Thursday, August 19, 2010

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Three

Reposting of April 8, 2006 article:

Half an hour later I have my Soy Luster untangled and on little paper cards. I scanned a picture of Witching Hour so you could see how beautiful and perfect for the geisha it is. All that grey looks just like jet black hair going grey. I also scanned a sketch of how I have started stitching her hair. It's proof I'm no artist but visual aids always help, even rough ones. See the center circle? With one strand of the Soy Luster I've stitched / lines starting at the bottom and going clockwise around the circle twice. I know there's a name for this stitch or something similar but I'm on a roll here. No time to look it up. Gotta post when I'm inspired and have computer access!

[This is a round Rhodes stitch. I looked it up!]

Next, still with one strand in the needle, I've stitched some lines across her hair for padding, ignoring where the hair sticks and that purple ribbon stuff are. I plan to stitch long stitches across and perpendicular to the padding to make her hair. I think I'll leave a space where the fat gold horizontal hair sticks are since those will sink a bit into the hair but otherwise, I'll just cover everything up and then add them back in on top of the stitched hair. I have plenty of pictures in Blog showing where these were painted for reference.

I will put a closeup of her hair as the main picture but you really can't see much, just that I've covered one side of the purple ribbon. But take my word for it, in person this is looking good!  [Note the photo mentioned isn't available but I found one that shows the Round Rhodes and the lower area's padding covered.]

Off to stitch now. Thanks for all the voodoo you've been doing. Witching Hour is behaving itself very nicely.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Break for the Beauty Shop, Part Two

Reposting of April 8, 2006 article:

This week a new thread arrived in the mail, courtesy of a friend on the West Coast who visited Needle in a Haystack and picked some up for me. It's called Soy Luster and it's a fine perle type thread made from soy byproducts. I had hoped when I heard of Soy Luster that it would be a good substitute for silk floss since some people avoid using silk because the silkworms are killed during processing of the coccoons. However, although it has a nice sheen, it is not going to stand in for silk.

Instead, I'm going to use it for my geisha's hair. I have #497, Witching Hour.

Soy Luster comes in two versions--Solids and Shadows. Solids are one color while Shadows are shades of one color. As you can see from the link, Witching Hour is black shading into charcoal and then into very, very dark grey. It is Shadow Soy Luster.

It also is very, very well named. The stuff is bewitched! I carefully unwound the skein and cut the knot holding it together in the middle and it immediately, I'm talking 3 seconds or less here, tangled itself into a big wad. I'd claim it sprang at me like a jack-in-the-box but I'm pretty sure you'd think I was exaggerating.

Imagine a witch with tangled greying hair, going everywhich way like knotted snakes. You have a very good idea of what I have in my lap right now. I think the problem is that the skein is tied together with multiple knots and I only found and cut one before trying to unwind enough to start stitching.

Why do I bother with this mess instead of rapidly consigning it to the trash can? It is going to be perfect for my mother of the bride. The color is absolutely right and I need a black thread with a different texture than the black Impressions that I am using for the kimono. I need a black with texture and a tad grey showing. So I will patiently unwind my tangles and cut my knots and dream of my geisha's hairstyle as I work.

Needlework teaches you patience. And new swear words.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

Break for the Beauty Shop, Part One

The Geisha Wedding
Yesterday Deborah left a comment that I decided to answer here instead of posting a reply comment. She said:

"It works." Oh, indeed it does. What a handsome parrot, and how well it fits into its joyful surroundings. I don't usually enjoy ribbon embroidery, though it's very popular here in South Africa, but I'll make an exception for a feathery tail any time! Thanks so much for sharing, and for talking us through it.

So you're still not going Asian? Hmm .. the year is yet young! Is there a live link anywhere to your Japanese wedding group? I can't raise it, and since my daughter would like me to do her a Japanese picture, it would be really interesting to see what you did with the hair. Call me amnesiac, but I just don't recall. And though we have a very settled Chinese population here in South Africa, who even run the sushi bars(!), Japanese culture for practical purposes doesn't happen, so I can't consult local experts or even peer intently at local Japanese hair!

All the best from South Africa in early spring."

Since I'm just working on side two of the iPhone case and you already know basically what that looks like, how about we talk about hair?  The canvas that Deborah asks about is actually two line drawn canvases by the late Anne Jerlow.  I stitched both for the ANG Auction in Baltimore in 2007.  The photo above is my best attempt back then to take a photo of both canvases when they were finished.  This isn't exactly much help to Deborah, but my original Yahoo Blog is archived and not easily accessible, even to me.  The canvases are mostly line drawn but the hair and hair ornaments on the geishas were painted.  You can see the original canvases on the Tapestry Fair website which distributes Anne's work.

Having the hair painted black was quite helpful since black thread probably won't cover white mono canvas without a bit of "dandruff" showing.  If the canvas Deborah chooses doesn't have black hair, I suggest she color it as black as possible before she starts stitching.

The next few messages are going to be repostings of my original April 2006 ones about the hair of one of the geishas--the one in black on the far left.  I call her the Mother of the Bride.  (The bride is the central figure in pink.)    I hope this helps, Deborah, but remember, you are going to have to adopt this technique to whatever canvas you choose and it may not be the best way to stitch the Japanese themed canvas your daughter wants!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at