It has been almost a year since I drew it and ideas for how to stitch the piece have been simmering away at the back of my mind since then. With Easter not so very far away, I thought now would be the perfect time to find out if I can make those ideas work.
I was originally debating if I should work it in crewel or raised embroidery - It would work equally well in both, I think. But I am feeling most drawn towards a little fat rabbit with a fluffy white tail, so have settled on raised embroidery - or do you prefer the term stumpwork? I guess stumpwork is more widely used to describe pieces that involves raised, padded and detached elements, but I think I prefer the term raised embroidery... anyway, I am side-tracking.
Despite my sizable stash of threads, I was still short of just the right colours for the rabbit himself. Isn't that always the way? Knowing I will be working parts of the rabbit in needle lace and other raised stitches, I decided to order some shades of 'Stars' stranded silk from Gumnut Yarns. These are a little more firmly twisted, not as much a perle thread, than many other stranded silks, making them great to use for really fine needle lace.
I finally got thread to fabric this afternoon. Firstly the main stem was stitched in close rows of stem stitch, two at the either side and three across the base for extra width. The upper sections are wrapped closely and I covered the wider base with slightly spaced blanket stitch
Next, I wrapped the upper sections again, but this time spacing the wrapping and working in the opposite direction. It creates a candy stripe effect. Across the wider base, I worked blanket stitch again - one stitch in each gap from the last row.
I am slightly in love with this kind of blanket stitch filling at the moment. I first saw it used by Hazel Blomkamp in her Jacobean designs and just thought it was such a clever way to combine colour. Working the stitches over the padding gave me a lovely raised base for the rabbit to rest on.
The small scrolls, which will have little plump berries hanging from them, were given a similar treatment to the stems - whipped stem stitch, again using two different shades of thread.
The longer I stitch, the more I find myself layering and combining stitches to create changes in tones and texture. It always surprised me just how much a simple addition of a stitch can make to the overall look of a line.
And there, the stems are done - I think.. I might need to tweak a bit here and there, but it is hard to tell until some of the other parts of design starts to come together.
I am really, really hoping this week gives me more time to stitch than last week did - who knows, at this pace Mr Rabbit could perhaps be finished in time for Easter...
Have a happy week,