Friday, August 20, 2010

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Six

Reposting of April 28, 2006 article:

I have just about finished outlining the geisha with my single ply of DMC metallic Or clair. As I worked, I referred several times to the picture of the original canvas to see exactly where I should be stitching the obi's flaring shape. After all, most of the kimono is solid black so looking at the picture is the only way to tell where the outlines should go.

While doing this I realized I'd forgotten that the single geisha has a ribbon in her hair. At least, I guess what that is. Most of the geishas have some sort of bow or flared ribbon in their hair. I need to decide whether to leave the geisha's hair as is or add a ribbon in some way.

Originally I thought I'd use a real piece of ribbon, gather one side of it, and tack it down on top of her hair. That's why I stitched all her hair except for the area where the horizontal hair sticks went and the circle around her bun I covered with couched coloured twist. Some of the geishas have bows that need to be stitched but not this one. But I don't have any real ribbon that is the right width. Scale is important on a canvas like this. It's not totally realistic but having a bow that is too big will make the rest of her head look odd. It is possible that I can use a length of red ribbon floss. Maybe. Ribbon floss will come apart when you accidentally put your needle through it. Perhaps red Flair will do better?

Time to experiment! Back in a minute...

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

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Five

Reposting of April 28, 2006 article:

The geisha's hair ornaments are in place. The long chopstick-like sticks stuck in her hair bun are Jaceron #5 stitched down using one ply of a strand of DMC metallic thread Or Clair (or light gold). The dangling beads are also Jaceron stitched down by the Or Clair.

DMC has several colors of metallic thread (I think there is a darker shade of gold as well as the gold Or Clair I used here, and a silver) which comes on spools like sewing thread. One spool will last a long time. It's a useful thread with one strand made up of three plies which you can untwist and use as I did. The full strand has a tendency to unwind as you stitch with in, so use short lengths and give your needle a twist after each couple of stitches. If you unwind the strand into its three parts, you still should use short lengths as it will abrade and come apart as you stitch with it.

The hair sticks I just added at 1 o'clock and at 10 o'clock are couched down lengths of Jaceron #5 which looks a lot like little gold, silver, or copper toy springs, or a Slinky if you are my age. Jaceron comes in various sizes. I have #8 also but it seemed a little large. Interestingly , the bugle beads hanging down from the horizontal hair sticks are also Jaceron which I strung on like a bead. I am not sure of their size (probably they are Very Fine) but until I used the magnifer, I thought they were bugle beads. SharonG calls Jaceron a "flexible custom bead" and that describes it very well. It comes in a long coil and you cut off what size you want. Here's a picture. Jaceron is the French name. British embroiders call the little springs "pearl purl." I'm sticking with Jaceron because my #5 was labeled that way. By the way, both Jacerons came to me courtesy of Caroline S. Thanks, Caroline! I appreciate your generosity more than I can say.

I couched the larger Jaceron and strung the Very Fine Jaceron like a bugle bead with my #16 beading needle. To couch, hold the Jaceron in place with one finger while couching over it with the other hand. As you pull the couching thread tight, it'll slip between the coils until the Jaceron is held snugly against the ground fabric. Interestingly, the Jaceron #5 was too small for my beading needle eye to go through but it went right through the center of the Very Fine Jaceron. I beaded the Very Fine Jaceron with my one ply of untwisted DMC metallic, using a long length. Once I had the "bead" where I wanted it, I went through it a second time to hold it in position along the longer length of DMC metallic.

I urge you to take any metal thread classes you can. These are very interesting threads and quite different than most we stitch with. You can achieve all sorts of fascinating and beautiful effects with them.

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

Break for the Beauty Shop: Part Four

Reposting of April 10, 2006 article:

Tonight the geisha's white neck became pink and she gained some hair ornaments. I stitched the horizontal L shaped hair sticks with 1/32 inch and #8 braid in Krienik's gold #002, then couched my beautiful gold and red colored twist around her bun twice. The smaller sticks will need to wait until I finish the background as they need to be on top of the background and her hair. I also have some lovely gold cylinder beads to use in her hair but beads are the last things to put on a canvas normally. I forgot about the purple ribbon frill in her hair under the twist (see original single geisha canvas on the right side links for the painting). I had thought I might use ribbon here but I'll have to see what colors I have or can get. Perhaps ribbon floss will work as well.

Now I need to finish stitching the right arm and work again on the background. I'm making progress.

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