More on the Elephant of Infinite Charm

Trial of Interlacing

Trial of Interlacing

You may recall that last week I said I was thinking of working one of the new interlacing patterns on the Elephant’s saddlecloth. I ferreted around in my box of metallic threads and found several golds and coppers to choose from. Finally I chose a warm copper, and looked up the instructions for the interlacing.

I really didn’t like the look of it at all.  Somehow it looked tangled and rather moth-eaten, instead of exotic. Not A Good Look, so out it came.

Final Decision

Final Decision

So in the end I decided to use ordinary trellis couching. The couching stitches are upright cross stitches in the copper thread, over a silk foundation. It looks a little dull in the photo, but in real life the little sparkle of copper “lifts” it nicely, and I think it will work well.

You might also notice that I’ve finished outlining him, using the thread that shades from brown to cream. It means that his edges aren’t always emphasised to the same degree, which I think is a good thing.

Artists talk of “light and shade”, and we usually interpret that as meaning simply that the patterns of tone are what build up a recognisable image. To an extent that is correct, in that if the tones are wrong, a picture won’t work well. When we are talking of a design of lines rather than shapes, however, it’s less obvious what we mean.  I am trying to create a pattern of varying densities of stitching as well as colour, and in the end what I hope to have achieved is a pleasing rhythm for the eye to follow, not “sticking” anywhere, but not frantically jolting from one part of the design to the next.




  1. He is indeed charming! I am looking forward to seeing more.

  2. He is looking rather grand with that cloth on his back. One special elephant.

  3. Elmsley Rose says:

    Um I think Carol and Carolyn covered it 🙂 🙂

    We were talking about the light falling from either the top left or the top right hand side weren’t we? And I told you that in Illumination the traditional side was the left (a religious thing). To give light and shade to the Elephant, are you thinking along those lines? Or a more needlepainting approach, where the object in itself is coloured to indicate depth and shape?

  4. Lady Fi says:

    So nice to see the elephant taking shape.

  5. Janice says:

    Yes, it’s not clear from the photo but I know what you mean. The tiny touches of copper will lift and add a subtle sparkle to the saddle cloth, lending it a richness without overwhelming it. Looking good!

  6. […] worked one section in each size, and now I’ve decided I like it just as it is. It recalls the Trellis Couching on the saddlecloth, but at a different orientation. 0 Comments Posted in General Embroidery by Rachel Tagged […]