Before I ever stitch, I Goggle pictures of animals if I am not familiar with the animal to see how nature makes this animal’s fur/feathers grow (I did this for the eagle, Leopold, (more about these later) and I had the original picture I used to have Lucy painted). I look at the canvas and get an idea of how I want the fur to I look and visualize the stitched piece. I visualize how I think the areas move or change and I begin to divide the areas into sections. You could make a copy of the canvas and draw lines on the copy to help if you are not a visual person. I look for starting points in the pictures; ( See the top drawing at left: everything somwhat radiates from the red dot but the red T are some of the parts in the fur…just like the parts in our hair.) Then find the best starting point on my canvas. Sometimes there is more than one starting point and sometimes it is not a point but a line or area. There is no one correct way…ever had a bad hair day?! (second drawing are suggsted stitching lines ) Then Unlike the diagram I am showing, I work in small sections. I will randomly pick an area and stitch the first line of fur (for our discussion the purple stitches shown on the diagram) then I will stitch the blue stitches. I fill in this area or sometimes will do several of these divisions (see Lucy picture yesterday); then I fill in these areas. I save the single overstitches until large areas are completed; then you can see the areas that need a different color or need to be lighter / darker.I try to make all the stitches work as I am stitching but I have done my fair share “Frog Stitching.” I have even taken complete areas out, but like any technique, the more you use it the better you get. But the beauty of Random Stitching is that if you have the general direction of the fur correct, you can add subsequent layers of additional color to help make the fur realistic.
I do Random Stitching a bit different, but does that surprise anyone who knows me.
Another secret is the thread. I use mostly Epic yarns for my fur (http://www.epicyarn.com/index.html ). I have also used Felicity’s Garden and Newport Harbor threads from Rosebud Designs (http://www.rosebud-studio.com/yarn-menu.htm). All these threads have dyelot changes but when you are doing Random Stitch this doesn’t matter as it would if you were stitching a background with this thread, you want the subtle changes of color for fur.
This is a brief general method of how I stitch Random Stitching. My best advice, jump in and try it, practice, practice, practice. Next blog I’ll show you some of the feathers and furs I have stitched.