My husband is in serious love with our cat. He always points out to me when she's in a particularly cute sleeping position. This gave me inspiration for his Christmas present, a portrait of our kitty Asherah, all curled up.
I made this using the aforementioned thread sketching, although this really stretched the limits of the medium because I used, and overlapped, SO MUCH THREAD. In some places the needle didn't want to go through all the layers!
Here's a close-up so you can see some of the detail:
I'm really pleased with how this came out, and I'm gaining a lot of confidence in the medium. It's also a lot more fun than embroidering by hand!