crafts,  embroidery,  general crafts,  sewing

Eternal Spring: The Monarchs

I love Flickr, I get a lot of ideas by looking at pictures….but it can be dangerous for me to visit it while working on a project. As I mentioned, after seeing this picture, i just had to add a butterfly to my embroidery! I keep on getting more ideas every time…

Monarch butterflies are another icon of México, and boy are they amazing little things. A few days later after seeing it, I printed out Will’s picture, and  worked up a little pattern to draw this pretty little lady.

Males of the Monarch butterfly have two spots on the lower wings, on the black “vein” closest to the abdomen, and the black lines in these wings are much thinner than the females, so I knew the picture Will had taken was of a female.

A little more biology: Some of these beauties migrate from the US and Canada to central México; in specific they travel to the border between the states of Michoacán and México to winter on the oyamel trees of these mountains.  That is where where the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve, a world heritage site, is located.

Around winter time the trees get completely covered with the monarchs to the point that branches bend down (think of how pine trees look after a heavy snow storm) and visitors have said that the wings of the butterflies create a soft rain-like sound. I can’t wait to visit this reserve some day!

Back to the embroidery, I went shopping as I had no orange or black thread and started. The idea was to use double threaded stem stitch for the veins and single thread satin stitch for the thicker lines, also the abdomen had to be padded for it to look round.

After the outline was done I was amazed. I liked what i saw so far:

I wanted to add more butterflies everywhere! But not so fast, let’s finish the first one:

So far so good, but now I needed to fill the body! For some reason the color confused me…I had always thought of these butterflies as yellower…but the color in pictures is definitely orange. I chose something in between…My childhood memories must be getting fuzzy huh?

After the body was filled (satin stitch, single thread), the white detail had to be done. I used french knots for the dots and just a straight stitch to create the stripes on the abdomen.

Notice that instead of using stem stitch i used simple satin stitch for the abdomen. In nature, if these abdomen stripes aren’t clear stripes, it means the butterfly is sick! Can’t have sick butterflies on an embroidery right?

I stopped the project at this point (last September/October) for various reasons but I intend to pick it up now that i have a little bit more time. So what do you think?