Updated December 7, 2018
My love for needlepointed bugs has raised some eyebrows. I do love the wonderful colors they have along with the fantastic detail.
Many beetles look great stitched in metallics but transparent wings often pose a real problem. It can be hard finding a thread that conveys transparency on these small spaces.
Making those wings right turns them into the perfect finishing touch for your bug.
I stitch wings in Tent Stitch or Diagonal Gobelin. That allows the threads to show. For the transparent parts of the wings I use Flair or Rachel. This thread is translucent so the wings look lighter than the body. It comes in lots of colors so you can find the color that’s just right.
Best of all, Flair has a lovely subtle crinkly texture that, I think, makes the wings look so life-like. It’s why I rarely use other threads for translucent wings.
If you can find, or have in your stash, multi-color versions of this thread, such as Rainbow Gallery’s Rhapsody or Needle Necessities Shadow-dyed Rachel, try them if the color works. They make the wings look even more life-like.
Wings don’t have to be white. There are many very pale colors of Flair that could be used to set off the color of the insect. I have a dragonfly in my stash that will use four pale shades of Flair for the wings.
To give you a better idea of the difference in texture between Flair and Water n’Ice the middle, all white, section of the wings are stitched in that thread. Although Water n’Ice has the crinkly effect, it unravels badly and is hard to stitch as Tent.
There is one more aspect to stitching wings, the veins. If you want to make them stand out, pick a metallic as I did here. (since this bug is pretty much nothing but wings, the veins are an important part of the pattern.) More matte metallics can be a great choice for this. If you want the veins to be less noticeable use floss in a light color. I did this with a bee I stitched several years ago and it’s just enough contrast in texture to define the veins, but not so much that they arrest your attention.
Stitch a bug with lovely wings and create your own needlepoint “living jewel.”