Thursday, February 17, 2011

Luna: From Fingertips to Lips UPDATED

Ladies of the Night:  Luna in Close Up
Last night was spent thinking about, stitching, ripping out, and finally restitching Luna's fingers and lips. In the photo above notice her mouth is slightly open.  It has a white highlight on her lower lip and you can see black background between the lips because her mouth is open.  (Is Luna like me in that she never stops talking?  LOL)

Her very long fingernails are the same shade of red as her lipstick, so I decided I wanted to use a shiny and slightly metallic thread for both areas.  But what stitches?  I decided the lips should be in either tent stitches or in long laid stitches and that the fingers and fingernails could be done in bullions, in wrapped long lengths of perle cotton, or in tent stitches.  Then I remembered DMC's new memory thread which is wire wrapped in floss.  Could I use it inside a length of Flair for fingernails?

Luna's Hands 
I visited my stash and pulled the right deep crimson colors in Kreinik, in Frosty Rays, and in silk and got our my little bit of red DMC memory thread.  Then I did some test stitching to see what thread/stitch combo gave me the look I wanted.

In the second photo above you see that I tent stitched Luna's hands to the base of her fingers.  The long lengths of thread are there to show you were I stopped stitching.  My original thought was to use padded fingers or bullions for fingers and fingernails but I ran into the same problem with either stitch--how do you transition from the flesh color to the red fingernails?  I decided it was impossible to do with bullions or memory thread inserted into Flair and have them look ok but I could lay down a length of perle cotton and wrap it with two colors of floss to make fingers and painted nails.

While I thought, I absentmindedly tent stitched the fingernails with my Frosty Rays to see if that color was ok and to my great surprise, the fingernails looked great!  Is it possible that the answer to a good manicure is tent stitching?

In this case, I think it is.  Look at the photos again and notice that the red and pink colors of her fingers and fingernails stand out nicely against the black tent stitched background.  That means tent stitches in those colors will also stand out.  Now look at her elaborate ring.  Using bullions for fingers might mean the ring would be overshadowed by 3-D fingers sticking up from the canvas. That would look horrible.  And how was I going to make the fingernail tips taper using wrapped cotton perle?  The base of the fingers would need a lot more wraps which might raise that area so much it looked odd.

These are all things you have to consider when stitching a painted canvas--does it look right next to the stitching you've already done or the stitching you still have to do?  I've had fabulous ideas that just weren't right for the canvas I was working on that I had to abandon.  But abandon them I did.  Otherwise I'd risk turning out a canvas that was dominated by one thing that did nothing to enhance the entire design.

After the fingers were under control, it was time to stitch those lips.  I tried my fingernail Frosty Rays in tent stitches first, covering only the red painted areas and ignoring the white lip highlight and the black background seen through the open mouth.  The Frosty Rays didn't look quite right (too metallic?) and the mouth looked odd with the black and white areas unstitched.  I didn't think they would look good stitched in black and white later, either.  So out came the lip stitches and I thought things over.  My second attempt used my Frosty Rays again except this time I pulled the metallic thread out of the center of Frosty Rays.  For those who haven't seen Frosty Rays in person, it is just Flair with a length of metallic thread down the center of this Barbie doll panty hose-looking thread.  This website has good close up photos of Frosty Rays, including the color I used "Midnight Red" #Y318, so you can see how Frosty Rays is made.

Without the metallic core thread, my Frosty Rays was a little less metallic but still had a bit of shine so it looked like lipstick.  I stitched the entire mouth area in red tent stitches, whether it was painted red, black or white.   This looked much better!

With all this ripping out, I ran out of time and didn't get Luna's fingers below her fingernails all tent stitched, so there is no photo of the finished area yet.  I'll stitch her fingers later today, take a photo, then update this article so you can see the finished look.  I may or may not put the white highlight or the black line back on top of the red mouth stitches, but that's a decision for today in the sunlight when I can see whether they make a difference.  Stay tuned!

UPDATE:  Luna has fingers as well as fingernails and lips.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at

Finishing (with Hardware)

I got a note yesterday asking a finishing question I couldn't answer so I turned to the professionals.  Pat Mazu answered my question and during our conversation, I visited the website that sells Pat's finishing book and her mini stocking designs.  It's worth taking time to see the slide show of Pat's stockings and marvel how she uses simple stitches and an overdyed thread to great effect.  Who said simple wasn't gorgeous?! If you are a member of the American Needlepoint Guild, check your old issues of Needle Pointers magazine for free mni sock charts from Pat.  You won't be sorry.

Also in pursuit of answers for my correspondent, I was at Cheryl Schaeffer's website.  On her New for 2011 page, there are some cute mini socks and some stunning Halloween bell pull hardware that in combination with Cheryl's designs, brings the traditional bell pull into the 21st Century.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at