Koi Pillow – Details

This project is moving more quickly than anticipated. Insomnia and a new audio book made it easy to spend some time this weekend stitching away. I’m totally blocked on a monster work project and having panic attacks about it, so stitching was a good break from that mess.

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As you can see, my tension has issues. I’m doing my best to only use my left hand, with minor assists from the right – like when I’m coming up from beneath the piece and can’t quite get the needle in just the right place to butt up against the stitch from the next scale over. I’m doing better than I expected to be, but am glad that I didn’t choose an SCA project to work on for this.

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The tail is spectacular on this fish. I absolutely love it and am not sure how to do it justice. The koi fish, and the tail in particular, beg for the tiny stitches of an expert at silk shading. This is not that project. I’m limiting myself to stitches that I can actually pull off as a lefty, and I can’t do silk shading with my right hand. Stem outlines with little stitches along where the ribs of the fin are seem like a good solution.

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I kind of like the thin black lines between the small stitches. I’m thinking about going over them with skinny silk sewing thread in white or maybe black to emphasize the line better without adding much visual weight. Gold? What do you think? Maybe I’ll do some as an experiment at the end when my hand is a little more attuned to finer work.

Koi Pillow Project

I need projects and activities to improve the fine motor skills in my left hand while my right one heals. Simple stitching is a good activity for this, so I ordered a tambour frame that sits on a table and got to work. My few test stitches were perfectly good – split stitch, straight stitch, back stitch, stem. Not perfect, but good enough. I decided to do some embroidery for sofa pillows since I can’t find any that I like very much!

There’s this great koi fish in my tattoo coloring book, so I sketched him up on some Solvy. It’s my first try at working with Solvy after being told about it at Kingdom A&S last year. If you do much embroidery – particularly complex designs – it’s worth a try. The roll is 7 7/8″ wide and 9 yds long for about $8 with the 40% off coupon.

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You draw on it, stitch over it, then dip it in water, and the remaining Solvy just dissolves cleanly away. It’s an ideal solution for the complicated knotwork, Norse, and Celtic designs that my husband likes on his stuff. Pouncing them is a nightmare, as is painting them on in white gouache. This is super easy. You can get it in the frame with the fabric or baste it down. I haven’t dissolved it yet, but I watched videos online before buying it, and it’s pretty quick!

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Here’s my fish! His colors are sort of blown out in this shot, but it has a Thread Heaven box for scale. The box is almost a perfect 1″ cube. I’m working on some scrap linen I had intended to use for trim on a tunic. It’s a nice color, but an odd sort of yellow that turned out to not look very good with my skin tone or Kevin’s. I think will be a better choice on the dark, warm grey of my new sofa where we could use some fun color. There’s enough for a couple of nicely sized pillows.