Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Dragon Itself - Part Seven

Leigh Designs' European Dragon
The European Dragon canvas is easily broken up into sections: there are the two wings, the feet and claws, the head and neck, the smoke and flame near the head, and the body. You’ll have to do some playing around with your threads, Sandy, to see how they stitch up in the stitches I recommend below. There’s no way for me to know if things will work if I have not stitched it myself. But drawing on my experience with threads and stitches, I can make recommendations for you to test. Whether you like them or not, well, at least you will have starting points. Sometimes just knowing you hate a certain stitch gives you a place to start since it is much easier to react than to start with a blank slate yourself.

In no particular order, here are my impressions for each area.

Special Background Thoughts - Some areas of the background have to have a lot of compensation. I’m thinking about the area of the dragon’s open mouth where the teeth stick up and where the smoke and flame are, the hole shape the tail coils around, the small spaces between the claws, the area above the neck where the spines stick up, etc. In general, I think you will want to tent stitch these areas with your background thread. You may find you can put some compensated background in areas that are larger (like the background above the long neck) but I think in most cases that’ll look odd. I’d start stitching the background first and just see how well compensated small areas look. If you haven’t stitched the dragon yet, you can more easily count across the dragon to finish the row. You can also stitch right over the dragon with some DMC cotton floss in a bright color to keep the stitch flow going. Once you reach the other side to finish that row of background stitches, you can pull the brightly colored DMC stitches out.

By now I hope you’ve chosen the “framing” border to stitch but you may want to do a single row of background and then some test stitches. You’ll have to play with the threads you’d chosen to see which looks best as a stitched frame for the piece, though.

The Feet and Claws (and Teeth) - These are pretty easy. I would tent stitch the feet section by section, skipping the lines around each segment. You can go back and do cross stitches over the outlines once the sections are done to set off each area. The claws I would do the same way in three shades of silver and gray. Use a pale non-metallic gray for the inside of each claw in tent stitches, then switch to a dark gray non-metallic for the bottom outline. You may want to switch to tent stitches for this. The final touch should be a metallic silver outline for each claw, probably also in tent stitches. You want the claws a little recessed compared to the feet. I think I’d stitch the dragon’s teeth the same way as the claws. I would also stitch the gray inside of his open mouth in tent stitches so that the teeth aren’t overwhelmed by a fancier stitch.

I'll continue talking about stitches for the dragon itself tomorrow.

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