The Red Death

The Red Death

I have thought about doing a full skeleton for ages, but obviously not something that can be executed well on a teeny scale. But as soon as I looked at my new doilies I knew the time had come.

I started in the normal way – found the ideal skeleton illustration, sized it up and traced him. I knew transferring it would be a one-shot thing as there would be no way I could reposition such an intricate image. Unfortunately it didn’t go well, and I ended up with a legless skeleton.

In my mind’s eye he was to be a classic black skeleton, picked out in simple backstitch. But my love for colour and weakness for my silks overruled as always, so he is in Poppy coloured variegated fine silk.

As this was a larger piece I was really careful about the framing, and so tacked the whole doily carefully to a pillowcase, and stretched this on my roller frame. I embroidered through both layers which really stabilised the whole work and gave me perfect tension.

In some ways I feel the effectiveness of this embroidery is a bit of a cheat on my part, the equivalent of colouring within the lines; back stitch is a basic stitch and I cannot claim the design of a human skeleton as my own.

Yet the composition is lovely to mine eye.

Groan.

Groan.

Groan is how I feel today. I might be feeling less groan had I not been robbed earlier, but there you go. Also groan because I spent a lot of hours embroidering over the weekend – more than I expected – and doing other stuff too, and ran out of time to blog, so I am actually blogging live today. As opposed to being terribly organised and pre-writing and scheduling my posts. This embroidery KICKED MY ASS this weekend and I only finished it past 10 last night, so I am having to just tell you about it now. It was a doozy…but it turned out beautifully so I’m not mad at it.

I had another 6″ square-ish antique doily I wanted to embroider in the same vein as the heart from last week, but combining both the slightly tricky ribcage motif, and using a different kind of thread for me; Pearsalls Filoselle silk. Mum has been encouraging me to use something altogether finer, with more of a sheen etc. and I happened to have a dozen or so little spools in my stash. I picked these colours only because they were the only 4 in a matching spectrum, so I knew I could achieve some depth. Having hooped up in the same way as I did with the heart (pain in the ass number 1:  the edges of the doily being SO lacy I just couldnt get the tightest tension, despite using my little pillowcase-aperture thing, along with being nervous to yank it all too tightly considering the age of the thing and fear of it desiccating in my hands. I managed), I started with the darkest shade and began to fill in the spine in split stitch.

Pain in the ass number 2: This thread is so slippy. It had such a recoil and a tension all its own! That with the very fine weave of the fabric and I really had to be diligent of my stitches being teeny tiny to keep them from coiling back on themselves, and that’s despite trying to turn my needle each time to stop the ply from unravelling.

I actually started the ribs in split stich too, as you can see:

But then I decided it was too boring and typical for me and I wanted to have some different techniques in there, so unpicky-picky I go, and then  began re-doing the ribs in satin stitch. Pain in the ass number 3: As soon as I started getting any length into the stitch it all coiled and sprang up giving a horrible uneven finish. Unpicky picky again…Back to split stitch.

We’re getting on better this time, split stitch and me.

By this stage I was beginning to appreciate the qualities of this kind of silk, and we were becoming better acquainted. Still not friends though.

I am always impatient to try out my whole colour palette, so I made the vertebra all stripey.

You’re starting to see how shiny it’s getting now.

At this point I was feeling both frazzled and pleased. I always know when I’m getting sick with a piece I am working on when I get this intense itchy feeling. Like I could just throw a tantrum any minute. I didn’t though. I got out some well-behaved cotton floss and I outlined the whole thing:

Man was I pleased to finish. But wait for it…The big reveal! (as always here is my disclaimer about the true SHITNESS of my photos – please understand I am snapping these on my phone as I go):

So it was all worth it in the end. And not a single tension problem either! I think she’s like a Neapolitan Ice Cream of a skeleton.

I reckon I probably put about 7 hours stitching in this so certainly a bit more than heart. I will frame her up and get her in the shop on Friday, if you would like to give her a home.

GIVEAWAY! The Bone of Contention…

GIVEAWAY! The Bone of Contention…

Here is the Bone of Contention

You may recall I had a bone-related disaster a while back. The embroidery I am most proud of but my vintage fabric, and let’s face it, error of judgement meant uneven tension let me down – I have a wrinkly brooch.

What’s that? You like it? You LOVE it?!? Hey, do you want it? For FREE?

Here’s what to do:

  1. Head over to my Mother Eagle Facebook page

  2. LIKE the page (if you are not already a fan)

  3. Comment on the picture of the Bone of Contention (anything will do – keep it clean)

  4. On Friday 6th June I will use a random number generator to pick one comment (numbering them from first to last) and the commenter will win!

Here’s the small print: You must be a fan of my Facebook page to enter. Competition runs from today – Friday 29th June to Friday 6th July. Only your first comment will be counted. Entries are only valid from comments on my Facebook page and comments left on this blog will not be counted. I will announce the winner on my page on Friday 6th July and send you a message to ask for your postal details. The decision of the winner is final, chosen totally at random and is non negotiable. No discussions will be entered into on this decision. YOU WILL RECEIVE the Human Femur embroidered brooch pictured above. Plus I’ll probably throw in a fake tattoo :)

Any questions leave a comment!

More blood suckers…and a secret

More blood suckers…and a secret

It seems I’ve had a subliminal theme going on…

I wanted to branch out in my skullish endeavours, and within one of my fave books from the fabulous Dover Books publishers, was this little chap. Can you guess?

VAMPIRE BAT.

Maybe he and the Vampire squid will be friends.

And here’s the secret…If you haven’t already become a fan of Mother Eagle on Facebook, make sure you do! All next week I will be releasing pictures of the finished jewellery pieces on my page that you won’t see anywhere else before the launch. Not only that but I will be giving my Facebook fans a special opportunity to get their hands on their favorite pieces before anyone else does in a special pre-launch party event on Friday 18th May…