Friday, 26 November 2010

Neck Feathers, Take Three

I could see exactly what was wrong with the neck feathers - they were even skinnier that the first attempt and I had a hideous line were the two rows overlapped. I needed to figure out what I needed to do to get it right. I sent pictures to my sensei. Back came the reply “Although I don't like to have to say it, I think you need to take out these feathers ...”. No need to apologise, I had already decided they were coming out. Margaret, also suggested that I put in more feathers, “for every two neck feathers you have now, you need to have three feathers in their space” and also that I take the bottom row of feathers higher up if I still had gaps between the feathers in the top row. Armed with this advice I was ready for round three, starting with more reverse stitching.

Normally in Japanese embroidery you stitch the foreground first. That would indicate that the top row should be done first but the feathers in the top row actually overlap those in the bottom row so I have been stitching those first. This may be part of where I am going wrong but rather stubbornly I decided to do it that way around again. However, I took on board Margaret’s advice and took the feathers in the bottom row higher, especially those that fell into gaps in the top row. I deliberately staggered the tops of the feathers, thinking that this would give a less pronounced line when the top row was added. I increased the thread from 1 flat to 1.5 flat and I concentrated on making each feather wider. I’m not sure if they are a single diagonal layer yet but they are no longer definitely a line of staggered diagonals. I had intended to add more feathers, as Margaret suggested, but after stitching the first few feathers I could see that it would not be necessary.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

When the bottom row was complete, I was beginning to feel confident that this attempt would be better. No, more than that, I was quite excited about them.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

It is slightly strange stitching while feeling excited by what you are stitching. The temptation is to go faster so you can see the result but I made myself resist that urge and stitch the top row with the same care and attention.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

When I finished the top row, I stood up to take a good look ... and I was delighted. This is where I do the happy dance. Not a pretty sight and perhaps not in keeping with the normally sombre and dignified pursuit of Japanese embroidery but after two horrible failures I felt pretty pleased with myself.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Mr Duck finally has neck feathers befitting a duck of his stature.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

(Very) Happy Stitching


Unknown said...

Oh yes - I can see how it works much better this way! Good for you for persevering.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Congratulations! The neck feathers look very good, don't they? I am sure you are very proud of yourself and you have added a bit of experience that will help you plan other stitching just a tad better next time.

Elizabeth Braun said...

Well, they do say '3rd time lucky', don't they? I'm glad you've done it to your own satisfaction this time. I know others say 'But it looks fine!' However, you've just GOT to be happy with it yourself.

Christine said...

Wonderful! Thank you for letting me learn along with you. -Christine

Jane said...

These are looking great now, well done you. By the by, you stitched these the right way round, this is another one of those times that Mr Duck breaks the rules!

Anonymous said...

Wow they make Mr Duck look really proud. Bet it made you do a long happy dance, were is the picture of you doing a happy dance :-)

Rachel said...

Absolutely spot on. They look great. Worth the effort and re-stitching!

Susan Elliott said...

BRAVO! You should stand up and shout for joy. I was shouting for joy for you since I just read your three posts in succession. He looks really great. ARen't you almost finished now?