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The Large Wing

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6 March 2011

The Large Wing

Here is the largest and most basic part of this piece – the split stitching fill-in of the large butterfly wing (it has a smaller wing to the rear). It’s only a little less than life sized in this image.
I had to divert somewhat from the original illustrator’s design in translating from illustration in shades of grey to 3 colours I could split stitch. I’ve used a little license to add in details that weren’t in the original drawing to make up for it, to be sure the wing was ‘interesting’.
I decided on split stitch rather than long and short stitch because there simply wasn’t enough room between the ‘wing pads’ to do L&S stitches in several colours.
I tried to put some texture in with the split stitching, most noticeably with the border, having a narrow band of the darkest colour, and a narrow band of the mid colour running around the outside edge, rather than always taking advantage of the maximum space and having longer, smoother stitches where I possibly could. I want that texture to be part of the definition of the wing.
The bit down the bottom tip of the wing is definitely a bit ‘suss’ in stitch direction (see how it has a ‘split’ or ‘fold’ going up it?) but I’m not too worried. That part will be covered when I add the smaller wing.
The wing pads were done on purple shot silk, with a mid-rib of purple thread + 2 strands of metallic copper thread. The veins were done in copper thread.
I did them twice, and discovered they actually looked better with less vein, not more – not trying to cover every pad of the wing pad with some vein.
I double back-stitched around the edge of each wing pad, then cut it out, and cut in little ‘v’s in the border.
I tried folding the edges over, and needle-rolling, but it just didn’t want to work. Perhaps because I backed the silk with muslim and it was just too thick?
I ended up sewing them on over the backstitching, and trimmed very close to the border. There is some ‘splintering’ of the silk at the sewn border, but that will be covered up.
If I weren’t going to use the method I’m going to use to cover the edges of the wing pads (wait and see what I do :-) but Rachel Wright of VirtuoSew Adventures suggested a good alternative today – buttonholing the edges.
It was thanks to my new “real thread” DMC colour card that I was able to select some threads, and then discover a toned third colour. Yay the real thread card  - it’s SO much better than the printed one.
The purple background (some kind of acrylic material, but I was a bit desperate) will all be covered in split stitch, then that large wing cut out.
I had some copper material I was going to use as background, but it doesn’t ‘go’ with the threads I’ve ended up with.
I had a look at my trusty
to get some ideas for the background colour.
This was the basic scheme :
I had a look through the complementary, triadic, tetratic etc schemes associated with this – the main colour in the middle being one I was using. and didn’t like any of the colours it came up with (lime green?).
I think I’ll go with a purple to match the wing pads.
It’s very Zen doing all this split-stitching, tho suprisingly hard to keep the stitches at the right angle (all pointing towards the top middle of the wing). I keep on putting them in horizontally!

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Anonymous Rachel said...

This is hugely advanced compared with last time!

There's a lot of experimentation goes into this sort of work, so I wouldn't be unduly worried about repeated unpickings and re-workings.

Real thread shade cards are a real blessing...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011  

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