Introducing Mr Leopard

Ok, this isn’t the best lit photo, but I’ve left it so long before writing about Mr Leopard – and I’ve just discovered the batteries in my camera are flat. Here are some more photos which show portions of the piece, rather better lit, so you can meet him properly :

I did this piece as part of the Thistle Thread Stumpwork Casket course, but it isn’t an official kit or design. I did my own design, wanting to put several simple techniques together. I hadn’t done a slip before, for example.
I learnt the design techniques, and suitable motifs and colours to use as part of the course.
I did the piece on silk from Golden Hinde, with a calico (muslin) backing, laced onto a slate frame. Learning how to dress a slate frame was part of doing this piece. I think I’ve more or less gotten the hang of it.
Except I did it backwards with the depth of the horizontal bars facing forwards.

The slate frame was from Western Australia (Ashley Verner), details available on request. On the subject of slate frames, here’s a link to RSN graduate, Sarah Homfrey’s vid on dressing a slate frame which I found very helpful as well as Mary Corbet’s tutorial.

The threads are a mixture of the AVAS Soie Ovale and Soie Paris (17thC colour palette range) supplied as part of the course. The bell flowers are in Soie Paris, the rest of the piece is in Soie Ovale (flat thread) or in Chinese flat thread.
The Chinese flat thread I used is described under the heading 
 Chinese filament silk from Suzhou 
in Fran’s blog La Soffita Del Tempo Perduto
17th C.English Raised Embroidery reproductions: materials. Part 3 – SILK THREADS (revisited)

Today, I’ll talk about how Mr Leopard was put together :

From the top down…..
* The clouds are done over 3 layers of wool felt, each layer larger than the one underneath. The top cloud was edged in gimp and the second, smaller cloud was edged in backstitch.
* I did the sun’s background first. Then I drew it’s face on tissue paper, tacked the paper over the stitched sun and stitched through it. Then I tore the paper off – voila, a face! Thankyou Susan Davis for the tip for this technique.
* The blue/cream hillock was done directly on the ground
* The green/yellow hillock was done on one layer of felt
* The flower was stitched directly over the top of the green/yellow hillock. I wasn’t sure if the felt would ‘pull through’ and show tufts, or if the long and short stitches of the hillock would be disturbed by stitching the flower – but it all worked out just fine.
* Mr Leopard himself was done as a slip.

in a small separate hoop on 34 count Legacy Linen. His design is based on the leopard in the piece The Five Senses and the Four Elements, on page 78 of Twixt Art and Nature, (Metropolitan Museum 64.101.1315).
After stitching him, I cut the slip down to around 6 threads from the border of the stitching. This photo shows how close – I’d just placed him on top of the main piece. This photo also shows the layer of felt attached ready for the yellow/green hillock :

 I then stabilized it using PVA and adding a muslin backing. When dry, I cut to the edge of the stitching. Then I attached him to the main piece using tiny stitches and a single ply of flat silk thread, then edged him in gimp. I learnt this from reading Jane Stockton’s blog, and it has worked just fine. She did have a document but it appears to be dead. The information can be found by reading

I love the piece and I’ve learnt lots. But there are several mistakes I’ve made. I’ll talk about them next. Yes, major bubbles in the silk!

Later : Various Blogger blog people have received emails from me in lieu of comments on their blog in the last few months, as I’ve explained that Gmail isn’t letting me comment on Blogger Blogs. It appears I can’t comment on my own blog either! So thankyou Rachel and Sue for your lovely comments …and to those who left comments on my last post ….. and if anyone knows which setting, on Earth, it is that I’ve set wrongly, please do let me know. I’ve spent hours on the problem.

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22 Responses
  1. suetortoise says:

    He’s so handsome, sitting there in the sun. Well done!

  2. Rachel says:

    Mr Leopard is a very fine fellow indeed!
    I found working with the Tulip Slip quite tricky, and he is a much more complex shape. Looking forward to seeing what else you do as part of the casket course…

    It’s good to have you blogging agan!

  3. Charming! I loved reading about how each section was done. Nice to hear from you again, eRose!

  4. Francesca says:

    You must be very proud of yourself as he is so beautiful, really 17th C. looking ! And I know all the work and trouble behind the lines…great job!

