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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Temari Stocking
Spring Them'd, with Sakura & Temari

JDftY's favorite color is orange; and other favorites were pink and yellow, or so I was informed, the day after we arrived, as we walked to the high school to register for classes. I started planning this stocking then. JDftY is also very fond of bronze gold, which along with tan, white, cream and black, are the colors she actually wears. This is quite different from the cool colors my friends and family typically favor: americans’ favorite color is blue; but I'd venture to guess that in Asian countries, yellow is highly favored, associated as it traditionally is with the emperor (ferex, government buildings in Viet Nam are painted yellow.)

Not that I'm trying to suggest any of that nonsense that Americans are predisposed genetically to prefer blue (which genetics? We're mutts) nor Asians yellow, but rather, that if your tastes run to the culturally acceptable, it's easier to own up to them. Think about men and pink, ferex. And how many brides would choose white, were it not traditional? That said, my mom's favorite color also is orange and my Indian boss got married in a blue sari, rather than the traditional red, because she likes blue.

And, subversive that I am, I appreciated such untraditional colors for a stocking. As it happens, JDftY has no particular affinity (beyond nationality) for sakura, or cherry blossoms, and none at all in temari; those are things I associate with Japan. They're traditional—but then so often is the other iconography I put on these stockings—xmas trees, snowflakes, cardinals, etc. Besides, by the winter holiday, I figured stuff taken for granted while home would be more deeply appreciated after months of living in a foreign land.

xmas stocking, with sakura and temari iconography. Felt, silk, cotton, sequins.

Originally, the design was more complicated, with three or four sakura, and perhaps three temari. The first two cherry blossoms I put on the body of the stocking looked like indecipherable blobs; even after cutting out the 5 petals (make narrow hearts) I still ended up with something pretty soft'n’fuzzy, which rather constrasts with the crisp graphic quality with which sakura are typically depicted. I forgot completely to put one behind the name. But, wait, you say, where is the name?

Originally I was going to put both Japanese and English versions—perhaps the family name in kanji (since folks are traditionally called by their family names in Japan), and the first name in roman characters (informality typical for the US), but because of the accident, was short on time, so the kanji was the first thing to go. And my sewing machine was giving me fits (not altogether surprising, since I'd not practiced with it since last December) and I thought the lettering turned out ugly. So I cut it off. (The wizard liked it, though, so instead of throwing it away, I stitched to the back, as a backside flap.)

One of my favorite stockings has a chinese silk brocade panel instead of a name, and rootling around in my vietnamese silk scrap drawer, I found a similarly patterned piece, in black and bronze. It didn't go perfectly with the rest of the color scheme, but on the other hand, it was so completely JDftY's palette. Some part of this ought to actually address her ideas, and not just mine, hm?

As I worked out how to get the pieces to work together, it finally occurred to me that I would save myself a world of grief if I started by cutting only one piece, then cut the other two out at once, around the first, to yield an even margin. (The yellow felt acts as a backing, protecting the back of the embroidery; the back of the stocking is a smaller piece of matching pink felt.)

Possibly familiar to you kumi aficionados is the orange and pink braid I recycled for the hanger. Originally the braid had two cotton yarn tassels, but I removed one to substitute the bright fuschia and orange one made of finer threads, which I thought matched the color scheme perfectly. And in a less rushed world, I supposed I would've made another to match, but there's something said for finishing.

file created 5jan07. Stocking created December 2006.