I recently joined the Embroidery Hoopla Swap (Round 4, diptyches) over on Craftster, and was paired with Kanawinkie, who said she loved seahorses. I decided to stitch her a pair of seahorses, with the pair being opposites, so one would be warm colours, and one cool, and one would have a heavily worked background and plain seahorse, and the other a plain background and embroidered seahorse, and with the outlines reversed, so they could be facing toward/away from each other
Here's what I stitched up:
The embroidered seahorse has a watercolour pencil tinted body, and wide bands of raised stem stitch* for his belly:
Most of the rest of the seahorse is variants of back, running and satin stitch, in a range of DMC embroidery cottons. The background is a simple running stitch design in DMC perle, to mimic the sea on the blue hoop.
While I enjoyed stitching the seahorse, I loved sewing the sea hoop - I really enjoy heavily textured pieces, and including beads and a range of stitches in my work:
The middle ground is many many rows of running stitch in a range of colours, graduating from light, to dark to medium, broken up with little triangles of colour breaking into the next rows. Stitching this area was really meditative.
I filled the bottom third of the hoop with lots of very dense stitching, both patches of broadly circular stitches, and long linear rows. I took lots of pictures of these areas, so click through to flickr if you want to see the full size images!
The bottom left, lines of wheatear stitch, with seed beads tucked in, and two widths of gorgeous shiny rayon tape woven through, and a few colonial knots** for good measure:
This is the second clustered area I did, and it has quite a few wheels (both whipped and woven spiders webs & buttonhole), as well as clusters of colonial knots, castons, the wonderful bullion knots (the squiggly coils round the left hand part of the area), a button applied with needleweaving, and more beads for good measure!
I also discovered Fly Stitch, and how lovely it looks in long rows overlaid, with some rows having beaded tails. The blue feathery line across the middle is something I invented when trying to do something else, it was the first bit of the bottom area I did, and I've forgotten what on earth I did now, apart from that I whipped the middle:
This is the first clustered area, which gave me the confidence to really go nuts with the second. Lots of different threads here - DMC cottons, DMC perle and some great threads from a texture pack I bought:
The far right of the hoop has long lines of chain stitch in two different shades of variegated perle cotton. I wanted them to visually mirror the tall reed like lines on the other side of the hoop. There's also a big shell like ring shaped bead, secured then incorporated with needlewoven bars:
And here is the seahorse, outlined with a dark blue backstitch, and with a line of chain stitch in perle in warm shades to contrast with the coolness of the hoop overall. There are also little bits of orange beads and knots tucked into other areas, to add interest:
All in all, I'm really rather proud of it, and Kanawinkie likes it, so all is good!
* I can't find a particularly good description for Raised Stem Stitch. It's actually really easy once you get going, and looks lovely
** I can't do French knots!
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