Well, it’s been a long time…

…and yes, another post is starting that way, woe is I.  🙂 However, all of us have lived through times when life throws a few curves into our path so ‘nuf said.  Anyway, to sorta quote a scary movie from long ago…I’m back.

It is spring here in Minnesota and, while the last few days have been beastly hot, mostly it’s just glorious.  The kind of glorious when I can’t wait to be outside…

The most amazing thing about spring to me is all the different colors of green.  Everything from chartreuse to deep olive and even teal.  The fragrance of cherry and apple blossoms wafting on a breeze only adds to the magic.  It is this time of year that makes winter only a distant memory.

Have I been stitching whilst negotiating curves?  Well, in finest Midwest parlance…YOU BETCHA!  In fact, I have a finish to share today.  This is kind of a special finish in that up until I put that last stitch into canvas, it was my oldest living needlepoint work in progress.  It is a JINICE kimono and was my first attempt at charted needlepoint (with a drawn outline) and I started it in the early 1990’s.  I know, I know…some of you were BORN in the early 1990’s :-).  What can I say except I have the attention span of a chipmunk some days.  But eventually I get there and today I have this to show:

Jinice Kimono

Jinice Kimono

I also took some close up shots:

Jinice Kimono-Upper left

Jinice Kimono-Upper left

Jinice Kimono-Upper Right

Jinice Kimono-Upper Right

Jinice Kimono-Lower Left

Jinice Kimono-Lower Left

Jinice Kimono-Lower Right

Jinice Kimono-Lower Right

The border is six strands of floss plied, re-assembled, then laid. It was a time intensive project, but I love the way it looks.  The metallic around the outside of the kimono itself  is a heavy braid that is no longer made and was DIFFICULT to work in that it almost refused to lie flat as I was couching it down.  The background is not what was charted.  The stitch guide calls for a diamond shaped running stitch in a metallic decorated with beads.  For me that was too busy, given my desire to have the kimono be the focal point.  So I put in a very simple tone-on-tone (actually cream wool on tan ground) repeating (diaper?) pattern that suggests a bit of motion. The color choices are also my own. The compensation of the aqua wool in the upper part of the pattern was a…er…a challenge. 🙂 I think the most interesting part of finishing the piece was to see the progression in my skills over the last 20 years.  I did leave the parts originally stitched intact…because I value knowing and seeing that my stitching has improved.

I also just finished another session of Japanese embroidery class with Kay Stanis (fabulous teacher-teaches silk and metal work at many venues…TAKE A CLASS from her if you have the opportunity!). I am still working on Phase I, but it went so much better this time, simply because I had time to spend on specific motifs rather than getting so much information all at once.  I felt much less overwhelmed and bamboo leaves and I are even starting to be friends. 🙂 I hope to finish this phase in the next three months and start Phase II in August.  I really love the challenge of this discipline.  And I love the results. But after a 9-4:30 class four days in a row, I was exhausted.

Class was also a special treat this time because one of the sisters who was fighting cancer last fall, is well on her road to recovery and was able to start Phase One.  She is a joy to be around…and I had the added advantage of being able to listen to all the instructions all over again. My notes are much improved.

I don’t have photos yet, but will share them when I finish my bamboo leaves!

Just as an FYI, I am taking down my stash for sale page for a few weeks.  My stash room badly needs organizing and I haven’t gotten through it yet.  I will put a revised page back up as soon as I figure out what I have to sell/trade.  Thank you for your patience with me. I will also be adding a number of new volumes to my library over the coming weeks.  I am in a constant state of collecting and right now my interest seems to be in historical costume, couture embroidery and tambour work. So if any of that interests you, stay tuned.

I have to head for work shortly so I will draw this post to a close.  I hope all of you have a wonderful day filled with stitches and very few frogs!



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  • Paula  On May 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

    All I can say is “Wow” – it’s beautiful! And I don’t recall seeing this one before.

  • coral-seas  On May 22, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Hi Julie
    Welcome back. I hope your current woes are over and life runs straight and true for a while.

    Congratulations on finishing your lovely kimono. Well done for persevering, it really is lovely.

    Pleased you enjoyed your Japanese embroidery class. I go once a year for a 5 day residential course and I agree with you that it is exhausting, but isn’t it worth it 🙂

    I’m looking forward to seeing the bamboo leaves. Do you think learning to lay flat silk helped you with laying the border on your kimono pic?

    I have just started the Phase II beading class and am loving it. I’m completely torn between spending time on silk embroidery and bead embroidery at the moment.


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