The pink butterfly

It took me most of yesterday and long into the night, but I managed to get most of the embroidery done that I wanted to add to the pink butterfly for my second entry to Tartankiwi’s Butterfly Challenge (and, yes, if you’re wondering Tartankiwi, all that pink is a blatant attempt to win your Rascal’s favour ;-)).

It could probably do with a few more flowers, and I’d wanted to add a few French knots to accent the swirls, but I’ve run out of time, so I’m calling it done.
Lessons learnt:

  • I am a lot better at cross-stitch than I am at free-hand embroidery.
  • There is a reason embroidery cotton comes in different varieties, and using the stranded kind that’s meant for cross-stitch doesn’t work all that well for making lazy daisy flowers, even if the colours of stranded cotton you had on hand were so much nicer than the crewel type.
  • See above point.  If you’re planning to add fancy embroidery to a project, you should go and buy the colours you want of the right kind of cotton in advance, so you’re not stuck using the wrong type when it’s late at night and you’re just trying to get it finished.
  • My embroidery skills get a lot worse late at night.
  • Using pink tailor’s chalk to sketch a design on the pink fabric makes it really hard to follow the lines.
  • When you don’t follow your sketched lines, embroidered lines have a tendency to go a bit wonky.
  • Actually, even when you do follow the lines there’s a certain element of wonkiness involved.  See point 1.
  • Very soon I am going to have to bow to the inevitabilities of ageing and invest in bifocals.  I can see perfectly well to sew if I take my glasses off, but then I can’t see the TV (and there’s still enough of the 12-year-old left in me who complains that sewing is BORING if I don’t have a DVD or something to distract me), so I end up trying to peer over the top of my glasses to see exactly where the needle is going – no wonder I woke up with a headache this morning.
The Tartankiwi

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  1. Love the way you have learned so much from this exercise – and produced something beautiful at the same time.
    What will be the ultimate fate of this stunning butterfly?

  2. I love this pattern. Your stitches look very nice, even the daisies you mentioned.
    I have to disagree about the thread. I’ve always used 6 strand embroidery floss for my hand embroidery-I just vary how many strands I use. I also cut a length of floss, then divide the 6 strands and put them back together. This makes the stitches appear a bit thicker.
    That said, there are some designs that will work better with crewel yarn, especially done on linen, which has a coarser weave, making it easier to get thicker thread through. Historically (at least in the US), quilt embroidery is done with 6 strand embroidery floss, separated as I explained into 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 strands, depending on the look you are going after. Since most quilts are made of a close weave cotton, it is very difficult to get the thicker crewel threads through when you stitch. Plus, on a personal note, I like the sheen of floss more than crewel.

    1. That’s interesting about the thread – maybe it was just my lack of skill that was causing me problems then. The main difficulty I was having was that the thread kept unravelling so the strands were separating. Wasn’t a problem where I was doing the small stitch stuff, but the long loops for the lazy daisy stitches just wouldn’t behave themselves.
      And yes, I totally agree about the sheen – it’s much nicer looking!

  3. Ah well done for getting into the spirit of the challenge again, it was all about stretching yourself and trying new things and you definitely have done that!
    Rascal hasn’t had a chance to look at the butterfleis yet, but pink and purple are Rascal’s favourite colours so you never know! Good luck. J x

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