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Historical Sampler – A Snail

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7 September 2008

Historical Sampler – A Snail

After the popularity of the googly eyed bug, how could I not do another creature? *grin*

I’m doing a snail.

The technique is outlined at

in Emily's The Floss Box’s blog.

which I found through Paula Hewitt’s (Beauty of Life blog) on-line stumpwork resources page

I also am going to use the description of raised stem stitch from


The snail’s body is done by couching down three strands of thick thread, then covered in raised stem stitch, which takes several steps.

The body is padded with two layers of felt, then the string with raised stem stitch is added over the top.

This is my snail so far :


It's on the opposite side of the laidwork rose's stem to all my other work so far.

  • I used DMC bumpf thread as the couched thread. (DMC No.4 Soft Cotton col. 2725 yellow, which I actually have for padding string work in goldwork)
  • I found it easier to couch the threads separately rather than all together. This helped in that I got a bit tricky and used a single string at the tip of the tail.
  • I waxed the thread before using it, to stop any furries from sticking up. This is a tip from Berlin Embroidery’s Fleur De Lys tutorial – the part on sewing down string

"...and then pull all the strands together through beeswax, so that the string is entirely coated and stiff with wax. Waxing the string will ensure that it is firm so that the shape of the padding does not deform when sewing the purl chips over top and so that no fluffy parts of the string will stick up between the chips."

I originally saw this tip on using waxed string as padding somewhere else, but this is the only reference I can find in my notes at the moment.

  • I think would be easier and quicker (although I didn't do it) to plunge the ends of the string as gold threads are in goldwork, rather than having to deal with fluffy cut ends and couching them down firmly.
  • The second step in doing the raised stem band stitch is to cover the string entirely in a base thread, just going around and around it using a tapestry needle.

This is actually harder than it sounds. You don't want the loops to be so loose that they move, or so tight that they take the 'pad' out of the padding string. I'm sure I'll master it with practice.

  • The next step is to put down more loops, these ones 5mm apart, to actually loop the stem stitch around.
  • Then I get to do the stem stitching, which Emily says takes ages.

For the body, I'm going to use a single strand of the DMC variegated thread in brown (it goes from a goldy fawny mid brown to ecru).

Sally (DragonSally, LtlPengy, who are you on this forum?) and I have discussed the colour of the shell, and we both instantly thought of a deep rich blue-red (almost brown) for the body.

I am flirting with the idea of having it in stripes - a gold yellow and the red. The more comical the better, I've seen in extant embroideries when it comes to bugs.

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Blogger Dragonsally said...

What an existential question - who am I?
Dragonsally it appears!

Sunday, September 07, 2008  
Blogger coral-seas said...

You are really pressing on with this and doing a fine job. The photos are looking a bit sharper, did you find the macro feature on your camera? It's amazing how much difference it makes and your work deserves to be seen in focus.


Sunday, September 07, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Um,. yes, I did find the macro feature! Aren't I an idiot all this time! It was mentioned in Stitchin' Fingers the other day, wasn't it?
And thankyou.

I've given myself a year to do this - at this rate it'll be quicker but I am telling myself to slow down.

There's just so many choices and so much fun to be had!

Sunday, September 07, 2008  
Blogger Mary Corbet said...

Wow, Megan - I just perused all your latest posts! you're flying on this, aren't you? It looks great!

I just LOVE that snail. Should I add one to my garden?

A tip for using macro - usually, when it's in macro, you can point at the object your photographing and half-way depress the button to take the shot. If the camera can focus at the range you're shooting, you'll hear a beep. If it can't, it won't beep. Usually, you'll also see a green light on the display, if it is focusing. If it doesn't beep or there's no green light, pull back just a tad, and try pressing the button halfway again. Adjust the distance between the lens and the object until you get a beep or a green light. Eventually, you'll get used to eyeballing the distance your camera can handle in macro mode.

Anyway, keep plugging along! It's starting to fill up fast! I can't wait to see your finished snail!


Monday, September 08, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Mary - thanks. I was wondering why sometimes it would focus when I half pressed the button, but sometimes it wouldn't.

I've, erm, never owned a camera before.

That completed snail is Floss Box's, not mine. I'm still doing mine.

Sure - add one to your garden. But of course he's pretty raised up, especially the body. You might want to consider that.

Monday, September 08, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Thankyou so much, Coral-Seas

Monday, September 08, 2008  
Blogger Veri said...

thanks for sharing how to do this snail. It is so cute and I will try it too. I have the book from Barabara Hirst and love her works too. nice greetngs. Veri

Monday, September 22, 2008  

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