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Decorating the Butterfly’s Back

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4 August 2011

Decorating the Butterfly’s Back

I can’t embroider right now, but that doesn’t stop me doing a bit of reading and thinking!

I was hanging out in “Art of Needlework”, by Lewis F Day

(downloadable for free, all sorts of interesting stuff in there).

I was reading about interlaced stitches.

Here’s the Interlacing sampler Mr Day provides :


Here’s the body in question that I want to cover in a fairly open diaper pattern……


I’ve talked about the difficulty of adding a decorative thread pattern on top of the body before, because the body is wrapped stem stitch bars, so using those threads as a ground will muck up their tension and allow the (purple) ground to show through. (which might be an option in the end, anyway). But I think it needs some decoration, to fit in with the highly coloured and detailed wings. I’m pretty sold on using the metallic copper thread that I used in the wings.

I want a vaguely rounded decorative stitch and so I favour (A) from the Sampler. The wings and the shape of the body are all curves, so I want a pattern that is a bit neutral, or curvy.

I like (B) but I don’t think it’ll work in metallic thread.

Btw, although I loved the idea of using an Electyra Beetle wing for the head, I don’t think it works, and have since replaced it with a purple head.

Back to the interlacing sample,…… as typical in books this old, the explanation on how to do the stitches is pretty brief. And I’m hopeless without step by step instructions anyway.

The stitch instructions for Sample (A) are


Could someone possibly explain this in words of one syllable for me?

(To see the whole section on Interlaced Stitching, search on “Interlaced” within the document).

I’ve got lots of options from Mary Thomas’ book as well. I’m after something that is curvy, and impacts on the ground (the stem stitch) as little as possible, preferably only going *into* the ground at the edge of the body.

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Blogger Doushkasmum said...

To work sample A:

Do a line of backstitches, 1 for each loop of your interlace (in the sample this is 6)

then go down as far as you wnat for the next row, do a single stitch all the way across to give a long float.

Then work loops on the surface of the fabric the sample appears to go from left to right
Come up at the left end of the backstitch row, loop under the long stitch then take your needle down through the next back stitch and then up through the long stitch again. Repeat to the end of the row.

For the next row the spaces between the pevious loops act as the backstitches did n the first row.

Hope that helps 8->


Thursday, August 04, 2011  
Blogger coral-seas said...

Hi Megan, I like the body as it is, but it is your design :-)

Laura gave a good explanation but in case you are not there yet here is another way of looking at it.

In your case where you are working over the padded body you I would leave out the row of back stitches.

First you need to make foundation stitches across the body exactly the same as you did for the raised stem stitch but I would suggest slightly wider apart as you want a more open look.

They will look something like this
| | | | | | | | | | | along the butterfly body.

The next step is to wrap the first pair of foundation stitches. Anchore your thread on the back of the work and come up either at the head or the tail (I would suggest the head). Wrap around the first bar | without going into your raised stem stitches. Now take small stitch at the head a little away from were you stated. Wrap around the first bar again and take another small stitch. This is just like doing the stem stitches but instead of progressing along the bars creating a stem stitch you will be working across the body making a zig-zag /\/\/\/\/\

I think you will only need a few stitches to make the open look you want.

The next row is worked in the same way but wrapping the first bar (between the stitches just made) and the second bar without going into your raised stem stitches.

It will start to look something like this but your foundation stitches will show as well but I can't recreate that on the keyboard :-)


Hope one of use comes up with an explanation that is clear for you and I look forward to seeing the butterfly finished.

Thursday, August 04, 2011  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Look in Mary Thomas for Needlelace stitches, because I think that A is one of those, but worked upside down. These are better worked in an unstranded thread, so the metallic should work well.

Friday, August 05, 2011  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Thankyou so much for your explanations, Laura, Coral-Seas and Rachel! :-)

Friday, August 05, 2011  

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