Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Japanese Bead Embroidery, Phase IV

Several months ago I had a lesson to get started on Phase IV of the Japanese bead embroidery. There are two distinctly different and equally fabulous designs to choose from at Phase IV. My friend Sue is doing the Peacock Decorative Mat and it is already looking spectacular (one for my wish list). I chose to do the Floral Melody Purse. I fell in love with this design when I first saw it on the cover of the Bead Embroidery Book by Ms. Reiko Matsukawa (sadly, now out of print). When I received the kit and saw the selection of beads, I fell even more in love. I wanted to get started straight away but decided to wait until I had finished Poppy Pouch. Once I had made a start in the lesson, the temptation to work on it was even greater but I stuck by my decision.

A couple of things helped. The main reason was that the frame I had started Floral Melody on is less substantial than my other frames (I have four Japanese embroidery frames). The purse (handbag) is quite large and heavily beaded on both sides. I thought that the frame may not be able to withstand the weight of so many beads. Once I had finished the beading on Poppy Pouch, I transferred Floral Melody to the frame that had occupied.

The first thing I did then was remove all the work I had done during the class. I wasn’t particularly unhappy with what I had done but I felt that my ability had developed since then and I thought that I might be able to do a little bit better now. But the biggest factor in removing what I had done was the thread. I began stitching with white thread but decided to switch to one that more closely matches the colour of the fabric. White thread does not alter the colour of the beads greatly so is a good choice in that respect but it really stands out, even on this pale background.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The cream thread doesn’t alter the colour of the beads too much either but, in my opinion it blends with the fabric much better.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Removing all of the beads is relatively simple. A few snips on the front, taking care not to cut the fabric, then remove the beads.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Flip the frame over and pull out the threads.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Voila! A clean slate to start afresh.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching


Rachel said...

I'm inclined to agree with you. The slightly creamier colour makes for a tidier effect. And however frustrating it may be to be snipping things out, it's not as bad as wishing that you had!

Jane said...

I think it was the right thing to do to change the thread. You can really see the difference in your two photos, the one with the cream thread is a much nicer effect.

Susan Elliott said...

Fresh slates. I love that. I'm making the popcorn and getting ready for the show!