Sunday, November 27, 2022

Challenges from Red Devil

Red Devil, by Melissa Shirley

The above canvas is "Red Devil," a discontinued Halloween design by Melissa Shirley.  I started working on him last spring and just finished.  This is a 5 inch diameter circle, painted on 18 count canvas. It presented a lot of challenges, such as how to stitch the leaves, deciding what the orange area around his feet was, how to differentiate the black boots from his black gloves, and how to stitch his horns so they stood out against the orange pumpkin in the wreath.  Luckily I love challenges like this!

Of course every challenge you solve immediately causes more challenges.  For example, I decided I would applique Ultrasuede on the leaves.  I have a canvas I want to use a lot of applique on, so this was a practice run of a sort for me.  Of course, then I had to decide how to create the veins, if I was going to ignore the oak leaves' shading, and what to do about Red Devil's trident which is on top of a leaf and a small pumpkin?  Finally I decided to ignore the shading on the leaves, use a sharp needle to create the veins with stem stitches and to work the trident in tent stitch through the Ultrasuede leaf using that same sharp needle.  

I also decided to make the circle a rectangle so I tent stitched a rectangular area as well as the blue painted background.  Of course the join between the areas shows, so I had to create a second "twisted grapevine" style wreath outside the first wreath to hide the slight difference in color.  

To make the gloves different than the boots, I choose different threads.  The boots are all brick stitch in perle cotton while the gloves are also brick stitch using a blend of Wisper and Petite Silk Lame Braid.  The gloves were lightly brushed after stitching to make them even fuzzier.

The orange area I decided was the lining of Red Devil's cloak.  I had to use light coverage stitches there because his clothes were done with light coverage stitches or using only one ply of silk.  The clothing had to be the same depth although I did make his cloak collar stand out with the use of couched metallic around bullions.  

To make the large pumpkin stand out, I beaded it.  The smaller pumpkins in the wreath were done in Double Stitch using beads for the second step so that they looked a bit like the big pumpkin but were not as prominent as the large one, which is the focal point of the design.

Red Devil's Done!

Bringing Red Devil to life has been a fun journey.  Now to figure out how to finish him!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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