Sometimes you go along working slowly and all of a sudden it's done. That's kind of what happened with this small piece of Japanese embroidery. I began it a couple of years ago and just worked on it here and there until this spring, when I realized I could finish it if I worked at it.
So, it became my focus. The piece is called Three Happiness. The motif is Sho Chiku Bai in Japanese, a natural winter group of plum blossom, bamboo, and pine. It's also called the three friends of winter and is a symbol of good luck and happiness.
The materials were familiar to me, and some of the stitches, but not in the same context. So it was a learning experience. I had a lot of trouble controlling the tightly twisted "katayori" thread used to outline the bamboo. I've never done the stitch in the bamboo leaves with two colors. I found that really difficult, too. I liked doing the pine boughs and needles, though, and enjoyed the plum blossoms (although I ripped a lot there). The setting above is how I plan to frame it, with the white space at the bottom.
Rather than resting on my laurels after finishing the stitching, I got out the ruler and measured the piece, decided on a mat and frame size, cut the foam core base and covered it with thin batting. I also got out my books, wheat paste (or is it rice? it's a white powder, whichever, to be mixed with water and cooked), my white velvet pillow to beat out the dust, finishing paper and instructions. I hope to begin the finishing process next weekend.
Then I really rested. And while I was sitting, I finished a bracelet. I had been working along on it for a week or so, a bit here and there. It's the same chain maille pattern as the others. As I was working on it, I really questioned my color choices. But now that I've worn it, I like it better. I didn't make earrings because of the color issue, but I may now. I was overtired when I finished it and the pliers kept slipping (you use smooth jawed pliers so you don't damage the wire). I should have my mouth washed out with soap. But at least I didn't fling the thing across the room when it slipped for the umpteenth time on the same ring. I've been known to do that with beading.