I have a bit of an obsession with the European Badger. I think it might have started from seeing them in the wild when I was on holiday in the Isle of Wight. This was about 10 years ago and since then I’ve embroidered them, I’ve drawn them, I’ve had fluffy badger toys and I even had a badger puppet with a little tweed jacket and a corduroy waistcoat.
I have previously embroidered embroidered a badger (which is available on Etsy – shameless plug I know!) but this was a side profile of the whole badger. So this time, I thought I’d stitch a portrait of the wise animal. I also have a bit of a thing for giving my embroidered creations old fashioned pipes to puff on. I don’t know why. It just looks cool.
I’ve never shared a project step by step before so do forgive me if I’m a bit rough around the edges to begin with!
Anyway, the thing that has made my life a lot easier with this piece is this pen. It’s a heat erasable pen (you can find it in my post about equipment). Surprisingly I can’t draw for anything, and this pen is a life saver when it comes to drawing out my designs. Whenever I have to draw out a piece, I always sit next to my hairdryer so I can erase my sorry excuses for drawings. As you can see from the picture, my original outline was a bit shoddy so I just drew over the top of the outline.
I admit my badger isn’t exactly the best specimen of his kind, but I love him nonetheless. It looks a bit like he’s been punched in the jaw and has cauliflower ears from years of rugby practise. Oh well.
Oh, by the way, I’m using fabric from an old apron and it’s 100% cotton. I would usually use a water soluble stabiliser (as I did for the previous badger), but, I couldn’t be bothered digging it out of my never ending bag of knotted threads and tangled hoops. I’m also being lazy and using a display frame instead of a hoop (I’m using this frame), and using the pen that I previously mentioned. No special threads or needles to be seen here, just a normal needle and two strands of white Anchor thread.
I started by outlining my white areas. I like to do this to keep my filling in a bit for uniform, otherwise I tend to stitch outside of the lines and this would mean the badger would lose his iconic black stripes. I used stem stitch as the outline as I think it gives a bit more leeway when it come to smoother curves, I also find it’s a lot less harsh than just using back stitch. I just stitched around his face not his shaggy fur, I think embroidering the fur over the outline makes it a little more organic and realistic.
I then went on to start to fill in the white parts of his face. I use a kind of hybrid satin stitch mixed with stem stitch for this. I make sure most of the stitches are overlapping and at jaunty angles, I think it gives a much better overall look of a wild animal. It takes absolutely ages but is worth it.
Next, I started on his scruffy beard. I just place stitches on top of each other at different angles so the fur looks unkempt and shaggy. I also leave space around his nose. I want his nose to be more shiny and smooth so I’ll use normal satin stitch for that to keep it neat. That’s all I’ve done today as it’s been busy.
I’m not sure whether to do his glasses before or after the rest of his black fur? We’ll tackle that when we get to it!
Thanks for reading and good-luck with all your embroidery endeavours!