02 April 2021

Easter Were-Rabbit

Sometimes you just have to wonder what people are thinking. I bought a vintage stamped table runner a while ago. It has an Easter theme and I've always wanted to make an embroidered Easter runner or small tablecloth.

However, when it arrived and I got a good look at the design I was rather dismayed by the appearance of the rabbits. This is one of the pseudo-rabbit-things:

Easter rabbit on vintage table runner (to embroider)

Did the person who drew this ever see a rabbit in person? I don't know what this is, but it's definitely not a cute Easter bunny! It appears to have 'feathers' and cloven feet and it's seriously underfed. I think of it as a 'were-rabbit', poor thing. (There's a second rabbit design on the runner that is just as weird.) It required some remodelling.

I started the were-rabbit-to-Easter-bunny conversion by making paper copies of the rabbit on a copy machine and then gradually transformed the image into something more recognisable as an Easter bunny. (There was a lot of whiteout involved!) I assumed that the blue stamping was permanent (i.e., wouldn't wash out) so I had to account for all the original design lines. Anything inside the new outline was fair game for adjustment!

When the image seemed reasonable, I traced the new outline onto the runner. There are a couple of furs sticking out that I couldn't bring inside the new body outlines without creating too much distortion of the body. I will stitch them with a thread colour that most closely matches the shade of the ground fabric. The sticky-outy furs should mostly disappear unless you look very closely.

New design for embroidery Easter bunny on table runner

I used a white acid-free gel pen to 'erase' some of the original design lines inside the new outline because they were going to be very distracting. Using the white pen is not my first choice, but I've tried it before and it's not at all difficult to stitch through. Also, I suspect it will wash out when laundered. It's fairly flakey and doesn't seem to soak into the linen.

Because I've recently been working on hares with Jenny McWhinney's Queen Anne's Lace projects, I'm going to use my newly acquired hare embroidery skills to colour this rabbit in a similar fashion. By the way, I suspect that given the large feet and ears that this creature is probably a hare, but I'm calling it a bunny because, you know, Easter!

I don't know when this runner was produced, but it's a nice sturdy piece of light yellow or cream linen, very warm in tone. I can't use the same colours as the McWhinney hares because they are stitched with cool browns. This bunny is going to need warm browns. Here's the palette I'm going to try:

Embrodered Easter Table Runner: palette colours, browns and pinks

He's going to be a fairly dark brown, perhaps like a chocolate bunny. That seems appropriate.

I started with the back-most elements: ears and left legs/feet.

Embroidered Easter Table Runner: Beginning to embroidery the new Easter bunny

Next, I started working from the tail towards the head. The fur direction is very important and I had to not zone out whilst working on the upper part of the back leg.

The belly direction into the body was tricky because there's a sharp change in direction from the area around the hind leg up towards the body.

Embroidered Easter Table Runner: Filling in the back leg of the bunny

The head is separated from the body by the bow. This was handy because it allowed me to work on it as a separate element and not worry about doing it last as I worked towards it from the body.

Embroidered Easter Table Runner: Bunny body nearly filled

The chest had to be extended out more than I'd hoped. It looks like the bow is choking the poor bunny! That's easy to fix. I'll just extend the band out a bit more.

This critter required a lot of thread and given that I stitched with a single strand, it seemed like it took forever to fill in the body.

Embroidered Easter Table Runner: Working the bunny's head

Below is the bunny's current state and it's done for now. There are still things to tweak, but this is a good stopping point. I'm starting to overthink things, so I need to step away.

The tail will wait until the end of the runner. (I think it's going to be fluffy, but I haven't decided that for sure, yet.) The bow won't be stitched until I determine the overall plan for the brighter colours on the runner including the flowers. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the whiskers! I think he's a definite improvement over the original design.

Embroidered Easter Table Runner: Easter Bunny--done for now

Next, I'm going to work the bunny's twin on the other side of the runner. I'm hoping that will go faster since I won't be trying to figure out how to embroider the bunny. The 'how' took quite a bit of time. On the second one I only have to stitch!

12 comments :

  1. Oh ! I love your re-modelled bunny , yes I think that before , it was a Hare or a Jack Russel with very long ears .He looks so much happier now . Wishing you a very Happy Easter . love Debbie x

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    1. Thank you. I like him, too! I think you're being too kind to the 'before' version. I still don't know what that is. :-) Happy Easter!

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  2. Looks great and I agree much happier Easter Bunny!

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    1. Thank you, yes, much happier! (The embroiderer is, too!)

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  3. Now that a darling bunny, good job!

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    1. Thank you! He turned out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.

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  4. Fantastic changes. Definitely a rabbit and great color choices. Thank you for sharing. Happy Easter.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback. Happy Easter!

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  5. Exquisite! Thank you for sharing the steps. The difference between the "before" and "after" is inspirational.

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  6. Oh my goodness, your stitching is superb and your artistic abilities equally superior. How proud you must be! Such a wonderful improvement. Kudos

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  7. Every now and again we do look at something and wonder What Were They Thinking?
    You've done a wonderful job in taming the were-rabbit!

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