Current Detailing: Japanese Koi
- Body Fill = Bokhara Couching in white (6 strand)
- Body Spots = Portuguese Stem Stitch in orange and black (3 strand)
- Eyes = Padded Satin Stitch in slate blue (3 and 1 strand)
- Fins = Heavy Chain Stitch in white and grey (6 strand)
I've been working on my koi, my Japanese carp, for about two weeks now. Despite being more complex than my first project he's still moving along at a much faster pace. I don't think it's due to any real improved skill; it's probably thanks to not having to do a million satin stitch sections, all of which needed to be outlined, padded, and filled. Mr. Fish may have more colors, more sections, and more stitches, but none of the stitches are as time-consuming as the satin stitch.
In any case, I should be finished with my little fishy friend by the end of the week, hopefully finishing up the bag with some ferny green accents and a sunny design along the top by the weekend. And yet, I still don't have a name for my fish. I'm not the kind of person who names inanimate objects. My computer is named Greenfly, but I don't ever refer to it as anything other than "the computer." My cats back home are named Tigeress and Isis, but we call them the cat and the kitten and have for ten years. I did manage to name my bicycle at Doshisha. My friends were doing it, and who doesn't love peer pressure, so I named my bike Desmond. And then Desmond promptly got stolen and was never seen again. Maybe I shouldn't name my fish…
Except this fish symbolizes so much for me. This fish is the first completely self-realized creative project I have ever been able to conceptualize and bring to fruition. He is the first thing I've done since beginning to treat my anxiety disorder. Before treatment I couldn't be creative. It's difficult to explain, but here's the closest I've been able to come. Basically, my brain was constantly telling me three things.
- There is a completely 100% correct way of doing everything. Making friends, sewing, working, walking, everything
- Everyone else already knows this correct way. You are the only person who doesn't, and you must never ever let anyone know that you are defective
- If you don't do something the "correct way" then people will know that you are defective and the world collapse around your ears
Now I can begin to remove myself from those loops. I can look at my little fish and voluntarily step off of the circus ride that was my brain. He will not look perfect. I will look at him and see all of his little imperfections. I will be doing Bokhara Couching next month and look at my fish and wonder how I thought I was doing it right. I will look at his spots done in Portuguese Stem Stitch and kick myself for not using another stitch. I know I'll never forget jury-rigging the thread for his left fin out of hand-sewing thread because there wasn't any grey embroidery floss on my little island and then realizing (after I finished that one fin and having two more to go) that I was going to the mainland in three days and I could have waited and bought grey floss there. But I will still love my fish, and I won't regret the time I spent making him. For the first time, at 25 years old, I was able to create something all on my own, and I was able to create it without fighting my own brain chemistry telling me that failure is inevitable.
I could name him something twee and symbolic, like the word for dream in Japanese (夢). I could name him something random (After all, he looks like an Oscar to me). I could name him something irreverent and self-consciously silly designed to make people laugh (Mr. Funny Finny Fish). Or I could name him something that wraps up all of my feelings surrounding him and being able to enjoy and improve in this hobby I've been wanting to learn since I was in elementary school sewing clothing for my beanie babies.
Hello everyone, I'd like you to meet my fish. His name is "Finally."