Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Embroidered Butterfly

I've taken a bit of a break from tatting to do some embroidery and I'm not at all happy with the way this is going and I think what is giving me the most trouble is that I don't have a specific purpose for the finished piece, so I have no goal to work towards. I like butterflies and so I used the butterfly design from the Yahoo group
hand-embroidery challenge. This is a poor scan of it still in the hoop and the bright turquoise blue is really much brighter.

I began by selecting colours and I was all over the map. I have no goal. I finally decided that I was definitely going to use the turquoise blue. I love the colour. I came in a no name batch of embroidery thread and years ago I bought the whole batch for that one colour. I haven't used it yet because A- it needed to be something special and B- it doesn't blend with any of the other colours I have in the Anchor and DMC floss.

Once I decided to use the blue I had to match other colours to it. I selected a darker teal blue and a very pale silvery blue that is almost white. I can work with a monochromatic palette, but I thought I'd add in another colour for some interest. My chest of embroidery floss has several hundred blended colours of thread from years of doing petit point pictures, but the only colour that appealed to me when laid alongside the eye popping turquoise, was an equally vivid yellow.
I thought that I would do the butterfly going from dark blue nearest the body and the brighter blue on the outside. I wanted a stitch that would cover the area quickly and I worked a couple of rows of fly stitch starting from the tip of the wing and working toward the body. Then I did the outline of the outer edge of the wing in chain stitch in the bright blue. U-G-L-Y I liked the fly stitch effect but the colour was too dark. I ripped it out and tried again using the yellow for the central stitch to see if it brightened things up. U-G-L-I-E-R. I ripped it out again the dark blue just wasn't going to work. I outlined the second wing in bright blue as I thought about what to do with it.
The yellow and blue seem happy side by side so I tried again using just the yellow. Better, but I didn't like the stitch so I ripped again. By this time the fabric was beginning to show signs of wear so I started in on the second wing and started just filling the area with rows of straight stitches. It covered the area, but it had no real eye appeal. I outlined the area in split stitch as I considered what to do. Yellow is not my favourite colour, so to partly cover it up I began couching down the straight stitches with the pale blue. I'm not sure if I like the effect or not.
I began a second row of chain stitch in the bright blue and I've done this kind of thing before where I follow the outline in ever decreasing rounds until I end up in the middle and the lines of the stitching draw your eyes to no where. I stopped before I had gone to far to turn back because I have the feeling I'm not going to like how this shapes up.
I have an idea to turn these oval shapes on the outer edge into the "eye" that you see on some moth wings. They were outlined in black to stand out. With the pale blue I used a spider web filling stitch which gave me a raised round shape in the middle and I extended the weaving to fill in the oval shape. I am thinking I might use the dark blue on top of it as an iris with a yellow french knot in the centre. But I don't like how it looks and I'm thinking maybe I should rip now before I waste more time on it.

Then there's the body. I did it in black and added some pale blue highlights and I'm not sure if I love it or hate it. I used 3 strand of thread but I'm thinking that one strand would let me get in between the rows of split stitch easy so that the pale blue just peeks out in between the black.
When I started I chose an 8 inch square of fabric and then I started thinking I could do a bunch of squares, maybe all the same butterfly but done with different colours or maybe several different designs done with harmonious colours that could be pieced together as a quilt. (It's that goal thing again.) After re-doing the same part of the same wing a zillion times my thumb started hurting in a major way. There's not much to show for all of the stitching I've done, mostly because I've ripped it all out.

I tat excessively and the repetitive motion causes pain at the base of the thumb. I have discovered, that holding a needle to embroider aggravates that already tender digit. Now I find that the pressure of resting the base of the thumb on the desk to use the mouse hurts too. So it looks like embroidering enough squares to make a quilt is going to be out of the question.
I need to tat. I have an obligation to the subscribers who have purchased the Tatted Lace Pattern Collection Newsletter to create the designs for them. I can't afford to let any other activity, not matter how enjoyable, impair my ability to do that. It's frustrating me, because by nature I like to jump into an actively with both feet. I rarely have unfinished projects, they are either in the process of being done, or they are completely abandoned. I am being pulled to either, just get this done now or just give up on it entirely.

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