|Little Tiger's Orangey Celebration|
Well now, I'm a bit of a stranger to this blog, aren't I? My excuse is that I've been busy with one thing or another... the one thing was another project for Making Gifts magazine, which I can't reveal for another month when it's published (sorry!), and the other thing is this embroidery!
This is my entry for the Feeling Stitchy blog Rainbow Competition. If you like embroidery or sewing, and haven't seen Feeling Stitchy before, then why?? It's brill! Go visit now! :-)
The rules of the competion were to simply embroider a design using only one colour of the rainbow (although black and white were also included). I chose to design an embroidery in shades of orange, not only because orange is my favourite colour, but also because it would give me the opportunity to put Little Tiger into it! I based the Little Tiger you see here on a brooch that I made some time ago now. Which in turn is based on our own Little Tiger...
I also wanted to put in a representation of one of my favourite flowers, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica). I love this flower for it's simple cupped shape, it's satiny petals and its beautiful bright golden orange colour which seems to glow in the sun. I think of them as "cups of sunshine"!
California poppy, not in California but Sheffield.
After I had sketched my design, I had to think about what fabric I'd use to embroider on. I decided that a plain background was a bit boring, so I hand tie-dyed a piece of calico to use, using Dylon "sunflower yellow" - hence the off-white circles of the background. The circles were created by gathering a bunch of fabric and tying a piece of string around it, so the dye doesn't reach the fabric under the string, and repeating this all over the fabric so make a pattern. I like this effect because for me, it makes me think of sun-drenched, relaxed summer festivals.
Preparing the tie-dyed calico for embroidering
I chose to include lots of different types of stitches - and I used eight - because for me, that's what embroidery is all about! Showing the amazing variety of textures and shapes which can be created with just a needle, a bit of thread and some fabric. I love trying out new stitches, so I dived in (after a bit of practise first) and used long and short stitch (for the poppy petals) and ribbed spider's web (for the flower-like shapes in the "grass"). I also used straight stitch in a pattern I've never used before, shown to me by my good friend Claire (thanks Claire! bet you didn't expect that, did you! hahaha!) I also used stem stitch (the sun's rays), french knots (the sun and Little Tiger's eye "twinkles"), satin stitch (his eyes and nose), chain stitch worked in close rows as a filling stitch (Little Tiger's fur) and back stitch (the poppies' stems).
The poppies being embroidered in long and short stitch...
The finished poppies!
Apart from enjoying this challenge just for the embroidery, it taught me a few things. The main lesson was probably that I always underestimate how long a piece of work is going to take! I spent at least 50 hours on the embroidery part of this piece (excluding the time I spent in sketching the original design). I also learnt that you can do a lot with a very limited colour palette, and something that I am going to explore further.
The stripes going on, dark brown first...
Stitching the orange on, around the dark brown stripes...
The finished Little Tiger!
Well, I enjoyed making this piece, but I hope you enjoy looking at it almost as much!