Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lion in the Grass

I'm happy to report that the environment for my little stumpwork lion is slowly but steadily taking shape!  Here he is, resting in a sunny spot on a grassy hill!

As usual with Tricia Nguyen's designs, a lot of the fun is seeing and doing techniques that were used to create the historic pieces.  And I find that once I try a particular technique, I'm much more interested in looking at similar details in the historic pieces.

Here I started with the clouds.  With their blue outlines and white centers, these aren't very realistic, but I really loved effect anyway (maybe because blue is my favorite color).  The outer rows are blue gimp, and the two center sections are gylte silk twist, and everything is just couched down with gold-colored silk.

Next comes the grass, with its typical period striped "shading" created by horizontal bands of three colors of green silk.  This is simply stitched loops of soie ovale (which looks like uncut turkey work, but has no knots of any kind) worked over a very "sophisticated" spacing tool -- an opened up paper clip!   An option  is to take one further step and cut along all the loops, which is what was done historically to create a chenille-like appearance.  But given how VERY time consuming this was to stitch. . . and the fact that I'm pretty happy with the look of the loops as is. . . I'm thinking I will probably just leave it. 

The last environmental piece is the sparkly sun.  Up close this looks kind of messy, but at normal viewing distance it's really pretty.  The sun itself is gold strip that is folded back and forth and couched down at the edges.  The rays are crinkled gold strip that are couched then outlined with a line of gold twist cord.

Also complete is the preparation for stitching the lion's face.  The historical lions use a variety of different techniques for faces.  I decided to do a detached buttonhole base instead of a satin stitched base as in Tricia's example.  I started with two layers of padding, with detached button hold worked over top of the face area.  This is stitched with soie ovale (a filament silk. . . which is beautifully shiny but a real pain to work with). 

Next steps?  There's a lot of work on the outer medallion and flowers at the corners AND of course, the lion's face and mane.  I'm busy cutting and assembling components for the medallion. . . and poring over pictures of historical lions to come up with a game plan for the mane.  Hopefully, I'll have more to show in a week or two.


  1. Looks great. I think you are much neater with your grass than I was. Can't wait to see his face.

  2. You are doning a great job on this. As far as I know, this kit/cousrse is not available in the UK so I am really enjoying watching yours progress and grateful for the close-up pics and descriptions of the materials.

  3. Thanks Ladies!

    I can't wait to see his face too. . . as you know I'm one to worry a lot about how to proceed when I have a project with lots of options!

    As to course availability. . . keep an eye on Tricia's site. I know her eventual plan is to offer a cyber course on doing this type of stitching as elements for a casket or mirror surround. I think she's talking at least a year or two in the future here. . .but eventually. . .

  4. The environment is looking wonderful, and must have been great fun to stitch. I've used soie ovale, and as you say, it looks lovely but causes much trouble, muttering and swearing!

  5. Looks fantastic! It's fascinating reading the details of how the clouds/grass/sun were made, since I couldn't do the course, and I love these sort of pieces!

  6. This is AMAZING, there is so much detail and hard work going into it.
    I'm really enjoying watching this one grow. Thanks for sharing