  5. Re your problem with Comments, in Blogger try going to Settings, then look for Posts and Comments. There you can change the setting for Who Can Comment? and perhaps that will fix the problem. Try setting it to various things and Saving, then see what happens when you change it back to Anyone Can Comment. The Save button is in the upper right corner after you change the settings. It is always hard to find in my opinion.

  6. suetortoise says:

    It may be something to do with your ISP/browser, Megan. I always have to pick your comments out of the WordPress spam filter, and usually your emails from my email spam. It thinks you’re not nice to know, for some reason.

  7. Mr. Leopard is amazing in fact the whole piece is wonderful. I look forward to seeing more of your work and glad that you are back blogging. I am so behind but I am really enjoying looking at what everyone is doing.

  8. meri says:

    Beautiful! Welcome back :)

  9. Mr. Leopard is looking very good! I’m glad to see that you are blogging again, I’ve missed you. Good luck with solving the Blogger issues.

  10. Cathlin says:

    This comment is in response to asking if U.S. readers saw this post. I’m in the U.S. and I did see it! I get your blog through Feedly, but when I went to access your blog and comment on the most recent post, blogger listed it as not available. I’m not sure how I was able to find this post. :-( I hope you’re able to solve your issues…it’s so frustrating. Wish I had a suggestion to help.

  11. Marta Brysha says:

    Rose, this is a lovely piece. The dimensionality provided by the felt underlays is wonderful. Where did you get your Suzhou threads from? I mostly dye all my own threads and would love to get my hands on some undyed chinese flat silk.

  12. meri says:

    At last I’ve found your new wordpress blog!!!

  13. jas says:

    This is lovely!

  14. Philippa says:

    How long does it take to frame up using the slate frame? and what do they cost approx. please?

    • Megan says:

      Hi Philippa,
      Go to (Mary Corbet’s blog) and search on “slate frame” for more information. It takes a few hours to prepare a piece on a slate frame, but you will have perfect tension until you cut the piece off again at the finish of the project. Cost depends on size – from $25 to a small one to about $80 for a medium-> large one, depending on where you buy them.

  15. Kate says:

    I was wondering if you’d share the details of where you got your slate frame! I’m in WA myself and if I can source one locally I’d be pretty pleased.

    • Megan says:

      Hey Kate,
      I’ve been getting mine from Ashley Verner in SA. Ph (08) 8583 5575. He’s pretty much retired now, so I don’t know if he’s still making and selling frames. Worth a call. I’ll email a friend because I know there is another Australian source but I can’t remember and let you know.

    • Megan says:

      Hey again Kate.
      I’ve got the answer for the alternative to Ashley from my friend JoyB
      “I have bought from Christina’s Crafts and Gifts – who are also in SA. Their frames are not as sturdy as those from Ashley and are made from hardwood but are not polished. The bars are about 2/3 the size of Ashely’s. I find that if I use the clamps on the larger size frames (16 inch and above) to anchor to my table, it feels like they will break. The smaller sizes are fine. You could add a piece of wood under the bar before clamping to provide better stability for the anchoring point which I have not tried as yet. They are also cheaper and more readily available than from Ashley as they are generally in stock when ordered.”

      I’ve heard other members of the EBV (Embroidery Guild of Victoria) talking about the Christina Craft slate frames as well – they aren’t as ‘pretty’ as Ashley’s but are cheaper and perfectly good.

      • Kate says:

        Thanks so much for asking around for me and your reply! I’m on holiday at my parents farm at the moment and when I mentioned calling SA my dad asked “what for!” and when I told him he said “well I can do that” so the answer was much closer to home than I thought haha! Do you post in the Historic Hand Embroidery group on facebook? We’re going to try and make one so I’ll post the results there if you’re interested in seeing how badly we mess it up!

        • Megan says:

          My pleasure :-)
          Slate frames are really simple and can be homemade if you have access to someone with the skills. My mentor, who has been doing goldwork for 40 years, often uses a frame made from very sturdy bamboo that someone made for her and tut-tuts at the price of ‘exclusively’ made slate frames. So – your Dad being able to make some for you sounds perfect!
          I suggest he makes you several, in a small, medium and large sizes??
          Yes, I’m a member of FB HHE but I’m not often there – just don’t have time. I’m sure the other members would love to see, tho.

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