“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” Lupercalia Cross Stitch

Ages ago, before Penguin Books merged with Random House, the UK division celebrated the publisher’s 70th anniversary by releasing 70 pocket-sized novelettes — essays and short stories that had been previously published under their header. I snapped up a dozen of them the summer I was in England (they were light and traveled well): “A Diamond As Big As the Ritz” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Pleasures of Sadness” by Alain de Botton, and, my favorite, “Happy Birthday, Jack Nicholson” by Hunter S. Thompson.

In “Happy Birthday,” Thompson tells the story of dropping a frozen (still bloody) elk heart on the actor’s back step as a birthday present. As Lupercalia dawned and faded (and the Hannibal premiere grew closer), this story was on my mind.

3″ wooden unfinished embroidery hoop
White 14-count cross stitch cloth
Red cotton embroidery floss
Plum cotton embroidery floss
Dark pink cotton embroidery floss
Light pink cotton embroidery floss
Cranberry cotton embroidery floss
Royal blue cotton embroidery floss
Butter yellow cotton embroidery floss
Black cotton embroidery floss
Scrap canvas
Sewing needles

Google images is a very useful tool when you need a template for a new design. Typing “elk heart” into the engine yielded some interesting results. I’m opting not to repost or link the image I used here, because it was originally posted by an individual user in a bow hunting forum (accompanied by some useful tips on how to cook it).

Once I had the image saved to my phone, I used the screen as a makeshift light box and traced the outline and details onto the cross stitch cloth with my pencil.

For the project, I decided to actually give separating my six-strand floss a try (sounds so simple, right?). For the outlines, I used two-strands and three strands for the shading. Based on the lighting of the original heart image, I opted to outline the whole design in plum and use the darker shadings toward the bottom of the heart, with the more vibrant reds and pinks near the top (where the ventricles would have been attacked to…the rest of the elk).

Once the design was done, I decided to make it into a piece of hoop art, rather than trying to create a pillow. So, to wrap it up, I cut out a piece of scrap canvas large enough for a backing, fitted it inside the hoop and trimmed off the excess fabric and cross stitch cloth.

And there we have it! Sorry, no flowers this time. What do you think?

~ by blackmoodcraft on February 20, 2014.

2 Responses to ““The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” Lupercalia Cross Stitch”

  1. I love it …. fantastic!

  2. […] of them. When I was brainstorming for ideas for the first design, I kept getting drawn back to the bloody heart cross stitch I recently completed and some of the other anatomy-based designs I’d spotted on […]

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