When Sarah Terry, a contributor to "Hoopla — The Art of Unexpected Embroidery" first moved to Australia from Britain, she was horrified by just how many creatures wanted to kill or harm her. These embroidery patterns are part of a larger body of work developed for her show "Drawing Threads," in which she dealt with her (somewhat irrational) fears of “killer Australia.” Sarah is happy to report that, after a year down under, she is still alive and kicking. Shock and amaze your guests with this creepy-crawly set of table linens!
Embroidered Spider and Bug Doily and Tablecloth
Tools and Materials
1 skein of DMC #310 (black)
Recycled linens with pre-existing floral embroidery. Look in the back of your drawers, visit a charity shop or two, or rob your granny. Three different linens are required to complete the different designs.
Ordinary sewing needle in a thin gauge
6–8-in (15.24–20.32-cm) embroidery hoop
fusible interfacing (a small amount to back the designs)
use of a photocopier and a light box or bright window
seed stitch (for wolf spider) backstitch
French knots (for wolf spider)
Plan the Infestation
Start by photocopying the designs. The drawings should be to scale, but feel free to enlarge, reduce, or repeat the designs as you see fit. Place the design(s) onto a light source with the linen on top. Pick your placement carefully—the idea is that the insect embroideries should be “hidden” amongst pre-existing traditional designs of the vintage linens.
Trace the design onto the linen with the water-soluble pen. Don’t worry too much about little details like the hairs on the spider’s legs. These can be added later and worked as much or as little as you like. Iron fusible interfacing to the back of the design to strengthen it while you sew. Make the interfacing patch larger than the design. You will trim off the excess when you’re finished stitching.
Place the fabric into the embroidery hoop and stretch it taut. Split the thread into six separate strands and use one strand at a time to stitch. Thread the needle and tie a knot in the end. Trim the thread off just below the knot.
Begin to follow each design using a backstitch to create a continuous line. As the designs are based on line drawings, there is no fill stitch required. Move the embroidery hoop as needed to cover the whole design. Once the outline is complete, the design is finished.
NOTE: For the wolf spider (Fig. 7.7), add hairs with seed stitches and use two tiny French knots right next to each other for the eyes.
Lay a table with the embroidered linen and wait for the shocked and horrified cries of your dinner party guests!