Polar Bear - 2021

By Laura Vivanco on Tuesday, 4 January, 2022

The not-entirely successful landscape/seascape with seals embroidery that I mentioned underneath the entry for the rat was produced partly "in hand" (i.e. without using a hoop or frame). I'd wanted to try it again with this project because I thought it might help me avoid getting wrinkles in the fabric (that didn't work!) and also because if you're making something large, the hoop may at some point need to be placed on top of embroidery that's already been completed, and then it can squash it. The squashing may go away if you wash the embroidery, but I think washing might also affect the sheen of the fabric and threads a bit. I don't know for sure, but I'm not 100% confident they wouldn't shrink or run,  so I've not been washing my embroidery. Anyway, if you look closely, you might be able to see some tiny areas of the koi and rabbit have been squished like that. I didn't want it to happen to my bear!

I've got some thin white grosgrain ribbons sewn to the bottom of the fabric to create an ice/snow landscape. The fabric, "Michael Miller - 8820 Stardust with Metallic Saturn" is green and sparkly, which I hoped would look like the Northern Lights. I'm also hoping that the inadvertent wrinkles will also look like the Northern Lights! Because yes, my plan to avoid wrinkles did not entirely succeed and I also had to add socks for padding to the back of this one.

I don't know if the wrinkling has something to do with how I added the design. The speckles on the fabric made me think I might not be able to use the transfer paper method (and it didn't work all that well for me other times I used it anyway). So, I used a lightbox to transfer the image onto a piece of thin white fabric and then sewed that onto the green fabric. I then embroidered across the white fabric so that it isn't at all visible now. In the photo below you can see the process of covering the white fabric.

Bear in progress


The bear is 29cm across, so it took me quite a long time to complete. Here's a close-up of the finished bear.

Bear on Ice

The inspiration is below. It was digitised by the British Library and is from page 642 of "Beeton's Historical Romances, Daring Deeds, and Animal Stories. Illustrated, etc", dated 1871.

A Victorian Bear in an Ice Cave