Jan 9, 2010

Padding for Ume

When I began to stitch the padding in for the Ume blossom I just dove in and really didn't think about it too much just placed in a couple of satin stitches using one strand of padding cotton doubled in the needs.  Then I stitched in the Ume blossom using silk in long and short.  The Ume blossom appeared to be flat and I really didnt like the definition in the blossom.  To the left is a picture of my first Ume with the padding technique.

This caused me to stop and go back to the basics.  There are some very good books on how to this properly and I emphasize the need for receiving instruction from a knowledgeable Sensai highly enough. For those of us who do not have those advantages or could use a refresher, here is a small tutorial on padding:

Begin with threading the right amount of cotton into your needle. What is the "right" amount?  How thick or high do you want your stitching to be?  One of my goals on all the Ume is to make them as realistic as possible so the Uguisu doesn't know the difference.  BTW, doesn't Uguisu need a name?  I'm getting off strack, let me get back to the point. For most Cherry or Plum you will want to thread your needle with two strands and double, knotting the end.

All instruction alludes to a head, two arms, and two legs within the five petal design.  The head being the fastest petal as well as the one that appears to in the foreground.  The two arms to the right and left and so on.  That will be your stitching order for Ume and Cherry.

My last instructor advised me to begin all threads with an away knot followed by two pin stitches.  The pin stitches lock in the thread to the fabric.  My method is to sink the away knot on top of the fabric, followed by two pin stitches then I bring my needle up in the first stitch.  At this point I cut the away knot away and begin the stitching.

For the first stitch remember the golden rule - top to bottom, right to left.  In the picture above you can see that the first padding stitch is in the top right corner, 1 point in from the border.  You will fill about 1/3 to half of the top of the petal with stitches working from the top.  This is a satin brick type of stitching pattern, not a satin stitch.  Skip the second to last stitch for a tapering effect.

Because I am working with four or less cotton padding stitches I can carry the thread from petal to petal.  This is NOT advisable for any more threads.

Another point that one should note is that I am laying the threads perpendicular to my final stitching.  Otherwise the top threads would sink into the padding.  A reminder I needed to heed when I was putting in the Ume circles in random directions.

I've shared a picture of my first Ume blossom at the top of this post.  All of the blossoms on the fan have been stitched at this point but I've yet to put in the stamens.  My thought is that once I put in the stamens the fact that I have not emphasized the separate petals with a one point and the padding was not as it should have been might be de-emphasized.  We'll see.  I'll update once I begin putting in the stamens....  In the meantime here is a picture of some of the other fan Umes.


  1. Hi Christa!
    Thanks so much for sharing these photos!

    Maria del Valle

  2. You're welcome Maria. I'm having a great time doing this.


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