Yuki by Margaret Lee
30th April 2021
Many of our readers will be familiar with the exquisite work produced by Margaret Lee. Margaret is not only an expert in Chinese embroidery, having written two books on the subject and produced countless designs. She is also fully qualified in Japanese embroidery, which she teaches, designs and writes about.
We have featured many of Margaret’s designs over the years, including some of her magnificent Japanese beaded pieces, and today we are really excited to share with you not only a brand-new piece, but also introduce a rather unique and special technique.
Yuki from Inspirations issue #110, is a project which introduces the technique of Japanese goldwork. The subtle, delicate design is worked using traditional techniques to produce a project like no other. The combination of lines and shapes, all worked in delicate golds and silver introduces our readers to a range of new embroidery skills, new ideas and a wonderful new way of stitching that we are sure will be popular.
Margaret tells us that:
‘Japanese designs have traditionally and culturally reflected the delicate senses of the Japanese people to nature and the changing seasons.’
This particular design, Yuki, represents snow, an important symbol in Japanese culture. Heavy snowfall would usually indicate that the following spring would bring abundance due to the melt water. This meant a good rice harvest would follow, and therefore snow was a reason for celebration. This project is based on the popular Yukiwa, or snow circle pattern. The pattern represented snowflakes before their true images were discovered and emerged during the Muromachi period (1392-1568).
Yukiwa pattern, drawn before the real geometry of snowflakes were known (source)
Margaret has depicted this historic pattern, that was often included on textiles worn in summer to introduce a sense of coolness, in an uncluttered yet beautiful form. Much of the design is worked using the various couching techniques that are so often employed in Japanese embroidery.
Winding Metal Thread onto a Koma
Full instructions for single thread couching, and couching pairs are included, as well as guidance on turning corners, sinking tails and managing threads with a koma.
Although the myriad new techniques in this project may seem daunting at first, Margaret’s instructions are always clear and exceptionally detailed. The most important thing to remember is that there is no rush! Success will only come from patience, care and concentration as you learn to manipulate the threads and place the stitches.
Yuki is the perfect project to start learning the techniques of Japanese goldwork, as the motifs are simple and clear, with each one asking you to master a slightly different method so that your skills will progressively grow.
When complete, the simple beauty of Yuki will belie the amount of care and effort that will have gone into it. But in many ways, that is the entire point. Often, the projects that impress the most are the ones that seem so simple and yet offer so many ways that one can challenge and improve oneself.
If there is any project which you should tackle this year to take your embroidery to new heights, it is this one – the marvellous, subtly beautiful Yuki.
Make Your Own Yuki
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Yuki by Margaret Lee is an elegant panel of traditional snow motifs in Japanese goldwork.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Yuki includes everything* you need to re-create this stunning panel: Fabrics (pre-printed), embroidery threads and needles.
*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the magazine/digital pattern.