When I saw Kate Wilhelm’s photo of a zebra in her calendar of South African images, I knew that was what I wanted to use as my inspiration for contrast. Despite a very involved process of messages and e-mails I went through to contact Kate (including finding another photographer named Kate Wilhelm and a fiber artist too), I was able to get her permission.
Following the suggestions from many of you Mavens, I tried to use water soluble stabilizer but it was fruitless – it gave me fits as I did not have an embroidery hoop in my transported supplies in
Maine and I was not happy with the warped results. I thank you all for your help, but I started to thread paint
the zebra using my own difficult process.
I outlined the copy of the photo with a sharpie and then printed it onto
traditional stabilizer ironed to freezer paper and put in the
printer. I began the tedious job of
straight stitching to fill in the sections of the zebra in black and white
thread because I was too afraid to use free motion stitching as I knew it would
twist and distort the shape. After what seemed like weeks of stitching and diligent pressing to maintain the shape without distortion, I had my zebra
“colored” in. Amazingly with my careful process it was only slightly mishapen. I then satin stitched it
to the background and continued to fill in with free motion stitching for more
depth and shading. White tuille was used
on the hind quarter of the zebra to replicate the shading in Kate’s photo. Hand stitching with white DMC thread contrasts
with the fine black lines in the background fabric. The red print seemed to be the perfect frame
for the zebra, but when finished it still seemed to need something. I hand stitched a bit
more with black DMC thread and added a few black beads for a little more
contrast. I hope Kate sees my
rendition as she asked for a photo and the link to our website which I’ll give
Here is the website if you’d like to see the photo I used – the zebra is on the November page of the calendar.
I really enjoyed this theme. Even though I had originally voted to stick with the 12 x 12 format, I went with the 11 x 14 as it worked better with the design.