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Feb 26, 2010

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Japanese Embroidery - Bunka Shishu

Japanese Embroidery Fluffy BirdGet embroidery kits on Amazon

When I tell people I took a class in Japanese embroidery, they are generally surprised like They think that embroidery is a girls' thing, not a guys'. I agree this is a stereotype that has been in place since ancient times, but it behooves (I LOVEEEEEEEE using this word..) me to make a statement. Japanese embroidery is just like drawing, except you draw with embroidery threads. Is drawing a unisex thing? Yes. So why isn't Japanese embroidery also something guys and girls both can enjoy?

Japanese Embroidery: Materials
You need a frame, canvas, threads, needle, and miscellaneous little tools to manage your work. The following show several common tools:

Embroidery Thread
Amazon If you buy a Japanese embroidery kit, it should include necessary threads. If not you need to buy embroidery thread from an embroidery company. Each company has its own set of numbers/symbols each of which indicates a particular color. Here is a bag of embroidery threads.

Japanese Embroidery Threads

Wood Frame
Amazon You start by nailing down a piece of canvas on this frame SUPER, SUPER tightly. It has to be as TIGHT as possible.

Japanese Embroidery Wood Frame

Embroidery Needle
Amazon This is used to administer a shot. Everyone needs to take it before stitching. Well.. not really This is the main tool for Japanese embroidery. You use it to stitch on your canvas.

Japanese Embroidery Needle

Fluffy Brush
Amazon It's used to do the world famous fluffy stitch. The effect of fluffy stitches is sooooooo COOL It makes threads FLUFFY. If you do a fluffy embroidery dog, you can stroke it and you will feel fluffy just like dog hair!

Japanese Embroidery Fluffy Brush

Japanese Embroidery: Stitch Techniques
There are many types of embroidery stitch techniques. They are techniques you use while stitching in different situations. What stitches you use mainly depend on what objects you are working on.

* Line blending
* Satin stitch
* Padding
* Double stitch
* Split stitch
* Maple leaf stitch
* M&M stitch
* Cord stitch
* Fluffy stitch
* ...

For a complete guide on embroidery stitching and other techniques get books on Amazon

Japanese Embroidery: A General Procedure
Here is a general procedure to making a Japanese embroidery art work:

Gather materials for what you want to do. If you are just getting started, you probably would want to buy an embroidery kit. The kit contains the canvas and threads for a particular project. It is very convenient because you don't need to prepare your own canvas, draw your own design, and buy the threads you need Once you get experienced and want to pursue your own design, that's when you need to gather all the materials on your own.
Nail down canvas on the wood frame. Remember you have to do it SUPER tightly; otherwise you will have trouble stitching.
Start stitching. Use different stitching techniques as the situation demands them.
After you are done, you frame your work. You can have a professional framer help you, or you can do it yourself.

Japanese Embroidery: My Work
Here is my first Japanese Embroidery work - A Bird Perching on a Tree. Isn't it just BEAUTIFUL

Japanese Embroidery Bird

Here is my next project - two fluffy birds. A student in our class made a fluffy cat, and it was so "fluffy" and soft and wonderful. It feels like real fur! That inspired me to pursue a fluffy embroidery project.

Japanese Embroidery Fluffy Bird

Japanese Embroidery: Conclusion
Again get started in the beautiful art of embroidery by getting embroidery kits on Amazon

I like Japanese embroidery, but it is very easy to work with and it requires NO big equipment. I can do this anytime anywhere, as long as there is sufficient light and there's nobody laughing at me.

If you have any questions let me know and I will do my best to help you!
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