you rip it out, you must know why you hate it, or you risk creating something you hate the second time. I think this is a time to persevere, and to do some analysis, rather than simply ripping out and trying again.

Plays with Needles said...

My teacher would tell you to keep going...if, when you are finished the flower and you've distanced yourself from it for a time....if you still hate it...then pick it out...personally, I love it. Take a breath, settle into yourself, and stop fighting your journey. It's just a journey CA. That's all. Perfection is boring and is NOT random.

I've now stepped off my soap box. Love you, Susan