I know you guys want to see the finished product, but I have to take it slow.
Let me illustrate my thoughts--the most important of which being that I barely had any idea at all of what I was going to do for the body of the damn thing, and didn't know even after I had already started stitching.
What I did know, though, was that it was going to be white.
I also had some ideas for segmentation a la caterpillar, but I still couldn't think of how I wanted it done.
I wanted to stitch the colors for the segments simultaneously, in such a way that I would just finish the embroidery in one pass.
It was at this point that I realized my plan wouldn't work:
So, there I am, trying to figure out how to fix this without having to tear anything out (which I rarely ever do--so much so that I can almost say I've never done it!)
My answer came to me as such: Work the whole body in white first.
And now, for the segments. I actually got this idea for the segmentation from my Chinese embroidery book--and I wouldn't go so far as to say that I botched the technique...but I put my own spin on it.
What I was supposed to do was work the first shade, then make a line of back/split stitches and then stitch the next shade over that to give it a "raised looked"
But, in retrospect, I wouldn't have liked how it turned out if it had gone as planned because I was stitching in the wrong direction and it would've given me the opposite effect!
So, my process:
The line of stitches (I used split stitch).
I tried to curve them to give it some dimension... not sure if it worked.
And then the shading stitches!
The split stitches are located at the top of each orange section.
Now, I just want to say that I did not use two colors for the orange bits. I used one shade of orange, in fact, the lighter shade (that you can see in the bottom wings) because I thought that the darker orange would be too dark.
As it turns out, the shadow from the raised segments caused the tops to look slightly darker --> so accidental shading!
So, here's the butterfly up to this point:
As you can see, the antennae aren't done yet.
I really struggled with the color choices for the antennae. I didn't want them to be blue or purple or that teal-esque color because of the predominance in the top wings.
So, orange it was.
And more french knots!
I did decide to use some of the dark teal, just to keep things from being too orange, and so far I'm happy with it.