Well, this one was, without a doubt, the most complex and fiddly one I have done for a long time, but I do like the final result. Let me introduce you to the Burgundy Mermaid.
Unfortunately I just didn't seem to be able to get a really decent photo. None of them captured the vibrant colours, instead she looks rather 'washed out'.
I started this block the usual way, by doing the seam treatments - a small one in purple detached fly stitch (which ended up looking like zigzag stitch) with purple seed beads, and a long one in a rich rust chain stitch wave with dark red seed beads. This one ended up getting rather lost under the mermaid's hair.
My vision for this one was a mermaid pulling at a fisherman's net, so the first thing I did was sketch it out.
The stitching was started with the net, done in a beige No. 10 purl, and the needlelace stitch used was knotted buttonhole stitch. Normally needlelace is started on a leader thread, but I didn't want that solid straight line across the top. Rather, I wanted to give the impression of the net extending up past the edge, so I knotted the first row directly onto the fabric, to give it that 'open net' look.
The next step was to transfer the body shape to a lovely flesh coloured piece of silk, and the tail shape to a burgundy satin. These were then cut out, and placed into position. Rather than appliquéing using a tiny turned seam, I used an outlining thread instead, for both pieces, as I liked the definition it gave better. Once this was decided, the outlining threads (both No. 10 purl) were couched into place with small stitches.
I chose some beautiful facetted 'dusky rose with gold tones' sequins from my stash, and stitched them in place with 'antiqued gold' seed beads. I have to say - wow! Who knew it took so many sequins to cover a mermaid's butt! Once all the sequins were placed, I added extra seed beads up her back and on her tail.
Finally, the hair was added, This was done in two stages. The first was carefully stitching the hair yarn in close parallel lines to cover the head, using tiny stitches, and being very careful not to catch any of the wispy bits. Second was stitching the flowing strands, again using tiny stitches, and being careful not to catch any of the wispy bits. Then, viola! The Burgundy Mermaid. I hope Stephanie is happy with her.