Friday, September 5, 2014

Stumpwork butterflies in progress

Here's the blue and turquoise iridescent butterfly progressing. As you see, I'm stitching all four pieces on the same piece of fabric, in the interest of not losing any of them before I'm ready to attach them.  The little tear you see in the fabric doesn't matter -- it will be outside the cut area once I remove the parts.

 Here in the hoop is the back of the current wing parts, to the right, out of the hoop, the front side of the completed parts.

Here you see the front of the current stitched pieces, with the back of the first two pieces outside the hoop.  And it shows the ends of the wires which will be slid through the permanent support and stitched down at the back to secure the butterfly.

And you see a couple of adjustments:  making sure I'm doing a left and a right wing, like when you cut out pieces of a dress -- not two left bodice parts!  and I reversed the way I stitched it in the hoop, so as to protect the stitching in progress. I'm so much in the habit of stretching canvas then painting on the top of it, that I keep forgetting to reverse the procedure with stitching, so as to protect the work in progress.

This is why each picture shows the back of two parts, the front of the other two parts.  It's more organized than it looks.

Wire is stitched in with close stitches, not buttonhole this time, since the knots in buttonhole pushed the threads apart a little, and I didn't get as much coverage of the wire as I'd planned, on the other moth.  Then the wing parts are filled in with long and short stitches, alternating floss and metallic thread

It's surprisingly athletic to stitch this closely around this apparently small area.  I need to rest my back as well as my eyes after getting round one wing part.


  1. Being totally ignorant of terms and anything else to do with embroidery, could you tell me, in simple words, what is 'stumpwork'?

  2. Thanks so much for the question. You make me realize other blogistas are wondering the same thing, and hoping someone will ask!

    Briefly, stumpwork isr aised work, where either a motif is stuffed to raise it from its support, creating a three dimensional effect. You see this in Tudor embroidery where dimensional faces and bodies and animals are stitched and raised up from the base. Or parts are stitched over wire, so that once transferred to its destination, the wired parts are left free of the background and can be bent and arranged to suit the design. Here the butterflies will be transferred, only their bodies will be attached to their ultimate background, and the wings will appear to fly free of the fabric.

  3. Beautiful -- cannot wait to see it in the finished project.

    Are you coming to the NJ Sheep & Wool Festival up in Ringoes (at the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds) this weekend? If so, stop and say hi. I am right behind the spinners in Barn 3, with cookie cutters on the outside of the booth.

  4. I'm just recovering from a bout of heat exhaustion, and can't get out in the temps we expect this weekend, sigh. But one of these days we must meet!

  5. your wings look so colourful and you are certainly excellent at the stumpwork technique

  6. The iridescence really shows in the photos so I can only imagine how much better it is 'fer real'. My favourite colour too!


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