This very sad piece is the cause of my very blue fingers yesterday. It has about three hours of stitching in it, to say nothing of the time pulling out and picking out the stitches. I think I must have missed pulling some of the threads on the middle, although it's very hard to see what you're doing once you start pulling. I must be doing something wrong, but I don't think I want to try this again.
When I was in Japan last year I bought two remnants from a street vendor for about a dollar a piece. They are each about 9" x 20". I can feel the bumps where the threads were. They had to have been done by hand unless they have some very clever machines that make it look hand made. How do they do it? Look at the intricacies!
This is a section from a 52"square tablecloth that I bought in China a few years ago for $20. As in the other pieces, you can feel the ridges where the stitches were and this is embroidered, too! I also bought a very cute fitted jacket, all shibori stitched for about $25. I know that labor is very cheap there, but it still amazes me, now that I know how hard it is to do.
Oh yes, my hands look much better now. Not perfect, but much better. First I used the scrubby end of the Clorox Bleach Pen, then put some of the gel on a Scotch Brite cleaning pad. I put lots of hand lotion on after and they felt fine and didn't smell like bleach. Then I washed my hair this morning and that helped, too.