Monday, March 17, 2008
I was just printing out some kimono patterns for a customer's order and realized that I haven't really looked at them in a while. Although I don't ordinarily do "oriental" designs, I really enjoyed creating my series of kimonos, and for a while was eagerly stitching them up, one after the other.
I discovered the kimono shape is absolutely wonderful for showcasing composite stitch patterns.(NOTE: Composite stitch patterns are made from combining different stitches to create a new, more complex stitch pattern.) Here's a detail photo of the above kimono. Look at the simple flower pattern of the robe, and the block pattern of the sleeve. Notice the one "flower" I stitched in metallic on the robe, and then did more of them along the bottom edge of the kimono. The fun part for me was thinking up new composite patterns that would replicate the look of richly textured kimono fabric.
In the kimono, there are two simple rectangle shapes (the sleeve block and the robe block) that can be filled with complex stitch patterns; then there is the lining area that I fill with a simple tent or basketweave stitch (a good calm area for your eye to rest); and finally,there is the silk lapel area that can be stitched with a simple diagonal satin stitch, but using any fancy, shiny, metallic thread of your choice. And once I had the kimono stitched and floating on the canvas, I had to think of some way to anchor the kimono to the background (and I didn't want to fill the whole background with stitches). So I thought up suitable "oriental" motifs to use in the background. This pattern has parasols stitched in the back of the kimono; I have used a variety of other things in the backgrounds of my other kimonos.
Now let's talk about the variegated threads I used....Because I initially stitched all my kimonos on 24 ct. Congress Cloth, I was able to use much finer threads. In this design I used a fine, single-ply cotton (such as Bravo!, Encore, or Wildflowers). You can also easily substitute 2-3 plies of a variegated cotton or silk, and the design still looks elegant!
What's wonderful about these kimono designs, is that you can easily change the color palette to reflect your own preference. To conclude, I'll show you the same SPRINGTIME KIMONO in another, darker palette. (I enjoyed this design so much, I stitched it up TWICE, just to see how different it would look in darker spring colors.) That's the joy of using variegated threads: you never quite know how the finished piece will look until you get it all done...it's that "surprise" element that has me totally hooked on using variegated threads every chance I get!