Butterfly Cords - Japanese Embroidery UK

Published on 30th November 2017

When I first I started my journey along the path of Japanese Embroidery in 2004 I attended two classes a year.  Since I've been teaching this has had to give a bit as lots of my holidays were used for teaching weeks.  However I've still attempted to attend at least one class a year with my sensei.  This year teaching week and class week were straight after each other so I have a lovely extended break from work teaching a class and then taking a class. 

Some of my own students attended the second class and I was very proud of them.  It seems such a short time since they were in our first classes struggling, as we all did, with the needles, silk, tekobari, and all the other things we have to learn.  Now they are accomplished embroiderers well able to hold their own in a class with some very advanced stitchers.  They are producing beautiful work and are starting to develop their own ideas and style, well done ladies.

I had a wonderful week, it was great to catch up with everyone and see all the work they are producing.

I spent the week working on my version of Butterfly Cords, a JEUK module 5 design.  Not one of my designs but one I like very much.  In the summer I'd spent a few days visiting my sensei and I'd taken this design with me as I'd had the idea of using mother of pearl for the water droplets rather than stitching them.

With help and advice from sensei I glued and outlined the water droplets.  After I'd got home and looked at them for a little while I decided they didn't work.  I just don't have the skill yet for the outline paste and it wasn't as neat or as fine as I'd wanted.  The shapes them selves are very small and they just didn't have the impact I wanted.  So off they had to come.  Definitely a skill to practice for use in the future.

They were replaced by these wonderful shell silvers/golds.

It doesn't show up well in the photo but the very pale colour on the bottom koma contains shades of greens.

They are about a #4 or 5, I used a single strand couched in an outward spiral. I've used the colours from the middle and bottom koma from the photo above.

I really like how the colours change randomly so each one is different.

Taking the mother of pearl off the fabric was quite easy, they just peeled off.  In one or two places however I was left with a mark.

In most places I was able just to expand the little circle to cover the mark.  But towards the bottom of the design was this bigger mark.  Because of the shape left here I opted to put in an extra plum blossom.  Out came the trusty shell powder for a transfer.

The new plum will get filled in with one or other of these colours.

The new shell silvers are so lovely to use and so pretty that I decided to embroider one of the plums using these.  I used the middle shade and couched as a pair.

More next time on #2 butterfly and the cords.


Butterfly Cords | Classes | Japanese Embroidery Academy UK

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