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Introducing Mr Leopard

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26 June 2013

Introducing Mr Leopard

Ok, this isn't the best lit photo, but I've left it so long before writing about Mr Leopard - and I've just discovered the batteries in my camera are flat. Here are some more photos which show portions of the piece, rather better lit, so you can meet him properly :

I did this piece as part of the Thistle Thread Stumpwork Casket course, but it isn't an official kit or design. I did my own design, wanting to put several simple techniques together. I hadn't done a slip before, for example.
I learnt the design techniques, and suitable motifs and colours to use as part of the course.
I did the piece on silk from Golden Hinde, with a calico (muslin) backing, laced onto a slate frame. Learning how to dress a slate frame was part of doing this piece. I think I've more or less gotten the hang of it.
Except I did it backwards with the depth of the horizontal bars facing forwards.

The slate frame was from Western Australia (Ashley Verner), details available on request. On the subject of slate frames, here's a link to RSN graduate, Sarah Homfrey's vid on dressing a slate frame which I found very helpful as well as Mary Corbet's tutorial.

The threads are a mixture of the AVAS Soie Ovale and Soie Paris (17thC colour palette range) supplied as part of the course. The bell flowers are in Soie Paris, the rest of the piece is in Soie Ovale (flat thread) or in Chinese flat thread.
The Chinese flat thread I used is described under the heading 
 Chinese filament silk from Suzhou 
in Fran's blog La Soffita Del Tempo Perduto
17th C.English Raised Embroidery reproductions: materials. Part 3 - SILK THREADS (revisited)

Today, I'll talk about how Mr Leopard was put together :

From the top down.....
* The clouds are done over 3 layers of wool felt, each layer larger than the one underneath. The top cloud was edged in gimp and the second, smaller cloud was edged in backstitch.
* I did the sun's background first. Then I drew it's face on tissue paper, tacked the paper over the stitched sun and stitched through it. Then I tore the paper off - voila, a face! Thankyou Susan Davis for the tip for this technique.
* The blue/cream hillock was done directly on the ground
* The green/yellow hillock was done on one layer of felt
* The flower was stitched directly over the top of the green/yellow hillock. I wasn't sure if the felt would 'pull through' and show tufts, or if the long and short stitches of the hillock would be disturbed by stitching the flower - but it all worked out just fine.
* Mr Leopard himself was done as a slip.
in a small separate hoop on 34 count Legacy Linen. His design is based on the leopard in the piece The Five Senses and the Four Elements, on page 78 of Twixt Art and Nature, (Metropolitan Museum 64.101.1315).
After stitching him, I cut the slip down to around 6 threads from the border of the stitching. This photo shows how close - I'd just placed him on top of the main piece. This photo also shows the layer of felt attached ready for the yellow/green hillock :

 I then stabilized it using PVA and adding a muslin backing. When dry, I cut to the edge of the stitching. Then I attached him to the main piece using tiny stitches and a single ply of flat silk thread, then edged him in gimp. I learnt this from reading Jane Stockton's blog, and it has worked just fine. She did have a document but it appears to be dead. The information can be found by reading

I love the piece and I've learnt lots. But there are several mistakes I've made. I'll talk about them next. Yes, major bubbles in the silk!

Later : Various Blogger blog people have received emails from me in lieu of comments on their blog in the last few months, as I've explained that Gmail isn't letting me comment on Blogger Blogs. It appears I can't comment on my own blog either! So thankyou Rachel and Sue for your lovely comments ...and to those who left comments on my last post ..... and if anyone knows which setting, on Earth, it is that I've set wrongly, please do let me know. I've spent hours on the problem.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's so handsome, sitting there in the sun. Well done!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013  
Blogger Rachel said...

Mr Leopard is a very fine fellow indeed!
I found working with the Tulip Slip quite tricky, and he is a much more complex shape. Looking forward to seeing what else you do as part of the casket course...

It's good to have you blogging agan!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013  
Blogger The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Charming! I loved reading about how each section was done. Nice to hear from you again, eRose!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013  
Blogger Francesca said...

You must be very proud of yourself as he is so beautiful, really 17th C. looking ! And I know all the work and trouble behind the lines...great job!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013  
Blogger The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Re your problem with Comments, in Blogger try going to Settings, then look for Posts and Comments. There you can change the setting for Who Can Comment? and perhaps that will fix the problem. Try setting it to various things and Saving, then see what happens when you change it back to Anyone Can Comment. The Save button is in the upper right corner after you change the settings. It is always hard to find in my opinion.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be something to do with your ISP/browser, Megan. I always have to pick your comments out of the WordPress spam filter, and usually your emails from my email spam. It thinks you're not nice to know, for some reason.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013  
Blogger Hillside Threads said...

Mr. Leopard is amazing in fact the whole piece is wonderful. I look forward to seeing more of your work and glad that you are back blogging. I am so behind but I am really enjoying looking at what everyone is doing.

Thursday, June 27, 2013  
Anonymous meri said...

Beautiful! Welcome back :)

Friday, June 28, 2013  
Blogger Cynthia Gilbreth said...

Mr. Leopard is looking very good! I'm glad to see that you are blogging again, I've missed you. Good luck with solving the Blogger issues.

Friday, June 28, 2013  
Blogger Cathlin said...

This comment is in response to asking if U.S. readers saw this post. I'm in the U.S. and I did see it! I get your blog through Feedly, but when I went to access your blog and comment on the most recent post, blogger listed it as not available. I'm not sure how I was able to find this post. :-( I hope you're able to solve your's so frustrating. Wish I had a suggestion to help.

Friday, June 28, 2013  
Anonymous Marta Brysha said...

Rose, this is a lovely piece. The dimensionality provided by the felt underlays is wonderful. Where did you get your Suzhou threads from? I mostly dye all my own threads and would love to get my hands on some undyed chinese flat silk.

Saturday, June 29, 2013  

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