Meet Luna the wolf, my latest project for Stitch magazine

I’m so happy to be able to share Luna, my winter wolf crewelwork embroidery with you! The project is in issue 128 of Stitch magazine, which is in shops until the end of January.

I thought I’d take you behind the scenes to share my inspiration and process with you.

Beginnings

From the start, I knew I wanted to create a crewel embroidery piece. After admiring and saving many beautiful crewelwork pieces to my Pinterest, there were a couple of things I was keen to explore in my design.

First, the inclusion of a tree. I’d shied away from including a tree in my Royal School of Needlework crewelwork module so was now keen to explore that.

Secondly, I knew I wanted to use a colour scheme with two main colour families that are quite similar. I think this can look really beautiful. Especially if you also include little pops of a contrast accent colour.

Around this time I’d been enjoying some online geometry classes. Which gave me plenty of designs to try different colour schemes out on. I became surprisingly taken with a blue, grey and orange palette.

A drawing of a repeating geometric pattern, coloured in using blue, grey and orange.

Since one of the themes for this issue of Stitch was winter, the colour palette felt very appropriate. And I liked that it was something new for me.

Photo of a bundle of blue, grey and orange threads held in a hand.

A wolf is born

I’ve also been keen to create more animal centric designs. I love creating new characters and taking on the challenge of giving them some personality.

So I got to thinking about the animals that you’d be likely to see in snow. I quite quickly landed on a wolf, so did some quick sketching to help me get familiar with what makes a wolf a wolf.

Quick pencil sketches of wolves.

Initially I was focused on creating a standing pose. Images of wolves howling at the moon started floating through my mind. But then I realised this wasn’t actually the vibe I wanted to create. I wanted something more serene. To reflect a sense of being at one with nature and yourself.

So I sketched some calmer poses and liked the peaceful but alert sitting pose. Still water or ice feels very calming to me, so I soon decided to add that. It also allowed me to create a downwards curve in the design that felt natural.

From there I had the basics of my design, so it was just a matter of playing around with it until the design felt right.

I like to give myself a few days for this part of the process. The core of my design usually comes together fairly quickly. I then find it useful to have a day or two to “sit” with the design. By giving myself this space and time, I find I can easily tell which parts of the design aren’t quite working yet.

With this design, I could tell that the curved line at the bottom wasn’t quite working. So I made an adjustment. If you look up close at the change it doesn’t seem very big. But from a distance, I think it helps to make the design feel much more balanced.

early stage sketch for the wolf embroidery design
Final sketch of the wolf embroidery design

Stitching the wolf embroidery

With the design finalised, I was ready to start stitching. I treated myself to a second slate frame for this project and boy am I glad that I did! I just love the tension that a slate frame gives you. Plus I really like sitting up to my trestles and stitching away!

It’s always a fun challenge to figure out appropriate stitches to use for the different effects and textures I want to create. I’ve definitely established some favourites. But I also aim to try something new with each design. For example, I hadn’t used battlement trellis within a design before. I also enjoyed trying out rows of interlocking buttonhole stitch.

When it came to stitching the wolf, my first idea didn’t work out so I had to do a bit of reverse stitching (unpicking). In my sketches, I’d shaded her with both blue and grey, but it didn’t feel like this was working in practice. Given that the rest of the design uses a lot of blue, I think having her just grey actually works better. It also means the blue details in her face stand out more.

Photo of the finished wolf crewel embroidery in a blue, grey and orange colour palette.

I spend so long stitching these animals, that they end up taking on personalities as I think about them. The name Luna came quite naturally for this wolf. Obviously helped by having the moon as part of the design!

For me, Luna feels unthreatened and unthreatening. She’s at one with herself and her surroundings. An energy that I hope to personally embody more and more!

What do you think of Luna? Have I managed to create a sense of peace and serenity for you with this wolf embroidery?


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