The embroidery fabric is mounted and stretched taut on its frame, which consists of four wooden bars, two stretching the fabric in the warp direction and the two others in the weft direction. The design is traced onto the fabric with a calligraphy brush.
After discussing and agreeing upon the techniques for the selected design, the embroiderers sit down to stitch. During the 20th century, embroidery in the Jiangsu area developed into two major branches: traditional fine embroidery and criss-cross stitch, or random stitch, embroidery. Typical subject matter for traditional fine embroidery include florals, birds, cats, gold fish and ancient paintings, while criss-cross stitch embroidery has proven to be exceptionally suitable for portraits, oil paintings and photography, such as the Mao portrait in the illustration.
The frame is dismantled and the completed piece is removed from the frame for further finishing.