Friday, April 30, 2010

Layer One: Legs and Tail

Last night I stitched the first layer of stitches on the tail and two of the four legs of the lion. Following my usual practice, I used two plies of my silk or cotton floss but just one strand of the #8 Kreinik gold metallic.  The stitches you see are stem stitch (mostly, although to make the right curves I occasionally used outline stitch).  This layer just covers the painted canvas, more or less.  I will add more layers in a single ply of my threads on top and blend the threads down into the tent stitched paws.  The most important thing at this stage is to lay down a layer that slants in the right direction--the way real fur lies.  I don't have a lion here to look at but the dogs and the cat have fur, so if I have any question I just look at a tail or leg or tummy here.

This first layer can--and for the most detailed results, probably should be stitched--with one ply instead of two, but using two makes it all go faster.  I enjoy this sort of needle painting but it isn't a fast stitch.

If you want to see how a master of needle painting creates very lifelike animals, we should go visit Tanja Berlin.  She uses long and short stitches instead of the stem stitch technique I am using.  I feel that my stem stitches work better on a small piece that isn't very large but I am not as skilled at Tanja, either.  Whatever technique you want to use, Tanja's approach has great information that will help you, so do a little exploration here, starting with her section that describes what her needle painting instruction booklet.

I hope to do the other two legs and start on the main body today.  I need to put down the first layer on all of the legs, tail and body before I start with the head.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at