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Nimue Creation Step by Step

A few months ago I wanted to write about the creative process either in general or the particularities related to a specific topic in progress. And as these articles are acclaimed by many of you, I continue…

In this part of the site you will therefore find articles that tell how a creation is developed step by step, mixing technical, economic and poetic questions.
And above all, do not hesitate to leave your comments at the end of the article. Good reading !

Parade finishes, episode 2

Mysterious "less" grid

As I said in the previous episode (Episode 1) I considerably re-enhanced the colors. What is subtle and charming in paper printing is not necessarily so in embroidery.
1- Embroidery canvas
On the other hand, I chose a natural linen canvas, so the characters have to stand out from the background with fairly bright colors. If you take the trouble to embroider it must show a minimum!… When it makes sense.
Since there is a lot of detail in the characters’ expressions, hands, clothing, etc., I prefer a 14 thread count over a 12 thread count even though both are fine.
Personally, my taste goes for the most finesse because without yet precisely measuring all the stakes of this choice, my experience is there which leads me to foresee moments when the finest will be the most charming.

What is subtle and charming in paper printing is not necessarily so in embroidery.

2- Background
a- For the banner, if I rely on the original color, we are right in the tones of the canvas to be embroidered, which poses a problem since then we will no longer be able to distinguish anything.
I’m just going to clarify because I don’t want it to be too big either, for it to take on too much importance.
b- On the original image there was a baby who occupied almost all the space… It was a birth celebration, which was the main subject. I chose to completely delete it since it is no longer My Subject.

It's a procession, a parade, for Nimuë's birthday!

3- What Changes? :
  • My parade is still there.
  • The Little Butterfly Fairy has been reduced by about 20%.
  • The baby is gone
  • The flying Fairy has been moved to the top left
  • The Banner has cleared up
  • The characters have taken the light!

Here below, after many modifications, my subject revisited…

4- Second half of Parade:
In this part we find characters that may have appeared a few years ago in the Nimuë catalog, such as Le Lutin des Chênes or La Pipe . It’s a way to remember what made the salt of these years of embroidery.
It will also be the space to integrate special elements that are strong identifiers of Nimuë’s creations such as Pearls, Bell-type Accessories, silk threads, and other fantasies.
5- The Characters: from left to right
The Goblin on the Souriceau is a secondary character, a sort of nod to the Nimuesque epic: little characters or fairies riding mice or birds.
Ephemeral: recalls La Pipe, one of the very first characters in 2002. Of those who made the success of Nimuë from the start. He is shod in green poulaines to which I add curled toes reminiscent of the Mic & Mac .
Above, flies a simple, stylized little fairy. Not much to say except that it should be treated as lightly as possible, probably in 1 thread. I don’t know yet if the wings will be embellished with shiny threads or if it will be superfluous. Sure these very secondary characters I do not linger more than that even if I keep this option in a corner of my head. Of course she will be dressed…
6th Goblin/Leprechaun: I love it ! He reminds me of Pierre Perret with his laughing face. He deserves to be pampered with his beautiful top hat, his jacket over his shoulder. It’s still not going to be easy to bring all this out without it all getting confused. In embroidery you have to make choices, sometimes remove details, backgrounds, which in painting are essential for understanding the subject, but in embroidery it has the opposite effect: you no longer understand anything.
I’m going to remove everything in the background, behind the character and stylize the Scottish parts as much as possible. What will remain in the background will be embroidered in 1 thread to accentuate the difference between the foreground and the background.
The most important thing is his face and the folds of the sleeve in front and the hat behind, which frame the face.
5th Goblin/Leprechaun :
This musician plays the “snare drum”. This is how this instrument is called in a Celtic march. He is holding chopsticks in his hands. It is not interesting to embroider them it is better to add accessories at the end.
The difficulty of this character lies in the finesse of the yellow curves on the body and on the clothes. Two choices :
  1. either it will be in the finishes with 1 yellow thread for the contours but here we have different materials: textile and wood, so substantially 2 different threads?
  2. or we use small delicate stitches to embroider at the risk of getting lost in the chart.

This second option allows you to have less back stitches at the end but it can be tough for less experienced embroiderers.

From the beginning I had in mind to limit the back stitches and to put a maximum of information already in the cross stitch chart hence this choice of small stitches in several clothes and accessories. So choice number 2!

Not all checkout details may appear already. There will certainly be a metal wire for the final decor. However, if I add a metal thread here, it must also be relevant for other elements elsewhere in the embroidery so as not to multiply the costly additions of threads.

So we do both small stitches and we will have a special thread but only on the body, not on the garment.

4th Goblin/Leprechaun :
He is a carrier, he is almost completely masked by musician 5, except for his head and his feet.
The choice to delete the details of the background decoration is even more relevant here, because it would become completely illegible, especially at the level of the legs and the shoes, but these are extremely charming elements of the embroidery that must be highlighted.
At this point, I have therefore decided:
  • to favor small stitches and less back stitches,
  • to remove all the background decoration in the lower part,
  • to embroider the characters in 2 threads and the background in 1 thread,
  • to add original accessories in the hands of the characters,
  • to limit special threads to what is strictly necessary.
6- Another question: what do most of the characters have in common that we haven’t talked about yet?
clothes buttons
Each character is dressed in a frock coat with buttons all over the sleeves, the pockets, the martingales in addition to the front buttons!
This is way too much information for an embroidery of this size even though it is quite large. It will have to be eliminated or give the illusion of…
My question is: Will I find accessories that can represent these buttons or will I have to embroider them?
7- Bells
In the background, in several places, there are rather large bronze bells.
My previous question repeats itself:
Will I find accessories that can represent these bells or will I have to embroider them?

And if I find it, in what proportion?

  • All with accessories or
  • an embroidered part: a mixed one?
Bronze bells are very rare or very expensive. Also, they have to be the right size. But in the image I count at least 8!
This question remains open until I find a supplier. I will have to leave empty spaces in the embroidery while waiting for the answers.
Once I have covered the subject and the points to be defined or clarified creatively, there remains the economic question to consider.
What will be the final price if I add this plus this plus this…
I imagined many other things for this subject and in particular what will be in the center to replace the baby. I have to go in search of the elements reported for:
  • judge if it exists
  • judge whether it is aesthetically and economically relevant
  • find out if it’s available
  • in what quantities
  • in which countries
  • will it be necessary to manufacture? in which country ?
  • etc

While waiting for all these answers I will be able to embroider the first stitches because the journey has only just begun. But at some point you have to meet the subject intimately by confronting him directly…

See you for the rest: Parade Finishes: Episode 3…

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Don’t hesitate to leave your comments below!

Picture of Annaïck Chauvel

Annaïck Chauvel

Welcome to the story of Nimue’s Creations. Here I share with you the How and Why of these creations.

Table of Materials

Parade finishes, episode 2

Mysterious “less” grid As I said in the previous episode (Episode 1) I considerably re-enhanced the colors. What is subtle and charming in paper printing

Read more"


Victoria is a really important subject in the history of Nimuë. Originally I created it on a purple marbled canvas from Zweigart on Cashel or

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Why do I embroider?

Why do I embroider… When I embroider what matters to me is to feel emotions, to be in the gesture. One wonders how a gesture

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