Friday, February 28, 2020

Mother Hen & Periwinkel

It is finished...

I finished the larger, original version of Mother Hen some time last week. I did flick a quick photo onto other social media, but I figured it would be nice the share a bit more detail with you here.

This is where it was at: I had embroidered all the detached pieces; The flowers, the leaves and the hen's head and wing.

The head is embroidered mostly in chain stitch. For this piece I have worked all the rows in the same direction - first in a spiral kind of motion around the head and then in rows down the neck. The pattern on neck formed by filling the spaces left between the cream rows, with a slightly darker colour.

The wing is embroidered using just two stitches: Blanket stitch (buttonhole stitch)for the larger feathers, blanket stitch wheels for the scalloped feathers and detached chains (lazy daisy) placed in a brick-like pattern to fill the upper part.
No matter how long I have been embroidering for, it never stops to amaze me just how much the appearance of a stitch can be altered by the size and placement.

Before I could attach the head and wing, I needed to complete the embroidery for Mother Hen's tail and body.
I had been in such a rush to get the smaller needlebook version finished that I had taken very few (if any) notes. At the time I was sure I would just remember how I did everything since non of it is really complicated but it turned out that that was not the case.
At least I had taken quite a few - if not beautiful then at least helpful - photos which came in really handy second time around.

The tail feathers are embroidered mostly in fly stitch, just as you would a leaf. To get the grading of colour when changing from one shade to the next, I skip stitches and then bring in the next shade into those gaps to avoid it becoming stripy.

Although the body is mostly covered by the wing, it still needed to be 'coloured in'. I wanted to do something that represented feathers but without actually stitching individual feathers or repeating the detached chain feathers of the wing. I ended up first covering the shape with a mixture of satin stitch and sort of long and short stitch - stitching midway onto the shape and then filling the opposite side afterwards. Originally I was only going to cover the lower edge, since the upper part of the body is covered by the wing, but it didn't work for the needlebook, where the wing can be lifted up and the felt would show underneath.
To conserve thread, all of this stitching was done in a back and forth motion so there is really very little silk wasted on the back.

To get a 'feather-like pattern, I then placed a couched lattice over the top and then couched it down carefully, so I didn't flatten the body. So far so good.

The week chickens are stitched entirely in detached chains - tiny for the body and quite long for the head, so the chain forms a 'satin stitch' like face and the anchoring stitches the fluffy feathers on top of the head.

After the hens head and wing was stitched on, I could finally complete her face with black bead for the eye... this is when I realised I had missed tracing the beak! No other way than to just 'wing it'.

You may remember, I mentioned here that I had embroidered a spare flower because I anticipated having to attach them differently to what I have done in the past. The flowers are not wired, so I had thought I perhaps would need to catch the edges of the petals together near the centre to gently cup the flower. As it turned out, I had not need to worry. The petals were rigid enough without wire, to raise neatly from the fabric when I pulled the stitches tight in the centre.

I still need to frame this Mother Hen & Periwinkle. I had toyed with the idea of inserting it into a boxlid but I haven't decided yet. For now I am working on the pattern and I am really, really, really going to try and have the kit for both versions in my SHOP before Easter.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Best Stitches,
Anna X


  1. This is really cute and your tutorial and photos are top notch.

    1. Thanks Troy. I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination so it is nice to hear they look ok.

  2. WOW, Anna, your Mother Hen and her adorable little chicklets are beyond beautiful, and amazing work!!!
    With these pictures you've shown us the creating of your artwork in embroidery technique, and the most amazing fact: it's in 3D, unbelievable!
    Have a nice weekend!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Thank you so much Ilona. One thing I really enjoy with my stitching is creating 3D pieces.

  3. This is sooo beautiful and beyond my embroidery abilities but one day I hope to try something similar but easier for a beginner. Is this what they refer to as stumpwork? I have a book somewhere on stumpwork, probably with my tatting book, another wanna-try craft-LOL. Love it, thanks for sharing

    1. Oh I am so glad you like her. Yes, this is the type of work referred to as Stumpwork or raised embroidery. This one may look difficult but it mostly uses quite common embroidery stitches and only the more simple stumpwork techniques.

  4. OMG, your stitches are so perfect... I love to watch you work.

  5. I love your Mother Hen and her tiny chicks so sweet. Your embroidery is just breath taking :)

  6. Thanks heaps, I am glad you like it.

  7. Amazing ... beautiful embroidery, what a beautiful chicken and even chicks the flowers are also very beautiful, you are an artist with a needle.