Many of the spouses of military assigned to Japan engage in teaching English. I decided to combine my passion for cross stitch with my language classes and found that many of my students got hooked quickly on this craft. They were interested mostly in traditional American patterns and in patterns depicting Native American Art. I was interested in Japanese cultural images but since few patterns were available I had to design my own.
My first design was of the ever-present Maneki Neko which welcomes customers into every Japanese shop.
This was mounted on a coordinating piece of washi paper. Soon after I started receiving gifts from Japanese
friends of all manner of maneki neko.
My collection of miniature maneki neko. I covered a Pepsi 12-pack, cut in half, with gold foil and stamped a
maneki neko and some other images to make a CD holder. The sushi cats print was purchased in Baltimore.
As an accountant my favorite maneki neko is the wooden one in the corner, which is holding an abacus.
My clock came from my all time favorite hometown store, Powells, the largest independent bookstore in the US.
After that first design I charted, I started collecting lots of other images in print, on fabric, on ceramics, just
about everywhere and here are a few that were charted and stitched.
Display of image sources and charted cross stitch designs at DODDS elementary school, Sagamihara, Japan.
My "little sister" Nobuko. She stitched the British Columbian
Indian Mask from my charted design.
Yoko had me chart a pattern from the portrait of her
son taken at Shi-Go-San, a celebration for children
when they are 7, 5 or 3 years old. When I left Japan
she had stitched him down through his shoulders.
Japanese mothers dote on their sons! I told her I couldn't
be held responsible if she went blind stitching this!
Son David was assisting me even back then as he is now on this
webpage, although not as much lately as he got married and started graduate studies in mathematics at MIT in 2006. Helping mom has slipped down a bit on his priority list, as well it should!
I sold a few of my charted designs at the monthly Bazaar at Camp Zama. This picture is framed by a my submission for a design challenge made on Orientalstampart's Yahoo Group. The theme was to use a photo and frame it using the template provided by Sonia Evans, which was adapted from a design by Hetty Sanders. I selected sever of our Japanese Family Crest designs that evoked particular memories of Japan,
Taki stitched this Family Crest which represents
a mandarin orange. It is quite similar to the mon
for the tea plant. My husband framed if for her. The mon on the right is a representation of a fune, Japanese treasure ship.
I stitched this floating cherry blossom design on navy fabric, mounted it on washi paper with a wave design
and placed it under glass on this tea tray.
For my collection of Samurai motifs I charted and stitched the kanji for "Samurai" (center).
To the right of "Samurai" and in the enlargement is a stitched Tsuba, or sword hand guard.
Another tray with a plum blossom mon stitched in black on cranberry fabric.
The rice plant, the Asian staff of life, has many auspicious and religious connotations.
The Buddhist sacred wheel here is combined with mallets, a sign associated with
Diakoku, one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune.