Sunday, July 6, 2008

Squiggee's Goldfish Ornament

Now that the Halloween trick-or-treaters stocking is done, I have picked up the other Squiggee design in my stash, the lovely pink fish you see above. I think this must be a goldfish, one of the ones that charmed me in the fishtanks at the pet store when I was a child. They are all bulging eyes and beautiful colors, with a long graceful tail and a fat wiggle to their upper bodies. Squiggee's is pink, my favorite color, and was taken from a Gail Hendrix design of a frog weight that had lots of underwater motifs on it. I asked Gail if she would turn the goldfish into an ornament for me and she did.

Most Squiggee painted canvases are lighthearted but this taps into Gail's more classic design sense. It is on 18 count canvas and is approximately 4 inches in diameter. When I asked her to paint this for me, I explicitly said it should not be an exclusive for me, but a design that anyone can buy from her Squiggee website, so you can have your own goldfish for your home if you so desire. Here's Squiggee's website so you can have a fun browse.

It is beautifully stitched-painted and must have taken hours to do. If you look closely at the fish scales, you'll see careful lines of color that range from a very dark brown through roses and corals and oranges to yellow and shades of pale pink that become almost white. The goldfish swims among lily pads in medium blue waters. When I started pulling colors, I discovered that I can use all the silks form the two little Asian girls in this design. The colors are almost identical. I did have to find earthy greens (mostly Mandarin silks) and a pretty blue in Rainbow Gallery's Grandeur (silk perle size #5).

My thought in starting to stitch Gail's goldfish was to use stitches that don't fully cover so that the piece can be framed over a mirror to give an underwater wet gleam to the fish. After all, most of my silks I pulled are pliable so I can use just one of them easily.

This design has a two-part background (the lilypads and the blue water) and a four-part foreground (the goldfish, with prominent eyes and mouth, long flowing tail, upright dorsal fins and sideways front fins, and finally the body). I decided to start with the goldfish's body and find a stitch for the scales first. Look carefully at the body of the fish. Isn't everything sort of upright and rectangular? There are many color changes (another reason to use light coverage stitches--you don't have to change threads often since the color will show under your skimpy thread) so I decided it would not be easy to do scale-shaped stitches here. I thought and browsed my stitch books and thought some more. Nothing seemed to be the right shape or suitable for a light coverage.

Then I visited Judy Harper's blog....

Inspiration strikes at the oddest times! Look at her latest crazy quilt heart, the yellow, coral and green one with the white daisies. Now look at the yellow rectangular stitch at the bottom point. Doesn't that sort of look like the scales on Gail's goldfish to you? I don't know what this stitch is called (can't find it in any of my stitch books) so let's call it Judy's Blocks.

Here is what I've stitched so far on the goldfish's scales, using one ply of silk Splendor in rose, coral and now orange as I work my way toward the fish's tail doing Judy's Blocks. I hope to finish the entire body by the end of the holiday weekend. Pretty soon I'll switch to one ply of yellow and then a pale pink....

This is so much fun!

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  1. What a lovely canvas, look forward to seeing how this one evolves

  2. This is great and you have gotten so much done already! Nice!

  3. Thank you both for the compliments. I get a lot of stitching done on three day weekends when it is raining the whole time. Thanks, Mother Nature!