Friday, December 17, 2010

The Dragon Itself (Part Nine)

Leigh Designs' European Dragon
Continuing the discussion about Sandy's dragon, we will pick up with
The Head and Eye - The eye is the most important part of the head. Stitch it first with tent stitches and use silk floss or a thin metallic. I think I would stitch the eye color in metallics to contrast with the pupil in silks. Perhaps add a bead for the pupil. Backstitch or stem stitch around the eye with your silk. These areas need the detail of a floss instead of the heavier look you would get from your Opal or Silk Lame Braid. Experiment until you are happy and don’t be afraid to rip out. You want your dragon to have the proper expression. Once the eye is mastered, then tent stitch with careful shading the rest of the face. You may wish to backstitch or stem stitch the outline around his mouth, the continuation of the eyeliner over the top of his head, the line at the corner of his mouth and of course the forked tongue and chin hairs. Treat his tiny head spines the way you did the small spines on his lower body and tail.

The Smoke and Flame - I’d leave these to the end (along with beads on the tummy scales if you indeed use them). Let’s talk about the flame first. I know you want to use something like Flair for these areas. Because you are going to have the background stitched already before you get to these, some test stitching in the margins of the canvas or on scrap will serve you well in determining what you do. You may find the color of Flair you chose doesn’t work. Testing will help you decide on the right color. I would not stitch the Sundance Eye Wave background stitch over the smoke and flame areas. Leave them bare and stitch right up to them with the background stitch. When it comes to the flame, look at what Cassie did for her hummingbird tail in the link below. I think once you lay down long lengths of Flair, you could (using a sharp needle and one ply of a silk so it won’t catch on the Flair) do stem or outline stitches right on top to highlight this area. Note Cassie did a long straight stitch but stem or outline stitches are less likely to snag on a pillow.

I’d bunch up my Flair for the smoke and tack it down using a darker gray thread. You can probably stitch long stitches along the bottom of the Flair with a sharp needle, then gather the Flair by pulling on the threads. This is how ruffles are attached to pillows, etc. This tutorial is for using a sewing machine but you can use the same technique and won’t have to have two lines of running stitch. Just put your row of running stitches close to the bottom of the Flair and use long stitches. Probably silk will work best as thin metallics might snag the Flair.

I hope I didn’t forget any areas on this large, complex piece! Please ask questions where things aren’t clear. Have fun with this. We all are eager to have a photograph when you finish so don’t forget us!

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