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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Girl In Chains (NSFW) on: April 09, 2010 05:39:38 PM
This is my second completed piece of embroidery.  The first completed piece was a pot holder made out of a felted sweater and embroidered with worsted weight yarn.  then I started a complicated Mandala that I'm using as a sampler to teach myself different outlining and fill stitches.  But a friend is competing in a BDSM leather competition and she needed to fill a basket to be auctioned off as part of the contest (as a fundraiser to help pay for the contest)   and was asking people to contribute things.  I have been an avide reader of Mr X Stitch for months now, and always enjoy the NSFW Saturday posts, so I told her I'd try to stitch something for her basket.  

I chose a line drawing that had been done by one of her other friends.  
(sorry for the poor quality of the photograph, I need to sharpen my camera skills)

 
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Almost exclusively back stitched.  A few straight stitches, and the collar and shackles are (messy) satin stitch (I haven't really mastered satin stitch yet).  The chains are made from modifying slightly the center (laced) section of a Guilloche stitch.  I loved how that laced stitch looks like chain and raises the chains up above the fabric  and the surface of her body.

Done in black, dark gray, light gray, and pale pink embroidery floss.  I used a $.49 tea towel from IKEA.  I liked the idea of a the girl being rendered on something servicable, even if the delicate stitches and threads then render the tea towel, ultimately, unusable for any utilitarian use.
I started on the head and face first because I was worried I didn't have enough skill to pull those delicate details off.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  The outlining is done with 2 strands and the details and features are done with one strand.  I had used dressmakers carbon to transfer the design, but the transfer didn't work well, only the heavier outlines transferred, so I ended up doing the features by looking at the original drawing very carefully and doing it freehand.
For the chains, I wanted them to really look like chains, and I wanted them to be heavier and more real than the girl.  The weave of this fabric is very delicate, so much so that anything thicker than 2 strands of floss distorts the weave.  I wanted to use the whole 6 strands for a heavy look to the chains.  So I took the center, laced, part of a Guilloche stitch (that I found in my complete embroidery stitch library) and did the parallel bands of 2 satin stitches, using 2 strands of floss, and then laced an entire 6 strands untwisted floss through those satin stitches in two alternate passes.  Because the collar and manacles were satin stitched I sunk the floss into the reinforced areas of the satin stitching so they look "welded" on.  So the places where the thick floss enter and exit the fabric and warp the weave to make a large enough hole are covered by the satin stitch.  The large center ring that the chains are attached to is made up of straight stitches placed around a circle with the floss laced through.  To make the chains I laced up toward the circle, laced through the circle, and then back down the other side of the chain, so each length of chain is just one long strand of floss.
and here's the original drawing
 
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2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / outline first or fill first? on: January 18, 2010 11:43:12 PM
all right.  I did a search and didn't really find a thread on this topic yet.

I'm working on my first real piece of embroidery.  I did a potholder last week and just doodled around with it.  This time I'm doing a mandala pattern and practicing a lot of different fill stitches. 

I had thought to fill first and then go back and outline so that the outline would cover any uneven edges.  But as I work on this I'm wondering if I should have outlined first...

What do you do, and why?
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