Monday, December 27, 2021

Stitches (and Threads) for Faces

Faces on needlepoint canvas can be hard.  There's usually not much space so even one stitch can throw the expression off.  I thought for Christmas I'd list all the stitches and threads I've seen or used that worked well.

Tent stitches or basketweave are the classic face stitches.  They work very well, but you may find you need to do a reverse tent stitch to make an eye or eyebrow or mouth's corner look right.

If you don't want to use a tent stitch, try skip tent, brick stitch over two, interlocking Gobelin, or even diagonal mosaic if your design slants.  Long and short or split stitch also works nicely.  

I often use silk for faces because of the sheen but cotton floss is a great choice if you want a more matte look.  I also used white Flair for a snowman's face once and it really was the right icy look.  

Changing the amount of thread also works very well.  I have stitched a geisha's painted white face with Caron's Impressions.  The design was painted on 13 count and I used only one strand so the painted nose and eyebrows showed through the thread.  It looked really nice.  

When it comes to the eyebrows, eyelashes and noses, I often stitch right over them with my chosen skin stitch, then stem stitch the features on top with one ply of a floss to add them back.  Eyes and mouths are a challenge at time since one stitch can change the expression.  Be prepared to rip out.  I often use a Swarovski crystal sequin for the eyes and attach it with invisible thread or with the eyelash color.  You can cover one pie-shaped wedge of the sequin with thread to create an expression or make your eyes look to one side.  For mouths I often use a tent and reverse tent stitch for the corners of the mouth and then do hoizontal stitches of varying lengths for the lips.  

Experiment and see what works for you.  Faces are the heart and soul of designs with people in them so it's worth ripping and redoing if necessary.

By the way, if you need thread brands and numbers for skin colors, this article is for you.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright December 16, 2021 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.