Many years ago, my sewing machine’s embroidery function went awry so I decided to try my hand at freehand machine embroidery. I had a lot of fun making embroidered fruit on scraps of fabric that have since gone missing☹. I haven’t gotten around to doing any more freehand work on my machine since then, but I really liked the effect it made. So, when I decided to try my hand at digital art a few months ago I just had to find a way to mimic the effect of those little stitched works of art. My first attempt turned out pretty well.
So, I continued my fruit theme from long ago.
Then did some more fruit.
I seem to have a thing for fruit. These look surprisingly like what I remember from my embroideries, except I don’t quite know how to mimic the sheen of rayon thread. They are almost as much fun to make too.
In case anyone is wondering how I made these, I use Krita and first tried to draw individual lines to simulate the separate stitches. This promptly drove me slightly mad because there are about a million “stitches” in each piece of fruit and if I wanted to work that slowly I would hand embroider it. Then I started playing with some of the stamps that come with Krita and found that the one called “water” could make it look like I had drawn a handful of stitches at a time. This made the drawing roughly as fast as machine stitching😊.
The fun part of doing this, either on cloth or computer, is building up layers of color. When I did the embroideries I started by outlining the shape in a color that could disappear into the perimeter. Then I would do straight stitches to fill in the shape, starting from the outside working in. Colors would change periodically, with plenty of overlap to blend. This moved pretty quickly so sometimes stitches ended up where I didn’t want them. But as Bob Ross taught us – there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. So if I didn’t like something I would just stitch over it. Yes, they did end up pretty thick.
For the digital versions I took the same approach, layering different colors until I got the result I wanted. But one thing I cant do digitally is replicate using variegated thread. One of my favorite aspects of the machine embroideries was using multicolored thread. This saved having to change threads as often, but also created a bit of a game. As the color changed I would move the area I was working on to get the best placement. Eventually I got into the rhythm of the color changes and would know when to move from the light purple to the dark purple and back again. (This worked like magic on the grapes.) It ended up being quite meditative. But alas, I can’t find a way to convince Krita to variegate my “ink”. Oh well.