As the majority of my embroidery digitising consists of creating leaves, flowers, scrolls and scallops, animals are a HUGE challenge. Jacobean style embroidery usually features birds or animals so I opted for stags. Just as the flowers and leaves are stylised so are the animals and I love the extra flourishes and patterns. I have introduced some patterns on to the body of each stag in the form of Florentine stitches to follow the contours of their bodies.
However as there were a total of 6 stags to digitise I became more at ease with each one. As I have stated many times there just aren’t enough thread colours to work with, so the process also allowed me plenty of opportunity to experiment with my brown threads to find the perfect combinations. When all the work was done I decided to embroider all my stags out to perfect the colours and I thought it would be fun to see them together on a landscape.
I grouped them in my software and looked through my designs for a background. I thought I would find it in the Summer Meadows collection but settled for the grass in the Kate Greenaway design. All important stitch outs need a new needle and a clean bobbin area and I choose a pale cream silk dupion for my embroidery in a 360mm x 200mm hoop.
I did the landscape first and having placed it on several levels to mimic a hillside. This was stitched out in Sulky Rayon 630 Moss green, which is probably my favourite darker green.
After experimenting with several light colours I settled for Sulky Rayon 1085 Silver for the antlers.
The tails of the stag stitch out came next and these were done in Sulky Rayon 1149 Deep ecru.
I used Sulky Rayon 1031 Medium orchid for the inner sections of their ears and Sulky Rayon 1838 Cocoa cream for the necks and under bellies.
When I first saw Sulky Rayon 1179 Dark taupe stitching out the legs I thought it was too dark. This is one of those terrible colours that really does not display in my embroidery software accurately. I wanted to use a darker thread for the legs behind to create some depth but maybe not this dark.
This same thread over stitched the necks and under bellies and ears. In some previous stitch outs I used a lighter thread but the pattern failed to stand out.
Sometimes you really cannot tell what colour will look good until you start it. There are instances when after a few stitches I know I have made a bad decision and I can stop and get away with selecting another colour and go back to the beginning to stitch over the mistake. However that is not possible if the thread is too dark so I just had to go with it.
As soon as I started to add the bodies in Sulky Rayon 1838 Cocoa cream I knew it would be fine.
I have used two similar shades for the main bodies and faces. Sulky Rayon 1838 Cocoa cream goes on first and then Sulky Rayon 1180 Medium taupe stitches over the top. As I have tried several different threads together these two work best I think.
Here you see the outlines and details being added to each stag. The eyes and feet go on last.
I was delighted with the results and hope you like these too. Notice how the colours have all blended in well together.
The designs in the Jacobean Sampler collection will be released later this year.
As well as individual designs there will be 8″ x “8 blocks. This is my sixth stag which did not make it to the group.
Happy embroidering from Hazel