Next up is the Luna Moth. Designing it in isolation highlights for me its beauty and fragility.
Prayer: Father, our fragile lives shine in the darkness. Help us to protect that light while letting it shine out to others.
I typically design each element against a blank background. This simplifies the process, focusses my eye on the element, and makes the boundary of the element clear.
But after designing each element, it’s important to plug it in to the overall image. This checks that the design is coming together well.
Prayer: Father, help her and her caregivers to focus on each element of her treatment, while keeping the larger context of her life in mind.
The next step is to design each element at size. I start with the foreground elements, then do the background. So the first order of business is the moon.
The challenge is to show the brighter and darker areas we see and know, while still giving an overall impression of luminescence.
Prayer: Father, even as You made her a light in the darkness, let her find Your light in her troubles.
One of the key things that must be done when designing a needlepoint piece is cutting the millions of colors and shades in a photo down to a manageable palette of colors. They must be different enough that the person stitching the design can tell them apart, but close enough that the color changes aren’t too dramatic.
I find that six shades of grey from white through black inclusive is about right. Other colors can support a similar range of shades.
So I pick colors for the palette from the layout, keeping these guidelines in mind. I arrange them in a grid so I can pick paint colors.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for the beauty and intricacy of creation. Help her to appreciate Your work all around her.
When asked if she had a favorite verse or catch phase she’d like included on the piece, her answer was “Always Victory!” What a great attitude!
I move from Adobe Photoshop to Adobe Illustrator for the rest of the design work, including the placement of her message, using my favorite font, Zapfino.
Prayer: Father, we know that You grant us victory in all things through faith in You!
Here is the fully stitched piece.
You can see that the canvas has gotten somewhat distorted during stitching. Blocking the piece will correct this.
Prayer: Father, the process of going through life can stretch us. Thank You that Your grace and love can always bring us back to our full beauty, as You intended us to be.
The next step is to lay out the elements. I do this in Adobe Photoshop. I’m not trying for a polished work of art at this stage, just for placement of the various elements as they will appear in the final piece.
It may look like I’ve left a lot of space on the right – that’s intentional. That’s where her catch phrase will go.
Prayer: Father, grant her medical team wisdom as they arrange her treatment. Help them to arrange all the necessary elements for her care and still see her as an individual and meet her special needs.
To emphasize the idea of rebirth, I want to show the cocoon the moth has emerged from. It’s amazing that such a large, colorful insect should emerge from such a small plain wrapper!
Prayer: Sometimes life throws so much at us that we feel all we can do is roll up into our shells. Father, give her the strength and courage to break out of her troubles and win free to health, beauty, and faith!
There are many books that can give you fancy stitches for a variety of looks. My favourite is
Sometimes it’s just fun to mix it up!
Prayer: Father, help me to find creative ways to enjoy my life and service.