A Stitch Sampler Update – The Elephant!

TAST stitches on an elephant design
It's time for another SAL update! And the elephant is back - but how to finish him?

It’s hard to believe another three weeks has absolutely flown by, and it’s time for another SAL update!

After saying over the past few updates that ‘next time’ I would share the progress on the elephant, I thought it was probably time to at least have a look at him and make some decisions on how to finish him off.

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The Elephant from TAST

Since it has been quite a while since we’ve seen the elephant, I thought a little bit of background might be a nice place to start.

This little elephant, in essence, is a sampler I started back in 2016. Sharon from Pintangle runs TAST, Take A Stitch Tuesday. It’s a great way to get introduced to new stitches, as she really does have some very unusual stitches in her library as well as the more commonly known ones.

I wasn’t keen on doing a traditional sampler. The idea of an image that I could use to sample stitches appealed to me a lot more.

The basic design of the elephant is from the adult colouring book by Millie Marotta, her Animal Kingdom book.

When I stopped working on the TAST stitches (I can’t actually remember why, but I imagine it was due to a lack of time!), this is what the ornately decorated elephant was looking like.

TAST stitches on an elephant design


Looking Back

Having a fresh pair of eyes on a piece is often a good idea. Even if it is your own eyes looking at something after a period of time!

Generally speaking, I don’t think it’s too bad to be honest! There’s some tension issues on a number of stitches, and some stitches where I don’t think I stitched them correctly. As a piece that was designed to help me learn new stitches and improve my stitching, I think it definitely helped in both of those areas. Whereas now I would probably pull some of these stitches out and re-stitch them, I’m not going to do that here. It’s all part of the journey!

Looking Forward

One of the problems I recall having with this piece is ‘fitting in’ the various stitches as they came up on TAST. In standard samplers this isn’t a problem, as you aren’t working to a particular design. But when you have design lines to fill, it does become  little tricky!

With a look back at it, I can see some areas where a simple stitch like chain stitch or stem stitch would work best. But I will look through the TAST archives and try and find a few ‘interesting’ stitches to fill in some of the areas. There’s a lot going on already on this elephant, so it will be a balancing act to get it finished, and also keep it within the ‘style’ that this piece is!

If you have any ideas on how to fill or outline some of these areas, do let me know! Next time, I’ll have looked into some of these stitches and come up with some solutions I hope.

linked chain stitch sampler
Vandyke stitch sample
Arrow Stitch sample


Join the others!

Do make sure you head over and see what everyone else has been up to! There is always so much to see, and is a great and lovely time catching up with everyone.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusanKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaMary MargaretTimothy, HeidiConnie

See you in three weeks for the next SAL update.

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36 thoughts on “A Stitch Sampler Update – The Elephant!”

  1. Why a sampler should have to be a regular, symmetrical shape I don’t know. An elephant (or indeed any other creature) is a great idea! Also, I don’t think you have to go mad trying to make all the infill out of ‘new’ stitches. Sometimes the obvious choice is the right way to go. Having said that, though, I love what you’ve done so far!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement Kate! It would be nice to fill him in with a few more new stitches, but as you said, sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice!

  2. He is wonderful, and definitely needs to be finished! Go crazy and have a good time. I think that many Indian elephants are over the top in their decoration, so you can’t go wrong!!

    1. Thanks Kathy. That was why I thought an elephant might be a good animal to use for this purpose – I can play around with stitches and threads!

  3. He’s going well. In your position I would spend an afternoon or so leafing through my stitch dictionaries for a stitch to jump out and ask to be used!

    1. What a great idea, thank Rachel! I do think once I’ve worked out a few stitches to be used, he probably won’t actually take that long to finish off.

    1. Thanks Timothy. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with variegated thread – sometimes I love it, other times it drives me nuts! All about what I’m doing at the time, but it’s nice to see it work so well in an area.

  4. I really like your idea of an elephant sampler. It is looking great so far. What a great way to practice stitches!

  5. I particularly like the stitch that you have used in the variegated green thread – what is it? From the pictures you have posted your tension looks very good, so I think you are being a little harsh on yourself.

    1. Thank you – that is very kind of you! That stitch was my first attempt at Van Dyke stitch. I had no idea how to keep the braid in the middle (I now know it’s all about tension!). But regardless, I actually like the way it turned out!

  6. I really like your idea of having a image for the TAST stitches. I was following along for while, but fell off the wagon as other things took a more present role. I love your elephant -the stitching is gorgeous.

    1. Yes, I too fell off the wagon. Looking back at this guy he is quite cute, so not sure why, but like you, I imagine there was something more enticing at the time! Thanks for your encouragement. I’m not going to get through all the stitches, but I will hopefully get this guy finished!

  7. What a lovely work. Anything will go in this sort of design so have fun doing all the new stitches you intended trying out. If you do not like one stitch in particular it will have still taught you something, therefore earning its place. If you really are stuck for tiny shapes then French knots, bullion stitches or even a little blackwork would all fit in.

    1. Thanks Helen. And already with some of the stitches I have learnt I’m not keen on them! I quite like the idea of some bullions – you can get quite creative with what you do with some of them!

  8. I love that you chose an elephant as the subject to stitch your sampler on! I’m looking forward to seeing what other stitches/embellishments you add.

    Thanks so much for linking up to last week’s Stitchery Link Party. Aloha hugs!

    1. Whilst not conventional it does add an added complication at times, but I’m enjoying playing and learning the stitches that are added!

  9. I really like your elephant as it is already! What about one of these two? Or maybe a seed stitch for small areas? A close buttonhole? The colors and things you have used already are wonderful.

    1. Thanks Susan. I think the options are endless! I quite like the colours in it too, and am hoping at the end to be able to make it up into a cushion for my niece. It’s quite amazing to think of how many stitches are available to us!
      Thanks so much for taking the time to look up those stitches on Mary’s site, it means a lot to me that you took so much time out of your day!

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Catherine at Hillview Embroidery

Thanks so much for visiting today! I’m Catherine, and it’s great to have you here. You will find here lots of information about my projects and designs, what worked, what didn’t, what I enjoyed, what I didn’t!

With a Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery from the RSN, I strive to complete each piece to a high degree of technical excellence. But I also like to stretch the ‘rules’ and explore my own methods and techniques!

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