Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Dragon Itself (Part Eight)

Leigh Designs' European Dragon
Continuing my posting about Sandy's dragon canvas, I'll start with 
The Wings - These are the most prominent part of the dragon but you don’t want them to overwhelm the head, eye and flame, so I took a lot of time to think this over. The wings also have a special problem--the lightest shade of golden brown at the top edge of the wings may blend into your background color. With that problem in mind, I think the best way to stitch the wings is with a stitch that is non-directional. Try Interlocking Gobelin but skip stitching the ribs between sections You may find you need to cross stitch the lightest golden brown edge of the wings to raise it a bit as it is the most important part of the wing instead of using the Interlocking Gobelin there. Once the sections are finished, stem stitch a line or three for the ribs, letting the stem stitch narrow to the points. Use one row of stem stitch for the thinnest parts and 2-3 for the fatter part of the line. You may want to play around with thin metallics for this outlining of the wings. Kreink has a huge range of colors and also sizes, so that you could even couch the thickest lines with #16 braid, then work your way down to #8 and then #4 at the tips. If that is too much sparkle, try using perle cotton. I am not sure that your Opal or Silk Lame braid will work for the ribs. I think you want contrast. Regardless, once you finish put a line along the outside edge of the top of both wings. This helps “lift” the front wing away from the back wing and also divides the area from the background.

Note: Interlocking Gobelin comes in several sizes: Over two threads, over three, etc. Experiment a bit and see which seems to fit the scale of your dragon. I think you will want to stitch this over three or four threads, not over two as diagrammed here, but this is up to you. Do some test stitches and see what you think. You can do some very nice shading with Interlocking Gobelin.

The Body and Tail - The body has several distinct areas. There is the body under the wings, the back with those big spines, and the turn of the neck before the throat and head. Then there is the tail that narrows down to almost nothing. (Note that the body has an upper and lower area in some sections.) The important thing you want to convey here are the shadings of color and the fact that this is a scaly dragon. If you haven’t made a color copy of your canvas yet, do so before starting to stitch the body. You’ll need it to place the scale outlines and beads by looking at the copy since you will have stitched over some areas already by the time you get to the outlines and beads. We’ve already talked about using tiny beads for the belly. The beading should wait until everything else is done. I find beads catch threads in neighboring areas as you try to stitch next to a beaded area, so I wait until The End most times before I add beads. I think to convey the sense of scales I would use cross stitches along the scale lines and then Dotted Swiss stitch for the upper body (not the area where the beads will go) and the back of the neck under those big spines. (Stitch the spines along his backbone the same way as the teeth and claws but in browns and golds instead of grays and silvers The largest spines on his upper back may need cross stitches instead of tent to make them appear more prominent.) Dotted Swiss is simply cross stitches every other thread, staggering them in the next row so that the cross stitch in the current row is below a skipped thread on the previous row. Once all that is done, fill in the skipped intersections with tent stitches. Because of the intricate shading you may need 2-3 needles threaded with different colors to work the body. You may find you want to couch the dividing line between the upper and lower body. It curves quite a bit and that may be hard to do in solid cross stitches. You can also use stem stitches for the dividing lines of the scales but that again will be harder to do in tight curves. However you decide, do the same thing for the tail. Use stem stitches again to do the narrow tip of the tail. The tiny spines on top of the tail and body should be done in small slanting stitches. Just follow the paint job with your brown thread. If the spines are larger, you may need to do a tent stitch flanked by two slanting lines for the spine- / \ to make it look ok. Once the upper tail and body is done. tent stitch the lower body and tail before adding the beads. Nestle the beads in among the tent stitches, referring to your color copy. You might want to mix sizes of beads and perhaps colors, too. A range of sizes in gold, crystal beads and tan ones would be lovely. Attach them with a doubled long ply of DMC floss in a color that matches your main threads. Whatever color of thread inside the crystal clear beads you use will show a bit so you can shade that way, also.

I'll finish up my discussion of Sandy's dragon canvas tomorrow.

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