Here’s some more of what I completed this weekend.
I had a great response to the ribcage embroidery pendant I made and I have to say, she’s up there with my favorites too. The colour variations achieved on that one due to using a varigated silk thread were really pretty, so I wanted to try something a bit bolder, and go for a smoother finish.
Clearly, he has the correct number of ribs this time. This hot purple was the most vibrant colour in my silks collection, and I love the boldness it has. Once again, I backstitched round the ribs only to outline them and clean the edges, and used little french knots to represent the vertebrae spiny processes.
I estimate I stitched for about 21 hours this weekend. I call that a good one, aching wrists, swollen handed obsessive that I am. Here’s some of what I have to show for it:
Made a little partner to go with bucktooth, this time a 3/4 view.
As you can see I was less heavy handed with the colour choices as the previous, so the shading has worked out nice and subtle.
This little guy will definitely make it into the new Mother Eagle jewellery collection (I will make an announcement about that soon). Tune in tomorrow for a couple of reworked versions that will be making the cut too.
I have to say this one was a tricky little bugger. However, I got a lot of learns from her. She might be my favorite so far.
First off I decided to work on the sludge coloured linen I used in my Fly Agaric piece, but backed it up with some green polycotton – this helped give me better tension in my hoop as I knew was going to be adding quite dense stitches. I printed out my little ribs outline after I had modified it to the right kind of thing – enough detail but not too complex. Then I broke out my new iron on transfer pen! Hadn’t used this before, so slightly nervous but basically I traced around the shape onto baking parchment then ironed it onto the linen. The first go it was a bit blotchy so I tried it again and it worked okay (I will use more porous paper next time). It gave me enough of a guide I could stitch around in general sewing thread to give me the final outline. I did start off with stranded cotton in split stitch but quickly realised the shape was way too intricate. See?
Learning all the time.
So, the shape outlined, I then chose a nice hand-dyed pale lilac-pink sort of shell type very fine silk from 21st Century yarns. I chose it because when I initially decided to do a rib cage I thought I might try and silk-shade it, but again, the narrowness of the individual ribs made me reconsider. So this type of thread I thought would add interest and some more unusual colours, and sheen, to contrast with the matte linen.
On the one hand, because I was working through 2 layers of fabric, there was a greater level of stability and accuracy in needle placement compared to had I just used the linen. But on the other, once I got going it was quite wearing on the silk and had to use quite short pieces to minimise this. Overall I’m fairly pleased with the smoothness of the stitches – the colour varigation on the thread means that it highlights where I’ve changed direction. I also added 3 little pairs of french knots for vertebrae spiny processes.
The other tricky thing was actually seeing the guide lines – even though I had stitched them in. I think the size of it (it’s 19mm x 25mm) even under my magnifier was a challenge as the slubbiness of the linen cast a shadow. This led to a ‘spot the deliberate mistake’ situation. She’s a girl. Can you tell why?*
Finally, because the entrance point of the silk into the fabric wasn’t very clean in the end, I outlined just the rib portion in single ply Anchor cotton. I felt like it gave a bit of dimension and depth too.
Use a finer weave fabric for small freestyle work – open textures doesn’t allow for enough accuracy
I really need single stands of whatever I’m sewing with – better to build up density than wear out the fibre and make a messy finish
Use transfer pen to make intricate patterns, but use a porous paper to make the copy so it absorbs excess ink and doesn’t leave a blotchy mark on the fabric
Variegated threads are beautiful but highlight changes in stitch direction and even slightly uneven stitching.
Mounted up like this, I gotta say, I do really like her, despite our struggles.
Clearly this is the ribcage of a slightly deformed tiny woman. So, very Mother Eagle really.