Today I have a tutorial for you helping you to create a ladybird (ladybug) in raised work. You can also vary the design, as you'll see at the end. The tute appeared in the spring 2012 edition of 'Crazy Quilt Gatherings', but I was disappointed to see that the photos and text got out of sequence in editing, with some text referring to incorrect photo numbers. If you saw that version and were confused, this should help clarify.=) Enjoy!
Cut an oval out of felt just a little smaller than half an inch or about one centimetre in length. Usually I would use the same colour as the base stitches, but this shows up better for photographic purposes.
Stab stitch the felt oval into place, normally using a matching coloured sewing thread. If you want to raise the bug’s body higher, then stab stitch a smaller oval underneath this one first.
Begin to cover the whole of the body with a smooth layer of satin stitches in two strands of black cotton. Note that the stitches go across the body, not from head to ‘tail’. Below is the completed satin stitch.
Work three or four satin stitches across the top to form the head and then three or four more from just below the head to the back of the bug, fanning the stitches out very slightly. You need to work these stitches in black, they are done in green here for clarity on this photo only.
Beginning at the centre next to the long stitches, begin to work satin stitches in two strands of red stranded cotton (or a shinier rayon or silk thread, if you prefer), making sure that they sit smoothly over the body and that they fan out a little in order to cover the whole of the sides too. Below you can see the complete red thread work on the wings with the slight angle of the stitching showing. (Sorry this shot is a little blurred.)
With either plain black sewing thread or one strand of embroidery cotton sew on two black-based, regular sized seed beads for the eyes. You can use plain black, but I’ve used a slightly iridescent shade here for added interest and sparkle.
Add in the legs and antennae using one strand of a very fine thread working from one back leg around the front and head to the other back leg. The legs are worked in two straight stitches and one lazy daisy nearest to the body. I used Kreinik Cord 105C here, which is a silver and black mix.
Here is your completed ladybird/bug! Remember, you can make yours stand a little higher than mine by adding an extra, smaller oval of felt under the main one.
You can vary your bugs in a number of ways. The first is a miniature version of much the same bug but just about half the size. If you want to work one this small, remember to scale everything down including using petite beads for the eyes, one strand for wing spots, the finest thread you can find for legs, which you should also shorten a little, and don’t use extra padding for the body.
Here’s a 14 spot ladybird worked in a light tan stranded cotton and with extra wing spots.
This green leaf beetle’s iridescent wings were worked in two strands of Kreinik blending filament shade 085. As you might remember from the stumpwork beetle tute (which this whole tute is based on the technique from), you can also get a good effect with DMC Stranded Metallic in the emerald green shade.
This shining flower chafer was worked with Anchor Lamé thread – a 12 stranded, fairly smooth metallic. The cross-ways stitches from step 3 were worked in the same light tan shade used for the 14 spot ladybird.
Finally, here they all are together. You can see the difference in size between the regular and mini ladybirds very well in this shot.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.=) If you work a little bug of your own, please leave a link to it in the comments section below and share your success with everyone.
Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2012