Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Roaring Along?

. . . well. . . not exactly.  But I have been moving steadily -- if slowly -- ahead with my little stumpwork lion.  Here he is earlier today:

A couple of things are new since my last update.  First. . .the pretty flowers at the corners of the medallion.  These are made from silk wrapped pearl purl. .. silk thread wrapped around a metal core, which is then coiled to make a tiny spring-like "thread."   To create the little "petals," you cut little lengths, thread them like beads, and fold over to make the tiny shapes. 

Next, I've started the part I've been avoiding -- the lion's face and mane!  I know, it's the most creative and interesting part of the whole piece.  But that's the problem.  Creativity is a two-edged sword.  The results can be good . . . or not so good.  Yes, I am undoubtedly a counted thread stitcher at heart.  I LOVE knowing exactly where to put my needle!

But I also love the look and history of surface techniques.  So here I am, at a point where I simply MUST move ahead.  But baby steps to start. . . as shown in this picture.  Here I've solved two (smallish) issues with finishing up my lovely little lion.  First, I was worried about white fabric showing through my mane. . . especially since the techniques I'm leaning towards use up lots of threads. . . and I have a limited amount of threads left.  My solution was to "shade" the background of the mane area with simple long stitches.  I was thrilled to find a shade of needlepoint silk that VERY closely matches my lion colors. . .and should create the perfect dark under layer for the mane.  My intent is to cover all of those long stitches you see in the photo below, but if teeny tiny gaps remain, there won't be any stark white "dandruff" shining through.

(Dear readers, am I perhaps being a bit paranoid here?  Probably.  Would I or anyone else really find any white "dandruff" distracting from any reasonable viewing distance?  Probably not.  But having that matching background in place means I can move ahead away from that particular worry!)

My other accomplishment is completing the ears.   I cobbled together a technique that I think works pretty well.  First I padded the ears that were drawn onto the fabric.  Then I couched TWO layers of silk gimp around the outside. . .one atop the other.  Then I filled the ears with satin stitch.  I ended up using the needlepoint silk for this because my soie ovale created a really bright, shiny surface. . . beautiful, but not what I wanted for the ears.  Here's the result:

Now I MUST keep at it.  I have my materials out for the face. . . and have a rather unstructured plan for the mane.  And I have a super motivational video!  I ask you, after looking at this clip (see below), how could ANYONE even temporarily abandon a lion stitching project?


  1. You are doing a fantastic job. I can see why you might want to be sure to cover the background fabric. It may not matter in the end, but if you are anxious, you won't enjoy the feeling of achievement that you deserve.
    And taking photos for a blog does tend to highlight the tiniest flaws!

  2. The ears are just lovely!! Very personable :-)

    And I agree with Rachel re covering the background. Even if white is barely visible *you'll* see it, and it's SO annoying when you can spot the faults in your work.

  3. "the feeling of achievement you deserve.." - here here!
    great works!

  4. I'm so pleased it's you stitching this and not me! It looks amazing and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

    The others are right, it must be right for YOU or you'll never be 100% happy with it.