Small tortoiseshell {Embroidered Butterfly}

Hello friends! 

I’ve got a new butterfly embroidery to share this week. I’m really happy with the Small tortoiseshell photograph (that I posted last week!) I particularly love this type of butterfly, they always seem so happy – don’t get me wrong all butterflies seem happy, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like/was scared of them (not that there’s anything wrong in that of course).

So now I’ve created a few of these I have decided to give myself a bit of a challenge…I’m gonna have a go at creating all 59 types of British butterflies…in scale with each other!

Obviously not actual life-size scale  – they’ll still be larger than normal, ones like the Chequered skipper or the Small blue are tiny and would be so fiddly to do, I’m going to use the Large white that I made last year as the starting point for the sizes I’m using because its one of the biggest butterflies we get here.

So, first up is one of my favourites – the Small tortoiseshell, they have a wingspan average of 4-ish cm and are one of the first butterflies to be seen in spring after hibernating over the winter in adult form, amazingly these butterflies can live for up to a year! They lay their eggs on Stinging nettles which grow into spiky green and black caterpillars.

Now, this little fella is only 8 centimetres across and I’ve tried to make the body seem as fluffy as the photograph (my plan is to make them twice their normal size!) Ain’t he cute? 

Size wise my Large white is about 4 inches across – there are only a few bigger than this, one is the Swallowtail another is the Purple emperor. The body of the butterfly has a crocodile clip sewn on so that I can attach the butterflies to plants around the house or even wear them in my hair!

I start by sketching the basic butterfly shapes out on paper, I’ve gone and bought the Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland by Richard Lewington which is super helpful. Once I’m happy I then transfer my sketch onto calico and colour it in with the closest matching threads I have and when finished I attach the wings to the body and create a backing canvas with the butterflies name in an embroidery hoop with plain calico.

Each one takes roughly a week to do so I’m expecting this to be a long haul hobby!

Well that’s it for this week…what do you think? I’d love some feedback on this piece and I’m hoping that you’ll stay with me on my butterfly creating adventure. Thank you so much for reading this post, and I wish you a prosperous week ahead!

©️ ArtyMissK (2023)


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