Saturday, July 10, 2010

Designing a Parrot Head

Last night was more rows of tent stitch while I sketched, then erased, various layouts of stitches for the parrot's Ultrasuede head.

The photo shows you my latest layout.  If you squint you can see where I erased smaller ray stitches around the bird's eye.

I finally decided simpler was better.  This afternoon I hope to start attaching the head so I can try this out.

It occurred to me on re-reading yesterday's posting that I wasn't too clear about the steps in stitching the parrot's head. Let me try to fix that:  The first thing I do before I even put a canvas on stretcher bars is to make a color copy of it.  For Cha I made two color copies because I already knew I wanted to do things that might involve cutting up one of the copies to use as a pattern.  I have one copy in reserve to check if I cover up things I have to stitch later.  The other copy was scissored to cut out the paper parrot head above.

I attached the paper head on top of the painted parrot head so I would know where to stop tent stitching the bird's breast and lower body.  I want the Ultrasuede piece to meet the tent stitches but not overlap them.  Once the tent stitching was finished, I put the paper head away for a while.

When I was ready, I used the paper pattern again to cut out my piece of plum colored Ultrasuede.  I used my sharpest scissors for this.  The eye hole is the hardest to do.  I punched a hole in the middle of the eye with an awl, then inserted my scissors tip to make the first cut.  I'm going to have to smooth out the hole with an Exacto knife later on today once the sun's out.

By the way, the Ultrasuede came from Orna Willis who sells small sets of assorted colors.  I didn't buy mine--I won them in a contest.  Luckily there is a wonderful plum square in my assortment.  A corner of that is now the parrot head.

The plan is to use my strong set of magnets to hold the Ultrasuede in position as I carefully stitch around the margins (using one ply of silk and a very sharp needle plus my thimble) to hold it in place.  Once that is done, I'll start adding the stitches on top whose placement I worked out in the drawing.  The plan is to continue the three-quarters wide diamond stitches at the base of the bird's neck, then put a few of the diamond rays radiating from the eye.  The last step will be to put the wide black streak over the eye. I'll use the same Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss used on the beak and claws there and tack it down with tiny stitches in the middle of the ribbon floss.

SharonG taught me to do that.  She used the same technique with 1/16 Kreinik ribbon on the free dragonfly kimono pattern she did for the American Needlepoint Guild.  She describes her technique (used to put in the grass) at the bottom of the second page of instructions for her project on the ANG website. I stitched this in purples and blues as a wallet insert.  It's gorgeous!

Back to Cha.  I have only a vague idea how this will look or whether it is going to make the canvas look the way I want, but how can I challenge you guys to make a leap into painted canvas stitching if I'm not willing to try new things publicly myself?

Wish me luck!  [Jane holds her nose and leaps off the cliff into the deep water below.  Wheeeeeeee!]

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