Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Bit More About Whipped Backstitch Outlines

I've continued working whipped backstitches all around the perimeter of O'jishi's face.  Since I'm using one ply of my golden Gloriana silk for the backstitches and the whipped stitch, the result is a thin raised line.  I've included a huge image of as much of the design as I can get on my scanner bed without taking the canvas off the stretcher bars and have my fingers crossed you can see the effect around the outside of his face.

While I worked, I thought about whipped backstitch and have come up with some conclusions about how to work this stitch successfully on NP canvas.  First, so you don't have to go back through Blog to find it, here is a link explaining how backstitch (which is the foundation of whipped backstitch) is done.

Now, also from Mary Corbet's site, is whipped backstitch.  Her stitch tutorials have both a short video demonstration and a written explanation, by the way.  I think they are terrific!

These are embroidery stitches, normally done on something like linen or Aida fabric.  When you stitch on NP canvas, especially on top of other stitches, you have to adjust the stitch technique slightly.  It is important to make the backstitches the same length, which is difficult on NP canvas, especially following curves like the outline of the mask face.  I tried to always make each backstitch four holes long, coming up in one hole, skipping the next hole, and going down in the third one.  Sometimes I had to cover four holes, however.  Or two.  You will have to compensate backstitches and whipped backstitches.  I just did the best I could.

I did think about using a sharp needle to make my backstitches more even when the available length was longer/shorter than the norm, but finally decided there wasn't enough compensation to make this necessary.  If you try this on your canvas, you may decide differently.

When you are ready to whip the backstitches foundation, it helps NOT to have a sharp needle.  It is going to be difficult to avoid catching some of the background threads as you work, and a sharp needle makes it easier to split stitches which you do not want to do.  Occasionally, I whipped with the needle eye instead of the tip but generally I found it easier to slide my needle's tip under the backstitch I was going to whip over.

Whip always in the same direction (I worked from right toward the left when inserting the needle) and when you get to a longer than usual backstitch, you might need to make two whips instead of one.

I hope these tips help anyone who tries whipped backstitch on a needlepoint canvas.

I plan to shovel more snow (I need to clear the porch if at all possible today) and also finish the whipped backstitches around O'jishi's eyes, nose and forehead.  After that, I need to see what finishing touches the canvas calls for.  Border stitch, anyone?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
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