In Japan, when the cherry blossom comes out, everyone goes to ‘view it’. I think it’s a beautiful tradition, they all take picnics down to the parks and sit under the cherry trees to admire the blossom, what a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or two! The cherry tree in Japanese is called Sakura and the tradition of viewing it is called Hanami.
I’ve been looking into this for my Skipton Embroiderers Guild travelling Sketchbook project as the book I’ve to make an entry for this month is on trees. Here in the UK the blossom has been particularly beautiful this year, probably because we’ve not had much bad weather, the blossom seems to have lasted for weeks, so it was the tree that came to mind when I was trying to decide what to do.
I had a mooch round pinterest where there are some lovely embroideries of cherry trees, I was very tempted to do a tree, but eventually I decided on a branch. I particularly love the weeping branch of blossom by Judi Miller but I had to consider the constraints of time! I tried hand-drawing a branch but in the end I found a picture on pinterest of a stencil and I used that as a basis for my branch.
I wanted a blue background so I used some quilting cotton, it was fairly light-weight so I put some calico behind it, this also makes it easier with starting and finishing threads. I embroidered the branch first using a space-dyed thread I bought for my flower trellis, it’s a fairly soft brown. I used stem stitch, stitching along to the end of the longest branch, then from the start again to the end of the next one, this way I made the branch several rows thick at the start but tapering off for each twig.
The flowers are all french knots with a DMC variegated thread. The first couple of bunches I did were a bit too regular in shape, I looked again at the original embroidery that had inspired me and realised I needed to be more random in the placing of the french knots!!
I ironed some woven interfacing on the back to give it a bit of stability and used the pink thread to do blanket-stitch all round the edge. I’m a bit frustrated by the crease down the side as I ironed and pressed it before I started!
It’s only small so it really didn’t take long to do but I think it’s really pretty, I’m happy with this entry. On the facing page I added a couple of photos of cherry blossom on a blossom themed backing paper. I then wrote a bit about hanami and Sakura before finishing with this haiku by Kobayashi Issa;
In the city fields
Contemplating cherry trees
Strangers are like friends.