Embroidery Challenge

Hello Everyone

Every year I set myself an embroidery challenge, something that forces me to push the boundaries and progress in my needle painting embroidery.  This is not a project that I plan to give instructions for, to make into kits or put into books, it is a larger piece that I do just for the pure pleasure of stitching.  My first challenge was the King Protea  next I decided to try a bird which was the Lilac Breasted Roller, the following year I resolved to try a Portrait and this year I set my sights on an animal. I considered wild animals such as a lion or zebra but decided that these had been used many times before in different art forms, so eventually settled on this cat portrait.  When I stitch something I have to feel drawn to the picture, it must say “Stitch Me”.   I have a painting of a cat on a quilt which I bought many many years ago in an art shop in Harare, Zimbabwe.  I was unable to find any information on the artist so could not ask her permission but if anyone recognises the painting please let me know.

Cat On Quilt

I have been working on this piece for approx 9 months on and off between other projects and finally completed it this week. Although the cat is a replica of the one in the painting (and also closely related to a tortoiseshell cat that we used to have), I adapted the quilt substantially to make it my own.  Each square of the quilt was stitched using different stitches and patterns which was fun.  I loved working the cat’s fur, the eyes were a challenge and took several attempts but possibly the most onerous bit was the background fabric which seemed to take forever. (I nearly gave up several times).  Normally I omit the background, or fade it out,  as I prefer the simpler more dramatic effect of a portrait style picture on a plain background.  Too much background detail (for me) tends to detract from the focal point, so including a background was a new concept and to be honest not something I would do again!

What is my challenge for 2012?  Not sure yet but when I do I’ll let you know……………

I hope you feel inspired to push the boundaries in your embroidery!  Wherever you are have a wonderful weekend and happy stitching.  Trish

45 thoughts on “Embroidery Challenge”

  1. Absolutely amazing my friend! The eyes are perfect & I adore the ears – the wicker chair looks so real and the quilt is incredible. You never cease to amaze me – who’s the lucky recipient of this stunning piece of work? Love & miss you, Janie xx

  2. Hi Trish!
    This is awesome.I don’t have adjectives to describe your needle painting…
    Am looking forward to see what you are going to stitch this year.

  3. Hi Trish
    Absolutely fabulous. It’s so life like. I could see the cat blink its eyes!

    Your work is stunning. Looking forward to see what you do for this year. Perhaps Guinea fowls??

    Enjoy the weekend

    Alet out of Qatar.

  4. I especially like the depth you achieved with the shading on the quilt. I also like the variety of patches on the quilt. Your work makes me smile.

  5. Absolutely fabulous. It’s so life like. Your work is stunning. Looking forward to seeing what you do for this year.


  6. This is amazing. Your work is beautiful. I’ve just recently discovered needle painting, through a friend, and have done some of the samples in your book, Fresh Ideas for Beginners’. Now I’m going to attempt a bluebird. I found a picture on Google and have sketched it into an outline guide, picked the colors as closely as I can to the photo, and have started the head. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted on progress, if you’re interested.

  7. That is stunning I love the whole picture we are cat lovers in our house and this is adorable…Makes me want to get cracking on the Kimono that I’m working on with all the different stitches and colours…Your are an inspiration to us all Trish..Beautiful work that you do is awesome

  8. Your work is awesome and inspiring. I enjoy thread painting myself. Each time I read your blog I learn something new and get reinspired to do more. I enjoy doing Canadian Birds and Butterflies.

  9. Absolutely beautiful, you are such a master at your craft, I am in awe of you. Waiting for an online workshop, the last one filled quickly and I missed out, please let me know when you are planning another. I have several of your books and your DVD.

    Hilary Perry

  10. Amazing. One waits with bated breath for whatever is more challenging than this one!!

  11. I love your work, it is all so amazing and inspiring.

    Have you ever thought of a landscape in thread? Maybe something like a field of popies or sunflowers. Maybe looking through a closeup of the flowers in the forground to see the field in the background? I have also seen some beautiful pictures of trees like a weeping willow or japaneese maple.

    Or maybe a abstract object like a vintage camera, clock, or heirloom christening gown?

    Just several things I have thought of and like but I know what ever you come up with will be beautiful. Can’t wait to wee what you choose.

  12. Hello Trish,

    What a beautiful embroidery!!!!!!!!! It seems so alive, the cat looks like he is going
    to jump of the basket.

    Congratulations, it would have been a shame not to finish this project.


  13. Hi Trish
    This is just sublime – I, as you know, am a quilter and a cat fan so really luv your latest project. I can only guess at the huge number of hours this took to complete and only one who does this work can really appreciate what goes into making such a piece. I think life like animals are so hard to achieve and you have done it soooo well – it is just gorgeous. I still spend loads of time going through the new book for inspiration – just doing all those little flower shadings to show the different combinations must have taken for ever – I so appreciate all the work you put into it. What I would not do to join the class some day!! Have a wonderful weekend.

  14. Hard work seems to be the basis for innovation—it never ceases with my daughter the ideas come rolling out and improvement is never ending. As the cats eyes point out adoringly keep going I love you !! What more can I say. LOL

  15. Hiya Trish ! This is stunning. You must just be so so very pleased with this and yourself. The movement in your stitches is breath taking. Thank you for sharing this with us and Happy Stitching ! ~Chrissy

  16. Hello Trish – You have stitched my favourite subject to embroider – a cat! It looks lovely. The details and shading are so well done!

  17. That is absolutely stunning – and here’s me thinking I was clever just doing one of your birds. Thank you for your inspirations, detailed instructions
    ,and “Happy Stitching” Emily

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