Monday, December 28, 2015

Want to Learn Needle Painting? Deviating from The Plan Part One

Black and White Sketch with Guide Lines

Once I had a sketch plan for how to stitch my little dog (above), it was time to do the stitching.  As a reminder, this is an 18 count canvas and I used white size 8 perle cotton and two colors of Gloriana's new Silk/Cashmere thread (using two plies of the four the thread automatically separates into) for the majority of the dog.

Padding Added

As you may remember from last week, I planned to pad the dog's ears, forehead and cheeks and perhaps the front legs.  Then I would use mostly stem stitches on top of the padded and non-padded areas.  So I started out by padding the dog's cheeks and forehead,  put a large X stitch over the area above the nose followed by a few horizontal stitches, then tent stitched its chest and front legs.  You can see all that above plus I outlined the dog's ears 2/3 of the way around with stem stitches.  All of this was done with white perle cotton except for the gray tent stitches which were done in gray perle cotton.

I started to feel uneasy about the tent stitched legs and chest (after all, it's going to be difficult to stitch through a layer of tent stitches), so I left that area alone and stitched horizontal stitches across the cheeks and vertical stitches across the forehead with my Silk/Cashmere.  Traditionally if you pad an area, the next layer is done perpendicular to the first, hence the orientation of my second layers.  I added more horizontal layers over the area just above the dog's little black nose, which isn't traditional, but that seemed to work well.

In the photo above you see all that finished, plus I've stem stitched the ears, working the stitches to match the direction of my black and white drawing but covering the stem stitched edge of the ears.  Those stem stitches lift the edges of the ears slightly.  Once I had all that done, it was time to stem stitch the front legs, then the dog's body and tail.  I switched to a crewel needle to do the legs as the sharp tip makes it easier to stitch through the underlying tent stitches.  I omitted the tent stitches from the stitch guide, by the way.  I can't see that adding or omitting them makes much difference, but sometimes you don't know this until you try it.

Next I added two black Swarovski bicone beads for the eyes and three little stitches in black Petite Very Velvet for the nose.  Those PVV stitches were a long horizontal stitch at the top of the nose with a shorter horizontal stitch under that, then a vertical very short stitch under the top two stitches, making a T shape.  With two plies of black Splendor silk floss, I stem stitched the mouth.

Take a good look at the mouth--doesn't it look grumpy?  So out it came but not before I took a good look at it.  I decided the problem was the mouth was too long on the right side and that two plies were too fat.  After I removed the black threads I switched to one ply of black silk and tried again.  This is what I came up with--

The mouth is better but it still seems to be pulled down on the right side. Checking the canvas under my magnifier, I discovered that this was actually a bit of the black painted mouth showing, so I covered it with a short horizontal white stitch topped with a white tent stitch.  When the black paint was hidden, this is the mouth I ended up with.

When it comes to the eyes, nose and mount on your canvas, it does take a bit of work to get the expression just right but all that effort is worth it.

Those of you with sharp eyes will have noticed that in the mouth photos I haven't stitched the dog's body but when you are trying to explain things, sometimes the photos are out of order.  Sorry!  The order in which one does things in a stitch guide are not always the order in which they are originally stitched.  Your stitch guide author tries to figure out the easiest way to do things, so sometimes the photos we take as we work on a model are a bit out of order.  But follow what the guide says and you will have the benefit of working the most efficient and easiest way instead of following what we did and discovering--just like the stitch guide writer did!--that it wasn't the best way of working.

This is getting a bit long so let's finish it up tomorrow, ok?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright December 19, 2015 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

The UK Casket Tour, Part One

Tricia Nguyen of Thistle Threads talks about the tour of the United Kingdom she organized to see various 17th Century caskets in castles and museums all over England and Scotland.  If you are interested in reproduction embroidery, history or just travel, you'll want to read this.  Thanks, Tricia!

Tricia is taking a break for Christmas but will return with more about this fabulous tour shortly.  I'll summarize everything in Part Two once she posts all about the trip.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright  November 7, 2015 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.