Saturday, January 18, 2020

Ten Tips for Stitching Faces

Gay Ann Rogers starts off 2020 with her ten best tips for stitching faces.

I'm not sure how long this will be available so I am going to quote Gay Ann here:

Ten Tips for Stitching Faces in Needlepoint
"The single most common question I am asked: how to make a pretty face in needlepoint. 
Here are what I hope will be Ten helpful Tips.

1. Stop and think about the typical needlepointed face. I have made faces just 7 stitches wide; the largest I do is usually 30-35 stitches wide. Because there aren't many stitches in which to accomplish a large amount of information, each stitch shows up as larger than you might expect. Keep the thread you use light in weight, soften the colors and keep the details simple and suggestive. Ugly faces usually happen in needlepoint because of too many heavy clunky contrasting stitches and lines. Keep gradations from one stitch to another low in contrast so that transitions aren't harsh.

2. The above is particularly true of noses. Keep noses light in line and detail. Google ‘illustrations of pretty faces’ and you will often see a nose suggested by a tip and two arcs for nostrils. Avoid making noses with heavy contrasting outlines stitched in black from each brow to nostril.

3. Pay attention to the shape of the line defining the face, usually a pleasing oval shape wider at the forehead, narrower at the chin .If you outline the face, do not use a color that is very contrasty with the color of the skin: a black line around a face filled with soft flesh color is too contasty. Consider changing the outline to a flesh color only slightly darker than the flesh color for filling.

4. Blend in suggestions of cheeks rather than choosing bright pink ovals or circles, unless you are creating a cartoonish character. If the face is very small, consider eliminate the cheeks all together.

5. As a rule, pretty means wide-set eyes, each eye with a slight upturn. Take advantage of a stitching a slight upturn if you have that choice.

6. Remember to make eyes ’see’. They need a dot of white. I see so many eyes in needlepoint without the white ahd they always look blind. (We don’t have these ‘dots of white’ but our eyes are aways bathed in liquid and the light reflects off the liquid).

7.  If you are faced with a choice of making the eyes slightly larger or slightly smaller, often slightly larger is a good choice.

8. If you are faced with a choice of making a forehead slightly taller or slightly shorter, often slightly taller is a good choice.

9. Needlepoint faces are usually stitched in Tent Stitch because the area for a face is so small and Tent Stitch is the smallest stitch. Tent stitch, depending on the slant, can create a jagged edge which in some circumstances can disfigure a feature.  Remember you can reverse the direction of a Tent Stitch, thereby smoothing out jagged details. This is particulary helpful on eyes and mouth.

10.  Overstitches can be your best friends: you can use them effectively to soften jagged lines, particularly helpful for eyelids and a mouth and for the suggestion of a nose. The trick to overstitching on faces: very light weight thread not too contrasting in color."

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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