I decided to tackle another embroidery for the Travelling Sketchbook project from my Embroiderers Guild. These are A5 sketchbooks which are passed round and you stitch something on the chosen theme. The theme this time was ‘Under the Sea’, which I found much easier to be inspired by than the last one ( Rex quondam, Rexque futurus)
Initially I was thinking of a general deep sea scene, with fronds waving up and little fishes swimming along. I had a perusal on Pinterest for ideas and saw an embroidery of a jellyfish…
Jelly fish for me bring back memories of childhood holidays at my grandparents at Prestatyn in North Wales, I remember jelly fish the size of dinnerplates stranded on the beach, terrifying me in case I accidentally stood on one, even worse they would shimmy past when I was swimming in the (very cold!!) sea. However, if you look at photos of jellyfish on the computer, they are a thing of beauty with their central manubrium (that long stalk like frothy bit – it took me a while to discover that on google!!) and their tentacles floating round.
My starting point was a square of ‘stripy’ batik fabric in sea colours and a square of silvery organza. I cut a circle of the organza and made a running stitch round the edge to gather it in a little. I stitched the bottom half of it to the background fabric and added a couple of lengths of organza, twisted around gently and inserted into the circle to make the manubrium.
I was looking through my thread stash when I found one of those mixed packed of threads I get tempted by at shows. It was silvery blue/grey, perfect. My initial idea was to individually stitch threads into the main body, however and realised it would be just as effective (and a lot quicker) to cut a length off through the whole wadge of threads, fold it in half, and stitch the whole lot into the body at once! I wrapped the folded bit with a length of the organza to add a bit more body to the jellyfish.
It worked brilliantly! Well I’m pleased with it anyway! I stitched the top half of the body down gently with some silver thread. I tried adding a few twinkly beads to the tentacles but they were just lost, I stitched a couple of rows of feather stitch in silver lame thread, just as a way of anchoring the tentacles a bit, I didn’t do much as I felt it was flattening the 3D effect.
In the end I decided it was finished, I trimmed the edge, allowing some of the tentacles to drift off the fabric, trying not to catch them in when I was blanket-stitching round the edge. With hindsight I should have interfaced the batik before I started, particularly as it’s a lighter weight one, instead I used 505 spray adhesive to lightly attach a square of calico before stitching the two layers together round the edge.
I think it just shows how a fairly simple idea can actually be quite effective. The next (and last in this series) travelling sketchbook is on leaves, another theme that I’m looking forward to creating.
I’ll be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link for lots of hand-stitched inspiration.