portrait of a lady

Lady is a lovely old mutt, part collie, part  a-number-of-other-things, who was born in Los Angeles and emigrated to New Zealand five years ago. She went through the same tests that other immigrants do, although they let her off the work qualification criteria. I think she had simply to prove she’s a nice dog and won’t bite anyone. She is now 15 years old, living out her retirement in the South Pacific.

I went walking on Muriwai Beach last Sunday, our first spring day (albeit a misty one) with Lady and her owners.

My friends often complain about the scratchiness of the pillows on their leather sofa, which are made of pieces of wool kilim– you know the kind, they look beautiful but are nothing you’d want to lean your head against. So they’re getting knit cushions for Christmas, and here’s the first.

It’s a portrait of their dog Lady in her younger, more sprightly days.

My embroidery skills are on a par with my crochet skills, strictly beginner level.

I always begin by winging it, and soon realize I’d better consult some expert help.

Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches is a fantastic book that’s been sitting on my shelf waiting for such a day. It has every stitch you’d ever need, and really clear diagrams showing how to perform them.

The background of my pillow is made from one hank of Manos Wool Clasica (shade 33-butane). For the embroidery I used scraps of browns in that bag we all have that’s full of bits of yarn we just can’t bear to throw away. I made a simple outline with stem stitch, and added to it bit by bit.

My drawing skills are basic. I’ve learned to live with that and work around it. If you’re not confident to make a sketch, you could find some clip art of the kind of animal you want to draw, and add some personal touches. Lady, for example has some yellowish fur on her underbelly, legs and chest. I don’t know if she is quite finished  yet. The head has been a challenge and I might just come back to it in a few days…..

4 Responses to “portrait of a lady”

  1. Carol Says:

    The pillow is great and your embroidery looks fantastic! I’d say you’re done, fwiw. Such a loving, thoughtful gift.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    I love her! Such a great idea. And it’s hard to believe you’re a beginning embroiderer. I’m sure they’ll treasure it.

  3. LauraRose Says:

    I agree, embroidery is tricky enough–doing it on a knit background must be twice so. I think you got a commendable result!

  4. Anna Says:

    Yes I agree. It really is a loving and thoughtful gift to give someone. My father did a drawing of our cat (who subsequently ran away to our neighbor’s house and gives us no time of day) but I still look fondly at the picture each time I pass it by.
    This pillow will bring much happiness to your friends.

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